There is No End 21-22

Part 21

Wesley looked up from the notes he was making on recent cases expecting to smile politely at a waiter and order his drink. Instead he met Lorne’s enigmatic gaze and instantly felt approaching doom.

“Don’t be so pessimistic…or maybe…” Lorne said and he slid into the booth across from Wesley. “You don’t have time for what I need to say.”

“Then why are you sitting with me?” Wesley asked, stopping short at saying Lorne’s name having just learned it from Angel recently.

Lorne smiled. “To make sure you make time for me later, you fresh drink of water you,” he explained before getting up and motioning to a waiter. “Paramount importance.”

Wesley watched Lorne manage to somehow blend into the crowd despite the loud purple suit he was wearing, his curiosity more than aroused by Lorne’s words and what the club owner may have to tell him. Thinking that maybe the time should be made now, rather than later, when he was stopped short by a wide welcoming smile.

“Hi, Wesley. Sorry, I’m late. Work is…well forget that; it’s my boss that’s crazy.”

Wesley grinned. “It’s no problem,” he gestured to the seat across from him. “Please sit down. I’m sorry, I don’t have more time but I really do need to get back to the offices.”

Cordelia slipped into the booth and looked up when a waiter appeared out of nowhere and smiled down at her.

“The Host has requested that everything be on the house for you Ms. Chase. What would you like?”

Cordelia smiled, winked at Wesley and looked back at the waiter. “Tell Lorne that my affection can…totally be bought. I’ll have a mocha fat free latte, please.”

“Yes, Ms. Chase.”

“Demon bars are so friendly,” she said and Wesley smiled again and wiped his palms on his pants. It was ridiculous to be nervous, he knew her, though since her sudden reintroduction into his life he had barely had time to say more than a few personal words to her. And yet again this was business, he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out an envelope. “I believe this is what you and Angel agreed on for your…uh…services.”

Cordelia smiled and grabbed the money. “I so need this money, thank you. And thank Angel too…he’s busy?”

Wesley frowned. Angel was far from busy but in a highly disconcerting way.

“Was he hurt or something, you know fighting demons?” Cordelia asked in a lower voice leaning forward.

“Oh, no, no. He’s remained injury free the past few days. Since the fight you were involved in actually. It’s just… he’s…” Wesley trailed off and took a gulp of his ginger ale. “Where was I?”

“Avoiding talking about Angel,” Cordelia said and her eyes narrowed in on him. “Wesley? How are you?”

Wesley couldn’t hide his relief that she’d allowed him to drop the subject of Angel and he took in a deep breathe. “Well, I…I’m quite tongue-tied, apparently.”

“Well, you are in the presence of me,” Cordelia said but then her eyes warmed and her expression grew softer. “And don’t be such a loser, Wesley. I mean I have all these fond memories of you; you saved my last semester of high school from being a mundane hell. I mean hell literally too, as you know.”

Wesley chuckled. “Well, you made my days in Sunnydale much less painful. You actually liked me.”

“A lot. Still do. I wish you had more time. I mean I hate to just grab my bait-money and then not get to chat with you.”

“Well, like I said I need to get back to the offices. I’m in charge of the business now and I like to remain hands on at all times. I feel it helps matters.”

“The so called detective agency you guys run? How does that work really?”

Wesley sighed. “It honestly doesn’t. The hotel tends to scare away walk-ins and we have a strict policy against divorce cases. It’s just too unseemly.”

“It’d make money. What about battered wives, cheating spouses, stalkers and such? You guys could help victims of creeps way more than any cops could. Someone in one of my acting classes dropped out of the business completely because of a stalker. She went into hiding, ran completely away…. Such a waste too. She had a real talent. And if I’m going to make it, I want all the talent around to pommel to the ground.”

“Angel mentioned you had ideas for the business.”

“I could help with the hotel too. I do work for an interior designer; have a great eye for space and décor. Always have. Did I ever tell you about the time; I helped Xander and Willow find Ted the serial killer’s lair where he had all the dead bodies of his lives? I realized a carpet was out of place, it hid the trap door…” Cordelia trailed off then and started to look around. “Just where is my free latte?”


She sighed and looked back at him. “Have you ever not thought about something for years, and then it’s like the only thing on your mind? Lately, it’s like everything brings up some thing I did with Buffy, or Xander, or Willow. I guess it was helping out you guys. I just. I left Sunnydale and all those monsters for a reason, right?”

Wesley nodded. “I tried to put the Watcher’s Council behind me, after the fired me… but I couldn’t stay from the fight. Went after demons on my own learned to fight…and thankfully I ran into Angel, found a place. I can be watcher and fighter with him. We even managed to help Faith.”

“Is that how she ended up in Sunnydale?”

Wesley smiled, feeling great pride in the strides his former Slayer had made to overcome her past and atone for all she had done. “Yes. She’s made great strides, she’ll always be fighting much like Angel does… but she’s going to be okay. It was a lot of hard work, very rocky road. She tortured me, I almost wrote her off but… Angel and Faith herself made me see. She deserved the same chance I’d given Angel.”

Cordelia nodded. “I think it’s good she’s in Sunnydale. She won’t let them all stay stuck about Buffy… I hope.”

“Hello, Brown-Eyes,” Lorne exclaimed and sat her latte down in front of her. “You two catching up on old times, finally!”

Cordelia rolled her eyes at Lorne. “Thank you. Hazel eyes. And yes.”

“Brown to these peepers, remember,” Lorne said as he continued to stare at Cordelia.

“Staring is creepy,” Cordelia said, and Wesley moved his eyes carefully between the demon and Cordelia. Lorne’s words to him before Cordelia’s arrival coming back to him.

“Lorne, are you reading something off of Cordelia?”

“Her aura is a fascinating subject,” Lorne said, taking his eyes off of Cordelia and looking back at Wesley. “One that would be between me and her only.” He turned back to Cordelia and wagged a finger. “You are going to have to get on stage for me someday. I do want to read you more fully…” he trailed off walked away and shot back at Wesley. “Others may be intrigued by it too…”

“He is really weird. It’d be creepy if he didn’t seem so friendly. He just gives this nice vibe and I never thought I’d say that about a demon. Yet here I am surrounded by them.”

“Yes, sorry to pick this place, but I have a meeting here soon. With one of our more reliable…well sort of snitches… Merle. He hates Angel… has just cause…but he’s quite helpful for the right price or threat.”

Cordelia sipped her latte. “Well, I have to get back to the crazy boss. Keep me in mind to spruce up the hotel, not scare away clients. And need ideas for how to get clients who can pay you, remember I’m full of them. And I know Angel has a problem with it, but I am willing to play bait again when you guys are desperate.”

Wesley eyes widened as he stood up to walk Cordelia to the exit. “You know he has ordered we don’t use you as bait again?”

“Ordered?” Cordelia echoed and she let out a small ‘pfft’ of air. “You’re the boss, aren’t you, Wesley?”

Wesley blushed and sighed. “There are some things I’ve found it easier not to argue with him on.”

“Whatever. Tell that vampire if it will save lives, I will bait and that’s that. It’s your call isn’t it?”

Wesley laughed. “Technically.”

“There you go. And yeah, he went a bit nuts after I got hurt helping with Emily. So glad that demon guy didn’t get off on his charges thanks to her father, by the way. My boyfriend was so surprised that that law firm didn’t get him off, not that he knows about the demon part. Or that those lawyers are creepy….” Cordelia trailed off again. “And there I go babbling about things again. At least it wasn’t about something in Sunnydale.”

“Angel wants you safe Cordelia. It’s…it’s important to him.” Wesley reached and pushed his glasses up his nose, his mind falling to the most recent past in his and Angel’s path together. It wasn’t pretty, it had led to so much pain and then just as Angel had his feet back on solid ground he’d heard of Buffy’s death. “Angel’s been through some…”


Wesley shook his head. “It’s only a part of it, Cordelia. I think it’s best to keep you safe.”

Cordelia eyes narrowed. “Wesley, do you mean from demons at large and playing bait-girl, or from…”

“What do you want now, Wyndam-Pryce, because I am so sick and tired of helping out that bloodsucker…” Merle’s voice pierced the air and he walked right between Wesley and Cordelia.

Wesley looked Cordelia in the eye and hated himself for silently answering her unfinished question in the affirmative. It didn’t go over well with the young woman, who huffed out angrily before leaving the club hurriedly. Wesley instantly wondered if he’d made the right decision but had to his mind to focus on Merle. It was imperative to find out the location of a nest of Skilosh demons in the area in order to stop them from infesting humans with their spawn.


Lindsey pulled on his tie the minute his last client of the day left his office. God, he hated wearing the stupid suit that was expected of lawyers. He wondered if his immediate superiors would really mind if he wore jeans and loose fitted shirt to work one day instead? He glowered when he decided they wouldn’t like it and give him a lecture on appearances…for a Wolfram & Hart employee must always appear to be the average young go-getter. At all costs. Lindsey smirked and leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on the desk. He’d get what he was after; there was no way he was going to lose. Not with all that he had given and done to get as far as he had in the eyes of the Senior Partners. The intercom buzzed on his desk and Lindsey lazily replied to his secretaries call.

“Yes, Mina?”

“There is a Mr. Wayne here to see you, sir?”

“Oh. Let him right in.” Lindsey stood up in a swift energetic move. This was information he’d been waiting for, for way too long. He met the tall, hulking man in a cheap black suit at the door to his office and quickly closed door before barking out the order to the man. “Give it to me?”

The taller man just handed over a file.

“Is this everything I asked for?”

“Everything, Mr. Macdonald. Though the information was not easy to find due to the location of…”

“Cordelia Chase.” Lindsey said, finally having a name to put to the face to the woman from the alley. “Cordelia Chase,” he smirked. “Pretentious name don’t you think Wayne?”

“About the price we discussed, Mr. Macdonald.”

“Anyone else see this file, Wayne?” Lindsey asked, going to his desk and dropping the rather thick manila folder. He started flipping through pages, to quickly assess whether or not this man had done his job fully.”

“Uh. No, you specified that only I deal with this case. About my expenses….”

“That will be no problem,” Lindsey said, his eyes falling on Cordelia’s most current statistics, his blue eyes lighting up at the name and occupation of her boyfriend.

“That’s a relief, Mr. Macdonald because…”

“Mina,” Lindsey hit the intercom. “If you would ask Stan in please.”

“Of course, sir.”

“Stan will take care of you, Wayne. Thank you for such a thorough job in this matter.”

Mr. Wayne nodded and turned toward a nondescript man who entered the room. The man looked at Lindsey, and Lindsey nodded toward Wayne and kept his eyes on the hulking man. Wayne had a small smile on his face and was about to start forming another sentence about how he’d need more money than he’d originally thought when Stan shot him in the head.

“I’ll send clean up right up, Mr. Macdonald.”

“Thank you, Stan, I’ll appreciate that,” Lindsey said, then leaned back over his desk to peruse the file on Cordelia Chase.


Cordelia leaned against the door of her apartment the second she entered. To say she hadn’t been in a good mood since her silent exchanged with Wesley at Caritas would be an understatement. She’d felt foul and angry and not all happy. And it had been up to that moment the sunniest spot in her entire day.

Her boss had been a hag all day, Lisa had been sick, so Cordelia had taken on the bulk of her work to help her out. But then the stupid English fool had to go and get her angry. Implying, or was it flat out saying it, that she’d be safe to stay away from Angel? What was that?

Was it a watcher thing? They’d work with a souled vampire but just never really turn their backs? She sighed; pragmatically she knew that it made sense. Angel had a curse, his soul wasn’t something natural to his state and it could go free. But how could it with Buffy dead? What the hell had made Wesley answer her unfinished question in the affirmative? Had he misunderstood her because his snitch – a demon in need of a lot of body lotion – had charged in between them.

Cordelia sighed, pushed herself off the door, kicked off her shoes as she walked and hit the play button on her machine out of habit. She didn’t like the implication at all, what if she wanted to see Angel again? It wasn’t even a what if, she did want to see him again. God, she’d given Wesley enough hints to get him to hire her to clean up the hotel’s lobby at least. Though, she’d love to get her hands on Angel’s apartment.

“Cor, it’s me sweetheart. Mona says she and you never got together to shop for the Charity Ball. Honey, it’s in a week. Do you have a dress? Do you need any money for one? Call me, or better yet maybe come over tonight? I miss you.”

Cordelia bent over and grabbed her right foot starting to massage it. Alec she’d deal with later, she thought vaguely before her mind went back to the important matter at hand. Angel might not want to see her, she thought? He’d only come to her for bait. Of course he’d gotten weird and protective suddenly, but that’d been kind of nice. No one had ever actually worried about her butt before when it was on the line. She bit her lip, it had seemed like Angel might want to be friends…or…”Oh don’t go there, Cor,” she said to herself to stop the thought short. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Cordy! You won’t believe this. Andrea LaBelle, went insane last night. She started screaming and clutching her head screaming about death and…oh it’s so gross intestines. She’s gone totally mad, they had to drug her up and strap her down to get her to calm down. Doctors don’t think she’ll ever come out whatever state she’s in from what I’ve heard. Isn’t it crazy? Another actress just couldn’t take the pressure. So, you’ll still be at the audition for the new primetime sudser, right, honey? Oh, and it’s Deirdre of course!”

Cordelia sat down on her coffee table, her heart going out to Andrea LaBelle, whoever she was. She’d never heard of her before, maybe she knew her by her face or work, she thought. Cordelia felt bad for her, she couldn’t bring herself to have any sort of glee at the bad gossip. Maybe a year ago she still would have had a bit of intrigue and curiosity about how it had happened. But now, all she could think about was how sad it all was and if acting was even worth it.

Was anything she’d sat out to become and do in Los Angeles worth it? Started toward her bathroom. She had to take a long hot bath to empty her head of all thought. The serious ones anyway.


Wesley pushed open the door to Angel’s room at the sound of a grunt. He’d taken it to mean come in and not go away simply because it hadn’t had much of a growl in it. He sighed, and wondered when he’d come so adept at reading the odd noises of a vampire who preferred to be silent rather than talk.


Angel was stuffing papers into the worn folder where he kept sketches and just nodded his head to let Wesley know he’d heard him. One of the papers escaped Angel’s hand and landed near Wesley’s feet. Bending down, trepidation overcame Wesley. The last time he’d left Angel alone for more than a few days, then come upon him drawing it had been nude sketch after nude sketch of Darla. A time that he still felt too close too despite his, as well as Gunn’s and Angel’s efforts to move away from it.

Turning the paper over to reveal the sketch, Wesley felt instant concern and complete and utter confusion at the topic on the page. “Uh…”

“It’s not like that, Wes.”

“No, no she’s not naked…” Wesley muttered as he tried valiantly to close his mouth.

“Of course she isn’t!” Angel nearly shouted. “Look, it’s just, she’s… it’s best I don’t see her again. I know this. I just have her one my mind…and….”

“Angel, no matter what your reasons I don’t think you sitting in the dark and sketching Cordelia could possible be a healthy – Angel, she’s in a dumpster. Cordelia. Standing in garbage…what the hell?”

“It’s a memory.”

Wesley looked up from the sketch. “From Sunnydale one presumes due to the cheerleading top you have her in.”

Angel nodded his hands in his pockets. “Look, Wesley. She just…she’s…why the hell can’t I stop thinking about her?”

Wesley frowned and stepped forward holding out the sketch, realizing he wasn’t going to get any explanation of how Angel had a memory of Cordelia in a dumpster. “I don’t know. It is odd behavior on your part. If this was Buffy, or Darla again, or God forbid Drusilla it’d be much more understandable.”

Angel nodded. “I know.”

“But it’s not a good sign, Angel.”

“I know. But maybe it’s okay?”

“Okay? You brooding about in the dark and drawing her? I most certainly think it is not.”

Angel frowned. “Cordelia’s different though.”

Wesley sighed. “I should tell you that when I saw her, I supported your decision against using her as bait.”

Angel eyes went icy in an instant, his hands left his pockets and he stepped forward. “Just why did you do that, Wes?”

Wesley held his ground as he found himself face to face with a very intimidating vampire. But in the dark icy eyes, he still saw Angel a man he trusted and knew was had a good soul. A fighter against the darkness that few, thankfully, knew. A bit of relief hit Wesley and he told the truth. “Because like you I would like to see Cordelia stay safe. She has an entire life; she can go back to it no worse for wear. Isn’t that the best, for her, Angel.”

Wesley was shocked at the amount of disappointment that clouded Angel’s eyes for a brief second before they turned to the usual unexpressive look the vampire carried.

“I agree.”

Wesley frowned and turned to go. “I have to return to Caritas again, Lorne seems to have something urgent to tell me. Would you like to accompany me?”


“I see. Well, I’ll come back before I leave, anyway, Angel.” Wesley started to step away a loud nagging voice in the back of his head telling him he was making the wrong call in regard to Cordelia.

Part 22

Cordelia hurried into the room and saw the familiar face of an assistant to a casting director she’d auditioned for countless times. A casting director who liked her and her work. Realizing she’d be auditioning for at least one friendly face gave Cordelia an instant confidence boost and her hips swung a bit more in reaction as she made her way to the table. Pulling out her head shot/resume of the moment she smiled at the young woman at the table. “Cordelia Chase. For Cassandra.”

“Cassandra Clark, school bitch, right…” the woman said checking a sheet before looking up. “You are under 25 right?”

Cordelia sighed, she would never understand it, she had no wrinkles there was no reason for people to constantly think she was already years older than her actual age. Of course people had thought she was in her twenties during high school, her father claimed it was the Chase bearing – whatever that meant, Cordelia thought. “I’m 20.”

“Really? You have such a confident aura, I was sure you were…”

“I get that a lot,” Cordelia explain good-naturedly. “I try not to feel bad about it.”

“Well, maybe you’ll catch up to the age you look and stay stuck?”

Cordelia nodded as she was handed some papers. “Everyone reading for Cassandra is also being asked to read for Bobbie…so you’ll be doing those two scenes. They are short, shouldn’t be hard to memorize quickly.”

Cordelia nodded and turned around to find a quiet spot to sit and study the two scenes; however she didn’t get very far. Deirdre Emmett attacked her personal space with an insincere hug.

“Cor! I just knew you’d be here to be my competition for Cassandra. But that’s okay, we girls made for Bitches need to stick together, right? Well, of course. Did you hear about Andrea LaBelle? I always knew that one couldn’t take the pressure of this business… too Mid-western you know?”

Cordelia opened her mouth to state her concern for Andrea, even though she didn’t know her and only had a vague idea just who she was she felt for the young woman. Life in Los Angeles was tough, it surprised Cordelia more people didn’t break down, especially those trying to become stars or simply famous.

“It’s just so awful, all these naïve girls dropping like flies with drugs or break downs – or both.”

Cordelia closed her mouth, she’d never get a word in edge wise with Deirdre yapping at her. Or be able to focus on the lines she needed to know. “Oh my God, is that Matthew Perry!” Cordelia yelled to get over Deirdre’s loud voice.

“Where, where?”

“I think he just rounded the corner…” Cordelia said pointing down the hall.

“Oh, oh, I have to go see…” and the gossip was gone.

Sighing, Cordelia settled into a seat next to another young actress she’d seen on a few auditions in the last several months and started to read over the scenes she was given. Both of them were for the two characters she was apparently auditioning for, thought she wanted Cassandra. It was the CC factor, she thought maybe it’d be a lucky charm and plus she knew how to be a bitch. Use your talents was one of the main things she’s learned early in life.

“Who were you and that other girl talking about?” The young girl asked Cordelia, breaking her concentration.

Cordelia bit back a retort, it wouldn’t do to be a bitch to the competition… well it wasn’t frowned upon it was a competitive business but Cordelia just didn’t like to be the bitch full time anymore. “Andrea…La…LaSomething. She had a break down apparently.”

“A, a breakdown?” The girl whispered her eyes widening.

Cordelia nodded and wondered if she had ever looked so wide-eyed and naïve in her life. She quickly decided she probably hadn’t, innocent and naïve was something she’d never been told she was. This girl was definitely not going to be trying out for Cassandra. “I’m sure she’s getting help.”

“Jade stopped bothering this young woman, she needs to focus on her lines as much as you do,” the older woman sitting next to the girl interjected. “I’m sorry, she’s still getting used to the city, I suppose such an awful story is frightening for her. But since she has me I doubt that will happen. I’m Helena Hansen, Jade’s grandmother and manager. My little Jade will be a star.”

Cordelia smiled politely but held back a shudder when she looked into the woman’s eyes. She saw strength and control there, a stage mother of the worst variety in a woman much older than most with probably more tricks and manipulation. And Jade seemed like such a sweet girl… sometimes Cordelia hated the acting business.

“But we’ll leave you be, it must be hard to have to play so much younger than you are after all…” the older woman trailed off.

Cordelia raised an eyebrow at who she instantly renamed Grandmother Bitch and thought to herself that at least the older woman could be subtle about her put downs. “Oh, it’s not hard at all, ma’am,” she answered emphasizing ’ma’am’ and getting up to find a new place to study her lines, smiling at Jade but avoiding contact with her grandmother.

Studying the waiting area, she saw that Deirdre was back but thankfully talking someone else’s ear off, another vapid gossipmonger she wanted to avoid talking with. Finally she saw an empty seat in a far off corner and sighed. She could finally focus. She’d been looking forward to this moment all day, when she could focus on something that wasn’t her growing restlessness for her life. Or a vampire.

She frowned and blamed the brut and Wesley for her continuing thoughts on him, his hotel and his life of fighting evil. If he’d just paid her, herself, or Wesley hadn’t implied she should stay away from him it would be all over. Her little foray back into the world of monsters and blood would be a finished chapter…no the last chapter in her life as someone who knew about the fight against evil. Her frown deepened, that didn’t feel right. She would always know about the fight against evil. That Faith was out there in Sunnydale on the Hellmouth, that Angel was there in her own city…fighting things that would make most people cringe. Poor girls like Andrea LaBelle thought the acting life was harsh and crazy inducing – what would evil do to her.

And Angel was there fighting to keep girls like her, and little naïve Jade and even loud mouth insincere Deirdre safe. As well as herself…and apparently that meant away from him. Safe and away from him. It pissed her off. Where did he get off deciding that for her… there was no reason they couldn’t still be friends. She sighed and rolled her eyes and corrected the thought. Become friends…and the image of him in nothing but a towel flashed in her mind. She squirmed in her chair and pulled at her collar as her mind screamed the word curse in her head over and over again.

Why was it so hard to remember that he was someone to lust after? It’d been easier in high school and she’d been more naïve and fantasy prone then. Of course she’d also been a virgin…”he turns evil Cordelia,” she said out loud to snap herself out of it. She shook her head and blew a long breath of air out of her mouth to clear her mind, maybe it was best he’d made a unilateral decision about their relationship…non-relationship…no it was something, something was… Cordelia slapped her forehead, hard, causing a loud thwap and everyone in the room to turn toward her.

She smiled at them all. “Sorry, got into a moment in my head while memorizing.”

Everyone looked away.

Okay, Cordelia, get this through your thick head. This was Angel. Broody, quiet, mysterious…salty goodness…no! He’s got a curse. A no perfect happiness curse that made him go all evil when he got happy with Buffy. And hello, him and Buffy the love story of trauma and angst that rivals Romeo and Juliet. Though you really hated that play, and it was really over romanticized by Buffy and Willow. And everyone else in Sunnydale…and he did keep looking at you and you were so sure you felt… Stop it, stop it, stop it. Curse, Curse, Curse. Evil bloodsucking fiend! Angelus, leather pants….ooh leather pants. Damn it Cordelia get a hold of yourself you have sixteen year old bitch to audition for…

“Jade Hansen and Deirdre Emmett you are both up now.”

Cordelia looked up despite herself and locked eyes with Grandmother Bitch, who was giving Jade last minute suggestions. Then she smiled and glanced toward Cordelia. “Darling you should stop frowning, it’s giving your awful wrinkles.”

Cordelia eyes narrowed.

“Glaring isn’t good for crows feet either, darling.”

“You would know,” Cordelia said. Now that Jade was out of the room, she felt no reason to be nice to the piece of work that was her grandmother. She sighed and looked back at the lines. The silly lines of melodramatic teenagers that sounded like all the things she had looked down her nose at Buffy for… did she really want to play this on television? Maybe she was too old for this role? Maybe she just didn’t want to do this anymore? And the last question made her breath catch and her heart felt like it was slamming into her chest.


“Angel?” Wesley called out, inwardly cringing at how desperate he sounded, only he wasn’t sure if he was desperate for the person he heard to be Angel or not.


Instant relief and instant disappointment. Well, that didn’t answer his question, Wesley realized as he stopped short in the lobby when Gunn walked out of the office door.

“Was just looking for my Gameboy, seen it?”

“No. I’ve been looking for Angel everywhere, I thought he’d be here…by now.”

Gunn looked out at the still sunny California day and then back to Wesley. “Well, I doubt he’s dust. There was no fight last night – was there? Because if I wasn’t called…”

“There was no fight. We would have called you…” Wesley trailed off and sat down on pouf. “I must find him right away,” he said and hung his head in his hands.

Seconds ticked by and Wesley just sat, trying to talk himself into checking the basement, calling Caritas, check places Angel was known to go to by sewer to check on sources… Or should he just sit and wait?

“And yet you ain’t looking like a man in a rush, English?” Gunn finally asked, giving Wesley the excuse he was looking for to put some of the problem onto the other man.

“No, I’m not. I’m not quite sure I want to discuss part of what I have to discuss with him.”

“Was that a riddle?”


“Then put it in English, English,” Gunn grinned.

Wesley wished he could.

“You need to lighten up.” Gunn sat down next to Wesley on the pouf and slapped his back, hard.

Swallowing the whine of ‘ow’ that threatened to spill out of his mouth, Wesley looked at Gunn and decided to just get it over with. Gunn would need to know all the information anyway, and he was a part of the life he and Angel lived. He’d been living it most of his life. “I must ask, have you been noticing Angel’s behavior lately?”

“Restless, kind a short temper, sitting in the dark more than his usual? Yeah. Bit like right before he went wonky over… That bitch ain’t back is she?”

“Darla?” Wesley sighed. “Heavens, no. And let us hope she never does return to LA. No, it’s not Darla that has him behaving so oddly. It’s Cordelia.”

“He’s obsessed with Cordelia?”

“Well…I don’t think so. I pray not. Lorne tells me I shouldn’t try to discourage him from seeing her. That I in fact should encourage it. Something about his personality traits and that the outcome won’t be the same even if the pattern seems familiar.”


“Lorne says that Cordy’s going to stay in our lives.”

Gunn grinned. “Worse things to have around to look at.”

“This isn’t a very easy life we lead, Charles. Lorne implied she’d be in OUR lives. Not visiting. In it.”

Gunn frowned. “He said that?”

“He implied it.”

“But if Angel’s into her, then ain’t it a good thing?”

“Angel’s chosen to stay away from her, and I’ve agreed with that decision…I still do…I think. But…”

“Lorne freaked you out.”

“In more than one way… It gets worse.”


“Prophecies. Old, long thought lost prophecies, that he tells me the Watcher’s Council has had and known about all along…” Wesley frowned. “The Council is supposed to be an asset in the fight against evil, to aid, help and protect The Slayer. And Lorne has told me they’ve had prophecies about Angel for years, meaning they could have prevented his last reign as Angelus….Darla….”

“Huh?” Gunn said and started to stand up, his fist clenched, and Wesley saw in the man’s eyes he was processing what he was sharing.

“You want to stay sitting, Charles.”


Angel paced the hallway outside of Cordelia’s apartment, glancing at his watch and wondering just what the hell it was he was doing. He’d told himself he’d stay away from her, that it was for the best. He’d spent enough time in her presence to know that while she’d helped him out twice that she’d left Sunnydale to get away from demons.

And he was a demon. A demon who couldn’t stop thinking about her, who’d drawn in her every memory he had of her he could evoke, and a lot of nude fantasies…guilt surged through him but it was joined by lust, desire and things he’d never thought he’d feel again.

Things that had no names, just potential, anticipation, wonderment…things he’d felt when he’d first seen Buffy, first heard her voice, and seen her fight vampires. Things that grown stronger when he’d gotten to know her and seen her in action as both a girl and a Slayer. It was the same now, yet totally different… because he knew what it meant now, and it also reminded him of his recent reactions to Darla…

Lust, need, hope. Darla had been human, not for long but long enough for him to think a lot of crazy and stupid things. It hadn’t been his fault she’d once again lost her soul but he’d had to learn that the hard way. But his mind was a focused on Cordelia as it had been on Darla…to the point of stalking.

He sighed, he wasn’t hiding, he was waiting…not hiding and lurking, spying and looking through a window. No he was waiting, in plain sight, in the hallway outside her door. He could go in, she’d invited him, lurk in the shadows…. watch her or scare her by stepping out of the shadows. He started to smile at how angry Cordelia was likely to get if he broke into her apartment and scared her.

And why was he here? He shouldn’t be here; he was supposed to be walking away from her for her own good. If his. Wesley agreed…the bastard…but he trusted Wesley, and if his interest in Cordelia scared him too. He heard the elevator shift and then ding, the doors opened and he stopped pacing. Long black nylon clad legs were the first things to appear and he knew instantly they belonged to Cordelia. A short black skirt finally stopped him from seeing just where they ended…and she wore a red blouse… she just had to be wearing red he thought and he took a step closer to her.

She’d blinked when she saw him, stopped walking and left her hand in her purse instead of pulling out her keys. Then she smiled and it was contagious.

“I, um, was in the neighborhood.”

“The sun is still out.”

“You have sewer access.”

“Lucky me.”

“Lucky me,” Angel heard himself say and he licked his lips. “So, uh, I…”

“Want to come in?”


Cordelia pulled out her keys and brushed past him to get to her door. Seconds later they were inside.

Part 23

Posted in TBC

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