Title: Lost & Found
Category: Angsty, bit of smut with lots of it later on.
Summary: This is set in season 5. A little back history is Cordy woke up and Angel helped her get over what happened to her- but then she took off after a misunderstanding. Now she’s back.
Spoilers: Post S4 AU. I have included a ‘new’ character that has been spoiled from the show itself, just so I can take pot shots and yes, I’ve described her as ‘blonde’ Hee Hee.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Please ask
Notes: All of the regulars from S4 are in, except for Conner. Spike will hardly be mentioned simply cos I have no idea what they will do with him. Also I’m introducing a new character whose sole purpose is to support Cordy as a friend.
Feedback: Yes please, this is my 1st so any help is good
WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING
The bed sheets were twisted from his constant restless turning; pillows had been scrunched close and then thrown when his temper frayed. Finally heaving a despairing sigh, he lay back flat on the bed, staring unseeing up at the ceiling, eyes burning and jaw clenched.
He lay there for only a few moments before shooting up and swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he was naked and in the half-light you could see every muscle in his body was taut with frustration.
With a groan he dropped his head into his hands and ran rough fingers through his hair. Then his head bent lower as if in pain and he wrapped his arms around his head as if in an effort to shield himself from something.
Despite his best efforts two tears fell down his sculpted and pale cheeks, angrily he scrubbed them away and got up to pace over to the desk in the corner of the bedroom. On it lay a crumpled piece of plain paper, snatching it up it looked for a second like he would hurl it across the room, but instead he smoothed it on the wooden desktop and read it for perhaps the thousandth time.
It was addressed to him and dated just over a month ago.
I’ve sent this letter separate to the other one, so this is just between you and me.
I’m sorry for running out like that, without saying goodbye or anything, but I felt like I had to. I was hurt and angry and couldn’t talk to you about it. I know you’re wondering why I left, it was the phone call from Willow, she told me about you and Buffy and how you guys were thinking of getting back together sometime.
It hurt me so much, maybe it was all in my mind but I had started to think of you as mine and that we had something together. I couldn’t bear to step back and just be friends again and even if she never came, I won’t be second best, so I had to leave.
I won’t be staying here, just stopping to write this letter so you won’t worry, please don’t try and find me. I’ll be OK, no more self-destructo girl I promise.
Keep the others safe for me and remember I love you.
He stared at the words on the paper as if he could will them to change, to say something else; unconsciously he spoke, his voice a hoarse whisper.
“Why couldn’t you have given me a chance to make this right”?
He bowed his head, as if a weight was dragging him down, then shockingly quick his fists crashed down, almost cracking the desk before turning and stalking towards the shower, face pale and set with eyes dark as midnight glittering in his pale face.
Shortly after he stepped out of the elevator and into his office, the drapes were drawn back and the mid morning sun was blinding in its intensity. The first thing he did was shut the drapes and shroud the room, then he opened the other door and let the startled woman at the desk next to it know he was back.
Before he shut the door behind him again, he heard her answer a call. All he caught was the name of the caller but it was enough and he briskly shook his head at her, he would not take the call. She nodded at him but he missed it as he went back inside his darkened office.
“Er Miss Summers I’m sorry but Mr Angel is not in his office at this time, can anyone else help you”
Seated with papers and reports strewn around him he tried to concentrate, but the call had unsettled him even more. He sat back and thought about the last call he’d taken from any of the scooby gang.
5 weeks earlier:
It had been Willow, laughing and joking and enjoying the changes the closing of the hellmouth had made to her life. She made him smile, she always made him smile.
“Angel, Hey, howyadoin”
“Hey yourself, we’re OK, are you OK? The question was obviously prompted by her calling him.
“Oh yeah, all good here, listen I was talking to Buffy last night and it made me realise, God I’m so sorry, that there’s something important I forgot to mention the last time when I was in LA”
He tensed, not liking the sound of that, the last time she’d been in LA was when she resouled him and then left with Faith.
Willow guessed why he was silent “Oh it’s nothing bad, in fact it pretty great”, OK that sounded better, he relaxed.
“When I did the spell I did it differently that the first time, um I missed off the curse, just ya know popped the soul back in without it”. She was excited about the news but also anxious over having not told him sooner.
“You missed off the curse” repeated Angel slowly; wanting to make sure he understood what she was telling him.
“Yeah I know I can’t believe I forgot I am soooo sorry, if I could I’d kick my own ass. My only excuse is I had other things on my mind”.
Distantly he heard himself say “That’s OK, don’t worry about it, you’ve told me now”. He could hardly take it in: no more curse.
Then it hit him, God he’d been practically killing himself with frustration for the last few months and all this time.
“Listen thanks for calling, but I want to go and tell the others, it’s big news”, he wanted to get off the phone and go and tell Cordy, he knew she would be delighted and so few things really made her smile these days.
“Yeah OK, I just spoke to Cordy a few minutes ago, she gave me this number so I could tell you, she sounded a bit better”, Willows voice was suddenly cautious as if she wasn’t sure what she was saying was strictly true.
Damn, so much for his big surprise, Oh well they could still celebrate later.
“She is better; she’s really getting there, almost back to normal”.
Not to mention getting a little testy about his ‘molly coddling’ but what the hell, that was Cordy getting back to normal, so he loved it.
Back to present.
Of course he’d had no idea that Willows conversation with Cordy had been so much more ‘chatty’ than his had been and that following it Cordy packed up a few things and left. For the next week he’d frantically tried to find her, using every resource in Wolfram & Hart LA branch, which was considerable, but they found nothing.
Her trail ended at a bus stop in some godforsaken spot and then the letters arrived. One for the guys, telling them not worry and she loved them and one for him explaining why she’d left him.
For a while longer he had refused to give up trying to find her, but eventually he’d had to, she didn’t want him to find her and that was that.
Plus he’d come to realise that she was better off without him and so was Buffy, it wasn’t self pity, well maybe a little, but the truth was he should never have started believing that his love life could ever be anything but a tragic farce.
The ironic thing about it was a few months ago, he could have a relationship but no sex, now he could have sex but was determined to never try a relationship again. All it did was destroy the people he cared about the most, while he was still here, unchanged, eternal and alone.
Let’s keep it that way, he thought to himself, standing up and walking out of the room.
Cordy watched from the tiny window as they landed at LAX, back again, she thought, welcome back to your life Cordy.
Without realising she was doing it she scanned the crowds inside the airport, there were hundreds of them, people milling or standing round waiting for friends or loved ones to disembark for a familiar figure. She knew he wasn’t here- Oh, there were some tall, dark and handsome men; but none that fooled her even for a second; he was pretty unique.
Well duh! Of course he was; being a vampire and all, and not to mention it was full daylight.
Mentally she shook herself to get rid of the images; she wasn’t back for him, but for herself. She looked at her companion and smiled, at least she wasn’t alone.
Suddenly an intense feeling of giddy happiness almost threatened to make her act like an idiot, so she hugged her arms round herself as she stepped out into the strong sunlight and lifted her face so that the hot rays kissed her face.
“Glad to be back?” asked her companion
“Oh yeah, this is where I belong, this is home despite everything that’s happened, this is still my city”, she swung to face the girl and smiled a huge mega watt smile.
“And if Angel tries to interfere out of some misguided thoughts of ‘protecting me’, I’ll kick his ass”. The smile widened even more at the thought.
This is gonna be fun, she thought, hugging herself even tighter, ignoring and yet at the same time savouring the feeling of intense excitement that came with the thought of pitting her will against his.
WESLEYS LIBRARY – WOLFRAM & HART BUILDING
“I’m worried about Angel”
Wesley put down the book he was reading, the generic cover; identifying it as one of the special reference books he used and watched Fred as she paced in front of him, wringing her hands.
“In what way?” He asked in that quiet and calm way of this, his blue eyes piercing and ever watchful.
“Well for one thing, he’s still not sleeping, I mean its only 2pm and he’s been up for hours”, she didn’t need to say more.
They had all discussed this many times in recent weeks, at first they didn’t worry about his sleeping thinking he would settle down again, but this had been going on for so long now, it was worrying.
Wesley sighed and put the book aside to lean forward, all of attention on the slight young woman in front of him. Idly he admired how she looked, even in her white lab coat and sneakers she looked damned good.
Switching his attention back to the topic, he frowned slightly as he said, “This has been going on too long, ever since Cordy disappeared. It’s got to be affecting him”
“Well you’d think so” said Fred, her raising her eyes and hands up in an ‘I dunno’ gesture.
“But he’s still doing extra patrols and generally kicking ass all over town. Not to mention the times he just goes missing for hours, doing god knows what”, she stopped talking when she ran out air and had to take a breath.
Wesley almost smiled at the last bit, he had a fair idea where Angel went at those times, but had no intention of discussing ‘that’ with Fred. It was Angel’s business and if it helped him to relax, he had no complaints.
Fred missed the smile, too busy with her own thoughts, “I mean I know how difficult it can be when two people break up, sometimes the worst thing is trying to get used to sleeping alone again”, she looked at Wesley for a response.
“It’s plausible, that sleeping alone is the reason he’s having such trouble. After all he spent the four months after Cordy first woke up, sleeping beside her”. Someone had to during those rough and emotionally exhausting times and Angel would not let anyone else do it.
“So what can we do to help him?” asked Fred helplessly, concern written all over her face.
“There’s not really a great deal we can do and don’t forget he’s been through something similar to this before and got over it. But if it will make you feel better I’ll talk to him about it”.
Fred rushed over to give him a quick as lightening hug before dashing off back to her lab, her “thank you Wesley” floating behind her.
Why the hell did he always get stuck dealing with Angel when he was angry, unhappy, unpredictable or just generally being mean as a rattlesnake! Was he wearing a sign that said ‘brave fool’?
Wesley wished Cordy had not left for many reasons, not the least of which was her profound ability to cajole or fight with and ultimately influence a certain moody vampire.
A FEW DAYS LATER – ON A CASE
Wow, back in LA for a few days and they had a case already, what a team thought Cordy happily.
I can’t believe how great it feels to be poking around dusty warehouses looking for yuck monsters again. OK so it was definitely the feeling of being useful again that was giving her such a happy, but still.
Oh well, at least I dressed for the occasion, dark navy combat pants and navy vest top covered by a light jacket, sturdy boots that were cool and trendy, cos they were ‘in’. Hey a girl’s gotta have some standards.
Her dark, glossy hair that normally swung freely around her shoulders, was tied back to keep it out of her way, with just a small fringe to frame a face that caused many a stranger to stop and take a second or third look.
Hazel eyes that 6 months ago were dull and red rimmed now sparkled with intelligence and humour as she surveyed the dark, dank and dusty warehouse with the help of a flashlight. Wooden crates of various sizes had been piled high one on top of the other, creating corridors within the cavernous building.
Nothing here but wooden boxes, and a dirty and bleak looking office by the entrance. It was nighttime and the place was empty and had been locked up, but picking it had been easy. No wonder the night creepies keep getting in here, she thought, I mean I’m not exactly an expert lock pick myself.
Well a quick look around the office and then she was outta here, maybe she’d find a lead and have somewhere else to go. The door to the office wasn’t locked; she put down the flashlight down on the single desk so that she could see, deciding not to put the light on unless she really had too.
There were two filing cabinets to the left, with the desk in the middle and the door in the far right corner, easy peasy. She’d be done in just a few more minutes.
OK, we have workers being hijacked by nasty looking demony things. One manages to escape and reports it to the police who think he’s nuts, and so he gets fired by the company. Clues, clues where are youuuu.
Employee records, she had some names to check, of employees that had just not turned up for work one day. Some of them probably for legit reasons, but she’d have to search anyway. She was busy digging through one of the cabinets in the top drawer, when she felt the air move behind her.
The warehouse was musty and almost airless, so that couldn’t be good, she whirled around and simultaneously slipped a dagger out of its sheath placed at the small of her back. She didn’t want to kill anyone, so she tucked it so that her wrist hid the blade.
Cordy was glad she hadn’t turned on the harsh fluorescent lights; if she had it probably would have been impossible to try and get away from the large black man-shape in the doorway.
At least she had a chance of not being recognisable again with just the flashlight on in the room. Then the guy moved, just a little to the left and she heard the ‘pop’ of a light switch, quickly she shut her eyes to avoid being blinded and so she could protect her vision.
At the same time she dived to the left side of the doorway, hoping to disorient the man blocking the door. She was sure it was a man, he was too damn big for anything else, unless it was a demon, Oh yeah great, hold that thought.
She still hadn’t got a clear look when she slammed into him, trying to knock him off balance and out of her way so she could slip out and run like hell. It didn’t work whoever he was, he was built like a brick wall and all she did was wind herself and fall on her ass. Annoyed more than frightened she looked up.
STILL ON A CASE – WAREHOUSE
The silence was absolute, Cordy could feel the flush rising from her toes to the roots of her hair; she was so not ready for this.
He was just standing there, looking at her. She wished he’d move or speak or something to break the incredible tension that invaded the small space between them. Now she knew what it felt like to have his undivided attention on her and not in a good way.
She would have stood up, but she didn’t want to get any closer and thought that scooting back would make her look like a scaredy cat. Say something, she screamed in her head to herself or him she didn’t know.
So it was her then, that figures; he was never one for unnecessary conversation, even when he’d started getting in touch with his human side, which by the way seems to have taken a trip somewhere.
“Why are you here?” Uh oh, it was the quiet and flat voice, the one she had always hated; even back when he used it a lot.
Time to stand up to him, literally. She stood up and brushed the seat of her pants with the hand not holding the knife, then slipped the knife back into its sheath behind her, hoping he hadn’t noticed it.
She cocked her head to one side and looked at him with wide and direct eyes. “I’m investigating a case”. Good just the right level of cool composure, she hoped.
He continued to just look at her in silence, and then he moved forward, forcing her to backup simply by crowding her. When the door was clear and while still facing her, he shut it closed and then moved back a step to stand in front of it. Leaning back with his arms folded and legs crossed.
He couldn’t have made it any clearer that he had no intention of letting her go anywhere, until he was good and ready.
Now it was her turn to stare, her mind whirling through all of the things she might do or say to get him to move out of her way. The only problem with the numerous scenarios that flitted around her head was that while not too long ago, every one of them would have worked; now she wasn’t so sure.
He looked predatory, that was the only way to describe it. An emotionless face, with brows lowered over unreadable dark eyes, high cheekbones and sculpted full lips. Plus he looked bigger than she remembered, taller and broader. Jeez his shoulders alone practically covered the width of the door and she had thought that she could muscle him out of the way; dumb idea.
He’d always been powerfully built, but she had never been afraid of him, now she was and she didn’t like it one bit.
“What, no ‘Hi Cordy Welcome back’ or just plain ‘kiss my ass’ then?”, she snapped at him goaded by his damned broody silence which felt like Chinese water torture, which was probably the whole point.
“Are you trying to intimidate me Angel, is that what this is?” she raised a haughty brow as she crossed her own arms in an unconscious imitation of his own aggressive stance.
“Why would I want to do that Cordelia?” he raised his own brows. “I simply want to know what you think you’re doing here, in this building at the dead of night, sneaking around like a thief” and then we’ll get to why you’re back in LA, but he didn’t mention the last part.
“I just told you!” Asshole, she thought, narrowing her eyes and glaring back. “I am investigating a case and that’s all you need to know OK”.
She all but spelled out the last sentence as if she were talking to a toddler, that should irritate the hell outta him she thought triumphantly, she was past the point of caring.
“I heard you the first time, Cordelia” he pushed away from the door and walked slowly and carefully towards her.
She put her hand up defensively to stop him from getting too close; he did stop but only when her hand was pressed to his chest, her arm at full stretch. Then he grabbed her wrist to prevent her from retreating.
Before Cordy realised why, he continued to hold her arm up and stretched it slightly to the side, his other hand ducked behind her back and swiftly removed the knife from the sheath at her belt.
He smiled coldly and their eyes; only inches apart, where glued together, hers wide and slightly alarmed at the speed at which he’d disarmed her, his narrowed, challenging and strangely hot. The air was sizzling between them.
Cordy was infuriated by his scare tactics; this was the guy who had held her through the night so tenderly a few months ago?
“Let me go,” she all but spat the words at him, not backing away an inch, her hazel eyes shooting fire.
“Not till you tell me what I want to know”, his own tone inflexible as iron.
“Is this how you get your kicks these days?”
“You have no idea how I get my kicks”. He looked grimly amused.
She debated starting a fight but, although she was good -thanks to their training sessions, she knew he had held back then; would he still be so careful now? Was it worth finding out?
He let go of her arm and she breathed a silent but relieved breath and massaged her arm. He hadn’t hurt her, but she wanted him to think he might have.
“Save yourself some time here, answer the question -and then you can go”
Cordy nearly changed her mind about trying to kick his ass, who the hell did he think he was, her boss? not anymore he wasn’t. She was practically vibrating with rage, but knew this was not going to go her way. He won this time.
“I have a client who got attacked in this building a few days back, he used to work here. He got fired after he reported it to the police and they didn’t believe him”.
She gestured to the cabinet she had been exploring, “I was going through the employee files to check out some of the others that just disappeared one day to see if there’s a pattern, or get contact details to follow up”.
“That’s it? Who’s your client, I want a name”
“Kiss. My. Ass”, she said it slowly and clearly; she’d reached her limit.
“Be glad to”.
He had spoken so quietly it took a few seconds for her to catch on and then Cordys eyes widened to an impossible degree, and she sprang backwards like she’d been scalded.
“Don’t you come near me buster!”
“Just trying to do what the lady asks” he was smirking now, the bastard.
“Then let me leave! You have your answers” She was watching him like a mouse does a cat, trying to anticipate what his next crazy move would be.
He must have decided he’d pushed enough, he moved out of the way of the door and walked over to the cabinet she been looking in, when he arrived.
“Sure, it shouldn’t take much to find out what I want to know right here”.
Cordy turned to leave, then stopped and faced him again, “Just tell me one thing, how did you know I was here?” If he didn’t tell her it would drive her totally nuts.
“I didn’t; I came here for the same reason you did- for a client with a missing family member”.
“Oh really, don’t you have evil flunkies to do this kind of thing for you? – Save you ‘dirtying’ your hands!” pure sarcasm, but what the hell.
He faced her fully again “True, but sometimes if you want a job done right, you gotta do it yourself and to be honest, I wouldn’t have missed this for the world”. This time his smile was wide, totally evil and finally reached his eyes.
“I’ll be seeing you again, Cordelia”, she guessed he was using her full name deliberately to goad her with memories of a time when he would have called her Cordy.
“Sure you will- cos if you think this little interlude has got me running scared, you really don’t know me at all!” with the last word firmly in her favour, she swanned out and slammed the office door hard enough to shatter the glass.
“What is his PROBLEM” ranted Cordy, “other than being totally mentally deficient and a big dumbass bully”.
Cathy watched her friend rage, sympathy shining out of blue/grey eyes, which turned to laughter at her next words.
“I so wanted to kick his bony ass”
“So why didn’t you?”
“Cos he probably wouldn’t have let me”, pouted Cordy, who then plopped full stretch and face down on the couch, swearing into the cushions. Cathy’s smile got bigger as she made out one or two of the more colourful ones from the mumbling.
“What I wouldn’t give for some supernatural powers and I’m kidding OK, had more than enough of those, but still, it was damn FRUSTRATING”. The last was nearly ear splitting in volume.
“OK, I’m done screaming now”
“So he has a bony ass now then?” Cathy sat down and crossed her legs, god sometimes she really reminded Cordy of Fred, it was the natural sweetness she supposed.
“In my fantasy he does and I break it in two,” Cordy looked at her friend and burst out laughing, seeing the humour and realising how bloodthirsty she sounded.
“So do you have any other fantasies about him, other than the violent type?”
“Not any more I don’t, arrogant bastard- can you believe he threatened to kiss mine”
It was too much for Cathy, the look of indignation on Cordy’s face, coupled with the topic and the images that crossed her mind. She laughed so hard, Cordy threw a cushion at her head.
“He said he was going to kiss your ass?” she was gasping trying to stifle the laughter.
Cordy grinned “Yes he did, and you have to help me get him back for it”.
“Sure, no problem. I’ll hold him down and you beat him up, only problem is you’re stronger than me and you couldn’t do it, so we would probably both end up in worse shape”
“Oh I have something more subtle in mind, and anyway we have a case to solve before he does, that’ll do for starters”.