GROO’S MOTEL ROOM
Cordelia came too with a splitting headache and a belly that protested even the slight movement needed to breathe. Fighting down the urge to be sick she twisted her head around without lifting it off the pillow and searched the room for Groo, grateful when he was nowhere to be seen.
She sat up then only to find that now it was her turn to find herself chained to a bed, this time with handcuffs around her wrists and another chain linked to the bed-head and her mouth was taped shut. Duh like it wouldn’t be the first thing she removed, she thought to herself as she did just that.
“Well this is just great”, she said annoyed with herself as well as Groo, “What the hell has got into him! You just wait till I get my hands on you, you stupid frickin…”? She didn’t finish the sentence unable to think of anything bad enough that summed up her feelings, so she huffed out a big sigh and then flopped back down to lie on her back so she could reach into the back pocket of her dark blue jeans and removed a little packet of tools.
She got it out with some more wiggling and pulling and then sat back up, picking up the little red plastic packet and choosing one of them. The long thin instrument was not easy to use in this position and it took her quite a while and one sore wrist later to unlock the cuffs and free herself.
She clambered off the bed in a less than graceful fashion and stood swaying for a while, willing the rising contents of her stomach back down where it belonged. “Groo; you have some serious explaining to do”.
Then a thought struck her and her eyes widened in sudden panic, she checked all of her pockets, jeans and hip length jacket but couldn’t find her cell phone, “Dammit”, she checked the motel room phone but it was dead, the lead yanked out of it and frayed, impossible to repair.
“Great, could this day possibly get any worse”? She groaned her head in her hands, but then she sat up again, “What am I worried about Angel for, it’s me who got chained up”. But she couldn’t get rid of a bad feeling that he was next on Groo’s list.
“He’s a big bad vampire, he can look after himself”, she repeated this to herself a few times and tried not to worry about what damage Groo intended. “This is getting ridiculous! Every time we reach some kind of understanding something happens to ruin it”, she just hoped that whatever was going on Angel didn’t over-react, “like he usually does” she thought, “Crap”.
“There should be a health warning about NOT getting into relationships with demons; things go wrong, forget counselling and call in the National Guard”.
First things first were to get back to the hotel and try and reach Angel to warn him, if not then she would just have to go to his office herself. She let herself out of the motel room, pleased to find her car still sitting outside -and wonder of wonders, the car keys were still in the pocket of her jacket. Things were looking up and boy would she be glad to see the back of this bizarre day.
THE HYPERION HOTEL
Cordy opened the glass doors and was greeted by nothing, the lobby was empty but she could smell coffee, so Cathy was around somewhere then. She walked over to the weapons cabinet and took out a large hunting knife, it was an impressive one and she’d need it if Groo decided to make another appearance.
Next was the phone, she dialled Angel’s office and was greeted with an electronic voicemail message asking her to leave a name and number, it was out of hours so there was no receptionist, unhelpful or otherwise. Frustrated she rang his cell phone again, only to get an unobtainable signal. She nearly screamed in frustration.
“Crap, crap and double crap, I hate Wolfram & Hart”, but she was going to have to go there, so much for a long hot soak in a tub followed by a couple of hours of much needed sleep.
She knocked on Cathy’s door intending to warn her too and waited for an invite inside, but she was shocked to find the door being opened by Fred, a very battered looking Fred. “What the hell happened to you”? Asked Cordy dumbstruck and then felt awful when big fat teardrops formed in Fred’s big brown eyes and started to fall down her cheeks.
Unhesitatingly Cordy put her arms around the smaller woman and led her back inside, only to stop in horror seeing the prone figure on the bed. “What happened here Fred” She asked again turning the woman so that she could see her face.
Fred tucked her face downwards; unsuccessfully trying to hide the ugly red and blue bruises marring her left cheek and eye. “It was Angel” she whispered as more fat tears fell down her cheeks.
ANGEL & LORNE
They’d split up into two teams while Fred stayed back at the hotel in case Cordy came back there on her own and also ringing around the hospitals and local motels trying to find a lead. Gunn and Wes were checking Cordy’s old apartment and known human haunts which were not many. Angel was with Lorne.
They stuck to the demon hotspots, with particular attention being paid to any demons from other dimensions. “If she’s gone and got herself sucked down another portal I swear I’m gonna tie a bungee cord around her waist”, snapped Angel, frustration getting the better of him.
“Calm down Angel, you’re vibes are seriously impeding my aura reading abilities here, they get any more electric my brains are going to be fried”, said Lorne tired out from trying to keep the vampire from simply going with his standard ‘sudden burst of violence’ approach.
“If you hadn’t beat the crap out of our only solid lead, then we might have already found her”, he added, hoping another dose of guilt would put a lid on the temper.
Angel just shot him a disgusted look, “He wasn’t going to tell us where she is, you heard him”, but damn he was ready to give it another shot if the half demon had come back around yet. “Where did they take him anyway”?
“Oh no you don’t and do not give me that look Angelface, the not killing him part still stands and I seriously doubt he’s going be ready for another round for quite a while”, replied Lorne, unimpressed by the black look he was getting from the vampire.
They had just left another dead end and where running out of options of where to go next. They needed a lead, preferably before Angel’s control snapped yet again. He was going to have to have a word with a certain ex-seer/princess, thought Lorne, she needed to appreciate what her antics put them all through when Angel found out about them and went nuts.
“So what are you going to do if we find her and she wants to leave LA”? He hesitated to ask, but neither was it a good idea to ignore the possibility and then find out when it was too late.
“I don’t want to talk about it”, Said Angel quietly and succinctly, following it up with a sideways, ‘don’t go there’ look.
“You need to consider it, Groo was known for being a stickler for the facts” Said Lorne, he was sympathetic, he really was. But he was also worried he remembered with chilling clarity the words Angel said during the fight, “I will not let her go”. Oh boy this was shaping up to be an angst filled night.
He looked back at Angel noting the tense jaw, full lips drawn back tight in a snarl and winced. Don’t anger the man in black, he should make it a motto and put it down on a memo for any other unsuspecting idiot with a big mouth.
“I said I don’t want to talk about, I just want to find Cordy, now”, he growled in that ‘about to vamp out’ fashion he had. Did he do that deliberately wondered Lorne, cos as a method of intimidation it was pretty effective, he shut up about it.
THE HYPERION HOTEL
“What”? Said Cordy her voice a shocked disbelieving whisper, no way.
Fred didn’t miss the denial in Cordy’s eyes and pulled away, “You think I like admitting one of my closest friends went berserk, beat me up, killed your friend and all but murdered Groo right before my eyes?”, her voice was trembling and close to being hysterical.
The only thing that made any sense to Cordy was the bit about Groo, so she latched onto it but the sick feeling in her stomach was suddenly spreading through the rest of her body. “Groo was here”? Let’s keep it simple, she thought; and then maybe she could keep up with Fred’s mental gymnastics.
“Yes, he came to tell Angel that you were safe and that he had helped you escape from some demons and Angel just went postal, saying that was his job”, said Fred still crying, she walked over to Cathy and picked up a pale hand. “Cathy tried to tell him that she could ‘see’ that you were OK and he smacked her into a wall so hard it snapped her neck”.
Fred saw the disbelief on Cordy’s face still and stood up again to walk over the balcony door.
“Believe me I understand why you don’t want to believe it, I saw it myself and I still can’t get it right in my head, it just doesn’t click does it? But it happened”, Fred started to sob quietly then hiding her face in her hands.
“It’s not that I don’t believe you Fred” said Cordy carefully, hell yes she didn’t believe her. There had to be something else going on, but this was Fred her friend and she was hurt and definitely afraid of something or someone. “It’s just it doesn’t sound like him and it doesn’t make any sense”.
Fred stayed silent just looked up with her tear stained face silently looking at Cordy; her eyes were like bruises too, filled with pain but of the emotional kind, not the physical. All of a sudden Cordy’s certainty started to melt and she felt a dizzy spell sneak up on her, she took deep breaths to make the panic disappear.
“Go and watch the video” Said Fred with a carefully neutral look on her face, “What video”? Asked Cordy.
“The trying to kill Groo part happened in the basement and it got recorded on the CCTV we had installed last year, see that and you will know that the rest is true too”.
Feeling sick Cordy walked back down to the lobby and over to the monitor still on the hotel counter, a leftover from the Angelus period of last year. The picture turned from static to show the basement just as Groo walked down the stairs.
The small hairs on her neck and arms rose up as she watched it with eyes wide, there was no sound only a picture but it was bad enough just watching without the sound too. She shivered as if cold and rubbing her bare arms, the white vest top she was wearing suddenly not covering enough.
Fred stood beside her, whispering explanations. “We weren’t worried at first, it was just a guy thing, but then Angel took it too far and it was all we could do to stop him killing Groo”.
Cordy watched it unfold, speechless at the sheer brutality of the fight, she’d seen him fight so many times you would think she would be immune to it by now, but this was something else. Oh my God, what the hell was going on she thought as the recording finally stopped just as Angel looked like he was going for the kill. As evidence that he’d lost it, it was damning
“Are you sure it was Angel, could it have maybe been something pretending to be him”? She asked desperate to find an excuse, anything to explain this without having to believe that Angel had turned murderous. “Or a spell, maybe it’s a spell”, that sounded better and not unbelievable, not to mention fixable.
Then she looked back at little Fred’s bruised and swollen face, “What about Wes, Gunn and Lorne why did they let this happen”? She asked pointing at Fred’s face.
“They left to get Groo out of Angel’s way before he changed his mind, I stayed behind with Cathy. But Angel lost it again and I tried to stop him from hurting Cathy, I failed”, she said the last miserably, obviously torn up about it.
“It’s not your fault Fred, there’s little you could have done”, my god am I actually starting to accept this now? She asked herself, her numb mind still trying to absorb it all.
Why did it feel wrong somehow, she knew she should be able to work this out but her brain just wouldn’t function properly, she was still so drained and sluggish from the drug Groo had used and was totally not up to dealing with this, but she had no choice; again.
She walked back over to the weapons cabinet and replaced the knife, taking out instead the tazer and the tranq gun and tucking them into the bag now slung over her shoulder and picking her jacket back up of the couch. She looked back at Fred and smiled wanly, “Do you know where he went”?
Fred shook her head and watched as Cordy walked to the doors, her face strained and pale, but filled with a kind of desperate determination. “OK it doesn’t matter I’ll find him somehow and try and immobilise him. Will you get hold of the guys and tell them what’s happened and to try and catch me up”?
Fred nodded, “What if you can’t immobilize him. Will you kill him”? Cordy was too preoccupied to notice that the question in Fred’s voice was matter of fact.
“No” she said shortly and then “look after Cathy” as she walked out.
“Look after what? She’s dead you moron” said Fred once Cordy had safely left.