A/N:This has been blended with the Ep Disharmony, so please forgive the plagiarism – I wanted to keep in IC with the ep, whilst changing things further on. Bear with me on this, as after the beginning of the next part, I will be more vague with the original plot. Sorry to do it this way. but it will be more original V. soon.
Cordy looked up from the computer screen as she heard the main door open: Although the door was closed, she was sure someone had come in. Rising to her feet, she walked around her desk,
“Hello? Hello?” she repeated, loudly. After a few minutes, Cordy shrugged and turned back to her desk – letting out a scream when she found Harmony standing only a few steps behind her.
“That’s the way you greet an old friend?” Harmony smiled uncomfortably, watching her school friend’s face carefully and jumping a litle when Cordy screamed again, but now in a different tone.
“Harmony?” The blonde let out a sigh of relief at Cordy’s pleased expression before closing the gap to embrace her. “Harmony! I don’t believe it!” Cordy giggled as she leant back to look into Harmony’s grinning face in amazement.
“Yup. It’s me.” The blonde giggled back, stepping back too.
“Wow. I haven’t seen you since…”
“Our high school blew up.” Harmony added quickly. Cordy nodded in agreement, still shocked by the girl’s arrival.
“Right. Right. Seems like a lifetime ago.” Two years that had seemed like another lifetime to her- Sunnydale not a place that brought back memories of the good!
“Oh! For me, too, totally.” The girl nodded with vigor. If only she knew! she thought, darkly.
“Wow. Look at you. You look – different.” Cordy took in Harmony’s outfit, surprised to see her wearing pants instead of her usual short skirt or dress.
“Hey, I’m not the same person I was back at Sunnydale High. – And you – you – you cut your hair!” Pointing to Cordy’s bob, causing the brunette to touch it, embarrassed.
“Well, I think it looks adorable off your neck.” Harmony grinned in appreciation.
“Thanks. I – was just, you know, looking for a change.” She quickly regained her confidence. Strange how she, The Cordelia Chase could feel insecure suddenly –Being fired like so much trash would do that to you! for a moment, her thoughts turned to the Vampire that had rocked her confidence on it’s axis.
“Sure. Change. Change is good – sometimes.” The blonde laughed shortly, walking over to the counter curiously. “So, this is where you do – whatever it is you do?” She asked.
“Detective Agency.” Cordy explained briefly.
“Right. But – you’re not a detective…” Taking in Cordy’s casual attire, Harmony’s brows rose with a very familiar touch of disdain for a second, before smiling artlessly.
“Uh, well, not me – technically, I’m… – Mostly, I manage things. The office.” Well, she couldn’t exactly tell her friend about the visions – and no way was she going to call herself a Secretary!
“Huh. Sounds – rewarding.” And Boring The lack of interest wasn’t lost on Cordy, but she smiled brightly anyway.
“So, what are you doing here in town? Business?” Although she couldn’t for the life of her imagine the ditzy blonde doing anything more taxing than shopping and ‘doing lunch’.
“No. No business. Play, play, play. – Uhm, I just broke up with someone. Real smothering relationship. You know, the kind where they just can’t live without you?” Aaahh…almost right!
“Oh, sure. That one. – Hate that.” Not that Cordy could remember the last time anyone had felt like that about her – but she wasn’t going to admit to it; nuh, huh.
“I thought it would be a good time to come check out the L.A. nightlife, look up certain old friends.” Harmony’s smile widened warmly, winking at the brunette.
“You got a place to stay?” Seeing the bag slung over her shoulder, cordy reckoned she must have been the first port of call.
“You offering?” Harmony couldn’t believe her luck! Obviously her ex school friend hadn’t heard the…news!
“Do I have to say it?” Cordy rolled her eyes, grinning at the girl; not noticing the intent expression on her face
“Yeah.” Casually spoken, but with a wealth of meaning Cordy also missed.
“Okay, you’re coming home with me.” She hugged her friend again before releasing her to grab her bag. “I hope you don’t mind the couch.” A part of her didn’t really want to leave before the others got back, as she knew it would look like she’d taken Angel’s advice – and that riled her. But she also had a visitor, and at this particular moment that came before her need to make a point to the Vampire.
Turning off the lights and locking up, Cordy followed Harmony down the path and into the night.
Gunn, Angel and Wesley ran up to the teenagers’ car, and saw the doors were hanging open; blood on the broken windows, but there was no one in sight..
“Now what?” Gunn looked around for any sign of life – or bodies.
“We fan out.” Wesley was breathing hard and holding his side; rubbing the stitch he’d developed on running at full pelt across the park.
“Gunn: search the area near the fountain. I’ll take this path towards the picnic area. Angel, you…” He was interrupted by the faint sound of screaming, and Angel turned towards it’
“-Follow the screaming woman?” Angel cut in, asking his new Boss. Without waiting for a reply, he took off – the other two racing behind him to keep up.
They came across a woman struggling against a figure wearing a hooded green robe. Green Robe saw Gunn, Angel and Wes running towards them and instantly picked up the woman and tossed her towards them. Angel easily caught her while Gunn tackled Green Robe.
He pulled the hood back to reveal the ridged features of a vampire. “Now see? What you want to go hiding such a pretty face for?” he asked, before ducking under the vampire’s swinging fists and then, holding on to the robe; hit the vampire with a hard right.
The vampire didn’t bother retaliating, which was odd; instead struggling out of his robe and turned to run – only to find himself face to face with Angel, stake at the ready. The vampire disappeared in a cloud of dust.
Angel looked at Gunn, but the young man ignored him and lifted the robe as if to wipe his face then lowered it again with a frown, realizing what he was about to do. He walked over to where Wes is trying to calm down the woman.
“It’s alright. It’s over now. You’ll be safe here,” he soothed, his soft accent seemed to be doing the trick as she calmed down.
“Cordelia said ‘blue robes’ didn’t she?” Gunn was still frowning, and shot his question towards Wesley; again ignoring the Vampire.
“It was dark. Perhaps she was mistaken.” Wesley suggested lightly, helping the woman to her feet; nodding with a vague smile as she thanked him before hurrying off.
“Hey, I think we should give her the benefit of the doubt before just condemning her like that, don’t – you?” Angel trailed off as the other two looked at him strangely, then turned to each other.
As if Cordelia needed defending against them! Gunn sucked on his teeth in irritation. He was only doing this for his real friends – out of newfound respect for the Englishman, and his brotherly love for Cordy. But as far as he was concerned, working with the Vamp was just that – work. “I’ll do another quick sweep. See if those blue boys are still around.”
Wesley glanced down at the robe Gunn passed him and noticed a symbol sown onto the fabric – A triangle with a snake forming the number two inside of it. “Religious sect?” He held it up to Angel, thinking maybe it may be some kind of Vampire Order.
“I don’t know. I’ve never seen that particular symbol before” Angel shrugged, but wished he’d been able to say something positive. He wasn’t blind to the young street fighter’s angry vibes, and wanted to ease his distrust by helping as much as he could.
“I’ll put Cordelia on to it.” Wesley pulled out his cell phone.
“Uhm, – I-I gave her the night off – but she may not have left.” Cordy had made it pretty clear that she wouldn’t listen to anything he suggested.
“Did you?” Wesley’s brows rose in annoyance. It seemed their former Boss was forgetting who was in charge.
Off the look, Angel shifted his feet uncomfortably – he hadn’t meant to take over; he’d just been so desperate to make amends with Cordy that it hadn’t occurred to him at the time how it would look. “Well, I though, you know, she looked so tired and – I mean, the vision took a lot out of her.” He explained hurriedly; another thought crossing his mind.
“Do-do you think, maybe, that I should – send her something? Some flowers maybe?” he asked, distractedly.
“Flowers.” Wesley and Gunn glanced at each other – the latter rolling his eyes before turning away in disgust to have a look around instead.
“Yeah, uh, to say, you know, ‘thanks.’ Uhm. ‘Sorry about the migraines.’ Uhm, you know, ‘I-I appreciate you?'” Angel cringed – could he get lamer? By the look on Wesley’s face, he knew he couldn’t!
“Yes, by all means. And uh, while you’re at it pick me up one of those ‘sorry you were shot in the gut’ bouquets.” Wesley replied, brusquely, shoving his cell phone back in his pocket.
“Right. Sorry.” Angel kicked at the grass beneath his feet awkwardly. This was a lot harder than it had sounded in theory: Demote himself, and take orders from someone who once worked for him! – then insult him into the bargain. Could things get any worse?
“You can’t buy back her trust, Angel, – or her affections.” Wesley’s tone had softened. When he’d first come across Cordelia and Angel, he’d felt like an interloper because of the closeness of the two, so he could empathize with the Vampire’s anxiety to make it all right again. But Angel had brought it on himself, and Wesley was still angry about the distress he’d caused his friend.
“She said, uh – she said we’re not friends.” That surprised Wesley – he never thought she’d ever go so far as to say that. He knew how much she cared about Angel.
“There is only one thing you can give her, Angel. And that’s time. Cordelia has a lot of pain to work through.” Wes briefly patted the Vampire’s shoulder before trailing after Gunn…
Cordy laughed her head off as she and Harmony sat on her couch wearing house robes, their heads wrapped up in towels, as they talked about old times in Sunnydale. There was a half-empty bottle of red wine on the table and both of them had wine glasses in their hands.
“Oh, oh, and he wrote that love song to you. How did it go?” Harmony asked through her giggles
“Oh, Cordeeelia, how I long to feel ya!” Both sang off key, and then broke into laughter.
“Eww!” Cordy gasped, giggling hysterically.
“Oh, god. We totally ruled.” Harmony clinked glassed with the brunette, stifling her laughter with difficulty.
“Yup, that we did.” Cordy nodded in agreement.
“We were powerful, rich, popular”. Harmony’s voice held regret.
“None of that’s changed for me – apart from the powerful, rich and popular. – But I tell you one thing: I am happier now than I was then.” And it was true – except for the big, brooding weight sitting on her last nerve at the moment. “You now. You barely told me anything.” Cordy scolded her friend, pushing hwith her foot.
“Uhm, well, uh, what can I say? Things are faboo. I’m having a ball and a half. I mean, I did just get out of that *really* unhealthy relationship. And just, you know, feeling really good about me in general.” The blonde answered hesitantly, following it up with a large smile.
“Well, good for you – in general. Well, you must be doing something right, because you look – crampy. Are you okay?” Noticing the grimace her friend wasn’t having much success hiding.
“Yeah. Just…” she took a deep breath, glancing at Cordy’s neck for a moment: “Hungry – I guess.” She finished slowly.
“Got the cure for that. – Pizza!” Cordy grinned and reached across Harmony for the phone – not seeing the girl morph into a Vampire visage; but by the time she’d straightened up, Harmony’s face was human again.
Harmony was trying so hard to be the friend she once was, and Cordy’s warmth actually made her twinge with guilt. Plus, she was fed up of being a pariah if the truth were known.
Cordy finally went to her room, stating that she had to go in to work in the morning, and needed her sleep; leaving Harmony tucked up on the couch with a pillow and coverlet.
A few hours later, Cordy was awoken by the sound of her bedroom door slamming loudly.
“I didn’t do that!” Harmony’s voice came through the darkness, and Cordy reached for her bedside lamp, turning it on, surprised to see Harmony standing at the foot of the bed in her nightclothes.
“Harmony? I have a ghost. – What – What are you doing in my…” she asked drowsily.
“Nothing!” The girl perched on the side of the bed, twisting her hands in her lap, looking around fearfully.
“Harmony.” Cordy was tired, and her voice came out a little sharply.
“I’m sorry. – I thought I could control myself. I thought I could control these urges.” Harmony explained incoherently.
“Urges?” Cordy sat up, suddenly wide-awake. What was she on about?
“You have *no* idea how hard it is to stay away from you. I mean, seeing you there looking so – so luscious.” she rushed, looking longingly at her friend. Cordy’s mouth dropped open in shock.
“Oh. – Oh! You’re a…”
“I should have told you.” Harmony interrupted. “I was – scared. Scared that if you found out what I was – you’d kill me.” She finished with a sob. Cordy reached out a soothing hand, patting the girl on her shoulder lightly.
“Oh. No, Harmony – god, you really think I’m *that* narrow-minded? – I don’t care about that!” She assured her honestly.
“You don’t?” The blonde’s mouth dropped open in amazement at that.
“No! Not as long as you’re happy.” How shallow did she think she was? – But then again, at one stage, Cordy was, indeed as shallow as a paper cut, she admitted to herself.
“Happy. What’s that? The last time I remember being truly happy was being back in school with you. Now here I am taking advantage of you?” Harmony couldn’t get over how different her old friend was now.
“No. It’s – it’s just… It’s just that I had no idea – that you, you know – thought of me *that* way.” Cordy didn’t know whether to feel flattered – or wigged out –Ewwe!
“I don’t! I swear. It’s just, – well, I haven’t had any for a while and…” Cordy’s eyes widened at the ‘too much’ information. Seeing this, Harmony stood up uncomfortably. “Oh, forget it. This is stupid. I’ll just go back to the couch. I’m *really* sorry.” Making her way rapidly towards the door.
“Don’t be. If you wanna stay and talk…” Cordy actually felt guilty for not being that way ‘inclined’, and that wigged her out even more.
“No, I’d better… You know, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t – mention this to anyone.” Harmony opened the door, glancing over her shoulder anxiously.
“It’s our secret.” She assured the girl, settling back down to sleep when the door closed quietly…
The next morning, whilst Harmony was in the bathroom, Cordy picked up the phone and rang Willow’s house.
“Hi Willow! -How come you guys didn’t tell me about Harmony? Sunnydale is that far away you couldn’t afford a little phone call?” She scolded lightly.
Willow was one of the only people Cordelia was in contact with, and she didn’t want to make waves. It was always in the back of her mind too, that one day, she might need the Witch on her side if Angelus ever got out again, and she didn’t want to have to build bridges while a massacre was going on around her.
“Harmony? Wha-what about Harmony?” Willow sounded rather surprised to hear the girl’s name; Cordy decided that maybe Harmony had left Sunnydale a lot sooner than she’d intimated. As she herself knew, Sunnydale wasn’t a very tolerant place for certain types of people.
“She’s here – in L.A.” She explained.
“Yikes. Big yikes. Uh. What happened? Did she come after you?” now that was a surprise – she hadn’t pegged the redhead as judgmental. Oh, well; learn something new every day. she shrugged.
“Yeah! She practically attacked me in my bedroom last night.” Just the memory brought a pink flush to her face.
“Your bedroom. How did she…” was that pitch level even possible?
“Came in while I was sleeping. Good thing I woke up, too. She was ready to jump me right there! But I think she got the message that I don’t’ go for that sort of stuff when I shot her down.” Cordy assured the girl confidently.
“You wounded her?” Willow sounded surprised – she’d obviously forgotten just how ‘wounding’ she could be.
“She’ll get over it. I never should have invited her to stay with me.” Cordy shrugged again. Harmony had seemed to take it okay last night, and it took a lot to offend the blonde, as the word ‘dim’ came to mind when having a chat with her. Cordy cringed at her bitchy thoughts. She thought she’d left that behind her.
The conversation went on a little longer, with Willows voice pitching higher with every reply.
“Oh. Harmony is a vampire? – That’s why she – oh, my god, I’m so embarrassed!” Cordy giggled out loud. “All this time I thought she was a great big lesbo! – Oh, yeah? Really? – Well, that’s great! Good for you.” Cringing and closing her eyes, Cordy just wanted to drop though the floor. Why did no one tell her anything? So much for keeping bridges in one piece!
“Thanks for the affirmation. Cordelia, Harmony is *very* dangerous. You have to get out of there!” Cordy almost sniggered at Willow’s description of her old friend.
“Okay. Yeah. I’ll call you when I get somewhere safe.” She assured the redhead, saying bye quickly and putting down the phone.
“Where are you going?” Cordy jumped in shock and turned around to find Harmony standing behind her…
Wesley lifted his head from the book he was reading to watch Angel pacing the lobby, the green robe in his hands. How was he supposed to concentrate when the Vampire insisted on distracting him?
“There is a label on here. Maybe I can locate the manufacturer.” Angel fingered the small tag, pausing for a moment before heading for the phone.
“Already looked into it. The name’s a fake. No listing anywhere.” Wesley’s quiet reply halted his walk to the counter
“Okay. I should go out, see if I can pick up any information on the street.” He decided instead. Wesley shook his head in irritation. This ‘helping’ was driving him crazy – Gunn had already disappeared an hour ago, muttering something about ‘homies’ and ‘leads’, and Wesley wished that he’d been able to go too.
“You mean the street bathed in morning sunlight? – Relax. I already got Gunn contacting his sources.” He answered dryly.
“Any suggestions on what I can do?” Angel was going stir crazy. Cordy’s usual start to her working day was over two hours ago, and he wondered if she was just avoiding him, or had some kind of appointment – or date? After last night’s debacle, he wasn’t up to more lectures from his new boss if he dared to ask why she wasn’t here.
“You can answer that.” Wes suggested when the phone rang; watching as Angel practically snatched the whole phone off the counter.
“Angel Investig… Willow? Willow. What’s…? – Slow down. What’s – hold on.” Wes felt a heavy sickness invading his gut at the pure fear that poured out of Angel’s eyes as he listened to the frantic female voice even he could hear halfway across the room….