“Cordelia,” Angel pleaded, feeling the brush of the blade against his jugular. “It’s not what you think-” He grunted when she pressed harder.
She arched her eyebrow in coy amusement. “It’s not? No pulse, no body heat- you drink something coppery everyday that can resemble tomato juice?” Cordelia stepped closer, so that they were barely inches apart. Staring deep into his eyes, she frowned in disappointment. “It’s a shame really. . . You’re so cute!”
Despite the situation, Angel felt a swell of pride. . . She thinks I’m cute. “Okay, I’m a vampire, but I have a soul, Cordelia!”
“You have a soul,” Her voice was dripping with sarcasm. “Yeah- that’s a good one! Tell you what,” Cordelia offered, cocking her head to the side. “You tell me who made you into a vampire, and I’ll go kill them too. I’m so pissed that some tramp vamp made you into a vampire, keeping the hotness that is you, away from me.”
“I killed my sire, Cordelia.”
This brought a stunned expression to her beautiful face. “You killed your sire? Why?” Jun had told her that vampires were fiercely loyal to their makers. For any vampire to actually destroy their sire had to make them insane or worse- very strong. This made Cordelia steal herself more.
Angel let out a small hiss as her blade made a small cut against his throat. “Because she was going to kill Buffy.”
“Oh, wow,” Cordelia exclaimed, “Your sire was going to drink Buffy?!” She gave a shiver of revulsion at the idea. “Intense.”
“No, she was going to kill Buffy because she was jealous I had feelings for a human,” He continued. “To make it worse, Buffy was the Slayer. This disturbed Darla tremendously.”
What Angel had just said had disturbed Cordelia tremendously, he could tell by her reaction. A look of sorrow and shame crossed her face, her hazel eyes glittered like jewels on account of her sudden tears. “Buffy was the Slayer?” Cordelia felt a hollow sinking in the pit of her stomach when Angel nodded. “I didn’t know. . . I knew some girl died and I was Chosen, but I didn’t know it was Buffy! It didn’t even cross my mind that it was someone I knew.”
“Cordelia,” Angel whispered. It had dawned on him what was going through her head. She thought that Buffy was dead. “Buffy died, but only for a moment. She drowned and Xander brought her back. She’s fine.” During her brief moment, her blade had pulled back a little from his neck, much to his relief. After this was finished, his neck was going to look like a shaving accident gone terribly wrong.
“She is?” Her face was full of hope. She had never been particularly fond of Buffy Summers, but she had never wished her dead. “That’s good-” Cordelia blinked at Angel. She didn’t know his name, but somehow he knew hers! “How in the hell do you know my name?”
“We’ve been looking for you-”
“Who?!” She shouted, pressing into him.
“If you want me to tell you, you’ve got to let up!” Damn she was persistent! “You won’t get answers if I’m dusted, Cordelia.”
“Fine,” she grunted out. “But if you so much as flicker a fang at me you will be- as you so aptly put- dusted!” Moving with the skill of a patient, seasoned warrior, Cordelia took a step back. Her blade was still by his neck, but not pressing against his flesh.
“We were helping Buffy, the night the Master rose. Xander, Buffy and I were on our way to the high school, probably right when you go up there to kill him,” Angel could tell this was painful for her, so he speed up. “All of us realized another slayer must have been called. Willow and I figured out it was you.” Her expression still held a mountain of doubt. “By the time we clued in on what had happened, you bailed out of town. Ever since then me, Giles, the Watcher’s Council- everyone, as been looking for you.”
“Well here I am,” she sang. “But that still doesn’t explain that crap about a soul. Vampires don’t have ‘em. Period.”
Angel rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Not unless they’ve been cursed, like me.”
Cordelia surveyed him with a critical eye. Seeing that there was some truth to what she was saying, she backed up some more, removing her sword completely from him. She still kept it at an angle that gave her the advantage if he attacked. “You must have been pretty bad, to get someone to go to all that trouble of cursing you. Doesn’t seem like you’d get it on just a whim.”
“No,” He replied, his mouth set in a grim line. “It doesn’t.” Angel’s head dropped slightly in shame, as he suddenly was reminded of all the things he had done as Angelus.
“Okay,” Cordelia smiled, abruptly turning away from him. “I believe you, but I’ve gotta go now.”
Her sudden mood change made him dizzy. “What? All of a sudden you believe me?”
“Yup.” She was bouncing down the hill to the nearest mausoleum, oblivious to the shocked look on his face.
“Why?” Angel took off after her, not wanting to let her out of his sight. Nearly all his thoughts this past summer had been consumed with worry of her.
Pausing as she bent down to pick up a large duffel bag, Cordelia slung it over her shoulder. “Only someone who has done a tremendous amount of bad, can have that lost look of shame in their eye,” Cordelia gave a small smile of sympathy as the pain of his past flickered again in his soft brown orbs. “Anyway,” she shrugged, “I knew you had a soul right when I placed the edge of my sword against your neck.” She gave a bright, toothy grin at stunned look.
“Then why did you keep it up?”
“I wanted to know your story.” Giving a curt nod, she headed out of the graveyard, fully aware that he was following her. “If you’re going to be my shadow, can I at least know your name, dork?”
“It’s Angel, not dork.”
He had finally caught up and was walking beside her. “It may not be ‘dork’ but it’s a dorky name! What’s your real one?”
Angel was in a state of shock. She had known immediately that he was a vampire, and after a few moments had sensed that he had a soul. Buffy hadn’t figured anyof that out, not even picking up on the fact that he was a vampire- something all slayers were supposed to do. Now, Cordelia was asking about his real name! “It was Liam,” He was compelled to her, he couldn’t help himself.
Cordelia paused in her swift stride, mulling over the name. “Liam, Liam. . . I like Angel better.”
He laughed, truly actually laughed. It felt funny, but good at the same time. “So where do you need to go in such a hurry?”
“My house- or my old house now,” Cordelia tried to control the tremor in her voice. “I’m now officially an emancipated minor now, so I’ve got to get anything I want from my parents’ old house-”
“What do you mean ‘old house’?” Angel interrupted.
“They’ve skipped town, or rather they’ve skipped the continent. I don’t know where they are, but they left a nice package for me at the airport with a bitch lawyer.” They had finally exited the graveyard, and were walking swiftly in the direction of Chase Manor. “The mansion has been sold, they are in another country- but they’re not without some heart.”
“How’s that?,” Once he found the Chases they were going to wish they had never been born.
“I’ve been left with a substantial amount of fundage and apparently, I’ve got a spiffy, new apartment in downtown Sunnydale,” She brandished the two keys that she dug from her pocked. “Everything is gone from the house, except my stuff and once that’s done, the sale will be complete.”
Angel could tell that this was still upsetting for her, but she was trying to see the bright side of the situation. “I can’t believe they did this to you. You’re only sixteen, Cordelia.”
“Yeah, well,” she mumbled, “Gotta grow up sometime, right?”
“I suppose so,” Angel agreed, giving her an encouraging smile. “Have you seen the apartment yet?”
“No, but it is on the top floor of the Merchant building,” Cordelia answered. “According to my dad’s letter, the entire top floor of this place it mine. The Penthouse or something-” Cordelia turned to Angel, her brow furred in concern when he stopped suddenly. “What’s up? Is it really seedy down there or something?”
Angel shook this head swiftly, “No, it’s not bad at all it’s just-” Angel shifted his stance, “That’s the building I live in.” This was not going to be good, but it was good- or it could be bad. Angel didn’t think he could handle living in such close proximity with her. He was having trouble as it was to stop looking at her lush mouth, and to know that she was only two stories away from him? Could be interesting.
No such thoughts entered Cordelia’s mind at hearing this bit of news. “Cool! I’ll know someone in the building. So, he’s a vampire,” She poked his chest playfully, not aware of the slight twitch in his cheek. “But I’m not picky.” Turning back around, she started off again. “I think I’m gonna need a U-Haul. Do you think they’re open this late?”
Three Hours Later
“For God’s sake, hold on a minute!” The Watcher grumbled, obviously perturbed by the sudden awakening of loud pounding at his front door. Swinging it open, he was only moderately surprised it was Angel. “I should have known. Only you have that persistent knock.” Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Giles stepped aside, allowing Angel to enter.
“Giles, she’s back,” Angel said, in a rather excited voice that wasn’t usually in his tone of voice.
Giles began walking over to his small kitchen, ready to make some tea, just in case this turned into a long visit. “Angel, I know Buffy’s back, I am her Watcher you know.” It still disturbed him greatly, the vampire’s interest in his Slayer.
“No,” Angel shook his head. “Cordelia’s back!”
“Good God, when?” Giles almost dropped his kettle in surprise.
“Just tonight. I ran into her at Brunswick.” Angel smiled in memory. “She killed three vampires in about five minutes, Giles. She’s good. Real good.”
Giles leaned against the counter, and Angel took a seat on the bar stool on the other side. “Did you talk to her? How is she doing?”
“We talked. She seems to be doing good, despite what her parents have done.” Angel noted the confused expression on the Watcher’s face. “Her parents have made her an emancipated minor, without her knowledge. She just found out at the airport, when their lawyer showed up with the documents.”
“Jesus,” Giles breathed out in frustration. “Are they still in town?”
Angel shook his head. “No, they’ve left the country. They’ve purchased an apartment loft for her and are allowing her the time she needs to get her belongings from Chase Manor.” Angel dropped his head momentarily in concern, then raised it again to meet Giles’ eyes. “She’s only sixteen, Giles. This has got to be overload for her.”
“Your quite right,” the Watcher agreed. “Where is she now?”
“She’s at the Manor. I convinced her to stay there and get some rest.” Angel gave another small smile. “She wanted to move out this very night, but she was exhausted. She knows about being a slayer, too.”
“I figured she would,” Giles worked his jaw back in forth in consideration. “It seems that her great-grandfather enlightened her about her destiny.”
Angel fingered the small cut on the base of his neck. “Trained her damn well, too.”
Giles noted the wound on Angel’s neck. “Did something happen in the graveyard, besides the other three vampires?”
“Yeah, Cordelia played a little game.” Giles frowned in confusion. “Giles, Cordelia can sense vampires, almost too well. She knew right away what I was. Buffy didn’t know until I vamped out in front of her.” Angel was briefly reminded of the kiss that went awry.
“What did she do?”
“Oh, just threatened to cut my head off with her sword,” Angel replied. “She prefers her samurai sword rather than a stake, by the way. Cordelia wanted to know how I got my soul.”
Now he was really curious. “How did she know you had a soul, Angel?”
“She was able to sense it and it confused her. A vampire with a soul goes against the very nature of things, and she wanted to know about it,” Angel was still amazed at her technique. “Let’s just say she got what she wanted and was satisfied.”
Giles walked out of the kitchen, and took a seat on his sofa in the living room. He was utterly shocked. Angel swiveled around, watching him. After collecting his thoughts, Giles turned around to face Angel, his eyes shining. “It would appear that the Bellaver, Dantes and Yoshino mix has proved quite effective.”
“It would seem so,” Angel agreed quietly, coming into the living room. “I’ve got a feeling this only the beginning, Giles. We’re going to see a lot more of what Cordelia Chase is capable of.”
A lot more.