Cordelia ran into her apartment, slamming the doors shut behind her. It still felt like he was near her- running his hands all over her body. Locking her doors securely, she tried to take in a few calming breaths.
It didn’t help. She still felt like she was spinning out of control.
Wiping the tears and make-up from her face viciously with her palms, she made her way to her bathroom. She needed to wash his scent from her. Smelling Angel all over her- it just made her realize how much she longed for him! She’d wanted to be consumed by him, right then and there in a fucking graveyard!
Seeing her flushed and disheveled self in the mirror, Cordelia wanted to smash it with her fist. Break it into a hundred pieces, just like her heart. But she didn’t have the money to replace it right now. Scratching that plan, she opted for a hot bubble bath instead. Moving over to the large, oval shaped bathtub, she removed her cheerleading clothes as she went. Her skin felt so flushed.
No, that wouldn’t help. And it so didn’t help knowing that she would soon be laying naked in a rose scented bath and Angel would be two stories below her! Living this close to him had started to become torture- being so near to someone she could not have. Never have!
Even though it had pained her at first, seeing Buffy and Angel become closer, it was a relief in so many ways. The night the Anointed Twit tried to bring back the Master had been a revelation to her.
The Master had killed Buffy. Pint-sized slayer would have stayed dead if it hadn’t been for Xander. Coming back from the dead to avenge her own death by killing the Master would never happen. Cordelia had destroyed the most powerful vampire in the world. A brand new, fresh off the production line Slayer had killed the Master. Not Buffy. Cordelia knew, without a shadow of ego, she was stronger than Buffy. She also had the word of Rupert Giles attesting to that fact. The Brit had left his journal opened at the library.
Three weeks ago, after finishing an early sweep of Newberry, she’d beat all of them back to the library for regrouping. Feeling a need for tea, she’d wandering into his office, hell-bent on sampling the brew when there it was- a Watcher’s journal.
In those remarkably penned pages, she quickly absorbed the information that Angel and he had discovered about her family history. All the Watchers- all the Slayers. Yoshino, Dantes and Bellaver. It was insane! He even had penciling of her family tree!
When Cordelia had seen the torment in Buffy’s eyes when she’d mashed his bones to chalk, it had dawned on her- Buffy needed people. She didn’t.
Xander, Giles, Willow and even Angel- Buffy needed them all. Despite her reputation as a cast-iron bitch, she still had a conscience. Regardless of the fact she was falling in love with Angel, he was off limits and she would respect that. Buffy Summers, in her sappy existence, had to have the love bubble around her. Cordelia Chase had boundaries. But Angel had tarnished those limits while she had been out hunting.
Cordelia gave a slight chuckle at the term ‘hunting’ as she added her rose oil to the rising water. Buffy called it ‘patrolling’ while she used the other phrase. Just showed how different they were. Lately, she had been feeling more like a hunter than a slayer. Something was stirring within her.
Turning off the tap, Cordelia let out a small hiss as her toes connected with tepid water. Slowly, she eased herself in, trying to relieve the days events from her mind. Cordelia leaned back, letting her mind drift. Commanding her aching body to relax, and she willing succumbed to sleep.
When Cordelia had fled from him, it had taken everything he had to not run after her. All he wanted to do was hold onto her and never let her go. And he couldn’t understand it.
In all actuality, he barely knew the girl. Sure he had fought at her side… well, rarely, since she’d begun to push him away. Trying to stifle the growl rumbling in his chest, he took another swig of JD. Angel had been at Willie’s for the past two hours. Within thirty minutes of sitting at the bar, Angel was on his second bottle of Jack Daniel’s. When he had demanded his first bottle, he had seen the look of alarm in Willie’s beady eyes. The lovelorn vampire had been hoping that Willie would refuse and he’d have an excuse to kill him. Alas, fate did not understand and the weasel had seen the fury radiating from the vampire.
Willie wasn’t the only one to notice. Every demon in the place was shying away from him. Not that he minded, most of the riff-raff in here smelled or their appearance hurt his line of vision. Taking a glance around, Angel saw there were a few humans in the mix. Didn’t surprise him too much. Sunnydale being the Hellmouth and all, there was bound to be a few in the populace that knew about their demon neighbors.
There was one human in particular that was watching him. This human did not look like she belonged in this mix at all. With her honey blond hair and blue-green eyes, she looked as if her home was the cover of Vogue. And even though she had the face and body of a beauty queen, her mind was near genius level. Only Rupert Giles’ scores were higher than hers in scholastic achievement. The two brightest minds the Watcher’s Council had to offer were now both in Sunnydale.
And one of those minds was surveying a vampire with great interest. Vinessa Chandler narrowed her vision, trying to gage her approach to Angel. She knew the turmoil he was going through and wanted to help him. The problem was she in practical servitude to Daniel Bellaver. The son of a bitch had a leverage over that she could not get away from. No matter how callous and despicable her job was, she had to comply. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t manipulate herself around those rough edges.
Cordelia and the others had believed that Bellaver had left for London yesterday morning. Bellaver had deceived them so that he could spend some additional time prepping his spy Watcher to fulfill her secretive duties.
Vinessa Chandler was to keep Cordelia Chase in Sunnydale no matter what. The only time this was to be ignored would be in the days after the Slayer’s seventeenth birthday. Bellaver had made it absolutely clear that if his granddaughter wanted to leave the Hellmouth, for any reason, it was to be vehemently denied, unless, it was after her birthday. After that date, she would be allowed to leave, whatever the issue.
It was obvious to the young Watcher that Cordelia’s birthday held some cataclysmic purpose, but she had no idea what it could be. Not only was Cordelia supposed to remain in the town, but so were Angel and Buffy. All three needed to be present. It was primary duties to make sure that both slayers and the vampire keep the present situation as is. But seeing how distraught Angel was at the bar just ahead of her made her worry just how difficult a task it would be to keep that trio in the same vicinity.
Clenching her jaw in determination, Vinessa rose from her corner booth and began to work her way though the demons occupying the haven. She had taken precautions and had added some holy water to her perfume mix. It took away some of the overall scent, but it kept unwanted attention at bay. She would have to rely on her martial arts skills to ward off demons of a non-vampire origin. The pretty Watcher only hoped that her eau de blessed perfume wouldn’t cause Angel to back away too.
Coming to stand next him, Vinessa perched her foot on the barstool next him. Keeping herself calm and her vision focused on the mirror behind Willie that only reflected some of his customers.
“How are you this evening, Angel?”
The vampire swiveled around slightly in his stool to gaze at the woman who had crept up beside him. Fully human, it mildly amazed him how she had been able to approach him without his noticing. Only Drusilla had been able to do that to him… once. “Just dandy, Vinessa. Thanks for asking.” Giving a cocksure grin, he turned away from her, intend on his love affair with JD.
“Obviously,” She retorted, quirking an elegant eyebrow at his preferred companion. “I do apologize for intruding on your business with your fluid friend, but I need to ask for your assistance, Angel.” Vinessa saw how his expression had not changed. Sliding her delicate figure onto the stool next to him, she decided to offer him clarification. “It’s about Cordelia.”
Pausing in mid swig, Angel slowly placed down the bottle. “I’m listening.”
Vinessa gave quiet smile, knowing the mere mention of the Slayer’s name would give him cause to pay her heed. Unbeknownst to both Cordelia and Angel, she had seen them at Newberry. Their display of passion was enough to give anyone pause. “I need help with her, Angel. More than you know.”
This definitely piped his interest. Turning to face her, Angel tried to gage at what she was getting at. “How do you mean?”
“She’s vulnerable, Angel. More than anyone knows,” Vinessa could definitely see in his obsidian-like eyes that this was going to get to him. “She’s ostracizing herself from her peers, not just Buffy’s friends, but her old friends as well as far as I can see. Granted, this kind of behavior has been expected of all slayers in the past, but it’s not going to fly with this new generation. Buffy is an excellent example of that.” Signaling to Willie, Vinessa ordered a gin and tonic. “My slayer has to communicate with others. She needs to feel grounded. I think she is only seeing her life without goals or purpose, unless it’s slayer related.”
Taking a sip of her drink she continued, pleased to see that the vampire was completely enthralled with what she was revealing. “Her mother and father have abandoned her.” Vinessa tried not to take notice of the somber growl coming from Angel. “She’s now legally an adult with adult responsibilities that she has not been prepared to undertake. Before too long she’ll be lost in an adult world that she was forced into. Normally, I’d say Cordelia could take that duty by the reigns and make the most of it, but she can’t. She’s also a slayer now.”
The young Watcher could feel a pull in her own heart as she expressed to Angel the ramifications of Cordelia’s current positions. “She’s a sixteen year old girl who will not only carry the fate of the world on her shoulders, but also the horrifying reality of bills that need to be paid.”
“So what do you want me to do, Vinessa? Oh, I’m sorry,” Angel quickly covered his mouth in quick alarm. “Do you go by your first name or is it just Chandler like the Watcher-boys?”
“You can call me ‘Cast-Iron Bitch’ for all I care, I’d just like you to hear me out, jackass.”
“Oh,” Angel gasped in mock alarm, “The Watcher’s got bite! I like that in a woman.” Angel could feel his demon rise ever so slightly. Just the tip of the ice berg. All of the tension between him and the two slayers was getting to him. Giving a mild chuckle, he turned away from her mildly widened eyes. “Why this sudden concern for her, Vinny?”
Vinessa couldn’t control her sneer at the name he had decided to bestow on her. “I received a call on her mobile phone about an hour ago. She seemed very shaken up. Something I don’t think comes lightly to my Slayer.”
“What did she say?”
Angel’s shoulders had become visibly stiffer. “Cordelia would like to move to Cleveland, Ohio. As soon as possible.” Vinessa Chandler, who normally did no scare easily, suddenly felt like a trapped animal as the bottle in Angel’s hand shattered in his physical rage. His expression remained passive.
“Yes,” she replied, hoping her voice didn’t waver. “This is unacceptable. Even though there is another Hellmouth in Cleveland, she needs to remain in Sunnydale. Council orders.” Vinessa had told Cordelia to come to her hotel suite tomorrow so they could speak of this calmly. She had no idea how she was going to explain the logic of two slayers at one Hellmouth, while the other one only had human protectors who were not supernaturally blessed.
Turning to the beautiful Watcher, Angel granted her a wondrous sight. Something that rarely came across his features- a smile. “Well, we’re just going to have to make sure she follows those orders. Aren’t we, Vinny?” Widening his smile, Angel playfully clucked her chin and left the bar.
In all her brilliance of mind, she could not puzzle the pieces together about how Angel, a vampire was connected to Cordelia, a slayer. But her parents knew, and they had fled the country leaving their daughter to the vices of fate. Her grandfather knew, and he could barely contain his delight as the signs, whatever they were, progressed.
And her cherished great-grandfather, Jun Yoshino, knew… having seen his own twin sister, Kaede, sacrifice herself at twenty years old to allow the slayer line to progress. To progress to the Divine One.