As the cab rolled on, Cordelia kept wondering what her great-grandfather would do once she’d arrive. She hadn’t called to inform him that she was on her way to Japan. In fact, she hadn’t told anyone. Know one knew where she was and she planned on keeping it that way.
Her first instinct had been to go to Japan. It was the only safe haven she could think of. Her parents and Jun Yoshino had an estranged relationship, so she didn’t have to worry about him calling them. This had never surprised her, given the fact her parents didn’t have a relationship with her except as financial providers. Sometimes she wondered what would happen if she’d just call them ‘Meredith’ and ‘Alexander‘, instead of ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’. They wouldn’t even know the difference, she thought, feeling her eyes mist with emotion.
She had only been to Japan once, during the summer of her fourteenth year, but it had felt like coming home. It had been the first time she had met Jun Yoshino and his second wife, Momiji. Heck, it was the only time- her coming to the island now, would be her second time. She had finally met blood relatives who actually showed an air of love and affection toward her.
On the plane, she had finally gotten a few hours of sleep. It was not restful- filled with dreams of the previous night. Dreams of that bat-faced wonder, with Elizabeth Arden lipstick all over his mouth! I wonder if I should tell them what happened? Thinking about being on that roof sent shivers of fear and excitement down her spine.
Twisting a lock of her hair through her fingers, Cordelia tried to harness what had happened to her. She knew she was stronger- Arnold beware! She could sense things coming her way now- it was as if she had a sixth sense. Cordelia rubbed her temples in agony. It was too much. One minute she was a scared little girl running from monsters, now she was a petrified slayer running from destiny-
Whoa, she thought, startling herself out of her revere- Destiny? Where the hell did that come from? She had so many questions about what had happened to her and why. Obviously, the Master did too. The Master…
You’ve just been called… One dies and another is Chosen.
Feeling sick to her stomach, she rolled down the cab window to get some air, as she realized what that meant- she was a slayer because another one like her had died! Two slayers in one night… The other girl had been from Sunnydale, she realized.
“Yoshino? We are here.”
Cordelia jerked at the cab driver’s voice. In the midst of her scrabbled thoughts, she’d forgotten he was here.
The driver pulled the car in front of a massive, wooden compound. It was the original gate built by the Yoshino warriors of the past, and it still held strong. Just beyond those walls was the only place she had ever felt at home.
Pushing her thoughts aside, Cordelia rose to get out the car, the cabbie already had her two bags. The last time she was here, she’d had about eight pieces of luggage. Momiji had laughed herself silly- What do you need with all of that, grandchild? All you need is your mind and soul.
“Do you want me to stay?” The driver asked, he did not want to leave her unattended. “Until somebody comes?”
“No, that’s fine.” She assured him, giving him his fee in yen. “But I thank you. Arigatou.” Bowing her head, as was Japanese custom, he in turn did so and proceeded to leave. Getting back in his cab, he bowed his head again, and started the engine. Smiling, she waived as he made his way down the road.
Turning around to the compound, she dropped her bags on the dirt road and proceeded towards the gate. It was locked, she realized, as she braced her palms against the wood. Locked from the other side. This is not good.
I guess I could push it open. Yeah, that’s an idea. Jun would be highly upset, but she needed to get in there. She doubted anyone was there to hear her shout- “Huh,” she mumbled to herself. “I wonder if I can hear them.” Placing the right side of her head against the gate, Cordelia closed her eyes and listened. Birds, running water… trees rustling in the slight breeze. There was no one nearby. Giving into her slayer strength, she braced her hands on both gate doors and pushed.
That was when the real fear kicked in.
No one human should have that kind of strength! God, what is a slayer and what have I become? She was shaken so much by her display of force, she thought of nothing else but getting to her great-grandfather as she ran up the mile long pathway to the house. Luggage and thoughts of repercussions about breaking open his gate were forgotten.
I’m flying! She was running so fast her feet barely touched the ground. Okay, so not normal! She’d turned into an X-Man and no one had told her. No… a slayer.
You haven’t been trained…
I’m supposed to have a trainer?
The house was just ahead of her- she’d ran a mile in under a minute! Guinness is going to love me, she marveled, coming to a halt outside the home of Jun Yoshino. It was an old-fashioned, gassho zukuri-style farmhouse. A home that had stood for centuries. The place was beautiful- it looked like it had just come out of the movie, Shogun. As did the old man who stood in front of it’s sliding doors. Jun Yoshino, dressed kamishimo– in samurai clothing.
“Daisofu.” Cordelia kneeled to the ground, tying to catch her breath. She wanted so much to run into his arms, and hold on for dear life. She wanted to be safe. But she knew he was a traditional man. No one, not even family, spoke to him without the proper respect.
His aged face smiled in pleasure. She had not forgotten to show keirou. His great-granddaughter was a marvel. He knew she was not like this in America- he had seen her other personality. The one she had woven to protect herself from her parents and outsiders. But he had also seen the personality under it. “How many times have I told you not to call me that?” Being called great-grandfather, daisofu, made him feel older than he was.
She gave a nervous laugh and rose to her feet. “I’m sorry, jiisan.” Cordelia took a step forward, but stopped when he sharply raised his hand. His face lost it’s levity and took on stern countenance.
“Cordelia-san,” he began, “You will go to ankei, and pay homage to your ancestors. There you will meditate. Do not come back from the ancient temple until you have focused your energy.” With that, he turned around and closed the doors behind him.
Cordelia knew what he wanted. She would go to the ancient temple behind the house and meditate. Maybe I should beg forgiveness for being such a mega-bitch at school, too? Gathering her composure, she proceeded to the temple. It was temping to just sit by one of the pagodas and look at the coy swimming around, but he’d know.
Besides, that was the old her in Sunnydale. Here in her daisofu’s home, she would never do that. She’d been reborn.
What Meredith Chase had told him and Willow was unreal. According to Mrs. Chase’s maternal great-grandmother, who had been a prophet and soothsayer, Cordelia Chase was destined to be the greatest slayer the world would ever know. History would not reveal anyone to be her equal, nor would her successors. Cordelia was the true Chosen One, because no one else would be like her. Ever.
Her calling was held within her family. The prophets of the Watcher’s Council were not to know, as to try and monitor her as a potential. This slayer was not to be tainted by their training. She was called by the higher powers.
“Do you understand?” Meredith implored, her eyes beseeching. “Can you understand why we pushed her away? If I’d allowed myself to love her, like I wanted too- I could have never let her go.” Her cold behavior had faded, allowing the woman she really was to come forth. “Her destiny reaches far beyond us. We were only here to bring her into this world.”
Angel did understand. Cordelia had no idea who she would become, but her parents did. And to shield themselves from feeling any heartache at watching their daughter blossom, they’d allowed themselves to hurt their only child. Their only concern was their feelings, their pain, not hers. “Knowing what she would become, what she would face- all the hardship!” He was trying so hard to fight his demon. He wanted to lash out at them! Kill them for what they did to her! “And you pushed her away.”
“You could have loved her, Mrs. Chase,” Willow whispered. “Loved and supported her. By denying her that, it only showed her how ugly the world can be, especially if your own parents won’t love you.”
Alexander Chase had said nothing. He knew where he and his wife were coming from, and didn’t expect a vampire and school girl to know anything. “We won’t apologize for what we did. Not to you, and not to our daughter. Should she come back and ask, we will explain, but never apologize!” Rising to his imposing height, he gestured to the entrance. “Perhaps you should leave and worry about the future. The past is set and if we are damned for our actions to our daughter, you will not condemn us.”
Knowing that their welcome had been exhausted, Willow and Angel rose to their feet, and headed for the door. Angel was growling the entire time.
“Mr. Chase,” Angel turned to face the man again. “One more thing. Do you have any idea where she may have gone? Something?” They had to know something.
“In all honesty, no. But we did tell her, that should something happen to her- something unimaginable to leave immediately and not tell us where she was going.” Alexander met the vampire’s eyes, feeling he owed him that much, considering what the future would possess. “We gave her a key, to a locker at Sunnydale airport when she was fourteen. Told her never to loose it.”
“What was in the box?” Willow inquired, coming to stand with Angel in the foyer.
It made sense. Flee and don’t tell anyone where you’re going. “We’ll leave now, but you had better hope I know everything or I’ll be coming back.” Angel felt his eyes shift to their golden hue. “I have an open invitation now.” His was a long and meaningful glare with Cordelia’s father. Finally breaking the look, he gently grabbing Willow by her arm, and guided them out the door.
Upon hearing the door close, the Chases let down their composure and sank back down next to each other. “He means it,” Meredith said, taking another sip of chardonnay. She’d never truly be scared in her life, until she saw that look in the vampire’s eyes at that moment.
“I know,” her husband confirmed. Alexander pulled his wife into his embrace, letting out a sigh as she snuggled closer.
“Do you think we should have told him?,” she asked, craning her head to read his expression. “About him and Cordelia?”
“No,” Alexander whispered after a moment of thought. “He doesn’t need to know about his part in the prophecy. If he did know what was going to happen, he would try like hell to stop it. For better or for worse, even our own deaths, it has to come to pass. What was foretold must happen. Regardless of the pain it will cause.”
Even our own deaths…