Yoshino Village, Japan
“This is really starting to suck, Jun.” Cordelia stomped behind her great-grandfather, trying not to whine, but it was impossible. “I’ve been here for two days- meditating! Channeling my inner-self and you still won’t tell me what’s going on or how you know about vampires. We can just call me ‘aggravated’!” For all she knew, as they exited the house, they might be heading back to the temple.
Jun chuckled in agreement. “You are absolutely right, my dear. Today we’ll practice fighting.”
“Fighting?!” Cordelia practically stumbled over her feet at hearing that. After Sunnydale, that was the last thing she wanted. She’d had the idea of coming to Japan to get away from the madness called ‘home’. “Why would I want to do that?”
“Because that is what you were born to do.”
“In all the languages of the world- huh? I was born to fight? That doesn’t make any sense. Well at least, my kind of sense.” She was born to shop, and now she had the strength to carry all the bags she wanted!
“Very good. You were destined to fight. Better?” Jun paused beside the coy pond, waving to one of his harvesters has they passed by. Cordelia had come during summer harvest, one of the busiest times for him.
Cordelia glared at Jun, as she came to a halt in front of him. “No, it’s not better!” This time, she really did stomp her foot. “First you lock me out of the house-”
“You broke my gate.”
“Which I helped fix yesterday! Then you get all meditation happy on me-”
“You know when entering the village of Yoshino you pay homage to your ancestor-”
“Which only takes ten minutes by the way,” Cordelia snidely replied. You should just be able to go in and say ‘thank you, love you, and good-bye’!
“Do not sass me about your heritage, young lady,” His voice dropped low, almost deadly, as he took a step forward to his granddaughter. “It is just as great as you and has made you such!”
Ah, shit. Great Cordelia, just step all over his huevos! “I’m sorry, grandfather. It’s just I want answers. We get answers back home, we don’t mediate for them.”
“Well perhaps you should.”
“Perhaps.” Cordelia whispered, slightly embarrassed as he began to turn around to go down the stone stairs behind them. His home was on the summit of a small hill, and down the stone stairway, along the hill was a massive training ground. It was both outdoor and indoor, with a dojo, and an impressive obstacle course that she had played on during her last visit to Japan.
“Now, are you going to come to the dojo or are you going to continue to defy me in my own house? Remember who is master here, grandchild. I know you’ve suffered, but respect must not be forgotten. Wakarikiru?”
“Hai, jiisan. I’m sorry.”
“Humph.” He was satisfied with her humility. Jun knew it was hard for her to show any form submissiveness. Cordelia Chase was prideful and strong. “Good. Then let us go. Each moment we waste is a delay in your training.”
“My training for what?” She was still so confused about everything. It was like she was being thrust towards a life that everyone else knew about, but her. And she was somehow, supposed to know about it. Even that icky Master knew what was happening to her.
“To slay demons and vampires.” Jun raised his gray eyebrows in amusement at the shocked expression on her face. “Your destiny. I must see where you are at in your level of strength and skill. Indulge me this afternoon in honing your skills, then I shall tell you what I know.”
Fair enough. “Okay. I like them apples.”
“What apples?” He inquired, as he headed down the stone steps. “We don’t have an orchard.”
Cordelia began hopping down the stairs behind him. “Uh, yeah, it’s a figure of speech, jiisan. Do I get to play with the bushido?”
“Hi there, Mrs. Chase. I hope you don’t mind I dropped by. Can’t resist those open invitations!”
Well, shit, she thought, hearing the vampire’s sultry voice. “Angel.” Turning around from her bar, she saw that he was comfortably sprawled out on her red chaise. Obviously he had been there for a few moments, watching her fix an apple martini. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, you can start by informing me where you husband is at this moment?” He reached over the side of the chaise and grabbed a pillow. Giving it a few fluffs, he placed it behind his head. “You don’t seem the type to be parted from each other for too long. Dependency issues.”
“In the past, yes, we would seldom part each other’s company. But now it’s different.” Meredith had to admit that the vampire did look exceptionally tasteful, lounging on the velvet chaise. His black silk shirt and black slacks accentuated his pale features.
“Found some balls, in light of your daughter’s calling, eh?” Angel quipped. “Or balls in your husband’s case- I never did understand what the women’s equivalency would be. Ovaries, maybe?” Angel’s brow furred as he mulled over that.
“Funny, Angel.” Meredith was staying right by the bar. There was something sinister about his attitude and she did not want to be close to him. “Truly. And to answer that question about my husband, he’s in Los Angeles on business.” She seated herself comfortably on the red cushioned bar stool.
“Business our daughter!”
“Oh, really? That is delightful to hear, because that’s the other reason why I’ve come. I was just paid a visit by a rather unusual fellow- an assassin by trade. He came to warn me to stop trying to find Cordelia or Buffy and friends would be killed. I found that quite disturbing. Wouldn’t you?”
Meredith slowly nodded her head, not taking her eyes away from Angel. “I would.”
“That’s what I thought” he agreed, almost in a chatty manner. “You’ve got at least some form of a heart now, don’t-cha?” Angel couldn’t stop the sly grin that spread across his face.
“You really hate me don’t you, Angel?” Meredith quietly implored. “For what we did to Cordelia”
“Let me think about that.” Angel bit his lower lip in thought, giving a total mockery about being concerned about her question. “Hate is such a strong word, but- yeah! I do.”
“Pity. The man who came to see you- He looks like an assassin? The perfect face for blending, an ordinary face. Am I right?”
“Hittin’ every button so far.” Angel sat up, turning to face her dead on. He clasped his hands over his lap, as he he placed his feet on her cherry wood coffee table.
“His name is Julius Sandefer. He’s quite a dangerous man. Works for money and does his job well. My husband and I did not hire him, Angel, so get that out of your head.”
Angel’s brown eyes widened in shock. “Wasn’t even in there, but I had an inkling that you would know who he was. And if you knew who he was and what he does– then you just might know who that employer of his is. I’ve got a bone to pick with that guy.”
Meredith tried not to choke on her martini, as his eyes flashed gold. “Angel, this is way more complicated than you think. What has happened to my daughter has been building for ages, through many generations. Granted, I don’t approve of what’s been done to keep her location secret-” Meredith gave a grim smile at Angel’s stunned reaction. “Oh yes, I know about that. The two girls at the airport, and know people close to Cordelia are being threatened.”
“He told me to stay away from her. To leave her alone. I can’t do that, Mrs. Chase.” His voice was more than an implore for understanding, it was as if he were speaking from his soul. Angel didn’t notice the flicker of revelation on Meredith’s face, as he contemplated his own instincts.
“I know you can’t.” Meredith knew her heart was beating fast. With his senses it must have been like a drum in his ears.
“Oh, do you? And how is it that you are aware of this.”
“Some things, Angel, are just not meant to be revealed.” She felt like she needed a scotch now, as she rose to go behind the bar. “Why do you think we never informed the Watcher’s Council about Cordelia? Why do you think we never told her? Because it was meant to be so. Imagine yourself, if you will, as you were when you were human.” The ice clinked in the glass, as she pored the scotch. “What would you have done to prevent what you were to inevitably do? What you would become. The Scourge of Europe. The one with the angelic face. Oh, yes. I know all of the gory little details.”
“Keep talking about this and you’ll know more than just details,” Angel said evenly.
“I’m trying to make a point, Angel. This is more than just a prophecy with Cordelia, it’s heritage. It’s fate. And it cannot be changed by you or by anyone. I know, because I’ve tried.” She slammed the Scotch bottle back into the cupboard, grabbed her glass and came back to sit down.
“You’ve tried?” The sneer on his handsome face was a clear fact that he doubted her efforts highly.
“Absolutely. I went against everything I was supposed to do. Lived the wild life, not the life of a mother destined to birth a human warrior. In fact, I got pregnant twice before Cordelia. I couldn’t bear the thought of my baby having such a life. So, I figured, after aborting the two before her, I was safe.” She could feel her eyes misting as she recalled her past sins. “Alexander and I had just married and he wanted an heir. No god would allow a woman to conceive a savior, when her mother was a sinner, right? A murderer. Wrong.”
“And just to be cautious,” she continued. “I tried to keep my daughter away from all the known Hellmouths. Never took her to Bangkok or Cleveland. Kept us out of Sun Valley because I thought that was were the other one was. The other two were definite confirmations.”
“Why would you think the other Hellmouth would be in Sun Valley?” Angel asked.
“A girl child will be born in the old world, in the valley of her ancestors. And in the new world, in the valley of the sun, when the mouth of Hell opens, she will be reborn.” It sounded like she was was quoting from a scroll book that wasn’t in front of her. “So I assumed Sun Valley. Not the brightest crayon in the box now was I?”
Don’t know about the brightest, but definitely the most bitchiest. “Where was Cordelia born?
“I ignored the signs, Angel.” Her brown eyes were glassy with memory. “God I was so stupid! She was born two months early, in Yoshino Village, Japan. I had some things I needed to get tied up over there, and she wasn’t due for two more months! It couldn’t be stopped, but I kept trying. Woe was me, when I found out there was a Hellmouth in Sunnydale.” Meredith gave a dry chuckle, pausing to sip her drink. “Alexander had just established headquarters here and it was then, that we both knew nothing would stop the chain. Our daughter would become the greatest of all Slayers. And in knowing that, truly accepting that- her pain would be the greatest as well.”
“You are really speaking in riddles here, and I don’t have the patience to solve them, Meredith. Who is Sandefer’s employer and what else are you not telling me?” For added emphasis at how serious he was in getting his answers, Angel stood up and walked to stand beside her. Gently leaning down, he whispered in her ear, “Tell me.”
Taking in a shaking breath, Meredith tried to calm her breathing. His cold breath on her ear was like Death whispering to her. “Julius Sandefer is employed by Cordelia’s grandfather, Daniel Bellaver. My darling daddy! Mr. Bellaver is a senior member of the Watcher’s Council, and he is also aware of Cordelia’s destiny as a slayer. He’d been making absolutely sure that the Council would remain unaware of Cordelia as a potential. We may not be a close family, but we keep our secrets well hidden.”
“Yeah. So hidden two innocent girls had to die because of it. Really amazing, Mrs. Chase. An amazingly, fucking twisted family.”
“Don’t get cynical with me, Angel!” She lurched up from her seat at the bar, and angrily stepped away from him. “It’s all been done for her, to keep her safe! You don’t understand. A slayer of her power- she’s going to be coveted like no other. Look at you- You’re already obsessed.”
There was no going against that. Ever since the night of the Hellmouth’s opening, he’d been more than rash. He was feeling his demon more and was even listing to it. He was feeling more like Angelus by the minute. He would back down. If it meant keeping Cordelia and the others safe. “Alright. I guess this is as far as we go, eh? If I back away from finding her, and tell the others to do so- everyone’s safe?”
“Yes, they’ll be safe from my father’s men. He’s like a machine, you know? He’ll stop once the switch has been turned off.”
It was obvious that Meredith Chase held no feelings of love towards her father. And like so many family traditions go, her own daughter would probably feel the same way towards her. “If Bellaver hurts anyone else with his assassins, I’ll permanently shut him off forever. You’ll see he gets that message right? We wouldn’t want the messenger hurt now would we?”
“No,” she whispered, fear seeping out of her every pore. “We wouldn’t want that.”
Meredith Chase shakily grabbed her phone, once she was positive that Angel had left the grounds. Amid a few outbursts of frustration towards her fingers for trembling so much, she finally dialed the number to her husband’s hotel room in Los Angeles.
“Alex? It’s me.”
“What are you doing up at this hour? It’s after 2:00am.”
“Like you ever sleep. I just had a visit from Angel, Alex. A rather disturbing one.”
“Oh, God! Are you alright, darling?”
“Yes, just a few idle threats against my life and such, nothing big. I did have to tell him about Daddy’s involvement with Sandefer, though.”
“Angel’s going to back off, and he’ll tell Rupert Giles to do so as well. Once that’s confirmed, Daddy will back down, too. But, Alex- there’s something else.”
“He’s tasted Cordelia’s blood.”
“That’s impossible, Meredith! Cordelia hasn’t had any association with Angel since she became the Slayer. We were both sure of that!”
“He’s acting like Angelus would. Or how we think Angelus might act! And frankly, I don’t like him. You know the connection that they are supposed to have with each other, and her blood would be a pure catalyst for bringing his demon out, despite his soul.”
“There has to be another explanation. How would he have gotten her blood?”
“I don’t know, and at this point I don’t care. Somehow, he got some of our baby’s blood. We’ll have to speed things up. Immediately.”
“Fine. I’ll get Wolfram & Hart to draw up the paperwork, first thing in the morning. Remember what to tell them if they call you, Meredith.”
“It’s hard enough to realize we have to insure the care of our daughter to a vampire, so I really don’t want those lawyers from hell after her either. It would be too much, Alex. They’d give anything to have her, you know.”
“Yes, I know. I promise you on my life, darling, that they will never get their hands on her. However, she’d probably bitch at them to death, so it may be worth our while to get them involved.”
Sharing a brief, but unsettling chuckle, the parents of Cordelia Chase disconnected. And first thing in the morning, Alexander Chase would contact his lawyer at Wolfram & Hart to disconnect themselves from their daughter, forever.