After months of working, it felt like she had finally gotten to where she felt like she should be.
In a seat.
With her feet up.
This, thought Cordelia Chase with a smile, Is perfect bliss. Complete and total bliss.
Of course, the chances were, someone was about to come in and tell Cordelia that there was some crisis waiting with her Higher Being name on it.
Occasionally, her thoughts drifted to her friends. Angel… A deep sigh escaped her lips and she picked up the glass of ice water on her table. Her home quarters had been modified to remind her of home, everything in there but Phantom Dennis, the spook she missed like an arm, or maybe a leg.
Would she ever stop missing him? Ever stop wondering what would have happened if she’d gotten there that night? If she’d have told him that she loved him. Would they be together now? Maybe, since they’d found a potion for her and Groo – they could’ve found one for her and Angel.
She’d never know.
Swallowing a lump the size of Sunnydale in her throat, Cordelia looked up in time to see Skip steaming through the doors – wait, steaming wasn’t the right word. Could demons steam? She knew she could, but she was still half-human and Skip was definitely all demon, right down to his – let’s not go there.
“Skip?” Cordelia stood. The look on his face wasn’t one Cordelia was sure she liked. “What’s happened? What’s wrong?”
“You’re needed, Cordelia.”
“The Powers That Be screwed up, Cordelia. It’s time for you to go home.”
Skip raised his hand and pressed it to her forehead, a bright light skimming from beneath his fingers…
* * *
“And the other guy?”
“In a bad way, Sir, he was taken to LA General about ten minutes ago. Kept mumbling something about angels and employees and… He was pretty delirious.” The police officer frowned, “We found Robertson, Detective Thomas. He’s dead.” Respectively, he cast his eyes downward. Robertson had worked on the force for most of his natural life, like his father before him and his father before that.
Being a cop meant you dealt with death every day. Some bad, some not deserved – and occasionally some scum-sucking bastard would put a bullet through the stomach of one of the best cops around and finish his career in an instant.
Robertson was the result of one of those guys. He’d been one of the best in his field until a drugs bust a few years ago had gone wrong. He’d winded up finishing up his career in the lobby of some law firm, making minimal waves as a security guard.
Resisting the urge to throw his fist through the wall, Det. Thomas looked at the police officer in charge of the scene, “Thanks.”
The fallen body of the other man had been covered with a sheet, preventing onlookers from seeing what had happened. When police had infiltrated the building, the man had fled – ensuing in a police chase that ended two blocks over with a bullet through the head.
No identification, no nothing. They had no idea who this guy was or even what he wanted with Lindsey McDonald. By all accounts, the man’s previous working life hadn’t exactly been a good one. Things got leaked to the LAPD, he hadn’t been a cop for twenty years without noticing that things went on – otherworldly, pretty darned scary stuff. At the bottom of it? Usually Wolfram and Hart – beloved law firm and trouble makers. They had offices everywhere. Los Angeles, London, Paris – and most recently, New York. Right on the cusp of the Big Apple for your general wheeling and dealing.
Thomas frowned, perhaps that was why the guy had been attacked – his unsavoury connections with Wolfram and Hart. They’d know soon enough.
* * *
“I’m going home,” Called Anna softly, turning to meet Jack’s eyes. He gave a nod and a wave in her direction, dealing with a drunk at the other end of the counter.
Anna walked forward, looking for her money to get home in the bottom of her bag. She didn’t see the guy standing in front of her, waiting. Just… Waiting. As if his whole life, or someone else’s, depended on it. “Oh! Sorry!” She whispered nervously, glancing up.
It was the guy from on stage. The one that sang and looked kinda like a demon but not really. Not that she had any real evidence to base her theory on, of course, but still – he didn’t look authentic enough. “I-I’m sorry… I just, got a little dazed was all.”
Lorne smiled, “That’s okay, seems like there’s a lot of that going round in a big city like this, huh?”
Anna dipped her head and went to move away from him, succeeding in getting a few feet before his words stopped her.
“She’s real. It’s all real – everything you see at night, the things you dream. You’re not crazy… You just believe.”
Anna stopped and shook her head, trying to battle away the thoughts that flew at her… Thoughts of a family, of people who loved her and needed her, not for what she could give them but just because.
“Please…” She whispered, “Please don’t.”
“I can prove it,” Lorne stepped closer to Anna and placed a hand on her arm, “Sing that song you were singing and I’ll prove it…”
Tears appeared in the corners of Anna’s eyes, before slipping the length of her cheeks. Her voice small, choked, Anna began to sing…
I’m under your spell
How else could it be
Anyone would notice me?
It’s magic I can tell
How you set me free
Brought me out so easily…
She squeezed her eyes shut, not expecting proof, not expecting anything…
Each and every night for the past God knew how long, Anna had heard Lorne sing. He had a really powerful voice, one that at the best of times struck Anna to her very soul. But when he sang again, he made Anna sob. Fully – she cried for all the times she’d woken up terrified that it was all just a dream. She cried because Lorne was singing that wonderful second verse that meant he held her world in his hands, the world where she was loved and appreciated and not shunted aside, like yesterday’s news…
I’m under your spell
Nothing I can do
You just took my soul with you
You worked your charms so well
Finally, I knew
Everything I dreamed was true
You made me believe
Lorne paused and looked down at Anna, almost breathless from singing something so heartfelt, so… So… Not forced. The song had been born out of love, out of a demon up to no good, if he read rightly, but out of love. “Someone really did take your soul, didn’t they sweetie? No charms, no mystical forces – everything you believed, everything you dreamed was true.”
Anna looked up at him, “Help me?” She whispered.
“That’s what I do.” Replied Lorne with a smile, “C’mon, let’s get you back where you belong.”
* * *
Cordelia yelped as she was dropped, non-too-gently, back on the face of the planet again. Of course, it would happen like this (although it could have been worse, she might have been naked) but as it were, having cars whizzing past you left, right and centre was NOT her idea of a good time.
“DAMNIT SKIP!” She squealed as a truck roared past her, skimming her by an inch. She was going to die here, right in the very place she’d been taken from to become a higher being – fat lot of good that had done.
Spinning out of the way, Cordelia yelped, thrown right into the path of an oncoming limousine. It stopped, inches away from where she stood.
Cordelia gasped and leaned heavily on the hood of the car as the passenger got out.
“Miss, are you alright?”
She breathed deeply before nodding, “Yeah I’m…”
When she looked up, the man was standing, arms folded across his chest, a smug look on his face. “Cordelia Chase, right?”
“Do I know you?” She whispered, breathlessly. He was cute in a smug ‘I know everything kind of way’ – not her type. She liked two kinds of men, dorks or brooders.
“Pretty soon, you won’t know yourself. I shouldn’t worry.” He shrugged, waving a hand slightly in the air.
Three demons surrounded her, two grabbing her by the arms, the other there merely for back up. “What’s happening?” Before Cordelia knew what was happening, or even had the chance to look, a needle was being jabbed into her neck, her scream filtering and dying in the din of all the cars whizzing past.
A second later, Cordelia was slumped in the back of the limousine.
The man smirked and hit speed dial #1 in his cell phone
“Wolfram and Hart, how may I direct your call?”