Part 1 – Released
“I can’t believe it,” Cordelia whispered. Her special little man was gone, and she hadn’t been here to stop it. And it was all because of a friend’s betrayal. “Where is he?”
Fred and Gunn both shrank back. In a matter of seconds, the brooding and morose woman before them changed. She was now radiating an anger that even non-demons could pick up loud and clear.
“We don’t know,” Gunn told her. “He was at this hospital. Someone found him and called 911. But a few weeks ago he disappeared. The police and staff seem convinced he left on his own.”
“I guess he didn’t want to face Angel,” Fred added.
“But you don’t remember any of that, do you?” Gunn asked.
Cordelia shook her head in the negative. It was all so fuzzy. “No, I remember returning from somewhere with Groo and then this,” Cordy indicated the bed she was in. “How long ago was that?” Neither responded quickly. “How long ago?” she demanded.
“Three weeks,” Fred said.
Cordelia was stunned. She had no memories of the past three weeks of her life. “How did I get here?”
“No one is quite sure,” Fred admitted. “One night you were just found on the hospital’s doorstep. They ran tox-screens to search for any drugs that you might have been administered, but the tests came out clean. We don’t know where you were.”
“Fred and I have been coming in to check on you often,” Gunn said. “But we’re kinda stretched thin. It’s just us two, Groo and Lorne at the Hyperion.”
“Where’s Angel?” Cordelia asked confused.
Fred and Gunn gave a long look at each other. Neither wanted to tell the bad news, but Gunn decided he would do so. “Well, there’s a little problem with Angel.”
It might come as a shock to many, but Angelus was a very good cook. One doesn’t exist for nearly three centuries without picking up on various trades. Of course, soulboy didn’t flaunt the talent. He had to hold on to whatever masculinity he actually had.
“My Sire, Darla, used to love it when I made her ziti,” Angelus told the redhead. “We’d eat, then feed on some poor maid at whatever hotel we stayed at, then we’d fuck for days.” Angelus sighed at the memory. “Those were good times.”
Angelus placed two plates on the table. Taking the bowl of pasta, he served helping onto both. He then cracked open a bottle of wine and filled a pair of glasses.
“I must say,” Angelus said. “I’ve truly enjoyed our evening together. I’d love to do it again sometime.”
The girl moaned as she slid further down in her chair. The blood loss was threatening to send her into unconsciousness. Angelus looked upon her with mock sympathy.
“Oh dear, I believe you have had too much to drink.” He moved the glass of wine away from her and then took her wrist. “You don’t mind if I do this, right?” Angelus then took a knife and made a thin slice into her wrist. Holding the bloody girl’s arm over his pasta, he allowed the life-fluid to drip over it.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I really was going to make a sauce for this, but I simply ran out of time.” When a sufficient amount dropped on his ziti, he dropped the girl’s wrist away. She soon slipped into unconsciousness. “Poor dear, you really must learn to say when you’ve had enough.”
The vampire took a bite of the pasta. Chewing slowly he savored the taste of the blood and herbs. Taking a sip of the wine, Angelus made a slightly disgusted face. Glancing at the bottle, he saw the problem. “Americans. When will they learn to make a decent red wine?”
Cordelia leaned on Gunn for support as she entered the lobby of the Hyperion. Groo was the first to envelope her in a hug. Cordelia returned the embrace. After prying herself from his arms, she accepted one from Lorne.
“It’s good to have you back, Princess,” the demon solemnly said. Cordelia smiled slightly and took a set on a couch.
The Seer was too much in a state of shock to do much else. Angel, her Champion, had lost his soul. Gunn and Fred had explained it to her. Shortly after returning with Groo, she and Angel went missing. A few days later, her comatose form was found outside the hospital.
Everyone had assumed the worst about Angel when he didn’t show up. Then nearly ten days ago while on patrol, Gunn and Groo came across…him. It wasn’t her Champion any longer. It was a monster, and they found it feeding on a teenage boy.
The demon was set loose and no one knew how. Over the next couple of patrols, Gunn said that he felt a presence around him. It was Angel, he said, only it wasn’t. He could feel the dark brown eyes watching his every movements, only now it wasn’t out of curiosity and benevolence. They were eyes that were searching for the next meal.
“Cordelia?” Gunn asked. “Is there anything you want?”
“Can you help me to the kitchen?” she asked. Gunn bent down and allowed the Seer to wrap an arm around his neck. They had barely gone three feet when Cordelia gave a strangled cry and went limp.
The vision was unlike any she had ever experienced before. She moaned as images of Angel filling her played through her mind. Images of him being tender and gentle, his tongue tasting every inch of her body. Images of him being rougher, pounding her into the mattress as she cried his name.
It wasn’t real, she told herself before passing out.
Somebody left the window open, Angelus mentally sang. With catlike grace and silence, the vampire entered the room. Those mangy humans had finally left her alone.
For once, Angelus had to applaud soulboy’s taste in women. This one certainly was a delicious little number. Angelus lightly crawled onto the bed, careful not to wake the girl. He positioned himself right above her, hands to each side of her head. He made sure that no part of him touched her. Although, there was one part of him he wouldn’t mind touching her with.
Angelus inhaled deeply. He smelled her hair, her neck, her mouth. Only a faint linger of her vanilla perfume remained. The time in the hospital had given her a sterile scent.
Oh, it would be so much fun to play with this one. Even Nancy-boy admitted that. Even he wanted this one, wanted to turn her and claim her, to make her his. And Angelus wanted the same.
Patience, he reminded himself. All good things come to those who wait. And Angelus had every intention of making this on ‘come’ to him.
But he restrained himself. The game hadn’t even started yet. It would be no fun to turn her now. He wanted the pleasure of systematically destroying this one’s soul. He wanted to watch her pain as the shell of her best friend committed monstrosities against all she cared about.
Tentatively, Angelus trailed his tongue along her cheek. The beauty stirred but didn’t wake. Oh God, this one tasted good.
“Goodnight, Cordelia,” he whispered in her ear. “Sweet dreams for now, Little One. Because I soon plan on making your existence a nightmare.”
Gently the vampire removed himself from the bed. Taking an envelope from his pants pocket, he placed it on the table next to the bed. After brushing a stray strand of hair from her face, Angelus disappeared into the dark Los Angeles night.