Part 5 – Semper Idem
Despite the common stereotype that the Los Angeles Police Department was consisted of morons and worse, they were extremely thorough. Cordelia might even go as far as saying too thorough.
Detectives had questioned them all non-stop, all except Lorne, who had wisely decided to leave before they could arrive. Everyone had followed Cordelia’s example: They didn’t know who the girl was. As for who was responsible, it’s possible that it was a former client that was dissatisfied with an investigation.
Cordelia couldn’t watch when the body was brought down in a bag. The image of her cold, dead eyes still haunted Cordelia whenever she closed her own. This wasn’t the work of her oftentimes morose best friend. This was Angelus.
Cordelia didn’t fool herself like Buffy Summers had. She didn’t try to separate the demon and soul into two entities. Cordelia had always known that Angel and Angelus were opposite sides of the same coin. It was like bipolar disease from hell.
But she, unlike many others, accepted that the demon was part of what he was. She had to accept it, because she loved who Angel was, and the demon was part of that.
But this was completely different.
This was pure, 100% Angelus. There was no soul in him now. It wasn’t the being that had become so important to her the past few years.
She had told Angel once that if the demon was ever let loose, she wouldn’t hesitate to kill him. Angel had thanked her for that. Gunn had told her that Angel had said the same not too long ago to him.
Staking her best friend had long been a nightmare of hers.
But bottom line, if there were no other options, she could do it in a heartbeat. She owed it to him to do so. Cordelia knew that the soul of the boy once known as Liam wouldn’t forgive her if she did otherwise.
A female detective finally drew her attention away from her thoughts. “Miss, if you have another place where you can relocate your business for a time, it would be for the best. We want to cordon off the building as a crime scene.”
“Yeah,” Cordelia said. “We can move.”
“Good,” the detective replied. “You’ll understand if we need to contact you or any of your associates?”
“Yes. Thank you detective. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to speak with my friends about relocation.” The detective nodded and let Cordelia go. Everyone was waiting in Wesley’s office for her.
“So what happens now, my Princess?” Groo asked her. Cordelia felt sorry for the man. He was in a strange land, and had no idea what was going on at the moment. He didn’t understand why everyone was suddenly so afraid of Angel. The man seemed distant at times, but Groo liked him. He had excellent weapons.
“Well, it’s been ‘suggested’ that we find someplace else to conduct our business for the time being.”
“They’re forcing us out?” Gunn asked incredulously. “That’s bullshit. Why?”
“They want the entire building blocked off as a crime scene. Personally, I think it’s not such a bad idea. This place is too large and Angelus has easy access. I was thinking about moving us to my apartment for now. Tara, can you do an un-invitation spell?”
“Yeah, no problem,” Tara answered.
“Good. Because Angel had a standing invitation to the place. Fred, call Lorne and tell him where we’ll be at.” Fred immediately grabbed the phone. “I guess now we just gather up whatever books and supplies we might need. We can try to get as much as we can moved, then later I want to go see Lilah.”
“You really think this law firm may be responsible?” Willow asked.
“This isn’t a normal law firm,” Gunn said. “Most lawyers are blood suckers, these guys actually represent them. They specialize in demonic shit. They’re the same people that raised Angel’s sire from the dead.”
“They’ve been a thorn in our side for a long time,” Cordelia said. “I bet they’re just loving Angelus being on the loose.”
“So everything is being finalized for tonight’s assault?” Kelemoke asked.
“The details are being ironed out,” Angelus answered. “Tonight we shall eliminate the Hoffman clan, tomorrow it shall be Alexander. After that, I want to regroup and then concentrate efforts in the south part of Los Angeles.”
Kelemoke poured a couple glasses of wine and handed one to Angelus. “Here, I think you will appreciate this. It’s Italian. Bottled in 1876.”
Angelus grinned as he accepted the glass. “I have no idea what you are referring to Kelemoke. I think that primitive African brain has finally given out on you, my friend.”
“Bite me, you arrogant Irish pig,” Kelemoke laughed. “You know exactly what I refer to. That whole ‘Inheritance’ scam you put on that Venetian girl and her father.”
“One of my finest moments,” Angelus admitted.
“You wooed the man and his daughter. You then convinced the old bastard to will his money to you when he died, and all the while, you fucked his daughter behind his back. You killed him and then turned the girl.”
“The townspeople saw two puncture wounds on his neck and saw his recently vampirized daughter leaning over the carcass. They reached the obvious conclusion.”
“You really were a conniving bastard, Angelus,” Kelemoke smirked. “Good to see some things never change.”
“Semper idem, my friend. Always the same.”
“Indeed,” Kelemoke said. “If I may ask, where did you go last night? You didn’t cause any trouble, did you?”
“Of course not,” Angelus laughed. “As I said before, Kelemoke, I wish to have a Queen for my Kingdom. I had to go off to court my lady. And as you know, what’s a good courtship without the giving of gifts?”
Lilah Morgan was tired as hell. Things at the office were always fairly hectic, but the past few weeks it was hectic to the exponent of x. All the wanted was a shot of scotch, a couple of Percodan, and a soft bed.
She turned the lock on door and entered her lonely, dark apartment. She threw her briefcase to the floor, not caring where it landed. She immediately headed for the liquor cabinet. A loud clicking behind her stopped her pursuit for alcohol.
“You’ve got five seconds to tell me what the hell you did to Angel before I pierce your skull with this crossbow.”
An easy battle was like a bad fuck, Angelus thought. Sure, you got off on it, but it just wasn’t as powerful an experience.
Defeating the Hoffman Clan proved to be ridiculously easy. And what made it worse was the fact the their leader, Thomas Hobbes, had the gall to beg for mercy. Having mercy was God’s job, not Angelus’.
His own forces had sustained no losses, not that Angelus cared. It didn’t take long to create a new minion to take a fallen one’s place. But still, Kelemoke could be fickle about things like that. He didn’t like losing minions. And Angelus genuinely liked Kelemoke, so he would try to avoid unnecessary losses.
The only positive about this battle was the bounty. Hobbes might have been an imbecile, but he kept some nice looking wenches around for personal pleasures. Angelus spotted a brunette that he could have a lot of fun with.
Hobbes also kept some fine weaponry. Angelus was particularly fond of a 15th century Japanese katana he found in a closet downstairs. That would be going in the personal collection for sure.
“Is anyone else as disappointed as I am?” he asked of his minions. “Who else would like to attack Alexander’s clan tonight?”
His minions cheered the idea. They too wanted to fight. And the chance for more prizes was also an enticing prospect.
“Then it’s settled,” Angelus said. “Saddle up. We move in ten minutes.”
The minions shouted approval once more. They quickly finished moving their bounty into the vans outside. After so long a time of sedentary living, it was good to be in battle once again.
“I really need a better home security system,” Lilah muttered. From the shadows appeared Angel’s bitch, accompanied by two others. “Well, I know Mr. Gunn, but who’s the blond with the bags under her eyes?”
“You’d better start talking,” Cordelia threatened. “Or I make sure you walk with a limp for the rest of your life.” She lowered the crossbow and aimed for Lilah’s thigh.
“You brought one of those into my home before. As much as I know you wanted to, you didn’t use it on me. What makes you think you could?”
Cordelia released the bolt before Lilah had time to blink. Lilah hit the ground hard, the arrow sliced through her leg and imbedded in the floor behind her. “You bitch!” she screamed.
“It’s just a flesh wound,” Cordelia said. The arrow had left a deep and bloody gash on the inside of Lilah’s left thigh, but the wound wasn’t fatal. “And now that you’ve tested my resolve, I suggest you start speaking.”
Behind her, Tara and Gunn stood in shocked silence. Cordy didn’t say anything about shooting anyone. “Um, Cordy?” Gunn started.
“Be quiet,” she told him. “You,” she pointed to Lilah, “start talking.”
“I know surprisingly little,” Lilah said. “Wait, that’s the truth,” she cried as Cordelia loaded another bolt. “I was kicked out of the project.”
“So Wolfram and Hart is responsible for this?” Gunn asked.
“Yes!” Lilah shouted, the pain in her leg increasing. The bitch had ruined a brand new pair of hose, too. “They are responsible for your visions and they are responsible for Angelus being set loose.”
“But not you?” Cordy asked sarcastically.
“Not me,” Lilah defended. “I voted against any plans to release Angelus.”
“Where is Angelus?” Kelemoke asked a minion.
“I do not know, Master,” the minion responded. “He disappeared shortly after we crushed the clan of Alexander.”
“He wasn’t killed in the battle?” Kelemoke asked slightly fearful.
“No Master. I saw him briefly after the fighting. He wasn’t even wounded,” the minion said with pride. “He led us to two great victories tonight, Master.”
“Indeed. But if you or anyone should happen to see him, tell Angelus that I wish to speak with him about the night’s battles.”
“Yes Master.” The minion bowed and set off to collect his share of the night’s treasure. Perhaps he’d be fortunate enough to be rewarded one of the women. He did kill five enemies on the night, after all. Didn’t that deserve a good reward?
Angelus crouched on a nearby rooftop, his black duster whipping in the wind. Across the street, he could see clearly into the apartment. There was his Queen.
Angelus unconsciously began to take short, quick breaths at the site of her. Her short brown hair was pulled up into a ponytail. She wore a pair of tight, faded blue jeans that hugged her curves nicely. The oversized flannel shirt she wore completed the look.
Cordelia Chase was the picture of perfection.
His mind drifted off into memories of waking dreams that he’d been having the past few weeks. Every few days he’d experience a new one. He was sure that they were not memories. Perhaps they were uncontrollable fantasies.
Angelus had one shortly after crushing Alexander’s clan. It sparked an immediate desire to see his future Queen. Perhaps it was some latent or unconscious connection that had led him here, but sure enough, he had found his Queen talking the Her.
Angelus didn’t like that. He didn’t like Lilah Morgan. Angelus had toyed briefly with the idea of turning her, but quickly nixed it. Oftentimes evil humans become shitty vampires.
But to be certain, this was a situation that would have to be rectified.
But not now. Now he would be content watching his Queen hold a crossbow to the whore.