Soulripper 8

Part 8: An Unforeseen Occurrence

“Hello my Queen.”

Cordelia slowly opened her eyes and found the smirking form of Angelus leering at her. Her impulse to coil back in fear was stopped. She was handcuffed to a pole. And why the hell did her head feel so weird?

“You’re so beautiful,” Angelus whispered. He gently stroked Cordelia’s cheek. He was only slightly put off when she shied away from his touch. It would just take a while to adjust to the new him.

“Don’t touch me,” she said with more bravado than she had.

“Cordelia,” he whispered. “I love you. I can worship you. I can make you a Goddess. I can make the world worship you.”

“I don’t want to be worshiped. I want Angel back.”

Angelus stood slowly, a look of anger on his face. “You’d rather have that impotent jackoff than me? I can give you the world. What can he give you?”

Cordelia fixed her most steadfast glare on the vampire. “Happiness,” she said simply.

Angelus screamed in frustration. Taking a chair, he threw it with all his might into the wall, shattering it into pieces. He paid no attention to his Queen as he slammed his bedroom door when he left.

Cordelia struggled against the handcuffs, her eyes never leaving a pointed leg of the now broken chair.

************
Gunn stumbled down the hallway, using the wall to support his weight. It took most of his strength to knock on the apartment door.

The door opened in a flash, nearly sending Gunn crashing to the floor. Fred was by his side in an instant. “My God, Charles! What happened?” Blood oozed from a gash on the back of his head.

The rest of the gang had heard the commotion and came running. Willow had grabbed an ice bag from the freezer, and Tara was toting a First Aid kit from the bathroom.

Fred gently settled her boyfriend onto the couch. Clutching his hand, the terrified girl couldn’t be pulled away. Tara had to administer treatment around her.

“Gunn, where’s Cordelia?” Willow asked.

Gunn shook his head. “I dunno,” he said. “He took her.” Gunn was openly crying. “Cordy and I went to get some of the supplies we needed. When we got back to the truck, he came out of nowhere. Son of a Bitch hit me with a crowbar or something. By the time I came too, Cordy was gone.” Trying to hold back the tears, he said, “I’m sorry. I lost her.”

“My Princess is gone?” Groo asked shocked. “We must get her back. We must find where Angel took her.”

“That’s a fine thought, Pumpkin, but where the hell would we start? This is a big city,” Lorne said.

“Lorne’s right,” Willow agreed. “It’s like a needle in a haystack.”

“But we must save her,” Groo insisted.

Tara finished taping a bandage to Gunn head. “Guys, it’s been said. The chances of finding Cordelia are slim. We need another plan.”

“We already have one,” Gunn said through his tears. “We go ahead with Plan A. The best way to save Cordelia is by saving Angel first. We collect the ghost dude and his necklace, and the problem is solved. Vampy gets his soul back and he can’t hurt Cordy.”

“I think Gunn’s right,” Willow said. “It’s just not feasible to go around every hole in Los Angeles trying to find Cordelia. This is the best option.”

Gunn accepted the Kleenex Fred offered and wiped away his tears. “The stuff is down in the truck. I managed to put it in before Angelus clubbed me. Has everything else been taken care of?”

“Yes,” Willow answered. “Tara and I went and rented a couple cheap cars today. They should more than do the job.”

“I got the van that we needed from my friend,” Lorne said. “The color’s been changed and the license plates are fake, so that’s all set.”

“Good,” Gunn said. “Then tomorrow we do it. Tomorrow we save our friends.”

**********
Angelus sat Indian style a few feet away from his Queen. His eyes were transfixed on her shapely curves that were accentuated by her tight jeans and tank top. She truly was a most beautiful woman.

“Is it so hard to believe that I could love you?” he asked.

“You don’t love me,” Cordelia snapped back at him. Whatever drug she had been given had long since worn off. “You just want to control me. You just want me to be your bitch.”

“No!” Angelus angrily denied. “I want to treat you the way that you deserve. I want to give you all the things Soulboy couldn’t. To give you all the things he was afraid to give you. You know Nancyboy loved you?”

Cordelia stared at Angelus in shock. Cordelia had noticed all the little things, but she denied them. She thought maybe he was transferring his feeling for Buffy to her. Maybe because he saw her as Connor’s mother, so he felt obligated to love her.

“No,” Cordelia said.

“Yes,” Angelus spat. “He was afraid that if he acted he’d lose his soul. And ya know what?” He bent down so he was eye level with the Seer. “He was right. Like a fart in the wind, the soul would have been gone. But a part of him didn’t care. You know why?”

“Why?” Cordelia asked, despite her fear of the answer.

“Because he knew that I loved you, too. He wasn’t afraid that I’d hurt you. He was afraid of what I’d do to everyone else.”

“That’s not true. It can’t be…” Cordelia trailed off as she suddenly fell limp.

“Cordelia?” Angelus was feeling for her pulse in seconds. It was strong and steady. “What the hell?” Angelus shouted. Suddenly his nose began to twitch. Leaning closer, the vampire smelled it. Or rather, he didn’t smell it.

“She’s without soul.”

***********
The ‘fantasma’ smiled and placed the small crystal bead on the necklace.

“Just as you wished,” he said to the Senior Associates. “Now the Seer shouldn’t present you with any problems.”

PART NINE

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