While I Was Sleeping
Title: While I Was Sleeping
Fandoms: Angel/Anita Blake
Disclaimer: Cordelia (and everything Angel) belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
The Anita Blake crew belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton.
Author's Note: For the AB-verse, takes place after Cerulean Sins. For Angel, takes place after the fourth season episode, "Inside Out." Despite the titles, this story bears no relationship to my favorite movie, "While You Were Sleeping."
Spoilers for: Angel 4-17, "Inside Out," and for Cerulean Sins.
Cordelia Chase hated herself. Or at least, hated the thing that was masquerading as herself. Trapped in a tiny pocket of her mind, she was unable to move, or speak, or do anything but watch the demon in control of her body destroy her friends and her world.
That sucked. Big time. She felt so helpless and so frustrated. Seeing all that was going on but unable to do anything.
She sighed. Now she finally understood how Angel had felt, watching Angelus torture and kill people while he was helpless to stop him. She hated what 'she' was doing. She looked over the dilapidated building, where here pregnant self was taking Connor into killing an innocent girl so she could give birth. Poor Connor. He was doomed; not even a visit from his mother's ghost could have saved him now. Driven by his desire for a family, he'd fallen right into the evil plans of...hell, she didn't even know the name of the thing that was possessing her.
Which sucked even more.
But there was more! The worst was yet to come. Once DemonCordy had the blood of the innocent girl Connor was going to slaughter, she was going to give birth to who-knows-the-hell-what, with the real Cordelia Chase, body and soul, involuntarily sacrificing herself for the cause.
Damn it! How could the Powers that Be allow this to happen? She was their seer, the one needed to help their champion save the world. She became part-demon for them so that the visions wouldn't kill her. How dare they abandon her in her time of need?
Screw them. Cordy was pissed off, and she was going to stay that way...at least, until she died... which, if the condition of her demon-possessed body was any indication, would be soon.
She didn't want to die. She was far too young for such thoughts to even enter her mind... well, she would have been if she wasn't an ex-Scooby and current employee of Angel Investigations. Thoughts of death entered her mind daily. But she never thought it would have come to this...
Through the eyes of her demon self, she noticed someone sneaking into the room. Angel! She was saved. Angel would stop the evil demon bitch from killing her body! She'd be free!
Then Cordy got a glimpse of Angel's eyes, and her spirits sunk. She'd never seen such him in such anguish, not even when Connor had been kidnapped or Doyle had been killed.
Angel wasn't here to save her -- he was here to kill her. She took a deep breath - mentally, at least, as she wasn't in control enough to make her actual body take a deep breath - and surrendered to the inevitable. She, Cordelia Chase, was going to die here, tonight. Angel was going to kill her, because it was the only way he knew how to stop her demon spawn from destroying the world. It was killing him inside, but he was going to sacrifice her for the sake of the universe.
All things considered, she was okay with that. She knew Angel could never hurt her if there was any other alternative. "I forgive you," she said, wishing there was some way to make her body utter the words, so Angel could know that she didn't blame him for what he was about to do. She sniffled. Maybe TPTB would let her send him a message from the afterlife.
But before she could feel the sting of his sword, she doubled over in agony, clutching her abdomen. Angel was too late - she was giving birth.
The first thing Cordelia was aware of was the lack of pain. Obviously, whatever birth trauma she'd gone through was over. Of course, that was probably because she was dead.
The second thing she realized was that she now had command of her body. "Yippee!" Cordy yelled, climbing to her feet. "I'm me again. I may be a dead me, but I'm me!"
"You are not dead," came a comforting voice.
Cordelia looked around, but all she could see was the blindingly white room that looked vaguely familiar. "This is where I was when I was one of the Powers," she surmised.
"Yes," the voice said, coalescing into a human-sized mass of glowing white light.
"Does that mean I'm dead?" Cordy asked tentatively.
"No," the Power replied. "You are not dead, nor of the living."
Not dead, not alive... what the --? "I'm a vampire?" she asked. They were the only things she knew of that were neither dead nor alive. Even ghosts, like her former roommate Dennis, were dead.
"You are not a vampire," it explained. "Your body resides down on earth, empty, while your spirit is here with us."
She blinked, staring at the man-shaped glow. "I still don't get it."
"The Powers That Be did not abandon you, seer. Instead, we have a mission of an entirely different sort for you."
"No!" Cordy protested, starting to pace. "After all I've gone through for you people, you want me to do more? I died for you! What more do you want?"
"Your body in this reality lies between life and death. What is to come is not up to us, nor is it up to you. If Angel is able to stop this apocalypse, you may yet be able to return to yourself in this dimension."
"And if not?" Cordy stopped, staring at it. She wished it looked more like a person. It was very unnerving to be talking to an immortal, nearly-all-powerful blob of light. Noting that she was wringing her hands, Cordelia forced herself to stand still and face him head on. She was strong, and confident, a warrior for good and a seer for the Powers that Be. She wasn't going to shy away from her destiny, whatever it may be.
"If not, you will remain in the other reality. The one where your mission lies."
Cordelia glared at it. "Where am I going? And what exactly is this mission?"
The Power's voice echoed behind as it faded away. "To see what others cannot."
The white room faded around her, and Cordelia found herself in what presumably was her new dimension. She was... in the back area of, someplace with big tents. Reminded her a bit of when her nanny had taken her to the circus when she was four...but not.
She looked down, noting that the Powers had dressed her in tailored black slacks, a silky red tank top, snug black leather jacket and stylish-yet-comfortable black boots. At least they hadn't dressed her like a fashion victim.
Feeling a lump, she reached into the pocket of her jacket. Wallet, she noted. "Still Cordelia Chase," she muttered, seeing a State of California drivers' license that looked a lot like hers back in her home dimension. "Same birthday. Still 22." She rifled through the few bills in the wallet, noticing that the money looked exactly like the money from home. "And still poor."
"Okay, time to explore my new world," she muttered, taking a deep breath for courage. "And to figure out exactly what it is the Powers want me to see."
She stepped out from behind the tents and into a whole new world. She was at the circus, all right, but it was the freak circus. Billboards and placards advertised circus acts from hell - vampires, zombie-raisings, giant snakes. She reached down and picked up a crumpled flier that had been apparently been discarded by a previous patron. "Circus of the Damned?" she said incredulously. The Powers that Be had sent her to the Circus of the Damned? Were these people all literally damned? Had they sent her straight to hell?
Her breath quickened as she felt the panic rising. The Hellmouth was one thing, but she didn't want to have to spend the rest of her life in Hell. "Breathe," she reminded herself. "Just breathe."
The sound of a child's giggle drew Cordy's attention. A happy family walked by, with two children skipping at their parents' side. The other visitors to the Circus seemed to be happy, too. Too happy to be in Hell.
Maybe it was all fake, like at Halloween? Or she was on a movie set? She set off to investigate further.
"Aah!" Cordy screamed as she felt the sharp pain shooting through her head. A vision. Damn, they weren't supposed to hurt like that, not since she had become part-demon. The blinding pain drove her to her knees, and she concentrated on breathing, trying to work her way through the pain. She couldn't let the pain distract her from the vision. Someone was in danger. Someone was going to be killed... Damn it. She could see him, but didn't know who or where or why? How was she supposed to save somebody when she didn't know anyone or anything in this world? Not to mention the mind-numbing vision-headache pain.
Cordelia noticed that her screaming headache had drawn attention and she was now surrounded by people. She let a cute guy around her age help her to her feet, rebuffing him when he asked if he could help her. She had a victim to find - hopefully before the monster that was going to kill him did.
Note #1: So, here it is... my first Cordy fic since... well, let's put it this way...the last time I wrote a Cordy-centric fic, she'd just broken up with Xander. What do you all think?
Note #2: I have no idea who Cordy is going to end up with in the Anitaverse... and am actually thinking of doing a poll to let y'all help me figure it out. Should Cordy be with Jean-Claude, Asher, Richard, or Jason? Or someone else? Any suggestions are much appreciated.