Cordelia and Wesley walked into the lobby of the Hyperion. Angel stood at Cordelia's desk, looking through a newspaper.
"Has Miss Rosenberg left already?" Wesley asked.
Angel nodded, "She had to get back to Sunnydale. They have something going on there."
"So, the spell," Cordelia's tone was anxious, "did it work?" She stepped forward and grabbed Angel's hand. "You're warm!" she exclaimed.
Angel pulled his hand free and stepped away. "Yeah, warm"
Cordelia frowned. "What's with all the brooding. Shouldn't you be excited. I mean, how long has it been since you could see your reflection in a mirror?"
Angel was quiet for a long moment. It actually hadn't been that long since that day he had spent as a human, the day he had spent with Buffy. But he was the only one who remembered that. As wonderful as the memory was, he almost wished he didn't have it. It was just too painful.
"I'm fine, Cordelia," Angel finally said. "I just don't want to get used to this. It isn't going to last. It's just for the mission."
"You're sure you'll be all right with this, Angel?" Wesley asked, concerned.
Angel shook his head. "I'm fine. Let's drop it. Cordelia, we have a flight to catch." It was situation like this that made Angel glad he had money. Getting last minute flight from L.A. to DC hadn't been cheap. Things were further complicated by the fact that he couldn't be outside at all during sunlight.
"My suitcase is in Wesley's car. Do you have your tux?" Cordelia asked.
Angel grabbed a garment bag that had been hanging on one of the doors. "Right here. Let's go."
Two hours later and Cordelia and Angel were in the plane, headed toward Washington.
"I can't believe we're headed to DC to visit the White House," Cordelia exclaimed. "This is so cool."
Angel just shook his head. "Cordelia, remember why we're going, okay? This isn't a fun trip, this is business."
Cordelia rolled her eyes, "Everything you do is business. You need to relax. There's no reason why we can't enjoy ourselves while we're there. After all, we're going to the First Lady's birthday party. It is going to be amazing. The people, the food, the music. There was a spread on her party last year in Vanity Fair. It sounded incredible."
"I don't know, shouldn't a birthday party be with people you know and love, and not some guy you never met who just happened to give a lot of money to your husband's political party?"
"Or in your case a guy pretending to be a guy who just happened to give a lot of money," Cordelia said with a grin.
"I don't like parties," Angel said, frowning.
"Yes, Angel. You've made that quite evident in the past. But don't worry about it. Even if there is dancing, it will be waltzes and that kind of thing. You must have learned to do that at some point in the years you were traveling around killing people."
"I can dance. I just don't like doing it. I actually learned how when I was human. And Darla liked balls. She thought that people tasted better in formal wear."
Cordelia wrinkled her nose, but decided not to comment. In her years of knowing Angel she had become rather immune to such statements. "This is going to be hard, you realize that, right?"
"I know, Cordy."
"I mean, this is the White House. We're actually going to have to be subtle. Security is kind of an issue here. You can't take down the entire Secret Service."
"I might be able to."
Cordelia shot him a look. "Yeah, Angel. That sounds like a great way to prove your manhood. Try to take on the best armed guards in the world. That wouldn't cause any problems at all."
"Calm down," Angel said, a small smile on his lips, "I was just joking."
"You're doing that more often now."
"Doing what?" Angel asked.
"Joking." Cordelia paused for a moment, "It's nice."
Silence fell between them. They had been growing closer lately. Cordelia thought of Angel as her best friend. But there were moments of awkwardness between them, moments when both were wondering if they were getting too close.
"Do you really think we can pull this off?" Angel asked, finally breaking the silence.
"I don't know. If it doesn't we'll be dead or wind up spending some time in jail. That's always the sign of a good plan."
"You mean YOU'LL end up in jail. I can run fast, and bullets won't kill me."
Cordelia swatted Angel on the arm. "Hey! You can't abandon me. You're a champion. Besides, I'm your seer, and you need me."
Angel looked at her, his face becoming serious. "Yeah. I really do."
Cordelia smiled, touched at his words. She tried to think of a way to response, but couldn't.
"You should try to get some sleep," Angel suggested. "We're going to be pretty busy tomorrow. I want to spend the day going over strategy, things like that. We're going to have to get our story all straightened out."
"You are talking to an actress, you know. I happen to be very good." Cordelia raised an eyebrow in challenge.
"Of course you are, now get some sleep."
"The president is writing his own toast?" CJ Cregg paced her office, worry evident on her face.
"Yes." Toby Ziegler didn't try to hide his displeasure over the situation.
"And he hasn't asked for your help at all? Or Sam's?"
"In fact he has refused my help multiple times."
"This could turn out badly."
"Yes, but last time I volunteered my help he threatened to have the secret service throw me out of the room, so I'm not going to push the issue anymore."
"Well, as long as he doesn't tell the ditch-digger story..."
"One can only hope," Toby agreed, rubbing his temples.
"You really should write something for him. Just as a back-up speech."
"I already have. Sam and I wrote one a week ago. But you know him. He's not going to use it. He's really insistent about this sort of thing."
CJ just shook her head. "This could really be bad."
Just then there was a knock on the door, and Josh Lyman stuck his head in. "Oh, good. You're both still here." Josh leaned against the door frame. "Toby, I want you to sit in on my meeting tomorrow."
"The education bill."
Toby sighed, "Josh."
"Come on, Toby."
"I'll just wind up yelling."
"You always wind up yelling," CJ interjected.
"Well, they always say something stupid."
"I still want you there." Josh remained firm.
"Is there a particular reason you feel the need to torture me?"
"Fine. I'll be there."
"Great. I'm headed home, but I'll see you guys in the morning."
"I'm headed out too," CJ said. "I'll walk with you, just let me pack up some stuff."
Toby stood up, "I'm going back to my office."
"Sam tells me that the President is writing his own toast." Josh couldn't keep the grin off his face.
"Don't remind me."
"It shouldn't be too bad," Josh said. "Just make sure he doesn't tell the ditch-digger story."