~~~Through a Glass Darkly~~~
~~~Chapter 7: Finality~~~
Cordy gaped at Doyle, her mouth hanging open. “That can’t be! I get visions for Angel, but that one must have been meant for you? I- I-“
Angel stood with a growl, glaring at Doyle. “What did you do?”
“I do?!? I didn’t do anything! We have to get back; we have to save her!” Doyle had unconsciously drawn his sword, and it hung loosely in his hand. He stared around in near panic and almost bolted to the mirror in the other room. Faint tremors ran through his hands, and despite his outwardly calm appearance, everyone knew that Doyle was becoming greatly alarmed. For the first time since he’d walked through the mirror in the dingy hotel room, Doyle himself began glowing. Instead of the sunrise of Cordelia’s skin, he shone with the light of night, starlight on water, moonlight on polished stone.
If she hadn’t been so wound up, Cordelia might have stopped to appreciate the view. Instead, she pushed herself off the couch and made a rude gesture to the ceiling. “Alright, you pansy-ass Powers. Get down here! You can’t possibly think I’m supposed to go with him, do you?!?!?” She shouted loud enough that Angel and Doyle both winced.
There was a loud pop, and the company jumped back as a large, bronze demon appeared in the middle of the lobby. He was covered in metal plates and adorned with spikes and knobs with a ring through his chin. He waved, smiling. “Hi guys!”
Cordy and Angel said in unison, “Skip?”
The demon in question nodded and jumped to sit on the check-in counter. “So, Cordy, seems you wanted a little chat?”
He preened, smoothing his fingers over his chin ring. “Me. Powers sent a messenger, just like you asked. Though I suppose we should be grateful they didn’t send Joan of Arc… that was terrible flick.” He shook his head. “Messenger: good concept, poor execution. Sure, Milla Jovovich is as delicious as they come, but more with the crazy voices than the helpful information. Now, did you have a question for me?”
“Do I have a question? Of course, you bozo! Do you mean to tell me I’m his seer now?” She pointed rudely in Doyle’s direction. Skip followed her gaze.
“No, not at all.” She slumped in relief, only to tense up when the balancing demon continued. “I mean you are your own seer now.” Now her eyes went wide. “The Powers have a new job for you to do, and it means working with this lovely sidhe here, as well as some of his companions. The fae of his world are loosing strength and vitality because of their ties to a corrupt royalty. Their numbers and magic are fading, as is deemed by the Powers, but they’re fading at too fast a rate. Things have not been allowed to run their full course and the Powers need the sidhe in that reality. You were chosen to help their cause.”
Angel slid into game face and stalked over to Skip, poking him in the chest. “She. Is. My. Seer.”
The demon sighed, and patiently continued. “Not any more, ducks. That’s been taken care of.” He pushed himself off the counter and strode to the group of thoroughly confused people and demons on the other side of the lobby. He stopped in front of Lorne and clapped him on the back. “Meet your new link.” He chuckled to himself. “Too bad I didn’t get to demote anyone; I’ve always wanted to do that bit: ‘You are the weakest link. Goodbye!’”
Lorne choked and staggered to the couch, sinking on it heavily. He made a few strangled noises, and fell silent. Angel looked from Lorne, to Skip, to Cordy and back to Skip again. “You’re serious.”
“Don’t let the guy’s fashion sense put you off. He’s your link alright, and a darned good one too. His prognosticating ability will be slightly different for visions than his usual aura readings, so it’ll be much the same as Doyle’s and Cordy’s visions.” He grinned. “See? The Powers have everything under control.”
Cordy stalked over to Skip, fury evident on her face. The lights in her eyes flickered and danced, and she began to glow. “You knew! You knew when I made my choice what would happen, and you let me think it would be fine. You let me believe that all that would happen is a bit of demon in me, that’s it!”
“Well, of course I did. Though I did warn you it would be difficult, if you recall.” He grabbed Cordy’s shoulder and squeezed slightly. Though easily dwarfed by his size, she stood up to him with a fury that made her seem his equal. His lined and grooved face softened for a moment. “I am sorry, if that means anything. But I also know what a fantastic champion you will be in your own right.”
The brunette couldn’t help it. The anger evaporated, and in its wake came tears. She turned to Angel who walked forward and embraced her, holding her tightly. “I can’t, I just… these are my family, how can I leave them?”
Angel murmured gently into her hair, “You can because you’re a champion, as over used as that word is. You have amazing strength Cordy, and you will do wonderful things. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll come back.” He kissed her forehead. “I don’t want you to go, we don’t want you to go, but we’ve all lived our lives for the greater good for some time now. As much as it kills me, I have to agree with Skip. You will knock their socks off. Hey, do you think you can keep in touch with that mirror trick?”
They both looked to a still distressed Doyle, who shrugged. Skip cleared his throat. “I think we can be convinced to look the other way if she wants to call home every so often. We’re not monsters, you know.” The glares that Angel Investigations sent definitely showed that they thought otherwise.
Still sniffling slight, Cordy whispered, “Can I not go? I mean, is there a way out of this?”
Skip shook his massive head. “No. We thought sending Doyle here would be enough to convince you, but it seems that your ties here were stronger than we appreciated. As his princess really is in danger, we then felt a vision would be proper motivation. You have great compassion and willingness to aide others, and we did not believe that you would leave her to suffer and die. No choice is an easy one, but we would not have chosen you if you weren’t up to the task. Consider yourself elevated, if you prefer. Not everyone has what it takes to be an instrument of the Powers. As it was an honor to be your guide, so it is an honor to deliver this information.”
“Will we save her?” Doyle asked, worry coloring his tone.
“We believe so, though we’ve sent a warning with enough time for Cordy to fetch some things from home and say goodbye to her friends. As I said, we’re not monsters.”
Cordy straightened her shoulders and shook back her hair. “Fine. If I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to leave from home. I’ve got a full length mirror there, and you did say I could bring some things with me. Oh god, I don’t even know what I’ll live on there! I don’t have any of their money; I don’t even know if it’s the same!”
Doyle, now that they were definitely leaving, relaxed a bit and said, “I’m fairly sure that you will be hired on at the same detective agency that Meredith works at. Jeremy Gray hired all of us when we showed up, and I know he won’t say no to another sidhe on the staff since Meredith’s had to… retire until the threats on her life are resolved. As for a place to stay, there’s more than enough room in Maeve’s guest house, and you may wish to stay with at least somewhat familiar faces for a while at least.”
Cordy nodded numbly. Angel retrieved Connor from his bassinette and handed him gently to her. “Here, we’ll take him with us. We’ll drive to your apartment, and say goodbye there.” Snuggling the baby close, Cordy followed Angel through the back of the Hyperion to the covered parking area. She paid no attention to the others, including Skip, who filed out after them, not noticing as they exchanged looks and picked up a few items from the hotel, placing them in a duffle.
The ride back to her apartment was silent, and while the tension was high, no one wanted to speak. Doyle watched Cordy like a hawk eyeing a mouse, and wouldn’t let her out of his sight. She cooed and cuddled Connor, trying to work into a few minutes all the love and attention that he’d miss out on in the time to come. Angel’s hands were white on the steering wheel as he clutched it tightly.
All too soon, they arrived, and were met by an incorporeal Dennis at the door. The ghost responded to the anxiety in the room by fluttering around and waving a dish towel erratically. Cordy gave Connor one last kiss and handed him back to his father. She almost smiled a bit as Dennis floated a blanked over her shoulders in concern.
“It’s OK, Dennis. I have to go away… like really away. We need to pack; want to help?” She trailed off down the hallway to her room, talking to the air, filling him in on the situation.
The rest of Angel Investigations exchanged glances with each other and glares with Skip, who seemed utterly unperturbed. He poked through the movie collection on Cordy’s shelf, making comments under his breath. Doyle paced in front of the mirror in the living room, ignoring everyone. Fred sat on the couch, flanked by Gunn and Wes, and Lorne walked straight to Cordy’s liquor cabinet and made himself a sea breeze. Angel called out, “Bourbon on the rocks,” and Lorne complied with a double.
Finally, Cordy came back down the hallway carrying two suitcases. She opened one and stuffed all the pictures she could find from the apartment inside, as well as a few knickknacks. She looked around at her beloved apartment and sighed. “Well, I guess this is it.”
“Not quite.” Wes stood, handing her a third duffle. “We thought you may wish to take these with you.” Curious, Cordy opened the bag. Inside were her favorite crossbow with extra bolts, the short sword she regularly used with a lovely leather scabbard, and a set of beautifully carved daggers. She held the knives up, winking them in the light.
Smiling sadly, Wes walked to her, kneeling beside her. “Those were mine, a gift from my father upon graduation from the Watcher’s Academy. I guess, in a way, this is your your graduation. They’ve been blessed by several holy men and women, and were forged by the Anatari. It’s said they will never miss a target.” He grabbed her hands in his own. “We will miss you, Cordelia, more than you will ever know. Be safe.” He embraced her fully, drawing her close. She squeezed back just as intensely.
One by one, the group said their goodbyes, even Skip. Cordy held her tears back, but inside, something was breaking. Coming to LA on her own the first time hadn’t been nearly so hard. She didn’t then have the love that these people had given her; she didn’t have the calling either. And now? She was starting over again, where the only moderately familiar thing was a tall, dark and handsome type that promised to help her. She decided it was definitely better than nothing and took one last look around, hurrying so she wouldn’t loose her courage and throw a true Queen C temper tantrum and refuse to leave.
“Okay, let’s charge it up or whatever.” She placed her palms on the mirror, smoothing them over the glass almost reverently. An unseen wind ruffled her hair and she frowned. “No Dennis, you can’t come. You’re tied to the house, remember?” The wind only intensified and the ghost fogged up the mirror, tracing with an unseen hand, ‘Don’t Go!’
Cordy shook slightly as she responded, “I’m sure the next person to live here will be fine, Dennis. We really have to leave; we don’t know how much time we have.” With that, she took Doyle’s hand and with her other hand grasped the bags. They faced the mirror after giving the assembled group one last look and the dark sidhe made the complicated passes over the glass once more. It rippled and flowed, and he gripped the seer’s hand tightly.
Cordy whispered goodbye, meeting Angel’s eyes, and followed Doyle as he stepped into the mirror without looking back. The wind ruffled their hair as they disappeared from sight, and when they were gone, the silence echoed painfully though the flat.
~~~End Chapter Seven~~~
~~~End Through a Glass Darkly~~~
To be continued in the next book in the series: Lifting the Veil. This story can be found here:Lifting the Veil