I own nothing canon from either Buffy
. Chapter Six
In the lobby of the Hyperion Hotel in Los Angeles, a green-skinned demon with red horns brought a young woman a glass of water. She sat wanly on a round couch. “That better, babycakes?” the demon asked.
“Yeah, thanks.” Greatfully, she drank the water, swallowing two pills.
Three other men came out of the back office, about to rush to her side, when the phone rang. “I’ll get it.” One of them picked up the phone. “Angel Investigations. This is Angel.”
“Angel? Oh thank God.”
Angel frowned and looked at the others. He motioned Gunn and Wesley to go to Fred’s side and glean what information they could from the most recent vision. “Yes, this is Angel. Who is this?”
“My name is Dr. Robert Chase. I’m calling from Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey.”
“New Jersey?” Angel repeated. “Okay. Can I help you with something?”
There was deep concern in the voice on the other end of the line. “I’m calling about my cousin.”
On the couch, Fred frowned as she looked at Gunn, Wesley, and the demon Lorne gathered around her. “You aren’t going to believe this,” she said.
“Your cousin?” Angel asked. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
“Your business card was in her bag,” Chase said. “She mentioned that she used to work for a private detective and then there was this thing, and – ”
Angel cut him off, a bad feeling suddenly coming over him. “What did you say your name was?”
The realization hit Angel like a hammer. “Cordelia,” he said. He did not wait for Chase’s confirmation. “What’s wrong with her?”
“She came to visit me,” Chase said. “But while she was here she had an episode of severe neurological pain. Bad enough to cause her to collapse.”
“What?” Angel said. “That’s impossible.”
“I saw it,” Chase insisted. “There was no explanation. But now…” His voice trailed off. After a long pause, he said, “She had a second, worse than the first. She’s in a coma.”
Angel did not reply for a long time. Finally he said, “We’ll be out as soon as possible.” Then he hung up the phone.
Wesley approached the front desk. “Angel, Fred’s vision – something’s happened.”
He looked at Wesley sadly. “Yeah. It has.”
Wesley frowned. “What are you talking about?”
Angel pushed past him and walked to the couch. “I need you all to listen,” he said. He waved Gunn off when he saw that he was about to interrupt. “The vision can wait.”
Gunn nodded and sat quietly, waiting for Angel to continue. Angel looked at each of his staff in turn, then said quietly, “It’s Cordelia.”
“We know,” Fred said.
Angel frowned. “What?”
“My vision. It was about Cordelia. She had a phantom vision.” Fred replied.
Gunn frowned. “I still don’t understand this phantom vision thing.”
“It’s like phantom pain,” Wesley said. “When a person loses a limb, often they claim to feel pain in that limb even though it’s no longer there. In Cordelia’s case, she’s experiencing the pain and physical effects of the visions she once had even though the visions themselves are no longer there.”
Fred added, “And they’ve gotten so bad that now she’s in a coma.”
Angel nodded sadly. “Yeah.”
“Who was that on the phone?” Wesley asked.
“A Dr. Robert Chase,” Angel replied. “He’s attending her at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey.”
“What is she doing in New Jersey?” Gunn asked.
Wesley did not give Angel the chance to respond. “Chase?” he asked.
Angel nodded. “Apparently he’s also Cordelia’s cousin.”
The others sat in stunned silence. “Wow,” Gunn finally said. “After all these years.”
“Yeah,” Angel whispered.
“We never knew where she went,” Fred said. “I don’t mind having the visions, really I don’t, but she never said anything. She never told us where she was going.”
“I know,” Angel said.
Gunn looked confused. “She gave up Los Angeles for New Jersey?”
“We have to go to New Jersey,” Angel said. “We have to see her.”
Tears shone in Wesley’s eyes. “She isn’t going to wake up, is she?”
Angel shook his head. “It doesn’t sound like it.”
Fred started to cry. Lorne put his arm around her and wiped a tear from his own red eye. Gunn sniffed, stood up, and began pacing around the room. “So when do we leave?” he asked.
“As soon as possible. The next flight out,” Angel replied.
Wesley and Lorne shared a look. “Angel,” Wesley said. “You know you can’t fly. There’s no way you will be safe on an airplane.”
“What about a red-eye flight?”
Gunn shook his head. “Still too risky. If you get barbequed, we’re screwed.”
“I have to get to New Jersey as soon as possible,” Angel insisted.
“It’s too dangerous!” Wesley repeated.
“I am not leaving her alone!” Angel shouted. “I’m going to New Jersey!” Then he turned and stalked into the office.
Wesley sighed and dropped his head in his hands. Fred leaned against Lorne’s shoulder, still sniffling. “What are we going to do?” she asked. “He can’t fly.”
“But if he decides to fly,” Gunn said, “We can’t stop him.”
“No,” Wesley agreed. “So we just have to find a way to make it safe.” Abruptly, he got up and headed into the office.
Angel was sitting at the desk, staring at nothing. “Angel,” Wesley said softly. The vampire looked up. “We can find a way to get you to New Jersey,” Wesley added. Angel continued to say nothing. Wesley sat down opposite the desk in frustration.
“What about a coffin?”
Wesley looked up, appalled. “A what?”
“A coffin,” Angel repeated. “Put me in a coffin and check it.”
“That’s sick,” Wesley replied. “And also requires mounds of paperwork.”
Angel stood up and picked up the phone. “Then I would get on that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a phone call to make.”
Wesley looked at Angel, shaking his head, but ultimately got up and left the office. Once the door was shut firmly, Angel dialed a familiar number and listened to the rings.
Buffy Summers sounded surprised. “Angel? Is everything okay?”
Angel closed his eyes and squeezed the bridge of his nose. He sat back at the desk. “No Buffy. It’s not.”
“Cordelia?” Buffy asked. “You heard from her? Where is she?”
“We didn’t hear from her,” Angel said. “We heard from her doctor. She’s in New Jersey. In a coma.”
There was no response from Buffy, but Angel could hear her gasp in shock. He continued, “I’m leaving as soon as Wesley can arrange to transport a dead body by plane.”
“Uh, excuse me?”
If the situation had not been so grim, Angel would have chuckled. “A coffin, Buffy. It’s the safest way for me to fly. Anyway, I think she would want you to be there too.”
There was another pause. Finally, Buffy said, “Just tell me which airport to fly into.”