Methos froze as he recognised the vampire when Joe introduced him. That bastard! Growling low in his throat he withdrew his sword and advanced on the vampire.
Spike quickly scrambled to his feet and stumbled backward over the furniture. That was a feat in itself, there wasn't a lot of room to manuever. Hadn't he killed this guy already??
Methos was brought up short by a crossbow being pointed at his chest.
"We don't particularly like him either, but right now we need all the help we can get. So put down the sharp pointy thing in your hand or make like a pincushion." Buffy told him in a hard voice. She would too, he could see it in her eyes. Reluctantly he lowered the sword.
"Still making friends, I see Spike."Angel's glance slid around the room to make sure that everyone was still in one piece. The sound of furniture toppling had alerted him and Cordelia to the new arrivals.
"We have definitely got to get some more painkillers." Cordelia muttered as she came up behind him. "You know, at the rate we're going, we may as well declare an immortal open house." She looked at the newcomers curiously. The woman was quite striking, she seemed very sure of herself. The man looked like.....well Joe Bloggs actually. She wouldn't have picked up that there was anything special about him if it weren't for her Tylenol moment and the sword he held. He was shooting murderous glares at Spike which reassured her. She didn't mind if he went after Spike, as long as he left her alone.
"He's a little upset at being made a meal of." Spike shrugged. "I thought I killed you."
"Guess it didn't take." Cordelia commented.
"And this is Cordelia and Angel." Joe finished belatedly.
Cassandra studied the pair. Cordelia appeared to be flushed and rumpled, like she'd just been through a quickening or had been.....oh. Cassandra checked that she still had her backpack. Those books were definitely going to come in handy.
"You want to put that thing away?" Cordelia asked Methos. "There's not enough room in here for you to be playing knights-of-the-round-table at the moment."
Methos looked at her like she had spoken in greek. Well maybe not greek, since he understood that language, but certainly she was speaking in a language he didn't know. It took him a moment to translate what she had said. "Oh. Uh..is he...."he pointed at Spike.
"Neutured." Cordelia confirmed, earning her startled laughter from everyone other than Methos and Cassandra, and an outraged cry from Spike.
"Hey! Watch it, Princess. This chip is only temporary!"
"Huh. Somehow I don't think your going to be able to find a brain surgeon who'll make a house call for a vampire."
"I used to be a doctor. I could do it right now." Methos offered raising his sword again.
"Not bloody likely!"
In a rundown part of the city a homeless person stumbled into an abandoned building looking for shelter. He discovered that it wasn't as abandoned as it looked. Strong hands grabbed his worn clothes, and dragged him a short distance until he was face to face with yellow eyes and extremely long canine teeth. He didn't even have a chance to cry out as his attacker sank his fangs into his jugular.
"So why are you here? I thought your busines was in Seacouver." Duncan asked Cassandra.
"Had a vision. You needed help. Here we are." Cassandra didn't go into details. She was still a little shaken at the memory of her friends dying.
"You had a vision?" Cordelia asked. At Cassandra's nod she whooped. "Halelujah! Someone else who gets them! Don't you just hate how..." she trailed off. 'oh that's not good.' she silently finished as she realized what someone getting a vision about them would mean.
Cassandra looked at her at her, puzzled. Someone else who gets them? What? She couldn't....be....could she? The Seer. The young woman in front of her was the Seer. It had begun. The prophecy. The End of Days. Oh God.
"What did you see?" Duncan asked, curious.
"Fighting. Thought you could use some help." Cassandra told him vaguely. Cordelia gave her a look, as if to say that she knew there was a hell of a lot more to it than that. Cassandra lightly shook her head at her. She'd tell her later.
Methos was the only one in the room who caught the silent exchange. Why didn't she tell them what she had seen? The MacLeods certainly wouldn't fall into a screaming nervous heap. These kids however........ Who were they? What were they doing here, hunting demons? The way that girl, Buffy, had handled that crossbow spoke of more than a passing familiarity. And their eyes! They looked like they had been through a war. As for the brunette...Cordelia?...she and Cassandra seemed to communicating almost telepathically. He noted the flash of worry on the young woman's face before she covered it with a practiced mask.
"Fighting. Right. I take it you got the information from Lindsey?" Cordelia asked the room in general, but looked to Angel for an answer.
"We got it." Angel told her.
She raised one eyebrow. "Is he still in one piece? Uh..two pieces?...um.....oh you know what I mean!"
"Of course he bloody is!" Spike told her disgustedly. "They wouldn't even hit him properly! Kept slapping him like a girl!"
"I am a girl." Buffy cut in. " Besides, if I'd used my fist, he'd have fist sized bruises everywhere. We didn't want him to look like he'd been beaten!"
"So instead he looks like he's got allergies? Sissy. You should have beaten the crap out of him."
"Then maybe you should have." Buffy smirked as Spike glowered at her.
"If you've quite finished...." Giles sighed as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Sometimes they were worse than three year olds. "How are we going to do this?"
"Charge in, much in the style of John Wayne?" Xander offered.
"High risk factor." Giles told him. "In fact it'd be suicide. No thank you."
"Spike and I'll check it out first. Meet you somewhere nearby, go from there." Angel told them.
"What are you volunteering me for now?" Spike asked suspiciously, giving up on glaring at the Slayer.
"Do I really have to?"
"Look on the bright side." Willow told him. "You'll probably come across a demon or some vampires, and you beat them up."
"Alright! I'm ready. Let's go!" Spike jumped up out of the chair, perking up at the thought of being able to beat the crap out of something.
Angel glanced out of the office window. Just on dusk. "Give me a few minutes." He told Spike and went downstairs to get his weapons. Cordelia's gaze followed his retreating form. She really didn't like this idea. She couldn't come up with a better one, but that didn't mean she had to like this one. Angel alone with that demon. She shivered as the image of Angel disintegrating into ash flashed into her mind. There were times she really, really, really, hated this job.
Angel looked up at a worried Cordelia, standing in the doorway to his bedroom. He finshed strapping the spring loaded stake launcher to his forearm. Shrugging on his coat he gave her a small smile. "Of course. Always am."
"I mean it. Be careful. This whole thing is giving me the willies." She told him seriously.
"I'll be careful." He had gotten addicted to this, he realized. Knowing that someone was worried about him. Cared about what happened to him. He brushed a lock of hair off her face. "I want you to promise you'll stay here tonight."
"Please? I don't want to have to worry about whether or not your ok."
Cordelia was silent for a moment, then reluctantly nodded. "Ok."
"Good." He lent down and planted a quick kiss on her lips. "We'll be back before you know it."
Cordelia just nodded again, and watched as he climbed the stairs.
Damn! She really didn't want to stay here while he was out fighting this thing. The image of Angel dying fought it's way into the front of her consciousness again. Maybe having the extra help would prevent that from happening. Or maybe not.
"You love him."
Cordelia started when she heard Buffy's voice. She had been so wrapped up in her thoughts that she hadn't heard the Slayer enter the apartment. "Wha...Sorry?"
Buffy smiled at Cordelia's discomfort. "I said, you love him."
Cordelia looked at Buffy warily. What was she going to do?
"It's mutual you know."
"Huh?" That was the last thing she had been expecting.
"You really need to do something about your hearing. I said that it's mutual. Angel loves you too."
"I don't.....uh...I really...."
"You know, Xander would love to see you babbling like this." Buffy told Cordelia, amused.
"In his dreams!" It was the first sentence Cordelia had managed in the last five minutes.
Buffy grined. There was that fire Cordelia had had in High School. She hadn't seen it today. Mind you she hadn't seen much of Cordelia today. She looked closeley at the former cheerleader. She seemed tougher, yet at the same time, more vunerable, than she remembered. Wesley too. LA had changed them, all of them. Angel seemed more sure of himself here, less troubled and generally happier. Buffy suspected that Cordelia had alot to do with that last one. And speaking of Cordelia, she was staring at her, a strange expression on her face. Buffy laughed to herself. What does she expect me to do? Stake her?
Conversationally Buffy told Cordelia, "You know I have a bet riding on you two?"
"You didn't tell them." Methos whispered to Cassandra, as the people around them began checking and loading various weapons and supplies."
"Why not? They would have believed you."
"I have no desire to inform anyone of their death. Expecially not when it can be avoided."
"Oh. What about the girl? Cordelia? You two seemed to be having a whole other conversation. You going to tell her?"
"I don't think I have to. I think she already knows."
"Visions. She's the Seer."
"The Seer? What's that?"
"I'll explain it later. Right now I need to see Cordelia."
"Mind if I tag along?" Cassandra just looked at him steadily. "You've got me intrigued." She continued to look at him.
"You know me. Curious about everything."
"No. Why? Why did you come?"
"Mac's in trouble." He paused. "And you asked."
She continued to look at him for a minute. "Fine."
Cordelia stood stunned. Buffy had been nice. She had given her blessing and wished them well. Cordelia knew that, later, she would probably be angry that Buffy thought she would need her blessing, but right now she was too stunned. Buffy had told her about what had happened in Sunnydale during Angel's last visit, and given the whole moving on speech. Only this time Cordelia believed it. Buffy had moved on. She wasn't so sure that Angel had however.
Sure, for the last couple of weeks he hadn't been as broody. And he had kissed her. And what a kiss! But did that mean that he wanted something more? And with her? And what about the whole moment-of-true-happiness-become-mr-big-bad-vampire-Angelus deal? While she accepted Angel as he was, she'd really prefer that Angelus didn't make another appearance. She was brought out of her reverie by the sudden sensation of a quickening blindsiding her.
"You 'K?" Buffy asked concerned as Cordelia stiffened and winced.
"I don't think I'm ever going to get used to that." She said as she got a look at the cause of her Tylenol moment, and it magically cleared.
"It eases with time." Methos told her. "It becomes a little less jarring."
"Oh. And you know this because......"
"I've been immortal a long time."
"How are you handling the quickening?" Cassandra asked. "Connor told me about the man today."
"Beside the guy having given Angelus a run for his money, in his day? Just peachy." Cordelia told the pair, covertly eyeing the sword hanging on the wall. She hoped they didn't start anything.
"And how are you handling the visions?" Cassandra asked cautiously.
Cordelia snapped her eyes to Cassandra, then looked at Methos questioninly.
"It's alright. He knows about mine. Trusts them enough to jump on a plane with someone who, under other circumstances would probably be trying to take his head."
"I'm handling the visions fine. Thanks."
"What did you see last time?"
"Mr Sneerer attacking Clarence." That earned Cordelia a puzzled look and a "Huh?" from everybody in the room. "Mr Sneerer. The guy whose head I cut off, this afternoon. He was attacking Clarence, who by the way, is not immortal."
"So that's how you...."
"That's how we know when people are in trouble. I get sent mind-numbing-skull-crunching visions. Usually they're also scratch and sniff too."
"Scratch and sniff?" Buffy asked suprised. "Oh yuck. As if seeing some of those demons wasn't bad enough."
"Right there with you." Cordelia agreed.
"Did you see this?" Methos asked curiously.
Cordelia paused. "Not this." She told him, gesturing to the group upstairs. "But I saw fighting. Vampires, Demon-Terminator guy." She shrugged. "I didn't see you or her though. That's changed."
Cassandra paused. How did she approach the next part? "Did you see......"
Cordelia tuned her out as the tell tale warning ache briefly buzzed through her head. "Not again." She moaned as the vision hit her full force. Images flashed rapidly through her mind as she clung to the wall.
"Cordelia?" Buffy's worried voice was the first thing she heard as the vision cleared.
"I'm...ok.." She managed as she caught her breath.
"Cordelia?" Buffy asked again.
"Get Wesley down here. Then get whatever it is you want in the way of weapons, and get ready to go." Cordelia told her as she collected her thoughts. "Now." At the tone of Cordelia's voice, Buffy took off at a dead run.
Cordelia looked at Cassandra. "You saw them all die, didn't you?" Slowly Cassandra nodded. "So did I. Just then. But I also saw something else."
"Cordelia? Are you alright? What did you see?" Wesley called out as he decended the stairs, two at a time.
"I'm fine Wesley. Is everyone ready to go up there?"
"Just about. Are you sure you're ok? What did you see?"
"Death. Enough for everyone, if we don't hurry."
Wesley paled. "What do we need?"
"The usual. Stakes, cross bows. Swords."she added in deference to half of the present population and her new status. A thought struck her. "Holy Water. Lots of holy water. And squirt guns."
"Squirt guns?" Wesley asked astonished. "What on earth would you need squirt....oh I see. Good idea." He told her. "I think there's a 24 hrs dept store on the way."
"What about holy water? I mean we have some, but not enough."
"Would Father Mackey be available?"
"We'll make him available!"
"I'll start filling containers." Wesley headed into the kitchen and started hunting for bottles.
Methos and Cassandra looked on in bemusement as Cordelia strode over to the wall and reached up and grasped the sword. "Sorry Angel." She whispered. This was one promise she could not keep.
"I have a bad feeling about this." Angel muttered.
"Where is everybody?" Spike asked frustrated. He wanted to beat the crap out of something now. Right now. Yet nothing had crossed their paths as they crept through the area of the address Lindsey had given them. Nothing demon, human or vampire.
"This is too quiet." Angel said worriedly.
"You hear that?" Spike froze and cocked his head. "Sounds like...."
"A motorbike."The sound died at least a two blocks away, but Angel and Spike could hear the sounds of someone pushing the bike throught the streets. "Cordelia." Angel's head snapped up as he felt her presence. Damn! She had promised to stay at the office! He took off in the direction of the motorcycle. Wesley was parking the bike on the pavement while Cordelia was stowing his helmet in the gearsack. Suddenly she froze, then relaxed.
"Angel." She turned to face him, as he approached.
"I thought you were going to stay at the office!"
"I was. Vision. Changed my mind. Brought you something." She turned and rummaged in the saddlebags of the bike. She pulled out a water pistol and a large bottle of water. "Reinforcements."
"Water. Oh just what we needed." Spike thanked her, sarcastically.
Cordelia quickly poured some on her hand. Angel realised what she was up to and moved out of the line of fire. She flicked her hand at Spike, spraying droplets of water into his face.
"Auuugggh! Bloody Hell!"
"Holy water." Angel identified, trying not to laugh at his childe's antics, as Spike jumped around, his head in his hands, trying to ease the burning.
"What do you know, Spike can dance." Xander wisecracked, coming up behind the motorbike.
"Kodak moment." Amanda grinned. "What wouldn't I give for my camera just now."
"Oh sod off!" Spike growled.
"Well the gang's all here, so how 'bout we get this show on the road?" Buffy asked as the rest of the group joined them.
"Everyone's here? I don't think...."
"They chose to be here Angel." Wesley told him, knowing what Angel had been about to say. "Insisted quite vehemently actually. If what Cordelia saw is accurate, we're going to need all the help we can get."
"What did you see?" Angel asked concerned. What would be so serious that Wesley and Cordelia would let the mortals tag along?
"You're going to need help." was all that Cordelia would tell him. "There's an entrance on the far side of the building. They're going to be able to get in through there. You'll be out numbered. We have to find some way to block the exits."
"Great. Just great. This Adam has his own vampire and demon army, and what do we have? Mortals armed with sticks and water pistols!" Spike started only to come up short. "Water Pistols?"
"Super Soaker 2000, actually." Xander introduced Spike to an extremely large, compression water rifle, by squirting him lightly in the forehead.
"I think I like your weapon." Methos told Xander as Spike began howling. "I'm going to have to get one of those...."
"And don't forget six immortals." Amanda added.
"And three witches." Tara added.
"Two vampires, and a Slayer in a hunting party!" Xander finished singing to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Everyone groaned.
"Don't quit your day job." Cordelia told him.
"There's a catwalk that goes around the whole building, about eight foot off the ground. Those with water pistols, camp up there, shoot down. Takes care of some of the Vampires." Cassandra told them.
"And us at the same bloody time!" Spike pointed out hotly.
"We cover the exits. Anyone going in or out gets a shower. Should leave you plenty of room to do your stuff." Xander informed him.
Angel could find no way to disagree with them. They had thought this out. Well, as much as they could, considering that they didn't really know exactly what they were going to be up against.
"There's nobody in there. Are you sure that this is the right place?" Spike asked as he peered through a high window.
"Yes I'm sure." Angel told him, double checking the address.
"It's the right place." Cordelia and Cassandra told them at the same time.
Angel looked at them. They both wore haunted expressions. What was it they had seen? "Are you two al..."
"We're fine!" Cordelia snapped. She sighed. "Sorry. I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked that today."
"Ok." Angel really wished that she wasn't here. He wanted her anywhere that was away from this danger. Hell, right now even the Hellmouth was beginning to sound good. "If no one's there, we should be able to get in no problem." He rattled the nearby door. Locked. Deadbolt from the look of the lock. He was about to rip it from it's hinges when Amanda spoke up.
"Uh...let me." She reached into the small backpack she carried, and extracted a small tool kit. 20 seconds later the door was open, Amanda standing just inside, a smug look on her face.
"You have got to teach me how to do that." Cordelia told her as she entered the warehouse.
"NO!" Angel and Duncan spoke up vehemently. Amanda shot her a quick wink, then arranged her face in her me?-i-wouldn't-do-that look.
Angel looked around the cavernous space. It had just occured to him that he seemed to do alot of fighting in warehouses. Why vampires and demons couldn't go for abandoned tenant buildings he didn't know. He watched as Xander, Kate, Wesley and Anya climbed up to the catwalk on one side of the building, Giles, Willow, Tara, Joe the other. He looked at Cordelia.
"I'm staying right here." She told him before he could say anything.
She reached behind her and withdrew her sword. Amanda had shown her how to wear it on her back while wearing close fitting clothes. "Yes. I'm immortal Angel. I'll survive."
"Unless they try cutting off your head. No." He took the sword from her grasp.
"Yes! You can die that way too Angel. And this is yours." She reached behind her and pulled out another sword, this one heavier than the one she had been using.
Angel stared at her mystified for a moment. "No. Where did you hide that?"
"Yes. And wouldn't you like to know."
Buffy, Riley, Methos, Cassandra, Connor, Duncan and Amanda stood nearby, listening in amusement to the exchange.
"Think he'll have any luck getting her to leave?" Connor chuckled.
"Not a hope in hell." Amanda and Buffy told him in unison.
Xander waited until everybody was clear of the ladder before pouring holy water down it. He didn't want any vampires to start climbing. He double checked the taser that he had gotten off Riley. It was working perfectly, which was good, because he didn't want any demons to make it up here either. Wesley checked and loaded his crossbow, then watched as Anya and Kate filled three large compression water rifles. He briefly thought about what an absurd picture they must make. Getting ready to fight a battle with children's toys. He glanced over to the other catwalk.. Willow and Tara were digging supplies out of their bags. They had plans for a protection spell and a spell to help with the fighting. He hoped that it worked.
"Here they come." Spike muttered gleefully. Finally! Something he could have some fun with.
Close by, Angel stiffened and gave up arguing with Cordelia. Too late now. "Heads up!" He called out. Out the corner of his eye he saw Buffy grasp Mr Pointy, and Riley more firmly grip the taser he held. The group of immortals drew their swords and broke up into two groups. Cassandra and Methos moved to cover the main exit while Duncan, Connor and Amanda moved to cover the door they had entered through. He took another glance around the cavernous space. Someone, probably Buffy, Riley and the immortals, had moved the large crates that had littered the floor, to the walls, so that there was no place to hide. Which was good, if you considered that their opponents wouldn't have anywhere to hide either. Glancing up he saw that Xander, Giles, Joe, Anya and Kate were all armed with their water rifles. He hoped they had good aim. He wasn't particularly fond of being doused in holy water. Willow and Tara were sitting facing each other, candles and a few objects that Angel couldn't identify, between them. Mentally wishing them luck with their spell, he turned to check on Cordelia. She stood in a fighting stance, sword drawn, and a determined expression on her face. Suddenly he was glad that she was there. Which made absolutely no sense what so ever, see as he didn't want her to get hurt. He knew the expression on her face, and didn't envy their opponents. She was ready to tear strips off of whoever got in her way.
The vampire minon savoured the anticipation of battle. Or food. Either way the intruders were going to be dead. He and a group of his 'friends' had been ordered to get rid of the humans that had invaded their area. Once accomplished, Chaos would be pleased and he would be in favour. He smiled as he pictured Chaos thanking him. The picture shattered as the first group of vampires howled in pain, then disintegrated.
Carefully approaching the doorway, he stuck his head inside to get a look, only to have it removed.
Cordelia tensed as Methos and Cassandra took out the first group of vampires. Now that she was here, did she really want to do this? She quickly glanced at Angel, and the image of him dying flashed through her mind. Yes, she did. Angel wasn't about to die. Not if she could help it.
The last of the group of vampires who had been stupid enough to enter the building, instead of running for their un-lives, disintegrated into ash. The group in the warehouse all stood, tense and silent, waiting for the next attack. They didn't have long to wait.
After hearing of the vampire group's death, two extremely large groups of vampires had been dispatched to deal with the threat. They entered from opposite sides of the building. Ripping the doors from their hinges, they stormed into the warehouse. Many of them turned to ash, as a sharp blade found their neck. Those that didn't, ended up screaming in agony as they were doused in holy water. That didn't stop many of them from stumbling further into the warehouse, attempting to move out of the range of fire however. They didn't get too far. A few got zapped with serious voltage, from Riley, and then while stunned, staked by Buffy. Others found themselves on the receiving end of a hiding from Spike, who was having a marvelous time, or suddenly without a head as they got a little too close to Cordelia and Angel.
And still they kept coming. At first just vampires, then vampires and some demons. Then more demons. Chaos was calling in his heavy hitters.
Willow gasped as she saw more demons storm into the warehouse. "I think now would be a good time." she suggested. Tara nodded. Together they began to chant.
A bright light appeared between them, it coalesced into human form, then floated down to the floor of the warehouse and began fighting.
"There! Demon right?!" Kate called out to Wesley, pointing to a new group of players.
"Yes!" Wesley called back, firing his crossbow at a demon who had tried climbing the ladder. A vampire had tried it earlier, only to fall back to the ground howling in agony.
"Good!" She drew her gun, sighted it, making sure that none of their group was in the line of fire, and squeezed off a few rounds. Two of the demons she had been aiming for hit the floor, dead. Two others were badly wounded, and decided that this would be a good time to desert Chaos's army.
Chaos howled with rage. How was it that his army was being destroyed by a handful of mortals?! He stormed toward the warehouse. If you wanted a job done right, you had to do it yourself.
"You ok?" Angel called out to Cordelia, as he decapitated another demon.
"Just peachy!" She called back as she ducked under the swing of the demon attacking her. Bringing her sword up, she opened a trail that went from groin to chin, before taking his head. "When is this guy going to make his appearance?" It felt like she had been fighting forever. She wasn't used to this kind of physical activity, and was begining to get tired.
"If he's going to show, it'll be soon. I think he's running out of demons." A demon armed with a sword attacked Angel, and he began fight.
Cordelia would have helped him, after all the demon wasn't an immortal, the Rules didn't apply, but she was kinda busy just then. She was tossed to the floor, but not before she managed to cut off her attacker's hand. That bought her enough time to scramble to her feet. The demon was looking a the stump where his hand had been in shock. Then it got angry. Head down, it charged at her. She neatly side stepped and brought her sword down, about where she figured his head was. She missed his head, but instead cut him almost cleanly in half. Silently she sent up a prayer of thanks for andrenalin, and shrugged. Whatever worked.
Turning she spotted Angel fighting with the demon with a sword. She began manuvering over to help him. Suddenly her heart jumped into her throat. Angel was too busy to see, but another demon was coming up behind him, brandishing a stake.
"No!" It seemed to Cordelia as if her feet suddenly had wings. She threw herself forward in between Angel and the demon.
Angel managed to kill the demon, just as he felt a weight fall onto his back. Stepping forward and pivoting, he caught Cordelia as she slumped to the floor. Shock, horror and anger flooded through him, fighting for dominance. Anger won. He let his face morph into his game face and attacked the demon who had just planted a stake in Cordelia's back. It was a short battle. In less than 15 seconds the demon was just another corpse littering the floor.
Angel quickly scanned the room. Demon corpses and vampire ash lay all over the floor. The last of the demons were currently being kept occupied by the rest of the group. Good. He knelt down next to Cordelia's body. He prayed that they were right, and that she would revive again. Then he pulled out the stake.
Blood oozed out of the wound, then small sparks of electricity appeared, jumping across the gaping hole in Cordelia's back. He watched as the wound grew smaller, closed over, scarred, then completely dissapeared. Yet Cordelia still didn't revive. He couldn't hear her heart beating or her lungs taking in oxygen. Panic began to flood through his system. What if they were wrong? What if she didn't revive?
Willow and Tara gasped as their strength gave out and they collapsed weakly into a heap. The magical fighter dissapeared with the last of their strength.
Chaos thundered into the warehouse as his last demon bit the proverbial dust. They would pay for this! As he approached the group, he assesed the threat they posed. They had taken out his entire army. Vampire and Demon. They were obviously excellent fighters. Strong, resourceful. But they would not be strong enough, or resourceful enough to kill him. He would see their broken bodies laying at his feet, before this night was through.
Buffy began to attack Chaos as soon as he entered her range. As Adam had before him, he absorbed her attack without even flinching. Contemptuously he swiped at her as if she were an annoying insect, sending her flying halfway across the room.
"Buffy!" Riley called out in alarm, and zapped the demon with his taser.
"No don't!" She called out too late.
Chaos smiled as he absorbed the voltage. How kind of them. He strode over to the male who had zapped him and backhanded him across the face, sending Riley into the floor.
The immortals approached, surrounding him, swords drawn. He grinned maliciously. He slowly manuevered over to Angel. Angel took a swing at him, but it was as if he was fighting a brick wall. Chaos blocked the next swing, picked Angel up, and threw him at Methos and Cassandra, who had been approaching him from behind. They landed in a heap, Angel ending up impaled through the stomach on Cassandra's sword. Not a pleasant sensation, but at least it wouldn't kill him.
Chaos turned to begin attacking the other immortals. He shot a long piece of bone out of one arm, aiming for Duncan, only to have Amanda sever it as Duncan dodged.
Up on the catwalk Kate was aiming for Chaos's head. Xander noticed and tugged her down to the floor of the catwalk.
"No!" He whispered urgently. "That thing has a major gun hidden in his other arm. You don't want to call any attention to yourself! Let them deal with it!"
As if he had heard Xander, Chaos extended his other arm. His forearm transformed into a machine gun.
"My god, he's a transformer!" Kate breathed in amazement.
"I so don't want that pointed at me." Xander whispered.
Spike was about to attack this Adam clone demon when he thought he heard something. He cocked his head. He noted absently that Angel had also heard it, although at the present moment he wasn't in any condition to do anything about it. He was though.
"Impressive." He drawled, attracting Chaos's attention. "Do you do children's parties as well?"
Keeping his gun arm aimed at the immortals, Chaos stared at the bleached vampire. "What business is it of yours?" He asked with quiet menace.
Spike deliberately didn't look in the direction of the noise. He focused solely on Chaos. He wasn't going to be intimidated by this by this...this...freak. Casually he continued. "You could make a fortune with that little trick, if you wanted to."
"And what makes you Auggghh!" Chaos screamed in agony as fiery pain lanced up his back.
Before he had a chance to recover, Cordelia located his power source and hacked at it. As her sword cut through it, it and Chaos exploded.
Cordelia stood totally stunned, covered, head to toe, in demon goo. She hadn't expected that to happen!
"Cordelia?" Angel's worried voice snapped her out of her shock.
"Angel?" She turned around to look at him. He had splatters of demon...bits over his clothes and he looked exhausted. Which was no big suprise, now that the andrenaline was leaving her system, she felt exhausted. What concerned her was the way he was slightly bent forward, hand to his stomach. "You've been hurt!" She stepped over to him and gently moved his hand out of the way, taking a close look at the wound. Blood was very slowly seeping from it. She looked up at him shocked.
"Bad landing. Nothing that won't heal." He explained at her questioning glance.
"Bad landing?" She placed his hand back over the wound. He would have to keep pressure on it until she could get the small first aid kit off of the bike.
"Uh, Frankenstein decided to give me flying lessons." Just behind him Cassandra and Methos were climbing to their feet.
"He found the sharp end of my sword." Cassandra explained apologetically.
"Sharp end of your......" Cordelia winced at the picture that brought to mind, and quickly checked his back. There was a tear in back of his coat where the sword had pierced it. Angel winced as she placed a firm hand on the exit wound.
"Is everyone alright?" He asked the room in general.
"Just....terrific." Riley managed, as he painfully climbed to his feet. There were various other answers in the affirmative from around the room.
"Are we done? Can we go home now?" Willow asked tiredly as she climbed down the ladder.
"I would kill for a shower." Amanda commented as she gingerly tried to scrape demon goo off of herself.
"Flip you for it." Duncan told her as he began to make his way out of the warehouse.
"C'mon. We've got to get you home, and patched up." Cordelia told Angel as everybody began to grab their things, or what was left of them. "Wesley can you....."
Angel winced as he pulled on a pair of sweat pants. He sent up a silent prayer of thanks for water proof dressings. He had really needed that shower. He felt almost human again. Well, not human, but normal. Or as normal as he ever felt.
After arriving back at AI, everyone had gone their seperate ways. After helping Cordelia patch him up, Wesley had taken Kate home, before heading home himself. Everyone else had gone back to their respective hotels for a meal, a hot shower, and a good night's....uh morning's sleep. Not necessarily in that order. Only he and Cordelia were left.
He walked into the kitchen, half expecting to find her asleep at the table. When he had gone to have his shower, she had said something about getting something to eat. He looked around the kitchen. A damp plate stood in the dish strainer, and a pint of warm blood sat on the table. But no Cordelia. After drinking the blood --he could almost hear her nagging at him to make sure he ate something-- he went in search of her.
He found her fast asleep, on his bed. Her damp hair was sprawled out over his pillows, it would be awfully tangled in the morning, she was dressed in the same pair of his sweats she had worn last night, and she had dark circles under her eyes. He didn't think he'd ever seen her look more beautiful.
She mumbled something in her sleep, and moved restlessly. He reached down and brushed a lock of hair off her face. She immediately relaxed, and pressed her face towards his hand. A frown marred her face as he removed his hand, but it dissapeared when he lay down next to her, and wraped his arms around her. Mumbling something incoherent, she burrowed deeper into his embrace. Safe in each others arms, the Vampire and his Seer slept.
Cordelia sleepily opened her eyes and frowned. She had been having such a wonderful dream, why did she have to wake up? Oh, that. She groaned as the sound of a jackhammer, from the streetworks just outside the building, shattered the silence of the apartment. Why couldn't those idiots come back at a more respectable hour? Like....oh say about 1pm? Or even better, 5pm? Or...oh say, never?
Angel mumbled something inaudible and tightened his arms around her. Cordelia froze for a moment before electricity began to zing through her system. She suddenly became aware of Angel, spooned up against her. Oh wow. This was the second morning that she had woken up in Angel's arms, and it felt....wow. She could really get used to this. She tried to savour the feeling, and go back to sleep, but the sound of the jackhammer was just too jarring to block out. Giving up on going back to sleep, carefully so as not to wake Angel, she extracted herself from his arms, and rolled off the bed. She stood there just looking at him. She loved seeing him like this. Completely relaxed, totally peaceful, no guard up. He looked just like...and she knew this was cliche..an angel. An extremely handsome and hunky angel, but an angel none the less. He muttered something that she couldn't understand, at the loss of her body heat, and buried his head deeper into the pillow.
She thought back to last night as she had been dressing his wounds. The rational part of her knew that he would be fine, that the wounds would heal, and that by the next night he would be fine. But the emotional part of her, the part that loved him with her entire being, needed him around in any capacity, almost as much as she needed to breathe, had been terrified. What if the next time he sustained injuries they couldn't patch up with an oversized bandaid? What if the next time he died? Cordelia was well aware that he wasn't invunerable. She had patched him up too many times to blithely believe that he would come out of any fight without a scratch. She didn't think she would be able to go on if Angel died. Oh she would survive. Still function. But she wouldn't live. She instinctively knew that, should Angel die, he would take all the light out of her world.
Fierce protectiveness washed over her. She would not let anything happen to Angel. Nobody or nothing, was going to hurt him while she still drew breath.
Tenderly she reached down and ran her fingers down his cheek. "I love you." she whispered.
"'Delia." he mumbled sleepily. "Love you too." A brilliant smile lit up her face. In future years, Angel would kick himself for not actually being awake to see it.
It was around 10 am that Amanda walked into the offices of Angel Investigations. Cordelia was at her desk finishing up some old paperwork.
"Hi. How are you feeling today?" Amanda asked Cordelia cheerfully, although she really didn't need to. Anyone with two eyes could see that she was fine. In fact glowing. Something had happened, and Amanda would lay odds it had to do with the dark vampire, that was probably right now sleeping downstairs.
"I'm terrific! How 'bout you?"
"I'm always terrific." Amanda deadpanned. Cordelia groaned lightly at the pun. "Seriously? I still can't believe that last night actually happened."
"Oh it happened. Angel has the wounds to prove it." Cordelia's gaze darkened at the thought of those wounds.
"What happened there anyway? I just know that he was moving pretty carefully after." Amanda perched on Cordelia's desk.
"Had a sword run though him. An accident apparently. Exploding-demon-guy threw him at Cassandra and Adam."
Amanda nodded. "Saw that part."
"He landed on the sharp end of Cassandra's sword."
"Ouch."Amanda winced. "He alright?"
"Yeah. By tonight there won't even be a scar."
"Immortal type healing?"
"Something like that. So are you here alone? Where are Duncan and Connor?"
"Connor, I wouldn't have a clue, but if he's anything like Duncan? Still snoring his head off." Amanda told her grinning. "I wasn't sure you'd be up, but I thought, what the heck?"
"I woke up to the wonderfully jarring music of a jackhammer." Cordelia told her wryly. "After that, I couldn't get back to sleep."
"What about Angel?"
"Oh, he could sleep through an atom bomb. I guess it comes from sleeping through the day, he must be able to block out outside noise."
"Handy skill. Speaking of which...."Amanda had a crafty gleam in her eye.
"Speaking of which? What....oh." A grin spread across Cordelia's face as she caught on. Well what Angel didn't know.......
"Seeing as Duncan and Angel are dead to the world, no pun intended, I think now might be a good time for that lesson."
Angel woke around noon. Opening his eyes, he automatically reached out for Cordelia. He had been doing that alot lately. She had been invading his dreams for weeks, seeming so real that he would reach for her when he woke. Coming up empty, he wondered if sleeping next to her was just a dream. No. He could smell the lingering scent of Cordelia in the room and on his pillow. It had been real. Groaning into the pillow as heat flooded his body at her scent, he tried to think of reasons why he couldn't get romantically involved with his seer. Only one came to mind. The clause in the curse. It was enough. He didn't want to expose her to Angelus, ever again. Determindley he tamped down on his desire. He would not risk Cordelia.
Hearing voices upstairs, he rolled off the bed and began to get dressed. It would seem that their friends had retuned.
The group standing on the curb watched as the tail lights of of the small group of cars faded into the distance. The Scooby gang had just left to go back to Sunnydale. Or Sunnyhell as Spike had put it. He had been in a good mood all day, having been able to finally beat the crap out of something last night. Of course it had driven the Scooby Gang nuts. But then, pretty much anything Spike did, drove the Scooby gang nuts.
Giles had muttered something about getting back to Sunnydale where it was quieter. 'At the moment.' He had added at the gang's incredulous looks.
Now just the staff of AI and the small group of immortals, and Joe were left.
"This is my phone number and address. If you need any help in the future, give me a call." Connor handed Cordelia his card.
"Russel Nash?" she asked curiously as she glaced at the card.
"That's the name I'm using at the moment. Unlike Duncan, I change mine every few years." Connor grinned.
"Why get used to being called a new name, when most people buy the I-look-just-like-my-father line?"Duncan retorted good naturedly. He also handed Cordelia his card. "If you can't get a hold of this dirty stop out, give me a call."
"Dirty stop out?!" Connor protested. "I am not a .."
"Oh. And who was it who dissapeared for ten years without leaving me anyway to get in contact with you?"
"That was more than a hundred years ago!"
"Children. Please. If you're going to bicker, you can both go to your rooms." Amanda told them, trying to contain a smirk as Joe chuckled. "Besides, if your going to tell Cordy stories about your past, make them the interesting ones. Like the time that you and Fitzcairn tried to blow ummpphhh." She was cut off as Duncan slapped his hand over her mouth.
He looked embarrassed as Connor laughed. "What exactly did you do?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all." Duncan tried to play innocent. Connor let it slide, but decided that he was going to get the story out of his clansmen one way or the other.
"Knowing Duncan, it was probably something rather...uh...interesting." Cassandra informed them, a smile on her face.
"Foolish, you mean."Methos clarified dryly.
"Both." Joe told them. Duncan looked at him shocked. "Yeah, I know about that little escapade. I'm not the only watcher you've had, you know." Joe grinned at him. The group chuckled at Duncan's flummoxed expression.
A couple of minutes later they said their goodbyes, and the group of immortals left. Once again it was just Angel, Cordelia and Wesley.
Cordelia sighed as she let herself into her apartment. It had been a long week. Things at the office had gone back to normal since everyone had left. Well semi-normal. There was a tension between her and Angel that hadn't been there before. Both wanted something more than what they currently had, but neither had a clue what to do about it. The curse was still in effect, and neither of them was naive enough to think that they could be together and not go the last step. The electric awareness Cordelia had when Angel was around testified to that.
Wesley pretended not to notice the increased tension, but he sincerely hoped that whatever it was Cassandra had planned worked. He cared about both of his friends, and wanted to see them happy, preferably without Angelus making a return apperance.
As much as things had returned to normal, alot of things had changed. Wesley had been recruited by Joe Dawson to be Cordelia's watcher, which she didn't mind because at least she knew who it was that was following her around. She was also training with Angel on a regular basis. An episode in torture if there ever was one. The work outs weren't the only thing that left her breathless. Angel sweaty and in workout clothes would do it for her every time.
Angel was trying to be a little less...overprotective of her too. Now that she was immortal, he didn't have to worry so much about her. Or be so protective. But he was. It was something he was working on. Cordelia had already had one argument with him about it.
She had kept in touch with Amanda via email. They were planning to get together the next time Amanda was in town. And Cordelia had a standing invite to Seacouver. Already she had needed to use her new lockpicking skills, when she had locked herself out of the apartment. It wasn't something she was going to tell Angel or Wesley about. Well not yet.
Entering her apartment she almost fell over two packages that were just inside the door. Dennis must have brought them in out of the hallway earlier. Picking them up, she glanced at the return address on the larger of the packages. Seacouver. From Amanda? She tore the wrapping off. A letter fluttered to the floor. She retreived the envelope and ripped it open.
You made it sound like such a challenge, that I couldn't resist! Unfortunately apart from some interesting looking weapons, there wasn't much of value to me. Perhaps you might feel differently.
Cordelia stared at the note in disbelief. She hadn't. Had she? A look in the box confirmed that Amanda indeed had done the impossible. She had broken into Wolfram & Hart's vault and stolen assorted artifacts. Cordelia started laughing as she imagined the look on Duncan's face when he found out what she had done. Taking a closer look at the contents of the box, the only thing that Cordelia saw that was worth anything was a few computer disks. Of course this other stuff might be worth something to Angel or Wesley. Still chuckling, she put the box on the coffee table and opened the other package.
Inside were a couple of books. Like the kind that Angel had before the last office exploded. Old, leather bound tomes, written in various languages, some of which she recognized, many she didn't. Two envelopes were pressed between two pages of one of the books, one addressed to Angel, one to her.
Shock, disbelief, amazement, hope. All these emotions flooded through her as she read the contents of the letter. Oh wow. This....this was real. Now what did she do? A smile formed on her face as she planned her next move.
Angel looked curiously at the books sitting on his kitchen table. Had Wesley left them? No. He didn't think so. The handwriting on the envelope didn't look familiar. He tore it open. If it was possible, his face went paler as he read the letter.
Oh god. Could he believe this? Was this a trick? His intuition told him no. Cassandra didn't seem like the type given to elaborate practical jokes. Amanda yes. Cassandra no.
This was real.
His soul was permanent.
Cassandra had removed the clause.
Jubilation flowed through him. His soul was permanent! No more having to worry about Angelus making a reappearance. He was free to feel as happy as he wanted. He could....Cordelia. He had to tell Cordelia. He dashed for the phone. He had punched in the first few numbers before he realised he couldn't do this over the phone. He needed to see her in person.
Cordelia jumped at the sudden pounding at her door. Her heart sped up. Was that Angel? Had he gotten the books she had left on his kitchen table? Or was it just a Jehovah's witness? Only one way to find out. She peered through the spyhole. On the other side stood Angel. A rather...well he looked kinda nervous and jumpy. Dread shot through her. Oh no. Had something happened while he was out patrolling?
She flung the door open. "What happened? Are you alright?" She demanded anxiously. She was startled when he steped inside, picked her up by the waist and swung her around in a circle. When he put her down he had a huge smile on his face. Ok. So he wasn't hurt. In fact he was happy. Very happy from the looks of it.
"Ouch! What was that for?!" Angel asked bewildered, rubbing his arm where Cordelia had just whacked him.
"Don't scare me like that! I mean, you show up looking jumpy and...and nervous. I thought something bad had happened! Instead you're happy! Which is good, but.......Augghh! Don't ever do that again!"
Angel was immediately contrite. Well sort of. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to......."
"Give me a heart attack?" She sighed. "Forget it. Kodak moment."
"Huh? Kodak moment?" Now he was puzzled.
"You. Smiling. Huge smile. It's a Kodak moment. Wish I'd had my camera. Nobody's going to believe me when I tell them." She grinned. "So, what's got you in such a good mood?" Cordelia decided to play innocent. After all, she couldn't be sure that he had seen the books yet.
Angel's face lit up. "I got some good news. A present, of sorts."
"A present? What kind of present?" She paused. "What do people get you for a present anyway? Magic stuff? Books?" Cordelia went off on one of her tangents. What on earth was she supposed to get him for Christmas?
"Both? What both magic stuff and books?" She should be able to do that. Wesley would probably something similar. Maybe she should call Giles. He would be able to help her figure out what to get them.
"Christmas isn't for a few months 'Delia. You won't have to worry about buying presents for a while yet."
What? How did he...?
Angel was amused. Used to Cordelia going off onto tangents halfway through a conversation, he had guessed what she was thinking. He could almost see the wheels turning in her head. He briefly wondered if she realized how much she had changed since moving to LA. In Sunnydale, Cordelia hadn't worried about what to buy other people. She had been more concerned about what she would get. So much had changed, for both of them, since moving here.
"Besides, I think I've gotten my Christmas present early." He didn't think anything could top Cassandra's gift. Well, almost anything, he amended as he gazed at Cordelia.
She arched one brow. "Well? Spill already!"
Suddenly Angel was at a loss for words. After gaping like a fish for a few moments, he pulled Cassandra's letter out of his pocket and handed it to her.
Cordelia knew what it was the instant she saw it. He knew. And he believed it. That was good. He was happy, no, estatic about it. And he was here. Also good. Now what?
As she took the envelope from his grasp he found his voice. "My soul's permanent." Angel watched her carefully, trying to gauge her reaction. He saw that she was happy for him, but saw no suprise in her eyes. "Which you already knew." He added and suppressed a chuckle at her shocked look. He had guessed that she at least knew about the present. Her scent tended to remain in the room after she had gone. Admittedly he hadn't twigged to that straight away, but still..... He arched his eyebrows at her.
"I...got a letter from Cassandra too." She explained reluctantly.
"Uh huh. And when were you going to tell me?" He asked neutrally. Stepping closer towards her.
"Hey! I only got it tonight!" She defended stepping back uncertainly.
"Mmmm. Don't suppose you know anything about a couple of books, do you?"He advanced again.
"Well...." Cordelia bit her lip nervously. Should she just tell him? Trying to figure out if he was angry with her or not, she studied him closely for a moment. And saw the teasing glint in his eyes. That rat! He knew! He was teasing her! He was...standing really close. Heat flooded her body.
"Well?" He asked.
"Well what?" What was it he had asked? She couldn't think when he was this close.
Angel's mouth quirked as realized that he wouldn't get a coherent answer out her. Nice to know that it wasn't just him that had problems thinking straight. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he bent his head and captured her mouth with his. Almost instantly she wound her arms around his neck and kissed him back.
"I love you 'Delia." He whispered when they came up for air. His stomach somersaulted as she smiled.
"I know. I love you too." She kissed him fiercely. "So what are you gonna do about it?"
He grinned. "I think I'll come up with something."
"Cassandra? It's Wesley. It worked. Somehow I don't think I'll be seeing either of them for a few days. I owe you one. "