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Convergence

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Summary: Angel/Cordelia. The gang gets together to fight the big bad. . .and some Immortals are thrown in for fun.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Angel-Centered > Pairing: OtherKylieFR13438,537013,3977 Dec 037 Dec 03Yes

Convergence

Convergence


© Kylie




Rating: PG


Disclaimer


I don't own these characters. BtVS and Angel belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy [ahh...grrrr]. Highlander: the Series belongs to Rysher and Highlander belongs to ...well whoever it belongs to. It sure as hell aint me.




Author's Notes:


Okay. This is set post season 1 of Angel. The old office is a burned out shell and now they have new offices thanks to some help by their friendly billionaire. Kate has realised that she may have pushed Angel a little too far and is beginning to accept the way things are. She's not buddy, buddy with the gang, but she's not as hostile as she has been.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"Morning Cordelia."


"Ow!" Cordelia cried out in pain as, startled by her brooding boss's greeting, she poured freshly brewed coffee on her feet, missing the cup completely. "Angel, how many times do I have to tell you not to skulk up on me first thing in the morning? You're taking years off my life."


"Sorry." Angel didn't sound very contrite, but she let it pass.


"Any big bad evil grrrs..last night?"


"No it was really quiet." Angel seemed rather concerned about that. "I'll talk to Wesley when he gets in. Maybe there's some prophecy or something that could account for it being so quiet."


Cordelia finished mopping herself off as best she could, and poured herself and Angel a cup of coffee. Handing him his cup, she sat down at her desk.


"You think there might be a big evil brewing?"


"Maybe. I haven't heard anything on the streets that would indicate that though. Mind you, vampires and demons aren't exactly falling over themselves to volunteer information to me at the best of times."


"That could have something to do with most demons and vamps ending up dead, after going up against you."


"You think?"


Cordelia nodded. "Trust me. The 'fear-for-your-life' thing they have going when you're around, isn't good for information gathering."


"Good Morning." Wesley called out cheerfully, as he entered the office. Personally Cordelia thought it was extremely unnatural for anybody to be that 'chipper' first thing in the morning. She certainly wasn't human until she had had her first cup of coffee.


"Just the person we need. Your research-the-prophecy skills are needed Wesley. "Cordelia told him.


"Oh? What happened?."


"Nothing." Angel explained. "Just. well nothing. It was extremely quiet last night. I only saw three vampire's for the whole night. I was wondering if there was something going on we should know about. A prophecy about to play itself out or something."


"That's unusual. Nothing comes to mind, but I'll get right on it. There may be something in Rhondac's Volumes." Both Wesley and Angel moved off to start researching, discussing possibilities as they left.


Cordelia watched as they retreated, glad that she wouldn't have to pull research girl duty that morning.


*********


Cordelia looked up, a smile pasted to her face, as she heard the front door to the office open. The smile quickly dropped as she recognized Det. Kate Lockley. She didn't like the way the woman had been treating Angel, ever since her father's death. As if it was Angel's fault that he hadn't listened to him.


"Um hi. Is Angel in?"


"He's a little busy right now. Can I help you with anything?" She was really hoping that she couldn't and that Kate would just leave.


"No. Not really. I really need to talk to him. It's about a case I'm working on."


"Oh well, I can give him a message and get him to call y...."


"Kate." Cordelia and Kate both turned to look at the vampire standing in the doorway of his office. "What are you doing here?"


"I need some help on a case. There are a few things that can't be explained. I thought you might be able to...." Kate was really uncomfortable. She really didn't want to be here, but she didn't have a whole lot of choice. The department forensic team were at a complete loss to explain what was happening on this case. So that left Angel.


"Sure. " Angel gestured to his office. "Would you like to take a seat. I'll be back in just a moment." Kate warily passed Angel and entered his office.


Angel shot Cordelia a 'what-the-heck-were-you-doing' look. Cordelia just shrugged. She really didn't want to explain herself to Angel at the moment.


Angel took a moment to tell Wesley that he was going to be needed in the office for this meeting. Kate had had a real attitude the last couple of months. She had been having a great deal of difficulty dealing with the 'whole other world' side of LA. The fact that vampires had killed her father while Angel looked on, helpless to do anything hadn't helped. He wasn't about to spend time alone with her. She was likely to pull a stake on him if he said the wrong thing.


*******


"Ok. What's the problem?" Angel asked as he entered the office followed by Wesley.


"Who's he?" Kate asked gesturing to Wesley.


"Kate this is my associate, Wesley Wyndham-Price, Wesley, Detective Kate Lockley."


"Pleasure to meet you." Wesley told her guardedly. He had heard about her. "What can we help you with?"


"A case I'm working on. A man murdered in an abandoned warehouse. He was skewered with something. Forensics hasn't been able to figure out what." Kate pulled a thick manila file out of her bag. Opening it she passed Angel a couple of photographs of the crime scene. The victim was a Caucasian male, with black hair. His eyes were brown, staring at the roof blankly. He was dressed in military garb, which immediately made Angel nervous.


"What's this?" Wesley asked pointing to a futuristic looking rifle.


"The boys in the lab identified it as a tazer blaster. It shoots electricity. It had been fired. Alot. There was evidence of power surges and electrical disturbance all over the warehouse." she handed Wesley a few more photographs which showed the condition of the warehouse. There were scorch marks everywhere.


"Oh my." was all that Wesley could say. He handed Angel the photographs and took a closer look at the ones that Angel had been viewing.


"Have you been able to identify the victim?" Angel asked Kate.


"George Bernard. 21 years old. He's a teaching assistant at U C Sunnydale." Angel swore.


"The Initiative. Damn. I thought they had been closed down."


"That is what Giles told me." Wesley informed him. "I think I may know what killed him. The way this wound is different at the exit and entrance? Whatever went through him was tapered. That's consistent with a Polgara demon." Wesley explained.


"Polgara demon?" Angel asked.


"They're tall muscular, but not particularly good fighters. Their main defenses are spike like bones that shot out of their arms. That tends to end fights rather quickly. Not many people survive an encounter with them. The Watchers council only knew of about five people."


"And there's one running around LA?" Kate asked.


"I think so. I would have to check my books to be sure."


"How do we kill it?"


"Usual ways. Fire, decapitation, running it through with a sword all work. You just have to be careful of those spikes."


"I can do that."


"You may want to warn the police to be a extra careful Det.. As a general rule Polgara's will avoid a confrontation, but if it feels cornered it will attack."


"What am I supposed to tell them? That a tall spiny bad guy wants to run them through with a long bone? That'll go down well." Wesley and Angel just look at her. "I'll think of something. Is there anything else you can tell me? What's this Initiative thing?"


Angel and Wesley just look at each other debating what to tell her.


"We may as well tell her everything." Wesley told him.


"The Initiative is a military operation. They're headquartered in Sunny....." he broke off as he heard Cordelia cry out.




*****


Angel was out of the office in a heartbeat, or so it seemed to Kate. Wesley wasn't far behind him.


She stood to follow them but stopped in the door. Cordelia was on her knees on the floor, shaking violently, the heels of her palms pressed against her temples, whimpering. Angel kneeled beside her, concern written clearly on his face, an arm around her shoulders, the other holding her arm.


Kate looked on in amazement. This man that she was so antagonistic towards, carried a stake expecially for seemed....gentle. Concerned. And helpless.


"Cordelia?"


"P...pain!" she managed. Wesley knew the drill by now and grabbed a bottle of water out of the small fridge and the extra strength Tylenol out of the cupboard.


As quickly as it had begun, the vision finished, leaving Cordelia shaken and out of breath. Angel helped her up and Wesley handed her the water and pain killers. Gulping down the Tylenol she sat on her desk and caught her breath.


"What is it? What did you see?" Wesley asked her.


"The Terminator." she told them disbelievingly.


"The Terminator?" Angel asked, not getting the reference.


"Movie about a cyborg killer." Wesley briefly explained. "Are you sure Cordelia?"


"Well no, not really. He was part machine and part demon. Lots of demons. Um...he had a..a..stick kind of thing that shot out one of his arms." Angel and Wesley shared a look. "Um..Half of his face was metallic. Kinda like that guy from Star Trek? And he had a ..a disk drive in his chest. And a whole lot of other body parts I didn't recognise. And he seemed to be sewn together. Kinda like Frankenstein's monster."


Wesley was furiously taking notes. "Is that all?"


Cordelia hesitated. "No. I saw Buffy and the entire Scooby gang. You and Angel were there, so was Kate and Spike, and a few people I don't recognize. Everyone was fighting it and it's goon squad. Angel, this thing feeds on electricity."


Angel and Wesley didn't know what to say. The entire gang was fighting this thing? What had they stumble onto?


"Is that all? Anything else you can remember?"


"Well, it's here. In LA. So I guess we can be expecting a visit."


"I'll go call Giles. See if he knows anything about it." Wesley told them and entered Angel's office.


"Are you all right?" Angel asked Cordelia.


"Oh just peachy. If I ever meet any of the PTB's I'm gonna deck them. Why must these mind-numbing-skull-crunching visions be accompanied by mind-numbing-skull-crunching pain?" she asked him, not for the first time. It was almost becoming a tradition.


"I don't know. Maybe they wanted to give you something to complain about?"


Cordelia looked at him amazed. "A joke. Hey Wesley something's wrong with Angel, he just made a joke!" she called into the office. Angel had the good grace to look slightly embarrassed as Cordelia grinned.


"I'm fine Angel. You go back to helping Kate track down whatever demon has surfaced this time, and I'll do a stint as research girl, and see if I can find out anything about our 'Mr. More-than-one-demon-part-terminator' guy." she reassured him.


"Are you sure?"


"Yes. Go." When he didn't move she sighed dramatically. "Well? What are you waiting for? A doctor's certificate? The sky to fall? What?" That got him moving.


Once he headed back into his office, she let out a shaky breath. That hadn't been all she'd seen. She'd also seen Angel die.




********


Part 2


********


Rupert Giles sighed as he closed the volume he'd been reading. He'd spent the last couple of weeks looking through his books, trying to find something that might tell them what Tara had meant in Buffy's dream. He hadn't found anything and it was rather frustrating.


The phone rang, and he stood to go answer it, thankful of the break.


"Rupert Giles."


"Giles, it's Wesley."


"Wesley. What can I do for you? Is everything all right? Has something happened to Angel?"


"Angel's fine, but we have a problem we need your help with. A young man was murdered here recently. A George Bernard. He was a teaching assistant at U C Sunnydale. And judging from his attire and the way he died, we think he was a part of the Initiative."


Giles sucked in his breath sharply. "The Initiative? Wesley, that place has been closed down. Permanently. It was filled in with concrete a couple of weeks ago."


"You're sure about that?"


"Positive."


"Oh. Cordelia had a vision. Of some kind of demon/cyborg/Frankenstein's monster hybrid. Apparently it feeds on electricity."


"Oh my god. That sounds like Adam!"


"Adam?"


"Multi demon/cyborg hybrid. It can't be him though. Buffy.. we killed him. Now he's buried under a couple of hundred tons of cement."


"Are you sure?"


"Yes. I'm sure he's dead. I'll ask Reilly about this George Bernard person. See if he knows anything."


The two former watcher's talked for a few more minutes before hanging up. Worriedly Giles began calling around the Scooby gang. If they were wrong, if Adam or a counterpart was alive and on the lose, things were going to get ugly very quickly.


*****


"Giles is certain that the Initiative has been shut down. And apparently filled in with concrete." Wesley informed Angel as he entered the office. "However this Adam he described, does seem to fit the description of the demon hybrid that Cordelia saw in her vision."


"So we know who it is then. We can kill it."


"No it's already dead. Apparently it went up against Buffy and lost. According to Giles it's now buried under a couple of hundred tons of concrete."


"So it isn't Adam. Then who is it?"


Wesley shrugged. "I don't want to even hazard a guess until we know more."


"Uh guys? What's going on? What's the Initiative? Who's Giles? Who's Buffy? Who's Adam?" Kate fired questions at them. "And what the hell just happened to Cordelia?"


"The Initiative was a military operation who were demon hunters with an agenda, Giles is a former Watcher, Buffy is the Slayer, Adam is a dead demon, apparently, and Cordelia just had a vision." Wesley informed her distractedly. "Maybe the Watcher's council knows something? I could try giving them a call."


"What?!"


"I don't know Wesley. Aren't you persona non grata with the council at the moment?"


Angel and Wesley continued debating as Kate gave up. She didn't have a clue what had just happened, or what the hell they were talking about. She vaguely remembered something about a Slayer from her research, but at the moment she couldn't remember what.


Kate startled as a hand touched her shoulder.


"These two are going to be no use for a little while now. They've gone into research mode. It'd take a bomb falling on the office to get through to them." Cordelia told her. "Want some coffee? I just made a fresh pot."


"Uh..sure." Kate shot a look at the two men...well man and vampire, who were quietly debating, and pulling out books. She decided that Cordelia was right. They looked to be really involved in what they were doing. "Do they always get like this?" she asked as she followed Cordelia into the main office.


"Oh yeah. Both of them tend to get lost in books. Especially while researching. Must have something to do with being from the same continent." Cordelia handed Kate a cup of coffee.


"Are you alright? What ever it was that happened to you looked painful."


"Oh the mind-numbing-skull-crunching vision? Trust me, it's a lot more painful than it looks. I know. I saw Doyle having one and it looked really painful. Then he gave them to me, a parting gift I could have done without, by the way, and I learned that it's a hundred times more painful than it looks."


"Doyle? A parting gift? I...."


"Oh, Doyle was a friend and an associate of Angels, until he died. He saved a lot of people though. Anyway, just before he died he gave me these visions." Cordelia saw the questioning look on Kate's face. "The visions tell us where people are in trouble. Usually from demons, and ghosts and generally Eww.. things."


"So that's how come Angel keeps turning up where there's trouble."


"Yeah. That and the fact that he kinda attracts it. Lot's of people, human and demon, want Angel dead." Kate winced at this.


"Hang on. Demons want him dead?"


Cordelia took a close look at Kate. She didn't know why, but she felt sorry for the older woman. Well sure her father was killed by vampires, but hey, if he'd listened to Angel, he wouldn't be dead. And the way that Kate had treated Angel after that episode had been, unpleasant, in fact downright rude. That hadn't endeared the woman to Cordelia. But at the same time she could see that Kate was struggling to come to grips with the fact that the things that go bump in the night were actually vampires and demons and other assorted ..grrrs. And she was trying to do this on her own. Unlike Cordelia, who had had the Scooby gang to act as support, as sufferingily offered as it had been, when she had found out.


Looking at Kate now she sensed that the other woman was ready to hear the whole story. Besides if nothing else, she would need to know what was going on to help kill this Terminator demon.


"Angel, Kate and I are going for a walk. We'll be back in a couple of hours." she called out, leaning over her desk to retreive her purse, startling Kate, who hadn't been expecting to be dragged along on a walk.


"Cordelia do you think that's a good idea? We don't know where this demon is. What if he comes after you?" Angel asked from just behind her.


Cordelia jumped. "Aghh! Damn it Angel! Don't skulk up on me! It's not polite!" she paused. "Anyway, I know what this demon, terminator guy looks like. If I see him, I'll run in the other direction." Ever since the demon Vokor had given her unending visions, Angel had been more than a little over protective and it was beginning to get annoying. Angel opened his mouth to protest but she cut him off. "I've got my cell phone, which I know how to use, unlike someone I know." She told him pointedly. "If we see any trouble I'll call. Besides, I doubt that this guy has a clue who I am. Or who you are come to think of it. He didn't seem the type to be worried about what a single vampire could do to him."


"Cordelia....."


"No. I need some fresh air. And we need some more pain killers." She picked up the now empty bottle sitting on the desk and shook it. "See? Unless of course you want to put up with me being in extreme pain and as bitchy as hell after a vision." Angel, if it was possible, went paler at the thought.


"Didn't think so." Cordelia quietly celebrated. She had learned which buttons to push with Angel to get her own way, and she wasn't afraid to push them if she thought it was required.


"Be careful." Angel told her resignedly.


"Of course." Cordelia called cheerfully as she pulled a bemused Kate out of the office.


Kate for her part was trying to figure out if she was seeing things. Had the 243 year old vampire just been outmanuvered by a young woman more than 200 years his junior?


**********


"Giles! Giles are you here?" Buffy called urgently, as she and Riley entered the former Watcher's house.


"Buffy I was just trying to call you.....What happened?"


Buffy looked at her boyfriend. "Riley found something I think you should take a look at."


Giles' gaze shifted to where the ex-commando stood. Riley handed him a sheaf of papers.


"I found those while I was going through some of Professor Walsh's things." He told the older man.


"Bloody Hell." was all that Giles could say as he took a close look at the papers he was holding.


"Giles. What's going on? Is everyone ok?" Willow asked breathlessly as she all but ran into the house, closely followed by Tara. "Buffy? Are you ok?"


"I'm fine Will." A puzzled slayer reassured her friend. "Giles? What's going on?"


"Perhaps you'd better sit down. We'll wait for Xander and Anya before I'll say anything. I really don't want to have to explain this more than once."


Once an out of breath Xander and Anya had arrived and everyone was seated, Giles began explaining.


"Perhaps I should let Riley tell you about what he found."


Riley looked a little uncomfortable about having everyone's attention suddenly focused on him. "Well, I was going through some of Prof. Walsh's things and I came across some papers that referred to the 314 project. To make a long story short, they made another Adam."


"What?!"


"You can't be serious!"


"Just what we need, another psyco-killer-demon-terminator guy."


"Are..are you sure? I mean if there were more than one Adam, wouldn't we have seen some carnage by now?"


"I really am beginning to miss the mayor."


"I think I know why we haven't seen any evidence of a second Adam."


"Really? Giles give."


"Yeah G-man, you been holding out on us?"


Giles just looked annoyed at this last comment. "I received a call about half an hour ago, from Wesley. They've found a young man murdered. They think he was a part of the Initiative."


"Who?"


"George Bernard."


"George, George...doesn't r.. oh him! He was another teaching assistant. In Biology I think. He was Dr Angleman's assistant. What happend to him?"


"He was run through with a pole apparently. Wesley thought it might have been a Polgara demon at first."


"What changed his mind?"


"Cordelia. She had a vision. Gave a pretty good description of Adam actually."


"Wait a minute. Cordelia? Cordelia had a vision? Cordelia?" Xander was rather incedulous at this.


"Yes. Xander, Cordelia. Apparently she's been getting visions of some kind, for a few months now. Wesley was quite concerned, and I've got to say, knowing what we know now, so am I."


"So we all go to LA to help chase down Adam Two?" Willow asked. "I mean, to kill the first one we had to invoke the power of the first slayer. Won't Angel need some help?"


Xander groaned. "Just what I wanted. To spend summer helping deadboy save LA."


"He is going to need help though." Buffy said quietly. "LA's so big. He could be hiding anywhere. And at least we know what we're going up against. Against another Adam? I don't think Wesley and Cordelia are going to be any use."


"I agree with Buffy." Riley told them. Objectively he knew they were the only one's who knew how do deal with an Adam type demon. Personally he still had missgivings about the vampire whom Buffy had loved. Truth be told, he didn't trust him as far as he could throw him.


"I'm also inclined to agree."Giles sighed. "So, we're agreed? We head to LA to help?." he watches as all of the group nods. "Ok. Everyone might want to head home and pack for a few days. Meet back here in an hour."


"Uh..Giles?"


"Yes Willow?"


"I think we're going to have to get Spike to come along."


"Great. Deadboy and Deadboy Jr. This just keeps on getting better and better." Xander groaned. "Why Will?"


"We need his car." she explained. "Riley's jeep only seats two, same as Giles's. That leaves us four short."


"Fine. I'll go see Spike." Giles reluctantly volunteered.


***********


"Hello Watcher. What brings you here?"


"Quite frankly Spike? We need to borrow your car."


"No bloody way!"


"I thought that's what you'd say."


"Why do you need it anyway? Did yours finally kick the bucket?"


"No! If you must know, we're going to LA to help Angel. There's another Adam running around."


Spike laughed. "So you're all running off to help the poof! Typical."


"You know, it might be in your best interests to come along."


"What do you mean?"


"Word is beginning to get out Spike, that you were only working with the slayer to stop the experimentation on the demons, and to avert a war. How they figure that, I don't want to know, but at the moment you're becoming something of a hero figure among the demon world."


"That's right! And I plan to live long enough to enjoy it!"


"And how long do you think you'll live once word gets out that you were only fighting in the Initiative because the only things you can fight at the moment are demons?"


"Well they wont find out." Spike challenged. "Will they?"


"It only takes this new Adam to explain to one vampire what the chip does, Spike. And that you have one. Word will spread like wildfire."


"Bloody Hell!" A nearby table went flying as Spike vented. "Fine. Have it your way." Suddenly Spike quietened. "You say the entire Scooby gang's going?" Giles nodded. Spike laughed. "This ought to be interesting."


***********


Part 3


***********


"So what exactly do you know about Angel?" Cordelia asked Kate as they left the drug store.


"Just what the books told me. He's the demon with 'the angelic face', and that he left a trail of dead bodies accross Europe. By all accounts he was a right mean bastard."


"Yep. That's a good description for Angelus. Ok. Readers Digest version of the story is that when he was turned, and he became, probably the most vicious vampire you could imagine. He terrorized Europe, until one night, he made a meal of a favoured daughter of a gypsy clan. They punished him by returning his soul."


"Returning his soul? But.."


"Basically when someone is turned, they die. The soul goes on permanent vacation, and a demon sets up shop, animating the corpse. It looks, walk and talks like the person, but it doesn't feel those pesky emotions, like remorse and guilt."


"So what good would returning his soul have done? I mean...oh."


"Yep. He remembers it all. Everything that Angelus has done. Anyway, after his soul was returned to him, Angel basically became major brood boy. Living off the blood of rats, which is really..ugghh, and living on the streets. About 5 years ago Whistler found him and basically gave him a choice."


"Whistler?"


"Immortal demon guy on the side of good. Another messanger of the PTB's. The choice was to continue on as he was, or to do some good. Whistler then showed him the Slayer, Buffy."


"Slayer? That sounds familliar."


"Yep, one girl in all the world with the speed, strength, agility..yadda yadda...to fight vampires and win. Only there are two at the moment. Buffy and Faith."


"Faith. Wasn't that..."


"The girl that you arrested Angel for trying to protect? That's her. She has major issues, I'm not going there. Anyway...uh where was I?"


"Slayer, Buffy?"


"Oh yeah! Uh Whistler showed Angel Buffy, and he kinda fell for her, so he decided to help. He moved to Sunnydale to wait for her. The Watcher's Council," Cordelia saw a confused look cross Kate's face again, "They watch for and train the Slayers, sent Giles, who was...is..uh was I guess.. Buffy's Watcher to Sunnydale to wait for her as well. Buffy got kicked out of her old high school for burning down the gym." Kate looked shocked. "According to Buffy, it was full of vampires at the time. Anyway Buffy and her mom moved to Sunnydale not long after and the Scooby Gang was born."


"Scooby Gang? I take it you don't mean the cartoon detectives."


"Xander made a pretty good Shaggy."Cordelia deadpanned.


"Huh?"


"Never mind. Originally there were four..well five including Angel, members of the Scooby Gang. Buffy, who's the Slayer, Giles, who's her watcher, Willow, who was a computer geek and still is actually..but now she's also a witch, and Xander. Basically Xander was the group clown. Things continued on for a while, Buffy and Angel fell in love and the Gang got a few more members. Miss Calender, who was the computer teacher and had a thing with Giles, Oz, who was a werewolf and Willows boyfriend and me, when I lost my mind and started going out with Xander."


Kate looked a little pale. "Witch? Werewolf?" she asked weakly.


"His baby cousin bit him." Cordelia explained briefly. "For a while things were good, we killed vampires and demons and basically saved the world a few times. Then Angel and Buffy got groiny with each other,and we discovered a clause to the gypsy curse, that nobody had bothered to warn us about. If Angel was to ever have a moment of true happiness, then the curse would be removed and he would lose his soul again. Of course with he and Buffy being together, he was very happy, and the next morning we woke up to find that Angelus had come out to play. He spent the next several month terrorizing us and he killed Miss Calender, and tried to suck the world into hell, before Buffy finally got the nerve to send him to hell, but not before Willow had managed to restore his soul."


"So you've actually met ..."


"Angelus? Oh yes. Believe me, it's not an experience you forget."


"But if Buffy sent him to hell..how is he here in LA?"


"Hell aint what it used to be? I don't know how, but my guess would be, that after a couple of hundred years of torment in hell, the PTB's figure that he'd spent long enough in hell and put him to work doing something they found useful. He returned a couple of months into our senior year and for a while he and Buffy got back together, but after graduation, and that was an experience that scarred me for life, he left Sunnydale. He wanted Buffy to have a more normal relationship."


"So now he's in LA attoning for what Angelus did?" Cordelia nodded. "So how come you're here?"


Cordelia stopped to buy a drink from a street vendor. "I came here to be an actress. I'm not very good at it though, as Angelus so 'lovingly' pointed out."


"Uh..Angelus? Angel turned bad again?" Kate asked apprehensively.


"Yeah he turned grrr again. It was only for one night though. A client gave him a drug to make him happy, trying to get him to turn her. After the drug wore off, he was back to his normal brooding self. Only more broodier."


"O....K.... So what did you do?"


"Wesley knocked him down the elevator shaft."


Kate almost choked. "What?!"


"Yeah. You wouldn't think it but Wesley can be pretty good in a fight. Now that he's grown up."


"Grown up?"


"In Sunnydale, he was a big baby. The Watcher's Council in it's infinite stupidity, sent him to Sunnydale, of all places, to be Buffy's watcher, after they canned Giles. It would seem that the Watcher's Council are big believers in 'controlled circumstances', the only time Wes had actually faced a vampire was while it was restrained. Basically he would end up screaming like baby before the first punch was thrown. But here he's cool. And if you tell him that, I'll deny it, but here he's more...well grown up. Not as naive, more sure of himself, in a good way."


"Oh." Kate was silent for a moment. "So how come you get the vision things?"


"Doyle gave them to me. When my high school human studies teacher told me that kissing can lead to other things, I don't think this was the other things she was referring to."


"Huh?"


"Doyle was a friend of Angel's at first, his link to the PTB's. He got the visions, and Angel went out to help whoever it was that Doyle saw. At first I didn't particularly like him, but he kinda grew on you. Kinda like a chia pet? We were helping a group of half demon/half human's escape the Scourge. They're a bunch of neo-nazi demons, who want to kill all the half-breeds." Cordelia explained. "They had this weapon, that shone a light. If the light hit someone who wasn't completely human, or completely demon, it would kill them. So Doyle kissed me, which gave me the visions, and pulled the plug of the weapon before it could kill alot of people. He was half demon though, and he died." Cordelia was quiet for a moment. "I still miss him. He was a really good friend."


"Why do you do this? Why are you telling me all this?"


"Why am I telling you this? You need to understand what has happened in the past, if you are going to have any hope of understanding what's about to happen. I know that you're having trouble dealing with vampires and the things that go bump in the night. You're trying to deal with it according to human laws, and what science tells you. I can tell you right now, that if you don't accept that the 'other world' doesn't run by those laws, it has it's own, then you'll never understand, you'll never be able to stop any of the demons. You'll just tear yourself apart trying." Cordelia blinked. "Oh god! If I start wearing tweed, stake me!"


Kate thought about what she had said. "So why do you do it? Why do you stay?"


"Well it's not like I could ever be rid of him now is it? I mean the visions have pretty much taken care of that. Seriously though? I know what goes bump in the night. I tried denying it and I almost got killed. I can't just sit back and pretend it's not there." she paused. "David was right. It makes a difference. It feels good to help people who need it. And Angel and Wesley need my help. They're the only family I really have. And quite frankly, your attitude was causing problems for Angel. And since brood boy wouldn't have explained what's going on, I though that I should."


They had stopped walking by now and were in a deserted park. They stood there, both so lost in their own thoughts that they didn't notice dark figure approaching.


The last thing Cordelia thought before the world went dark and she lost consciousnees was that Angel was going to be furious with her for being so careless.


************


Part 4


************


"Shouldn't Cordelia be back by now?" Angel asked Wesley worriedly.


"Cordelia did say that she would be a couple of hours."


"Yeah, but that was a few hours ago. It's almost dark now." Wesley glance up, at the nearest window.


"Oh. Maybe she's at home. Have you tried her appartment?"


"Yes, there's no answer. No answer on her cell phone either. I keep getting a message telling me that the phone I'm trying to call is out of the service area, or turned off."


"It's not like Cordelia to turn off her phone. Do you think she's in trouble?"


"I don't know." Angel grabbed the phone and punched in a number. "Hello, I'm looking for Det. Kate Lockley....she's not?...well when is her next shift?.....If she shows up?........Oh, I see, no, no message. Thank you."


"She's not there?"


"She didn't go back into work today."


"Oh dear."


************


"As business trips go, there are certainly worse places to go." Joe Dawson commented to his friend Duncan MacLeod as they walked along one of LA's many streets.


"I take it summer in LA suits you Joe."


"Are you kidding? Warm weather, sunshine, beaches, all much better than Paris in winter."


Duncan laughed. "I thought you liked Paris Joe."


"I do. I just don't like the weather there. So what time is your meeting?"


"7.00."


"Strange time for a business meeting."


"Well the CEO is a strange guy. Sometimes he doesn't seem to be all there."


"His mind on other things?"


"Seems like it. Although with David Nabbit, who knows what the other things are. Probably his game."


"He plays golf?"


"He plays Dungeons and Dragons."


"You're kidding right?"


"No I'm serious. David's extremely good at what he does, but he's very....disconnected from reality."


"Dungeons and Dragons. And this guy is how old?"


"And we should judge? You who follows around a 400 odd year old immortal, and me who believes that demons do exist?"


"Ok. So we won't judge. We'll just recommend a good psychiatrist." The two friends chuckled, and walked on in campanionable silence for a while.


They were about to step into a cross walk when a large black car careened around the corner, almost knocking them over, windows blacked out, loud music pumping from the stereo.


"What the....bloody idiot!"


The car pulled up to a sudden stop with a screech and three teenagers, all female, looking a little pale piled out of the car.


"I'm never getting in a car with him again!"


"What would I give for my powers right now!"


"That....that...that was um..."


As if in response, the car took off with smoking tyres, and the driver practically threw it around the nearest corner.


"If he keeps driving like that, he's going to end up killing someone!"


"It's alright for him, he's already dead."


"Maybe we could cast a spell on him. Make him blind. Then he couldn't drive."


"And we'd have to put up with him bitching all the time. Not to mention that we'd get roped into babysitting him again."


"Ok, so we won't blind him. Maybe we could...."


As Duncan and Joe looked on, two other cars, travelling at a more sedate pace pulled up to the kerb. As the occupants climbed out of their vehicles, Joe thought he recognised the driver of the second car.


"Giles?"


"You know him Joe?"


"If I'm right, it's Rupert Giles. He used to work as a curator at a museum in England. We met a couple of years ago, while I was in England on a research trip."


As if to confirm his identification, the young blonde passenger of the third car called out:


"I swear Giles, one of these days, we're going to have to get you a grown up car!"


"Buffy there is nothing wrong with my car. It's perfectly servicable."


"Yeah, if you like travelling with your knees up around your ears!" groaned a tall, lanky teen as he began stretching the kinks out of his muscles.


"Xander!" one of the teens that the black car had dropped off threw herself into the young man's arms. "If Spike is driving home, I'm taking the bus!"


"Me too!"


"Me three!"


"What did he do this time?" Giles sighed.


"He almost killed us!"


"I certainly would never have given him a licence."


"I think Spike only knows two speeds, Giles. Flat out and Stop."


"Giles?" Giles turned as he called his name called by an unfamiliar voice. Recognising the man now crossing the street on unsteady legs he smiles.


"Joe? Joe Dawson? Good lord, it's been years. How are you?"


"Oh can't complain, still here. How about you? What are you doing in LA? Last I heard, you were still curator at the museum."


"I'm good, in LA on business actually."


"So you knew Giles in England?" Willow asked Joe excitedly.


"Wow. Did he wear all tweed?"


"Xander!"


"Oh come on. Don't tell me you don't want to know how long it took for us to break the G-man out of tweed."


"That's not the point!"


"Children....Joe let me introduce you to this rabble. This is Willow, Tara, the young clown is Xander,"


"That's me, class clown."


"You didn't get class clown, didn't they give that to..to uh..."


"I prefer to think that the committee just didn't recognize genius when they saw it."


"the young lady arguing with Xander's is Anya,"continued Giles trying to ignore Xander, "this is Buffy and Riley. I'd like you all to meet Joe Dawson and uh...actually I don't know you."


"Duncan MacLeod. Nice to meet you."


"Hi."


"Nice meeting you."


"So how did you meet Giles?"


"I was on a research trip to England. He helped me find some more obscure references."


"Yep, he's really good at that. Aren't you G-man?"


"Xander, I really wish you wouldn't call me that."


"Really? What do you research?"


"Uh...I'm a historian."


"What period of history?"


"Uh..just the last 400 years or so."


"Joe? Do you want me to wait for you?"


"C'mon you bloody wankers, we haven't got all day!" A voice drifted out of the building in front of them."


"Who's that?"


Giles sighed. "That would be Spike."


"The maniac who tried to kill us!" Anya chipped in.


"Well, what do you expect? I've gotta have some fun somehow. It's not like I can do much to you with this bloody chip in my head." came the voice.


"You really should have let me stake him."muttered Buffy. Duncan shot her a puzzled look, not sure that he had heard her correctly.


"I'm afraid we have to go Joe. The children are getting restless."


"Hey watch who you're calling a child, Watcher!"


Giles removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I really don't know why I put up with him." he muttered.


"Hey! I heard that!"


He handed Joe a card, with his address and phone number on it. "If you're staying a couple of days, give me a call. That phone number will divert through to where I'm staying."


"I'll do that." Joe and Duncan watched as Giles and the teenagers headed into the building.


"Watcher?!" Duncan asked. "I didn't see a tattoo."


"Neither did I. And he's not a Watcher that I know about. Besides if he was, who was he watching? I don't think any of those kids were immie. Were they?"


"No."


************


"Hey Peaches! We're here!"Spike called as he threw open the door of Angel Investigations.


"Spike? What are you doing here?" Angel asked cautiously, exiting his office.


"The chits needed another car, so here I am. Under very strong protest I must point out. Oh-hooh, who's this? Oh hey I know you! Aren't you that other watcher? The one that runs away screaming like a girl?"


"That would be me." Wesley agreed dryly. He knew better than to get in an argument with Spike. Living a year on the Hellmouth had taught him something.


"You're no fun. So where's the other guy? That demon guy? And where's Cordelia? I feel like saying hello."


"You feel like annoying the hell out of them you mean. Hello Deadboy! Wesley. We're here to help you kick some demon butt. Got some info for you too."


"Can you not call me that? Spike, if you mean Doyle, he died. And we're don't know where Cordelia is."


"Hey Angel."


"Hi, Willow."


"Um..Angel, this is Tara, Tara Angel."


"Hi. Uh Willow? I have a favour to ask."


"O...K...What's wrong?"


"We think something may have happened to Cordelia. I've got an idea how to find out what, but..."


"You need to hack into somebody's computer system to find out?"


"Yeah."


"OK." Willow agrees as she sits down at the computer. "So, who am I hacking?"


"Wolfram & Hart. It's a law firm."


"Lawyers?"


"Lawyers for demons. They've also tried to kill me few times."


"Oh. Uh..Angel? You hovering is making me nervous."


"Oh. Sorry."


"Why don't you go talk to Giles and Riley. They have some information on the demon Cordy saw. As soon as I find anything I'll let you know."


"Thanks Willow."


**********


"He seemed nice."


"Who? Angel? Yeah Angel's nice..boy do these guys have some major firewalls!"


"Can you get in?"


"I should be able too. It'll just take some time. This is way heavy security for a law firm."


"If their clients are demons, they won't want to take any chances."


"That's true. Ok. Let's try this..."


**********


"Giles, Buffy, Riley. Willow said you have some information?"


Riley wasn't sure what he expected when he saw the vampire again, but it wasn't that. "Uh, yeah. I found it while going through Prof. Walsh's things. We're dealing with another Adam."


"I take it that's not good."


"No, it's not. To defeat the first one we had to invoke the power of the first Slayer." Giles informed Angel.


"My god! Is everyone alright?" Wesley asked.


"The first Slayer tried to kill us in our dreams, afterward. But other than that we're fine."


"Good. So what are we facing?"


"Basically a demon version of Frankenstein's monster. The body is made up of a combination of demon body parts and robotics....." Riley told him.


"It feeds on electricity, so we can't try to overload it's robotics...." Giles continued.


"And it's smart, and it's stronger than vampires." Buffy finished.


"That's going to be a problem." Wesley said thoughtfully.


"How do we kill it?"


"Remove it's power source."


"Power source?"


"It's a small reactor type device, located near his spine."


"Well he's not going to lay down quietly while we perform surgery, so how do we get close enough to it to remove the power source?" Wesley asked.


"First step would be to find it." Angel glanced out the window. "Wesley, when Willow's finished, do a search and see if you can find anything that might tell us where this thing is hiding. I'm going to see if Gunn's heard anything." He grabbed his coat and headed out the door.


"Phone!" Wesley called after him. Grumbling he turned around and grabbed his cell phone off the top of the filing cabinet.


"I hate these things."


"Going somewhere Peaches? I think I'll go with you."


"Spike....oh fine."


"He seemed a little distracted." Buffy observed.


"He's worried about Cordelia. She's missing." Wesley told her.


"Since when?"


"This afternoon. Cordelia and Kate, a police detective, went for a walk, and we haven't heard from either of them since. We've tried everywhere we can think of."


"And you think something's happened to her?"


"Yes. Cordelia knows not to go wandering alone at night and...."


"Uh...guys? I think I found something."


********


Part 5


********


"Willow, what is it?"


"I hacked into Wolfram & Hart's mainframe, like Angel asked, and I found this." Willow brought a document up on the screen.


"According to this, Cordelia's address and details have been given to a man who wants to acquire seer's eyes."


"Seer's eyes? That doen't sound good." Xander stated.


"They have an address for him here.." Wesley grabbed the phone the phone and dialed Angel's cell phone.


*********


"So Peaches, hows life been treating you?"


"Why do you want to know?"


"I'm just being polite. Making conversation." Angel just looked at Spike silently. "Allright, I'm bored out of my brain! I've got this bloody chip in my head, which means I can't kill people. Hell, I can't even hit them. The only things I can hurt are demons, which leaves me in a sticky situation. I've had to put up with the goody-two-shoes brigade for the last few months. Do you realize how boring they are?"


"From what I heard you tried to liven things up."


"What?" Spike tried the what-who-me-i'm-innocent routine.


"A small matter of conspiring with Adam to start a war?"


"Well, he promised to take this bloody chip out of my head! Besides, it kinda felt good to be causing chaos again."


"I bet."


"You know, you're really no fun when your in this mood. So where are we going?"


"To see a friend."


"About what?"


"If they've seen anything that could tell us where this Adam- demon is." Angel pulled the car into the street, where Gunn and his people were staying.


"Oh what fun! I probably would have had a better time staying with the bloody Slayer's groupies. At least I can bait them." Spike grumbled as he jumped out of the car. A loud clacking sound broke the quiet of the night, and Spike turned around to find about a dozen weapons of varying lethality aimed directly at him.


"Hey, it's alright, I know this guy." A voice called out, and the weapons were lowered, but still kept aimed at Spike.


"Must you insist on making friends with every bloody person who tries to kill you? "Spike asked Angel frustrated.


"So, what you here for this time?" A young negro boy asked from the doorway of the abandoned building.


"I need some information. Have any of you seen anything strange the last couple of night?"


"Strange? What you mean like Vampires?" Angel just looked steadily at the young man until he gave a frustrated sigh. "You really need to work on your people skills. It's customary to laugh when someone tells you a joke."


"The joke would have to be funny first." Spike grumbled.


"Who's the bottle job?"


"This is Spike. Spike meet Gunn."


"Oh bloody Hell! What is this, a tea party?" Weapons rose again. "Hey! Watch where you're pointing those things!"


"In answer to your question, no. We haven't seen anything strange. In fact, we haven't seen anything at all. Not a vampire in sight for the last four nights. Other than you and your friend."


Angel was silent for a moment. "He's planning something, I can feel it." he said, almost to himself.


"Who's planning something?" Gunn demanded.


"A demon." Angel startled as his cell phone rang. He fished inside his pocket, to answer the call. "You might want to keep your people inside for a few nights." he told Gunn. "Yeah?"


"Angel, you were right. Willow got the information. A client of Wolfram & Hart has bought seer's eyes."


"Cordelia."


"Yes. The address we have is for the middle man, but it's the best we could come up with." Wesley rattled off the address.


"Thanks Wesley." Angel snapped the phone shut. "I have to go." Quickly Angel bolted for the car and took off, almost leaving Spike behind.


"We are really gonna have to work on his people skills."


************


"Oh what's the use?" Kate sighed as she sank to the floor. She and Cordelia were imprisioned in a large, furniture-less, windowless room. She had been banging on the walls for a solid hour, trying to attract the attention of someone to help them.


"Don't worry. I'm sure Brood Boy is on his way." Cordelia reassured her from her position against the far wall. At least Cordelia hoped Angel was on his way. She had overheard part of a telephone conversation, as she was being dragged into this hell hole, and it hadn't sounded good.


"You always call him that?" Kate was slightly amused at the younger woman's nicknames for Angel.


"No, not always." Not for the last month or so, since he had stopped brooding most the time.


"You have a lot of faith in him don't you?"


"Yes." To Kate it sounded so simple, and to Cordelia it was. Angel was Angel. Ok, sure he was a vampire, but hey, nobody's perfect. He cared about people, he cared about her, and she knew that right now he was probably beginning to go a little out of his mind with worry. It was just one of the things she loved about him. Whoa! Love? She loved Angel? She realized that it was true. She was hopelessly in love with her brooding vampire boss.


"You were right." Kates quiet statement pulled her out of her reverie.


"What?" She was right? About what?


"About tearing myself apart. About not really accepting all of this." Cordelia was silent. This touchy, feely stuff wasn't her strong point. "After my dad died, I guess I needed someone to blame. Angel was conveinent." And the fact that he was a vampire, when vampires killed your dad, must have made him a good target, Cordelia added silently.


"I wasn't acepting it before then either, but when he died, it just was easier to blame Angel than to accept the fact that, Dad didn't know what he was getting into, and that he wouldn't listen when help was offered, and because of that he was dead, and not because of ..... It just seemed so much easier to...."


"Deny what had really happened." Cordelia finished.


"Yeah." After a pause Kate asked "You want to know the funny thing though?"


"Mmmm."


"Everytime I hear about something, strange or even vaugely demon sounding, I head straight for it. People at work are beginning to call me 'Spooky'." Cordelia just smiled slightly, unsure of what to say. After a while Kate asked about how Cordelia had found out about demon's and vampires, and Cordelia told her.


"....I was going through my own form of denial, then. It took a while for the fact that these people wanted to kill me to sink in. I was more worried about how to get the blood stains out of my clothes."


"Really?"


"Yeah. After a while it became more real. Having a bug person try to kill you will do that for you."


"Bug person?"


"He was an assasin that was after Buffy, but somehow he came after me instead. He was made up of all of these bugs, kinda like maggots? Major Gross. Still gives me the..the. auughh!" Cordelia doubled over as another vision lanced through her consciousness.


"Cordelia?" Kate sounded somewhat panicked. Cordelia moaned as the vision abated. She looked up into Kates worried eyes.


"Oh god." This time she had seen her own death.


***********


"Ok, that was a little strange." Joe commented as he and Duncan left David Nabbit's office.


"I did warn you Joe."


"That you did. A little disconnected from reality? He seemed like his head was in outer space most the time!" Joe commented as they walked toward their hotel.


"He was..spacier than usual tonight. Might have been missing a game."


"At least when he was with us, he knew what he was talking about."


"He is very good at what he does. He's just..."


"A big kid at heart?"


"Well that wasn't what I was going to say...but yes. Basically."


"So, is your business all finished now?"


"It is."


"I bet Amanda will be happy to hear that."


Duncan laughed. "My credit card will be happy to hear that. She's been pouting because I couldn't take her out, so she lifted my card."


Joe chuckled. "She doesn't change, does she?"


"Not Amanda."


"So does she know that you know she has your card?"


"Nah. I haven't let on. I've been spending some time thinking up ways to get her to pay for it though. I'm open to sugggest....."Duncan broke off as he heard voices, what sounded like a grunt, then someone being punched. Automatic reflex had him reaching into his coat to make sure that his katana was still there.


The movement didn't pass by Joe. "Immortal?" he asked.


"I don't think so. Stay here."


Duncan entered the darkened alleyway to see the young blonde woman that they had been introduced to earlier...Buffy?...standing, in a fighting stance, surrounded by three, what looked like, gang members.


"What? You guys having a party and didn't invite me?" She dropped suddenly and lashed out at the nearest would be mugger with her foot. He landed with a thud, then seemed to dissapear as she quickly leaned over him, then rolled back to her feet. She had good technique, he had to admit. He was about to intervene when he was attacked from behind.


"Oh look. Dinner to go." a raspy voice sounded in his ear as his head was forced back. What? Dinner? Who the hell were these people? Duncan brought his elbow down sharply into his attacker's midsection. With a grunt his attacker let go and Duncan turned to face him, dropping into a fighting stance. His eyes widened as he got a close look at the face of his attacker. It was grossly misshapen, and his eyes glowed yellow. The momentary hesitation was enough for his opponent to land a backhander across his face that threw him into the wall. Bloody Hell, this guy was strong!


Recovering quickly, Duncan grabbed his sword and whirled around to see his attacker, come at him with a knife. Suddenly he stopped mid-swing and disintegrated, revealing a out of breath Buffy standing there with a wooden stake grasped in her hand.


"Drop the sword Buster!" she demanded.


Shocked, Duncan did just that. Buffy kicked it away with her foot.


"Ok. You mind telling me what you're doing here, in the middle of the night, carrying a sword?"


"No. Not really." Duncan was beginning to recover from his shock. Damn! He should have never dropped his sword.


"Well your gonna have to, unless you want to explain it to the police." she threatened.


"I'm an antiques dealer, I just bought the sword, and was going back to my hotel, when I heard a scuffle and thought I'd investigate." Duncan told her after a moments silence. He really didn't want to hassle with the police right now.


Buffy backed up a little, and picked up the sword. "Uh huh." She quickly examined it. "Japanese katana, no carry case, and marks underneath the hilt that say you've been carying it in some sort of metallic holder for quite some time. Now you want to try that explanation again?" Right now Buffy was really glad that Giles had made her learn a bit about swords.


For his part Duncan was at a loss for words.


"Perhaps we should go see Giles." Joe spoke up from behind her. Buffy whirled around to face him.


Joe studied the young woman in front of him. The way she held the katana told him that she knew damn well how to use it. Maybe she was a pre-immie, and Giles was her Watcher. If he was, he was going to end up with his ass in a sling for interfering. Taking a chance Joe calmly asked,


"He is your Watcher, isn't he?"


***********


Part 6


***********


Angel pulled the car into an alleyway about a block from the address that Wesley had given him. He and Spike abandoned the car and climbed onto the roof of the nearest building. With a quiet born of long years of experience, they made their way to the building where Cordelia was being held.


"Doesn't look like there's many of them."Spike commented.


"I can't see Cordelia or Kate."


"Maybe they're not here."


Angel was silent for a moment before, "No she's here."


"How do you know?"


"Don't know. I just do." Spike's eyebrows raised, high enough to dissapear into his hairline. Did that mean what he thought that meant? Well, well, the poof and Cordelia. That wasn't a pairing he would have thought of.


Angel looked through the clerestory window of the warehouse where Cordelia was being held. If those bastards had hurt her in any way........ He didn't stop to examine the emotions washing over him, at the thought of someone hurting his seer, there would be time for that later. Right now he had to get her out of there and get her home. He watched as a tall, well built dark haired man walked up to the door cut into the far wall and checked that it was still locked. He watched as the man talked to a smaller vampire. Guards. He couldn't see anyone else.


"Spike, see that door?"


"No, this chip affects my eyesight as well. Yes I see the door! You want to do a decoy and grab?"


"Yeah. You get Cordelia out of there and back to the office. Take the car, don't wait for me."


***********


The man stood hidden in the shadows. He had tracked the cheating bastard this far, for this long. He was prepared to wait for his prey. Fortunately, his prey didn't have his patience. The man smiled slowly as a familar car pulled up at the curb.


***********


"Angel's here." Cordelia stated suddenly, with absolute conviction.


"What? How can you tell?"


"I don't know. I guess I can just feel him."


"That's kind off...."


"Disturbing? I agree."


"And that even more disturbing." Kate stated as the deafening sound of glass violently shattering sounded throughout their prison. The muffled sound of fighting could be heard. Cordelia went up to the door and pressed her ear against it, trying to hear more clearly what was going on. She gasped and drew back as she heard something....somebody moving against the door.


"What?" whispered Kate.


"There's someone on the other side." Suddenly there was the sound of metal grinding and wood splintering as the lock was ripped of the door.


Not entirely sure that it was Angel on the other side, Cordelia stood just inside the doorframe, clenched her fist, and punched the person coming through the door, in the face. If it was Angel she hoped he'd forgive her.


"Uugghhh!" Spike reeled back, his features morphing into his game face, having not anticipated being attacked by the people he was supposedly saving.


"Spike?" Cordelia was incredulous. Spike was the last person she had expected to see. "What are you doing here?" She demanded.


"Well I'm supposed to be getting you out of here! Damn! I think you broke my nose!"


"You'll survive." she told him dryly. "Men are such babies." she muttered to Kate as they exited their prison, Kate warily eyeing Spike.


"Where's Angel?"Kate asked.


"Creating a diversion, so that we can get the bloody hell out of here. So I suggest we move it." Spike turned on his heel only to be confronted by the vampire guard. Ducking to avoid a punch aimed at his head, he propelled his body forward, catching the other vampire in the mid-section.


Deciding that this was a good time to get the hell out of Dodge, Cordelia skirted around the brawling vampires, and went in search of an exit. Kate in the mean time went searching for her gun.


Cordelia had almost reached the door, when she was brought up short by the sensation of cold steel against her throat.


"Going somewhere darlin'?" the stranger drawled.


"Actually, I was trying to find the bathroom." Cordelia tried, hoping find some way out of this latest mess.


"It's in the other direction." he pointed out condecendingly. Cordelia's gaze followed in the direction he was pointing and her heart jumped into her throat. She had thought that there was, two, maybe three people at the most involved in keeping her and Kate captive. If the scene in front of her was any indication, she had been out by about 4. Two vampires and a demon were attacking Angel, a pile of ash on the floor near his feet, evidence that there had been more. Spike was still fighting with the vampire that had jumped him, Kate was involved in a fight with a human looking man, and Mr Sword-weilding-psyco, who currently held a sword to her throat. This was definetly not good.


Out the corner of her eye she spotted Kate's gun and her purse on a small table, just inside the door, about three feet from where she stood. If she could just get the gun......


"Well..uh..thanks for pointing that out. I have a lousy sense of direction." she told him brightly, and began squirming a little, trying to get away from the sword.


"And it's gonna get lousier." he started to press the sword harder into her throat, when suddenly he stiffened, withdrew the sword and glanced around as if looking for something.


Recognising her chance, Cordelia wacked him in the gut with her arm and dove for the table.


"Reynard! I'm here for your head!"


"In your dreams MacLeod!"


Grabbing the gun, she called out to Kate, and slid it across the floor. The clang of metal on metal barely registered on her consciousness as she fished into her purse for her stake, cross and bottle of holy water.


A shot rang out as, avoiding the duelling strangers, she made her way to Spike and proceeded to empty the contents of the bottle on his opponent. As the vampire reeled back in pain, she quickly shoved the stake into his chest, and he disintegrated into a pile of ash.


"Bloody Hell." Spike stared at her in amazement.


"Well? Go help Angel."


"Yes ma'am."Spike agreed still slightly shocked and went to help his sire with the remaining demon.


Cordelia felt herself being pulled from behind and stumbled backwards.


"We need to get out of here!" Kate yelled above the noise in the room.


"Well...uh...I hope you can fly, because our only exit seemes to be blocked by Arthur and Lancelot there!" Cordelia called back, as the two women stumbled backwards, looking for a relatively safe place to hide.


The demon that Angel and Spike had been fighting died, just as the words "There can be only one!" rang throughout the warehouse.


Angel whirled around looking for the source of the words and caught sight of Cordelia and Kate huddled against a wall. Relief flowed through him as he saw that Cordelia seemed unharmed.


Static electricity built up in the air, and Angel noticed that bolts of electricity seemed to be rising out of the headless corpse that lay near the door, to hit the man standing over the corpse holding a sword.


The man yelled as the first bolt hit him full force. Lightning began sparking around the room, and objects began to dance in the air. Angel and Spike dove for cover underneath the same table as chunks of wood began flying in their direction.


After what seemed like several minutes, the freak lightning storm abated and Angel crawled out from underneath the table to find himself in a nightmare.


"Cordelia!"


Cordelia sat, skeward to the wall by a sword through her chest, gasping for breath, shock clearly displayed in her eyes. In a heartbeatbeat Angel was at her side. "Spike, call an ambulance." For once Spike didn't argue, just went to do as he was asked. "Cordelia, can you hear me?"


"Angel?" Cordelia coughed, bringing up blood. "I..can't...breathe."


"Cordelia, hold on. The ambulance will be here soon."


"That's...g-g-good." Cordelia began shivering, and Angel recognised that she was going into shock. Removing his jacket, he carefully wrapped it around her. Talking to her constantly for the next few minutes, desperately trying to keep her conscious, Angel felt dread pooling in his stomach. He was going to lose his seer, his friend and his family. He was was going to lose Cordelia.


The sound of sirens came closer and closer until finally they were there. Just before the EMT's entered the room, Cordelia looked into his eyes and with a puzzled expression and asked, "Angel? Why do I have a sword in my chest?" then lost consciousness.


************


The registration nurse in emergency watched as the attending doctor talked to the small group of people gathered in the waiting room. She saw their shoulders slump and they seemed to fold in on themselves and become smaller as they heard what Dr. Carter had to say.


Only the man, who stood against the wall just apart from the group, seemed unaffected.


Sighing she glanced down at the chart in her hands. Cordelia Chase, 19 years old.


God, she hated it when they lost a young one!


*************


She was gone. Cordelia was dead. Angel stared at the walls of the waiting room blankly, as the news sank in. He hadn't been able to protect the person who ment the most to him.


Her last words echoed in his head. "Angel, why do I have a sword in my chest?"


Because of him. Because he hadn't been able to protect her like he had promised.


What was he going to do without her? Images of Cordelia ran through his head. Cordelia putting on her brave face when she had first started working for him. Cordelia standing up to Angelus. Cordelia comforting him after Doyle's death. Cordelia staring blankly at the ceiling suffering from never ending visions. Cordelia excitied over his future human status. Cordelia pinned to the wall by a sword through the chest.


Oh god this hurt! Worse than being sent to hell. In fact this redefined the word. He hadn't known that anything could hurt this much!


The woman he loved was dead. The realization shook him. Sometime during the last year, the former May Queen had worked her way into his heart. And now it felt like someone had ripped it out of his chest. She had taken it with her.


"Angel? Do you want me call the rest of them?" Spike asked quietly. He had been suprised to find that he was saddened by Cordelia's death.


Angel was brought back to earth by Spike's words. Oh god, how was he going to tell them? How was he going to tell Wesley?


"No."he shook his head. "I'll do it." Angel go up and went in search of a payphone, while the others in the room sadly watched as the vampire left.


***************


Angel found a payphone in a booth, just off the waiting area. This was the outpatients area, and at this time of night it was mercifully quiet and dark. Angel just stood there, staring at the phone for a few long minutes. Then, slowly lifting the reciever he dialled the office.


"Hello, Angel Investigations. We help the helpless."


Angel suddenly found himself unable to speak. Tears flowed down his cheeks and his throat closed up.


"Hello?"


"Wesley..."Angel managed to choke out.


"Angel?" Instantly Wesley picked up on the distress in Angel's voice. "What happened?"


****************


Part 7


****************


"Giles, we have a problem."Buffy announced as she entered Angel's office. Giles and Wesley were huddled over some computer printouts.


"Buffy? What's wrong?" Giles asked concerned as he glanced up. "Where did you get the sword?"


"Your pal Joe's friend Duncan." Giles looked puzzled.


"Huh?"


"I was fighting with a group of vampires, and suddenly, he's there, sword in hand. He almost had a meal made out of him."


"Oh dear."


"Yeah. And when I asked him about this sharp pointy object," Buffy continued, swinging the sword in a shallow arc, "he gave me some story about being a antiques dealer."


"Perhaps he is."


"He wasn't carrying it in a case, and it has marks on the handle from where it's been carried in a holder of some kind."she showed Giles the hilt. "Besides, it's a little late to be buying antiques."


"This is unusual."Giles muttered as he examined the katana.


"And wait, there's more."Buffy told him, giving a bad impression of a Home Shopping channel announcer. "Your friend Joe comes along and suggests we come see you. He knows you're my Watcher Giles."


"Are you sure?"


"'He is your Watcher, isn't he?'" Buffy quoted.


"I think perhaps I should have a talk to Joe and this Duncan gentleman."


"They're in the other office."


"You brought them here?"


"No Giles, I took them to Mc Donalds and bought them both Happy Meals. Yes I brought them here!"


***************


Joe Dawson sat stiffly on a chair in the outer office of Angel Investigations. He was suprised to see the group of young people he had meet earlier populating the office.


"What do you think they're here for, Joe?"


"I don't know. The brass is going to be furious with Giles for involving these kids."


"I'm not so sure that it's immortals they're concerned about Joe." Duncan told him. He had overheard a part of Buffy and Giles's conversation. Vampires? Vampires weren't real. Were these kids all nuts? Were they using 'I thought he was a vampire' to go around killing people?


"Joe. Mr MacLeod. Perhaps you'd like to explain what's going on?" Giles asked as he exited the other office followed by a man that Joe had never seen before.


"Giles. Perhaps we should speak in private."


Giles looked around the office. "All of these people know about Buffy. So what's going on?"


"Damn it Giles. How could you involve these kids in this?" Giles startled as Joe began to verbally tear shreds off him. "You do remember your oath don't you? Remember the part about not interfering?"


"Yes I remember my oath! How dare..." Giles fired back. "..hang on. What do you mean 'not interfering'? That's part of a Watcher's duty, remember? To train the Slayer?"


"Slayer? What the hell is the Slayer? I'm talking about the Watchers." Joe asked puzzled. "You know, the chronicles? Observing and documenting history?" Giles still had a puzzled look on his face. "Tattoos?" Joe asked desperately, showing Giles the tatoo on his inner wrist. Giles looked at the tatoo closely.


"I don't..."


"I've seen this before." Wesley said thoughtfully, as he got a look at the symbol. "Where did I see this? It was in the last month or so, so it must have been while I was looking for the demon.......I've got it! A book of Angel's" and with that he dissapeared out of the office, Giles and Joe starting after him.


"Book of Angels?" Xander asked puzzled. He had only half heard the conversation. "Angels have books? Thats'...oh. A book of Angel's" Xander blushed. "Sorry."


"Here it is." Wesley announced as he came back into the office. "I remember this now. It appears to be a diary of sorts. Written from the viewpoint of someone watching his life. Archibald Reynard, American, from down south. I found this rather interesting. It tells of Mr Reynard's life, he was, by all accounts a rather nasty gentleman. Kept attacking people with a sword and beheading them." This last sentance was directed rather pointedly at Duncan.


"Anyone else find that really Ewww?" Xander asked as most as Giles, Buffy and Wesley trained their gaze on the tall scot.


"So you like playing with pointy objects too, Mr MacLeod?" Buffy asked as the phone rang. Wesley went to answer it as Buffy advanced slowly toward Duncan.


"Hello, Angel Investigations. We help the helpless." Wesley waited for the person on the other end to identify himself. "Hello?"


"Wesley..."A choked voice issued through the phone lines.


"Angel?" Instantly Wesley picked up on the distress in Angel's voice. "What happened?" Suddenly every eye in the office was on him.


"It's....Cordelia. She....she...."


"Angel where are you?" Wesley asked as the distraught vampire seemed unable to continue.


"St. Matthews."


"I'll be right there, don't go anywhere." he told the vampire uneccesarily, and hung up the phone.


"What is it?" Willow asked concerned.


"Cordelia..she's in the hospital. I have to go."


"Well do you want one of us to go with you?" Riley asked.


"No. You guys stay here and sort out this mess. I'll call you from the hospital." Wesley told him distractedly, as he grabbed his jacket and left the office. Dread had begun settling into his stomach as soon as he heard his friends voice. He prayed to god that Cordelia was going to be ok.


**************


"I'm looking for Cordelia Chase. She was brought in here?"


"Wesley." Wesley turned to face Det. Lockley. She looked like she had been in a war. There were cuts all over her face and hands, and blood all over her clothes. Her eyes were swollen and red.


"Det. Lockley. Where's Angel?"


"He uh..he went to find a payphone awhile ago. We haven't seen him since." She informed him.


"He's in the outpatients reception." Spike told him, comming up behind Kate.


"Outpatients? But... Where's Cordelia?" The look on their faces told him that his worst fear had just come true. Cordelia dead. His friend was gone. Oh god. He just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. But he couldn't. Not yet. Right now Angel needed him. "Spike, can you take Det. Lockley home?"


"Oh no you don't!" Kate told him forcefully. "You're not leaving me out of this. I owe her. I'm not going anywhere."


Wesley sighed. Kate had the same look in her eye that Cordelia got when she was determined to do something. Cordelia. "Fine. Take her home. Detective..."


"It's Kate."


"Kate. You need a change of clothes, and I daresay a shower would do you some good as well. Spike, when she's got her things, take her back to the office. You have the car keys?"


"Yeah. Peaches rode in the ambulance. What about you? You got a car?"


"I have my bike."


Spike sighed and held out his hand. "Give me the keys."


"What?"


"Give me the keys. Trust me, Angel is going to be in no condition to ride pillion through the streets of LA. You'll need the car. By the time you get him home, it'll probably light out."


Wesley thought about this for a moment before handing over his keys and handing Kate his helmet.


Spike threw the car keys to Wesley, and told him where he had parked. "Take good care of him." he told the former watcher, then escorted Kate out of the hospital.


Wesley allowed himself a moment to collect himself then went in search of Angel.


*********


Connor MacLeod watched as the bleached blonde and the cop talked to the man at the reception desk.


He was rather suprised that the woman hadn't slapped handcuffs on him, and dragged him down to the station, but she seemed to have other things on her mind. In fact none of the strange group had even seemed to notice him since the doctor had informed them of the young woman..Cordelia?'s death.


The dark haired man had taken it worst, and Connor assumed that they had been lovers. He took a closer look at the man now standing alone. The other one may have taken it worst, but to Connor's experienced eye, this guy was also taking it hard. Who was he? Brother? Father? He seemed a little young to be the last. The man walked out of emergency and turned toward the outpatients ward. Probably going after the other one.


Connor pushed away from the wall and made his way toward a bank of elevators. He hoped he wasn't wrong about the girl.


************


Angel sat huddled into a darkened corner. He was alone except for his thoughts. Cordelia was dead. The thought echoed through his mind constantly. It wasn't fair! Cordelia had had so much to live for. Had had so much life ahead of her. If anyone had to die, why couldn't it have been him? Why was it that all the good people who got close to him died before their time?


"Angel?" Wesley's voice cut through the silence, dragging Angel out of his thoughts.


"I'm here." Quietly the former watcher walked in the direction of the voice, until he spotted Angel curled up on the floor. He sat down next to the vampire.


"What happend?" He asked quietly.


"I don't know." Angel eventually answered. "One moment she's fine. Then there seemed to be some kind of lightning storm. And when it was over....." Angel broke off, unable to finish. "Everytime I close my eyes, I see........there was so much blood."


Wesley sat in silence. Visions of Cordelia with blood all over her played themselves through his head. He lowered his head to rest on his knees and let the tears flow.


************


"We should head back to the office." Wesley said some time later. "It'll be light out soon."


Reluctantly Angel agreed and climbed to his feet. The pair made their way to the elevators, and Wesley hit the button for the level of the underground parking lot where Spike had parked the car.


Suddenly Angel's hand shot out and depressed the button marked 'morgue'.


"I just need to..." Angel tried to explain as Wesley looked at him questioningly.


"Say goodbye?" Wesley finished.


************


Cordelia awoke with a gasp. All around her it was dark and cold. Oh god she couldn't see anything. Had someone suceeded in removing her eyes? She took a couple of deep breaths to try and calm herself down. Slowly she began to take stock of her aches and pains. Her chest hurt a little, and it was slightly painful to breathe, but that was easing. Her eyes didn't hurt, so she took that as a good sign. Moving her hands, she felt the plastic covering her, and heard it rustle. Moving a bit more she felt a zip running down the front of........what was this thing? It felt like she was in a sleeping bag. A very cold sleeping bag. A very cold plastic sleeping bag? Oh God, it was a body bag! Someone had put her in a body bag! Squirming around in the bag she managed to undo the zip to her chest, where the zip stuck, and refused to budge any further. She managed to manuver her arms out of the bag, and in doing so made contact with cold steel. Feeling around her she felt that she was in a steel box of some sort. Oh god someone had buried her!


Oh god, Angel was dead. He would never have let anyone bury her. Someone, some demon, had taken advantage of the lightning storm and killed him.


"Angel!"Cordelia cried out, and began to hit the metal around her. Suddenly her head exploded. Or at least it felt like her head was exploding. It felt almost as bad as a vision, but no images forced their way into her brain.


There was a loud noise and light flooded into the enclosed space, temporarily blinding her. She suddenly felt herself moving and the sound of metal on rollers made itself known in her consciousness. Suddenly the movement stopped. Glancing up she noticed that her head was clear of drawers? Sitting up suddenly she gazed at the person in front of her. As if by magic her headache abated. Hey she knew this guy! He was the one fighting with Mr. Sword-weilding-psycho. Reaching out and taking hold of his coat lapels, she violently dragged him toward her.


"Alright buster! Why the hell am I in the morgue?!"
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