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A Promise To Lie 2: Dark Mirror

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Summary: Co-authored with Starway Man and Nodakskip. After losing Vamp Xander to Faith, Vamp Cordelia encounters the Slayer as well. But then the former Vision Girl ends up…somewhere else.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Dark > Cast: Angel Investigations
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Action/Adventure > Cast: Scooby Gang
zTiamaTzFR18215,920121,3161 Dec 117 Dec 11Yes

Dark Mirror 2

A Promise To Lie 2: Dark Mirror

Authors: Starway Man, Nodakskip and zTiamaTz

××Angel POV××

Sunnydale. Home of the Hellmouth. It had been a while since I’d been here; the night of Joyce’s funeral, if I recall rightly. Buffy and I had lain together against that tree, cuddling and occasionally kissing. I’d asked her how long she wanted me to stay, and I’d never forgotten her answer...

Does forever work for you?

Just as Wesley’s car hit the corner of Weatherly Park, I felt my eyes bulge out. “Who - what - is that?!” I demanded straightaway, staring in disbelief at Buffy fighting a couple of vampires. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to do so, either. “Wes, pull over!”

He did so, as did Gunn in his truck. We all got out and Wesley called out in disbelief, “Miss Summers? Is that you?”

After I’d finished off one of the vamps and she’d finished off the other, Buffy said, “Yes, I’m Buffy Summers! You’re Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, my former Watcher. And you’re Angel! You’re lame, you have stupid hair, and you wear lifts,” the blonde said to me with an annoying smile plastered all over her face.

“Something’s wrong. She doesn’t even sound like Buffy,” I said straightaway. I inhaled deeply, and then I figured it out. “This is a machine of some sort!”

“You mean, this is a frickin’ robot? God damn! Whoever built her, they built her real well,” Gunn whistled in appreciation, which just made me angrier.

“Thank you! Your compliment is most appreciated, whoever you are,” the Buffybot replied with that increasingly annoying smile.

“Okay, what’s the deal here? Why is there some sort of lame-ass Robo-Buffy hanging around Sunnydale?” Cordelia wanted to know.

“Cordelia Chase! You’ve returned from Los Angeles. I once called you a vapid whore, and you called me a crazy freak,” ‘Buffy’ said with an even bigger smile than before.

“Okay, whoever built this thing? They built it a little too well,” Cordelia said in disgust. “Come on, Buffybot; let’s hear it! The truth, and nothing but.”

“I’m Buffy Summers. I was built by my creator, Warren Mears. I patrol the streets of Sunnydale at night, because Sunnydale needs a Slayer,” the Buffybot said, looking at all of us in turn.

“So, the Slayer’s people hired someone to build you after she died? Gosh, that’s thinkin’ outside the box!” Fred exclaimed, going up to the Buffybot and examining it carefully.

“No, Spike had me custom-built long before that. Because he was in love with Buffy, but she wasn’t in love with him, so he decided to settle for me,” the robot said with a smile on its face, as if something like that was perfectly okay.

What?!” By that point, I was seething with fury. Spike had acquired a sex-bot created in Buffy’s image? Even if it was only a machine, just the concept of Spike having sex with someone possessing my beloved Buffy’s face – it made me want to track him down, and tear his damned fangs out one by one!

“Well, that’s just...ewww! There is not enough ‘yuck’ in this world for me to express just how disgusting that is,” Cordelia spoke up, looking revolted. “Why the hell are you still around, anyway? Why hasn’t someone sent you to the scrap heap before now?”

"Oh, I still slay so that the townspeople will think Buffy is alive, and Child Services won't take away my little sister, Dawn."

“We don’t have time for this,” I said roughly. “You, the Buffy robot. Get in the car! We need to get to the Summers residence right now.” So saying, we all quickly set off again and soon arrived at 1630 Revello Drive.

Buffy’s house. I knew it so well; I can remember every single time I came here while she was attending high school. Both as Angel and Angelus. I just wish I knew what to expect, now that both Buffy and Joyce were gone...

I remembered how Cordelia had called Xander’s parents’ house from Los Angeles but his dad had yelled, “I kicked that little shit out a long time ago!” – and since we didn’t have a cell or land-line number to call, Cordy had telephoned here but no one had been home.

Which was kinda odd, as I’d expected Dawn at least to be present. Well, it was Friday night; maybe the gang took her out to a movie at the Sun Cinema or something while the Buffybot took care of the Slaying.

Anyway, Cordy had left a quick message before we’d all piled into our cars and taken off down the interstate to get here. Just our luck that we’d been greatly delayed along the way, by a multi-car pile-up about halfway into the journey.

“So, this is the place?” Fred asked timidly. Damn that Cordelia vampire! She did what she did right after I’d told Fred that she was safe in the hotel, and that she had nothing to fear any longer. It wouldn’t surprise me if Fred ran straight back into her hotel room and never came out again, once all this was over.

“Indeed,” Wes said, answering Fred’s question.

“The house doesn’t look as if it’s changed a bit. Y’know, from the night all those zombies showed up here,” Cordelia sniffed.

“Zombies?!” Gunn and Fred demanded.

“There was a big battle involving an African tribal mask and my welcome-home party, during the start of my senior year,” the Buffybot said brightly. “Still, that’s all in the past now.”

“Right,” Cordelia said as she pressed the doorbell and threw me an unfriendly look. “We’ve got other priorities right at the moment.”

Note to self: once that soulless vampire is dust, buy Cordelia lots of clothes to get her to forgive me for what I did earlier on tonight. Hey, if it worked once before, it should work again...

Willow opened the door, and blinked at us in confusion. “Cordy? Angel? What are you guys doing here?” Obviously, she must not’t have checked the answering machine yet.

“We need to talk,” Cordelia said before she barged inside without waiting for an invitation. Everyone else followed, and I brought up the rear – huh, kinda funny how I still had access to the house. I’d have thought Joyce would have gotten someone to do that ritual to rescind Buffy’s invitation ages ago.

“What’s up?” Willow asked, as Dawn and that Tara girl joined her and the Buffybot went to the kitchen. Good riddance, as far as I was concerned.

“Angel has something he'd like to tell you,” Wesley said, taking over as the spokesman of our little group. “Angel?”

I opened my mouth to tell them everything, and the three Sunnydale women listened as I explained what had happened in the Hyperion earlier tonight. Then they started glaring at me for what I’d done.

Not that I cared much what Willow and Tara thought – despite everything that went wrong, I still think I was right in trying to do that spell if Buffy’s soul really is trapped in some hell dimension – but I did care about Dawn admitting that the Sunnydale gang didn’t see much of Xander these days. Apparently the guy showed up to help with the nightly patrols, but he didn’t bother to socialize with everyone very often anymore.

I guess I couldn’t really blame Harris for that, not if it meant having to look at that damned robot day after day. I knew it’d drive me nuts seeing Buffy’s face all the time, but always knowing that it’s not really her.

“Xander’s not answering his phone, I got diverted straight to voice mail,” Willow reported, after trying both his numbers. “We better go check out his apartment.”

“Xander finally got out of his parents’ house?” I heard Cordelia mutter, as Tara went to the kitchen with Dawn and Willow left the Summers residence along with the rest of us. "I should have known that he’d finally had enough, and left those two behind!"

·· Vamp Cordelia POV ··

I see a bad moon rising. I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightnin'. I see bad times today...

I resisted the urge to clap my hands over my ears at the sound of Xander’s drunken singing. I mean, Wes and Angelus had complained about my singing voice way back when? This guy had me beat hands down!

Don't go 'round tonight. 'Cause it's bound to take your life. There's a bad moon on the rise!

“Okay, enough already!” I told Xander, as I took the beer out of his hand and placed it on his coffee table. “Why the hell did you pick that song to sing, anyway?” My Xander had certainly never been a big fan of the movie “An American Werewolf In London”.

“Too many women. I miss Oz,” Xander said, sounding more than a little tipsy. The big dummy hadn’t been too drunk when we’d arrived at his apartment – and my acting skills certainly didn’t suck when I’d tricked him into inadvertently issuing an invitation, after I’d cringed at the doorway in fake horror over his apartment’s furniture and decorations – but since then, Xander had definitely started trying to drown his sorrows.

“You miss Oz, huh? Why?” I demanded out of mild curiosity.

“He’d have understood. About Anya,” Xander then hiccuped. “Guy was a musical genius, and the ultimate definition of cool. What the hell was I thinking, fooling around with his girl way back when...”

Good question, actually. When I’d been torturing my Xander in my world, I’d asked him the exact same thing – but he never could give me a decent answer before I’d finally made him my childe. “Yeah, I’m curious about that too. What were you thinking?”

Xander blinked, suddenly sobering up fast. “I dunno, Cor. Maybe it was just me bein’ a hormonal jackass back then. But maybe, just maybe, it was...fate. I mean, how else could I have ever met Anya? She was the love of my life, and I’d have never known her if that craziness with Willow had never happened...”

“So that justifies you cheating on me? That justifies me almost dying, because of that rebar?!” Oh yeah, my acting skills were second to none tonight – take that, Angelus!

“No! God, no, Cordelia,” Xander apologized frantically, the big idiot finally realizing just what sort of hole he’d dug himself into. “That should never, ever have happened! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you or disrespect you or anything-”

“Yeah, well, you did,” I said huffily, crossing my arms and turning away from him. Oh God, I’m turning into such a ham...

“I’m sorry,” Xander said again, like a kicked puppy. “Uh...I know it’s nearly three years too late for asking, but is there anything I can do to make up for it?”

Okay, now this was the perfect opportunity I’d been waiting for! “Yeah. Kiss me.”


I couldn’t help smirking at the expression on Xander’s face. “Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve kissed a guy?” It was just yesterday, actually, in my world – one of my minions, Doug, he was real skilled at cunnilingus – but then Xander didn’t need to know that. “My life doesn’t leave a lot of time for socializing, Xander. And you owe me, mister, despite the gift of that Prom dress way back when!”

“Uh, Cordy, look...I’m not so sure this is a good idea...” Xander began to say delicately.

“Why? Do you want me to tell Angel that you tried to force yourself on me instead?” I smirked at him.

“Hey!” Xander shouted, looking offended.

“Oh, just shut up and get over here!” Then I grabbed the guy, and shoved my tongue down his throat as far as it would go.

Xander struggled for a few moments, but then he gave in and just went with it. I wasn’t surprised; I knew what Harris liked and I knew what turned him on, both as a human and a vampire. Less than a minute later, we had to take it into the bedroom.

"Oh, wait; I remember what you like..." I pushed him onto the bed, and then I pulled Xander’s pants down.

After a brief aside in his kitchen, I subsequently put some ice chips in my mouth, telling the dumbass how the cold helps with pleasurable sensations; that it was a trick I’d learned in LA. Because Xander might have been drunk enough not to notice the cold when we were making out, but with my mouth on his choo-choo...he might actually get a clue. The ice would hide it well enough.

“Oh, Lord...” Xander gasped, as I went down on my knees and started slurping on his tool. “Cordy, you definitely haven’t forgotten how much I...” Then he groaned in pleasure and pain.

Eventually, Xander sat down on the bed with his shirt off and his pants down around his ankles. I decided to do a little striptease with my blouse and bra, before going around behind him.

He was obviously still buzzed, because Xander didn’t notice just how cold my hands were. “Oh man, is this a dream?”

“Well, it’s not a nightmare,” I said laughingly. I started to reach around and touch his chest, when I began to get very turned on by his neck. It was the smell and the sound of all that blood pumping around in his body, of course.

“Mmmm...” Hey, what can I say? That sort of thing really got me in the mood, as I moved around and sat on his lap.

Oh yeah. I was pretty damn sure how it was the sight of my naked breasts that were responsible for the major swelling rapidly taking place in Xander’s groin. “See something you like, mister?”

“I’ll say,” Harris nodded, before he started to suck on my nipples.

Damn, he really was that talented with his tongue, no matter what universe I found myself in! I had to struggle against the urge to drain him dry and let him drink my blood right now; I knew I couldn’t turn him here.

Sure, I might have enough time to have some fun with the guy...but the odds were Angel and co. would find us long before Xander would have enough time to rise as a vamp. Besides, I had to make sure Xander would be properly loyal to me after I turned him, which meant beating the independence out of him before I sank my fangs into his neck.

I was just about to push Xander down on his back, take off my skirt and panties and finally claim my prize, when of all the rotten luck – there was a loud banging at the front door, and multiple voices shouting Xander’s name.

Damn it! They’d found us!

“What’s going on-?” the big dummy started to say, before I hauled back and knocked Harris out cold with a single punch to the head. Well, but there was no time to be subtle.

Using all my strength, I hoisted Xander over my shoulders, jumped out of the bedroom window down to the grass below, and took off in his car as fast as I could.

A Short While Later
××Angel POV××

I had to admit; I was surprised that Harris could actually afford something in this apartment block, let alone this Sunnydale neighborhood. He had to be doing a lot better than I’d given him credit for - financially, that is.

“How live here?” Cordelia wheezed, out of breath from the fast run we were all doing up the stairs.

“Yes. I was...wondering that...myself,” Wesley similarly panted.

“Construction always was a thriving business in Sunnydale,” I told them as we ran up the staircase. Luckily, I wasn’t out of breath like everyone else as I didn’t need to breathe. “And if Xander is as good a carpenter as Willow says he is, that would explain it.”

“Darn tootin’,” Willow gasped, as we finally reached the floor that Xander lived on. “Heck, I’ve...lost many times...he’s fixed up the Magic Box...over the past twelve months...”

“The Magic Box?” Fred asked, struggling to breathe.

“Way I heard, it’s this place Willow’s people meet at to talk 'bout all the stuff that goes ‘chomp’ in the night, kinda like we do at the hotel,” Gunn told her, getting his breath back a lot faster than the others. I wasn’t all that surprised; he’s a lot fitter than the other humans, after all.

“Over there! That’s Xander’s apartment,” Willow pointed as we ran over to his front door. She started banging on the door and calling out Xander’s name, everyone else quickly joining in.

I was just about to kick it down, when Willow spoke a word and gestured with her right hand – and the door flew inwards, literally blasted off its hinges. I was impressed – her powers had obviously progressed to the point where this girl was packing some serious witchy heat nowadays.

I was in such a hurry to take care of the Cordelia vampire – I could already smell her, inside the apartment – that I foolishly forgot all about the invitation barrier. I was surprised to bounce off that invisible shield so hard, I ended up slamming my back against the wall in the corridor. If I’d been thinking straight I’d have remembered that Xander had once sworn I would never be welcome in any house he lived in, but I wasn’t and I didn’t. Talk about embarrassing...

The others just quickly entered the apartment, even though Cordelia sent me a rather annoyed look as she did so. I watched impotently as the rest of the gang searched the apartment, before Willow and Cordelia entered Xander’s bedroom. They soon exited again, Cordelia holding a bra and a blouse – one which all of us apart from Willow recognized – in one hand, and in her other hand she held a pair of pants and a really tacky-looking shirt. Exactly the sort Xander would wear.

My God, but right now - Cordy was looking madder than a caged bull fenced off from heifers in heat...

“That goddamn tramp!” Cordelia swore furiously. “She was here, I know she was! The bedroom window was open, and there was no sign of a body – she must have knocked Xander out and taken him with her!”

“Yo, any sign of blood?” Gunn wanted to know.

“Yes. It would help to know if this is still a rescue mission, or if it’s – too late for that,” Wes said haltingly.

“We didn’t see anything,” Cordelia said, as Willow nodded. “No signs of a struggle, just the mussed-up bed. I betcha she was pretending to be me, had her way with the stupid dork - and then skedaddled once she heard us coming!”

“Cordy, calm down,” I said all the way over from the doorway. “We’ll find her. Willow, can you do a locator spell or something?”

“Not here. All my supplies are back at the house,” Willow said. She grabbed one of the articles of clothing from Cordy, and led the way out. “Come on!”


Later, back at the Summers residence, we found Giles there waiting for us; Tara or Dawn must have called him. He was looking – weathered. Old. The strain from losing his Slayer and the closest thing he had to a daughter had had quite the effect on him, I could tell. I also briefly wondered at how Rupert was still here - in my experience most Watchers returned to England after their Slayers finally died, but then I quickly brushed that aside. “Giles-”

“You stupid berk,” he hissed at me, as we all entered the house. “What the bloody hell did you think you were doing earlier on tonight, you foolish git? You actually tried to summon Buffy’s soul, and instead summoned an undead version of Cordelia from an alternate reality?!”

“It wasn’t like that-” I started to protest.

“I’ll handle this, Angel. I was the one who gave you permission to attempt that ritual, after all,” Wes cut me off with a warning look. “Mr. Giles, may we speak privately in the kitchen?”

Giles nodded and let himself be led away. Not before he sent a vicious glare in my direction, though. Obviously, I should avoid him for a while. Like the next five or ten years, maybe...

“Angel, that man - he really doesn’t like you, does he?” Fred asked in wonder.

“Yeah, that’s because Angelus tortured him for ages, back in our junior year of high school,” Cordelia said, sharing a look with Willow. “And Giles can definitely hold a grudge about that sort of thing, right Willow?”

“Uh, I guess,” Willow started gathering the things she needed for the tracking spell. “So, who should I scry for - him or her? I’m thinking Xander, since the spell might bomb given how there are two Cordelia’s present, but if Xander’s not with her-”

“Odds are he’ll be wherever she is,” Gunn shook his head. “El Vampira seemed real interested-like in your boy, back in LA.”

“Why?” Willow demanded, as she let Tara take over some of the spell preparations. “I mean, I couldn’t help wondering – why would the Cordelia vampire abduct Xander in the first place? I’m glad she didn’t do it, of course, but - why didn’t she just kill him in his apartment, if all she wanted was revenge or a quick meal?”

“Oh, come on, Willow – why do you think that undead skank didn’t simply kill him when she had the chance? Why we found her clothes as well as his all over the floor in Xander’s bedroom?” Cordelia demanded angrily.

I saw Willow’s beautiful green eyes go wide with astonishment, then narrow in disgust. “You mean-?”

“Yeah. The vampire me was real fascinated when she heard that our Xander was still alive, back in LA.” I saw Cordelia send me a Look as she added, “Odds are she wants to create a replacement for her Xander, which means repeating what she did in her reality here in our world...”

I suddenly got the distinct impression that Willow was barely restraining herself from incinerating me or turning me into a toad or something, so I excused myself and went upstairs to talk to Dawn. It wasn’t just an escape on my part, I genuinely felt sorry for her – losing both her mother and her sister at such a young age, it’d probably cause issues later on in life. We talked for a while, before she went to check on the Buffybot - apparently it was recharging its batteries or something. I decided to go back downstairs, having no desire to look at that particular machine again.

“How are things going?” I asked, noticing that Giles and Wesley were still absent. Watcher types; it wouldn’t surprise me if they were still chatting or reading each other’s diaries or something.

“Slowly,” Tara frowned. “Too slowly. For some reason, the spell just wasn’t working right with Xander...”

Well, why didn’t that surprise me? A certain Valentine’s Day debacle suddenly came to mind, which made me smirk and my inner Angelus snarl with fury.

“ we decided to switch our focus to the Cordelia vampire. Unfortunately, it’s exactly like Willow was afraid of – the tracking spell leads to the human Cordelia right here in the house, not the vampire one somewhere in Sunnydale.”

“We’ll just have to keep trying,” Willow said, trying to keep the worry out of her voice. She couldn’t fool me, though, vampire senses and all. “Tara, could you give me some more sage?”

“Where’s Cordy?” I asked Gunn and Fred, who were off to the side.

“Girl went out onto the front porch,” Gunn gestured with his hubcap-axe.

“Yeah, a-a-and she was looking kinda upset,” Fred added in her own two cents.

Well, that didn’t sound good. I went outside and found my Vision Girl sitting on the swing, the same one I remembered Buffy used to sit on a few years ago. “Cordelia?”

“What is it, Angel?” she asked without looking at me.

“I was worried about you-” I started to say.

“Me? Why? Shouldn’t you be more worried about Xander? Y’know, the guy who’s probably being tortured to death right now – all because you wouldn’t listen to me not to do that damned spell?” Cordy finally turned around to glare at me.

Damn it! It’s gonna take a long time for me to live that down, I can tell. “Xander can take care of himself. After all, he’s been doing it for a long time - ever since the day he first found out the truth about this world.”

She laughed, and I almost cringed over how it was such an ugly sound; it was absolutely nothing like Cordelia’s usual laugh at all. Quite frankly, it gave me the creeps.

“Against all the normal Sunnydale weirdness, maybe,” my seer said. “But not against her. Like I said before, she’s me without a soul. And deep down I know what I’m capable of, without any form of morality to restrain my actions. That Cordelia – she’ll turn Xander into a vampire if she hasn’t done so already, Angel. And I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive you for that, no matter how many dresses you buy me to try to make up for it.”

Ouch. Scratch that idea, then. “Look, Cordelia-”

“Do you even regret that Xander might be dead or dying right now, Angel? Look me in the eye, and tell me that you’d actually lose any sleep over it,” Cordelia dared me, as she got up off the porch.

“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, Cordelia – you know that. And no matter what, I’ll track down that vampire and dust her the first opportunity I get-”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“Well, what do you want me to say?” I finally exploded. “You know that Xander and I have never liked one another, you know how we got off on the wrong foot right from the start. In the old days, before you got involved in the Slaying, he acted like a jealous ass because Buffy picked me instead of him. I just did my best to always ignore him, but I’m sure you of all people know what Xander Harris is really like-”

“Yeah, I do. Xander Harris was my no-good cheating bastard of an ex-boyfriend, who nonetheless kept my secret and paid for my Prom dress after he learned that I was broke during senior year. He was a stupid clown who made lousy jokes to relieve the tension in the middle of the apocalypse, but he stuck with Buffy through thick and thin right up until the moment she died. He was the guy who started dating that former demon girl after I left him behind, the one who was responsible for summoning that Willow vampire - kinda like you’re responsible for summoning my evil twin,”

Before I could say a word, she cut into me again in a way-too-calm voice. “And as far as I know, Xander never locked a bunch of evil lawyers in a basement with a couple of soulless vampires, or turned his back on all his friends after telling them that they were all fired.”

I tried to keep my temper, even though that definitely wasn’t easy. “I thought we were past all of that nowadays?”

“So did I. I guess the conversation with that undead 'ho back at the Hyperion, it affected me even more than I thought it did,” Cordelia mused, turning away from me. “Because she was happy with her Xander, Angel, I could tell. Sure, it was an evil and twisted sort of affection, kinda like what I saw between Spike and Drusilla back in high school – but it was real to her. Real enough to want to make another Xander vampire, in order to take the dusted one’s place.”

I swear, if I had been human my heart would have stopped beating. “Cordelia? You’re not...I mean, you haven’t...developed feelings for Xander again, have you?”

She shrugged. "Well, what if I have? I haven't had much of a love life ever since arriving in Los Angeles...Doyle died before anything could happen between us, Wilson Christopher was a demon-worshiping scumbag, and I had to leave Groo behind in Pylea a few months back! Maybe all this is a sign that what I’ve been looking for ever since high school, it was waiting right here for me all along..."

God help me - but I wanted to drag Cordy by the arm to Wesley’s car and take her back to LA, right then and there. Take her away from this damned town and these crazy thoughts she had started thinking! Besides - there was no way anything could happen between Cordelia and Xander now: even if he survived, I knew that Harris would be unable to look at Cordy the same way ever again.

Giles is proof of that; torture affects human beings at a gut level, and no matter what their brains might tell them about who was or wasn’t responsible, their viscera would always insist otherwise.

“Cordy! Angel! Come on, we’ve found them!” Willow said to us hurriedly as she, Giles, Wesley, Fred and Gunn suddenly rushed out of the house to the cars parked on the street.

“Where are they?” Cordelia shouted, running so fast she’d already caught up to the others.

“Initially I couldn’t believe it, but I triple-checked to be sure; and there was no doubt about it. Xander and the Cordelia vampire, they’re at Angel’s old mansion on Crawford Street!” Willow called out, as the car doors slammed shut and we were all on our way.

·· Vamp Cordelia POV ··

“Rise and shine, Xander!” I shouted, as I threw a bucket of ice-cold water on top of him. The next moment, three things happened.

One, Xander woke up, spluttering and gasping. Two, he found himself dangling a few feet off the floor and trapped in the manacles Angel had left behind in this place. Three, he looked at me and saw my vampire face.

“No...” the dork whispered in horror. “Oh, God, no – Cordy, who did this to you?!” he suddenly shouted.

Well, what do you know? I guess some things really are universal; that was the exact same thing my Xander had first asked, when I got my claws on him. So I gave this version the exact same answer I’d given the other one. “Angelus.”

Harris roared in fury, and it was music to my ears. “I’m gonna kill him for this, whether Willow does that damn curse again or not!!”

Really?” I arched my brow. “Now, how exactly are you going to do that? Even if you weren’t my prisoner, I mean. A nothing human like you taking on the Scourge of Europe? He’d kill you without a second thought, dummy!”

“Not if I kill him first. And just so you know - Overbite’s reputation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not if a ‘nothing human’ like me could make him turn tail and run away in the hospital way back when,” Xander replied coldly.

Well, well, well. I hadn’t known about that; maybe it was something unique to this universe. I said, “Still. As a human, the odds are you don’t stand a chance against him. As a vampire, though...well, that’s different.”

He closed his eyes briefly, and as expected the stench of his fear suddenly filled the room. Ah, this was more like it!

“I know I can’t stop you from turning me against my will, Cordy. But you should know that as soon as I wake up as the newest member of the undead club, I’ll try to kill you. In fact, I’ll try so damn hard you’ll be forced to stake me to stop me. So you may as well save yourself all the hassle, and just kill me now.”

Interesting. My Xander hadn’t reacted like this! Still, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. This one is nearly two years older, and a lot can change in that amount of time. Especially on a Hellmouth, with its bi-annual apocalypses. “Aren’t you gonna ask why I want to make you my newest childe, Xander?”

“I figured if you wanted me to know, you’d tell me. Soulless things like you do tend to do that, in my experience.”

Okay, now he was starting to piss me off. I slapped him, my claws digging into his cheek hard enough to draw blood; but Xander never made a sound. Good; it would make breaking him all the more pleasurable.

“Just outta interest, ya mind telling me who it was that gave Dead Boy his moment of perfect happiness? 'Cause for some reason, I’m kinda doubting it was you,” the dweeb grunted. “I never got the ‘couple’ vibe off Cordelia when I visited that hotel three months ago, anyway.”

What the hell – I decided to tell him the truth. How I was actually from another world, like the Willow vampire two and a half years ago. I explained what had had happened with Angelus in my world, how after he had turned me I had sired Xander’s counterpart in my universe. I finished up by saying, "You were a great almost had Faith dead to rights. And for a vampire who was less than two months old...that is pretty damn good!"

"You’re serious," Xander said in astonishment, and I could tell that he believed me.

“Yep, I am. I figured the Star Trek nerd in you would understand it,” I said with a big smile.

“Wait a minute. Who’d be stupid enough to do that spell again, though? I mean Anya’s gone, and I’m sure Willow wouldn’t have done it...”

“What does it matter? I’m here now, and that’s the important thing,” I told him, my eyes gleaming. "Now before we get down to business, I’d just like to ask; are you sure you don’t want to let me turn you willingly? Come me, I’d be a great sire!"

He spat in my face, and I instantly lost it. I went over to a nearby table and grabbed the whip Angelus or whoever had left behind here way back when, and which I’d found after chaining Xander up. Along with a knife, and a chainsaw.

"Do you want to know how much that rebar hurt?!" I snarled, emphasizing each word with the snap of the whip against Xander's naked back. "Well, here’s a small demonstration..."

Xander's scream was ripped from his body at the first hit; I smiled, as I knew that the pain must have been almost unbearable for him. I also knew just where to strike to ensure the agony flowed through every nerve ending in his body, and see to it that his back felt like it was on fire. His body tried to arch away as the next lash of the whip fell - but being chained, there was no way to escape the pain. All he could do was scream, and wait for the next bite of the whip.

I shook my head in disgust, as I finally let her whip drop to the floor. I then flashed Xander an evil look, as I walked towards him with my next toy; the knife. "Just a heads-up, Xander honey, this might sting a little..."

I drew the point of the knife up Xander's right thigh towards his groin, and then down to the left thigh. I went deep enough to let out blood, but not deep enough to nick an artery like I really wanted to. A thin line of blood trailed behind in the knife's wake, and the blood ran in rivulets down Xander's legs, pooling at his feet.

The smell of warm, fresh, fear-laced blood was intoxicating. I found myself sniffing the air again appreciatively. "I got out most of the anger about the fluke with Willow when I tortured my Xander, you should know."

"But still, baby...torturing someone properly is a lost art, that's one thing Angelus did teach me. Plus, I have to break you...I can't have you going rogue on me like I did on old Soul Boy." I grabbed his hair, pulling his head back so that my lips were right in his ear. "Plus, I know the real you. Not the masked fool you always showed Buffy and Willow."

"Like I said before, you might as well kill me now...."

I laughed at him, while running a hand up his bare chest. "Oh hush, you don't know what freedom is until you just let it all go. Just wait till you see what the hyena still in you can do with no limits!"

I then dropped the knife, as there was something else I wanted to try now...

But it seemed someone Up There was determined to spoil all my fun, because a room-temperature hand grabbed me by the shoulder and turned me around, just before a huge fist crashed into my face and I saw stars before stumbling backward.

“Angel,” I hissed at him, getting myself back under control.

“I made you, or at least my counterpart in your world did. You feel like a childe of my line, anyway, so it’s my duty to end you,” the damned pansy growled at me, before the fight got started.

As all the punches and kicks started to be thrown around, I vaguely noticed the other white hats gathering around Xander to release him from the manacles. Crap. There went my plans to recreate my most loyal minion!

“Hey, you undead bitch!!” I heard my own voice scream, and I ducked the stake that was coming for my heart before smashing the human me aside with a karate chop to the neck.

“Cordy, no-!” Soul Boy ranted, before vamping out and coming at me with everything he had. He got lucky with a reverse spinning side kick, and hit me right on the jaw.

I was outnumbered and hurting, so I decided to make a break for it after getting close enough to kick Angel in the balls and put him down for the count...


Damn! I couldn’t move! It was the Willow of this world, I just knew it! That damned boyfriend-stealing little hussy, I should have killed her first and foremost!

The next moment, I saw the human me with the stake in her hand. From the expression on her face, I knew that the other Cordelia wasn’t in the mood to chat or trade one-liners, not anymore.

Well, what the hell. May as well make this memorable, before my final curtain call.

“Just remember: I was there first. In his bed earlier on tonight, and here spilling his blood. No matter what happens between you and your Xander in the future, he’ll never forget what happened this evening. I’ve made sure of that.”

The stake flashed down; and for the second time in less than twenty-four hours, oblivion swallowed me whole.

××Angel POV××

I looked up just in time to see Cordelia stake her ‘evil twin’ as she’d call her earlier on tonight. I was glad the deed was done, even if I regretted not being the one to erase the soulless vampire from existence.

“We need to get Xander to a hospital,” Giles said, examining the guy’s injuries. Which weren’t minor ones; I could tell.

“No, it’s okay; I’ll take care of this... Eximo!” Willow shouted, waving her right arm.

There was a flash of light, and instantly the smell of blood around his groin was gone. It was amazing; Willow had to have a hell of a lot of power to pull off a healing spell of that magnitude so effortlessly! On closer inspection, though, I saw she had healed some of Xander’s wounds, but not all of them.

The redhead was about to repeat the trick with the whipping scars on Xander’s back, which were still bleeding profusely, but I guess she’d overreached herself – because the very next moment, Willow collapsed unconscious.

“Willow!” more than one person cried out, before Wesley caught her as the redhead began to collapse to the ground.

“I’ve got her,” Wes grunted, as Gunn came over to help him with the unconscious witch.

“Gosh, are y’all okay?” Fred asked Xander fearfully as she helped Giles to support him.

“Not really, but I think I’ll survive,” Harris grunted.

“Hi. I’m Fred,” she introduced herself in that special, semi-crazy way I remembered so well from Pylea. “Pleasure to meet you!”

“Pleasure’s all mine, Fred,” Xander told her as he, she, Giles, Gunn, Wesley and Willow all started to vacate the premises.

I noticed Cordelia still standing there, though – staring at the dust on the floor that had been her counterpart from another world. “Cordy? Are you okay?”

She dropped the stake onto the ground, and collapsed sobbing into my chest. And as I held her in my arms, for the first time - I wondered if I had done the right thing, going to see Lorne at his club less than twelve hours ago.


Not long afterwards at Sunnydale General Hospital, I had to force myself not to do something stupid when Cordelia ordered us all to get out of the hospital room Xander had been set up in. She wanted a private conversation with the guy to “clear the air between them”. Personally, I didn’t see what she had to say that couldn’t be said in front of everyone else...

That’s why I was lurking around close enough to the hospital room door to hear Cordelia say, "That undead bitch was in a brand new world where she could have gone anywhere, and done anything after escaping from the hotel, but - but instead, she came here and headed straight for you, Xander. Maybe there's something to that..."

“Ow!” I yelped, as Willow dragged me away by the ear. “Willow, let go!”

“Mister, you are so lucky that I know Buffy wouldn’t want me to hurt you right now, otherwise I’d be making you feel like you’d just been dunked in holy water,” Willow said to me threateningly. “Does the concept of privacy mean nothing to you?!”

“It’s Cordelia. I worry,” I told her defensively.

“Keep doing that sort of thing, and soon enough you’ll lose her completely,” Willow said warningly, which sent up a chill up my spine. It hadn’t been that long since our conversation at Buffy’s house, when Cordelia had been pissed enough to ask if I even cared whether Xander lived or died.

“I grew up with her, Angel; and despite whatever you may think, deep down I know Cordy a lot better than you do,” Willow went on. “You should know by now how she hates it when people try to force her into doing something that she doesn’t want to do, whether it’s ‘for her own good’ or whatever. You think I didn’t see the expression on your face when Cordelia said she wanted to talk to Xander in private? You think I don’t know how you’re going to try to discourage her – and you may think you’ll do it subtly, but I’ll bet you anything it won’t be subtle enough – from contacting Xander again after you all go back to Los Angeles?”

“If Cordelia tries to start something up again with Xander, it won’t end well. I know it, you know it, and deep down even they know it,” I told her in no uncertain terms. “I’m not going to just sit around and let Xander hurt her-”

“Just like you couldn’t sit around while thinking that Buffy was in a hell dimension, and so you did the same sort of spell that Anya and I did two and a half years ago?” Willow demanded, as we finally arrived in the almost-empty cafeteria.

“That spell wasn’t the same one you did-”

“Besides, I’ve been doing some thinking,” Willow cut me off. “What you did in Los Angeles last night – look, don’t tell anyone, but the truth is I’ve been doing some preparatory work of my own to bring Buffy back to life.”

“You what?!” I yelped, unable to believe my ears.

“Yeah. I haven’t gotten very far, on account of there’s some stuff I haven’t been able to find anywhere – like an Urn of Osiris, or this spell component called ‘vino de madre’. I haven’t told Xander yet either, because the odds are he’ll go ballistic if I do,” Willow admitted sheepishly.

“But something your friend Gunn said earlier on, it got me to thinking; I shouldn’t just assume that Buffy’s soul is stuck in some dark hell-world like you did - and like I was doing, too. Before I try to bring her back, I should damn well make sure that Buffy’s not in Heaven with her mom or something! Anyway, there’s a spell I can use to check; so you wanna come with me, see what the results are?”

For some reason, I wanted to say no. I wanted...I wanted...

Oh. That was the problem right there, wasn’t it? I wanted to be able to rescue Buffy, to bring her back! To save her, the way I hadn’t been able to save her three months ago. I didn’t want to find out that she was in Heaven, and didn’t need saving of any kind!

But I’d made enough mistakes recently, as I’m sure Cordelia would have been the first to point out. I was supposed to be a champion for the Powers, so it was time – maybe long past time – I started acting like one. That’s why I followed Willow back to 1630 Revello Drive, and bore witness as she did the ritual to determine the whereabouts of my beloved’s soul.

There was an explosion of orange light, which immediately made my demon cringe and silently howl in pain. I didn’t care, though; I was too busy gawking at Buffy. Or her essence, anyway; everything that she had ever been, it was surrounded by that bright orange glow. And the light, I could sense how it was made up of pure joy - and warmth - and love.

Willow immediately terminated the spell, and we just sort of stared at each other for a while. It was hard for me to acknowledge that Buffy was indeed in Heaven, and that I’d made a terrible, near-lethal mistake doing what I did last night. But there was no point trying to deny what I’d seen with my own eyes - so I went back to the hospital, knocked on the door and apologized whole-heartedly to Cordelia for what I’d done.

But if I was shocked to learn that Cordelia had graciously and fully accepted my apology, then I was stunned to hear that she had convinced Xander to move to Los Angeles to try to make a new start in life...

Just outside the Harris residence
Los Angeles, California – November 15, 2001

~~Cordelia POV~~

My God, but what a difference three months can make!

It all started when Xander transferred to LA with his construction company for a fresh start...and he ended up the legal guardian of Dawn, who eventually moved in with him after the Buffybot was destroyed in some weird battle with a bunch of demon bikers or something.

Apparently Faith was released from jail by the Council, who used its influence to get her sentence commuted to time served; and afterwards she joined Giles and the rest of the gang in Sunnyhell. Not that she got along with Willow, of course, but Faith did kick those bikers outta town so maybe she’s reformed now. Okay, so she probably is, if the exact same thing happened to her in at least two different realities; but I’m damned if I’m going to be socializing with her anytime soon.

That day when Faith slugged me and knocked me out cold with a smile on her face after I’d started working for Angel is not something I can easily forget, after all.

Speaking of my undead boss, guess who showed up in his un-life just yesterday! Darla. A nine-month-pregnant Darla, at that. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that not only had Angel slept with her back in February and lied to me about it, he got her knocked up as well! Even though that’s supposed to be impossible, according to Wes...

It was almost as much of a surprise when during our weekly phone calls, Willow told me that she had finally de-ratted Amy Madison. God only knows how that girl is going to cope after living as a rodent for the past three years, but I advised Willow to get her into therapy ASAP if she doesn’t want Amy to have a psychotic breakdown or whatever.

Still, that’s not my problem. My priorities are Xander and Dawn, ever since I started dating him again.

Dawnie’s thrilled for us, of course; ever since she left Sunnydale, she’s been totally focusing on Xander as the stable male-slash-big brother figure in her life. Oh, granted Spike comes to visit her every so often, and Xander hates having him in the house; but he knows that Dawn would just sneak out to meet with Captain Peroxide in secret if he doesn’t invite the vampire in, so the doofus tolerates Billy Idol’s presence as best he can.

And even though it’s obvious the dork still misses Anya, Dawn was able to convince him that she wouldn’t want Xander to always mourn her loss and grow old alone; so I was able to convince him to give ‘us’ another chance. It’s been kind of rocky so far, but we’re making progress – and who knows what the future will bring?

That’s part of the reason why we were able to persuade Willow and Tara to let Dawn go, to convince them to let her grow up somewhere other than the damn Hellmouth. Not that LA is the safest place in the world either, of course, but Angel can protect Dawn even better than Willow and Tara can – and I’m pretty sure it helps him deal, by having such a big reminder of Buffy around.

Anyway, I entered the apartment with the key Xander gave me and called out, “Dawn? Xander?”

“I’m in the kitchen! And Dawn’s getting help with her homework from Wesley at his apartment,” I heard Xander yell back.

I made my way to the meal room, and straightaway I gagged at Xander’s smell. After working all day in the hot sun for his construction company, the doofus positively reeked.

“Cordy? Did you just have a vision?” Xander asked me, looking concerned after seeing me recoil away from him.

"Damn right I had a vision. Of you getting in the damn shower!" I then dragged him away towards the bathroom. "Not to mention, me scrubbing your back..."

A While Later
= = A Higher Plane = =

The Bright Lady decided she'd seen enough, averting her gaze from those two after they had started to ‘shower’ together. Mission accomplished in that particular universe. The Cordelia vampire has finally been erased from existence...

Seeing a ‘spark’ pass between the two out of the corner of her eye, she wondered what it had been. That was something higher beings could do after all; we can ‘see’ things that people in the mortal realm can’t. I’m not sure, but I think-

"Oh my God... He just knocked...her up!"

There was no doubt in the bright woman's mind after that; it was definitely time for her to turn attention to those people in other universes who still needed her help. Witnessing that sort of thing was just too strange, and there was nothing further in that particular universe that held her interest any longer.


The End

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