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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
zTiamaTzFR18215,920121,2551 Dec 117 Dec 11Yes

Dark Mirror 1

Title: A Promise To Lie 2: Dark Mirror

Authors: Starway Man, Nodakskip and zTiamaTz

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel the series, along with all the characters from their respective shows are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, San dollar, Kuzui, Fox, WB and UPN (as they then were). The song “Bad Moon Rising” belongs to Creedence Clearwater Revival, the song “The Greatest Love Of All” belongs to Whitney Houston, and the song “Oh Mandy” belongs to Barry Manilow. We own nothing except the plot for this story, and will be making no profit from this work.

Warnings: Some bad language, sexual references, violence and character death are present in this fanfic.

Rating: R

Continuity: Initially takes place eight months after the first story, "A Promise To Lie".

A/N: It would certainly help if you read the prequel story, otherwise you might get lost reading this one straight-up.

Summary: After losing Vamp Xander to Faith, Vamp Cordelia encounters the Slayer as well. But then the former Vision Girl ends up…somewhere else.


¤¤¤¤¤
= = A Higher Plane = =


Here we go again, the bright lady thought to herself after focusing on one particular reality that had recently attracted her interest. Yet another universe where the Slayer line and legacy are going to end up in danger from the First Evil, if things play out as she expect they would. Yeesh - there are so many well-meaning yet irresponsibly idiotic versions of Willow Rosenberg throughout the multiverse, it was unbelievable!



No, wait, hang on... she then cogitated, perceiving an unusual wrinkle in that universe’s history. That had never happened before, in all of the different realities the woman had examined so far.



Not to mention what was happening with Xander Harris right now...



¤¤¤¤¤
Just outside the Hyperion Hotel
Los Angeles, California – May 8, 2001

**Willow POV**


So, this was Angel’s hotel? It didn’t look quite like how I’d imagined it to be, after all the phone calls with Cordelia where she’d described this place in detail.



Xander’s car glided to a stop, and I looked around at my best friend. I was really worried about him, to tell you the truth. Not only had he lost Buffy just yesterday like we all did, but less than a week ago he’d lost Anya as well. I just hoped that deep down, Xander didn’t blame me for that...



I mean, it wasn’t my fault that Anya tripped and fell at the exact wrong moment when the Knights of Byzantium forced us off the road and into that abandoned gas station, was it?



It was that guy Dante who killed her, before Anya could join the rest of us and I finally got that shield up. And Goddess, I know it’s wrong – but I can’t help hoping that that guy is burning in Hell right now, after Glory killed him and all the other Knights that evening...



“Will? We’re here. You gonna go inside and tell Deadboy what’s the what, or do you want me to do it?”



I winced at his tone. I knew Xander was hurting, but did he have to sound so cold? So disgusted at actually being here? Sure, he and Angel had never been best buddies in the old days, but Buffy had loved him. More than she’d ever loved any other guy – up to and including Riley. Who was God only knows where at the moment...



“Xander, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to talk to Angel right now,” I said as calmly as possible.



“Then why’d you ask me to drive you all the way here to LA?” Xander asked, finally turning to look at me with those big brown eyes of his.



Good question, but one I didn’t want to answer. I mean, what was I supposed to say? The truth sure wasn’t an option. ‘I didn’t want to leave you all alone in Sunnydale, just in case you did something stupid and suicidal.’ Yeah, like hearing that would go down real well with him right at this moment.



“Never mind Will, time’s a-wastin’. You should just go in there and tell Captain Hair Gel what happened with the Buffster yesterday. Because he really deserves to know what took place,” Xander said spitefully, after I was silent for a bit too long.



“Xander...please. Don’t. You know that Buffy wouldn’t want this,” I practically begged him to stop with the barbed comments. “Can’t you put your personal feelings for Angel aside, just this once? He’s going to be devastated once he hears the news-”



“And Lord knows how we wouldn’t want that! Because I lost track of how many times you tried calling Lord of the Brood for help against Glory, and no one was home every time you dialed his number,” Xander spat out.



“Can’t help wondering what’s up with that, personally. Well, apart from when I wonder how I’m going to claim Ahn’s body from the morgue, and finally give her a decent funeral.”



Ouch. I couldn’t help feeling guilty about that, as I had gotten Tara back safe and sound (not to mention sane); whereas Xander had lost the love of his life. He’d confessed to me that he’d been thinking of asking Anya to marry him, but he’d never even gotten the chance to ask...and now he never would.



“Do you want me to help you plan the funeral, after we get back to Sunnydale?” I asked as I got out of the car, and looked back in through the window.



“Nah. It’s something I gotta do myself,” Xander replied, visibly deflating. “Look, Willow, I’m sorr-”



“It’s okay,” I interrupted reassuringly. “I mean, hey, you’re still stressed, we all are! But it’s all gonna be all right eventually. I mean, it-it has to be...”



Oddly, I wasn’t too sure which of us I was trying to convince with that statement – because any way you tried to paint it, Buffy was still dead. So was Anya. And those of us who had survived this latest apocalypse had to pick up the pieces, and try to rebuild our lives without them.



Including poor Dawnie.



I walked up the garden path, as Xander decided to go cruising around the block rather than just wait outside the hotel. I didn’t blame him for it; he didn’t want to see Angel, or even Cordelia again.



Maybe I should’ve insisted that he talk to her, back in high school she had always been able to make him listen when no one else could. But then there was no point trying to rush things, besides I should probably talk to Cordelia alone first, anyway.



I wandered into the hotel, and straightaway I noticed the abandoned feel to the place. There was a slight cover of dust on all the furniture; about a week’s worth, maybe a bit less. “Cordelia?! Angel?!” I called out, even if I wasn’t really expecting a reply.



Sure enough, silence. So I sat down on one of the chairs in the lobby, and I waited for someone to show up.



I waited...and I waited...and I waited, until not long after sunset, I finally heard voices outside the main doors.



"Okay. Can I say it? I wanna say it." That was Angel’s voice, I instantly recognized it.


"Say what?" Okay, now that was Wesley’s British accent talking. I’d heard it often enough over the phone for the last year or so.


Just then Angel pushed the double doors open, walking into the lobby. "There's no place like..."



Then Angel spotted me, hunched over and looking miserable. "Willow?"



Everyone else started staring at me as well. Wesley, some black guy whom I was guessing was Gunn, some smelly brunette in rags I had no idea who she was, Cordelia – who was dressed in something straight out of a low-quality porno – and of course, Angel himself.



"What’s-?" Cordy started to say, but I kept my eyes focused entirely on Angel as I got up off that chair.



I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have to. I could tell that Angel had figured it out by now. From the expression on my face, there was obviously only one person – one reason – why I’d be here now.



"It’s Buffy," Angel said, his good mood evaporating like a snowball thrown into a blast furnace.



|+|+|
Somewhere underneath Los Angeles – August 10, 2001
××Angel POV××


Dammit all to hell. It’s been two years since I’ve been down here in the sewers where that temple housing the Oracles used to be, and now I can’t find it to go in there and trash the place! Unleash all my frustrations, after going to that monastery in Sri Lanka and encountering those life-sucking Shur-hod demons.



Maybe Gunn was right. Maybe I should’ve gotten tanked and gone to Vegas instead...



Eventually, I gave up and started making my way back to the hotel. It’s been three months; I can’t help wondering what everyone has been doing ever since I left for the summer. Ever since Willow broke the news to me that Buffy had died, and I hadn’t been there to save her.



I’d had nightmares about it at the start, of course. The woman I loved had been in the fight of her life (and lost it), and where was I? Off in Pylea, trying to rescue Cordelia. Not that I regretted going to that demon world after her, of course – Cordy’s life is far too important to me – but damn it, I should have been there in Sunnydale when it mattered.



If Spike of all people had been there, so should I!



I suddenly changed my mind about going to the hotel, and headed off in the direction of Lorne’s karaoke bar. I had to talk to him about an idea I’d gotten, so it didn’t take me long to get to the Chinatown district and bang on his club door. “Lorne? You home?”



Finally, he opened up. “Angel? Jumping junipers, big guy, but what are you doing here at this time of night?”



“I need your help,” I said as I walked into Caritas. “I’ve decided on a course of action, but I’m not sure if...I want you to read me. Right now. I want to...” I couldn’t bring myself to actually say it.



“You wanna sing for me?” Lorne was actually smirking.



“If I have to.” I’d get him back for this one day, but right now – business first.



“Fine. Hit me.”



Oh Mandy. Well you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away, oh Mandy. Well, you kissed me and stopped me from shaking...” I started singing.



“Stop!” Lorne backed away from me, actually looking scared. “I mean, forget it! Angel-cakes, don’t ask me to take part in that upcoming lunacy of yours, no way - no how! What you’re planning to do...it’s a very bad idea!”



“Did you see myself, or any of my people die?” I asked. I honestly hadn’t expected the Host to freak out like this.



“Well, no...” Lorne reluctantly admitted. “All I saw was...something emerging out of a portal in your hotel. Something literally coated with darkness!”



“Something from a hell dimension?” Oh, God, that was my worst fear come to life. Buffy had died a mystical death that morning, and Willow had admitted she had no idea what might have happened to her soul after she and the Sunnydale crowd had found her body...if Buffy had been in Hell for the past three months...



“I don’t know. Hell dimension, demon dimension...might even be the higher dimension where the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart are rumored to live,” the Host shrugged.



Lorne...”I said uncertainly, before my voice firmed up. “Look, if something dark does come through first, I can always kill it and then go in after her! Because if Buffy’s soul really is trapped in some sort of hell world like I was afraid of, I can’t just sit around and do nothing!”



“Well, obviously not,” Lorne admitted reluctantly. “Still – when you got sent to a hell dimension a few years back, slick, you were still in your body. That’s why the Powers were able to bring you back to this reality in one piece. But from what I saw, the Slayer’s body is now in a coffin buried somewhere in Sunnydale. So what are you planning to do - carry her soul back to Earth in an Orb of Thesulah, or something? And if so, then what? A black magic resurrection ritual?”



“I don’t know! I haven’t had a chance to figure all this out yet, gimme a few minutes,” I threw my arms out in annoyance. “But you want to know what really bugs me? A couple of years ago, I gave up being human, because I was told it would cause Buffy's death. But a few months ago, she died anyway! I - well, I’m pretty sure the Oracles were just messing with me way back when, because even though I became a vampire again...”



“No, no, they weren’t messing with you. Because it was her time, ya big hunk of hero sandwich,” Lorne said sympathetically. “Even though I never met Buffy Summers personally, I’ve seen enough of her in your aura to know that she was one of the good ones. But she was still a Slayer, and as such? Pretty short expiration date. Heck, it’s only due to the fact that her little buddy saved her life four years ago when you couldn’t, that she lasted as long as she did-”



“I’m not interested in anything to do with Xander Harris,” I interrupted him forcefully. That guy had always rubbed me the wrong way, and I was sure the feeling was mutual. That night when he’d picked up Willow to go back to Sunnydale, after she’d told me that Buffy had died...



All right, fine. Maybe the expression on Xander’s face was partly responsible for what I’d decided to do, here and now.



Anyway, I finally managed to get Lorne to agree to contact this priestess friend of his and to meet us at the Hyperion, and that’s all that really mattered.



Well, apart from explaining to my crew just what exactly I was planning to do...



|+|+|


“Are you totally out of your teeny-weeny little undead mind?!”



I winced as I heard Cordelia shriek like a banshee. Obviously, meeting up with that Harmony vampire again six months ago had made some of her high school habits come back with a vengeance. “Look, Cordelia-”



“Because correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re talking about raising the dead or something!” Cordy shouted, interrupting me. “Angel, please, I know you. And from the moment you walked through the hotel’s front doors, I could tell that something was off! You’re not thinking straight-”



“Yes I am,” I cut her off this time. “Say, where’s Fred? I haven’t seen her ever since I got back-”



“She’s up in her room, and don’t try to change the subject!” Cordy sounded pissed. “Look, Angel...”



“No, you look,” I said roughly. “Cordy, I’ve walked the Earth for two hundred and fifty-odd years, and I spent another hundred or so in Acathla’s hell dimension - getting tortured in ways you couldn’t possibly understand. In all that time...no one apart from Buffy really mattered. Not like she did. And now she's gone-”



“And you're still here,” Cordelia interrupted, looking exasperated.



“Which is why I’m going to open that portal to whatever hell dimension her soul ended up in, and get her out of there,” I said firmly, one hand unconsciously covering the pocket with an Orb of Thesulah in it. “I know that something might go wrong, in fact it probably will. But it’s Buffy; I’m not going to just leave her in whatever dark place she’s currently stuck in!”



“You sure she’s not in Heaven or something? 'Cause the way I heard it from that Willow girl, dog, this Buffy person saved the world few months back. How do you know you’re not gonna be dragging her away from her eternal reward or whatever?” Gunn suddenly spoke up.



“Oh, trust me – when Angel here sang for me earlier on tonight, I got a glimpse of whatever it was that he’s gonna summon. And there was nothing heavenly about it,” Lorne said with a shudder. “If it was from the same place as that Buffy girl who the big stud-muffin’s been angsting over, no way we’ll be yanking her out of Paradise!”



“Angel, I’d like to speak with you in private for a moment if I may,” Wes said to me. He gestured, and I joined him in his private office. My old office. Whatever. Then Wesley said, “I just have one question. Are you sure that this is the right thing to do?”



“It’s Buffy, Wes. How can you ask me that?” I demanded in amazement.



“Because I can’t help thinking that you’re rushing into this full speed ahead, and the Devil take the hindmost,” Wesley replied softly. “Please understand; I don't mean to diminish Miss Summers’s death. I was once her Watcher, and I mourn her loss as well. But have you truly considered everything that might go wrong, if we proceed with your plan? Is it truly worth it for you to attempt to violate the laws of nature like this?”



“It’s Buffy, Wes,” I repeated myself. “I’d go all the way into Hell itself – again – if that meant saving her from whatever tortures her soul is undergoing!”



Wesley just stared at me, and then he abruptly nodded. I felt relieved; for a moment I’d thought that as the boss of the detective agency, he was going to forbid Lorne’s friend from doing that ritual in the hotel. And it would have been a pain for me to do it somewhere else, behind Wesley’s back and all.



After we left the office, Wes went up to Mistress whatever-her-name-was. “We’re ready to proceed whenever you are.”



Wesley-!” Cordelia squawked, right on cue.



“Cordelia, The decision has been made. So kindly stop bugging me and everyone else about it,” Wes told her in his toughest ‘boss’ voice. “If you don’t want to be party to any of this, that is your choice - and we shall see you again first thing in the morning. But if you decide to stay, you will please cease your incessant complaints! So choose. Now.”



I could see Cordelia’s eyes narrow dangerously, and I could literally smell her boiling anger at being spoken to that way. I was just glad that her rage wasn’t directed at me any longer. “I can take you home in my car, if you want-”



“No! No,” Cordy growled angrily, transferring all her fury to me in an instant. “I’m staying here. Someone is gonna have to clean up the mess, when all this explodes in our faces!”



“Sure am glad to know I'm not the only one thinkin’ that something’s gonna go wrong here,” Gunn shrugged. “But hey, I signed on with you guys knowin’ that this gig wasn’t gonna be no walk in the park...”



“Then let’s get on with it,” I said impatiently.



“You should know that I've never actually done something like this before,” the priestess said with a pointed look, “but according to the texts I've consulted, a pentagram within a circle is required first off.”



I began drawing said pentagram within a circle on the lobby floor and when I was done, I looked over to the woman in black. “What next?”



“You need a sacrifice of blood. Human – female,” Mistress Meerna said calmly. “Since you desire to summon a female from the other side, only the blood of a living woman will do.”



“Wait, so if I say no – then this whole insane thing ends, right? You cease and desist from the crazy messing around with primordial powers of darkness, here?” Cordelia demanded, suddenly looking a lot more cheerful.



“If you say no, then I’ll just go upstairs and ask Fred to do it. And if she says no, then I’ll go somewhere else and find someone else to get the job done,” I told her a bit more harshly than I’d intended. “So what’s it going to be, Cordy?”



Glaring at me, Cordelia grabbed a pen-knife from Wes and walked over to the pentagram. She glared at me again and muttered something about how I was really going to owe her for this one, before slowly slicing the knife across the palm of her left hand and letting the blood drop onto the middle of the pentagram.



Immediately, all the lights went out.



“What the hell-?” Gunn said nervously, clutching his home-made axe tighter.



“Everyone, just stay calm,” Wesley said reassuringly. “Mistress Meerna?”



“Osiris, Eryishon and Quetzalcoatl, hear my prayer,” the priestess said, closing her eyes. “Here stands the vampire with a soul, the champion for the Powers That Be. He seeks the other chosen servant of the Powers, who has now passed on. This one, the woman with whom he has shared his seed and fed on her blood – let her cross over. So mote it be, from whatever dimension she is located – let her cross over!”



The ground started shaking as a blue light began to swirl above the painted circle, then it congealed into a vaguely humanoid shape in the middle of the pentagram. Naturally, given Lorne’s little prophecy of doom, I reached for my battle-axe. There was a flash of light and a burst of wind, and then...



What the hell? Was that Cordelia standing there? Cordelia...with a vampire face?



Lorne yelped, "I told you that this was a bad idea!"



|+|+|
A few seconds earlier
·· Vamp Cordelia POV ··


What the hell? That Slayer bitch Faith had been just about to stake me, after the hotel had been invaded by those Watcher's Council assholes...



Wait a second. The Hyperion’s lobby looked just like it did when Wesley had taken over the place, months ago. Where were all the fucking modifications I’d made, after my dearly departed ‘brother’ had ended up dust? Hell, where were all my minions?



Some green demon I’d never seen before yelped, "I told you that this was a bad idea!"



"What the fuck just happened?!" I roared, my eyes widening as I took in the sight of Wes and Angelus. “And how the hell did you two come back from being dust?!”



Then I saw who else was present, staring at me with her jaw nearly on the floor. I could hear the heartbeat and smell my own scent, not to mention see my own face for the first time since Angelus had sired me.



So sue me, I was surprised. “This is not possible...”



I heard the dull ‘phut!’ of a tranquilizer rifle being fired – puh-lease, after all the times Oz had needed to be tranq’ed during high school when he was a werewolf, how could I fail to recognize it? – and I knew I had to get out of the way of the tranquilizer dart. But what with that damned arrow in my shoulder thanks to one of the Watchers shooting at me with a crossbow, I was slow. Too slow to move out of the way in time.



Oblivion swallowed me whole, and I knew nothing more for a while.



|+|+|


“You know how some people hate to say ‘I told you so’? Not me. I told you so, Angel-cake, and now look what’s happened!”



I woke up to find myself securely strapped to a chair. I opened my eyes and took in the impossible sight of my sire, Wesley, the demon, some black guy I didn’t know and...the human me. They were all arguing furiously, and not paying any attention to yours truly.



I tried to figure out what was going on. Obviously something must have happened, during that very last second when Faith had been about to stake me...



“Hey, she’s awake!” my other self suddenly called out, after glancing in my direction. Damn it, maybe I should have pretended to still be unconscious – but it’s too late for that now. Besides, since Angelus was here - that would have been a complete waste of time, anyway.



“Yeah, I’m awake. Now what the hell is going on?” I demanded, struggling to get loose. “Get these damn ropes off of me!”



The black guy raised his axe. “Has this vamp got a soul or what?”



“No. I can’t smell one on her,” Angelus – or maybe it was Angel? – spoke up, staring at me.



“Okay, then far as I’m concerned – that means you’re fair game,” the asshole said to me, while I openly sneered at him. “You may look like Cordelia here, but that don’t mean squat to me, ya dig? You try to get loose, you’re a pile o’ dust.”



Ooooh, now I’m shaking in my stylish yet affordable boots,” I said to him with a contemptuous smile. “No, wait, I’m really not. Y’know, I’m going to enjoy killing you when the time comes. I bet your blood is gonna taste just like Denzel Washington’s!”



“Ewww!” my other self said in disgust. “You killed him? I am so gonna need years of therapy to get over this!”



“Everyone, hold on a moment,” Wesley – and I was suddenly stunned to realize that he was human – commanded. “All right, vampire, start talking. Who are you?”



“I’m Cordelia Chase, of course,” I told him haughtily. “C’mon, Wes, as if you didn’t know that!”



“Hey, I’m Cordelia Chase!” my doppelganger shouted, looking infuriated. “Now cut the bullshit, and tell us who you really are!”



Wait a minute. A vampire and a human me? The vampire version suddenly finding herself in a totally alien environment? All this reminded me of...



“Say. Remember when that Willow vampire showed up during high school, how she came from another world?” I demanded, and sure enough – Wes, Angelus and the other me, their eyes went wide with understanding. “Yeah, now we’re getting somewhere. So did someone here do something naughty with the magicks recently?”



Everyone turned to stare at Angelus, who actually looked ashamed. That settled it; obviously this was Soul Boy, and not the Scourge of Europe. “I shoulda known. You freaking idiot! What the hell did you think you were doing?” I chastised him.



“Yeah, that’s what I said!” the human Cordelia nodded enthusiastically.



“I was trying to bring Buffy back, not that it’s any of your business,” Angel growled at me.



“So, Slutty the vampire layer’s dead in this world? Good! Did I kill her? No, of course I didn’t. I’m still a human goody-two shoes here,” I said musingly, before I turned to face Wesley. “And so are you, obviously.”



“I’m a vampire where you come from?” Wesley wanted to know. Oh yeah, you could take the man out of the Watchers, but not the Watcher out of the man; at least, not while Wes was still alive.



“Sure, well – you were. Until one of my minions staked you, after you staked Angelus,” I told him with a genuine smile. “What can I say, brother dear? I didn’t like sharing power, and you were so busy intending to fuck me that you simply never noticed what kind of danger you were in. Kinda odd, really – I thought our sire had taught you better than that!”



“Sire?” the black guy asked suspiciously.



“Angelus,” I smirked, gesturing with my head towards Soul Boy.



“I’m not him,” Angel said roughly, avoiding the incredulous looks from Wes and the human me.



"Yeah. 'Cause you're even more of a pansy than Angelus was! Plus that big rape-slash-death scene when you had your wicked vampire way with me? That was not fun," I told him scathingly.



The human me looked sick all over again, staring at Angel before turning her head to stare at me. “He actually did that to me? Uh, to you? When? Where?”



“In the old headquarters for Angel Investigations. And back when that whore actress Rebbecca Lowell showed up,” I said carefully.



“Ah, I see. That would explain why you look somewhat younger than our Cordelia - it’s been roughly eighteen months, after all,” Wesley nodded, those big squishy lobes of his obviously working overtime.



“Eighteen months?! In my world, it’s only been eight months since...oh, I hate magic,” I said grumpily.



“Someone mind telling me what the heck you people are talkin’ about?” the black guy demanded.



“Ditto. I’m kinda lost here myself,” the green demon admitted sheepishly.



I stayed silent as Angel, Wes and the other Cordelia explained what had happened with the actress woman way back when and the drug that had let Angelus get loose from his chains. Apparently, he’d only been unleashed briefly here - before he’d been knocked out cold and strapped down to a bed, until the Doximall had worn off.



It gave me a certain amount of pleasure to tell them all how in my world, Angelus had stayed loose and turned both me and Wesley. I also mentioned how working together, the three of us had slaughtered everyone at the LA branch of Wolfram & Hart; then, over time, after I’d had enough...I’d dusted both Wes and Angelus to create my own little empire.



The human Cordelia looked sick all over again, staring at me. “There but for the grace of getting bit, go I...” she muttered.



“Hey, it’s not like it was all bad! C’mon, remember all those fantasies we had about making Xander pay for cheating with Willow? In my world, he definitely paid for all his sins after I killed her and tortured him for ages - before I finally sired the dying doofus!” I said merrily.



“You turned the Slayer’s white knight into one of the undead?” the green demon asked in amazement, before turning to look accusingly at Angel.



“Lorne...” Angel said in annoyance. There was a look on his face I didn’t understand, at least not yet; but I was glad I could finally put a name to Lean and Green’s face now. Knowledge was power, and all that.



“Where is your Xander, anyway?” I asked my doppelganger.



“That’s none of your business. Now, what else?” the human Cordy demanded, looking me right in the eye. “What else happened in your world, especially where Dweeb Boy is concerned?”



“Why do you care?” I shot back. “I mean, are you still involved with your version of the big dork?”



No!” Angel shouted, before the other Cordy had the chance to reply. From the body language and tone of voice, I figured he wasn’t jealous of the guy; Angel just didn't want the local Xander anywhere near his Cordelia. Huh – that vampire never did like anyone else playing with his toys, soul or otherwise...



“Was I talking to you?” I said to Angel in annoyance, before turning back to the other Cordy. “Let’s see. Where do I start? Wes and I, we went to Sunnydale after we officially parted ways with Angelus. We killed Willow, Buffy, Giles...not to mention Buffy’s mom, Xander’s girlfriend, and Willow’s girlfriend as well. I’ve told you about torturing Xander, but did I mention dusting Spike and Harmony? No, I don’t think I did...”



“That’s it. My vote says we chop this thing’s head off right now,” the black guy suddenly spoke up in disgust. Everyone stared at him as he added, “Hell, after everything it’s done? The sooner the better!”



“Not yet, Gunn,” the other me shook her head. Good, now I know his name as well. “I still have more questions-”



“Like what? Who took over the Slayage after the Blonde Wonder finally took her big dirt nap? What happened when Faith fought my Xander?!” I demanded, suddenly feeling infuriated.



“She killed him,” Angel said knowingly, and you didn’t have to be a vampire to tell how he wasn’t unhappy to hear that.



“After Xander put three bullets into her, but yeah. That fucking bitch got creative with a welding torch,” I spat hatefully.



“Faith? Psycho killer Faith who was sent to jail for, like, a gazillion years? They let her out of prison, in your world?” the human Cordy demanded. Then she narrowed her eyes, staring at me. “And you actually got pissed at her for dusting him?”



"Well, duh! Xander was like the perfect minion, after I broke him in the same way Angelus did Drusilla. Did whatever I told him to do, and helped me take over lots of LA. Plus, he could do things with his tongue that would make me scream in pleasure all night long!"



“I think I’m gonna be sick,” Angel muttered, but too low for anyone human to hear him say that.



“What was that, Angel? I didn’t quite catch it. So why don’t you share with the rest of the class?” I challenged him.



“Shut up,” he told me angrily. “One more word out of you, and I’ll-”



“You’ll what? You’ll stake me?” I asked him sneeringly. “You couldn’t kill the Willow vampire way back when, you really think you can kill someone with this face? Pffft, yeah right – you Buffy-whipped eunuch!”



Wesley turned to face Angel, who was looking pissed at that particular description. “We should call Rupert Giles in Sunnydale, in fact – we should have done so long before now. Most likely we’ll have to see about arranging for Faith’s release from prison, if she truly is rehabilitated, to take over as the new guardian of the Hellmouth.”



“Yeah, and I’m sure that’ll go down well with the Hellmouth crowd! Especially Willow and Xander...” the human version of me grumbled.



"Wait, Xander’s still alive here?" I asked in amazement. Then I tuned out what everyone else started babbling about, because I’d gotten an idea...



Namely, if I was stuck in this crappy dimension now? I was gonna get loose somehow, sire Xander again and kill Faith at the first opportunity! Not to mention, start rebuilding my empire as soon as possible...



¤¤¤¤¤
= = A Higher Plane = =


Watching in astonishment, the woman in white had to admit she definitely wasn’t expecting that! In fact, she hadn’t been paying any attention at all to that particular universe any longer; She was sure that the Cordelia vampire of that reality was no longer relevant in any way, shape or form. Apparently, she had been wrong...



Habit was a strange thing; she found herself looking at her fingernails, like she'd done when still human. When she'd realized that she was neither omnipotent nor omniscient. It was funny how that turned out, considering where she'd ended up, but...



What now, she wondered. From what the woman could sense, the Cordelia vampire wouldn’t stay a captive for long, so what would happen to the human Cordelia of this universe? Not to mention the local Xander Harris as well? She could never interfere directly; the Powers wouldn’t stand for that. But still, she could watch over them and pray for those two; hopefully, someone Up There would be listening...



¤¤¤¤¤
××Angel POV××


I couldn’t believe it – how could we have forgotten to tell Fred that there was an undead version of Cordelia tied up in the lobby? She had come downstairs from her room, seen the prisoner, the Cordelia vampire had spun some sort of yarn about being tied up as part of a prank...



And the rest was obvious. We were just incredibly lucky that Fred was still alive, the Cordelia vampire must have been in too much of a hurry to do anything more than knock her unconscious before she'd escaped from the hotel.



I could see the human Cordelia - the real Cordelia - staring at me furiously. Me and Wes, but mostly me. After all, I’m the one who brought that soulless thing into this world, despite everyone’s warnings to the contrary. This was my mess to clean up, and obviously I had to get on with the job.



“We should spread out and search for El Vampira, she can’t have gotten far...” Gunn started to say.



“That’ll take too long. Lorne, can you read me if I sing?” Cordelia interrupted him. “I mean, I figure since we’re practically the same person and all...”



“Hit me with your best chick-flick number, princess,” Lorne nodded.



The greeeeatest love of all! Is eeeeeasy to achieve-!” Dear God, Cordy still made me want to block my ears to avoid hearing her horrible singing voice.



“That’s enough! From what I saw, the bad guy’s over halfway to Sunnydale by now,” Lorne shook his head. “What you people should do is get in touch with that Xander Harris fellow, and warn him about the danger he’s now in; on account of the vampire Cordelia is going after him – and once she gets him in her sights, he’s done for! Better yet, call that Willow girl instead; she’d have a better chance of making him lie low for a while.”



“Oh, screw that! I’m going back to the Hellmouth to warn Xander personally. It’s the least I can do, considering what’s happened!” Cordelia snapped.



“Cordy-”



“Shut up, Angel! You’re the one who got us into this mess in the first place!” Her face was incensed, and her eyes were like twin coals of fire. I’d seen Cordelia pissed off before, sure, but not like this. Never like this.



Gunn spoke up, “So, who wants to ride shotgun in my truck?”



“I will, assuming that that undead bitch didn’t steal Angel’s convertible! Which, odds are, she did. Hey, I oughta know - she’s me without a soul, after all,” Cordy said bitingly.



I checked, and sure enough my Plymouth was missing in action; we were going to have to use Wesley’s car and Gunn’s truck in order to head north. Then Lorne left to go back to his nightclub, wishing us a heartfelt bon voyage, and the rest of us went over to the weapons cabinet to arm ourselves for the upcoming trip to Sunnydale.



It was time to go hunting.



|+|+|
Sunnydale, California – A few hours later
·· Vamp Cordelia POV ··


I don't get it - I fucking hate the Bronze, or at least this version of it anyway. When I was alive, apart from the Sunnydale mall this nightclub was like my natural habitat - well, back in the days before those IRS bastards took everything. And yet nowadays I hate the damn place. It's not even a decent hunting ground, compared to LA.



I’d been looking for Xander since I’d arrived in town, but without any luck so far. After I’d gone to his parents’ house, I’d encountered a drunken Tony Harris – and he’d initially thought I was a hooker. Why the hell he didn’t remember me from when I’d been dating Xander in high school, I could easily guess; his number of working brain cells had to be down to the absolute minimum from all the alcohol poisoning.



Anyway, he said he didn’t know where his son was living nowadays, and he didn’t care either. Given how he’d leaned far enough across the threshold with that stupid leer on his face, I’d punched the guy’s lights out before saying, "I should kill you now, but since I'm in such a hurry I'll have to save that for my new childe..."



Then I’d come here to the Bronze to look for my boy, since I knew this place was the favorite hangout for the entire Scooby Gang; but I’d be able to hide if I had to. I knew I wouldn’t have much time before those stupid white hats in LA called their counterparts here in Sunnyhell, and the dearly departed Slayer’s groupies would start looking for me.



Hell, I’d suspected the local version of Xander would already know I was coming for him, when I finally tracked him down; but fortunately for me, he didn’t.



The stupid geek was just sitting in a booth within the Bronze. When he looked up and saw me, Xander didn’t tense up or give any other indication that he knew what I was; he just stared at me for two seconds, before turning back to his beer and having another drink.



Hmm. That gave me an idea...



The thing was, I’d had sex with Xander plenty of times when he was a vampire. I’d trained him pretty well; heck, yelling "More tongue, less fang!" and viciously smacking Harris on the top of his head was a pretty effective teaching method while he was pleasuring me in bed.



But still - sex with a human is vastly different from sex with a vampire. Personal experience talking, here.



So what if...what if I pretended to be the Cordelia of this reality for a while? What if I successfully managed to seduce this Xander, before I tortured and turned him into what I wanted? Time wasn’t on my side, granted, and I knew I’d only get one shot at this - if I said or did the wrong thing at the wrong time, the jig would be up straightaway.



But then life – or even un-life – is all about taking risks to get what you want, isn’t it? This was my one and only opportunity to acquire something I’d never had before.



Something new. Something appealing. Something...



...worthy of a vampire like myself.



I made up my mind, and sauntered over to the booth. “Mind if I sit down?” I did my best ‘Queen C’ impersonation.



“What are you doing here in Sunnydale, Cordelia?” he asked, as I settled in alongside him. From the slight slur in Xander’s voice, I could tell he’d been here drinking for a while.



What, I’m not allowed to come visit the old home town?” Then I pseudo-sighed, “Truth is, I needed a break from Angel and everyone else at the Hyperion for a while.”



Xander finally looked at me and frowned. “Hey, you look kinda different from when I saw you a few months ago. I dunno - younger, maybe...”



Shit. I’d forgotten about that, but then I’m pretty quick on my feet and I had the perfect excuse ready. “Well, I’m glad to see the new makeup works the way it’s supposed to! I’ve been thinking of trying something new in the Maybelline oeuvre, you know, but given the fact that I’m both a winter and a summer-”



“Please, spare me!” the big dumbass interrupted my attempt to educate him a little on one of the female fundamentals. “We’re not together anymore, Cordy. So gone are the days when I’m obliged to listen to your mind-numbing chit-chat, in the hope of eventually getting some touch in that high school broom closet.”



I smacked him on the arm, just barely preventing myself from vamping out. “What is your problem, mister?”



Xander sighed before again turning to look at me with those sad brown eyes of his. “I’m sorry, Cor. It’s just – I’m missing Anya more than ever tonight. I mean, it’s been three months since she died, but I still see her face everywhere I look in Sunnydale...”



Anya? Oh yeah - my evil fairy godmother who Xander had been an item with, way back when. So, she was dead here? Too bad, I’d been looking forward to killing her myself all over again!



“You wanna get out of here?” I asked him abruptly. “I dunno about you, but it's way too stuffy and crowded in here for my liking.”



Xander shrugged, I could tell he didn’t care one way or the other. “Whatever. Hey, you’re not staying at a motel or something, are you?” he suddenly sounded concerned as he looked at me.



“No, I told you – I just got into town,” I said as patiently as I could. Damn it, this was taking forever! “Look, why don’t we just go back to your place? I heard that you’re not living with your parents anymore, and so with your tastes - I shudder to think what sort of fashion disaster is the current state of your apartment! It’ll be my good deed for the day, to critique and try to fix your place up a little.”



Xander rolled his eyes as he got off his bar stool, but he didn’t say anything as he led the way out of the Bronze to the parking lot.



Good. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, and I didn’t know for how much longer I could keep the ‘Cordy’ act going either.



|+|+|
END
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