AUTHOR: LADYTIGERLILI (aka Lili)
SUMMARY: It’s Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Anything can happen.
POSTED: 4 Dec 2009
CATEGORY: HOLIDAY FIC (CHRISTMAS) / DRAMEDY / BTVS CROSSOVER
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A, S/B – This takes the place of Birthday in Ats and Following Dead Thing in BtVS.
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: Not Indicated
1) “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas” and “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from its first line) is a poem written by Clement Clarke Moore.
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse,” she spoke her words soothing the whimpering infant in her arms. She continued, “The stockings where hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.”
He smiled to himself as watched her from the doorway. His hear swelled at the sight of the woman he loved read to his son. Of course he hadn’t told her he loved her quite yet, but the feeling was nice, and now that the little issue with his curse was fixed maybe he could have something with her. But, he hadn’t told her that either.
He watched as she struggled to flip the page with out disturbing the baby in her arms. As she was beginning to get frustrated, she heard.
“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads,” He said continuing the poem from memory.
She smiled at him as he crossed the room. Setting himself on the ottoman near by she leaned over to flip the page for her.
She continued reading aloud. “And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.” As she read he flipped the pages for her. She could hear him muttering the words along with her, getting louder as he went through the poem with her. She stopped talking as he finished the poem.
“And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night,” he finished, smiling at her.
She gave a small chuckle and looked down at the sleeping bundle in her arm. She got up and went through the doors to the adjoining room placed the baby in the crib. He gave a short whimper but continued to sleep on. She pulled the doors closed be hinder her, leaving them slightly ajar.
“Angel where in the world did you learn ‘The Night Before Christmas?” She asked amused.
“It’s called ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’. It was published in 1823, and is largely responsible for the modern concept of Santa Clause. What!” He exclaimed at her amused look.
“Just didn’t think vampires went for Christmas,” she replied.
“Hey I’ve been around,” he declared. “Besides we found it very entertaining that and evil elf who punished bad children had been transformed in to a lovable jolly fellow who left presents.”
“We who?” Cordelia asked.
“Well, me, I mean Angelus mostly. I, I mean he had a thing for Christmas mayhem for about a decade.” Angel informed her.
“A thing for Christmas mayhem?” She repeated questioningly.
“Yeah,” he answered uncomfortably.
“Well I guess I better go. Dennis is expecting me home. We are going to decorate for Christmas,” Cordelia told him.
“When are we going to decorate here,” he asked surprising her.
“I didn’t think you would be into that. We never have before,” she replied.
“I just though it might be nice. It’s Conner’s first Christmas. I think Fred might enjoy it. She could invite her parents here,” he said.
“That does sound nice. Why don’t you give Fred’s parents a call and we’ll make it a surprise fore her. Then we could have a decorating party tomorrow. Of course I’ll have to go out and by decorations, a tree, food, lights, and everything. I have to make a list,” Cordelia rattled of becoming increasingly excited about Christmas and the possibility of shopping.
“Sounds expensive,” Angel interrupted.
“Oh, come on now you have to give a little money to get a little fun. I promise I’ll shop discount. Please!” She begged sounding like a little kid.
“Put it on the company card,” Angel relented. He couldn’t deny her much these days.
“Oh thank you, thank you thank, you. You’re the best!” She exclaimed. She bounced around excitedly. “I have to go tell Fred so we can get to shopping.” She bound out of the room.
“But, Cordelia, aren’t you supposed to go home and decorate with Dennis,” he called after her.
“Oh my gosh!” She exclaimed. “I totally forgot. I can’t disappoint Dennis.” Wrapped up in excitement she hugged Angel fiercely and kissed his cheek be for she raced from the room on her way home.
“Jingle bells Wesley smells Angel laid an egg,” Gunn sang as he walked though the doors of the Hyperion the next evening with Fred giggling beside him. They were juggling bags of food and decorations.
“I do not smell,” Wesley stated.
“It’s just a song man.” Gunn replied.
“Move out of the way. Stop blocking the doors,” Cordelia shouted at them as she struggled with one end of the tree, “Oomph! Hey Angel watch it,” she said exasperated as she was given a push from behind, she tied not to run into Fred.
“Sorry, I couldn’t see over all these branches. Did we really have to get the biggest tree in the lot?” Angel asked.
“It’s not that big, besides we have a lot of space in the lobby,” she replied.
“This tree is better suited to Lincoln Square, don’t you think,” Angel chided.
“You are just annoyed because we got the Noble Fir instead of the White Pine you wanted,” Cordelia responded.
“I am not. Besides the White Pine doesn’t smell as much,” he muttered under his breath.
“Oh please! The White Pine is a wimpy tree that doesn’t hold a lot of stuff. Do you want Conner’s first Christmas to suck because the tree didn’t hold up?” She asked.
“No, but I don’t see how the kind of tree makes that much of a difference,” Angel said. He knew it was a losing argument and he had long ago given in but she was just so cute when she was all huffy.
“You just don’t get it, maybe that’s what happens when you get old.” She replied taking a swipe at his pride.
“Hey! I am not old!” He exclaimed. He looked around the room when everyone began laughing.
“Angel, man, you are some 250 years old, to us that is pretty old,’ Gunn commented laughing so hard he had to wipe the moister from his eyes.
Angel turned coldly and silently and head up stairs as the laughter followed him. He wasn’t old he was just well aged. He still felt 26. Ok that wasn’t really true. Sometimes he did feel old. He sighed as he entered his room.
Lorne looked up from the floor where he was playing with baby Conner. “What’s up Ginger Snap? Looks like something has got you down.” Lorne asked.
“I’m old,” Angel replied.
“If you’re old then I’m middle aged. Who says you’re old Snicker doodle?” Lorne asked.
“Cordelia and Gunn.”
“Well, I guess you are technically and comparatively. They’re human Angel. They have concepts of human time and it runs differently,” Lorne reminded him.
“I was human once too,” Angel replied wistfully.
“True, but then you weren’t. Now you stand on the edge. You share their concept of time because you are living it with them, but when they are gone and you outlive them then you will live a different concept of time,” Lorne explained.
“What if I don’t want to out live them?” Angel asked.
“Then you will probably let yourself get staked along the way, but that’s not what they want for you,” said Lorne. “Is this about Cordelia and Conner?” He asked.
“I don’t want to live without them,” Angel said.
“Who says you will. The future isn’t a sure thing Angel. It’s merely a possibility.” Lorne explained.
“What about all the prophecies we deal with every day?” Angel asked.
“They will either happen exactly how you think or they wont,” Lorne simply stated.
“And the Shanshu?” he asked.
“It will either happen or it wont. You could get staked tomorrow and then some other vampire with a soul may come about and they will get it. Or hey on the bright side the whole world could end tomorrow. You just have to ask yourself where do you want to be right now, and who do you want to be with. The rest will sort itself out.” Lorne replied.
“What about you, Lorne, Is you concept of time really that much different from theirs?” Angel asked.
“Hey I’m only 133 years old I’ve got at least another couple hundred years left in me, assuming the world doesn’t end tomorrow,” Lorne told him.
“Really, 133, I guess I figured you age like humans,” Angel admitted.
“You never asked. I guess I’ll leave you and this little Sugar Cookie alone and go check on the party,” Lorne says as he hands Conner to Angel.
“Thanks, tell everyone I’ll be down soon and Lorne, I thought I asked you to stop calling me pastries,” Angel said.
“I guess cookies might still be considered pastries. Have it you way. Later Rainbow,” Lorne called out as he ducked out of the room.
Angel just shook his head and smiled down at the baby in his arms. “Your uncle Lorne is a nut,” he told the baby who gurgled and smiled back in agreement. “ Sorry kid but you have got one crazy family. Now, let’s go down stairs and find your mommy. I guess I should apologies to her for picking a fight, but you know Cordy, there is just something so beautiful about her when she is mad.” He continued talking to Conner who appeared to be listening intently.
When he reached the Lobby he saw that they had erected the tree. Cordelia and Fred sat across from each other on the floor sorting through ornaments. Gunn and Wesley were having a heated discussion on how to put the lights on the tree. Lorne was at the front counter grazing on the food and spiking the eggnog.
Gunn looked up and asked Angel. “Hey man what you think? Should we start at the top or the bottom?”
“I think you should figure it out yourselves. I’m not getting in the middle of it,” Angel replied.
“Welcome back Angel,” Fred said.
“Thanks Fred. Would you mind watching Conner for a minuet? I need to talk to Cordy alone.”
“Sure thing. I love baby snuggles,” She replied and smiled up at Angel who leaned down to place Conner in her arms.
“Cordy, would you mind coming into the office with me?” He asked her.
“Cant it wait Angel?” She asked.
“No,” he barked in a serious tone that made everyone look around at each other.
“Jeeze, Angel what’s your damage? I’m sorry I called you old, get a sense of humor,” Cordelia told him as he followed her into the office.
“I’m not mad Cordelia. I’ve gotten over it. I am old comparatively,” He explained.
“O-kay,” she replied slowly in a questioning tone.
“Like I was saying. I’m not mad I’m nervous.”
“About what?” Cordelia asked.
“About you, about me, about you and me,” He answered her.
“Angel I’m fine. Is there something wrong with you, Angel, do you have Vampire Cancer?” She asked him not understanding his intent.
“No Cordelia I don’t have Vampire Cancer. There is no such thing as Vampire cancer,” He explained.
She felt relived. She had been sure he was going to tell her something horrible by the way he was going on. “I’m not sure I understand what you are talking about then,” she told him.
“Cordelia I’m nervous about us.”
“About us? Oh, about us! The big us. What are you talking about Angel?” She asked as contradicting and confusing emotions overwhelmed her.
“I would very much like there to be and us. You are an extraordinary woman, and I have come to have some very strong feelings for you. Are you ok? You seem shocked.”
“I just didn’t expect that. It seemed like you had some really bad news or something and then you tell me you like me as more then just a friend. I am very overwhelmed,” she explained to him.
“I didn’t mean to make you think it was something dire. I’ve been trying to tell you how I feel for a while.”
“I guess I never even imagined you would ever want to date anyone again, and especially not me,” she told him honestly. “ I figure Buffy was it for you.”
“No, Cordelia, Buffy wasn’t it for me, but she was the beginning for me. I wouldn’t be who I am now if I hadn’t met or loved Buffy. But, Buffy wasn’t the end for me. I’ve got a lifetime ahead of me, possible several.” He explained.
“Angel I won’t lie. I am physically attracted to you. You are my best friend and I love you for it. I’ve never even wondered or thought about you beyond that.”
“Do you think that you could?” He asked.
“I’ll have to think about it,” she replied looking up at him.
The knock on the door was such an intrusive noise that it jolted them both. “Hey guys are you ever going to come back out here. We’ve finely got the lights on,” Gunn called to them from the other side of the door.
“We’ll just be a minute,” Cordelia yelled back.
“Would it be easier if I made myself scarce while you decorate?” He asked.
“You can’t do that Angel. This is your tree and your Christmas too. We are not going to disappoint everyone out there. You are my friend Angel you always will be no matter what happens.” She told him.
She arose and walked toward the door. Angel followed close behind her. As she opened the door they were greeted by four sets of expectant eyes. Fred giggled as she pointed to the mistletoe hanging in the doorway. Cordelia slowly turned to face Angel. He leaned in to kiss her. She felt his cool lips barely brush her warm lips.
Blushing she turned toward the group hands on hips and asked. “ Are you satisfied?”
Amidst the giggles and catcalls she could swear she heard Angel say, “Not nearly.”
For Cordelia Chase this was worst holiday season ever. That was saying a lot considering her senior year of high school her parents took off for parts unknown tow days before Christmas leaving her very little money to live on for the rest of the year. On the surface everything seemed to be going well, but the secret she was keeping was chipping away at her resolve. It was getting harder with each day to conceal the dark circles under her eyes. She went through most of her days in a medicated fog. She was getting tired of lying and pretending everything was fine when it wasn’t.
She was lying to her friends about her health. She was lying to Angel about her feelings for him. She was already desperately in love with him, but she didn’t want him to hurt more later then he already would. She tried lying to herself unsuccessfully that everything would be all right, but everything wasn’t fine. She continued to lose hope that it would. So she covered up the symptoms and began over compensating this holiday season.
She decorated her tree at home and the hotel. She read stories daily to Conner and played Christmas carols round the clock. She planed parties and food. It was exhausting.
Now as if her holiday couldn’t get any worse she watched as Buffy Summers paced back and forth across the street from the hotel. Her timing couldn’t be worse. What the hell was Buffy even doing in LA?
It looked like Buffy was trying to make up her mind to come in. As Cordelia watched she saw Buffy slump down on to a bench and put her face in her hands. Cordelia’s heart melted a little. Buffy looked so confused and defeated. She made up her mind and deliberately walked across the street and plopped down beside Buffy on the bench.
“So what brings you to LA. Is there an apocalypse or are you just here to tug on Angel’s strings,” Cordelia asked startling the blond beside her.
Buffy looked up at Cordelia and then promptly burst into tears. Cordelia was shocked. She froze as he watched Buffy weep. She hated to see anyone in that much emotional pain, even Buffy. Her natural instinct to comfort kicked in and she scooted towards her and placed a hand on her shoulder. As Buffy continued to cry quietly she patted her on the back until she blonde had calmed down.
“Are you doing better? Do you want anything?” Cordelia asked concerned.
“I think I’m a bit better,” Buffy replied. “I should probably go.”
“Oh no you don’t. You don’t just get to show up in LA and start weeping all over me with out some sort of explanation. Now are you going to come inside with me and tell me about it,” Cordelia said bluntly.
“I don’t want to go in. I don’t even know why I’m here except I need to get out of Sunnydale for a few days,’ Buffy confessed.
“So you came to LA to get away,” Cordelia concluded.
“I thought I’d go to my dad’s even if he would probably be out of town, but I got there and…” Buffy couldn’t continue on as fresh tears welled in her eyes.
“I guessing he wasn’t there,” Cordelia said.
“Not only was he not there but he sold his house. The house I grew up in and he never even told me, not that our conversations are all that frequent anyway.” Buffy informed her.
“So you couldn’t go to you childhood home, or back to Sunnydale so you thought you would go see Angel,” Cordelia replied.
“I did at first, but I just couldn’t go in. Not after the last time Angel and I met,” Buffy explained.
“That bad huh?” Cordelia asked dieing with curiosity considering Angel had told them next to nothing about his meeting with Buffy.
“No, not bad, really. It was very finale and I’m just not sure I feel comfortable going to him just as a friend yet,” Buffy explained.
“So then your last meeting with Angel had to do you with you guys just being friends?” Cordelia asked.
“Angel didn’t tell you about it?” Buffy questioned.
“Oh you know Angel he just cant keep a secret. We all sat around and had tea and cookies while he told us every single detail,” Cordelia replied her voice dripping with sarcasm. “You know, Angel, he’s not really into sharing his feelings,” she continued emphasizing with her hands making quote signs in the air.
“Basically he told me he wanted to move on with his life and have the options to date and he couldn’t do that while things felt unresolved with me,” Buffy told her.
“He said that?”
“Yep, and I agreed he should move on with his life and live it as normally as he can. We both should if we can. We are both better off not trying to hold on to something that we could never have especially if it’s not even something we want anymore,” Buffy informed Cordelia.
“So then you are not still in love with Angel?” Cordelia asked.
“I still love Angel, but it’s not the kind of love it once was. We are different people now then we where when we were together,” Buffy explained.
Cordelia sat in silence not know what to do, or where to take their conversation from there. They watched the cars pass by. They watched as Wesley arrived at the hotel and walked inside not giving even a glance their way.
“So, how strange it is that were are sitting here sharing our feelings?” Cordelia asked.
“I was just thinking that,” Buffy said. “I guess I should probably go.”
“Are you going back to Sunnydale?” Cordelia asked.
“No I think I’ll get a hotel room somewhere,” Buffy answered.
“I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t you stay with me? It’s free, and I’ll even blow off work and we can go Christmas shopping,” Cordelia offered.
“That sounds pretty good to me,” Buffy replied grateful she wouldn’t have to find a hotel somewhere.
It was now four day until Christmas. Buffy had been staying with her for two days now. They had, had a lot of fun shopping together, and had gotten pretty drunk that night. Buffy had shared all her secrets with her about Spike and being brought back from heaven. Cordelia had shared none of hers.
Yesterday morning the alcohol from the previous night hadn’t mixed well with her medication and she had not woken up to her alarm. Buffy franticly tried for several minutes to wake her before she succeeded. It had really freaked her out. They barely spoke the rest of the day. Cordelia had spent only a few hours at work before leaving due to a headache. She went home and spent the evening watching holiday movies with Buffy.
So she wasn’t all that surprised when the scoobies came walking trough the front door of the hotel searching for Buffy. Nor was she al that surprised that they were accompanied by Spike. She stayed where she was as they crossed the lobby to the front desk. Wesley and Angel walked out of the inner office, and Fred and Gunn looked up from the sofa in the lobby where they had been sitting and researching for the past hour.
“Angel, have you spoken to Buffy lately?” Willow asked.
“No I haven’t spoken to her, why?” he answered seeming unconcerned.
“She’s missing,” Willow informed him.
“She’s not missing we just don’t know where she is,” Dawn argued.
“When did you last see her?” Wesley asked.
“Tara saw her three nights ago. The same night Dawn and I came home and found a note tell us she needed to get away for a few days,” Willow replied.
“We haven’t heard from her and we are worried,” Xander explained.
“Why don’t we call around? We will get in touch with some of our contacts and see if we can locate her,” Wesley offered.
“There is no need for that Wesley. I know where Buffy is,” Cordelia told them.
“You do,” exclaimed Xander surprised.
“Yes, she has been staying with me,” she informed them.
“What is Buffy doing with you?” Willow asked surprised and confused.
“Doing each others toenails,” Angel whispered in Cordelia’s ear be fore she could open her mouth to explain.
“I knew you had seen her!” Spike exclaimed after picking up on Angel’s comment.
“But I haven’t spoken to her,” Angel threw back.
“Technicality,” Spike muttered under his breath.
“Look, as fun as it is listening to you two argue why don’t you both pipe down. Now, Cordelia would you kindly explain,” Wesley barked taking charge of the situation which shocked Willow and Xander who hadn’t seen the man he had become over the last few years.
“Look, I don’t particularly know why Buffy is staying with me other then I offered,” Cordelia explained.
“Well, I want to see her now. Take us to your apartment,” Willow demanded.
“No!” Cordelia replied firmly.
“No?” Xander questioned.
“That’s what I said. I will go home and tell Buffy you are here. If she wants to come back then I will bring her back,” Cordelia answered.
“You are more then welcome to wait here,” Wesley offered.
As she walked past the scoobies on her way out the door the shy blonde girl she had never met stopped her. She assumed this was Willows estranged girlfriend, Tara. The one Buffy had told her she had confided in about Spike.
“Could I come with you?” Tara asked.
“Um, I suppose that would be ok,” Cordelia answered as she continued walking towards the door. “We will be back soon. Oh and Angel when I get back we will talk about your stalking tendencies.”
“Cordelia thank god you are home. Would you please tell your ghost that I refuse to watch Passions. He is starting to..” Buffy exclaimed as she came around the corner from the kitchen. She stopped short when she realized Cordelia wasn’t alone.
“Sorry, Buffy but I can’t do a thing about it. It’s best just to let him have his way,” Cordelia informed her.
“Hello Buffy,’ Tara greeted her quietly.
“I guess the vacations over,” Buffy said.
“Unless you want Tara and I to go back to the hotel without you, but somehow I don’t think it would sit well with Xander and Willow,” Cordelia replied.
“Are they here too?” She asked.
“Back at the hotel,” Tara informed her.
“It’s to bad I was kind of getting into the Christmas spirit. It would have been nice to spend Christmas here in LA,” Buffy admitted.
“You would have missed Dawn and your friends,” Tara told her.
“Your right I guess I can’t run away forever,” Buffy agreed.
“You know if you guys don’t have anything serious going on in Sunnydale at the moment you could always stay for Christmas,” Cordelia offered.
“We wouldn’t want to be an inconvenience,” Buffy explained.
“You wouldn’t be. We were already planning to have a big Christmas. It’s Conner’s first Christmas and Fred’s parents are coming. All we have to do is get more food, and maybe one of those menorah things for Willow,” Cordelia rattled off.
“How can I argue with that? What do you think Tara?” Buffy asked.
“Sounds better then spending the day alone in my dorm room,” Tara informed them.
“Then I insist, besides what’s Christmas if your crazy friends and family aren’t there to drive you nuts,” Cordelia exclaimed.
She turned to lead them out when she was struck by intense pain. It was like her head was being ripped opened and boiling water was being poured in. She collapsed on the floor. Her body tensed up as the pain and visions ripped through her. Tara and Buffy stood in shock until it was over. They helped her to the sofa. Tara grabbed a handful of tissue and held it to Cordelia’s nose as blood dripped from it. This was the latest in an ever-growing list of side effects from her visions.
“Cordelia what was that?” Buffy asked in shock.
“It was a vision. I need you to call Angel,” Cordelia requested. She reach up and grabbed the tissue from Tara as Buffy crossed the room to fetch the phone. “Tara would you go to my bathroom. In the medicine cabinet there is a bottle with a red cap. Bring it to me please.”
Angel answered at the hotel, “Angel Investigations we help the helpless.”
“Angel it’s Buffy. Cordelia has had some kind of vision.”
“Put Cordy on the phone,” Angel demanded.
“Angel you have to get to E 7th and San Pedro. There is a Red brick building with a basement full of vampires. Oh god! There at least 50 of them. Hurry Angel you have to go now. We are on our way,” Cordelia informed him and hung up.
“What’s going on?” Tara asked retuning to the room.
“We need to go help Angel with a nest of vampires,” Cordelia told her as she got to her feet. She stumbled and was caught by Buffy. “Right so you better drive,” she said handing her keys over to Buffy.
“Just a minute,” Tara said.
“We don’t really have a minute here,” Cordelia replied not liking the look Tara was giving her as she held up her pills.
“Then I guess I’ll just have to ask Angel when we see him,” Tara threatened.
“Ask him what?” Buffy interjected.
“I’m just wondering why Cordelia is taking painkillers so strong that they rarely given to people who aren’t dieing?” Tara asked holing up the bottle of pills.
“They are just painkillers,” Cordelia lied as she snatched the bottle, opened it, and downed two painkillers with out water.
“My mother took these for the last month of her life. Don’t tell me they are just pain killers,” Tara exclaimed.
“Cordelia are you dieing?” Buffy asked in a solemn whisper.
“Yes!” she shouted. “Are you happy now? I’m dieing. The visions are killing me.”
“No were not happy,” Buffy though back bitterly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Look, it’s not like I left you out specifically. I haven’t told anyone else either. I just want to get through Christmas. Then I’ll tell every one.”
“Do you really think that’s fair to your friends,” Tara asked.
“Is that why you wont tell Angle you love him?” Buffy asked when it was clear Cordelia wasn’t going to answer Tara’s question.
“How did you know about that? I didn’t tell you about that,” Cordelia asked stunned.
“You talk in your sleep,” Buffy told her.
“Yes, that’s why,” Cordelia replied.
“How long do you have?” Tara asked meekly.
“A few weeks maybe. It depends on the visions. Speaking of which, we need to go take care of,” Cordelia informed them as she stared down at her own feet..
“Fine, but I’m not letting this drop. You need to tell everyone before they wake up and find you dead one day,” Buffy shouted as she stormed out the door as tears spring to her eyes as she thought about her mother.
“She’s right you know,” Tara stated.
“I know,” Cordelia answered quietly.
“So, you really love Angel?” Tara asked.
“Desperately,” She answered as they followed the pissed off slayer out the door.
With the help of the scoobies it didn’t take them long to clear out the vampire nest. They all returned to the hotel to nurse some minor wounds.
“Did you see that one Vampire try to sneak up on Spike. I though he was a goner then out from no where Angel shows up and whoops his butt,” Gunn said.
“Awe, Angel saved Spikes life,” Xander joked.
“Did not!” Spike and Angel exclaimed at the same time, which sent everyone into peels of laughter.
As Cordelia bandaged Angel’s wounds he watched her face. He could see the dark circles she was trying to hide. He had become increasingly worried about her over the past moth or so. Just as his feelings for her had grown so had his protective nature of her. There was some thing wrong, and she wasn’t telling him. So, he snuck around and watched her from the shadows. He had been more then a little surprised to find Buffy at her apartment the previous night. There they were giggling over the movie and painting each others toe nails. His thoughts were interrupted as she patted him on the shoulder.
“Angel you are done now,” She informed him.
“I’m sorry I spied on you last night, but I was worried,” he told her spontaneously.
“Pfft, I already forgot about it,” Cordelia told him.
“Yeah but you would have remember later and made me pay for it,” Angel replied.
Buffy watched the easy banter between Angel and Cordelia from across the room. She knew they didn’t even realize they way they kept moving closer to each other. She noticed the way they would touch each other on the shoulder, back of the hand, or knee as they talked. Her relationship with Angel had never been that easy. She regretted that, but was surprisingly not jealous.
Ok, so maybe she had been for a minute yesterday when she came in to wake Cordelia and heard her talking in her sleep. She hadn’t had time to dwell on it though. She had been completely freaked out when she couldn’t wake Cordelia. It took several minutes of roughly shaking her to get her to wake up. Cordelia had acted like nothing was wrong so Buffy hadn’t given it much thought. Now, ever since Cordelia had blurted out that she was dieing she couldn’t think of anything else.
She and Cordelia had never been close friends, but she felt extremely sad for her. Over the past two days that had become closer then they had ever been in Sunnydale. She had gotten to see a side of Cordelia she had always suspected existed but had rarely seen before.
“Buffy,” Willows call interrupted her. “Don’t you think its time we start heading back?”
“Oh I almost forgot. Cordelia invited us all to stay for Christmas,” Buffy replied.
“Wasn’t that nice of her,” Wesley interjected somewhat sarcastically.
“Yes it was,” Cordelia answered.
“But Buffy, we can’t stay. What about Anya? What about the shop?” Xander asked.
“We promised we would help with the pre Christmas sale,” Willow said.
“I guess I didn’t think of that,” Buffy replied vaguely.
“But, we don’t all have to go. I want to stay here for Christmas. They have tree and everything. We don’t have a tree,” Dawn whined.
“ Maybe you guys can go home now and come back Christmas Eve,” Cordelia suggested.
“Please say we can,” Dawn begged.
“I guess we will have too since I left all your Christmas presents at Cordelia’s apartment,” Buffy teased. “Is that ok with you guys?” she asked Willow and Xander.
“Sure,” Willow answered.
“Great then we will have a party on Christmas Eve, and dinner on Christmas day,” Cordelia told them.
“Cordelia, could I talk to you for a minute in private?” Buffy requested.
“Sure,” she replied.
As she arose to join Buffy, she was suddenly struck with another vision. Before she could collapse on the floor she was swept up in Angel’s arms. He carried her to the sofa where he held her till she stopped writhing. He watched her as she lost consciousness. The room was quiet as everyone looked on.
“We should take her to the hospital,” Wesley said.
“Just give it a few minutes,” Angel snapped at Wesley. “Come on baby wake up,” he begged as he gently shook her.
To everyone’s relief, her eyes slowly opened. She whimpered in pain. Tears fell as she turned her face into Angel’s chest and wept. He held her as everyone stood around helplessly. Fred went to Cordelia’s purse to get her painkillers but was stopped by Tara.
“She can’t have any right now. She took two just after her last vision,” Tara explained.
“What is she taking?” Wesley asked. He reached out for the bottle. When he looked at it he was shocked. He knelt down beside Angel and Cordelia. “Cordelia, what are you doing taking something like this?”
When she didn’t answer, Buffy spoke for her, “ Because she’s dieing.”
“Buffy!” Cordelia whispered.
“How do you know that?” Angel demanded.
“We found out accidentally right after her last vision,” Tara replied.
When Cordelia couldn’t be consoled Angel carried her upstairs and laid her on his bed. He lay down with her and held her till she fell asleep in his arms.
Down stairs what ever Cordelia had seen in her vision was forgotten. A dense melancholy had set it. Wesley sat with Fred as she quietly cried. Gunn stormed around the office slamming books around. Willow and Xander fidgeted where they set. Neither knew if they should just leave or keep hanging around. Buffy and Tara sat around whispering to each other. Dawn sat in the office playing peek-a-boo with Conner. Spike stood out in the garden
“Gunn, what are you doing to the books?” Wesley asked.
“I’m looking for answers like you should be. Isn’t that what we do?” Gunn replied.
“That’s right Charles we help the helpless,” Fred answered.
“Can I help?’ Buffy offered.
“But, Buffy we need to go,” Willow explained.
“No Willow. You need to go. You and Xander should go back and help Anya with the shop. I’m staying and we will see you in a few days. If that’s alright with you?” Buffy asked Wesley.
“If you are staying to help then yes,” Wesley replied.
“Should we take spike with us?” Xander asked.
“Ask him yourself. It’s up to him.” Buffy told them.
In the end it was only Willow and Xander who went home. When Angel came back down stairs he found them all sitting around researching.
“How are we going to fix this?” Angel asked the room demanding answers.
“We are looking into that now Angel,” Wesley answered him.
“There is a section here about sight and visions. It says that while humans are often born with the sight they are not equipped to handle a pure vision. If a human continues to receive pure visions it is not likely they will live long,” Fred read aloud.
“That’s not good enough. We need answers and options,” Angel stormed.
“We are doing the best we can,” Buffy answered.
“Do better,” Angel barked.
“Angel!” Wesley exclaimed.
“I can’t let her die. I won’t.” Angel said his voice cracking.
“We will find something,” Fred urged.
They worked for hours into the night with little to show for there efforts. When Cordelia got up and came down stairs it was nearly 2 a.m. She found only Angel, and Spike were still awake. Buffy lay curled up on a sofa and Wesley had fallen asleep at his desk. The others had gone home or upstairs for the night. Angel glanced up as she descended the stairs. She walked over and sat next to him.
“What’s all this?” She asked.
“We are trying to find a cure for you,” Angel answered.
“Oh, have you found anything yet?” Cordelia ask as she wearily laid her head on his shoulder.
“Not yet, but I know we will,” he said trying to sound confident.
“I’m sorry,” she told him.
“ Why didn’t you tell us before?”
“I didn’t want to believe it,” she replied. “If I had told you then I couldn’t pretend it was going to be ok.”
“It will be ok Cordelia. I promise we will find away to fix this,” Angel told her as he put his arm around her and held her close.
“Oh my god! My vision!” she exclaimed loudly. “There should still be time. You need to get to Wolfram & Hart.”
“There is a girl. There is something special about her, but I don’t know what. They are holding her against her will. You have to get to her before they can perform some ritual. You should go now, and take Spike with you,” Cordelia informed him.
“Will you be ok?” Angel asked.
“I’ll be fine. I wait for you to come back. Now go!” She insisted.
“ Spike you’re with me lets go,” Angel ordered. They swept out of the hotel.
They returned just before dawn arguing with each other. Spike walked in carrying the unconscious women Cordelia had seen in her vision. Angel came limping in after him.
”I didn’t say you scratched the car. I said you were driving too fast and almost scratched it,” Angel complained.
“Look, mate your precious car is just fine, so why don’t you drop it,” Spike ranted as he laid the girl on an empty sofa.
“Hey boys, why don’t you both be quite? Some people are trying to sleep,” Cordelia interrupted.
“Not anymore,” Buffy yawned after being woken by raised voices.
“Want some coffee?” Cordelia asked stifling her own yawn.
“Sure,” Buffy answered.
Cordelia went behind the desk to start a pot of coffee. While she was at it she ripped open 2 packets of blood, poured them in mugs and popped then in the microwave. The sound of it going off woke Wesley
“Sorry,” Cordelia apologized as she extracted the mugs. She handed one to Angel and one to Spike.
“What’s this?” Spike asked.
“If you don’t know then you left the bleach on too long,” Cordelia quipped.
“So how did things go at Wolfram & Hart?” Cordelia asked.
“Saved the girl, and stopped the ritual,” Spike answered.
“Did you find out anything about what they were doing with her?” Cordelia asked.
“We’re not sure. It looked like were just holing her captive,” Angel said. “Until she wakes up we won’t know for sure.”
“I think you’re going to get your chance to ask her,” Wesley told them.
They looked over to where the woman stirred. This is was the first chance they got to really take a god look at her. She was stunningly beautiful. Her golden hair fell down to her waist. She was willowy and ethereal and appeared to radiate light. She smiled warmly at them, but said nothing.
“Hi, I’m Cordelia. What is your name?” Cordelia asked.
“I have many names,” the girl replied cryptically. “ You may call me Noel if you like.”
“What are you?” Wesley asked?
“She’s an angel,” Lorne told them as he entered the hotel.
…TO BE CONTINUED…
THIS STORY APPEARS TO BE UNFINISHED