AUTHORS: NOBODY’S ANGEL (aka LILY) and SCORCH (aka JUDI)
SUMMARY: The mind works in suspicious ways!
POSTED: 11 Oct 2003
CATEGORY: A mix of ’em
CONTENT/PAIRING: Cordelia/Angel eventually, Angel/Harmony Friendship
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: We just had to write this fic, it had our names all over it!
Part 1, Awakening
Cordy woke with a gasp and sat straight up in the hard, uncomfortable bed. She looked at her hands and cringed at the sight of them. They were pale, withered and there were multiple scars where the IVs had been positioned. She ripped the tubes out of her hands and stifled a yell before stumbling across the room. She wondered how long she had been in that bed and her question was answered when she made her way down the maze of hallways. She recognized this place, or the feeling of it at the very least. She was in the belly of the beast.
Wolfram and Hart. Her heart jumped into her throat as she quickened her pace. She had to get out of there and find Angel.
“Thanks Harmony. Great job,” she heard his voice say and her heart sunk to her stomach. Angel? And Harmony? Working together? Here? She turned the corner and saw her former boss, best friend, and secret love of her life hugging her former undead best friend and she felt sick, genuinely sick to her stomach. Her world had been turned upside down and now she wished that she had never woken up.
“Oh, it’s nothing Angel. I mean, I just dug through all of those old files that you brought over and reorganized them so things were easier to find. Did you like your blood this morning? I tried something new. One of my favourite recipes!” the blonde rambled with a huge smile at Angel.
Angel’s lips quirked up in a crooked smile, “It’s fine Harmony. And good job on the files” he watched as she preened under his praise as though he was making her Queen. He took a delicate sip of the blood and found it laced with sugar and lemon juice. Surprisingly it was nice, the sugar took away some of the bitterness that was pigs’ blood and the lemon juice added a little kick to it. He gave her some more praise just to see her preen a little more. “It’s 98 degrees too, just how I like it”
“98.6 exactly,” she corrected proudly and beamed another smile at him. “So what’s the plan for today? Are we still on for later?” she asked, her second question somewhat hushed, but Cordy could still hear her well enough. “I mean, I know we have work and all, all work all the time, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for play too, right?”
“Right. There’s always time for play” Angel replied watching in amusement as Harmony all but jumped up and down on the spot in excitement. “I take it you’re looking forward to it then?”
“Duh! I’m so glad that you aren’t all uptight and serious like you were when you first got here. You just weren’t any fun then! Nothing but sit in your office and be all gloomy. Doesn’t make for an interesting day, not like now! It’s amazing what two years can do for a vampire! Oh, we’re going to have so much fun!!”
Cordy gasped to try and catch her breath. Two years? She had been in a coma for two years? And now Angel was all for the fun…with Harmony? She watched in horror as Angel leaned down and hugged the blonde vampire and placed a quick, discreet kiss on her cheek, and Cordy put her hand over her mouth to stifle her sob. It didn’t go un-noticed by the two vampires, and she turned, running back down the hallway to get away from the scene.
It took Angel all of ten seconds to realise that Cordelia had just ran away. It took him two extra seconds for him to put two and two together for it to click that she was awake. Forgetting about the equally stunned blonde vampire next to him, Angel thrust his blood into her hands and instantly took off after Cordelia. He wondered just how long she’d been standing there and just how long she’d been awake for and why nobody had informed him. There would be some serious discussions at the meeting later.
Angel paused at an information desk just outside the hallway to his office. “Did a girl come past here? Tall, brunette she would have looked in a bad shape?” he demanded harshly, time was of the essence here.
The woman at the desk put down the phone and nodded. “I just called security. She headed toward the stairs,” she informed the CEO calmly and pointed in the direction the woman had gone. “Wasn’t that…” She didn’t want to say the name and anger him. She had heard stories of what he had done to people that had mentioned the young woman in the coma.
Angel glared at the woman darkly, daring her to say Cordelia’s name. “Just tell me where she went” he growled, narrowing his eyes at the slightly shaken woman at the desk. “Now”
“The stairs.” She looked at the monitor and glanced back at him. “She’s heading toward the garage.”
Not bothering to convey his thanks in anyway, Angel moved quicker than she could see towards the nearest set of stairs. The metal fire escape door swung open and collided against the wall with a loud thud that made the poor woman jump a mile. The vampire hurtled down the long flights of stairs, desperate to catch the Cordelia-impostor before she got out into the streets of Los Angeles and started an apocalypse. Again.
Cordy froze as she looked at the lines of sports cars. Her breath hitched as she tried to ignore the searing pain in every muscle of her body. She looked desperately for anything familiar and her heart sank to even deeper depths when there was no sign of the old Plymouth. “Oh God…” she whispered when she heard his feet pounding down the stairs at an alarming pace. She had to get out before he killed her. She started running again, trying to find her way to safety.
Angel was too concerned in getting a hold of her to care about the heightened scent of fear permeating the air. Bolting through the door to the garage, the frantic vampire looked wildly in each direction of the garage but saw no sign of the impostor. “Damn” Angel swore and began to stealthily creep through the rows of cars, using all his predatory instincts to the max as he searched for her.
Cordelia crouched in between a black Porsche and a red Corvette that made her briefly think about being back in Sunnydale, and she held her breath, hoping that her racing heartbeat wouldn’t give her away. Yeah, it was wishful thinking, but what else did she have now? She shook visibly as his footsteps got closer and she moved back, ready to run if he found her. There was no way that she was going to let him get her after she had lost two years of her life. She’d find the others. They had to be okay. They’d help her.
Crouching down on his haunches, Angel peered under the cars to see if he could spot her that way. It would be a lot easier than searching endlessly for her and it wouldn’t take time he didn’t have today. He had a meeting at 3:30 and he couldn’t miss it. Concentrating obsidian eyes scanned the gaps under the cars looking for the impostor. Suddenly, Angel spotted her next to tyres that looked like they belonged to a Porsche. He slowly and silently started to creep along the garage floor in the hopes of catching her before she got out.
Cordelia tried to swallow the lump in her throat at the sudden silence, and her heartbeat seemed deafening to her. She was soon panicking and she tried to run, damn the consequences, which caused her to run straight into the solid wall that was the vampire’s body. She began screaming, kicking and hitting as hard as her frail body would allow when he grabbed her none too gently.
Angel ignored the sudden sharp pain where her knee connected with his groin and managed to hold her arms down by her sides. “Stop screaming” he yelled at her, grimacing at the high-pitched noise. “Cordelia, would you give it a rest?” he snapped harshly. There was no way he was going to let this impostor know he knew she wasn’t Cordelia. That wouldn’t help in the long run.
“No! I won’t let you kill me! Let me go!” she screamed, the tears now running in a steady stream down her cheeks. Two years before she would never have let him get to her this way, but she didn’t seem to have any control over how her emotions showed themselves now.
“I’m not gonna kill you” Angel told her gently but firmly, shaking her lightly as though that would make her see sense. If this was Jasmine, then why would she be scared he was going to kill her? She was probably thinking the image of Cordelia crying would be enough to weaken him and once it would have been but not after the whole Jasmine mess. “Jesus Christ Cordy” Angel growled when his calm words got him nowhere fast, purposely using her old nickname.
Her eyes widened in terror as a group of military looking people burst through the doors and surrounded them. “Mr. Angel,” one greeted him quickly. “Would you like us to subdue the woman?”
“Subdue?” What once would have been a sharp comeback was little more than a whimper of fear at the sight of the men and their guns.
Let Cordelia-Jasmine loose with men who carry guns? Not likely Angel thought. I really don’t want to deal with another birth from the corrupted Higher Being. Once was more than enough. “No. I’ve got the situation under control” Angel told them firmly. “Everything’s alright” at the commanding officer’s ordering nod, they disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
Turning his unsuspicious gaze back to the now quiet brunette, he seemed to search her face and teary hazel eyes for the truth. “It is alright… Right?” he asked hopefully as he loosened his hold on her arms just a tiny bit.
“To hell it’s alright! It’s far from alright!” she screamed as she tried to wrench her arms from his grasp. “Y-you’re…just please let me go. I promise you’ll never see me again. I won’t even tell anyone where to find you.” She hated herself for begging, but she had even less chance of fighting him now than she ever had.
“Letting you go is something I can’t do” Angel told her with an apologetic cringe, the meaning of her words were lost on him. “After your body was used to create that whole mess two years ago Cordy” he carefully chose his words and made sure he didn’t let on he knew about her being the impostor. “I need to make sure that you’re okay now and that Cordy, my Cordy, is the one who’s in there” he explained as gently as he could without sounding too suspicious or knowing.
“What mess? How was my body used? What the hell are you talking about and what’s this about your Cordy? I am in no way shape or form yours. Especially now that you work for Wolfram & Hart! And why did you let me lay there for two years! Were you biding your time so that you could scare me to death before you killed me?!” she yelled at him accusingly, trying to keep her body’s shaking at a minimum, but it was beyond her control. She chalked it up to fear and being close to dead for two years.
He didn’t believe the truth or fright in her eyes for a single second, he just led her to believe he did. Angel sighed and pulled her into his arms, hands stroking her hair to make it seem like he was calming her down with soothing caresses. “It’s alright now Cordy” he told her, his voice cracking slightly, “You’re awake now and everything’s gonna be alright. I promise. No-one’s going to kill or hurt you. Ssh!” he soothed softly. All the while his brain was ticking with ways to contain her before she did any damage.
“Come on Cordy” Angel pulled back and looked deeply into her openly false frightened hazel orbs, “Come back inside and I’ll tell you everything” not that I have too because you already know what happened you scheming little bitch!
She eyed him suspiciously. Why was he being so comforting? Why wasn’t he torturing her or draining her dry? “You’re not going to kill me?” she asked quietly, finally giving up her struggle.
Smiling genuinely, Angel hooked finger tenderly under her chin and caressed her jaw with his thumb softly. “No Cordy” he responded warmly and affectionately “I’m not going to kill you” not until I know what you’re planning!
As she followed him back inside hesitantly, she was shocked to see Wesley standing their waiting for them. “Not you too,” she cried softly. “What’s going on? Has my entire family turned evil on me? Where’s Gunn? And Fred? Connor! Where’s Connor?!” The fear crept into her voice when she thought about the boy that she remembered as being like a son to her. The boy that was troubled and angry with his father.
It took every ounce of willpower he possessed to not snap her neck for even mentioning his son’s name. “Connor?” Wesley asked, a little confusion over-riding the joy he felt at seeing her finally awake and back to her proper self. Quickly dismissing whoever Connor was, Wesley’s face broke out into a huge and deliriously happy smile, “I’ve missed you Cordy” he croaked out as he enveloped her in a hug, rocking her back and forth on the spot. “It’s so good to see you awake I don’t even know where to start” he muttered into her hair.
She stiffened in Wesley’s embrace before relaxing and sobbing openly. “What happened? How did I end up here? Why are you here? Can I please have some clothes?”
Extracting the impostor out of Wesley’s embrace, Angel tugged her back to his side and looked down at her, it did hurt seeing Cordelia’s face tear stained but he wasn’t fooled for a single second! He used a soft touch to wipe away her tears before placing his arm securely around her waist in a comforting gesture. “First things first” he told her firmly, “First we get you to my office where it’s warm and cosy, then I’ll get Harmony to order you something to eat. How does that sound? I bet you’re near starving”
As if on cue, Harmony jumped into the reunion as if she had every right to be there. “Oh Cordy, is so great to see you! I’ve been so worried about you over the past couple of years! It’s been so hard knowing that you were so sick and there was nothing we could do about it, not that Mr. Grumpy Vampire over there would have let us in the beginning anyways. Wesley was trying to find a way to help you, but Angel made him stop looking and it was really sad. He said that there were more pressing things to worry about, but that didn’t make me stop thinking of you,” she told Cordelia and pulling the stunned woman into a tight embrace as if nothing had ever changed between them. Her hurt eyes fell once again on Angel.
“Harmony, could you please take me to Angel’s office. I think I need to sit down. Coma and all, you know.” Her mouth was set in a fine line of determination not to break down into tears of misery and betrayal right then and there.
As Harmony walked her to Angel’s office, all Cordelia could think about was what spell Angelus had over them and how she could stop him.
In turn, all Angel could think about was figuring out her plan in time to stop it.