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29 June 2006 @ 04:23 pm
Walking In My Shoes (12/?)  
Title: Walking In My Shoes (12/?)
Author: Kelly and Mike (collaborative writing team)
Rating: Chapters range from PG-15 to NC-17
Chapter: Chapter Twelve rated PG-15
Email: jjsoapchat AT yahoo DOT com
Scenes include: Cordelia, Wesley, Angel, Angelus, Lillian, Connor.
Summary: Written for a challenge proposed on the Stranger Things message board. Challenge By rousedower. An AU/TT Challenge: Angel goes to another dimension, hence AU, somehow. And in this dimension he is married to Cordy and they have kids. But something happened to the other Angel (he's missing or dead), so there's mad tension and what not between this Angel and AU!Cordy. She knows he's not her Angel, but the kids (a boy and girl) are pretty young and think he's their father. I imagine a scene where their little daughter asks him to read her a bedtime story/tuck her in with Cordy trying to explain to her that he's not her father (really), and he does it.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution:
Notes: Cast List: Kelly writes for Cordelia, Gunn, Lorne, Lillian, Kat, Ian, Illyria/Fred, Lilah, Eve, Faith, Gwen. Mike writes for Angel(us), Connor, Wes, random filler chars.
Feedback: Yes, please. Tell us how we are doing!
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Cordelia wasn't exactly going to waste anymore time waiting on Angelus here. He wasn’t going to come for her at the hotel. He hadn’t last time, why should he this time? She was near running out of the room and down the stairs to the lobby. She would call one of the girls, they would drive over to watch the twins and then, well, she can take care of Angelus. She still had no idea how this happened. Maybe someone re-cursed him? Wolfram and Hart? That had to be it. Those bastards. She had to wonder how on earth they were able to do it. Though she thought Earth, probably didn't have a lot to do with it.

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce entered the hotel. He was worn and beat up looking. He moved to one of the seats in the lobby and sat. He couldn't believe what had happened this past week, it all seemed like an impossible dream. He wasn't sure how he was going to tell everyone, especially Cordy.

Cordelia stopped just as she got to the bottom of the stairs. She could see Wes there and he looked...well...really bad. He could have gone ten rounds with a hulking demon or gotten into a fight with a Mac truck. "Oh god, Wes...don't tell me that he got to you too?" She rushed down from where she was so that she could check on him. Any wounds or injuries, she'd have to take care of before anything else.

"Cordy," he said trying to sit up. He winced and held his side. "Cordy, before anything else there's something....something, I need to tell you." He paused a moment, "Who got me?"

"Angelus. He is loose. Something...something must have happened with the spell. He attacked Lillian. He is at some amusement park. I called the school already. Gunn and Faith should be on their way." She moved behind the counter and grabbed the first aid kit. She could see him wincing. She came back to him, trying to help him with his jacket. It was like a repeat of the other evening, only this time with Wes. "Where are you hurt? I can heal it. I feel fine. Well, more than a little pissed off right now."

"Cordelia," he said, "Angelus can't be loose." A frown of more then just pain crossed his features.

"I just talked to him on the phone. The conversation is totally recorded on the machine at the Academy. Okay, now where are you hurt? We don't have a lot of time here. And where have you been? I have been calling you for three days since Angel came back. I thought you guys were coming together. And where's Fred?" She fired the questions off at him with machine gun speed as she got his jacket off. She started to take off his shirt. For as many times as they had bandaged each other up, this was just protocol. And eww, any thoughts about Wes. No. He was like her brother: her annoying British brother but still.

"Cordelia," he tried again. "Cordy." He stopped her hands and was looking at her. "He can't be Angelus because Angel...Angel is dead. I saw him dusted right before me."

She met her eyes with his and then pulled her hands away. Her face looked serious. One of those not amused looks she could put on so well. "That isn't funny, Wes. I mean it. Angel came back to the hotel. He was pretty beat up. He's been here for a few days. He is not dead."

"I'm not being funny," he insisted, his tone soft. "Cordelia, Angel is gone." He reached into his coat pocket and brought out a ring. It was Angel's wedding ring.

She looked down at the ring. She just couldn't believe it. She reached for it, her hand barely shaking. "Wes...no...you didn't see what you thought you saw. Angel was here. I...he spent time with the twins. We..." Her voice dropped to barely a whisper. "I let him...we..." She couldn't continue. How could she tell Wes what she did? And how could she not tell it wasn't her husband. Maybe she just...she wanted so badly to believe it was Angel.

"Cordy, tell," he said. "Tell me what has happened here? Why do you think Angelus is running lose?"

She curled her fingers around the wedding ring in her palm. She was trying so hard not to just start crying. When it rains, it pours it seems. It was the story of their existence. She looked up at him, tears in her eyes but she held them in. She could mourn later. She had to be strong. "I told you, Wes. I talked to him on the phone. He attacked Lillian. She is in the hospital." She was quiet as she looked down at the fist that held the wedding ring. "How could I be so stupid? I should have known something was wrong when he came here without you. He couldn't remember the past few years. He said the last thing he remembered was fighting in the Apocalypse."

"Whatever has been here has not been Angel," he moved to get up but the pain put him right back down on the poof.

"It was Angel...it was. I know him." She looked up once more at Wes. If it wasn't Angel, some twisted form of Angel, she wasn't sure that she could deal with it. She would have let a stranger into her bed. And let him...touch her like he was her husband. Worst of all, she let him near her children. That is what chilled her to the bone.

Wesley could no longer keep conscious. His injuries had the better of him and he passed out. Cordelia had no choice but to try to drag Wes upstairs to one of the rooms to sleep and heal.

It was several hours after she had put Wes to rest but she found that she couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t a big surprise given the news. Cordelia sat at the large picture window with a window seat that Angel had so long ago put in for her. He couldn't enjoy the sun but he wasn't one to deny her of it. She was watching the sky as it turned from that deep blue black to the hazy blues and pinks of morning. The sun was rising, which meant Angelus would have to hide for now. He wouldn't come back to the hotel during the day. The anti-violence spell would keep him away. She'd have to take the twins to a safe house though so she could be free to fight. She brought her knees up to her chest, resting her head down. How could she had thought that man, that thing, that whatever was Angel? Couldn't she tell the difference? Or maybe she didn’t want to? Maybe some part of her knew that Angel was dead and she didn’t want to believe it? She was desperate to ask Wesley the details of how Angel died but deep inside of her, she didn't want to know. If it was something mystical, she knew Wes would be trying to bring him back. But no, just dusted. Heart breaking that Angel, the Champion, went out like any other soulless vampire. She raised her head to once more look out over to the rising sun. How long ago was it that she and Angel had nearly forgotten about the sunrise because they were asleep in her apartment bed. She smiled just a little at the memory. Seemed like a lifetime ago of that night that would change both of their lives forever.

------Summer 2002--------

Cordelia blinked back from the vision. Well, it was nice to know that it took a glowing version of herself to tell her the truth. If she wasn't so blinded by the love puppy, Groo, she might have been able to realize it ages ago. Her biggest fear though, was that Angel didn't feel the same. Dennis had the phone floating in front of her. Wasn't hard to figure out since she did talk to herself and she said she loved Angel. She dialed the number for the Hyperion.

Hearing the phone as he entered the lobby of the hotel, Angel headed for the front desk. "I got it," he said and whistled as he went across the lobby to answer the phone. Yes, he's happy. It’s been a good day for them all. "Angel Investigations. We can help you," he said. "I know we can."

Angel sounded just a little bit too chipper there. She had to wonder if they spiked his blood with uppers or something. "Hi. Its me."

When he heard her voice, his mood even rose more. If sunshine had a voice it would sound like Cordelia's. "Hi, Cor, how are you?"

"I'm good. You?" From the sounds of it, he was doing fantastic. This was definitely a goofy Angel kind of evening.

Glancing back at Connor, he spoke into the phone. He may not have been able to raise Connor from a baby but he had him back now. "I'm pretty good."

Cordelia hesitated for a moment. This wasn't going to be easy. There was always that fear of rejection that sat heavy in her stomach. "Um...Angel...I sort of need to talk to you...in person."

The vampire took on a serious tone, reaching her through the receiver. "Is it something...bad?" he asked, his heavy brow furrowed just a bit.

"No. No!" She wanted to quickly reassure him. She could hear that tone. "Its something good...I think." There was that hesitation again. "Well, it sort of depends on how YOU feel..."

Angel shifted his weight. He felt a bit of a knot in his stomach. "About what?"

"Well...about me," She really hoped that this was one of those times where Angel wasn't as dense as a Death by Chocolate cake. She hoped that he could figure out what she was talking about.

His face sort of went blank for a minute as he processed what she was saying. He swallowed. "Oh," was all he could manage to get out.

So typically Angel. He could face down the worst demons in the world but ask him to discuss love and relationships..."Could you meet me tonight?"

Did he hear her right? Meet her? "Tonight," he asked her, maybe not believing this...the evening and now Cordy. "Sure. Okay. Where?" He was a manpire of few words.

She smiled. She was rather impatient but she had to get this off her chest. The sooner it was over the sooner they could celebrate or deal with the aftermath. "I've always loved Point Dume. There's a viewpoint. It's the first turn north of Kanan. Really pretty spot." It was romantic too but she spared Angel from telling him that.

Grabbing a pen and note pad, he wrote her directions down and repeated them as he does. "Point Dume. Viewpoint. First turn, north Kanan. We'll meet there. - About an hour?" He waits for her reply.

"Yes."

"Okay."

"Okay."

"Yes."

"Good. Okay then, we'll do that." She was probably just as nervous as he was. She hung up the phone and looked around her apartment. "Oh god...oh god..." She looked at the time. An hour. She wouldn't have time to change or do more than brush her teeth. Really don't want to have bad breath when you are meeting someone to tell them that you love them. She looked around for her purse, relieved when Dennis brought it to her. "Thank you, Dennis. My ghost with the most." She breathed in a deep breath. "Okay, wish me luck. This is when I go tell Angel how I feel...for better or worse."

After brushing her teeth, she left her apartment with her car keys in hand. She had to park on the street because getting a spot in her complex was damn near impossible some nights. She crossed the grass and got in. She put the key in ignition, ready to turn it. It was a quiet night. Well, quiet for LA. She turned the key and nothing. "What the...oh not tonight, not tonight." She turned the key again. She paused as she thought she heard something. It was a click, followed by a few more. If it wasn't for the fact she watched Casino just the previous week, she might have stayed in that Jeep. She grabbed her purse, leaving the keys in the ignition as she leaped from the car. She hit the grass hard but it wasn't a moment too soon. The Jeep clicked loudly once more before it exploded into a fireball. Cordelia covered her head with her hands quickly, trying to ball her body up so she didn't get hit with all sorts of flying debris from the car's explosion.

She turned over slightly, just so that she could get a good look. Her car was a blaze and the alarms of other cars were going off all around her. This can't be happening. She was suppose to live to a ripe old age. Or be killed by a demon or something. Not go out gangland style. Her hand shaking, she was barely able to get her cellphone from her purse. She had to call Angel. She had to warn him and the others. She dialed Angel first and foremost. They might have rigged the GTX the same way they had done with her Jeep.

Angel was already in his car and pulling out in the street. He heard his phone ring and curse to himself. Damn phones. He pulled out his cell and answered it. "Angel." He wasn't in the mood to be bothered now. He was on a mission. A mission of the heart, even though his was probably just a dried up walnut...it was still his heart.

"Angel..." She choked out. The fumes from the car were starting to affect her breathing. She pulled herself further away from the wreckage. "You are okay?" She was surprised to hear the sound of his voice. She had no idea that Wolfram and Hart had already tried at the drive-in to cause trouble.

"Yeah, I'm," he said, then stopped on hearing her voice, "Cordy, what is it? Where are you?" An urgency came to his words.

"I am in the grass outside my complex. My Jeep...My Jeep blew up." That was heartbreaking for her. She still had a ton of payments left on it. And it was something big that she bought with her own money. It was hers. Just like the apartment. It wasn't much but still.

"I'm on my way," he said without hesitation. "Just...just wait in your apartment." Oh, no, this wasn't going to happen.

She nodded her head despite the fact that he couldn't see it. She could already hear the sirens. Which meant the police would be here soon. Probably declare it an accident since she was pretty sure Wolfram and Hart had their hands in cop pockets. She struggled to try to get up. That is when she noticed her leg was killing her. "I think there is a piece of metal in my leg." She could see the blood seeping out and staining her white dress. Why did she wear white? Some crazy virginal thing going on here? Angel already knew that before Groo showed up, she wasn’t getting any. She didn’t have to remind him.

He was now racing through the streets of L.A. Streetlights be damned. Anyway, most the new cars now a days if they hit the GTX, little to no damage. Car was a tank. It was just how they used to build them. "Cordelia, I'm just a couple minutes away." He could see the emergency vehicles and smell the acrid smoke.

She sat up as Angel was speaking, pulling the hem of her dress up to inspect the damage. It was pretty deep. Now she had to remember, pull it out or keep it in. She took a deep breath and yanked it out. She let out a choked sound. That pain was nothing compared to what Wolfram and Hart had done to her before. "I have to tie this off so I can get back to my apartment." She just hung up the phone. He should know it wasn't to be rude. It was simply the situation. Her brain kicked over into work mode.

Angel tossed his phone on the seat of the car. Finally, he pulled into the parking area for the apartments. He wasn't going to pull around where the explosion and excitement was. He got out of the convertible and started making his way the way Cordy would have walked from the scene. He could smell it. He could smell her blood. Blood was what most of a vampires senses were geared to, which made it easy to track like a bloodhound. He stopped when he saw her.

Her back was too him. She had already ripped off a strip of her dress. Good thing she got it on sale. She was tying off the wound on her leg. She looked worse for wear, smudges of black on her cheeks and her clothes. The back of her dress had scorch marks. And she was missing a shoe.

"Cordy," he said as he came up to her. He moved around to kneel down in front of her. He looked at the wound then at her face. It was all there in his eyes: the worry, anger, love. "Cordelia?"

She turned her chin up so that she could look at him. "Powers always warning me about everyone else in trouble. They don't think to warn me." She tried for a smile but it was interrupted when she start to cough.

Angel reached for her and picked her up easily. He just stood there a moment not saying anything, just holding her. He was thinking he could have lost her tonight.

It felt good to be in his arms to be honest. She was suffering from a mild case of shock. This whole thing just seemed so...surreal. "They blew my Jeep up, Angel. How am I going to get to work?" That was the shock talking. Unless he wanted to spend the night with her at the hospital with lots of questions, going back to her apartment, playing dumb, might be the best course of action. Who knew what they would do to her at a hospital?

Carrying her on towards her apartment, he told her, "Don't worry about work now, Cordy." As they got to the door it was opened, thanks to Dennis. As Angel carried her in, the ghost closed it. The vampire carried her to her bedroom and laid her down on the bed. "We better look at that leg."

"In the bathroom is my first aid kit." She barely had to get the words out before Dennis was already there with it, along with a glass of water. She sat up a little. She reached for the water so she could take a sip. It would help clear out all the junk in her throat.

Angel took the first aid kit and opened it. He then took her makeshift bandage off her wound.

She hissed softly as he pulled the blood soaked piece of dress away from her skin. "I can’t remember the last time you were doing the patching up." She set her water aside. She didn't even want to think of what she looked like right now.

He didn't even have to say it. Dennis had a wet rag. He took it and started cleaning the wound. His lips drew in a thin line as he worked.

She winced as he started to clean the wound. It looked a lot worse than it really was. Jagged and angry, it was still bleeding. She wouldn't need stitches though which meant no hospital. She just kept quiet as he worked.

Finally, he finished cleaning and wrapping the wound. When that was done, he was quiet, as he often was. He wasn't sure what to say or do next.

She was about to speak when she heard the knock on the door and the all too familiar "Police". She turned her eyes back to Angel. "Can you...get rid of them? Grr face or something. I really need a shower and a drink. Please." It would probably take the police a bit to trace the Jeep back to her apartment. By then, they would just tell her it blew up and she would make sure it looked like she wasn’t there when it did.

"Yeah," Angel said as he stood. He went into the living room and what she probably could hear were only murmurs.

She got up from her bed, limping slightly from her leg injury. She moved into the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. She got the water running first and then undressed. She just wanted to wash away all signs that she was out there. Also she wanted to relieve some of the tension that was building up in her shoulders. Poor Angel, left out there with the officers and then left alone. She must have been in that shower for a half-hour easily before she finally emerged in her bathroom. She called out. "Angel? Where are you?"

He came to her door. "I'm right here, Cordy," he said as he came around from the kitchen carrying a mug of something hot.

"I...I'm sorry about pawning the cops off on you. I just needed a shower. I was so...grubby. Did they say anything?"

"Its okay," Angel said as he handed the mug to her. "Hot chocolate, with little marshmallows. Thought you could use it." He paused. "No, they just wanted to know if we saw anything suspicious and I said nothing but the call the ref made on that last play on the game playing tonight."

She looked down at the mug and then back up at him with a smile. "Hope you put some peppermint schnapps in this too." She chuckled as she moved past him. She headed to the living room to sit down on the couch. There was less temptation with the couch than her bedroom. "Did you really say that?"

"Yeah," he replied. "I even turned the set on as I moved by it." He followed her. He stood, his eyes went from her to the carpet then he felt invisible hands push him towards the couch.

She blew on the hot chocolate before she took a sip from it. It was actually nice. The shower, the drink. It was helping her to forget what had happened with her Jeep. But not what she had meant to say to him tonight. She looked down into the mug. "This isn't how I wanted tonight to go."

"I know," he replied. "At least I think I do. Do I?" He got that going in circles look.

"Did you want to get some frantic phone call from me saying that Wolfram and Hart blew up my Jeep? Is that how YOU imagined it?" She threw in the Wolfram and Hart thing there. She was already convinced that is who was trying to kill her. They did it before.

Angel sat down next to her finally. "Not really. Seems like Wolfram & Hart wanted to ruin everyone's evening."

She raised a brow when he said that. She looked over at him now that he was finally sitting down. "What happened?"

"They attacked us at the drive in," he told her. "But you should have seen Connor." A smile started playing on his lips.

She moved just a bit closer to him. She was worried now. "Is everyone okay? They didn't hurt Connor, did they?" Her concern was because no matter what, no matter how upset Connor could get, she still loved him like her own son.

He shook his head. "No, but a few of them will be on sick leave for a while." Angel looked at her and smelled her subtly. He leaned to her as she moved closer to him. His eyes were looking at her lips.

She smiled as she heard that. "You two are going to make a great father and son team." She let her voice trail. She could see where his eyes were looking. She knew that he was thinking the same thing that she was.

"Angel and Son Investigations...” Angel trailed off but picked up again with a single word. “Cordy," his voice was but a whisper now.

"Yes?" Her voice was as soft as his. She was just looking at him. She was waiting. She didn't want to face the possibility that he would tell her that she was a great Seer but he didn't like her that way.

"At Point Dume," Angel said as he lips got closer, "Would we have done.." Then with that, his cold lips touched her warm ones.

Her heart jumped into her throat as she felt him press her lips against hers. She closed her eyes. Not from the moment but to pray to the Powers that Angel wasn't possessed by some spirit. She knew she wasn't. But every single time they seemed to have a moment like this, it was interrupted and destroyed completely. She kissed him back but she was holding back.

He broke the kiss but didn't pull back far. His forehead was touching hers. "Would you have told me you loved me?"

She very gently nodded her head. "I do love you. I've just been so...retarded to realize it." She answered him. She had put herself out there. Now it would all depend on what he said next.

Angel brought up his hand and his fingers lightly touched her cheek then jawline. "Me too," he spoke. "I wanted to tell you when we got back from Pylea..."

She tightened up though. He wanted to tell her because Buffy died? Then he had lost his one true love so he could settle for second best? She needed some kind of assurances here. She wanted to hear the words, to look into his eyes. She pulled away from his fingers to look at him. "I need to know...I need to hear you say it."

"Cordelia Chase," he said as he looked into her eyes, "I love you. I've loved you for some time and been to stupid to realize it." He waited for her to reply. He swallowed hard. His stomach felt like it was in knots.

"So...I guess the next question is what do we do now? We both made this huge declarations. We love each other. That is all great...if we were two different people. Normal dating, kind of thrown out the window what with the saving the world."

"Would you settle for normal?" Angel asked her. He took her hand in his and looked at it. "Could you love what I am. My cold touch. And the other aspects of what I am?"

"How can you even ask me that? I mean really. Here I am, telling you that I love you. I have been around you long enough to know what you are. You are stubborn and you are a big dork sometimes. And you get excited over the silliest things. But, you have a great big heart and it hasn't been easy for either of us to get to the place where we put others before ourselves. So, I'll take care of you, you take care of me, we should do okay."

He waited for a moment, then he leaned to her again and kissed her. Then he pulled back suddenly. "Do I kiss like a dork?"

She smiled at him. She held her hand up, holding her fingers just a little bit apart. "Just a little."

"Oh, no," Angel said, "no way do I kiss like Xander Harris."

"Hey now...I had some really good makeout sessions with him in the library...and the janitor's closet...and my car. What comparison do I have here? Nothing that wasn't some fake reality or being possessed. Those two tonight aren't a good enough basis."

He leaned to her again and this time he kissed her deeply. He wanted her to really remember this kiss. He pressed his tongue into her mouth, searching for her tongue.

She reached her arms up and draped them over his shoulders. This made the whole Jeep blowing up incident worth it. She still couldn't believe that this was happening.

His hand slipped over her hip as he let his tongue press to hers. He played with her tongue, teasing her through this kiss. He could stay like this for eternity but he knew she had to breathe so he finally pulled back, reluctantly.

She smiled at him but she didn't move away from him. "Much better." Her voice was a breathy whisper. She leaned towards him again. She knew they had to be careful. His curse was still a huge factor. They couldn’t go too far.

Angel's dark eyes searched hers. He loved this woman on levels he'd not ever loved before. She had seen the worse of the worse in him...his demon. And that thought made him give pause. "Do I have the right to love you? To keep you from finding happiness..total happiness?"

She reached out to touch his face. She held it in her hands as she looked at him. "Sometimes I think you like the whole suffering dark avenger thing." She tried for a small smile before she looked serious once more. "What makes you think I won't find total happiness with you? I have pretty much accepted the fact that there is no way I can have a normal life. I am Vision Girl. Most guys wouldn't understand my life. But you do. Because we are in this thing together. You are The Champion, I am The Seer. Its like peanut butter and jelly."

"Um, that's not exactly what I'm talking about," he said. "What about the needs of a normal relationship. You've seen what happens and I don't see how I couldn't have that perfect moment..."

"Jeeze..." She rolled her eyes. "I just told you I love you like five minutes ago and you are already worried about getting into my pants?"

Angel shook his head. "Cordy, I'm looking at something more for us. What I want for you goes beyond just dating. I want you to be my partner. My helpmate...I want to share the rest of your life with you and make you as happy as I can."

"And why can't we do that? First off, in case you haven't noticed, every single time I have sex, something bad happens. So I've learned to go without. And second, have you forgotten the brains we have back at the office? Fred and..." She trailed off from mentioning Wes. She still hadn't forgiven him for taking Connor but he could really help in this area. He deserved a chance to redeem himself, just like they all did.

He settled back on the couch. He slipped his arm around her pulling her to him to just hold her. "We are a pretty amazing bunch of misfits."

She had no problem with the just holding her there. She laid against him, resting her cheek and a hand against his chest. She was quiet now because she had thought about Wes. She was still thinking about him.

His finger moved up and down her arm as the sat there with her. Could he really content himself to just this? Could he control himself around her? He doubted it very much. "You've gotten quiet."

"I am going to see Wes tomorrow. See what he can do." Her tone was very matter of fact. She really wasn't going to take his protests into consideration. He might still be pissed at Wes, and he had every right.

Angel remained silent when she said this. Wesley wasn't his favorite topic...far from it. Finally, he nodded. "I can't tell you who to see and who not."

"And what if I go to see him and he tells me that he knows how to make that soul of yours permanent? If he tells me that he can take care of that curse and keep you a Champion?" She turned her face up so that she could look at him now.

"I don't know," he replied. Angel still had a hard time wanting to deal with Wes for anything. He'd stolen his son, which led to Connor growing up in a hell dimension.

: "No one is perfect. I seem to recall a certain someone who really hurt the people that love him. Threw them out on the street and they didn't know if he was coming back or if he was going to lose it completely. And they still took him back in. They forgave him after he hurt them so deeply."

"And I recall somebody got a new wardrobe out of it too," he said with just a slight smile, remembering her finding the clothes.

"Yeah, well...I still think you got off easily for what you did." She turned her head back down so that she could get comfortable against him again. "Did you mean that whole little speech about going beyond dating?"

Angel nodded. "I meant every word of what I said." He kissed the top of her head.

"So...if I was like...'Hey Angel, let's run off to Vegas and get hitched', you'd be fine with that?"

"I would say, 'Hey, Cordy, why wait that long. Let's go to city hall.' How about that?"

She laughed. "You say that now." She draped her arm across his stomach, really making him a mattress now. "I think its going to have to wait until tomorrow night. Between the averting death and big declarations, I am exhausted."

"Sounds good," he said. "I'm sure Dennis has your bed turned down by now." It was pretty nice to have your own live in help.

"I am really comfortable right here." She made no move to get up. Why should she? He was her own Angel bed. What woman would say no to that?

Angel brought his other arm over so he could hold her in a light embrace. This was fine with him. He'd not complain.

She started to relax and doze. She was just on the edge of sleep before she remembered. Her eyes flew open. "Dennis...can you pull the curtains please? Sun is coming up." She heard the curtains move and settled down once more. She didn't want to wake up in a pile of dust.

"I hope he doesn't get jealous," Angel whispered. It was the last thing she heard before she drifted off to sleep in his arms 

Cordelia pulled herself out of the memories. She could feel not only the warm sun on her face but the tears on her cheeks. She had to pull herself together. She sat up a little straighter before swinging her legs off the window seat. She stood up, wiping her cheeks, before she headed to where she left Wesley for the night.


After an evening of feeding, maiming and torturing of humans, Angelus made a quick stop by County General. He'd heard through the demon grapevine that one of the slayers had been put in the hospital. Gee, wonder how that happened, he chuckled to himself. What a perfect way to end the day then to go by and pay his respects to his son and his slut, er, slayer.

Before arriving Angelus made sure to grab a bottle of mint scope from a convenience store where he had just killed the clerk, along with a few other things he'd need when he camped out in his temporary digs. The vampire also got one of those little roses in the plastic tube to take with him. He opened the mouthwash and took a mouthful and swished it around then as he walked out he spit it out in a planter outside the door.

"Ah," he said, "minty fresh." He tossed the bag into the GTX, which he managed to take from the hotel parking before dawn. He got in and headed for the hospital.

Angelus didn't need to inquire where they were, he could track Connor. Soon he was walking the floor towards the waiting room where he found Connor. He put on that deep concerned look that a father would have when his son was troubled and hurting. "Connor," he said, "I came as soon as I heard. How is Lillian?"

The young man looked up and stood. "We don't know yet. Blood loss slowed her healing abilities. Though if she'd been normal…"

Angelus nodded. "I know, son," he said and noted Connor had been crying, the little candyass. "I brought a little something because well, I know she can't have much in ICU." He handed Connor the little flower in the tube.

Connor took it and nodded. "Thanks, I know she'll appreciate it, especially from you. First time she met you she thought you were cool." He chuckled. "Mom laughed and informed her you were nothing but a 250 year old dork."

That just rubbed Angelus all wrong. The Scourge of Europe, the biggest mass murderer in history being reduced to be called a Dork. He quickly recovered. "Connor, why don't you go get a cup of coffee before I have to leave. I'll sit here and if the doctors come with news I'll call you."

Connor didn't really like this idea but then he'd been here all night. He still had some issues with his father but he was trying. He also knew with Angel there, Lillian would be safe. "Thanks," he nodded and went to find the cafeteria.

Angelus watched him leave and turned to look to the ICU ward. He smirked then entered and moved to find Lillian's bed. He could smell her out and soon found her cubicle. Angelus walked over to Lily’s bed and looked down at her. It would be so easy, but where would the sport be? He looked at the IV and the bag of blood hanging there. So tempting. Just unplug that IV and the straw is there.

The monitors around Lillian beeped, showing signs of life. If a human had lost as much blood as she did, they would be dead. She was fortunate in that she had a Slayer's healing ability. Her body was focusing on healing enough so that she could regain consciousness. Her eyelids started to flutter, her hand twitching with movement. It would be a shame that Connor was not the one to see her wake but rather, her attacker.

Yes, it was a shame. Angelus was standing right there at her bedside. He was smiling down at her. If it had been anyone else with a smile like that it would have been warm and caring, but on Angelus it was anything but. "Well, sleeping beauty."

That voice cut through the fog that was clouding her mind as she tried to come to. She thought for a moment that she was back in her nightmare. The one that kept replaying while she slept. In it, she hadn't been spared. She had been killed and turned. And she killed Connor. It was horrific. Her eyes opened wide suddenly, popping open. She looked at Angelus, her already pale skin paling further.

The vampire looked from her to the IVs and especially the one with the blood. "Now isn't that just something." Then his gaze went back to her, "It smells so inviting." He reached down and took her hand in his. He patted it lightly.

Her free hand started to creep towards the call button slowly. She didn't want to alert him. She needed the blood transfusion to survive. She swallowed hard as she felt the cold chill of his hand touching hers. Where was Connor? He should be here. Had Angel already killed him?

"Uh, uh, uh...," he noted that button. "I could snap your neck before you even touch it, babe."

Her hand stopped short when he noticed that she was going for the call button. Even if she did press it in time, he could just snap her neck afterwards. She spoke, her voice was hoarse and barely more than a whisper. "What do you want?"

"What do I want?" he tried to look thoughtful, looking up at the ceiling. "That is a good question. I know I don't want this Norman Rockwell life Angel had me going for when we got here from our own dimension.”

While he was looking up at the ceiling, she could have pressed the call button. Aside from the fact that it would light up the red light over her bed and alert Angel she had done it. She closed her eyes, trying so hard to send out a mental message to Connor. She had no idea if it would work. Some Slayers had prophetic dreams. Some demons could read thoughts. Life was different when you were special. And Connor wasn't an average human. Could he pick it up? ~Connor...please...Angel's evil. Help~

Then casually, Angelus pulled the transfusion line from the needle in her arm. He held his thumb over the end. "But you know, in the end, I guess I want an Apocalypse. Last one didn't go to well. Landed me here some how." He took a sip from the line like it was a straw.

She whimpered as he yanked out her transfusion line. It wasn't exactly a pleasant sensation. She reached her hand over across her body to cover the needle still sticking from her arm. The movement was slow though as she was so weak.

Clamping off the line so the blood didn't run out and drain to set off the IV alert, he looked back at her. "I've had a slayer before, been a while and it was so...warm," he said as he put a hand on her thigh over the sheet. "And at this time of a morning there isn't hardly a soul on the floor but the desk nurse." With the other hand, he pulled the oxygen tubing out of her nose. His hand quickly covered her mouth.

Now she was really frightened. She couldn't scream for help and she was too weak to fight him. Her brain was going a mile a minute to try to figure out how she could get out of this. She weakly moved her leg away from his cold touch. She screamed out in her mind. ~CONNOR! HELP!~ She only wished he had some sort of power or that someone up there liked her.

Angelus had the sheet off her. He then pulled the hospital gown up, exposing her body. His features vamped out and he started to go for her breast and just before he was about to bite he paused and looked from her to the hall. He looked back at her and with a growl took off. Second time that Connor had interrupted his playtime. That kid was really getting on his nerves.

The moment that he left, she grabbed the sheet up as best as she could to cover herself. She started to cry. Her sobs were weak, choked in her throat, her entire body shaking with them. It was taking everything out of her to cry. She was spilling her soul out in those tears. The thing that made her cry so much was that utter helplessness. She couldn't fight him off, she couldn't defend herself. If something hadn't scared him off, she would have been raped...or worse.

Connor had sensed something was wrong. He stepped off the elevator and headed for Lillian's room. He frowned when he saw no sign of his father, who had promised to stay. He stepped in and saw Lillian. He could smell the fear coming from her. "Lillian, babe," he moved quickly to her. She was awake but she was shaking and not from the cold.

She was also still mostly exposed from what Angel had done to her. She couldn't bring the sheet up all the way to cover herself. She saw Connor through tear blurred eyes. She opened her mouth but the only thing that came out was a dry, cracked sound.

He was there and reaching for her with one arm. The other was hitting the call button. With that done, he pulled the covers up over her. "Its okay, babe, I'm here," he said in a hushed whisper.

"Angel...he...he came back...and he..." Her voice sounded like a dry husk rubbing against sandpaper. She shook in Connor's arms. Usually, she felt safe but not now. Not after this. "He...he touched me and he...he came to finish it."

"Yeah, dad was here," Connor replied. "He said he'd sit with you until I got back. But he's gone now. What do you mean, finish you?"

"Connor...Angel...Angel is evil. He..." She just reached up to touch that spot at her neck where the bandage was now. It was her way of telling him that Angel had done this. She couldn't bring herself to put it into words. Then it would be too true.

"He looked from her face to her neck where her hand was. He was silent. He couldn't talk for a long moment. "Whatever it was that messed him up took the ensoulment spell," he finally spoke. "I can't believe I didn't know. Angelus..."

She tried to shake her head. But she could barely do it. She had to tell him. She had to tell someone what Angel had told her. "Not..from..here." She was getting weaker from the moment. "His world...was destroyed..." She didn't know too much about other dimensions or inter-dimensional travel. But Connor, he was an expert.

Connor's sharp blue eyes suddenly looked at her from his far away state. "Another dimension," he repeated. Then he frowned. "He had no memory loss because he hadn't had the memories of being here."

She couldn't be sure but it seemed like a logical conclusion. Her brain was too clouded in pain and barely holding consciousness to process anything on her own. "He...told me...He said...horrible things. He said...you and your mom..." She couldn't bring herself to say it. She just started crying in his arms once more.

"Don't listen to a word Angelus says, Lillian," Connor told her. "Even Angel warned all of you in class one day of the evils of his demon. The worse of all that walked." Then the nurses came in and he had no choice but to leave. Before he did, though he leaned to her and kissed her.

Moving down to the waiting room, he used the phone there and called Cordelia's cell. He waited as it rang. "C'me on...pick up."

Cordelia was headed towards Wesley room after having her little moment of remembering the past. When she answered the phone, her voice was thick. She was holding back crying. "Hello?" She half expected Angelus to be calling her, to taunt her some more for her mistake that let him free.

"It was him," Connor said. "It was Angelus." He felt he didn't have to say anymore about Lillian's attack. "Did you know?"

She stopped in her tracks when he said that. She closed her eyes. "I didn't when you called. I called Angel's cellphone after you called me...when I heard Angelus, I knew. Connor...I...that is not your father. Angel is..." Her voice trailed off. She didn't have the heart to tell him over the phone. "We can arrange for home care for Lillian. She needs to be someplace protected and I need you back here."

"Even he's not my father. He's from another dimension," he said. "Did you know this too? Did you know this and didn't warn us?"

That was the first she heard of it and she couldn't hide the surprise in her voice. "No. I...I had no idea. After Wes came back and he told me..." She hesitated again. "Connor, just come home. We need to talk, in person." Her voice was too serious for him to say no.

Connor just hung up.

-TBC-