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20 September 2006 @ 11:39 am
Walking In My Shoes (24/?)  

Title: Walking In My Shoes (24/?)
Author: Kelly and Mike (collaborative writing team)
Posted: 9/20/06
Rating: Chapters range from PG to NC-17
Chapter: Chapter Twenty-Four rated PG-15
Email: jjsoapchat AT yahoo DOT com
Content: Violence, Action, Angst, but ends with some cuteness.
Scenes include: Cordelia, Angel, Wes, Fred, Gunn, Faith, Connor, Lillian
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.
Notes: Cast List: Kelly writes for Cordelia, Gunn, Lorne, Lillian, Kat, Ian, Illyria/Fred, Lilah, Eve, Faith, Gwen, Harmony, Vail, random shop owners/demons. Mike writes for Angel(us), Connor, Wes, random filler chars.
Feedback: Yes, please. Tell us how we are doing!

Cordelia had managed to get Ian settled in upstairs with his new puppy, which was quite a feat in and of itself. She gave instructions to the two Slayers who were babysitting, along with her car keys. Kat was going to need some supplies for her new kitten and the girls might as well take the twins out for some ice cream afterwards. Finally downstairs after another quick shower, she was setting up the "command center", which really was nothing more than the long folding table, chairs, and a whiteboard. She wasn't sure where Angel had gone after he put Kat down for a nap but she had a feeling that he would sneak up here soon enough. The sun was down and he knew they were meeting.

Angel came up from the basement. He pulled off his coat and laid it over a couch. He quickly moved to help Cordy with that table. "You shouldn't be lifting this by yourself," he said. It was heavy but most of all, it was bulky.

"I can get it. I am not a cripple." She hated it that he was implying that she couldn't handle it. She had done it before. She was never one to sit back and play damsel in distress, though it happened often enough. "I used to set up tables longer and heavier than this for fundraising for cheerleading."

"Sorry," he said, "I just...The way I was raised." He just reached for one end and waited for her to lift hers.

"Thought you would remember better than that now." She meant that now he had Angel's memories so at the very least he knew how much she didn't like people thinking she was incapable. With the table set up, she started to unfold chairs to put around the table. She did feel a little bad since he was trying so she threw him a bone. "You can drag the whiteboard over here but don't smudge anything we wrote."

"I do... But, its just," he paused then turned and got the whiteboard. He set it up then he stood back and looked it over.

"Just what?" She turned so that she could look at him, no longer setting up the chairs. She put one hand on her hip. "I don't do the trailing off and stuff. Angel and I don't do secrets or holding back. Every time we have, it’s gotten us in trouble. Only time he was allowed to keep a secret was birthdays and other present holidays."

"Huh, oh," Angel turned back to her. "I still have old habits from a whole other life that never got...Well, changed, diluted, or broke from. Holding a door for a lady. Helping with heavy lifting, though the vampire thing makes that for about any...Uh, not helping am I?"

She doesn't look at him and instead, goes back to unfolding chairs. "I guess that is why Angel and I got along so well. He knew when I needed help and gave it without making me ask. And he knew when I wanted to do something myself, even if I sucked. We just...We worked together really well. He is the only person that ever got me. Sometimes I thought he had psychic powers." She forced out a laugh but it sounded bittersweet. That Angel, her Angel, was gone and in his place was someone who looked like him and had his memories but wasn't him.

A teenager stepped in the front door. He was holding a pizza case. "This Angel Investigations," he asked with a cracking, changing voice.

Angel was there in a moment and pulling out his wallet. "Yeah, right place," he pulled out some money and handed it to the kid. Then he took the pizza. "Keep the change."

The kid grinned when he saw his tip. "Thanks, dude." He turned and left.

Angel carried the two boxes to the table and set them out. He opened one and turned it to her. It was pineapple and Canadian bacon.

Cordelia raised a brow once the delivery guy left. "You ordered pizza? And you paid?" He must have really wanted to get in good with the rest of the team. She looked into the box once he turned it towards her. She had to admit she was hungry and that pizza looked good. "I better grab some before Connor gets here. He would eat cardboard if it had sauce and cheese on it."

"Yeah, I know, but tomatoes unless it was sauce he doesn't like," the vampire shrugged.

Cordelia sat down at the table and pulled a slice of pizza from the box. They still had some time before everyone else got here so she could eat in peace. She looked up at Angel. "There is some blood in the fridge. I picked it up on the way back from the wave park."

"Thanks." He moved to the fridge and got the blood out. Getting it, he opened the jar and took a drink. Cold wasn't as good as warm but it wouldn't clot as fast.

She seemed wholly unaffected by his blood drinking. It was something she had gotten used to. It was no different than any other daily routine. She ate her pizza, quiet for the moment. It was mostly because she was too focused on eating than anything else.

"So, how's the kids doing with their new charges," he asked, thinking it would be a safe subject. He sat across from her as he took another drink of his dinner.

"Ian loves the new puppy. I got a small mutt. I didn't want another disaster like Connor with his black lab. So glad he keeps that thing at the school now. I helped Kat wash the kitten with baby shampoo and she is purring more than the kitten. That was nice of you to do that for her." She continued to eat. Safe topics were always good in these cases. It kept him from sticking his foot in his mouth and from her hurting his feelings.

"Dingo isn't that bad," Angel said about the lab. "He's just a very smart dog that gets bored when left alone."

"And I am glad that we put him over at Academy. All the girls can entertain him and play fetch. And he can run the obstacle course with the girls." She shook her head. "That is still on my holding a grudge list. When Angel brought that thing home for Connor's birthday..." Her voice trailed. She didn't need to tell him. He had all of Angel's memories after all.

"Yes, but you had your revenge when you found that motion activated parrot and put it in the closet," he reminded her. "That was really mean, you know that?" But he was smiling as he said it to show here that there were no hard feelings.

Cordelia smiled as she thought of that memory. She got Angel really good that time. She looked down at her slice of pizza, picking the pineapple off it to eat it. "I thought it was hilarious. I still have the video of it someplace. I am not sure what is funnier, that or Wes in his red Speedo."

Angel made a face like his blood was sour when she said that. "Please, I thought I'd never get that image out of my head and now you put it right back, along with the one of him wearing the tights and the Speedo over those." He shuddered.

Cordelia was about to say something else before they were interrupted by the front door opening. She turned in her seat to see Gunn and Faith enter through the doors, Wes and Fred not far behind. "Connor didn't come over with you guys? He still at the school?"

Gunn just shook his head in answer to Cordelia's question. He never knew what was up with the kid. He elbowed Faith when he saw and smelled the pizza. Faith wasted no time in opening one of the boxes and grabbing out a slice. "Oh hell yeah, not a meeting without pizza."

Wesley frowned as he came down the steps. "We thought he'd be here," he said as he approached the table.

Fred followed after Wes. She couldn't hide the concern that was on her face. "I'll run upstairs and check on him. Maybe he was just taking a nap or..." Fred's voice trailed as she blushed very pink. It wasn't hard to tell what she was thinking that Connor and Lillian were up to.

"So," Wes said as he looked at the table and the pizza. "I see this has started without us." He watched as Faith ate. One never wanted to get in-between Faith or Connor when reaching for food.

Cordelia rolled her eyes at Wes. "I knew that if I didn't get some pizza now, I wouldn't get any thanks to the Hoovers we have working here. We haven't been talking about anything more than you and your Speedo." She grinned at Wes as she handed him over a slice.

Gunn took a seat next to Faith, who was inhaling that pizza like it was going out of style. He reached for a slice and then gave a nod of his head to Angel.

Angel glanced around at everyone. "Connor isn't in the hotel."

Like clockwork, Fred came down the stairs, shaking her head. "Connor isn't up there. Lillian said he left this afternoon, said he was going to the school. But we were at the school all day, he wasn't there."

Angel stood. He left the table and grabbed his coat. He pulled it on. He knew exactly what his son was doing and he was going to stop him if he could.

Cordelia got up from the table when she saw Angel was getting up. She moved so that she was blocking his path. "You aren't going alone." She knew what Connor was up to. He was going to be an idiot like his father and try to save the day alone. She looked back to Wes. "How do we kill this thing?"

Angel looked down at her. He wasn't going to wait long. He didn't speak but the tenseness of his stance told he was wound tight.

Wesley sighed. "From what I can ascertain, the breeder is interdimensional. We need to bind it then with a series of incantations and mystical herbs it can be sent back to where it is from. At present we can't kill it. We let it get full strength to become solid in our dimension, we'll be too late."

Cordelia moved over to the weapons cabinet to get what she would need. "And we just cut the heads off the bodies it is taking over?" She started to pass out weapons to everyone. Most had their favorites in their cars but who knew what they would need.

The vampire moved to the cabinet and reached around to get the sword he always favored. Now he was heading for the door to go down to the GTX. "I'll be damned if I'm going to let some ghosty demon take my son."

"Angel. Just wait for two seconds." Cordelia's voice was firm. She didn't want Connor dead anymore than Angel did. But they need to know how to kill the army before they went charging in. She looked back to Wes, waiting on the answer.

"Angel," Wes spoke and stepped towards him. "This is where you need to be careful. Behead the bodies but the things inhabiting those bodies are going to want a new host."

Angel looked back to Wesley. "And they take dead bodies. Great. Makes me feel special."

"How are they getting into the bodies? Can he cover his mouth or something?" There was a surprising great deal of concern in Cordelia’s voice for Angel. It was much more than having to do with the twins, that much was clear. She finished passing out the weapons as the rest of the group waited on Wes' answer.

"I'm not sure there is a way to stop them," the ex-watcher said. He looked to each of them.

"Then I guess we are crossing that bridge if we come to it. We know how to do exorcism and if Angel gets infected, I can try to force it out with my oh so nifty healing powers. The four of us, Gunn, Faith, Me and Angel can cover you and Fred as you do the spell. Sound like a plan?" She glanced to each person in turn, waiting for an agreeing nod or not.

Angel glanced around at each of them to see if there were going to be any disagreements.

Wes didn't reply. He didn't like this because they were so ill prepared. If only Connor hadn't went rogue on them.

Gunn and Faith just nodded. Both of them seemed a little too eager to get out there and kick some ass. Faith had her treasured crossbow back and Gunn had his axe. They were both ready to go.

Fred looked to Wes, waiting on his reply. He wasn't saying a thing so she just merely shrugged her shoulders in means of a response.

Cordelia glanced to Angel. She reached into her pocket and tossed him a set of keys. They were to the GTX. She grabbed a short sword out of the cabinet and started for the basement door.

As Angel drove to the dehydration plant, he was quiet. His face showing no emotion and his eyes remained ahead on the streets. The only sign of anything in him were the muscles working in his jaw.

Cordelia kept her eyes straight ahead for the most part. Every so often, she would glance over at Angel to see that jaw working. He was no doubt pissed about Connor. She looked back away from him. "Like father, like son."

"Connor is confused," he said. "He acts the only way he knows how to deal with it."

"He isn't confused, Angel. He is hurting. He wants to save those girls, his girls. The Academy is the first really normal thing he has ever done. Well, normal for our lifestyle. And he will do anything to protect what he sees as his family. Does that sound remotely familiar?" She looked back at him as she spoke, watching his face for that reaction.

Angel remained silent for a few moments. "My son is coming out of there alive," he finally replied and turned into the parking. He looked in his rearview to check to see if Gunn was behind.

She just shook her head at him. Did he really think that she, of all people, would let anything happen to Connor? He was just as much her son as Ian was. Once Angel parked the GTX, she got out. She grabbed her sword from the backseat and handed him his. "Don't get killed this time."

Angel looked at her as she handed him his broad sword. His left hand reached out and pulled her to him. He leaned down and kissed her. As he did, his grip loosened so if she wished, she could pull away.

Cordelia could understand why he was kissing her so much. He not only had her Angel's memories but there was a very good chance that they might die tonight. They had never dealt with anything like this before. She didn't want her last memories to be fighting with this new Angel so oddly enough, she returned his kiss. If nothing else, if he lived and she died, he could tell the twins that moments before, they had reconciled and for a brief moment, things were as they were before.

Angel broke the kiss as the others pulled up by the Belvedere. He kept his eyes on hers for just a moment. "We'll get him and be rid of this thing," he said to her in a whisper.

"I know. Its what we do." She pulled away quickly from him as the others pulled up. The last thing she wanted to do was have to explain her actions to any of them. She did not explain actions. She could only imagine what Wes or Gunn would say if they found out they spent the day at the water park. Fred would no doubt be ecstatic and Faith would wonder if Angel felt her up. They were a little too scripted at times.

Gunn got out of his truck, followed behind by Faith. He raised a brow at Angel as he watched Cordelia pulling away quickly but he didn't say a damn thing. Faith, on the other hand, hit Angel in the shoulder and gave him a big grin. "Way to go, big man. Getting a little tongue action before the big fight. I am more of a “after the fight action” kind of girl. Ain't that right, baby?" Faith swung an arm around Gunn, still grinning like an idiot.

Wesley got out of his SUV. If he'd seen anything he wasn't going to comment, now wasn't the time. He went to the back and opened it. He handed Fred the book while he started mixing the binding powder and herbs.

Angel didn't reply to Faith's comments. He knew as well as Cordy did what that kiss was and what it was for. He glanced back to Wes wondering why that just now was he mixing these things.

Cordelia just shot Faith a look at her comment. It was a look that would have whither any human in range. Faith was lucky in that not only was she a Slayer, she was tough. But still, that look was enough to sting. Cordelia was the mistress of the look.

Fred took the book from Wes and she opened it up to the marked page. She watched him while he worked. "Wes, you forgot to add in the Bitter Root." Fred reached for it, handing it to him. She held the book open, flashlight shining down on it, so that he could read.

Faith had a good idea of what Angel and Cordy would say the kiss was but damn if her eyes didn't tell her something else. You don't lean into someone like that if you are kissing them "just in case". She kept her eyes on them for a moment before she spoke. "We all just going in through the front door?"

Wes took the small jar. "Thank you," he said between his chant for the spell for the binding powder. Finally done he put all of what he needed into capped jars and into a satchel. "Ready."

Angel nodded. "Let's go kick some ass then." He started for the door of the plant.

Cordelia fell in line behind Angel, then Faith, Gunn, Fred, and Wes to finish it off. They all had their weapons at the ready. No one really knew what to expect once they descended those stairs into the pit of the plant. One thing was for certain, with spirits running around in dead bodies, its wasn't going to smell good.

No sooner then they were down in that pit of a floor one of the things jumped out at them. Angel immediately went on defense before attack mode kicked in. That familiar broad sword cut the air and the blade sang, as all well-balanced blades should.

Faith was right at Angel's side with her crossbow lifted up. In the dim lighting, it was hard to make anything out until her eyes adjusted to the light. "Would have been nice if we didn't rush off without getting some flashlights." She gave a pointed look at Angel before she fired a bolt off, hitting one of the zombie-like creatures right in the middle of the head.

Gunn went straight forward ahead and swung the axe to behead the thing that was coming for him. He glanced quickly back to Wes. "You going to start that spell or what, English?"

Cordelia had taken up next to Angel's side to keep an eye on him in case any of those spirit things tried to invade him. Not that she would be able to tell but it gave her a sense of security to watch him. She called to him as she raised her sword, ready to attack. "You okay?"

Angel stood ready looking around. He had no problem seeing in the dark plant. "So far only me," he told her. "Gunn, you have a gift for understatement. We..." Before he could finish Wesley's name, he looked up to see something that struck fear in him. Up on a catwalk was Connor. He was chained, his arms outstretched.

Cordelia heard that pause but she wasn't sure why. She looked up after Angel did but in the low light, she couldn't see. "What is..." She didn't get her sentence out either as she was tackled by one of the former girls, Madison. She hit the concrete hard; the sound of her back cracking against it and the wind going out of her body finished her sentence for her.

Gunn and Faith were pretty much occupied in taking down the seemingly endless line of possessed bodies that were coming at them. "Damn! I feel like I am playing real life Resident Evil." Gunn shouted to Faith as he took the head off another.

Faith yelled back to Wes and Fred. "You think you two could light a fire under each other's asses to get going here? Looks like they raided the county coroner before we came!"

Wes began the incantation to bring forth the demon. He had instructed Fred to take over once it materialized and while he was pouring the powder.

Fred knelt down beside Wes and kept the book open, flashlight on it so that he could read the words. She was really worried about what this thing was going to look like. She had done all sorts of calculations about the size that it would need to be to span dimensions and none of the visuals she calculated were very good looking.

Angel was managing to dodge the hapless spirits that seemed mindless, just like they were in the bodies they possessed. He dispatched another creature that had once been human. He ran and took a leap to get hold of the rail of the landing just below Connor.

Cordelia put a knee in the chest of Madison, or what used to be Madison, and shoved her off her. She got to her feet quickly and looked at the girl. It felt so strange to be standing here; staring into the face of a young girl that only a few months before, she was buying purses with. She swallowed and stepped back before swinging in a wide arc to dispatch Madison. She felt instantly guilty for doing it but it had to be done.

Wes continued the chant then in the area below the catwalk Connor stood on seemed to shimmer and roll. A low moan and screeching could be heard.

Fred glanced over to the area and then she reached up with one hand to cover her ear. "Why do these demons always have to be so loud? We should have thought to bring some earplugs. If I had time to run the probability of noise factors, I would have known that". Fred frowned because this operation was a rushed job. There was no way they were all going to get out unscathed. She yelled though, as a few of the army broke in on the right side, heading for her and Wes. "Charles!" She yelled out his name.

Gunn turned and he saw the few shambling towards Fred and Wes. The little bit of light from Fred's flashlight helped him make out faces. He was glad that there weren't any of their girls. He had no problem taking off the heads of two of them, the third one making an attempt at a tackle. Gunn hit it with the end of his axe right in the middle, sending it stumbling backwards.

Connor didn't appear conscious. The creatures were surrounding him. They had made carvings in his chest and down his arms. They looked up, saw Angel, and hissed in some demon tongue at the vampire. Angel advanced on them. The first one met with his sword and its head fell to the floor below. The wisp of demon energy flowed from it and swirled around trying to seek another host.

The form started becoming more visible. Wesley got up and grabbed the jar with the binding powder and headed for it knowing Fred would pick up the chant. He started pouring the red contents around where the thing was taking shape.

Fred immediately started to chant where Wesley had left off. She kept glancing at the words and then back up at him. When she first was rescued, she never would have imagined Wesley to be capable of this but now he was becoming more adept at the magics than anything else. She only hoped that Gunn, Faith, and Cordelia could keep the army away from her. If she broke in the chanting, it could be deadly for all of them.

The trio left down below were busy fighting their way through what seemed like an endless sea of walking dead. Cordelia had no idea where Angel was. She didn't have time to look around for him. She knew the moment she turned her head, that is when she would end up gutted by one of these things. She had seen Shaun of the Dead; she knew how zombies operated.

The huge demon materialized and it screamed when it found it was imprisoned. Wesley pulled the jar of herbs from his satchel. "Don't let anything break the circle," he called out hoping they could hear him.

It was hard to hear over the screaming of the demon but Gunn and Faith both heard it. Now, instead of protecting Fred, they shifted their attention towards keeping the shambling horde away from Wesley and his circle. Most were moving that way since the demon could sense that it was in trouble.

Then as the creature screamed Connor did also. Angel looked at his son. Now he understood what was happening. The last demon/zombie came for him. He dispatched it. But in doing so the demon energy zeroed in on him.

Cordelia heard Connor's scream cutting through that of the demon's. She just knew it was him and could separate it. She knew it was coming from above so that is where Angel was. She looked to Fred. "Use your flame thrower thing if they come near you." She didn't wait for Fred's response before she grabbed up the flashlight and went to try to find a way up.

Angel staggered back and took an involuntary gasp as it hit him. He grabbed the rail and went to his knees. He closed his eyes feeling this thing in him.

Cordelia made it to the top and the catwalk. She saw Angel on his knees but her concern was for Connor. He was still chained up and bleeding. Angel could handle himself. She moved past him and went to Connor. The zombies up here were gone, thanks to Angel, so she just had to worry about unchaining the screaming boy.

The vampire looked up at her, strain on his face. "Cordelia," he said in a raspy voice, "don't...Don't..."

Cordelia stopped what she was doing and looked back to Angel. She didn't understand why he wanted her to hold off on unchaining Connor. She saw the strain on his face and she knew he wouldn't be able to explain. She had a choice now, to help Connor or help Angel. It only took her seconds before she was at Angel's side. "Where?" It was a simple question. She needed to know where he was hurt before she could help him.

Angel gritted his teeth and reached out a hand to her shoulder. He struggled to try and speak. "Connor," he spoke, sounding like he was strangling, "Wes...Demon...First." Then his face morphed to his demon and that tiger-like sound came from him. He shoved back from Cordy.

Wesley held up on jar of mystical herbs. "That which has come must be put back and doors opened, closed for good," he said as he tossed herbs around the feet of the demon. With each handful thrown at it, it shrieked.

Cordelia nodded her head because she understood what he was saying, even if it was in so few words. He was a man of few words. She had a pretty good idea that he had gotten taken over by one of these things as well. "Angel, don't. Don't move away. You need me to help you." She held her hand out for him, waiting for him to take it.

Angel was fighting that thing in him. Sure he was dead but he already had a demon in him. These essences were apparently too mindless to tell. He didn't move further away from Cordelia but he didn't reach out either. His energies were directed to the fight in him.

Since he wasn't moving away, Cordelia scooted closer to him. She only hoped that the demon in Angel, now merged with his soul, would be stronger than this thing. Her body started to take on that soft glowing aura as she reached her hands out to his face. "Quit being an idiot and let me help you."

He looked up at her. Shadows of that pure demon that came forth on Pylea seemed just under the surface. He was hearing Cordelia but it seemed like she was at the end of a long tunnel calling to him. Beads of blood droplets formed on his brow and he trembled.

Below Wes continued and with each circle he made it seemed like the demon got smaller, as if it was drying up. It tried to lash out but the binding circle prevented it. Connor convulsed in his bonds as the demon fought.

Cordelia could hear Connor behind her as his chains rattled and shook against his convulsions. She swallowed hard because she made her choice for the time being. She couldn't help Connor. She put her hands against Angel's face and closed her eyes. She just had to treat this like a poison. She had drawn poison from Angel a dozen times before. He was always getting himself stuck with something or other that was deadly. She took in a deep breath, working slowly to draw the thing out little by little.

The thing in him fought back but that demon in him was always up for a good fight. As the two fought Cordy could feel the savagery that was in him, that he always fought to keep under control, even having a soul.

She didn't even flinch as she felt it. His demon never bothered her. It was a part of who he was. It was no different than Fred's love for tacos, her love of shopping, Wes being a geek, Gunn's streetspeak. It was what made Angel who he was. She scooted closer to him, still using her rather unique demon power to weaken the thing little by little and draw it out.

Angel let out a last roar then collapsed as the demon energy fled him with his fighting and Cordelia's powers.

Cordelia moved herself so that she could catch and support Angel as he collapsed. She was weak now. Taking that thing out of Angel had drained her to a point where she felt like she had low blood sugar and just donated blood. She called out, hoping Wes could hear her. "Wes! Is it almost...Done?"

Just as Cordelia called out there was the sound like a cork from a champagne bottle...Pop. Wes sighed. "It’s done," he said as he watched the zombie Slayers drop around them.

Cordelia called out once again. "Gunn, Faith, need some help up here. Angel and Connor are passed out." She didn't mention that she was almost there herself. Faith would at least get her wish of getting to drive the GTX, though there would be three unconscious passengers.

With the zombies fallen to the floor, Gunn and Faith could stop fighting. Gunn heard Cordelia and moved quickly to get up on the catwalk. Cordelia had Angel so he went right to Connor to unchain the kid. Gunn shrugged off his jacket to put around the kid once he got him down. He lowered Connor to the catwalk and looked to Cordy. She was in no shape to heal Connor.

Faith was hot on Gunn's heals on getting up to the catwalk. She paused for a brief second as she saw Cordy and Angel. She was right about that kiss. She loved being right. She hurried over to Gunn. "He needs a damn hospital for this blood loss."

Wesley had to sit for a moment. The amount of energy he had just used on the magic was exhausting. He lowered himself onto the concrete floor.

Fred moved over to Wesley so that she could check on him. At least he was conscious. She started to gather up the leftovers from the spell and put them into her satchel bag. "You did a great job, Wesley. Never seen anything like that. Don't know what we are going to do about the girls though. Guess the morgue is wondering why they are missing bodies so maybe we can call in an anonymous tip."

Wesley glanced around him. "I doubt many of these bodies made it to the morgue, Fred," he said as he finally managed to stand. He glanced to the spot where the demon had been sucked back to its own dimension for good. "I must say, that was very anticlimactic of it to just pop."

Angel moaned and started to stir. He started to sit up and immediately regretted it. He was having the same feeling as he remembered the hangovers he used to get from long back when human. "Connor," he said in a hoarse tone. "Connor, how is...Is he okay..." His hand came to his forehead.

Cordelia answered Angel as she watched Gunn and Faith get Connor down. Gunn had no problem picking the young man up, holding him. She looked back to Angel. "Gunn and Faith are going to take him to the hospital. He's still alive."

Fred nodded in agreement with Wesley for the time being. Her eyes went up to the catwalk. It looked like there were far too many bodies down up there. In the low lighting, she couldn't make out who was who. She looked back to Wes. "We should get this stuff in the car and then go up there to help. If you think you can help. Are you still feeling kind of not all there and like you might pass out? You know, we might be able to come up with a way to focus your magic a little better so it leaves you less blah feeling."

"I'll be okay, now," Wesley said. "Maybe I should drink a high protein supplement from now on before hand." He started for the ladder to climb the catwalk.

Angel finally grabbed the rails to the side of him and Cordy to pull himself up. "Wes needs to see those marks," he said and staggered a bit on his feet, still holding the rail.

Cordelia got to her feet and moved to help Angel get to his. "Wes can look at them while we take Connor to the hospital. We have camera phones, he can take pictures. You are in no shape either."

"Yeah, well, I had a couple good things going for me," Angel said as he watched the team work on getting Connor down.

"You would have been that demon's bitch if I hadn't gotten up here." She leaned against the railing. With the rest of the team up here, helping Connor, she could at least take a moment. She was weak and that was clear but she could fake it well enough. Cordelia looked to Wes. "Angel says take pictures of the wounds. We will meet you at the hospital."

Wesley glanced to her and nodded. "Just what I intended," he said. "They are rather curious and probably what gave him the link to the demon."

"Take care of him, guys, " Angel said. It was hurting to see his son like this. It seemed like everything evil wanted Connor.

Cordelia gave one last look to each of the four in turn, Gunn, Faith, Wes, and Fred. Angel's words went for her as well. She moved so that they could go down the catwalk and then down to the ground. Getting Connor out of here was priority one.

Faith took one side of Connor while Gunn took the other side. Faith looked to Gunn, nodding her head. They both lifted him up and made their way down the catwalk. Faith was fully planning to put Connor in the back of Wes' SUV.

Angel wanted to help the group but he was too unsteady. He'd burned a lot of blood tonight fighting the demon energy in him and trying to keep his own demon in check. He stood there and watched them as they passed.

Once the foursome was passed, Cordelia looked to Angel. "Can you make it down there on your own? And don't lie to me, I will know." She offered her shoulder to him but to be honest, they were probably going to have to lean on each other if they wanted to get down and back to the GTX.

Angel stood there, or rather leaned on the rail, a moment longer then he reached for her. He knew she wasn't in good shape herself. This was as much for her as him. The big scaries of the world, or several worlds just weren't going to give them a chance. The Slayer Academy was safe now but Connor was in danger. He allowed Cordy to guide them down the walk and outside to leave.

As much as she didn't want to admit it, both her and Angel needed a day to recover before they went to see Connor. Cordelia didn't fight with him when he climbed into bed with her; both too tired to do anything but sleep. However, the next morning, she didn't find herself curled around his body, which she was just slightly disappointed in. She didn't have time to think about that though as it was all about quick showers, quick breakfasts, and then quick driving to get to the hospital. She waited on the ward for Angel to meet her after taking his usual daytime route through the sewers. She was half tempted to go in to see Connor before he got here.

Worry over Connor was foremost in Angel's mind. This wasn't supposed to happen. Connor wasn't supposed to be in this hospital bed. He stepped off the elevator into the lobby. He hated hospitals, even though once upon a time he used to slip into them to get his blood before the rats, before the deli/coffee shop.

Cordelia turned when she heard the elevator door. She had been turning every time it opened or she heard the stairwell door open. She just looked at Angel for a moment. She nodded her head towards the hospital room. She stepped inside and moved off to the side, waiting for Angel.

He stepped in and paused seeing his son on the bed, unconscious. He moved to the bedside. He looked down at Connor trying to will him to wake. Of all his powers being a vampire, none could make his son well again.

"You want to watch the door for any signs of nurses while I do this?" She moved over to Connor's bedside. She was too weak last night but now she was feeling fine. She pulled the sheet down off Connor and starting to peel his bandages off. She frowned because at the very least, the wounds should have started to scab or heal over. They were still as open and fresh as they were last night.

Angel frowned. Connor’s healing ability was like his own. "Cordy, this isn't right," he said. "I don't think you should try."

"I have to at least try." She liked her little family, thank you very much. She wasn't about to let some so called big bad demon ruin what she had going for her. Connor wasn't the best kid but he had been through a hell of a lot so he got a bit of a pass. She already lost Angel; she wasn't about to lose Connor too.

Angel put a hand on Cordy. "This isn't normal for him," he reminded her. "Connor's healing, those should be nothing more then closed up wounds."

"I just can't stand here and do nothing." Cordelia gently pulled her hand away from him. "If it’s mystical, I have mystical healing. I can do this." She moved her hands to place them on Connor's arm. She could feel the wounds still oozing blood onto her palms. It was something she had long ago gotten used to. She closed her eyes so that she could concentrate on healing Connor.

He waited anxiously. He kept his senses alert for nurses, doctors or for anything that could go wrong with Cordelia.

There was nothing at first. Cordelia could tell that she wasn't healing Connor. It was like his body, those wounds, were pushing her energy back at her. She frowned but she pushed harder, trying to break though. She didn't feel the burning on her hands at first, the way her hands were cracking and blistering from the heat of the energy.

Angel smelled it then saw. He grabbed her and pulled her away from Connor. "Cordy," he said. Then he pulled her over to the sink to put her hands in cold water.

She blinked because she was in some kind of trance now. She kept blinking as she was pulled over to the sink and her hands thrust under the cold water. She finally snapped herself out of and looked down at her hands. "Damnit...and I just got a manicure."

"We've got to see if Wes has found anything else about those marks," he said. "Are you okay?" He looked at her hands worried.

Cordelia turned her palms up and nodded her head. "Yeah. Some gauze would be good so I don't get looks. I can heal it as soon as I eat something." She could see the concern on his face and hear the worry in his voice. For a split second, she thought maybe he actually did love her. She shook it off, chalking it up to the fact he had her husband's memories. That is all she was seeing, just that reflection of the memory of love.

Angel moved to the cabinets and found some pads and gauze wraps. He came back. "Sit down," he said indicating the chair.

She frowned at him. She hated the orders, especially in these kinds of situations. "Saying please, usually goes a long way. You want to get your brood on about Connor, fine. Just don't do it around me or the kids." She sat down in the chair, despite his lack of please.

He started bandaging her hands. "Cordy," he said softly. He looked up at her from his kneeling position. There was heavy worry in his eyes.

"I can't stand it when you do that whole trailing off thing. I might have psychic powers but I can't read your mind." She kept looking over at Connor. She needed to call Wes as soon as possible and tell him what happened. He was the only one that could figure this out, she was sure of that.

"It wasn't so much as a trailing as it is," he said, "as to being worried." The thing is he did love her. He loved her even before he came here. He'd found his soul mate in, at first, the most unlikely. But Cordy had first became his friend, then his best friend.

"Wes will find out what is wrong with Connor and we will fix it. Don't we always? Its what we do. We fix things. Make the world a better place. I think we need to put that as a slogan for a new commercial." When Angel was finished with her hands, she stood up from the chair. "I'll go see Wes if you want to stay here."

"Thanks," Angel said and then he leaned down to give her a kiss on the cheek.

"Just...don't be a brooding jackass to Lillian when she pulls herself together enough to come here. She is having blame issues." She gave him a look to show that she was serious. Lillian was dealing with enough as it was without adding Angel in Broodcon 5 to the mix.

"I'll be on my best behavior," he replied and made and X over his chest. "Cross my heart and... Uh...scout’s honor."

Cordelia just gave him a look. "Be on your best Wesley behavior. Or even better, best Giles behavior. Ask yourself, what would Giles do? Hmmm, that is catchy." Cordelia paused for a moment to contemplate that before shaking the thought off. "I will be back in a bit with Wes so we can figure this out." With that said, she turned and exited the hospital room. Her first plan was to get some food so she had enough energy to heal the burns on her hands. She never had that happen before. That would be something strange for the books to tell Wes.

When she left, he frowned a bit. "What would Giles do," he spoke aloud but quietly. "I don't think I'd do anything the way Giles would."

It was nearly an hour after Cordelia left that Lillian came to the hospital. She had been up all night, crying, unable to sleep. She was still wearing her pajamas from the night before as she stood in the doorway of the hospital room. She just stood there, completely silent, looking at Connor in that hospital bed. She didn't even notice Angel sitting there.

Angel heard her. He closed the book held been reading and set it aside and stood. "Lillian," he said softly to her. He could tell what she'd been doing. He read the signs, her body language, and her heart rate.

Lillian looked away from Connor when Angel spoke and then she just looked back to him. When she finally spoke, her voice was rough as sandpaper. "Has he woken up... At all?"

He stepped over to her. "No," Angel said. He reached out for her. "He needs his family now."

She was so numb that she didn't react when Angel reached for her. Her eyes were still glued on Connor's form. She wanted to help him but she was uncertain how. She didn't have any demon powers like Cordy or know-how like Wes or Fred. Her training wasn't nearly up to par with Faith or Gunn. Even her Slayer strength was no match for Angel. She was helpless in this situation.

"What he needs, Lillian, is our love and support," he said as he walked her to the bed. "Cordelia went to talk to Wes because she couldn't heal him even just a little. They should be back here soon."

Lillian reached down and took Connor's hand. She couldn't take her eyes off him. He looked so pale and bruised. Seeing him like this, she started to cry again.

Angel placed a hand on her back. "He'll get better," the vampire said to her. "We didn't fight so hard to get him back from Quor'toth for nothing."

Lillian turned her head to look at him, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I shouldn't have let him go. He told me he was just running out to pick something up. If I knew... I had no idea... Why wouldn't he just tell me the truth? I could have gone with him. I could have helped him."

"Well, he's stubborn, hard-headed, and Irish. Have no idea where he gets it from," He said with just a slight smile. "When he was born, I was so scared. He was so helpless and depended on me. I'd never had anything depend on me like that."

Angel really had a knack for saying the wrong thing at wholly the wrong time. At the talk of Connor as a baby, she burst into tears anew. These were not silent tears but tears of pure grief. She sunk to her knees by Connor's bed, still holding his hand. This was her first real experience with loss outside of her own parents.

"Lillian," he knelt by her. "He wouldn't want this..." Suddenly, he realized something. He sensed it. "Lillian, this isn't good for you. And I want you to know... I'm going to bring him back to this family. I've not fought as hard as I have to loose him and I'm not going to.”

"I was going to tell him last night. As soon as he got home. I had a card and I made dinner. I should have told him before. He never would have left if he knew." She was rambling now. She was so caught up in her own emotions that she didn't realize she was pouring information forth. But she had always thought of Angel as the father that she never got to know. Even if this wasn't the Angel she knew, he was still in a way.

"And by week's end you'll have your dinner," Angel told her. "I'll even cook it for you. Or go to the restaurant of your choice... I'll buy."

She still just looked up at Connor, laying there. She didn't move from where she was on the floor. "If he knew... If only he knew... I know he wouldn't have done something as stupid as run off alone. This is all my fault."

He pulled her up to turn her to look at him. "None of this is your fault," Angel said trying to fix her gaze with his. "Connor would have done this regardless. He's a demon hunter. That's how he was raised. But Lillian, never doubt his love for you. He was never so happy as when he found out you... And he... And you both...Yeah, I knew. And I want you to know you've done more to make him feel happy then he's felt all his life."

Despite the tears, she blushed. The thought of Angel knowing when her and Connor were intimate was a bit creepy to her. She would never tell Angel that to his face though. She only held his gaze a moment before her eyes went back to Connor. "He still has so much pain on the inside. I was hoping... I know this baby would change everything for him. He'd understand. Finally."

"He'll know," Angel told her. "He'll be around for this baby to drive crazy and for me to spoil and send home to you two."

She so wanted to believe that but looking down at him, the condition of his body and his face, she wasn't so sure that he was going to make it back to her. "Do you mind if I have some time alone with him?"

"Only if you let me go get you something to eat," he said. "That's my grandchild you're carrying."

Lillian nodded her head. She usually had an appetite but when you find out the man you love, the man who's child you are carrying, is comatose in a hospital with strange markings all over him, remembering to eat goes out the window.

"I'll be back," Angel said as he stepped out the door. Angel walked down the hallway to the elevator. Nurses, aids, doctors, family and friends of those infirmed passed him but he really wasn't seeing them. He was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he was going to be a grandfather. Him. Not a grandsire, but a grandfather. The only other times he had this awestruck, deer in the headlights feeling was when Cordelia had the twins. 

Angel was grabbing Cordelia's things. He grabbed her packed suitcase and bunny slippers. He could not forget those. Using his vampire speed, he had it down to the car and the car pulled around in no time. Luckily, it was night outside when the twins had picked to come out into the world. He was back upstairs in an instant to get Cordelia.

Cordelia was round and straining with the weight of the pregnancy of the twins. She had a hand on her lower back, her other hand against the wall as another contraction hit her. Her nails dug into the wall, cutting through the paint and some of the plaster. Her teeth and eyes were both gritted. She only experienced pain like this once before and right now, a piece of rebar through her stomach was looking better and better. She screamed out, "ANNNNNNNNGEEEEEL!"

The vampire was there and he picked her up. "I'm here," he said. "I'm here. The car is out front. We need to get you to the hospital."

Hearing the noise, Connor came down from his room. "What is it? Is it time?"

"Yes, its time! This pair of pants is ruined because its time!" Cordelia snapped at Connor. She didn't even protest when Angel picked her up. She looked over at him. "What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation? I am having these kids NOW!"

Angel looked to Connor. "Let the others know. We're so out of here," he said as he started up the hall for the stairs. Then in a few seconds, they were out at the car. He sat her over the door into it. "Don't worry, we'll make it."

"We better or I swear, I will have these babies in the back seat and ruin your upholstery!" Thank god that all the Lamaze classes were at night so she and Angel could go together. Oh, she had to drag him bodily there as he tried to get out of it with pleading killing demons. He helped make these babies, albeit, sort of, so he was going to help with their birth!

He leaped in the car and started it. Pulling on out in traffic, he honked at a car as he hit the street. The GTX was weaving in and out of traffic heading for the hospital.

Cordelia grabbed the door with one hand as she has another contraction. She used her other hand to grab Angel's thigh. She cried out once more. When this is all over, she is going to kill Angel. Her mind was made up.

Angel pulled the car into the emergency and got out. He went around and reached in for Cordy. "We're here," he said as he pulled her up and headed into the hospital. He looked around for somebody, anybody.

She grabbed Angel by his shirtfront and she hissed at him. "When this is all over with, I am staking you!" She let go of his shirt. She called out so that she could get a wheelchair at least. "Lady having a baby. Can I get a little help?"

Finally, a nurse came up with a wheelchair and Angel sat Cordy down in it. He kept hold of her hand. "Just think, soon we'll be holding our babies," he told her, trying to say something positive.

"Oh yeah, then months of changing diapers, and screaming, and breast feeding. I can't wait!" As she had another contraction, she squeezed Angel's hand so hard, it probably would have broken a human male's hand. She shrieked, "Get these kids out of me!"

Wheeling her up the hall, he was right by her. "It’s our family," he said. "A family and little lives that are part of us." As they came to the delivery room, a nurse stopped him when they wheeled Cordy on in. The nurse held up scrubs for him to put on. "Oh, yeah," he said and quickly put them on.

"I want to see you carrying twins for nine months and then say that, Angel! Let me open you up and treat your kidneys like bongos!" Her voice trailed off on the last few words as she was wheeled into the delivery room. These kids wanted to come out and they wanted to come out now. They weren't going to wait for much longer.

The nurse looked up at him. "Don't worry, sir," she said and patted his arm. "Most expecting mothers say things like that."

"Yeah, we were told in class," he said. But he thought to himself, 'How many of those women could probably find somebody to do the magic to make some to those threats come true...or actually open up the father and play bongos on their kidneys and them be conscious for it.'

Cordelia barely got into a gown herself and up onto the table before those kids made another break for getting out of the womb. "Where are my drugs?!" She looked over at Angel, almost a pleading look on her face. "Angel... Please... Come here..." Her voice was soft and it sounded almost like she really did need him.

Angel left the nurse, hearing the tone of Cordy's voice, and he was at her side. He leaned down to her. "What, sweetheart?"

She reached up and grabbed the back of his head, yanking him down so they were face to face. "You want to have another kid, I want you to try shoving a watermelon out your nose! Then you will understand what you did to me!" Though, she did it to herself, with Fred's help. She wasn't about to let logic enter into this.

Cordelia's doctor finally pushed the doors of the delivery room open and came inside. He spoke quickly and quietly with the nurse to get the stats before he went to Cordelia. He smiled behind his mask. "Seems these babies want to come out and meet their parents."

Cordelia finally let go of Angel's hair and she shot the doctor a look. She was glaring daggers at him as she rode out another contraction.

"And we want to see our children," Angel replied to the doctor as he stood from that grab.

"Okay, Cordelia, on the next one, I want you to push." Dr. Grier said as he moved to be in front of Cordelia. He glanced over at Angel. The guy took classes, so he better be ready for this.

It was not something Cordelia was looking forward to. She should have just scheduled a C-section or something. She should have just not gotten pregnant in the first place. But she wanted to experience being a mother and what she wanted, she got. As the next contraction hit, she pushed. The sooner this was over with, the better.

"Cordy, babe, just keep calm and remember the breathing...And focus. Focus on what it was you picked," he said leaning down to her.

Cordelia turned her head and glared at Angel now. "I am focusing on a giant elephant coming out of your back end. That is what I am focusing on." She tried to do her breathing but she had to stop during the actual push thanks to the pain and the work.

Angel winced. That would be painful. But the wince could only be seen in his eyes since he wore a mask at the nurse's insistence. Really wouldn't be good to tell her he didn't breath so it really didn't do much good.

Cordelia put her head back on the pillow once the contraction passed. She knew the next one was coming and it was coming fast. She wasn't going to have a break here. This was definitely high up on her stupid things she had done meter. She turned her head to look at Angel, narrowing her eyes at him. "Breathe with me, damnit!" She was going to force him to breathe, or rather, pretend. It was a small victory but one nonetheless as she pushed on the next contraction.

Leaning down to her ear, he whispered. "Cordy, I'm... I'm not really good at that," he said. He glanced up at the doctor, who was busy behind that sterile sheet. Then he caught a glimpse in that mirror and if he could throw up, he would have. He had seen demons and slaughter but this was, this wasn't the same.

She turned her head to look at him, her teeth gritted. If he thought that was a scary sight, it wasn't going to compare to what she was going to do to him if he didn't make with the fake breathing. "Your kid is kicking its way out of my body so you are going to fake it!" She whispered low to him.

He blinked away from the sight in the mirror and he started trying to breathe. It wasn't easy to make his lungs work this way.

"Just make the damn noises!" She always had to tell him everything. She barely heard the doctor as she pushed again, her whole body lurching forward with it.

"That's it, Cordelia, that's it." Dr. Grier pulled back some before cries filled the delivery room in addition to Cordelia's rather acidic remarks towards her husband. He passed the baby off to the nurse to get him cleaned up and looked at Angel, beaming. "It’s a boy!"

Angel knew what they were, but that didn't stop that grin behind the mask. He looked down at Cordy. "Boy, babe... It’s a boy," he leaned over and kissed her cheek. Nobody would take these babies from him. Nobody.

"Okay, Cordelia, you get a little bit of rest time before the second one. So just keep up your breathing." Dr. Grier moved back so that he could get ready for the second arrival.

Cordelia fell back once more against the bed, breathing heavily. She was done now. Could someone please get her out of here and into a spa day? She was too tired for the moment to tell Angel that she was going to be removing his boy parts when this was over.

Angel had to look over at his son. He smiled at the sight of the baby. He wanted to make sure he was perfect.

"I think it’s just about time for the second baby. I know you are tired but I still need you to push, Cordelia." Dr. Grier looked over at Angel. He lowered his voice as he leaned in towards the other man, or what he thought was a man. He never could tell these days. "It would be a good idea if the coach gave some encouragement here. The first baby was tough."

"Uh...," Angel said looking from the baby to the doctor then, "Oh, yeah... I just wanted a look." He was right back with Cordy. "He's perfect, Cordy... And he has all his fingers and little toes. He has that same funny little toe that you have... It’s so cute..."

Cordelia looked exhausted. The thought of having to go through that again was not something she wanted to hear. She just looked over at Angel. Those weren't exactly the kind of encouraging words she needed to hear. She gave him a "you have to be kidding me" look.

"Sweetheart, there is another little Irish person ready to come out as say hello to mommy and daddy," he said. "Remember, they are going to serve a steak dinner tonight. Now, let's get our family all here."

She didn't exactly look like she wanted to eat, in any way, shape or form. "Remind me that if you ever talk me into this again, I will give you a script." Cordelia growled. She knew another contraction was coming and as before, she pushed on this one. She was weaker though so it was harder for this second baby.

"C'me on," he said, "Cordelia Chase. You never do anything halfway and you know it. You never let anything best you. Now... Push..."

"About freaking time you realized that. I only had to push a bowling ball through the eye of a needle for you to get that!" Cordelia pushed again. This baby was coming a lot easier than the first, who fought the entire way. With one last push, she knew it was over before the doctor even said anything.

Dr. Grier pulled the second baby free, smiling at both the parents. "Its a little girl!" He handed the crying baby off to a nurse to get cleaned. He grinned. "You did great Cordelia. We just need to get them cleaned and then someone will bring them up to you. Your room is all ready."

Angel moved to where the babies were. The boy was cleaned and checked. He took the baby from the table and brought him over to his mother. "This very special lady here just brought you into this world." He looked down at Cordy to see if she was ready to see the first of two babies.

How did she know that when it came to the twins, Angel was never going to follow the rules? She gave a little weak smile. "No pictures. I look like crap right now. I just had two kids." She pulled herself up so that she could take a look at the baby boy. "Hey Ian..." She said softly.

He would dare anyone to try and make him follow the rules when it came to his kids. He handed the baby over to her. "They're still cleaning Katharine."

She took the baby from Angel and cradled him in her arms. She grinned at him. "I am going to spoil you so bad. It’s going to make your dad so jealous."

Angel pulled the mask off and reached over and opened the blanket over Ian's tiny feet. He showed Cordy that little toe.

She frowned as she looked at the toe and looked back to Angel. "I do NOT have a weird little toe. I am completely perfect, just like our babies. Isn't that right, Ian?" She looked back down to the baby who was throwing little fists in the air now.

Angel turned to see it they were finished with their daughter and seeing they were he wasn't going to let them keep him from her. "Excuse me," he said as he stepped over and took Katy and brought her back. "And here we have Lady Katharine."

"Uh..." Dr. Grier finally spoke up. "We need this delivery room for another woman." The doctor paused though as he saw the couple with the twins. "If you two like, you can carry them upstairs and a nurse can accompany you."

Cordelia looked over at Kat with a smile. "Hey, Kat. Welcome to the world. Can't wait until you are old enough to go shopping. We can steal your dad's money and go to Rodeo." Cordelia looked up when the doctor spoke and nodded her head.

He looked up at Dr. Grier. "Thanks," he said with a smile as they pushed Cordy out holding Ian. Angel carried Katy. As they stepped out of the room; cheers, balloons, and love greeted them. The family had come to see the new editions to the clan. Angel smiled at them and nobody could have been any prouder then he was of his new babies. 

Angel paid for Lillian's food as he shook himself from that memory. It had been so happy and so perfect. He nodded his thanks to the cashier then headed back up to Connor's room with Lillian's food.