Chapter 14 – Waking Nightmares, Sleeping Dreams
Giles sat in his chair, trying not to stare at the young woman on his couch. They had been sitting there for two hours while he tried, unsuccessfully to reach Angel, and she had yet to speak a word. In fact he was fairly certain that she wasn’t all together aware of where she was. This was the problem with bloody mind altering spells, the effects could linger, sometimes for days.
Slowly moving over next to her he decided to try once more to gain her attention, placing his hand gently on her shoulder.
“Cordelia?” His touch and the sound of his voice caused her to flinch away in fear. There seemed to be nothing he could do for her. Nothing.
Except, maybe he could do something about Angel. He knew where to man lived, and his phone was off the hook so he must be home. He had no idea if having Angel present would do anything at all, but he had to do something.
“Oz, please stay with Cordelia, I will be back as soon as possible.” Barely waiting for the younger man’s nod of assent he rushed out the door towards the Bronze, cursing the entire situations with every step he took. Everything was such a mess, he truly was not sure how they were all going to find their way through it.
Angelus subtly watched the slayer as she righted her clothes after their little tryst. Her face relaxed in a state of complete bliss, oh how he was going to enjoy destroying that.
“Look, Buffy. This can’t happen again.” She turned towards him so fast he was surprised she didn’t fall over. “This was a wrong, and it can’t, no it won’t happen again.”
As her eyes began to fill with tears he marveled at how easily he could make her cry. She didn’t even fully understand what he was talking about yet and still the water works began. When he was finally able to go at her full on he would be surprised if she didn’t drown herself before he was done with her.
“What do you mean?” What was he saying, they were back together, weren’t they. How could this have been wrong? No, it wasn’t wrong he was just feeling guilty or something, he was confused that was all.
“I’m with Cordelia now, last night things got out of hand, but I have to be there for her right now. She needs me.” The unspoken you don’t was heard loud and clear.
“So what you’re saying is that you and me, this, was a mistake.” She waited for him to deny it. For him to say that they were meant to be and tell her that this was just his guilt talking. She waited for him to reassure her that she was the one he really wanted to be with and that this thing with Cordelia would end as soon as she woke up from this spell she was under.
She waited for him to say anything, but he held his silence refusing to meet her eye.
She was about to try again, to make him see that they were each other’s eternity, when there was a knock at the door distracting them both. Strange, no one ever came here.
Angelus moved towards the door, already smelling the watcher on the other side of it, purposefully leaving his shirt only partially buttoned. Moving just enough so that the man would be able to see his still bed rumpled slayer just over his shoulder he pulled the door open slowly. This was going to be good.
“Oh good you are home-” Giles had begun talking as soon as the door to Angel’s apartment began to open, but stumbled to a halt when he saw what was on the other side. Or rather who was on the other side. This could not be what it looked like he assured himself. His slayer would never be as cold and calculating as this, to use Cordelia’s misfortune to attempt to regain her former place in Angel’s affections.
“Giles?” Hearing his name he pulled himself from his musings, he would think more on this new development later, once Cordelia was seen to. She was his priority at the moment.
“Cordelia has awoken, but she is in quite a state. I was hoping your presence might help to calm her.” Allowing Angel to rush past him he stared at Buffy for a moment trying to understand, trying to reconcile the two disparate images overlaying one another in his mind.
Shaking his head slightly he turned and made his way back towards his car, leaving Buffy alone with her tears.
Angelus wasn’t sure what to expect when he made his way to Giles apartment. Drusilla had been vague on the details, just telling him that when it was over Cordelia would either accept him or she wouldn’t. That she had a choice to make and that not even the stars knew how it would end.
When Oz let him inside he found his vixen sitting on the small couch slowly rocking back and forth trying to find some kind of comfort. He’d seen people do it again and again, it never really worked for long.
“She started doing that after Giles left to find you. She hasn’t said anything since she woke up, we were kind of hoping you could maybe get a reaction, you are the only one of us she really trusts after all.” That was probably the most words he’d ever heard the werewolf speak, but he did have a point. Watching him fade as far into the background as he could to give the two some privacy he made his way towards his beautiful girl.
Sitting down next to her he noticed her rocking had stopped, and she leaned towards him without ever really looking up.
Cordelia felt his hand on her shoulder and leaned into his touch. She had made her choice and he was her world now, she knew that this decision when it was discovered would alienate her from everyone else, but she didn’t care.
None of the others, with the notable exceptions of late of Giles and Oz, really cared about her anyway. He did though, in his own twisted way, he cared. If he didn’t she knew now from his past that the mist showed her, he would have simply killed her after their first night together. No, he was doing all of this because she was special to him, she mattered to him. She would not throw that away to help people who on a good day simply ignored her, or thought her contributions to conversations not worth the air they took to say.
“Take me home?” She would show him, tomorrow she would show him where her loyalties lay. For tonight though, she was simply too tired to do anything but rest her body against his. He would take her home and look after her, she knew he would. Tomorrow her new life would begin, her life with Angelus.
Giles sat in at his desk after Angel took Cordelia home and Oz had made his own way out and thought about their varied problems. There wasn’t much to be done about a good deal of it at the moment.
Cordelia’s main assailant was still as yet unidentified, and did not seem to be keen to come out of the shadows any time soon.
Buffy’s seeming indiscretion with Angel while troubling to him was not his concern at the moment. He had no proof other than supposition of what he thought may have been going on between the two before his arrival, and any unfounded accusations may even prove more detrimental to the collective health of their little rag-tag group.
Their group its self was still fractured, though the sides seemed to continually be shifting. Xander for one seemed to be waffling from one side to the other unsure of where his loyalties should lie with his conscience seemingly firing at random.
The one problem he did have some measure of control over was Willow. Her abuse of magic made it beyond clear to him that she, while powerful and full of potential; was not ready for the responsibilities that magic entailed. When he had first learned of her talents he had believed that her mature nature in regards to all other aspects of her life would carry over to her Wiccan one. He knew now that assumption was erroneous. While she was well beyond her years in many ways, having the ability and power to manipulate others to her will was too great for her to wield at this time in her life.
Knowing there was only one recourse to be taken, he picked up the phone to call the Devon Coven and ask for their advice and aide. If Willow was indeed not prepared for these powers and the consequences of using them then the only alternative would be to take them from her, if only for a while.
While at times he found it unethical to bind a witches powers without first giving them a chance to rectify their mistakes, he also knew that Willows animosity towards Cordelia and her reasons for enacting this spell in the first place would not wane anytime soon. To prevent further harm towards Cordelia he must break trust with Willow, and considering what the poor dear had already endured, that was a choice he felt honor bound to make. For them all.
Buffy sat in her room and tried not to cry. How could it all have gone so wrong? It was supposed to be simple, Angel was supposed to remember how great they were together, and he was supposed to understand that they were epic. Not him and Cordelia, them. He was her happy ending and she was his, but somehow every single time she pulled him back to her even a little bit Cordelia would snap her fingers, spread her legs, and have him back with her before she could blink.
Why couldn’t that spell have lasted just a little bit longer? She knew that if they had been able to properly talk about what Angel meant by what he said, and why he’d said it, they could have worked everything out. Cordelia wouldn’t have even been an afterthought for him then, but now that the spell was broken she was his world all over again.
There had to be a way take make him see her for who she really was, a backstabbing bitch who didn’t deserve him. Maybe Willow could help her come up with a new plan, a way to get around Cordelia and the hold she still had over Angel.
Decision made Buffy finally closed her eyes and tried to get some sleep, tomorrow was the last day of school before the break and since Cordelia wasn’t going to be there her and Willow would have the whole day to figure out what to do next. There had to be a next move, there just had to be.
Oz sat in his van and tried to remember what he had seen in Willow in the first place, because whatever it was it wasn’t evident now. She was hurting people, physically, emotionally, and mystically. Or well she was hurting Cordelia. Shaking his head he decided he would wait, keep his distance over break, and see how he felt about things when everything was all said and done.
He loved Willow, if he was honest he probably always would, but he wasn’t sure he liked her anymore. Now he just needed to take this time to work out what was more important, love or respect. Maybe he could talk to Giles about it, see if the older man could shed some light where for him only darkness lived. Starting his baby he headed home with a heavy heart and even heavier mind.
While the inhabitants of Sunnydale where all trying to see their way through the mire their lives had become, a small dark skinned woman was stepping out of the belly of a plane taking her first strides towards her new temporary home. She was here to do her duty, and nothing and no one would stand in her way.
A/N – Now that that’s all done there’s something I wanted to go over real quick. I will not have Angel’s POV of Angelus’ actions until the curse is restored. The way I look at it, Angelus is still in Angel’s mind because it is his body but once the curse is lifted Angel is gone, no longer there to be trapped because he is the product of the curse and can’t exist without it. And don’t worry Cordelia will not just become some puppet whose strings Angelus can pull, she’s stronger than that and we will see more of her strong sassy self, just as soon as she can pull herself back together a little bit.