The Strength of the Righteous

An Angel fanfic by Sisiutil


This fanfic takes place early in the first season of Angel and features Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle.

This story is fictional and does not contain any references to any actual persons living or dead. All characters contained in this story who appeared in Angel are the property of Mutant Enemy, etc.


Prologue

"Hey, champ! How's life? Or, in your case, un-life?"

Angel, seated at the desk in his office, tipped his book down and glanced up at Doyle. The slender Irish half-demon, dressed in his usual brown leather jacket and astonishingly ugly shirt, stood in the doorway of Angel's office at Angel Investigations. He seemed unusually chipper to Angel. Of course, everybody seemed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed compared to Angel, but such things had degrees.

"Doyle," Angel said simply, partly as a greeting, partly as a question. The vampire's eyes glanced at the curious item Doyle held in his hand. "That's…not for me, is it?"

"This?" Doyle responded, holding up the large plastic cup. "No! This is a double chocolate chip iced mochacinno with whipped cream, my undead friend. Hardly the sort of beverage to offer a vampire—unless I mixed a little blood in. Which, now that I mention it, is a sickenin' thought, isn't it?"

"Uh, yeah," Angel said, his handsome features wrinkling in mild disgust. "I didn't know you liked that sort of thing."

"Oh, it's not for me!" Doyle answered. "No liquid passes these lips unless it's gone through a distillery first. No, this is for Cordelia. Just my latest brilliant stratagem to win the girl over."

Angel's dark, heavy brows raised in mild surprise. "You really think she'll drink that?"

"Oh, yeah!" Doyle insisted. "It's got…chocolate, an' sugar, an'…" he glanced at the drink, frowning as he attempted to discern its ingredients. "And, uh, caffeine, an' fat. Boy, mix in a little grain alcohol, and you've got your five basic food groups covered!" As Angel stared at him in mild incredulity, Doyle looked behind himself at the empty reception area. "Where is Cordelia of Sunnydale Farm, anyway?"

"Getting the mail," Angel grumbled. It was one of the few clerical duties Cordelia did well, if Angel ignored the fact that it usually took her more than an hour to accomplish, since his "secretary" usually decided that a trip to the lobby necessitated doing some shopping as well.

The front door to the office opened, and Cordelia walked in, her long brown hair loose around her face, her dark eyes rolling up in exasperation. She wore a tan-colored sleeveless silk top with a dark floral print skirt.

"God, I hate getting to the mailbox at the same time as Tom, the soon-to-be-disgruntled postal worker. I swear he's two delivery routes away from a CNN-worthy hostage situation," Cordelia complained loudly as she walked to her desk and tossed the few meager letters—mostly bills—addressed to Angel Investigations upon it.

Doyle turned to cast an admiring glance at her, while Angel stood up from his desk and walked past Doyle to retrieve his mail, since it never occurred to Cordelia to walk the extra six steps into his office to hand it to him. Undaunted—well, in truth, very daunted, but without enough sense of self-preservation to stop himself, Doyle stepped forward, extending the frosty mochacinno towards Cordelia. He coughed nervously, then spoke.

"Uh, hi, Cordelia. This is for y--"

Doyle would later acknowledge ruefully that the vision could not have come to him at a worse possible time. His body spasmed violently, his free hand slapped against his forehead, and the iced mochacinno flew from his hand. Cordelia watched in frozen horror as the dark, icy drink exploded from Doyle's hand and sprayed all over her designer silk top. Oblivious to her plight, Doyle collapsed to the floor while the ice-cold mixture of coffee, ice, and whipped cream ran indecorously down Cordelia's body.

"Doyle!" Angel exclaimed, and knelt down next to the writhing Irishman's body. Cordelia stood, stock still, making sounds like someone struggling to breathe past something that was stuck in their throat.

"He's having a vision!" Angel declared, and apparently a vivid one. He held Doyle's head so it wouldn't thrash against any of the furniture.

"I don't care if he's having a CORONARY!!!" Cordelia shouted. "LOOK AT WHAT HE DID TO ME!!"

"Huh?" Angel said, glancing up from where he knelt over Doyle and noticing the most unfortunate fate of Doyle's latest love offering. "Oh. Uh…sorry," the vampire said, lamely.

"THIS IS A DONNA KARAN!!" Cordelia screeched. "What the HELL was that lame little leprechaun THINKING!?!"

"Well, I think he meant for you to drink the thing, not wear it," Angel offered.

"Uhhnngg…" Doyle grunted from the floor. "Angel…vamp nest. Wiltshire, at…uh…Smythe. Old apartments…basement. They have a fresh victim…"

"I'm on it," Angel said as he helped his friend sit up. "You all right?" Doyle nodded, his face still pained.

"WHY are you paying so much attention to HIM?" Cordelia demanded. "He has those stupid vision things all the time! But look at my TOP!! And my SKIRT!!"

The two men glanced at Cordelia. Remnants of iced coffee, whipped cream, and chocolate continued to drip down her top and skirt and onto the hardwood floor. Her tan silk top had an ugly, dark brown stain on the front. More frightening and intimidating to the two men, however, was the look of unmitigated fury on the young woman's usually-lovely face. She glared ferociously at the recovering Doyle, and kept glancing angrily at Angel as though she expected the vampire to tear his friend's head off for her any second now.

"Um, I gotta go take care of this nest…thing…" Angel mumbled, rising to his feet. "Cordy, you can, uh, use my place to clean up…" Angel grabbed his long, black coat from the rack. With one frightened glance at the enraged female, and the briefest of sympathetic looks at Doyle, Angel turned and launched himself out the front door, heading for the sewer tunnels, which seemed, for once, like a much more desirable place to be.

Doyle slowly, miserably pushed himself up from the floor, looking at Cordelia sheepishly. His mouth opened and closed repeatedly but soundlessly, like a fish out of water gasping for breath.

"One word from you, and I'll make sure you'll fit inside the next Guinness glass you meet," Cordelia warned him, then stormed through Angel's office to the stairs that led down to the vampire's basement apartment.

Doyle watched her leave, then walked over to a nearby wall. In spite of the usual, excruciating post-vision headache, he felt it necessary to add to the pain by despondently thumping his forehead repeatedly against the wall's hard, unyielding surface.