Turn Back Time
Angel blinked his eyes trying to clear his vision.
He looked around to see, quiet rolling hills, a cobble stone
road and peaceful pastures.
Hearing a low groan from the other side of the stone fence Angel hurried to his feet and looked over it to see that he'd been wrong earlier, at least Cordelia was still there, laying on the ground stirring weakly.
Angel jumped over the fence and knelt beside her.
"No, I'm laying in a mud puddle and these pants were brand
Angel gave her a helpless look.
"That's just peachy," Cordelia exclaimed.
"Let's figure out where we are," Angel suggested, offering
Cordelia a hand up.
After helping Cordelia over the fence Angel selected a
direction on a whim and they started walking.
Eventually the road led them to a rustic looking inn.
"And what ken I do for ya?" the Innkeeper, an older woman
with sharp dark eyes asked upon seeing the door open.
Angel gave the woman a look of helpless confusion.
"This is the Wayfarer's Inn, Galway proper is a quarter of a
mile further down the road," The woman told him.
"Move Angel!" Cordelia exclaimed.
"Galway?" Angel asked unsteadily, moving out of the door to
let Cordelia pass.
Angel stumbled into the Inn's common room and sank into a chair.
"Look I know it's not designer, but at least I'm trying," Cordelia snapped.
"It's indecent!" the woman cried.
"I may not be wearing a sack like you," Cordelia shot back. "But this is not 'indecent'!"
"Ye'l change into something proper first," the woman said
Angel never noticed as the woman led Cordelia off to
While he sat there staring into the distance Angel overheard
two men discussing the ships that had been in and out of port during the last
"The Merrymeet is to leave with the tide in the morrow," one of the men commented, and Angel's mouth dropped open in surprise, he'd have been on that ship if it hadn't been for the decision to say farewell to Galway with one last night's revelry.
"What day is it?" he asked the men urgently.
"The sixth," one replied.
Angel grabbed the man's arm with a strength that would leave
"Yes!" the man exclaimed, fear and anger warring in his eyes, but before either could win out Angel was gone, heading toward the town at a dead run.
How he'd come to be here, now, didn't matter anymore or why,
all that mattered was the possibility that everything could be different.
"Not that you'll make good use of that chance," Angel thought
with a feeling of disgust for the person he'd been.
Angel rushed through the sleeping town without
Angel turned into the alley then just stood there staring down at the crumpled body that lay at his feet.
The laughter that he couldn't suppress was a bitter, ugly
"What would I have saved you for anyway?" Angel asked the
Roughly Angel rolled the body, his body, over.
Looking distinctly queasy Angel shut his eyes then drove his
hand into the corpse's chest, pulling the heart from it.
Angel waited, expecting that he would simply disappear now that there was no way that the thing lying on the ground could become him.
The sound of voices approaching brought him back to the
Still half expecting to stop existing at any moment he
wandered back to the Inn.
A log broke in the fireplace with a crack, waking
"I thought I could stop it from happening," Angel said.
He sat the object he'd been holding on the table and Cordelia gasped in horrified recognition. "What did you do Angel?" she demanded.
"When someone's turned you can stop them from rising by taking the heart out of the corpse," Angel explained.
"What I'm thinking you did, you didn't do that right?"
Cordelia asked, she knew there were only two ways that Angel could have know
about someone being turned here and now, either he'd turned the person into a
vampire or he'd been the vampire and she had a feeling that it wasn't the
Angel met Cordelia's eyes and she knew she'd been
"Well you know Star Trek," Cordelia said.
"After what I did, I won't become a vampire," Angel said.
Cordelia swallowed softly.
"That was sort of the idea," Angel said.
Cordelia gave him a confused look but didn't ask.
Angel got up to wander around the room restlessly, when he
opened the door to leave again Cordelia asked awkwardly, "Umm, should you leave
He slowly walked back to the table, picked it up and went
outside and buried it.
He was aware that Cordelia had gone back to the spot where
they'd appeared hoping to find some clue as to how they could return to 2001,
but he couldn't seem to get past the impossibility of planning for the future
after having killed himself.
The second night he spent much like the first, just moving,
not really thinking.
Angel stopped abruptly upon finding himself at in the shadow
of a small wood at the edge of the town cemetery.
"Angel!" Cordelia exclaimed breathlessly, hurrying to his
When he didn't say anything Cordelia looked around them and
noticed the group of people gathered inside the cemetery.
"Considering what I did the other night… no," Angel replied.
"Okay, you're right, by comparison this is normal," Cordelia replied. "Not many people came did they?"
"My friends probably decided to have an informal wake last
night," Angel said sounding quietly disgusted.
"Oh… so you were like a complete loser in this time and so were all your friends," Cordelia commented, then immediately looked guilty.
"Basically," Angel agreed.
"So… um, why are we here?" Cordelia asked.
Angel ignored the question, turning back to the
They watched as the various mourners left, all but one stern
looking older man who stared off into the distance as the grave was
As he left the cemetery Angel moved to intercept him.
"Why do ye tarry so long, Sir?" he asked trying to recall his long forgotten brogue so as to sound less foreign at least.
"Tis no business of yours," the man replied abruptly moving to step around Angel.
Angel shifted the hood of his cloak back slightly to show
his face more clearly and the man froze his eyes widening with disbelief.
The man, Angel's father, sank toward the ground in a near
"Geeze Angel, just give him a heart attack why don't you," Cordelia said with a roll of her eyes.
"It's just a name," Angel said angrily.
"I don't think you're helping," Cordelia hissed.
"But you are my Liam?" he asked reaching for Angel's hood intending to remove it entirely.
"Don't," Angel said pulling away.
"What are you?" his father demanded.
"I don't understand," Angel's father said.
"It's not important," Angel said.
Angel's father stared at him with sad, tired eyes.
"You did?" Angel asked in a strained voice.
The older man seemed to pull himself together, standing
straight and looking directly into Angel's eyes.
Angel opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came
"Come on Angel," Cordelia said.
"Liam, will ye be coming home with me," Angel's father asked quietly.
"I shouldn't have even talked to you," Angel said suddenly
"I can't make sense of this," Angel's father said.
Angel looked uncertain, undecided.
"Ye did promise Kathy that ye would," his father added.
"Do you think I should?" Angel asked Cordelia.
"Sure, why not," Cordelia replied.
Their arrival had been greeted with chaos.
Angel and his father moved her to a couch in the
When they returned Anna shrieked and ran out of the room
upon recognizing Angel.
The only thing that kept Cordelia from giving up altogether
on the women in this time period was Angel's younger sister.
From her first glimpse of the fourteen-year-old, Cordelia
had known who she had to be.
Through all the commotion she just stood there watching Angel
"No," Angel relied seriously.
"A ghost?" Kathy asked.
"No," Angel said.
Cordelia could see Kathy stretching for other
Angel glared at Cordelia for a moment the turned back to his sister and said, "I'm still your older brother."
Kathy considered that for a moment then smiled brightly and reached up to hug him.
Angel returned the hug enthusiastically, lifting her off the
"I missed you too," she replied.
Angel knelt to set Kathy back on her feet but she kept one arm twined around his neck holding him close even as she turned to ask Cordelia, "Who are you?"
"Cordelia Chase, future superstar and current private
detective and seer.
"Think of it as research for a period piece," Angel suggested.
At that point Angel's mother woke. "Are ye a spirit?" she
"I'm just Liam," Angel answered and Cordelia decided not to help this time, she didn't want the woman to pass out again.
Angel's father returned and an uncomfortable silence descended.
After awhile Cordelia asked, "So has anyone seen any good movies lately?"
Everyone looked at her with confused expressions.
When that conversational gambit failed as well Cordelia fell
back on the old standby.
"There was a storm in the channel." Angel father
"Which one?" Angel asked.
"The Chelsea, she was carrying primarily flax."
"Sean sailed with her didn't he?" Angel asked.
"The Connelly boy?
After that conversation faltered again.
"I'm sorry," Angel blurted out.
"It's in the past.
"It's late," Angel's father said after another silence.
"Goodnight Father, Mother," Angel replied.
"Kathy, it's time for bed," Angel's mother reminded the young girl firmly.
"Wait for me," Kathy whispered to her brother.
After the others left Cordelia said.
"You thought so?"
"I thought it was safer that way," Angel admitted.
"What about the other seventy percent?" Cordelia asked curiously.
"Some were because of the stuff Li did," Kathy said
"I thought you didn't know about those things," Angel muttered, clearly mortified.
Kathy curled beside Angel on the settee, leaning her head
against his shoulder.
"It's been a long time for me Kat," Angel said.
"I'm glad ye kept yer promise," Kathy said sounding
"I love you Kat," Angel told the girl.
Cordelia waited until Kathy was clearly asleep then asked, "You still think you're going to stop existing?"
"I don't know what I think," Angel said.
As Angel spoke the room flickered around them and, for a
second, the neat quiet parlor was replaced with an ugly concrete room, it
looked like a broom closet made over into Spartan living quarters.
Then the parlor was back along with the living warmth of Kathy's sleeping form resting trustingly against Angel's shoulder.
Only Cordelia was different, where she had been wearing a
plain cotton dress sufficiently modest for the 17th century a second
ago, now she was in a utilitarian tank top and worn jeans.
"What the Hell!" she exclaimed and then they were back in the other place.
Cordelia sat on the edge of a Spartan cot, she blinked several times then her expression softened and despite the scar and the cloths she was the person Angel knew again.
"What was that?
Startled Angel looked down at himself and realized she was
Cordelia and Angel, who Gunn hadn't noticed, followed the
demon hunter into the main room of the compound.
"Whatever you're going to do, do it bloody fast," Giles was
saying to Kate.
"Not until it's stripped down," Kate argued.
Kate turned and saw Gunn and Cordelia approaching.
"I stowed the last of the weapons," Faith announced coming
in from another room.
"Damn girl, you're insatiable," Gunn said with a smirk.
"That's what you love best about me," Faith replied pulling him into a hard kiss.
"Naw," Gunn replied coming up for air.
"So does that mean I'm going to have to fine someone else for tonight?" Faith pouted.
"Hell no, Minx," Gunn replied scooping Faith up in his arms and carrying her out of the room.
"What was that?" Cordelia asked.
Kate gave her an odd look.
"Oh right," Cordelia said accepting a bone saw and kneeling by the corpse of the demon/human/machine hybrid.
"I know him," Angel said staring down at the corpse in
"Buffy's boyfriend Riley?" Cordelia asked.
Angel nodded as Giles asked.
"This guy, he used to date Buffy," Cordelia repeated.
Giles looked tired suddenly.
"What do you mean?" Cordelia asked.
"I suppose you never knew Buffy Summers was a Slayer," Giles
"That's not what happened!" Angel exclaimed.
Cordelia cut up the body in a daze, vaguely glad that she seemed to be the only one who could see or hear Angel, because the dark haired vampire was loosing it.
For a long time he ranted at Giles, furious that the man who
had been Buffy's father in all but name could mention her death with so little
When Cordelia finished her task she trudged back to the room
where she'd first arrived in this place.
She pulled out the book and was surprised to realize it was her old diary.
Cordelia poked her head back into the main room and waited
for Angel to notice her then jerked her head toward the room behind her.
"I still keep a diary in this nutso world," Cordelia told him waving the book in his face.
"Maybe that will tell us what's happening here," Angel said taking a seat beside Cordelia where he could read over her shoulder.
She promptly scooted away.
She opened the worn book to the beginning and started
"Jesse?" Angel asked surprised by the natural way she said the three names together even though the last was unfamiliar to him.
Cordelia gave him a sad look.
Cordelia continued flipping through the book.
"I run away to LA to become an actress and escape the awfulness that was Sunnydale… That happened a year before I really came to LA… Things don't go any better for me in this place… Neat, Doyle still helps rescue me from Russell Winters… with Gunn instead of you though."
"They show me how things really are in LA.
"Giles and Faith hit town.
"Gunn and Faith start sleeping together."
"We make an attempt to close the Hellmouth, nearly half our
people get killed before we even reach the town limits.
"There's some stuff about how the vampire situation is
getting way bad in LA.
"Here's some good stuff, Doyle and I start going out and… oh… oh wow… that stuff's personal."
"Back to the awfulness that is this place.
Cordelia flipped ahead several pages then dropped the book
to the bed and stared at it with horror and shock.
Angel moved so that he could read the entry for himself.
"Doyle was a demon," it read.
"Doyle sneezed, such a stupid little thing, but his whole
face erupted into blue quills, his skin turned green and his eyes went
"I stared backing away from him, looking for a weapon."
" 'It's not how it looks Princess,' Doyle pled. 'You've gotta believe me.'"
"I should have stayed and listened to him," was written next but it had been crossed out, multiple times; Angel could barely decipher the words.
"I ran downstairs, right into Kate," the entry continued. "I
" 'Ye know me, Cordy, ye know I'd never hurt you!' he yelled
and Kate fired.
" 'He was a demon Cor,' Kate said coldly. 'They're all evil,
you know that.'
Angel tried to comfort Cordelia.
"I want to go home," Cordelia sobbed.
A commotion in the main room drew them and almost everyone else there, even a very tousled looking Faith and Gunn.
Wesley, dressed as he had when he arrived in Sunnydale, was
being hustled into the room by two of Gunn's sentries.
"We found him snooping around the compound," one of Wesley's captures reported.
"I'll have you know I'm here on official Council business!"
Wesley declared self-importantly.
"Ripper!" You've got a guest!" Kate yelled out a window.
A few minutes later Giles appeared, the ashes on his close hinted that he'd been in the middle of disposing of Riley's remains, he looked Wesley over distastefully then asked, "Has the Council finally decided to take this to take this seriously and help us?"
"I'm here to replace you," Wesley declared.
Giles glared at Wesley.
Wesley made a few offended noises then recovered his powers
"Look around you!" Giles snapped.
"Well I never!" Wesley exclaimed turning to leave.
Faith made a choked noise then hurried away.
"The Key was destroyed," Giles said, his voice heavy with regret.
Shortly after the commotion caused by Wesley's arrival died
down a new, happier, commotion began, initiated by the arrival of three kids
and a teacher-type.
The youngest of the three, a pretty little girl about four
years old, made a beeline for Cordelia.
"That's great," Cordelia said enthusiastically, covering the confusion she felt.
The teacher took Cordelia by the elbow and led her back to
"Alex almost slipped today," the teacher said seriously.
"What do you mean?" Cordelia asked.
"She almost let her demon face show with the other kids
there!" he snapped.
"W… what do you think I should do?" Cordelia stammered.
"Take her to one of the demon communities," he replied
"Because the others will kill her if they find out, like Doyle…" Cordelia whispered with a shutter.
"Yeah, like your stupidity got Doyle killed.
Then the teacher-type, who's name Cordelia had yet to learn, turned and walked out, leaving Cordelia with a four-year-old child she'd never seen before who seemed to be her ward.
"You won't send me away?" Alex asked fearfully.
Without a second's thought Cordelia embraced the child
tightly. "You weren't bad," she said fiercely.
"I'm a demon, I'm bad."
"No, you're not bad, some demons are very good," Cordelia said.
"Then why'd Giles kill Dawn?" Alex asked.
"I don't know," Cordelia said.
Alex's face screwed up into a childish frown, an expression
that's meaning wasn't obscured by the suddenly golden hue of her skin and the
small horns sprouting from her temples.
Cordelia held Alex until she'd cried herself to sleep, and then laid her down on the second cot cramped into the small room and covered her with a blanket.
When Cordelia realized Alex's human mask wasn't returning
without the girl consciously putting it on, she checked the door.
A hand, raised as if to knock on the door, passed through
it, into the room.
"We've got to find someway to put things back like they were,"
"That can't be what happened," Angel protested.
"We changed the past, now the present is all
post-apocalyptic," Cordelia replied angrily.
"It doesn't make sense," Angel snarled back.
"So why is everything so horrible?" Cordelia demanded.
"I don't know.
"Warrior, you were expected," The male oracle said as Angel
and Cordelia entered their domain.
"Do you not appreciate the world you created?" the female asked.
"See, I told you it was your fault," Cordelia said.
"How is that possible?" Angel demanded.
"Precisely," the male said sharply.
"It is your absence that forms this circumstance," the female clarified.
"No, I don't matter," Angel insisted, "It's people like Buffy that matter."
"Where is your Slayer without you?" the male asked.
"It's my fault Buffy was killed?" Angel asked uncertainly.
"In your former world the gift of a cross gave your Slayer a
small respite in a battle she was not ready for.
"In this world the gift was un-given, its barer having rotted long ago," the male added.
"You're the PTB," Cordelia exclaimed.
"To what end?" the male asked.
"So that Buffy would live," Angel said.
"To be killed by the Three?" the female asked.
"No!" Angel exclaimed.
"To drown in the Master's lair?" the male asked.
"That wasn't even me," Angel snarled.
"Neither could have he if you hadn't led him to her," the female oracle pointed out.
"Even if she doesn't die she wouldn't be the person she must be," the male declared.
"The love you shared, and the pain, is part of who you both
are," the female said.
"Liam cannot become Angel without first being Angelus," the male oracle stated.
"Angel isn't worth Angelus' existence," Angel said.
"The First was correct," the female commented.
"It is not just about the Slayer," the male snapped.
"And those of darkness reinforced," the female finished.
" 'Cause Willow and Xander got turned?" Cordelia asked.
"But that's because of Buffy dying again," Angel argued.
"In that you are correct.
"For now," the male said, his tone dire.
"The end of days will come," the female continued.
"The one who found his confidence in fighting along side
you, has not.
"The Key is lost to both light and dark and in losing her
darkness infects those of light who chose to take an innocent life." The female
"But it must be opposed," the male said.
"As we have done before, we may swallow this time," the female said.
"Allow you to choose anew," the male replied.
"But what about all the people I killed?" Angel
"You cannot erase the evil without erasing the good," the female oracle said.
Angel stared at her.
"Either choice brings death," the male stated.
"One choice also brings apocalypse," the female added.
Angel looked ill.
"You know the movie was a lot nicer than this," Cordelia said glaring at the oracles, furious on Angel's behalf.
"Act, do not act, either is a choice," the male oracle said.
And then they were back in the beginning.
"Cordelia?" he asked looking over the stone fence.
"Couldn't they have moved the puddle?" she muttered.
"Talk to Kathy," he replied.
Angel stood at the foot of the tree beneath Kathy's
"You can become someone, a person, someone to be counted,"
Whistler had told him.
He climbed the tree easily, it was practically a staircase, and tapped on the glass.
Kathy opened the window then sleepily stumbled back toward her bed without comment.
"Kat!" Angel called.
Slowly the girl returned to the window.
"Kathy, I need you to promise me something," Angel requested.
"Promise you'll never let me into this house again," Angel demanded.
"What's happenin' Liam?" Kathy asked frowning.
Angel returned to the Inn and for three endless days he and
On the third night the body of the man who tended the
cemetery was found, drained of blood.
Less than an hour later Galway, 1753 flickered, faded and
was replaced with a warehouse in LA, 2001.
Cordelia looked around, noting Wesley and Gunn standing
together, teammates again.
"Cordelia, Angel, are you alright?" Wesley asked.
At the sound of his name Angel stiffened.