Disclaimer: The characters from AtS aren't mine. They belong to Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt and Mutant Enemy. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment purposes. No copyright infringement intended.
Spoilers: Up to and including season 2 of AtS. Allusion to BtVS season 2, "Innocence" at the end of the chapter.
Author's Note: So, I left the last chapter on a bit of a cliffhanger and I'm not going to lie to you - this chapter ends with one too. It's what I do. Sorry. But don't worry, we're steadily heading towards the climax of the story.
Remember in my author's note for Chapter 11 how I mentioned the glaring continuity error that was actually deliberate? Well, it makes itself known at the end of the chapter.
Thanks to everyone who's still reading this story. I appreciate your patience. I'm going to try and get at least a chapter a week posted from here on in, so bear with me. As always, your thoughts and comments are gratefully received.
The blackness which had previously been complete and all-consuming was now cast out by a glaring, gleaming white light. So bright it hurt her eyes to look at it. And it was at that point that she realised, to her surprise, that her eyes were open.
"Coma, followed by a white light?" Cordelia said, shielding her eyes against the glare. "Oh crap! This is it. I'm dead!"
"Still looking on the bright-side, I see?" said a familiar voice behind her.
She spun around, but all she could see was the oppressive whiteness. "Hello?"
The voice spoke again in his distinctive drawl. "How's it going, Princess?"
And then the light faded a little and she could finally see him. Despite her fear, she smiled as she looked upon the face of her friend.
To say that Wesley and Gunn were worried would be an understatement. While the former watcher stood, utterly dumbfounded, Gunn marched to the bed, nonsensically pulling back the covers as though Cordelia might be hiding beneath them.
"Yes, Gunn. I'm sure she's just playing a simple game of hide and seek with us."
"You got a better idea? Let's hear it," Gunn said. "Apart from the fact that our undead boss is probably going to rediscover his bloodlust when he finds out we lost his girl, how are we supposed to explain all this to the doctors?"
"That's a good point," Wesley said. "Especially since we don't know what happened ourselves."
Gunn took a look out the door. "Someone's going to come check on her soon. And when they do, we best not be here."
"Agreed. Let's go to Caritas. Angel needs to know what had happened and perhaps the host will know what on earth is going on."
The warehouse was as nondescript as the house they had previously visited in Korea town. Low-rent and run-down, they had simply moved neighborhoods, a little closer to downtown. All the better to blend in and disappear, Kathy supposed.
Angel leaned back in the driver's seat and sighed. His fingers thrummed on the steering wheel and he made no move to get out of the car.
"Got a plan?" Kathy asked, genuinely at a loss as to how they were going to approach this.
"Not even the fragment of a plan," he said. "In situations like this, I would normally go with my patented sudden burst of violence, but clearly that's not going to work this time. I just wish..."
She waited, but he didn't continue the thought. "You wish...?"
"I wish Cordy was here." He ran a hand through the messy spikes of his hair. "She was always better at coming up with non-violent plans."
Kathy considered this. "Well, what do you think she'd tell you to do right now?"
He shrugged. "I don't know." He thought for a moment. "She'd probably tell me to get off my butt and just go apologise."
"There you go."
He laughed humourlessly. "Yeah, but that's a dumb plan. I mean, I love Cordy, but she's a little naïve when it comes to this stuff. They're not going to forgive me just because I say I'm sorry."
"Am I what?"
He paused again to give this some thought. He was just opening his mouth to answer when Kathy's hands curled into fists, her knuckles whitening. Angel's gaze went from his sisters hands to the building they had come to visit, following her line of sight. An old woman had come outside, shuffling on tired feet to scatter something around the front stoop, before retreating inside once more.
"Kathy?" When she didn't respond, he reached out and touched her shoulder gently. "Are you okay?"
Finally dragging her attention away from the warehouse, she turned to look at him. He was startled to see her eyes had turned completely black.
"Kathy? What's going on?"
She closed her eyes and shook her head. When she opened them again, they had returned to their natural shade of brown.
"She just did a warding spell. Something to keep us out. They must be expecting us."
"So we can't get inside?" he asked.
She rummaged around in the back-seat for her bag. Pulling out a spell book and a vial of iridescent powder, she opened the car door. "I'll get us in."
Using the bonnet of his car as a table, she flicked through the pages until she found what she was looking for. Her lips moved slightly as she read the incantation several times, familiarising herself with it. Then, leaving the book still open on top of the car, she turned and walked towards the building.
Angel sprang after her. "Hey, wait. What about the plan?"
"We don't have a plan, Angel," she said. "We're just going to have to wing it, ok? Now stand back."
Muttering the incantation under her breath, she scattered the contents of the vial around the area that the old woman had just enchanted. The powder glowed as it hit the pavement, sending up sparks. But when Kathy tried to move forward, her way was still blocked.
"The charm's more powerful than I thought," she said. "Tricky, tricky. Well, let's play, shall we."
Throwing her hands out in front of her, touching the invisible forcefield, she began to draw energy from it. Her head snapped back, her eyes cast towards the heavens.
"Hecate! I invoke thee! Do not let my supplication go unanswered! Fill me with your power and knowledge. Unblock my path!"
A wind sprang up, whirling dust around the witch's feet like a mini-cyclone. Oblivious to this, Kathy continued her incantation, crying out for Hecate's assistance. Within moments, she had punched a hole in the forcefield, one large enough for both of them to pass through.
"Go!" she said, gesturing for Angel to hurry. As he passed by her, she followed through the hole. And as quickly as it had came, the wind disappeared, replaced by an eerie silence.
Kathy knew her eyes were once again black, but paid little attention to that fact. She felt strong. She felt powerful. She knew that whatever was waiting for them inside the warehouse, she could not only face it, but easily defeat it. There was a time that Kathy would have been disturbed, even frightened by this over-confidence. But now, all she felt was the power surging through her. And it felt wonderful.
"So, you're happy to see me, then?"
Cordelia raised her eyebrows at him. "Of course I'm happy to see you, idiot!"
Doyle shrugged. "I figured you'd have forgotten all about me. Now that you've moved on and everything."
"Forgotten you? What are you..." Then it hit her. "Oh, you mean –"
"Finally went and fell for Mr. Tall Dark and Brooding, didn't you?" he said with a smirk. "I knew you would in the end."
He smiled at her, a broad, genuine smile meant to set her mind at ease. "Hey, I'm fine with it. Really. You deserve a champion, Princess, and he's the real deal. You both deserve a little happiness."
She reached out and was both pleased and surprised to find that she could touch his shoulder. "Thank you."
"But if he hurts you, I'll come back and haunt him in the most annoying way possible," the Irish-man said with a devilish grin. "You make sure and tell him that."
She smiled and nodded, before the thought of never getting the chance to tell Angel anything hit her. "Doyle? Am I...? Am I dead?"
"Dead?" He shook his head. "No you're not dead. Not yet, anyway."
She sighed with relief. "Oh good, I was wor – Wait. Not yet?"
"Ok, so here's the deal," he said. "The visions? They're not meant for humans. They're too powerful, too destructive. Even as a half-demon, I struggled with them. But for you..."
"They're killing me."
Reluctantly, he nodded. "I messed up, giving them to you, Princess. I didn't know this would happen. I'm sorry."
"No. Don't apologise," she said. "They're maybe the best thing that ever happened to me. I mean, the most painful thing too, sure. But... you remember how I was Doyle. I was awful."
"You weren't so bad."
"I was. I don't know why... I don't know how you..." She shook her head, refusing to become maudlin. "But the visions, they changed me. I've seen the pain, the suffering out there. And I'm helping. We're helping. Angel, Wesley, Gunn and me. And now Kathy. And I feel like finally – finally – I'm a part of something. Something important. And without the visions? I'd still be that shallow, ex-rich girl from Sunnydale."
Doyle shook his head. "That stuff was already inside you, love. You wanted to help long before you got the visions. They just helped to focus you. And you'll still be an amazing woman, even if the Powers take them away again."
"What?" Her eyes danced with fury. "No! They're not taking my visions!"
No violence. No violence. Angel repeated this mantra over and over in his head and he moved towards the door of the building. But as he reached for the handle, the door burst open violently. Eyes black and body emanating a power he had not seen from her before, Kathy walked past him and into the warehouse. Lorne's earlier warning ringing in his ears, he hurried in behind her.
A dozen or so of the Kalderash were inside, some seated around a table, eating a meal together, one girl sitting apart from the others, reading. They all looked up at the intrusion, fearful but not really surprised.
"Vampire," the old woman said. "I wondered what was taking you so long."
Kathy stepped forward. "Do you think this is a game, crone? I warned you what would happen if you did anything to Cordelia."
"We're not here to fight," Angel said, walking forward slowly, his hands in front of him, palms down, in as non-threatening a gesture as he could muster. "I just want to talk."
"Since when do vampires come to talk," said a voice from a dark corner of the room. "They come to feed. To kill. To torture. But to talk? You have lost your edge, Angelus."
"Don't call him that!" Kathy said.
The figure stepped out of the shadows, smiling. "Denying his name does not change what he is, witch."
Angel stared at the new-comer in surprise. Enyos met his gaze and sneered.
"You remember me, vampire?"
"I should," Angel said. "I killed you over three years ago."
Author's Note: So there you have it. Jenny's uncle Enyos, who Angelus killed back in season 2 of Buffy is back. Or is he? Who is he really? Well, you're just going to have to wait for the next chapter to find out for sure. In the meantime, if you want to speculate, feel free to review.