1. Between the hospital and the workplace

"So," Cordelia said happily, swinging bags filled to the brim with new clothes. "What's the bad news you're trying to break to me carefully?"

"What do you mean?" Angel asked over-innocently, exchanging a glance with Wesley. Cordelia pretended that his action wasn't completely obvious and kept grinning.

"Well, you just spent almost a thousand dollars on stuff for me."


"So, the last time you did that, you were trying to buy my forgiveness after firing me, so I figure something has to be going on, especially since it's you coughing up the money, mister everything-used-to-cost-a-shilling."

"What, I can't miss you?" Angel said irritably.

"You can, but we barely had a thousand dollars put together last year. You didn't even wince when you took out your credit card. Which brings me to another point," she continued, scooting in front of Angel and standing in front of him to force him to stop walking. "Since when do you even have a credit card? And how can you, when the government doesn't even know you exist? Something seriously weird is going on, Angel, and I demand an explanation."

"She's right," Wesley said from beside Cordelia. "We have to tell her eventually."

Angel made a face. "I guess, but there are... better times, and we're right in the middle of one of L.A.'s most crowded malls, and..."

"Just spit it out," Cordelia said. "It can't be as bad as waking up to find out you've been asleep for the past ten months."

Angel shoved his hands in his pockets as though ashamed of something. "Well... I've been made CEO of--" Cordelia gasped and clasped hands to her face expectantly. "--Wolfram and Hart," Angel finished anti-climactically.

Cordelia stood, frozen except for her eyes, which drew into an expression of horror. "Well, I mean, for now, I've sort of been thinking about quitting, but--"

Suddenly she grinned broadly. "I knew I must have been dreaming. There's absolutely no way you'd spend that much on a pair of shoes," she said, beckoning at his feet, which were indeed sporting very expensive loafers. She looked to the ceiling and spun around in place. "It's a shame, I really loved some of those clothes. Like, really. It's like they were made for me. I guess they were made by me."

"Cordelia," Angel started before Cordelia started shouting to the ceiling.

"Okay, Powers. Ha-ha. You've made your funny joke, making me dream about Angel and his new 'career' at Wolfram and Hart. You can stop with the coma-dream now. Really, I'm good. I don't mind just sitting in that hospital bed for another however-long." Cordelia was starting to gather a crowd, and Angel stepped forward and grabbed her arm tightly.

"Cordelia," he said sincerely. "You're not dreaming."

Cordelia looked at Angel's hand on her arm. He was applying enough pressure to make it hurt, but not too much. She quickly turned red and grabbed her bags. "I don't believe it," she muttered as she pushed through the small crowd, heading toward the nearest door. Angel started after her, but Wesley held him back.

"I'll go," he said. "You bring the car around from the hospital."

"I--" Angel started, but Wesley shook his head.

"The explanation as to why we're heading a corporation we've been hot-footing around for years won't sound convincing coming from the CEO," Wesley reasoned. Angel eventually nodded in reply, and Wesley quickly followed the brunette through the doors.