Title: Finding Cordy
Spoilers: To Shanshu in L.A., Judgement, Heartthrob, That Vision Thing, Offspring, Waiting in the Wings, Sleep Tight, Tomorrow, Deep Down and Ground State
Pairing: Angel/Cordelia, Fred/Gunn
Summary: The gang search for Cordelia.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. Otherwise, they're mine.
Connor was stretched out on his bed, playing a handheld video game. A knock sounded on his door.
"What?" Connor asked.
Fred stood in the open doorway, holding a tray with a sandwich and glass of milk.
"Brought you a snack," she told him.
"I'm not hungry," he told her.
Fred laughed. "You're always hungry," she said, walking into his room.
Connor lowered his game. "What is it?"
"Bologna," she told him.
"No tomatoes?" he asked.
"No tomatoes," she confirmed.
Connor sat up and reached for the tray, but Fred pulled it back.
"What do you say?"
Connor looked at her. "Thank you."
Connor tore into the sandwich. Fred sat the tray down on the nightstand and stroked Connor's hair.
"Is he still mad?" Connor asked, referring to the earlier confrontation with Gunn.
"What do you think?" she asked.
"Sorry," he told her softly.
"I can't imagine what you've been through, Connor. Being taken away by Holtz, raised in that place. It must have been horrible. I know you're still hurting, but I promise, it's not nearly as much as you're gonna hurt for what you did to your father."
Connor stopped chewing and looked at Fred. She pushed a taser against his chest and fired it. Connor arced back in pain.
"Charles," she called out when he was knocked out.
"Right here, baby," he told her, rope in his hand. He picked up the boy, dragging him downstairs to the office and tied him to a chair.
When Connor came to, he found that he was tied to a chair. Fred was standing over him, the taser in her hand.
"You think that's what Angel felt? When you did it to him? Did he scream like you?" Fred asked him.
"Why are you doing this?" Connor asked.
"Nuh uh. Don't even try it," Gunn told him.
"We got a call from an old friend tonight," Fred told Connor.
"Been playing a little Ahab. He's out there right now puttering around on his boat," Gunn said.
"With Angel," Fred added.
Connor was quiet.
"That's right, Sparky. Daddy's coming home and I'm guessing there's going to be a spanking," Gunn told him.
"He's been down there all alone for three months--and you knew!" Fred yelled.
"Is that what you did to Cordy? Stuff her in a box someplace?" Gunn asked Connor.
"How could you do that to us?" she asked. She stepped closer to Connor, the taser in her outstretched hand, shaking a little. "We took you into our home. We cared for you and all this time--How could you do that?"
When Connor didn't say anything, just looked at her, Fred suddenly buried the taser against his chest. Connor arced back, screaming.
"How could you do that?"
Gunn pulled her back. "Fred!"
Fred buried her face against Gunn's shoulder and started to cry.
"You okay," Gunn asked her a little later after her tears had subsided. He took her hand and led her to the outer office and pushed her gently into a chair. He sat down beside her, rubbing her back.
"I would have done anything for him. Now all I wanna do is hurt him," she said.
"Go ahead. Hurt me some more, Fred," Connor told her through the open door of the inner office.
"Shut up!" she yelled at him.
"You think I care? You get used to it," Connor told her.
She got up. "You don't feel anything, do you? There's nothing inside."
"Why don't you open me up and find out?" he asked her.
"How could you do that to your father?" she asked.
"That thing is not my father."
"Yes, he is," Gunn told him quietly. "When you were stolen from him, a small part of him died. His heart was broken. He would have done anything to get you back, but there was nothing he could do. He's a good man, but you never bothered to find that out."
"He got what he deserved," Connor insisted.
"And how soon before we deserved it?" Fred asked.
Connor just looked at her.
They heard the doors to the Hyperion open. Fred and Gunn ran out, leaving Connor alone. There stood Wes with one of Angel's arms draped over his shoulder, a blanket draped across Angel's shoulders. He helped Angel down the steps into the lobby.
"I believe you're looking for this," Wes told them.
Angel raised his head and looked at them.
"Angel," Fred said.
Gunn and Fred hurried towards them. Gunn helped Wes lead Angel to the circular sofa in the middle of the lobby.
"Oh my God," she exclaimed.
"Is he gonna be all right?" Gunn asked the other man.
"In time. Maybe," Wes told them.
Angel dropped onto the sofa with a groan. His head rolled onto the side against the headrest.
"He's out of it," Gunn said.
"Oh, God," Fred said.
"It's okay," Gunn told her.
"Look at him," she told him.
"It's gonna be okay," he told her.
Angel slowly looked up at them. Wes began to back away from them, walking towards the door.
"What do we do? Wesley?" Fred asked.
Angel's eyes slid shut again. Fred turned, only to see that Wes was already on the landing.
"Where are you going?" she asked.
Wes stopped and turned to face her. "I'm done here. For now. I'll be back, but--I need time," he told her quietly.
"What took you so long to tell us about Connor?" Gunn asked.
"You knew what he could do to us," Fred added.
"You're human. He wouldn't have hurt you. I thought you were safer not knowing. I should have told you," he said, walking towards the door. "He'll need some blood. I'm fresh out."
As the door closed behind Wes, Angel let out a groan.
"It's okay," she told him. "God, he's freezing," she told Gunn.
"I'll get some more blankets," Gunn told her.
Just as Gunn turned to go, they heard a crash coming from the office. It was the sound of a chair toppling over.
"Connor!" Fred said.
Gunn and Fred ran for the office. Connor was waiting to ambush them and easily tossed Gunn to the side. When Fred tried to taser him, he grabbed it away from her and used it against her instead. Fred dropped to the floor in a heap. Connor turned, only to find Angel standing in the doorway.
"Sit. Down." Angel told his son.
Connor backed up a little, never taking his eyes off Angel. "You're too weak to take me."
"You really think that?" Angel asked.
Connor looked at Angel for another moment, then turned and picked up the chair. He slammed it down on the floor and sat down, facing Angel. Gunn began to stir and sit up. Angel lowered himself into a chair across from Connor with a small sigh.
"So. How was your summer? Mine was fun. Saw some fish. Went mad with hunger. Hallucinated a whole bunch," he said.
Gunn quietly helped Fred back to her feet. Connor's eyes never left Angel. "You deserved worse," he said.
"Because I killed Holtz. Except I didn't. I tried telling you that while you were busy offshore dumping me, but I didn't know the whole score. Holtz killed himself. Actually, he had your buddy Justine do it with an ice pick just to make you hate me."
"Even if--you still deserved it," Connor said after a moment.
"What I deserve is open to debate. But understand there is a difference between wishing vengeance on someone--and taking it. So now the question becomes--what do you deserve?" Angel asked.
Connor suddenly jumped up from his chair and ran for the door, but Angel intercepted him and tossed him against the wall. "Daddy's not finished talking," Angel said, calmly.
Angel crouched down next to where Connor sat, scrunched up against the wall. "Wesley told me everything that's been going on. So, as far as I'm concerned what you deserve rests on one answer," Angel told him, leaning in closer. "Did you do something to Cordelia?"
"No," Connor told him.
"He's lying," Fred said.
"No, I'm not," Connor said, looking at Angel.
"No way she just happened to disappear the same night," Gunn said.
"I'm telling the truth, okay?" Connor told Angel, never taking his eyes off him.
Angel looked at him for a moment. "I know. I can tell," he said quietly. Angel slowly straightened up and backed away a little. "You've done enough lying for me to know the difference. The truth has a better sound to it. Less nasal, you know? Get up."
"What you did to me was unbelievable, Connor. But then I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years so three months under the ocean actually gave me perspective. Kind of a M.C. Esher perspective. But I did get time to think. About us, about the world. Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. You're not a part of that yet. I hope you will be," Angel told him, moving to stand in front of Connor. "I love you, Connor." He paused. "Now get out of my house."
Connor looked at his father for a moment and then left the room. Angel let out a sigh as he heard the lobby doors close. Angel swayed on his feet and leaned against the wall. Fred and Gunn ran over to him.
"Angel!" Fred said.
"All that talking really takes it out of you," Angel told them.
"You need rest," Fred told him.
"I need Cordy--now. Wherever she is, whatever she's going through, we have to find her."
"We will. But you should know we've looked everywhere we could think of already," Gunn told him.
Angel sighed as they helped him back into a chair. "We need to follow Connor. He knows where she is."
"But you said--" Fred started.
"I wanted him to think we believe he has nothing to do with it. He does," he told them. "We have to find her," he whispered. "I need Cordy," he said, desperation creeping into his voice.
"We will, Angel, but first you need to rest," Gunn told his friend. "Come on," he said, putting Angel's arm around his shoulder. "We'll help you to your room."
Fred hurried ahead of them into room 217. She turned down the blankets on his bed for him.
With a grunt, Gunn helped Angel to sit down on his bed. He helped Angel take off his leather jacket, shoes and shirt, but leaving on his socks, pants and white undershirt. "Lay back," Gunn told Angel. Angel lay back with a soft groan. "Get some sleep. We'll talk strategy when you're back to normal," Gunn told him.
"I don't think I can sleep," Angel told him softly.
"I think I may be able to help with that," Fred told him. "I'll be right back."
Fred rushed out of room 217 and into room 219, Cordy's room when she stayed at the hotel. Looking around, she looked around for what she needed. She saw what she needed draped over the chair in the corner. Scooping it up, she turned to leave when she spotted something else, something she knew Angel needed.
Returning to Gunn and Angel, she came back in the room with a smile. "What do you have there?" Gunn asked her.
"Cordy's blanket," Fred answered. "This is the blanket--"
"That I gave her," Angel finished. "The one I bought her when the visions got worse and she started spending more time at the hotel. I bought her that blanket because she's always cold."
"But how will that help me sleep?"
Fred pulled the blankets on the bed up over Angel and spread Cordy's black blanket over him, as well. "Smell," she told him.
Angel pulled the blanket up by his nose and inhaled deeply. "Cordy," he sighed. "It smells like Cordy."
Fred smiled. "Yeah. I also thought you might like to have this. You know, until she gets back, at least," she said, sitting down a picture frame on his nightstand.
Angel turned his head. "Cordy," he whispered, reaching out a shaky hand to touch the frame. The picture showed Angel and Cordy, lost in conversation. They were both smiling, love and affection clearly written across their faces.
Fred and Gunn took that moment to slip out, leaving Angel to his thoughts and memories. "Good night, Angel," they told him, but he didn't hear. He was lost in thought, remembering the good times of the woman he loved. Soon, holding onto her blanket, he was fast asleep.
A week later, he was back to his old self. He came down the stairs, walked into his office and sat down. He turned on his laptop and waited for the welcome screen. While he waited, his mind went back in time.
He remembered her hug when he returned from Sri Lanka. It was warm, comforting and felt exactly like home.
"You're back," she had told him, her voice catching in her throat, telling him she'd missed him just as much as he'd missed her.
Fred and Gunn walked into the Hyperion, knowing they needed to talk to Angel about Cordy's apartment. They walked with purpose towards the office, but stopped short when they noticed Angel, a soft smile on his face.
"You know what he's doing, right? He's--" Fred started.
"Thinking about her," Gunn finished.
"We have to get Cordy back," she said, her heart breaking for their friend. "He's so lost without her."
"I know," her boyfriend agreed.
"Welcome back, Broody Boy," Cordy's voice told him. He shook his head with a small smile, almost forgetting that Cordy had changed his welcome greeting for his laptop. She'd also changed the background. What he saw took his breath away--or would have if he actually had breath. It was a picture of the two of them. It was taken on the night of the ballet. Angel and Cordy stood on the stairs, Cordy on his arm, both smiling for the camera.
Angel opened his email, knowing what he had to do. He selected the compose mail option from the menu and took a breath he didn't need. "Dear Wesley," be wrote, "I know you probably didn't expect to hear from me so soon, but I wanted to thank you for saving my life. I can't begin to express my gratitude for that. I also wanted to let you know that as far as I'm concerned, we're good. Please come back, Wes." He typed his name and hit send. He hoped his words would find their way into Wesley's heart.
There was a light knock on the open door. He looked up. "Hey, guys," he said, seeing Fred and Gunn standing there. "What's up?" he asked, motioning to the chairs in front of him.
"We need to talk, Angel," Fred told him. "About Cordy's apartment."
"What about it?" he asked.
"We have to have her stuff out by the end of the week," Gunn told him.
Angel sighed and rubbed his eyes. "Okay, let's do that now," he said, knowing the sun had set.
"Smell anything?" Fred asked Angel, placing a few of Cordy's things in a box.
"Cordelia. Maybe some old incense or candles. Strangely enough, lemons. Lots and lots of lemons," he told her.
"I might have gone a little nuts with the floor polish. Wanted the place to look nice for when the landlord starts showing it."
It does. Looks nice. Nice and empty," he said.
"You should've seen the size of the dust bunnies under Cordy's bed," Fred laughed. "More like dust sperm whales!"
"I can't believe it's been three months," he admitted.
"We paid the rent for the first couple, but then things got sorta tight and well, big apartment, no one living here," she told him.
"Phantom Dennis! Does--does he know anything about Cordy, where she might be?" he asked.
"He's just ticked we haven't brought her home already," Fred told him.
"We will, though. Soon," Angel said.
"Absolutely," she agreed.
Fred walked into the living room to continue packing. Angel followed. Gunn was working on the television.
"You said you already tried talking to Lorne in Las Vegas?" Angel asked.
"Yeah. Emphasis on the word try," Gunn answered as he shocked himself on the television, hurting his hand.
"Fancy ass surround sound. Fred!"
"Already packed the bandaids, buddy," she told her boyfriend. "She turned to Angel. "From the exactly twice we've been able to get a hold of him, we know that Lorne is keeping his eyes peeled, but--so far all's quiet on the psychic front," she said.
"Did you show him the box?" Gunn asked her.
"See that one, with the pictures? That stuff was on the table the night Cordy disappeared. It's mostly personal stuff. Didn't mean much to us, but you might see something."
Angel flipped through the items in the box. "What about the police?"
"Uh, let's see. Abandoned car. Empty apartment," Gunn said.
"No signs of violence. No plans for travel," Fred continued.
"Please file a missing person's report," Gunn said.
"And have a nice day," Fred finished.
"But hey! That was only the first time. The next seven times, they left out the nice day part," Gunn told Angel.
In the box, Angel found a picture frame and pictures. One was of Angel and Cordy, the other of Angel, Cordy and Wes. "Something must've happened to her that night. Something big," he said, staring down at the picture of Cordy, Wes and himself.
"Well, you guys were supposed to meet up," Gunn said.
"I know why I wasn't there," Angel said.
"Sure. Banished to the ocean depths by your ungrateful snot of a son," Fred said.
"Not that she's bitter," Gunn said.
Fred took the last three books off the mantel and packed them in a box and looked back at the mantel. The three books she had just packed reappeared on the mantel again.
"Oh, damn it, Dennis! She's not coming back!" She paused and caught herself. She turned to Angel. "I'm sorry, Angel. I--I didn't--I meant the apartment. I--" she faltered.
"It's okay, Fred. Anyway, we've got tons of room back at the hotel. We can keep everything safe," he said.
"It's just--you count on stuff, you know. Things being where you left them. What happens if you get back and they're not there?" she asked.
He looked down at the picture of Cordy, Wes and himself that he was still holding. "You go find 'em."
He looked up, a faraway look in his eyes. Fred and Gunn knew he was in his memories.
Cordy handed a cup of blood to him. "Don't be embarrassed. We're family," she told him, when he looked at her in surprise.
"What are we going to do about Dennis?" he asked Fred and Gunn. "Cordy will have our heads if he's not there when she gets back."
Fred and Gunn looked at him, nodding. "We could do a transfer spell," Fred said. "We have the book we need at the hotel."
Angel nodded. "Hey, Dennis, do you want to come live at the hotel with us?" he asked the only response was the flickering of lights. "I guess that means yes," he said.
"Gunn, why don't we load up your truck. You and Fred can unload it back at the hotel and get the book," he told the other man.
Gunn nodded. "Okay."
The three friends put the first load of Cordy's things in the back of Gunn's truck. He and Fred sped off towards's the hotel and Angel walked back inside.
Angel sat down on the floor with his back against the wall in the living room, where Cordy's sofa used to sit. He remembered sitting there with her, not long after they found out about the Shanshu Prophecy. He had slumped down on the sofa, sad. "I--I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, that some day I might become human. That light was so bright, I thought I was already out," he remembered telling her.
"Yeah. We all got a little cocky, didn't we? It's gonna be a long while until you work your way out. But I know you well enough to know you will. And I'll be with you until you do," she had told him, placing a hand on his shoulder.
He smiled at the memory. She has always known what to do to make me feel better, he thought to himself. He closed his eyes as he waited for Fred and Gunn to come back. "Pack your bags, Dennis. They'll be back soon," he told the ghost.
A piece of paper floated from out of nowhere to him. "Thank you," it read.
"You're welcome, Dennis."
Not two minutes later, the door opened and Fred and Gunn entered, followed by Wesley.
"Wes?" Angel looked up in surprise.
"I got your email," he said by way of an explanation.
"Thanks for coming back. You are back, right?" he asked.
Wesley nodded. "Yes. This time, though, you're the boss." Angel smiled and nodded.
"Okay, so how about we do this thing," Gunn said.
"You have the book?" Angel asked.
"Right here," Fred said. "I have a jar for Dennis to travel in, too," Fred said.
"All right then. Let's do it," Wes said, taking the book from Fred and opening it to the correct page.
Ten minutes later, Dennis was safely transferred into the little glass jar Fred had brought along. Fifteen minutes after that, the last of Cordy's things were loaded into the back of Gunn's truck. Angel picked up the box containing Dennis and put it into the passenger side of his Plymouth.
Back at the hotel, Angel sat the box down on Cordy's desk and picked up the jar. "Welcome home, Dennis," he said, removing the lid and releasing the ghost. "I hope you like it here."
A soft wind rustled some papers. He smiled. He knew what Dennis wanted to know. "Cordy has had a room here for a long time. She's right beside mine--room 219." He felt the ghost move away from him then.
"So how do we get Cordy back?" he asked the three who had just collpased on the red sofa outside his office.
"Wes has an idea about that," Fred told him.
Angel looked at Wes. "How?"
"We need the Axis of Pythia," Wes told him. "It will show us--or rather you--where Cordy is."
"How do we get it?" Angel asked.
"We have to steal it," Fred told him.
"Chandler's Auction House."
Angel sighed and sat down in Cordy's chair. He grabbed a pencil and his drawing pad. He listened to Wes talk as his pencil moved across the page.
"The Axis is said to have been imbued with many mystical qualities, one of which is finding souls or entities," Fred read from the book in her lap.
Angel finished his drawing and held it up. It was a skillful, detailed drawing of a smiling Cordelia. "Entities like..."
"Cordelia," Gunn said.
"Wow. That's just--" Fred said, staring at the drawing.
"Amazing," Wes finished the thought for her.
"So, we need the Axis. How do we get it?" Gunn asked.
"We need a plan," Wes stated the obvious. He and Fred walked into Angel's office to go over the details again and see if they could come up with a plan.
"Angel," Gunn said once Wes and Fred disappeared into the office. "Say we use this Axis thing to find her. What then?"
"Then we do whatever it takes to get her back home. Where she belongs," Angel told him.
"Okay. So what are we gonna need for Operation Chance in Hell?" Gunn asked.
"Hmm. I can only guess. Probably some repelling hooks. Flashlights, obviously. Aerosols. What else?" he wondered.
Three hours later, Angel stood behind the gate that Gwen had put between him and the vault. "Um, yeah, you know, I'm sure there's lots of other nice expensive things that you could steal in there. It just doesn't have to be the one--"
Wes and Gunn entered the vault area, panicked. "Where's the bogey" Gunn wanted to know.
"In there. She's after the Axis," Angel told them.
"She? As in she took out the four armed guards downstairs?" Wes asked.
"That's good to know," Angel said.
Gwen returned from the vault carrying a bag with the Axis in it. "So long, guys."
"Listen, I need the Axis. It's an ancient mystical relic--" Angel said.
"It's fun for a girl and a boy. I like to think of it as--mine," she told him.
"Please," Angel said, desperately.
"Please? Are you kidding me?" she asked.
"I'm trying to find someone. Someone very important to me and the Axis there, it's my only shot," he explained.
"Come on, he's telling the truth," Gunn told her.
"Oh, well, golly. If you say it's true--So what? You just wanna--borrow this thing?" she asked.
"You can do whatever you want with it as soon as I find her," Angel answered.
"Her? Of course it's her. Two questions, then. One. Do you really love her?" she asked Angel.
"Yeah. I do," Angel told her.
"Two. How do you plan on getting it back to me?"
"Follow us home," Wes answered.
Gwen looked at Angel for a moment. "You're really gonna use that Axis thing to find her, aren't you? It figures. Anyone that bad at stealing stuff has got to be doing it for love," she said, handing it over to him and wishing someone loved it her the way he so obviously loved his girlfriend. Angel only nodded.
"I can't believe I'm doing this, but okay," Gwen told him, lifting the gate.
He breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you."
Back at the hotel, Fred and Gunn stood outside Angel's room. Wes was downstairs keeping an eye on Gwen. Fred and Gunn could see a bright orange light coming from Angel's room. Then, the light disappeared.
"Do you think he found her?" Fred asked.
Angel walked out of the room, frowning. He didn't say anything to them, just hurried downstairs.
"Yeah," Gunn answered Fred.
Once downstairs, Angel handed the Axis back over to Gwen. "Thank you," he told her. "I appreciate this more than I can say." She nodded and turned to go.
"Did you find what you need? Did you find her?" she asked.
He nodded. "Yeah, I did. And now I gotta bring her home." She smiled as she pushed the door open. She always was a sucker for happy endings.
"Where is she?" Fred asked as soon as Gwen closed the door behind her.
"She's being held in a large, steel box. It isn't very big around, but it's tall so it's impossible for her to escape," he said, choking back a sob. He took in a breath he didn't need to calm his nerves.
"There's something else, isn't there?" Gunn asked.
He nodded. "She's in an out of consciousness. When she's out of it, she screams my name," he said.
"Let's go get her," Wes said. "Where is she?"
"Not far away. She's in a warehouse just across town."
"Let's go," Gunn said.
Angel grabbed his coat and opened the weapons cabinet. He grabbed his favorite Broadsword. The others followed suit, grabbing their jackets and weapons. Without a word, they strode through the doors into the night air and piled into Angel's Plymouth convertible. Not a word was said on the drive over.
Twenty minutes later, Angel pulled outside the abandoned warehouse the Axis had showed him. He prayed this was the place.
"I hope this is the one," Gunn said.
Angel sniffed the air. "She's here. I can smell her."
"Well, that's good, at least," Fred said.
"Here's the plan. You guys hold off or kill anyone that comes this way. I'll go after Cordy."
The others nodded in response. "Works for me," Gunn said, swinging a large axe over his shoulder.
Quietly creeping along, the place seemed to be empty, but they knew it wasn't. Suddenly, a loud scream pierced the air. "Cordy," Angel whispered.
"Go," Wes told him.
Angel took off in a flash, following the sound of her screams. When he found her a minute later, what he saw broke his heart. She was in the box like he told the gang, but it was much worse than he'd seen in the Axis. She was tied up, bloody and bruised. Her left leg was bent at an odd angle, as well. He'd bet money on it that they'd broken it.
He looked up at the height of the box and jumped. Only a vampire could have made the jump. It was about 8 feet high.
"Angel!" Cordy screamed, eyes closed. He'd never heard such pain in her voice before.
He crouched down beside her, pushing the hair out of her eyes. "Cordy," he said, trying to get her to look at him.
Suddenly her eyes flew open. "Angel?" she asked, thinking she was dreaming. "Is that you?"
"It's me," he told her smiling.
She threw her arms around him and clung to him. "He told me you were dead," she sobbed.
"Shh, it's okay," he told her. "I'm okay, Cordy. How about we get you out of here?" he asked.
She nodded against his chest. "Please," she begged.
He picked her up in his arms and she wrapped her arms around his neck. He jumped, landing safely on the ground on the other side of the box. "Let's get out of here," he said.
He carried her out to where he had last seen Fred, Gunn and Wes. The sight that greeted them was, well--satisfying. On the ground, lay what must have been 20 demons--all dead. Standing in front of Fred, who had her favorite taser in her hand, was Connor. His hands had been tied behind his back.
When Cordy saw Connor, she tightened her grip on Angel and whimpered. "Shh, it's okay, Cordy. I won't let him hurt you ever again. Or anyone else, for that matter." She nodded and relaxed in his arms.
"Let's go," he told them. Walking out to the Plymouth, he gently placed Cordy in the front seat and slid in next to her. Wes slid in on the other side of her, while Gunn and Fred took the backseat, Connor in between them.
"Everybody ready?" he asked, looking around. They all nodded, all except Connor who glared at him.
"First stop--the hospital," he said, starting the car and pulling out onto the highway.
Cordy looked at him, terror written across her face. "Angel, no. I can't stay there--"
"Shh," he said, taking her hand. "We're just going to have your leg looked at. You won't have to stay, I promise."
She sighed with relief. "Okay," she said, leaning her head against his shoulder.
At the hospital, Cordy received an x-ray of her ankle. It had been broken in several places so they set it and put it in a cast. They gave her some painkillers and sent her home with Angel. He carried her to the car, where the others sat waiting.
"Let's go home," he said, starting the engine.
"What about him?" Gunn asked, nodding at Connor.
"Oh, I have an old friend we can call on. I bet he can help us out here," Angel answered.
"Who?" Fred asked.
"Skip," Angel told her, smiling.
Cordy smiled against his shoulder and was soon, fast asleep. When he pulled up in front of the Hyperion fifteen minutes later, she looked up at it, a look of relief on her face. A tear slipped silently down her face. "I was so scared I wouldn't never see this place again," she whispered.
He opened the door and carried her into the hotel. He sat her down on the gray sofa in the middle of the lobby. Almost instantly, a cloud of smoke appeared before them.
"Skip," Angel said, once the smoke cleared. "I'm so glad you got my message."
"Angel. Good to see you again," he told the vampire. "What can I do for you. You said you had a problem."
Angel nodded. "It seems my son would like to kill me," he said, nodding at Connor. "He also likes to come after eveyone I care about," he said, looking at Cordy.
"How can I help?" Skip asked.
"I need a jail for him. In another demension," he said. "No fire, just one he can't escape from."
Skip nodded. "Consider it done," he said, pushing Connor ahead of him. A moment later, they disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Angel sank down onto the sofa beside Cordy with a deep sigh. "It's late. Wes, grab a room if you want," he told him. "I'm taking Cordy upstairs and going to bed," he said, gently lifting Cordy into his arms.
"Goodnight," he called over his shoulder.
"Night," they called behind him.
Upstairs, he opened the door to room 217 and gently laid her on his bed. "Do you want me to get you something to change into?" he asked.
She nodded. "Please. Just a t-shirt. I don't think I could get anything over my ankle right now," she said, looking down at her cast.
"Anything in particular you want?" he asked.
She nodded. "Can I sleep in something of yours?" she asked quietly.
He smiled. "Of course." He opened a drawer on his dresser, pulled out a black t-shirt and handed it to her. He opened another and removed his pajama pants. "I'm just going to go change," he told her, nodding at the bathroom.
In the bathroom, he removed his shoes and clothes, leaving only his boxers on and put on his pajama pants. He smiled at them. They were blue with white stripes, a gift from Cordy on his last birthday. He sighed. He was so exhausted. Opening the door, he returned to Cordy.
"Hey," he said, noticing how cute she looked in his t-shirt. He was tall so it was more like a nightshirt on her.
He slowly walked over to where she sat on the bed and sat down beside her. "Do you want to lay down?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said. She slid back against the pillows and made room for Angel to slip into bed beside her. He pulled the blankets over them. From the bottom of the bed, he pulled her blanket--the black one that had helped him so much that first night. He covered her with it and lay back against his pillow. "You have my blanket?" she asked, surprised.
He nodded and looked into her eyes. "Yeah. It helped me a lot that first night home."
"First night home?"
"Cordy, I was locked in a box and sank to the ocean floor for three months," he told her softly. "By Connor. No one knew where I was. Wes found me and saved me."
"Oh, Angel," she said, placing a hand on the side of his face. "He told me you were in trouble so I followed him. Once I figured out he had tricked me, it was too late. I couldn't get away."
"I have to tell you something," he told her. "I hope you're not too mad."
"It's about your apartment. We had to let it go. Fred and Gunn paid your rent for the first couple of months, but then money got tight. We moved all your stuff in here," he told her.
"Oh, Dennis," she whispered, feeling sad for her ghost.
"Dennis is fine," he told her. "Dennis!" Angel called out, knowing he would hear him. An excited flick of the lights told them he was here.
"Dennis!" Cordy exclaimed. "But how?" she asked Angel.
"Wes did a transfer spell and we brought him here," he told her, smiling.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," she said.
He smiled. "You're welcome."
"Goodnight, Dennis," she told her ghost. The only sound was of the door between the two rooms softly closing.
"Listen, I know this isn't Point Dume, but do you want to have that talk now?" he asked. "We've waited three months. I think that's more than enough time."
She nodded. "I'd like that."
She took his hand and looked into his beautiful brown eyes. "I'm in love with you, Angel. Deep down, I think I have been for a very long time. When I look back, I can't remember a time when I didn't love you."
He squeezed her hand. "Cordy, I'm in love with you, too. I don't know exactly when it happened, but when I look back, all I see is you. At every twist and turn, you've always been there. I tried denying what I was feeling, but it's--"
"Kyrumption?" she supplied.
He laughed. "Yeah. Been talking to Lorne?"
"Fred," she laughed.
"I love you, Cordy."
"And I love you, Angel."
He smiled at her then, the smile that made her fall in love with him all over again. He took her face in his hands and gently kissed her, showing her just how much he loved her.
He was about to reach over and turn out the light when it snapped off for him. "Thanks, Dennis." He felt a brush of wind in response. "I could get used to this," he said.
"Hold me?" she asked softly.
"There's nothing I'd like better," he told her, opening his arms to her.
She sank down against him, sighing with contentment. "I missed you so much," she whispered against his chest.
"I missed you, too," he told her.
"So how did my blanket help you?" she asked.
"Well, that first night I was so weak. I needed the rest badly, but I didn't know if I could sleep," he told her. Fred went into your room and came back with that blanket and the picture there on the nightstand. The blanket was wrapped around me. It smells like you so it was almost like you were holding me," he told her softly. "It allowed me to get the rest I needed to recover and find you."
"Oh, Angel," she whispered, holding onto him as tightly as she could.
"I'm exhausted," he whispered a short time later. "Go to sleep," she told him, kissing him softly. He smiled in the dark.
"Goodnight, my love," he told her, pulling her closer.
"Goodnight, baby," she told him, kissing him.
As they closed their eyes, sleep overtook them. For three months, they had experienced pain--physical and emotional. For three months, they wanted nothing more than a moment like this. And now, nestled in each other's arms, the vampire and his lover, fell asleep in each other's arms. Theirs would not be a perfect life. They would experience more pain and loss and heartache. But for tonight, at least, they slept the sleep of the peaceful, knowing they were right where they were supposed to be--in each other's arms.