Disclaimer: So, you should all know, I own nothing. This all belongs to Joss and as much as I love him, I wanted to make a few changes. So thanks be to the Joss for letting me play!
Spoilers: A few, anything past season 3 and the episode Waiting in the Wings
Pairings: A few, but do you want me to spoil it?
Feedback: Would love some! Flamers will be kept and put on my wall of weird but all constructive criticism is welcome!
Distribution: Not so sure just yet, so ask first please!
Author's Notes: So, had this idea, it started with a slight change to one episode, then two. Then it grew. So I sat down, did some outlines and started writing! I'm open to new ideas if you have any, and have at least season three wrapped up in my head and notes! I'll be trying for a chapter a week, and will publish season four, when I get that far (fingers crossed) as a separate story! Anyway, hope you all like it!
It was, as usual, a bright room. One that seemed almost to have no solid boundaries, if there were walls, they were well hidden or too far away to discern. The twins, a man and a woman, stood center. Columns and stairs leading to seemingly nowhere behind them, everything about the place seemed hastily put together and dream like. Their Greek style robes in gold and blue fell to the floor, only just covering their sandals and bare feet. Like the robes, their hair, their skin, was in patterns of blue and gold, as if they simply woke up from the existence of a statue that had been coated and eroded in gold. The woman stared down at a small pool of liquid in a large bowl on another pedestal. Her gown caught and draped over one arm. Her brother seemed almost ambivalent to what held her interest. Still, she smiled and looked over her shoulder to beckon him.
"Our champion has learned much from his self imposed darkness. He and the seer are stronger now, as is the rest of those he calls a team."
The brother walked towards her and looked down into the water. "He is not ready. He has not earned his Shanshu and has much work yet to do, he only added to his trials with his actions." He nearly spit out.
His sister nodded, "Yes, but he understands now, what anchors him to his humanity. With the visions, both he and the seer have made great sacrifices." She smiled and looked at her brother across the bowl of water, rippling with images.
A ballet and two spirits that found others brimming with unspoken love had found themselves a vessel and a chance. For now, the spirits were in charge of their champion and his seer, but they would break that connection soon.
The brother smiled, not a sincere smile as his sister but one that spoke of his own ideas and tests for the champion. "Perhaps you are right. We should keep a closer eye on our Champion, and perhaps, a gift." He added, knowing that it was his sister that wanted to reward them.
He lifted a hand over the water, and as the two images moved to pull away, something pushed them together. His sister added her hand, dropping a small jewel into the water.
Angel had opened his eyes and for a brief moment, panicked. He was naked. Of course, so was she, and she was sleeping peacefully in his arms. He raised his head to look at her and everything had come back crystal clear. They had been investigating, than they were possessed. For him, not the first time either. There seemed to be something about being a vampire with a soul, a dead body with feelings and love that attracted these spirits of lovers in turmoil.
It hadn't been him, or Cordelia. Not at the beginning. It had been these spirits, and while he wasn't in control, he had felt, heard and seen everything. If he was honest, he knew that at that moment, if given control, he wouldn't have stopped. There was a moment, where he felt like he was able to pull back, he had to, it was dangerous to keep going. The last thing he would do is let Angelus free. Something, stopped him, he felt drawn to Cordy in a way he hadn't quite admitted to. The spirits had though, whispering to each other their love and promises, ones he felt in not only his own heart but soul. Before he knew it, they were together on the small couch, and clothing was no longer in the way. When he felt that joining of bodies, of souls, it wasn't the same fiery passion he'd felt with Buffy. This was warmer, more solid, and it filled him completely, but too late he felt that painful rip of his soul escaping. He glanced down to Cordelia, eyes wide and frightened, before he could try and warn her, she'd glowed. Not in that 100 watt smile way she had, she had literally, glowed. The light was warm, and it didn't make him back off, it enveloped him, and his soul, and he felt, whole. Happy.
So when he opened his eyes to find the spirits gone, and it was just the two of them, he thought it must be a dream. This was something that wasn't possible. He knew that. He had told himself that more than once. Yet, here they were. He didn't want to move, he wanted time to still, but when he heard thunderous applause he knew that wasn't possible. With a slight wince he brushed the hair from her face. "Cor? Um, we, should get dressed."
It had been, too real, too perfect. At first she'd struggled against the invading spirit. There was a lot of trouble to be had getting all groinal with Angel, but she'd be lying if she hadn't thought about it. No matter how briefly. She'd felt, a surge, of light, of love and she reached out to him, then it was bright, and the spirits were gone and, well the rest was just her. She thought just them. She'd felt exhausted from both the possession and, well whatever she'd done when she glowed and had fallen into a sort of dreamless half sleep. Until she heard his voice behind her, the weight of his arm over her waist, and she groaned. Then she stiffened and opened her eyes, a little too wide. "Um, Angel? We're, we're naked. Wait, you, are still, Angel. Right?"
Angel got really still, not sure how to take her reaction. "Yes I'm still me, why wouldn't. . . ." He pulled back as if he'd been burned as Cordelia scrambled up from the small sofa and frantically grabbed the first piece of clothing to cover herself and looked around. "Cor?" He asked carefully.
Cordelia put on a smile, that false one she used for commercials and Angel saw right through. "Yeah? Just getting dressed, you know, so we can go see what the damage is. Not that, we caused damage, because, it wasn't us." She rambled off as she found her dress and slipped it over her head and dropped the shirt she'd been using as a shield.
Angel wasn't exactly sure how to react and grabbed his pants pulling them on before reaching for the shirt. No it wasn't them. Not at first, and disappointment warred with logic as he tried to calm his seer, "Cor, we were, possessed. There's no reason to be embarrassed. I'm sorry, I, wouldn't have taken advantage of you like that." He knew, but pushed aside, that he was glad he wasn't able to stop it, he just didn't want her to feel, well raped or anything. That though hit and he walked over putting hands on her shoulders. "Cor, are you, okay?"
Cordelia had gotten her hair put back up, a bit and stopped looking up at him. He wouldn't have taken advantage? She was kicking herself, of course he'd wouldn't, she was just a friend, he wanted to be with Buffy. He just wasn't able to. He didn't think of her as anything more than a friend, or maybe a damsel in distress. Her smile was a bit weaker this time and she lifted a hand to his arm. "I'm fine. This wasn't us and so we can just, put it behind us. It didn't mean anything, right?"
Her eyes searched his face, somehow wanting to see some sign that it meant something to him. The knock at the door stopped them from discussing it further and Angel jumped back from her quickly. "Uh, you finish getting dressed, I'll stall them." She offered.
As soon as she stepped from the room Angel let out a breath and ran a hand through his hair. "No, I guess it didn't mean anything." He muttered to himself, and because he could hear the others outside of the room asking questions that Cordelia shouldn't have to field alone, he quickly finished dressing and left.
The drive back was an effort in normality. Cordelia, true to her word, didn't bring up the room or the possession at all. She had explained to Wes and the others that they had discovered the troupe was simply trapped spirits and by breaking the spell, not of course talking about how, they were finally set free. Fred and Gunn seemed fine with the explanation of course, but Wes seemed to know there was more to it. He kept looking between the two, sure there was something the two were not sharing.
Cordelia was glad when the ride was over and they were all stepping out into the night air heading for home. Even with her own apartment, the Hyperion was home. She wasn't so distracted that she didn't notice Fred and Gunn holding hands and Wes' forlorn looks at the pair. She offered him a soft smile and a hand on his arm as they entered the lobby, only to turn confused as everyone had stopped dead on the steps. Her eyes widened. "Groo?"
The Groosalug came over and lifted her in a big hug. "Princess! I have missed you."
Angel felt everyone's eyes on him as Cordelia grinned and hugged The Groosalug back. Wes caught it and his look said he knew that more had happened that evening between the two. He cleared his throat to get Angel's attention, and Angel realized he was staring. He lowered his eyes away from the reunited couple.
"I missed you too, what are you doing here?" Cordy asked breahtlessly as he finally released her to the ground.
It was a welcome respite, not having to think of the evening and just be glad that someone was happy to see her. Groo had no guile and simply said how he felt, it was refreshing and she needed the ego boost right now.
Groo pulled out a scroll and held it out to Angel, but kept his eyes on Cordelia. His grin was almost comical, so wide and carefree, as if he had no idea of the tension still in the room and the people stuck in the doorway.
"I received this scroll. People representing the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart in your world came for it. I thought you should have it, and, I wanted to see you." He added, stroking a thumb down her cheek.
Fred smiled nervously, her tension at having something or someone from Pylea so close, other than Lorne of course, obvious. Gunn squeezed her hand and Angel barely heard him make some sort of excuse and head to the kitchen for something to eat. Taking the scroll he frowned at the Groosalug. It was no secret that he never liked the guy. Without glancing to him, he handed the scroll off to Wes. "Yeah, we'll get right on that. So, how long are you staying in town, Groo."
Cordelia shot him a look that said to behave, she honestly didn't understand why he was so unhappy with Groo. He'd saved them and well, he liked her. Did Angel have any idea how long it had been since a man liked her? Probably not, he was so dismissive at the ballet, he probably just got over protective of her like, a big brother or something. She frowned slightly but recovered as she felt Groo put an arm around her waist as he answered Angel.
"For as long as the Princess wants me."
Cordelia blinked and tried to shake off the surprise. She looked from Groo to Angel. No one noticed Wes duck out of the room into the office to get out of the way of the triangle he saw developing. She was getting no reaction from Angel and it left her feeling lost. He was usually the guy she went to for answers, she had thought they were at least close enough friends for that.
"Groo, that's, really sweet but, I think, we should talk
"You two go ahead, take some time off if you need to Cordy, I'm going to go check on Connor." Angel shoved his hands in his pockets and stepped past them to the stairs. He missed the look of disappointment on Cordelia's face as he took the stairs two at a time and went to hold his sleeping son.
"Wes! I'm taking a week off!" Cordelia yelled to the office and grabbed the Groosalug's hand pulling him from the building.
Both Lorne and Wes poked their heads out and looked at the retreating couple, then each other. With a silent bargain, Wes headed upstairs with the green demon and to Angel's room.