Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon and Angel the series.
Synopsis: Connor and Cordelia are saved from Quor'toth, aged seven months. Thanks to mis-communications and false prophecies the PTB have decided their champion has lost his way, and with it, his seer. With the loss of Gunn they've gained two new members and Angel Investigations continues their fight and search.
A/N: This is my version of season four of Angel. It's the sequel to Step it Up, PTB, my season three. Major major thanks to sheshe21 for all the encouragement, reviews and. . . the title!
"It has been three months."
"Such a small amount of time."
"He has continued his fight."
Eyes met and the male half of the blue and gold twins tilted his head.
"You believe we should return the seer."
"They are bound by soul and now by the light."
"We have sent him a guide."
"No, we have sent him the guide's request."
"There is hope for him, we will wait."
"The child and seer are safe, but it is coming."
Things had settled into a routine and while Wesley kept up his notes, and his letters to Cordelia. They were busy, with clients, and with the messages from the PTB. Brought to them by Tara, who was very quiet. At first, she seemed almost painfully shy, but Fred had befriended her and the two were sitting in the lobby looking over a book and chatting. Their heads bowed towards each other as they spoke the sound of the front door had them looking up and Fred grinning.
"Hey there cupcakes! What are we working on?"
"Lorne! Oh we're just helping with some research, how are you doing?"
"Oh the usual, clients that need a guiding light and before you ask, no nothing on the Princess."
Fred sat back down with a sigh. Tara averted her eyes. While they had all been kind and accepting, there was no escaping the fact that they still wanted their seer back. Not her.
Tara turned to see Angel and Lindsey come up from the basement. Angel of course seemed fine, Lindsey was sweating and rubbing his shoulder.
"Are you all, all right?"
Lindsey gave a nod to Lorne and smiled.
"Oh I'm fine. Just having a hard time with sword play."
Angel shrugged off of Fred's look. She still thought Angel was a bit harder on Lindsey then he needed to be.
"He feints to the left. It's obvious and a hole in his defense."
Lorne clapped his hands.
"Well, I have a little announcement. I'm leaving town!"
Suddenly everyone was in a tizzy. Wesley came out of the office confused and finally Lorne shook his head, hands up to get their attention.
"Hold on there, kiddies! It's just a gig. I'll be in Las Vegas for a couple of days. I'm hoping to drum up business for the club and maybe see if I can cast a wider net in our search for the Princess."
Fred pouted, she was a little more on edge these days about losing members of their little family. Angel had been fighting but he'd also been more distant, driven. It felt like he wasn't really around. When Connor's cries could be heard they all turned to look at either Angel or the stairs. Angel frowned.
"Fred could you?"
She nodded and headed for the stairs, Tara went to follow. Lorne gave Angel a look but he shook it off and went to the kitchen to make up the bottle if Fred needed it. He was trying, but even though Connor looked like him and a bit like Darla, he saw Cordelia when he looked at him. It didn't help that Connor was still calling for her. It had lessened, no more tears at night, but every once in awhile, he would look around and call for 'Ma'. It was too much and all Angel could think of was that if he worked harder, if he did more, then he'd get her back for him.
Spike's eyes were vacant, distant. He had been struggling for months now, with the feeling of a soul, with the voices, with the memories. Often it was too much, as it was today. Standing in the disused courtyard of the mansion he'd last been in with Drusilla and Angelus, he seemed unaware of much.
"Haven' seen her. Should. Shouldn' I?"
His head tilted and he focused, for a moment at least, on the dying flowers. Lifting a hand lazily he fingered it's petals.
"Been too long, so long for li'l slayers. Could be dead, could be old. Pretty eyes gone white wit' age, skin lost it's smooth warmth."
He turned, smiled, but again it was distant, he wasn't in the here and now, it was getting better but it was still a struggle to be here and now.
"Did it for her, yeah? Think she'll notice? Love me now?"
His face slowly fell and he lowered his head.
"Disappointed. Been very disappointin' I have."
His head snapped up as the brunette walked towards him. She had been calm, kind, helping him get this far. She'd been having visions, more and more often and he could tell, there was a problem. They were out of time, because she was pushing more. This time, he had faded away again and she had let him. For a little while. Now, he need to snap out of it. Stepping down into the courtyard she walked over and stood in front of him, hands on her hips.
"We've been over this. You got your soul for this slayer. I get it. The soul hurts, having one sucks. Join the club!"
He blinked, a little clearer just from her blunt assessment. Tossing her arms up she started pacing.
"Got it for her, yeah?"
"Yes! Okay, you got your soul for a girl, verrrry romantic. Here's the problem. Now, you're a champion. There's more to it then just impressing a girl!"
He frowned and the look he gave her his own puppy dog eyes. For a moment she had the image of deeper brown eyes doing the same look. Her own eyes went distant for a moment, then she shook it off. Staring back at the softer blue eyes she softened and smiled. Cupping his face in both her hands.
"Something big is coming. The Powers chose you, as their champion. If we don't get it together, even the slayer won't survive. Trust me, pity, regrets, they don't help. There is nothing we can do about the past. Nothing. We can only start where we are, and do what we can with what we have. Okay?"
His jaw tensed. He'd seen her having the visions, unable to say exactly what was going on. Frustrated at not knowing enough. He nodded and she smiled letting go of his face. A small cry came from inside and she sighed. He grinned and looked beyond her.
"And hungry probably. We okay?"
"Yeah, we're good. I'm good. Go take care of the niblet."
She patted his face and headed inside. His eyes clearing, a moment of clarity that would last longer, each time longer and longer. He shook his head softly and the smile was gone.
"Still don' see why she can' remember. Don' seem fair. T' her or the niblet."
Angel made up the bottle and stayed in the kitchen, giving himself a moment of not trying to look happy. Trying not to brood. With Cordelia gone, Fred took up the mantle of making sure he didn't brood. While she might not have Cordy's touch, she had her own and the guilt he got whenever she pouted or gave him that look of utter disappointment, he painted on his smile and headed out again. He just, needed breathing room. The irony not lost on him, as he didn't need to breathe. So when Lorne came in he automatically straightened his shoulders and went to smile. Pausing as Lorne clapped him on the shoulder and offered him a smile.
"It's all right Angelcakes. No need to paint the mask for little old me."
Angel let his shoulders slump again and nodded.
"I was saying my goodbyes and wanted to make sure I got a chance to talk to you."
"Think you're asking the wrong demon that question. Look, I see that this is still hard on you and we're doing all we can. . . "
"It isn't enough!"
Lorne shook his head.
"It's all we have, champ. We all want her back, barely got to see the little one before she was gone. Thing is, you can't ignore the rest of your family."
"I'm, not ignoring Connor. . . "
"I'm not talking about just Connor."
Angel looked at him confused and Lorne just smiled.
"When you figure it out, we'll be here big guy."
Angel nodded, not really understanding but hoping for the best. He let Lorne say his goodbyes and then headed out to the lobby to hand the bottle to Fred. Tara cleared her throat and he looked over.
"Is it a vision?"
"Uh, well, I don't, really have visions."
Wesley sighed and came over to sit with Fred and Connor, keeping an eye on the boy as he toddles around with his bottle.
"She's explained that Angel, she gets, messages."
Angel nodded and waited for Tara to explain.
"I uh, I know we were looking for a way, a way to find, Cordelia. But, the Powers are blocking her. I, I do know that she's safe and, and okay."
Angel frowned, and Wesley looked confused. Lindsey came down from upstairs showered and changed.
"What did I miss?"
"Tara seems to believe that everything is fine."
Angel's tone was stiff and Tara winced slightly. Wesley stuck up for her immediately.
"I believe what she said was that Cordelia is safe and all right. Tara, could you possibly try explaining, how you know this?
Tara worried at her lip while her fingers fidgeted with her skirt. Fred leaned forward and touched her hands hoping to calm her.
"From the Powers right?"
"Um, actually not exactly."
Everyone froze and Angel lowered his arms ready to step forward. Lindsey stopped him with a hand on his arm and a look. Lindsey put on a smile, and was immediately in lawyer mode.
"Okay well, let's start from the beginning. How did you get here? Who sent you to help Angel?"
Tara took a deep breath. She didnt' need them either, being dead, but she was used to being alive so had a hard time playing dead, as it were.
"I'm, not really supposed to tell."
Again Lindsey tried to take the lead. Angel could be threatening but sometimes you needed a lighter touch.
"And who said you shouldn't tell?"
Tara looked around and finally shrugged.
Blinks around and Lindsey stepped closer. Tara looked up at him then closed her eyes.
"Okay, so um, the Powers had a seer ready to come, but, he was worried about coming, said it would make things, complicated. So he asked me to come. He, tells me what to do. I think, he gets the visions and he knows where Cordelia and the baby are."
Angel shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest.
"I want to meet him."
Heads went up and Tara looked frightened.
"I, I don't think-"
"I don't care. If he knows where she is and he's busy hiding when he should be here, I want to find out why."
Lindsey shrugged and put his hands in his pockets.
"I'd have to agree actually. Sounds to me like whoever this seer is, he's shirking his duties, and left you with the job and the brunt of the problems. You shouldn't have to explain his decisions, he should."
Tara looked around hoping someone would have a different opinion but they all seemed to agree and when Connor went for the stairs, his bottle dropping to the floor and calling out for Ma she got up and quickly went to pick him up before he could get far. Holding him to her hip she nodded.
No one moved and so she handed Connor over to Angel and then closed her eyes. They were used to it by now. It was how she got her 'messages'. So they watched, and waited. When her eyes opened again there was silence. Angel was bouncing Connor trying to calm him and was the least patient.
"Always knew you were the stubborn type, champ."
Everyone turned to the voice coming from the office. Leaning against the door frame was a messy but grinning Irish half demon. No one recognized him of course, except for Angel.
"Got it in one. Told you he was sharp, eh?"
Doyle grinned and nodded to Tara before heading forward. He gave a nod to everyone.
"So, this is the new crew? Lookin' good. Come a long way, haven't ya?"
"Doyle. You know where Cordelia is and you've been hiding her?"
"Think we need a talk. So hear you lot got a garden!"
He headed for the doors and Angel looked like he was going to strangle the man. Growling lightly he handed Connor to Tara as he passed and followed the man out. The others looked around at each other.
"Doyle. Angel's first seer. He, died, gave Cordy the visions."
We explained, quite a bit surprised himself.
They all turned to look towards the courtyard and wondered if it was possible to kill a dead seer, because Angel was not happy.
Spike had gotten himself together. Changed and headed to the small nursery they'd set up for the baby when they first arrived. For some reason it didn't bother Cordelia at all that she was to stay there. At the house, in the courtyard, or just outside. She never ventured into the town and didn't question why. Which seemed to bother Spike at first. He had to be careful he knew, and he'd agreed to not call Angel and his friends right away, or at all, but he thought that if she was just 'accidentally' found, then he wouldn't have to worry about it. He still felt badly that she didn't remember, and wondered briefly on the kid, but lately, he didn't mind at all that he had them to himself. She was his worry stone. She kept him sane more often than not. It wasn't his kid, but he grew to care for her, and the job of protecting her was no longer a job, but a true want. As time went on he went from feeling badly for Angel and blaming him. He had to have done something to make them decide to take her memories of him right?
Standing in the doorway he crossed arms and leaned against the door smiling down at her as she nursed the baby.
"Niblet was pretty hungry, eh?"
Cordelia looked up and heaved a sigh.
"I don't know where she puts it. As much as she eats she should be a sausage!"
Teasing in her eyes she looked down and nuzzled the bridge of her nose over the baby's cheek. Her fingers grabbing for her mother's hair. Cordelia had become an expert in nursing and making sure no one saw anything. Probably because he made a remark once about 'lucky babe'. Adjusting her shirt she picked the kid up and headed to the crib he'd gotten on a clearer night out and stopped short. Her eyes went white and he moved quickly. Taking the baby from her he laid the child down, muttering to her to calm her and covering her up for a nap before turning back to Cordelia.
She started full out glowing and floating a bit off the floor. Grabbing her arms as she came down he frowned.
"Same thing, pet?"
She shook her head and glanced over to see that Francis was all right.
"No, not yet. It's something though. You need to go out and stop it. Think your up for it?"
"Champion now luv, remember? Comes wit' the job right? Point me to it."