Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon and Angel the series.
Spike woke up stiff, but he could open both up both eyes so he figured he'd been out for a while. Sitting up with a groan he rubbed at the back of his neck. He was in his own room so he got up and took a shower, checked himself out and found all wounds closed, only the last stages of bruising really around to worry about. Once he changed and checked the time he headed downstairs, starving.
Heading into the kitchen, he went straight for the fridge to grab a bottle of blood, then stopped and frowned at it.
"Want that heated?"
He closed the fridge and turned to look at the woman entering.
"You volunteerin', slayer?"
Faith shrugged and grabbed the bottle from him before going to get a mug. Spike just took a seat and made himself comfortable.
"You look better."
Faith shot over her shoulder and set the microwave. Spike gave her a smirk and a wink.
"Nice o' you t' notice, pet. How long was I out?"
"Two days. Council left. Headed back to England and I guess they have some sort of inner war going on. People hoping this will show they need to make changes."
"Rootin' for 'em?"
"Nah, not my problem. Hope they get their shit together before the next girl gets stuck, but, just glad they aren't an issue for me anymore."
She grabbed the mug and handed it over, he frowned at it then drank anyway. He had gotten used to Cordy's concoctions.
"So where's th' rest o' the crew?"
Faith pulled herself up to sit on the counter.
"Well, Wes went to check on something with Lorne, he should be back any time. Angel said he'd be back sometime tonight, tomorrow night at the latest, and Cordelia is at home."
"Where'd th' poof go?"
Spike almost choked on his blood.
She sighed and leaned back when the door opened and Wesley walked in. He seemed only slightly surprised by Spike as he walked over to give Faith a kiss at her temple and grab the tea kettle to put it on.
"Well you're up, how are you feeling?"
Spike stared, wide eyed, and Faith smirked this time and gave him a wink.
"What th' bloody hell happen'd while I was out?"
Wesley turned then looked at Faith who just shrugged. He went back to making his tea as he caught Spike up.
"Well, simply put, one of the Council members came to talk to Cordelia, we caught him just before he left. They left for England, once Marcus was out of the hospital. It seems the visions took a toll on him. Cordelia explained about some dissension in the Council especially since Buffy quit. That was a bit of a shock and Angel called Sunnydale to be sure Buffy was well, then left to check in. He should be back soon. I was just with Lorne to discuss the visions. Faith brought up that perhaps if they took their toll on the man just once there might be a reason to check into the problems they may be having on Cordelia's health. I believe, that's it."
Faith cleared her throat.
"Wes and I are dating."
Spike winced and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Right. So you lot are doin' it, no surprise there, "
He looked at Faith shrugged, Wesley smiled and gave her shoulder a squeeze. Spike continued.
"An' Angel is gone back t' the slayer, no one's worried abou' Angelus?"
Wesley and Faith glanced to each other.
"Well, we had thought of that and Willow stated she would keep an eye on the, erm, situation. We have heard from her already and things seem to be, uncomfortable for all. It seems Buffy has a boyfriend."
Faith kicked at the table to remind Spike to finish his blood.
"I'm more pissed that he took off. He didn't even tell Cordy, just let us tell her when she came back in last night. She turned right around and went home."
Spike picked up his mug and finished it off before wiping at his mouth.
" 'old on, is 'e insane?"
Wesley frowned and got out his mug for tea.
"I'm not sure I understand. True he could have simply left it at a phone call, are you really surprised that he went to see her?"
"Seein' as 'e's in love wit' th' cheerleader, yeah!"
Faith smacked at Wesley's arm.
"I told you!"
Wesley frowned and rubbed at his arm.
"No, you stated that Cordelia had feelings for Angel."
Spike growled at that and shot up to go take his mug to the sink.
"Poof 'ad his chance, didn' he?"
Faith licked her lips and looked at Wesley who lowered his eyes.
"Spike. Do you, have feelings for Cordelia?"
"An' what if I do, huh? Doesn' matter. Deserves better'n all this. Definitely deserves better'n 'ave the poof walk all over 'er."
He rinsed out his mug and left the kitchen. Faith shook her head and Wesley sighed.
Cordelia did come in late that afternoon and got busy on files. Wesley asked her about the card she was given and she handed it over for him to put in his files. She'd already gotten the information written down just in case anyway. She didn't ask about Angel, even once. When she heard that Spike was awake and doing well she relaxed some, but he'd gone downstairs to train so she left him alone for now and finished with the files. Faith went down to train as well, and it was just her and Wesley working on things. She'd just gone to make more coffee when Angel came back. He'd gone straight to the office and nodded to Wesley.
Wesley looked up and quickly put down his pen as he stood up.
"Did you just get back?"
Angel looked exhausted and nodded, taking a seat in front of the desk so Wesley could sit back down himself.
"Didn't want to wait until tomorrow."
"How did it go?"
Angel sighed and ran a hand over his face.
"Giles said it was fine. Buffy's been working still, and is doing well. They haven't had any more problems with the Council."
"Yes well, you knew all of that from the phone call. I meant, the visit with Buffy."
Angel frowned and lowered his eyes.
"She has a boyfriend."
Wesley picked up his glasses and slipped them back on.
"Were you expecting her to be waiting for you?
Angel closed his eyes.
"No, I guess not. It's just, Buffy was, such a huge part of my life. She always will be. I guess, I thought maybe, there would be more, when I came. Instead it was just, uncomfortable. It's not like I expected or even wanted her to come running into my arms, but "
Wesley smiled sadly.
"You were hoping that you were still important to her."
"Yeah, I guess I was. I thought, there were some things that would never change. I've seen so much change, so many people change, I mean look at you and Faith. I wanted, something I could count on. Someone."
Cordelia had been heading back to the office with coffee when she head Angel. She knew she should just walk in, not stand there like an idiot. It was just, once he started talking about Buffy, she couldn't bring herself to be part of that conversation. Heading back to the kitchen she sat at the table and lowered her head to her hands.
"You're an idiot Chase. You knew there was no way he'd ever be over her. You don't even rate as a friend. Like he can count on you."
The door opened and she quickly lifted her head and wiped at her face, rising from her seat to go to the fridge, get, something to keep herself busy.
Faith and Spike stopped and gave each other a look. Spike frowned but Faith elbowed him in the ribs.
"Hey Cor, we were just getting a drink. Worked up a sweat."
Cordelia poked her head up and frowned, closing the fridge door.
"Spike! You just woke up from a coma! What are you doing working up a sweat?"
He just gave a crooked smile.
"Let's jus' say I 'ad some stuff t' work out."
She smiled, assuming he meant not being able to beat up on the Council and walked over to give him a hug.
"Well take it easy for now okay? You worried me."
He wrapped an arm around her and let his face turn into her hair.
"Thought that was th' deal, cheerleader. We do the fightin' you do the worryin'."
Wesley and Angel had finished their discussion on how much they had all changed and headed into the kitchen to get Wesley his coffee and something for Angel. That was the scene they walked in on, Spike holding onto Cordelia and Faith munching on some chips. She smiled up at Wesley and Angel frowned staring at the two.
"So sorry to interrupt."
Cordelia pulled back and looked at him confused. Spike narrowed his eyes at Angel and tried not to growl. Instead he let his jaw tick.
"So, 'eard you took a li'l trip down mem'ry lane. So 'ow is th' slayer?"
Angel glared at him then glanced to Cordelia who was doing her best to not look at him, eyes on the ground.
"She's fine. I see you're feeling better."
"Tip top shape, mate."
Cordelia turned to go grab the mug she'd had and handed it to Wesley.
"Sorry, I had it ready but, heard you having a private conversation so thought I'd leave you two be."
She pasted on her best smile and headed to the fridge. Wesley took the mug then glanced to Angel.
"Er, yes well, Angel and I were just, updating each other."
Cordelia waved it off and got two mugs to heat up blood for Spike and Angel.
"Oh no worries, I understand. Got everything sorted out then?"
Angel and Spike were still glaring at each other and Wesley looked at Faith who just shook her head, she wasnt' getting involved. Wesley lifted an elbow to poke at Angel then sipped at his coffee. Angel jerked then slipped his hands into his pockets.
"Uh, yeah. Seems everything is fine. We haven't heard back from the Council. Sunnydale hasn't had a problem, hopefully it's the last we'll hear from them."
"Well that's good. Not that there's much we can count on these days."
She pulled out the mugs and handed them over. Angel started to sip at his and Spike looked down at his.
"Wha', no cinnamon?"
Cordelia smiled and grabbed it to sprinkle over his. Angel licked at his upper lip then looked over as Cordelia put the cinnamon back.
"Um, what about mine?"
"You know where it is. Listen if there's nothing else you guys need, I thought I'd head out early."
Spike smirked at Angel, and Wesley frowned.
"You, came in late today."
"Well, it's not like you guys need me for anything. Faith and Spike are sparring, I already got all the files taken care of, you and Angel are figuring out what to do about the Council and all of that. I get a vision I'll call."
She offered a smile and patted Wesley's arm on her way out of the kitchen. Angel frowned then turned to follow, Spike went to as well but Wesley grabbed his arm and shook his head.
"Give them a moment."
Spike was obviously not happy about it, but went back to his blood and took a seat.
Angel set the mug down on the counter by the office as Cordelia headed off to get her purse and head out.
"Cor. Is everything all right?"
She paused as she was putting on her jacket, as if thinking it over. Finally she pulled it on and sighed.
"Look, I get it. This, never ending thing with Buffy. And you two, are going to do this back and forth thing over and over and we're here to pick up the pieces. Not that you notice. After all, you have no one to count on."
He winced at that, she'd been listening.
"That's not what I meant."
She held up her hand and shook her head.
"No, don't. Okay? Like I said, I get it. And normally, I'd be right there to try and pull you out of that Buffy-funk. I just, can't. Not right now, please?"
She closed her eyes and shook her head. Angel didn't know what to say, so just lowered his head and said nothing. It was an old habit and one that typically worked. Mostly because she didn't let him get away with it. She pulled him out of it, she made him talk, made him smile again. This time, she couldn't help him, and he wasn't sure how to help her. She opened her eyes to find him not even looking at her and she gave a very short dry laugh and pulled her purse over her shoulder.
"You don't see it. You don't see that we're here. That we're always here. Faith, Wesley, even Spike. We're here for you. But you can't see past your Buffy fog. Our entire lives revolve around this, around you and what you're fighting for, and you just, take it for granted. I'm sorry I just, need to go. I'll be back tomorrow."
He nodded, but still didn't look up and she sighed, rolling her eyes. Walked back over to him she reached up and touched his chin, giving him a smile.
"Hey, come on. You were brooding long before I showed up, and you'll be brooding over her long after I leave. I'm giving you a pass for one night. So get it out of your system. It's back to work tomorrow. Okay?"
He tried to answer her smile with one of his own.
She nodded as if satisfied.
"Good. Get some rest. Tell Wes I won't be late tomorrow. I know he's just itching to dock my pay or something for today as it is."
She paused again, staring at him then shook herself out of it and headed for the door.
"Right, well, see you tomorrow then!"
Angel stared after her wondering why he wasn't convinced things were fine. He didn't hear the others come up behind him. Wesley cleared his throat to give him a warning but he didn't turn.
"She said she'd be in on time tomorrow Wes."
"Did ya tell 'er, poof?"
Angel frowned and turned to look at him.
"Tell her what?"
"Gods, you are an arse! You let 'er leave thinkin' you're still in love wit' th' slayer!"
"Shut up Spike."
Angel went to walk past him and Wesley stared open mouthed. Faith was the one to jump after him and grab his arm.
"Hold up there! So he's right? You're in love with Cordelia? And you're over Buffy?"
Angel stopped and looked at her hand on his arm then up at her, and over to Wesley.
"It doesn't matter."
"Angel, I think, to Cordelia, it may."
Angel glanced to the door again then shook his head.
"Not anymore it doesn't. She overheard us talking. About, not having someone to count on."
Faith had let her hand slip from his arm as she looked between Wesley and Angel. Wesley nodded and Angel left, heading to the office and closing the door. He sighed and when he didnt' say anything Spike growled and headed to the basement. Faith crossed her arms over her chest and stared at him. Wesley smiled sadly.
"It's for the best. For everyone."
The next day was made painfully normal. And the day after that, and the day after that. It took less than a week for things to go back to the routine they were all used to. Oh there were a few small changes. Wesley and Faith mostly. Spike took every opportunity to tease the two, and while watching Wesley fumble or blush was entertaining, Faith was more direct and he had let up a little just to keep from getting hit. Angel had attempted to talk to Cordelia a few times, but she had mastered diversion and would just wave him off with a blithe answer and stating they were fine.
So things were fine, even if Spike had shaken his head and mentioned that Angel had lost his chance. Even if Angel was starting to believe him. They had a walk in case, and even had Lorne come in to ask for help with his brother. No visions for a few days but they were busy, thankfully. So while life was getting back to normal, it was no surprise that a package came for Wesley. He'd been ordering books for awhile. The surprise was in his face as he read the letter and sunk to the sofa. Spike noticed first and poked at Faith.
"What's up there, watcher? Look like someone ran o'er your dog."
Faith frowned and got up to come over and sit next to him.
"So what is it?"
Wesley looked up at her.
"It's the Council."
Cordelia headed out of the office and stopped, seeing their faces. She glanced back and gestured for Angel to come out. Angel looked around at the faces.
"So, what does the Council have to say?"
Wesley took off his glasses and shook his head confused.
"There was, some sort of problem. Inner workings and all. Robertson, the man that had come to ask us to keep in touch, he's dead."
"Not sure what that has to do with us."
Wesley frowned and looked at Cordelia.
"Well, not us, more, Cordelia."
"Me? What does it have to do with me?"
Wesley cleared his throat and stood back up to hand the letter to her.
"The package is also for you."
Cordelia glanced to Angel and then to the letter. She wasnt' sure what it had to do with her but she read it, and her face fell. She swallowed and quickly folded the letter.
"You read this?"
"It wasn't addressed to you."
"I, apologize. I saw the return address and knew it was from the Council. I hadn't expected. . . Cordelia, how did he know?"
Spike frowned and stood up as well.
"Know what? One o' you best be explainin' soon."
Angel crossed his arms over his chest.
"Spike's right. If it involves the Council then we need to know."
Wesley looked at Cordelia and she shook her head and went over to pick up the package.
"It's not about the Council, it has nothing to do with you. Drop it."
She turned on Wesley and pointed. Taking the package she headed for the door.
"I'm taking a few days off."
Everyone watched her just walk off then turn to look at Wesley who was rubbing a hand over his face.
"Angel, she doesn't want to discuss it."
Spike crossed his arms over his chest.
"Cheerleader left, so she's not. You are. Best give it t' us straight old man."
"What was in the letter Wes."
Wesley looked at Angel and sighed sitting back down and putting his head in his hands.
"Robertson had done some digging into Cordelia's medical records."
"What for? What the hell is he up to?"
He smiled sadly at Faith.
"Nothing, he's dead now. However by the tone of the letter, he'd discussed this with her prior."
Spike wasn't buying it, neither was Angel.
"So you're telling us that he had her permission to look into her medical records? For what?"
Wesley looked at Angel.
"To find a cure for the visions."
"So what? They figure they get rid o' the visions, they get rid o' the Powers an' got free reign wit' the slayer again?"
"No, actually, he kept it from the Council."
"The visions, are killing her."