Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Angel, and Buffy the series.
Synopsis: This is the fourth story in the Soul series I am working on. In order the stories are The Price of a Soul, The Judging of a Soul, and, The Weight of a Soul. After a decision to save Cordelia from the visions put her in a coma she had to earn back her seer status by helping Angel on a mental journey. His soul in tact now, he fires her from A.I. and while the gang try to make sense of it, Cordelia's kidnapped from her home in order to fulfill a destiny in another dimension.
Cordelia woke with a groan. Her head was killing her. She'd been dragged, literally kicking and screaming, out of her home, her dimension! Then she was shoved into a castle dungeon for some freaky demon like guys in robes to come and put her through some 'tests'. The thing was, they all looked sort of like Lorne, so she figured they were that kind of demon, but not one was anything at all like The Host. The tests were horrible. She didn't understand them at first, then when the visions came, she got it. They wanted her visions, wanted to get to Angel, it was always something to do with the visions. When she'd finally passed out her last thought had been that she was going to start getting tired of this whole only being the messenger thing. She'd also have to tell these guys that there was no way she was going to help them get to Angel or the others.
Waking up she had to take a moment to realize where she was. It most definitely was not a dungeon. It was exactly the kind of room you thought of when you thought castle. It was, well opulent was the word. She pushed up to her elbows and glanced down. She was on a huge four poster bed, a dark blue velvet cover under her hands. Before she could get up and start looking around the door opened and a few human women with weird collars came in, heads bowed.
"Greetings Princess. We are here to run your bath and dress you."
Cordelia blinked. Princess? The women moved then, one to a room just off the side and she heard water. Then another moved to an old armoire and pulled out some very sparkly clothing and a crown!
"I'm dead. I'm dead and this is where I end up?"
Lorne had not been very forthcoming. All they'd learned was that you needed a spell and a hot spot. He tried to dissuade them, explaining how horrible his home dimension was, but that only upset them more and spurred them on in their need to find her. By the time they got to the Hyperion Wesley went straight for his books, Spike and Faith went to the phone. They needed a lead. They needed someone capable of magic. They needed to find a hot spot. So the few witches they had run into were called but after only making a few calls they both turned to the office with a frown. It sounded like someone was just tossing books aside. With a nod the two of them walked into the office to find they weren't far off. Wesley was frowning and looking through books, tossing them to the desk and then going through them again. Faith looked at Spike who shrugged. Finally she stepped inside.
"Hey Wes, um, what are you doing?"
With a sigh he ran a hand through his hair.
"I'm missing books. They were here I know last night. The book on portal spells and. . . "
He frowned and glanced to the door then started to exit the office. Spike moved out of the way and both he and Faith followed him up the stairs to Angel's room. With a frown Spike peeked in after Wes as he started looking through Angel's room.
"Oi! Ya think the poof took 'em? What would he want wit' 'em?"
Wes shook his head then looked at the open book on the bed, picking it up.
"Most likely the same thing we do. He already knew where to find her."
He answered tersely and handed to book to Spike as he walked out. Spike and Faith glanced to each other and Spike looked over the book he was handed. His face darkened and he looked up to find Faith and Wesley already grabbing coats and weapons. He rushed down after them.
"Hold on! Angel knew an' didn' say nuttin! I'm gonna kill him."
Folding the book closed he grabbed his own weapon of choice. Wesley's face was pinched as he grabbed keys and headed out. faith snorted and nodded at his back.
"Think you're going to have to get in line."
Cordelia couldn't remember the last time she was pampered! Not that she was at all comfortable with these women doing everything. A little creepy to have people bathe you so she asked to soak by herself. Hot water, some flower petals that were not roses but not something she recognized, and fragrant oils. She just soaked until the water went cool and she was shivering. Thankfully, the weather here was a lot like back home. Otherwise she'd be freezing in this outfit! In a two piece gown of sorts in silver and gold cording, skirt slip up the sides she had to think that they knew a bit more about her than just her visions.
Once she was 'properly attired' she was taken to a throne room where it was explained to her by those robey freaks what the test was for. Seemed the kingdom had been waiting for a 'cow' with visions. She wasn't exactly thrilled with the cow part, and more than a little unhappy that other humans were led into slavery. Much to their dismay that was the first order of business. She barely heard them talk about the feasting and tournament thing where the undefeated Groosalug was going to prove his worth to her. She probably should have paid attention as they talked about her wedding and 'comshucking' after wards. Instead she relaxed into being pampered and fed and signed into law her first order.
Angel had moved every table off to the side, piled the chairs away and still Lorne sat at the bar shaking his head. He'd been insistent that he was in no way shape or form going back and there was no way he was opening some portal in the middle of his club! Angel stood in the cleared out space, a glower on his face and an open tome in his hands.
"Lorne, read it."
His words were clipped and The Host winced, downing the last of his drink he stood up and put hands up defensively again.
"I'd love to help you out, Champ, honest I would!"
"Then read it! If you won't help me then at least send me there!"
"I told you, Angelcakes, I don't even know what that writing is let alone be able to open it or say some spell!"
It was an argument that had been ongoing, but Angel refused to believe him. After all, Lorne had gotten here right? He growled and went to take a step towards the green songster when a familiar voice stopped him.
"I can read it. Of course you knew that. As it was my book you stole."
Lorne's brow furrowed at the dejected look on Angel's face. The slow close of eyes before he turned to see Wesley standing there arms crossed. Spike and Faith flanking him and both looking ready to tear him apart. Weapons were in the car, they knew the rules and there would be no violence inside of the club. They'd just wait until Angel left. For his part he straightened his shoulders and lifted his chin, not showing a bit of chagrin.
"I borrowed it. I planned on dropping it before I went through so you would still have it."
Wesley raised a brow and walked over taking the book from him.
"Really? And how were you planning on getting back then?"
Angel's mouth opened and closed, he hadn't realized he needed it to get back. Faith shook her head and walked over to Wes, while Spike snorted.
"Really thought it through, yeah Poof? Wha' you wanna go for anyway?"
Faith peered over Wes' shoulder.
"Will it work?"
"It will. We'll need to be together though."
Spike nodded and walked to the couple.
"Righ' let's do this then."
Angel shoved his hands into his duster and stepped closer, all eyes raised and looked at him so he stopped. Wesley was the first one to speak.
"And, what do you think you are doing?"
"Like hell you are."
Angel started a low growl and Wesley shut the book with a snap.
"You turned her away, and we tried to respect your decision even though no one agreed with it, but once we knew she was taken you refused to work with us."
"Right, so why should we work with you?"
Faith added, crossing her arms over her chest. Angel snarled and Spike stepped forward in warning. It was Lorne that cleared his throat and Angel glanced to him then back at the others and his face fell, his eyes fallen to the ground.
"It's my fault, she's gone. It's my fault she got the visions, that she's dying. I know this. I knew, it was a mistake, firing her. I knew as soon as she left the hotel."
They all looked at each other, Spike was not impressed, but Faith shook her head.
"So why didn't you do anything about it?"
"What was I supposed to do? When she left she told me, it -"
Faith's face softened.
"She totally forgave you before she left didn't she?"
Angel nodded and finally raised his head to look at her. Wesley sighed and then opened the book again.
"All right, let's all gather around then."
Angel hesitated only a moment before stepping over to them. Faith offered a small smile and Spike shook his head. Angel shot him a look and he glanced at his sire.
"Still not gettin' it are you? Makes 'er own decisions, yeah? Visions are hers, not 'cause o' you. Can' take credit for 'em, or for what they do to 'er."
Angel frowned, not sure he could let go of that guilt. He didn't have long to think on it, as Wesley spoke the words and the portal opened, sucking them all inside.
A/N: Well here it comes! Then next chapter in our fave team! I do have an announcement. It seems one of my fans (isn't that the weirdest thing to say!) has asked for permission to start a fan site. No not for me, for Angel! Part of the fan site will be a cooperative writing of an alternate season based on these ideas. Episode by episode. She's working on it now but needs help. Staff interested in helping with the fan stuff, the writing stuff and graphics areas. So if any of you readers are interested or talented in the whole forums, writing or graphics stuff send me a note and I'll get you her contact info! I can't wait to see this place!