Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon and Angel the series.
Synopsis: Angel and his crew have all moved on from their former lives and onto this new path, but when presented another chance will they follow their destinies or take the chance to try again at a life Unfettered? Takes place in season 2.
A/N: My first new story in awhile! I am still looking for a Beta Reader or two to take me on for new work and updates on the old stuff. I'll be reposting things as they get done, I really hope you all enjoy both the new stuff and the old stories that are expanding! Reviews are love, but no I am not taking requests. Co writing is fine but I don't write other people's stories, so if you have an idea you want to see up here, go for it! Write it yourself! You'll be glad you did!
They had finally gotten settled, into some sort of routine that had the Hyperion feeling like home. Oh Wes still had his apartment, he needed that bit of privacy. Cordy still had hers and was just too happy to have it to herself to think about giving it up. It was rent controlled! Not to mention it came with a nasty ghost they had to get rid of and a more friendly ghost that made for good company and an even better confidant.
Still the Hyperion had it's own life now. Gunn had become not just a trusted team member but family. So the day was a typical one, if you could call it that. Cordy arrived first, checking messages getting coffee started. By the time Wes came in she had files ready for him and his mug of coffee. He sat at the desk already at work by the time Gunn arrived. With a smile Cordy took an offered doughnut and with minimal conversation he got Wesley's attention so he could get his usual bear claw. They worked well together, were comfortable with each other. So much so that when Angel came down Cordy was already handing him his mug of warmed blood, watching his face to see that nod when he tasted and approved of the additional spices. With a grin she went to work at the computer while Gunn played the video game he'd brought to the lobby and Wes gave a nod of greeting, before he sunk back into his books and notes.
The day would have proved to be another slow day if it weren't for reflexes, and visions. Angel was leaned over the desk companionably discussing the text in question with Wes when his head snapped up and he ran for the kitchen. He was always the first, all right well second, to know when a vision was coming. It was as if they scorched the air as they hit and only his enhanced senses could pick it up. Of course as soon as he moved the others followed. She had gotten out half a scream and this time, she almost hit a stool. Angel had her in his arms and headed back to the lobby. To lay her on a couch. Wordlessly, but with panic and fear still riding them, Wes and Gunn got her purse and some water for her.
Angel brushed the hair from her face and held her head up as it ended and she reached for the pills and water. No one asked always waited for her to gather herself first. She wiped at the escaped tears, which were not for the victim or the pain this time. Gunn went to hand over a pad of paper and a pen, and she shook her head regretting it instantly she groaned and rubbed at her forehead. Raising her eyes to Wes first his worry compounded with that look. Finally she covered Angel's hand with her own.
"It's Sunnydale. It's Buffy."
Less than an hour later and Angel was in his room packing. Gunn was sitting on the desk watching Cordelia and Wes, still trying to figure it all out. Cordelia on the other hand felt she understood all too well. Grabbing the files she'd organized she handed them to Wes who frowned.
"I still don't understand why we don't simply call. Buffy may only need a warning. If she does require assistance we should all go."
Cordelia had turned off her computer and grabbed her purse. She stopped at the door and looked back at Wes. Her eyes showed the pain from a vision not yet gone and more, perhaps disappointment.
"He's going because it's Buffy. We aren't going because we've never belonged there. Or been welcome."
She headed out to the lobby and Wes shared a look with Gunn before the two followed her out.
"So where you goin' Barbie?"
"Home. Looks like we just got the week off. If not fired. Oh have fun with Mrs. Meyers!"
Wes glanced down to the files and when he glanced back up she was gone. With a sigh he started to the front lobby desk and looked through the Meyers file. Gunn rubbed the back of his neck and followed. Feeling decidedly out of the loop he waited for Wes to look back up, acknowledge his presence. When that didn't happen Gunn walked up to the desk and put his hands flat on the surface leaning forward.
"Somethin' you wanna share?"
Wes closed his eyes and put down the pen. In a movement that would have been all too familiar to Angel or Cordy, but to Gunn was completely Wes, he took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"We have told you, of course, about Buffy and Angel's past?"
He waited for the nod and then continued, with a rather sad and distant smile.
"Cordelia was already there when I arrived. She was never truly a part of the group, and honestly neither was I. She stayed, however, helping in any way she could. Often putting herself in peril. Yet she wasn't really an accepted friend of Buffy's. They, well we, didn't really know her. I believe we were all content to believe she was simply a shallow and spoiled girl that hung around for her own safety."
Gunn snorted and stood straight, arms folding across his chest. His own chagrin showing on his face. He had thought pretty much the same thing when he met her. Even thought it more annoying then anything when she tried to protect him. Looking back he could see how that was so much more brave then what he was used to. While at the time he thought her just a spoiled, rich white girl, trying to play at what he and his friends had no choice in. The fight for survival. It took time to figure out that while they didnt' have a chance to run from that life, she did, and yet she chose to fight. There was a respect he had for that which he never really voiced, but in the small friendly barbs he and Cordelia would trade.
"Yeah well, she doesn't exactly try to hide that spoiled white girl thing."
Wesley smiled and nodded. The truth was, when he first arrived he was so sure of himself, so full of himself really. He thought all his training and learning put him ahead of the curve instead of dangerously behind.
"Yes well, I do believe there are still some hard feelings there, and perhaps it is better for Angel to go alone."
"You think she'd be scared to go back? "
"Well, perhaps not scared, Cordelia has changed quite a bit since then, we all have. It may just be a matter of them not noticing and not seeing the woman she has become."
Gunn made a dismissive sound, he couldn't see how anyone couldn't see how much she grew up, he had, and he hadn't even known her that long.
"Yeah well, if we need to head out and give our boy some back up, they better recognize, cause no one disrespects my crew."
Angel had packed the duffle bag, grabbed his favorite throwing axe and headed back downstairs just as the two were finishing up their conversation. Setting things down on the red sofa he turned around looking for something.
"Something going on? If there's a problem I can stay, you know, if you need me to."
Wesley stood up and grabbed his glasses, placing them back onto his face. With an overly confident smile he shook his head.
"Er, no, no just the one call so far and I'm sure we can handle it. Of course, if you'd rather not see her, I'm sure I can give Giles a call."
Angel stopped his looking around and snapped back to Wesley.
"What? No! I mean, I can handle it. I mean it's not like we don't talk. We talk, you know. Me and Buffy. Well, there was the whole Faith thing and her new boyfriend. So, it's just, work. Where's Cor?"
A slightly uncomfortable look was shared before Gunn shrugged.
"Barbie went home. Said she's takin' the week off."
It was hard to miss the look of disappointment that ran across Angel's face but he nodded and grabbed his things to head out through the back and to the car.
"Yeah, after that nest, feel free to take the week off too. She's feeling all right though right?"
"The vision took a lot out of her but that seems to be the norm for her, I'm sure she'll be fine and I'll check in with her tomorrow of course."
"Right, I'll call once I get to Sunnydale and keep you guys up to date."
With that Angel headed out while Wes and Gunn decided the best thing to do was make sure they were prepared for the nest extermination tomorrow.
Cordelia had gone straight home and as soon as she entered her apartment she called out for Dennis. Familiar with the routine and the pain she was still going through he quickly pulled the shades and started a hot bath. Tossing her purse to the side, Cordelia grabbed her pajamas and pulled her hair up, fastening it out of her face. Taking a few prescriptions she had stored in a box under her bed, she slipped into the hot bath and sighed. Her eyes drifted close and her head fell back into the bubbles. With her smile gone, her face lax, you could see the hollow of her cheeks, the gauntness her face had taken on. The almost bruise like bags under her eyes, and as she started to cry, candles were lit.
"It's okay Dennis. I'm, just going to miss it all. Believe it or not, I'm even going to miss the visions."
Her eyes opened and she sniffed, wiping at her face. She wasn't going to allow herself to wallow. She knew the futility of it and so only allowed herself the chance to really cry over things in private, and only for a scant few minutes. No need to waste your entire day on feeling sorry for yourself. With a sigh she gave a sad smile to the air around her.
"This time, the vision was over as soon as it started. I'm happy for them all, Dennis. I really am. Not everyone gets a second chance. Everything is going to change."
A/N: Cryptic enough? It's more a prelude I know, but trust me the story is just starting! And will start again and again!