Pairings: B/Aus, C/A implied
Feedback: Please. Constructive criticism is always welcomed and appreciated.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with BtVS and AtS and no infringement is intended.
Distribution: Please ask and let me know where it's going.
Summary: Gunn confronts Angel regarding his behavior concerning Cordelia and Angelus plans confrontations of his own. Angel is shown somewhat OOC.
A/N1: AtS happened up to 'Habeas Corpses' in season 4 (I changed the timelines around a bit to make 'Awakening', 'Soulless' etc happen before 'Habeas Corpses'). BtVS happened up to 'Dirty Girls' in season 7. The story goes AU after that.
A/N2: I hope my portrayal of Gunn's grandmother does not offend anyone.
A/N3: Angelus' words are between double equals (== ==) and thoughts are in single quotes ('')
Charles Gunn had always discussed everything significant in his life with his grandmother, Rose. Actually she was his great-great-great-grandmother; all of the many cousins in his family called her Gram because that many 'greats' had been too much of a mouthful for the younger ones to say, so the name stuck.
He discussed these events with Gram every time he visited her at the nursing home where she was currently confined.
She was not always lucid these days, not since the death of his sister, Alonna, who was killed by vampires. When Gunn got to her room the day after Alonna's death, she already knew that her grand-daughter was gone. Alonna was her youngest grand-child and her favorite, "nex' ta you, Chuck" she would always say.
She was the only person in the family that called him Chuck; she had since he was born, because she said that he looked just like his great-great-great-grandpa, her late husband. "You look mo' and mo' lak yo' Gran'pa Chuck ever'day," she used to say.
Gunn still talked to his Gram, whether or not she was aware that he was there. It was something that he always felt good about doing and he would continue to do so.
She didn't mention her husband much anymore, not since Alonna … Gunn hated thinking about how his sister died and the fact that he had to dust the demon that had taken over his sister's body and was wearing her face.
When his grandmother was lucid, she seemed like the same wise old lady that he had always known, even though she was approaching a hundred and one years old; on good days her mind was as sharp as it ever was and Gunn enjoyed his talks with her.
He had told her about his first meeting with Angel, the details about Alonna's death and his current employment at Angel Investigations. She approved and she was happy that he had found people who were so dedicated to helping others. She did, however, caution him not to forget his friends.
Today was one of her better days; it was her husband's birthday. She seemed happy to remember, actually, she never forgot. A strange look came over her face; Gunn recognized the look. There was something important that she wanted to tell him.
"Gram, what's the matter? What's on your mind?"
"I need ta wa'n ya, Chuck; thangs ain't always de way dey seem ta be. You got ta be carefu', boy; dat thang dat come back hyeah may not be what lef hyeah."
"But Gram, if that's not Cordy, then who is it?"
"I don't know; could be some evil thang making itsef out to be yer frien'. It could be dat it jes needed ta have sex wit' a human beang ta giv' birf ta itsef or its evil masta, and it didn' matta who; dat boy, Conna, wuz jes handy."
"So this could be some big nasty trying to give birth to itself? Now that's just … nasty."
"You be carefu, Chuck; if dat thang ain't yo frien', den it is cleva and devus...and dangous," his grandmother cautioned again as Gunn gave her a goodbye kiss on the cheek.
Gunn thought about what his Gram had said as he drove to the Hyperion; he needed to talk to Angel, but when he got to the hotel, Wesley had just informed them that Connor was trapped in Wolfram & Hart and the beast was also there. At once everyone, except Lorne, reached for weapons to arm themselves.
As he headed for the door Angel said, "Cordelia, I don't want you there. It's too dangerous. Way too dangerous. I can't risk it." Without looking back he growled, "Fred, get a move on."
Gunn didn't like that one bit. "Why does Fred have to go? If it's too dangerous for Cordelia, why isn't it too dangerous for Fred? Cordelia is much stronger than Fred is."
"Cordelia is pregnant with my grandchild. She stays here where it is safe."
Remembering what his Gram had said, Gunn was really riled now because he said, "You don't know what she's pregnant with. You don't even know if it's human."
Angel almost growled at him when he barked, "How dare you. Both its parents are human, that makes it human. And whether it is or not, it is still my grandchild."
Gunn did not back down. "You don't know that either, Angel. Connor is human, yes, but you don't know what kind of demon Cordy is; hell, you don't even know if that really is Cordelia. How many human babies have you ever seen that grew that big within a week? We don't know what she's carrying, because we don't know what she is.
"Do you really think that the real Cordelia would have sex with Connor, when two weeks before he came back she was changing his diaper? Cordy wouldn't do that, and you know it."
Angel hesitated; what Gunn was saying made sense, but he was not ready to concede that Gunn was right. "Are you coming to help defend my son from this thing or not?"
"Of course I'm coming. I was fond of Connor two weeks ago when he was a baby, all of us were, and I'm fond him now. He's someone that needs help, isn't he? Besides he's your son.
"I would defend Connor to my last breath, but do not expect me for one minute to risk my life to defend that." He pointed to Cordelia's belly with disgust while glaring at Angel.
"Are you so hung up on Cordelia that you can't see what is right in front of your face?" He looked at Wes, Fred and Lorne. "And don't tell me that the rest of you haven't thought the same thing."
Without waiting for a reply Gunn picked up his homemade hubcap weapon and headed for the door. The others, including Angel and Fred, followed him out.
When they returned to the hotel, Angel threw his sword on the table, proceeded to his office and closed the door. Gunn and the others cleaned their weapons; Gunn also cleaned Angel's sword, returned it to its place in the weapons cabinet and headed toward Angel's office.
As he passed Fred he heard her call his name. He paused briefly, but he didn't say anything; he proceeded to Angel's office, knocked on the door and entered when Angel called out "Come in."
"We need to talk, Angel, this time without shouting."
Angel looked up; he was expecting no less from Gunn. "Go ahead, say what you have to say."
"We need to find out two things: one," he raised his right thumb, "we need to find out if that is the real Cordelia and if it's not who, or what, it is and two," his right index finger joined his thumb, "what it is that she, or it, is carrying." He paused briefly before continuing. "And Angel, we need to do it now, before whatever she's carrying is born."
Angel admitted to himself that Gunn was right, he just didn't know what to do about it. "How do we do that, Gunn? How do we tell if that is the real Cordy or some imposter?"
"The same way we can tell it is you and not Angelus, by your behavior. Angelus is a demon and he cannot maintain a civilized front long enough to save his own neck; you, on the other hand, are a civilized being; you can only play the demon for so long and you know it. If Wes can't find out, then I say we contact the slayer's watcher and ask for his help."
Gunn turned around and headed for the door just as Angel called out, "Gunn..."
Gunn paused and looked over his shoulder at Angel.
"Thanks…for speaking up when no one else would."
Gunn nodded his acknowledgment and continued out the door, closing it behind him.
"Everything all right?" Fred asked.
Gunn's only reply was, "Yeah. Fine."
After what seemed like endless research and being no closer to an answer than they were before they started, the group (minus Cordelia and Connor) decided Angel should contact Giles, the slayer's watcher in Sunnydale.
Angel called Sunnydale and Buffy answered the phone; when he asked for Giles, he was told that Giles was currently away. He updated Buffy on what was going on and told her why they needed Giles. She told him about the 'hitch hiker' that she brought back and suggested a possible reveal spell. "If that doesn't work there is a stronger spell that you could use, but I hope it doesn't come to that."
Then when Buffy asked if there was anything she could do to help, his reply was, "What are you, a witch now? We don't need you to beat up anybody, Buffy; we need Giles' help."
Lorne overheard the conversation and when Angel hung up the phone, Lorne said, "You really know how to win friends and influence people, don't you?"
"Don't start with me, Lorne; I have too much on my mind to deal with Buffy or you right now." As he walked off he heard Lorne say -
"At the rate you're going, Angelcakes, you're not going to have any friends to worry about dealing with."
Angel realized he had gone too far and turned to apologize, but Lorne was not there.
Two days later when Giles returned Angel's call, Lorne answered the phone and passed the receiver over to Angel without a word. Angel updated Giles on what was happening in LA, starting with Connor's birth and ending with the current situation with Cordelia.
Giles' first suggestion was that Cordelia might have brought back a 'hitch hiker' or she might have been completely taken over. He recommended a reveal spell that would tell him if the former was true and told him what to do if that was the case. If that did not work, Giles suggested a second spell.
"I must warn you, Angel, you must be prepared; this second spell may be dangerous. The demon will not want to be revealed and may become violent if forced to reveal itself."
"Giles did Buffy tell you anything about our conversation earlier?"
"No, she just said that you wanted me to call. She seemed a bit upset about something, but she didn't say anything else and I didn't ask. Why?"
"I'm afraid I owe her an apology for something that I said to her."
"Buffy has grown quite a bit during the time that I was away from Sunnydale. She's not a young girl anymore. You might want to remember that if you speak with her again."
When Angel didn't say anything after he hung up the phone, the others wanted to know what the watcher had said. Before he could reply, Lorne interrupted him with, "He told you the same thing the slayer told you, am I right?"
Angel then turned to Lorne and started to apologize, but was interrupted when the green demon told him, "I'm not the one that deserves an apology, Angelcakes; it seems to me that the slayer is the one that you owe an apology." He left the room leaving Angel to think over what he said and the others wondering what was going on.
Angel walked into his office and closed the door. 'What in hell is the matter with me? Giles offered the same suggestions that Buffy did two days ago and I readily accept Giles' advice while I disregard advice from Buffy. Why did I refuse to see merit in her suggestions?'
==Because you're a fucking idiot== came Angelus' voice from within him.
'Where've you been? I haven't heard from you in days.'
==Oh I've been here, listening and observing. Gunn is right, you know; that's not the real Cordelia. Couldn't you even smell that she was pregnant before she let you know it? Are you so blind that you just see what you want to see?==
'What do you mean? I don't know what you're talking about?'
==Fine; you figure it out, but if you ever disrespect my mate again, I will make you sorely regret it; you know I can.==
'You still consider her your mate? Have you forgotten that she had sex with Spike, your grandchilde?'
==Have you forgotten that you're pining over a demon bitch that had sex with your son?==
Angel blanched, becoming even more pale, if that was possible. When he didn't reply, Angelus continued.
==Of course she's still my mate and I haven't forgotten anything. They will both pay for that little indiscretion, especially William. He knew what the mark meant and he deliberately disregarded it. For that he will pay dearly.==
'How do you plan on doing that? I'm not letting you out.'
This time it was Angelus who didn't answer, but to himself he thought,
=='You don't have to let me out; thanks to your buddy, Wesley, I know the spell to get out on my own and when I decide to do so, there will be nothing you can do to stop me and this time your soul won't be going into a Muo-Ping. I just have to wait for the right moment. Then, my lovely, Buff, I shall teach you, very painfully, the meaning of my mark that you wear.'==
End of Chapter 1