Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Bones. All rights remain. Written for fun, not profit.
Author's notes: Set directly before the pilot to Bones. Post series for Angel.
It wasn't a pretty sight, a grown man, usually oozing with confidence and power, obviously flustered by some unseen problem. He stared at his cell phone, grimacing at its cover, then pulled it away from his face, the muscles beneath his crisp black suit jacket tense, as if he was prepared to chunk it. Only he stopped himself mid-throw, and sighed.
He'd been pacing circles in the concrete sidewalk outside The Royal Diner for ten minutes, obviously arguing with himself. Sometimes aloud, which caused exiting patrons to give him a raised brow. (A silent question, which he answered with a slight growl that left them scurrying away.)
"She won't take my calls, so why should I even bother," he muttered. Then he pocketed the phone, crossing his arms over his chest defensively.
Cordelia could take no more. Obviously, Special Agent Seeley Booth was going to require a nudge in the right direction. She shook her head and stood up from the metal bench where she'd been sitting, legs crossed as she watched the scene unfold.
She approached from the side and gave him one tap on the arm. He turned, not at all startled, despite the fact that his mind was obviously elsewhere. That made her smile. Some things really never changed, did they?
"Yes," he said, trying to bite down his sharp tone. Mainly because he'd been raised better that to snap at a strange woman.
He blinked, taking her in, and yeah, even after all this time, Cordelia was a bit pleased to find his eyes might have lingered in casual approval over her opened top button and the hug of her pencil skirt. Ah, old times…She gave one more shake of her head, reminiscing before she remembered why she was here in the first place, and why, this time, Seeley actually needed to see her.
"Okay, I can feel a serious brood coming on, so I'll stop you while you're ahead—after all, you can get wrinkles these days, and smile crinkles are so much cuter on that handsome mug of yours than frown lines."
"What?" He paused, shook his head, and then, as if he hadn't gotten his point across, "What?"
Cordelia rolled her eyes. "The why isn't going to make sense in this case, so I'm just going to come out and give you a piece of advice, and you need to take it. Understood?"
Suspicion darkened his gaze. "Who do you work for?"
"Oh, you know, people in Power, but that's not important." She waved the comment aside. "What is important is that you're about to give up on her."
Seeley blinked but covered his surprise with a smirk. "What are you supposed to be, a sidewalk psychic? Save us both some time and paperwork, lady, and move along. I'm a federal agent, not a mark."
Cordelia bit down her smile. "Nope, not a psychic. Think of me as more of a spiritual adviser. And, my advice is simple—don't walk away from this. You know how to get her on your side. Do whatever is necessary. Once she trusts you, her loyalty will be without sway."
"Does that come with a fortune cookie?" Seeley asked. But his face flushed with color, as if he'd just been exposed in public. And maybe he had.
"Ha-ha, you're hilarious," she deadpanned, and then reached out, touching his arm lightly. He was tense underneath the jacket. Fear was present, even if it never showed on his face. "Just go with me on this, alright? Your destiny is going to take place, no matter what happens today, but if you're serious about this redemption thing, you're going to need Temperance's help."
"How do you know, Bones—"
Cordelia stepped past him, not letting him finish the question. Before he could turn his head, she disappeared from sight, leaving him dazed and staring at the open space behind him, where she should be standing. The shock on his face stayed in place for several minutes. Cordelia could see it in his eyes, every explanation in the book rolling through his head as he tried come to terms with what had just happened.
It was a funny coincidence that he settled on calling her an angel, in his head at least. It was no coincidence at all, but simple planning, that he turned her appearance into the rock-solid foundation of his faith. Not all men knew their destinies, but Seeley Booth did, both in this life, and in the last.
His path to redemption could not be detoured—some things, the important things, never changed.
He pulled his cell phone free again, making a quick call. "Hey, man—listen, I need to put in a Hold for Questioning request to Homeland Security… Dr. Temperance Brennan—yeah, I know she's won't like it, but…"
Cordelia smiled from afar. "That's my guy," she said, softly.