I knew they would show up in my life again. It's inevitable, just like the promise this guy's wife is going to give him after he gets home tonight.

Just like I knew they would get in touch, I know that something big was coming – big and bad. It's been heading this way for a while, but never did I get any sense of urgency from anyone until tonight. And, of course, it had to be Angel and crew.

Not that I don't love Angelcakes, to be sure, but anytime they're involved, something ends up happening. My club gets ruined, my life is threatened by a gang of demon-killing idiots, Angel goes beige, Wesley gets shot, a horde of lawyers swarms the club, a love-sick genius almost freezes the world in time, a beast shows up from Pylea, followed by my cousin from Pylea, I have to go back to Pylea, I end up getting my head cut off in Pylea… Are you catching my drift? Not good.

But tonight, even over the phone, I can tell from Wesley's voice that help is needed. With no information needed, I cut off the current "rendition" of Cher's 'Believe' and tell Wesley that I'll be there in half an hour. Anything for the Princess.

Once I get to the Princess' apartment, Wesley and Dennis meet me at the door. Having heard of but never met the ghost myself, I can only watch in fascination as a wind flutters around Cordelia, seemingly frustrated.

"Dennis, what's got you so gray?" I ask the air once I had settled in the bedroom, Wesley having gone into the kitchen after locking the door behind me.

"Don't you mean 'blue'?" Cordelia asked in her blunt way, her voice raspy and harsh.

"Not really – there's an entire gray aura around the apartment. There are traces all over, but most of the pulsing is coming from right about there." I pointed to an area hovering above her head.

Seemingly satisfied with my answer, Cordelia went about settling further into her numerous pillows. As she did, a piece of paper drifted toward me, reading 'I can't do anything. She won't let me.' No wonder Dennis was frustrated.

"Alright, Lorne – I did ask you here for a reason, I promise," Wesley said as he walked into the room with a glass of water, which he handed to Cordelia.

"From what you said on the phone, I assume this has to do with the…physical appearance…of the Princess?" Sure, I noticed when I walked in, but I could tell it wasn't something Cordelia wanted to talk about.

"Yes, well. We are doing what we can to figure out why the visions are affecting Cordy this way. At the moment, Angel is working on retrieving a key we believe is significant to finding the answer. However, I thought that perhaps you would be able to help us work out exactly why the visions are causing this to happen."

For Wesley, I could tell that he was baffled, and that his books had gotten him nowhere. For her part, Cordelia appeared annoyed and a tad bit afraid, but she hid it well. Wesley, on the other hand, didn't hide his fear well enough.

"I don't want people, demon or human, poking in my head. It's just one more thing that will add to tonight's misery, so no, thank you."

"Princess, if you decide to do this, you shouldn't even feel a thing. You'll be lying there, thinking of the newest chick flick sensation, and then it'll be over."


Oh, yeah. She's definitely scared.

"Cordelia, if it will help to…" Wesley started.


"Princess, why don't you tell me what happened? Start from the beginning."

While she told me the happenings of this morning, I was trying to see if there was something I could use to change her mind. As she was speaking, Wesley took the now empty glass of water from Cordelia and took it out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. As he was heading back, there was a knock at the door, a few seconds after which, Angel walked in.

"Ah – his royal badness. Just in time. Would you talk to this young lady? She's resisting the process." I could tell Wesley would soon be oblivious to the world as he studied the artifact that Angel had retrieved.

"Process? What's-?" Leave it to the stud to be suspicious of everything when the Princess is involved.

Wesley quickly looked up at Angel, having realized that he was being addressed. "Oh, my idea. The Host reads people's auras to set them on their path." Previous knowledge. "In some shape or form, that connects him to the Powers That Be. I'm thinking–"

"Sure, he might be able to reverse the process. That he might be able to use Cordelia in order to trace the calls back to the Powers."

"Way outside my area of expertise, I should caution. But, hey, who knew William Shatner could sing?" I chuckled a bit, and received a glare from Cordelia for my trouble, and conceded. "Okay, bad example." With that, I got up and let Angel work his magic.

At Cordelia's comment about my "quick looky-loo" into her subconscious, I had to give her that point. To a human, it would seem a little daunting.

Then, she spouted off this nonsense about the group not needing her if she lost the visions. Obviously, whatever was happening to her now was affecting her sight, as well. If she couldn't tell that our resident Champion thoroughly depended on her, then she was blind. That hunk of Kyerumption-riddled Champion was lost without her, as demonstrated by the Beige Period.

Of course, even though he was hopelessly lost without her, that didn't mean he was smart about expressing it.

"That's not why I need you. You're important." Good start. "The visions are just after-market extras like a Hurst shifter or Krager wheels." And there's the sudden stop after the ridiculously long fall.

After another soft interaction, I took Angel's spot next to Cordelia.

"All right, Princess. Like I told you earlier, you shouldn't even feel a thing. You ready?" With a sigh, Cordelia closed her eyes and nodded. I could feel the eyes of Angel, Wesley, and Dennis on the pair of us, and simply brushed it aside. I knew they were worried.

With my fingers on her temples, I closed my own eyes. "Now. I want you to relax. Picture yourself outdoors…in a field or on a mountain."

"I like the mountains." Cordelia said, and I could tell she was smiling. I knew she would like the mountains.

"Beautiful. You're on a mountaintop and it's warm…the sky is blue, full of big, fluffy clouds. You're Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music." I love that movie. "And you're relaxed and you're spinning and camera's swirling–"

A jolt brings me out of my daydream, and I remember where I am. Oops.

"Ow! Careful, honey. You got some power of your own." They'd get that in a few weeks. Of course for the moment, it's a little disconcerting.

"Sorry. All that spinning and swirling was freaking me out."

I turned to explain, much to the annoyance of Angel and the disbelief of Wesley. "My fault. My fault. I just love that movie so much." Didn't I just say that? "Okay. Ready to try again?" With a nod from Cordelia, I went on, "All right, now let's go looking for the Powers That Be. Let's see if we can reach out and touch someone."

At first, it all seemed normal – no reason to suspect anything. Generally, that just means that whatever it is, is that much bigger and that much badder.

I could tell that the two visions before this were painful – the first more than the second. Gashes in skin, boils on flesh – none of it pointed to the Powers That Be. Several more flashes occurred, and I got all I needed to know.

The first sizzle popped, and then another. Like a lightning storm in a dry desert, every bit of energy she had was radiating from the Princess: heat, fire, and pure electricity.

Or so it seemed.

I tried to keep my fingers on her temples, but then, with the overload of scorching vitality that was pouring from this one vision, I flew backward and everything went dark.

With the fuzzy softness of a warm terrycloth bathrobe, I came back to the land of the semi-fully aware. With Gunn, Fred, and Wesley around me, I could only assume that the Champion was in with the Princess.

With everyone's questioning faces around me, I could only tell them what I tell them: the visions are frauds. Through the celestial pipeline, yes, but this pipeline led back to nothing but a rat. In between the flashes of fire from the Cordelia, I could recognize that the source of the visions was a masquerade of the original, and in fact, had nothing to do with the Powers That Be.

All I knew for absolute certain was that this thing, whatever it was, led to nothing but badness.

Disclaimer: The author claims no ownership of anything publicly recognizable to the Angel franchise. No monetary profit is garnered and no copyright infringement is intended.

A/N: Hi, everybody. :) This just popped in my head – I had no idea that it would be as long as it is, but I'm glad that it got written. There are very few things that are as frustrating as a story idea that escapes you.

If you have a minute, please let me know what you thought. This is so different from what I usually write, so any feedback you can give me would be so helpful. :)

A/N - May 2013: Hi. :) This has been posted for a while, and I'm proud of it. However, it's very difficult to be proud in something that no one else seems to like. If you could let me know what you're thinking, be it critical or praising, I would love it. I can't grow and improve if someone doesn't tell me what I need to improve on. Thanks :) musicnlyrics