It's late afternoon and the setting sun burns red onto the courtyard at the Hyperion. Inside it's business as usual, with Wesley and Fred in the office going through the files and organizing things while Cordelia sits by the front counter talking with Gunn as he polishes his axe. "It had a hard sort of caramel crystallized shell and was soft and smooth inside with.."
"Are you talking about a new demon?", Wesley interrupts, "Did you have a vision?"
"No, Creme Brulee." Cordelia corrects him with a smile, "I had some at lunch the other day with Valarie, Gunn's never had it so I was just explaining what's it's like."
Gunn walks over, "Sounds fatting and kinda girly to me."
"Well, I've always liked It.," says Wesley, completely oblivious to the smiles on Gunn and Cordelia's faces.
"It may have been fattening, and Angel made me do an extra fifty sit ups to burn it off, but it was worth it."
Wesley looks up from the file Fred has handed him, "Yes, how is your training with Angel going anyhow?"
"Really well, I'm feeling like a lean mean Butt-Kicking Machine!" Cordelia emphasizes the statement showing off her muscles like a body builder.
Fred smiles shyly as she pushes up her glasses, "They have kyrumption." They all turn to look at her with confusion across their faces, she just smiles and returns to reading her files. Cordelia looks back to Gunn, "One of these days I really need her to tell me what that word means."
"No, you really don't." Angel comes down the stairs, wearing his usual somber dark colors and a serious look on his face and carrying a mace and a couple daggers from upstairs. The look is ruined, however, by the baby pack strapped to his back, complete with gurgling baby boy. Cordelia walks quickly over to Angel, goes right past him to Connor, and starts to take him out of the harness as he giggles and grabs at her nose, "Look at you, your just the cutest little thing, yes you are, yes you are."
"The baby really ruins your menacing look there bro." Gunn gives a smile at Angel, who just rolls his eyes.
"I think it's nice that Angel is taking fatherhood so seriously." as Fred begins to play with Connor too.
Cordelia lays the baby down on the couch and starts to tickle the child's tummy, "I should bring you to my acting class, the girls would just go crazy for you." She turns towards the rest of the group, "Speaking of class, Valarie is coming by tomorrow and I would REALLY appreciate it if you could not ruin the only normal friendship I have left by speaking about demons or world ending prophies, please."
Angel sits on the couch across from her, and picks up Connor and places him on his lap facing his father, "I think I speak for all of us when I say we will do our best not to screw up Cordy." Angel raises the child to eye level, "And if we do we can distract her with a cute baby we just happen to have on hand."
Cordelia scoots over to play with the child by tickling Connor's feet while Angel makes goofy faces at him, while Gunn, and Wesley look on a bit disturbed. Angel looks up at their faces, "What?" Fred just smiles and wanders back behind the counter. Angel carries Connor back behind the counter, "Where did we put the diapers?" Fred takes the child, "Here let me do that." and carries Connor over to the small makeshift-changing table in the corner. "Thanks Fred."
Cordelia walks up to the counter, "Now just remember, while Valarie is here no demons, no evil, no...no..VISION." She screams and grabs at her head as she begins to crumple to the floor. With inhuman speed Angel leaps the counter and lands behind her in time to break her fall. He holds Cordelia as she convulses in pain, making sure she doesn't injure herself any further. Wesley and Gunn rush to her side, and Fred trys to comfort Connor who, knowing something is wrong has begun crying rather loudly.
"Cordelia, are you okay?" concern is etched across Angel's face as he looks down at his friend, "Did you hit anything when you fell, are you hurt? Cordy say something".
"I would if you'd be quiet for a second." She begins to sit up, one hand on her head in obvious pain, "I'm fine, nothing broken this time. Thanks to you." she smiles weakly at Angel as he carefully helps her to her feet.
Wesley holds her arm for support as she makes her way to a chair, "What did you see?" he asks, waiting patiently for her to collect herself and respond.
"Demon, on the ceiling." struggling to remember any important details, "It looks like an old office building, abandoned. There are kids there, I think they're runaways." Gunn moves towards the weapons cabinet, "On the corner of 54th and Eastling. Oh god, he's taking their eyes out"
"I know where that is. The building is condemned, perfect hideaway for runaways or demons." Wesley takes a heavy sword from Gunn. "Then lets go kick some Spiderman Demon butt."
Angel looks Cordelia in the face, "I'm fine just go kill it."
Angel turns to the office, "Fred?" Fred comes out of the office with a calmer yet obviously upset Connor.
"Yeah, I'll stay and take care of them, you go." Angel plants a quick kiss on his son's head as he and rushes out the door.
Fred carries Connor over to a crumpled but slowly recovering Cordelia, he reaches out for her tears in his eyes looking to be reassured that everything is okay. Cordelia takes the child in her arms and holds him tightly against her chest as Fred looks on, "He really cares about you."
Cordelia looks up at her, "Yeah, I never did understand kids."
"I meant Angel." Fred lets out a small grin when Cordelia looks at her with surprised confusion.
"I never thought that it would be that hard to kill." Gunn comments as he finishes adjusting the bandage on his arm, "It probably wouldn't have been so bad if he stayed down on the floor, instead of crawling all over the walls like that. Overhead lighting kept getting in the way, I nearly electrocuted myself twice."
"Well your just lucky you killed it and it didn't kill you, or suck out your eyes or whatever it does." Fred enters from the office carrying more first aid supplies, and heads over to Wesley on the couch, kneels on the couch next to him and looks at the large gash just above his left eye. "It looks a lot worse then it is, I don't think you'll need any stitches." she reassures him with a comforting smile, making him forget his pain momentarily and return a weak smile of his own, only to wince again when she begins cleaning the wound.
"We're just lucky we got there when we did, a minute later and some of those kids wouldn't have made it out of there." Angel is sitting on the counter as Cordelia tends to a slash just along his bottom rib.
She looks up at him, "After that experience, some of those kids should be running back home, which is a good, I guess." She winces and quickly looks back down as if looking towards the lights hurts her eyes.
"Your head still hurt?" he asks her.
"It's nothing another dozen Advil can't handle, I've got some more at home." as she puts the last bit of tape of his gause bandage.
Jumping down from the counter, "Then we should get you home, come on I'll drive you." Angel leads her out to the car, looking around the room, "I'll be right back."
Cordelia pulling the covers back on her bed, and fluffing up some pillows before she climbs in to relax. She has changed into some comfortable pajamas and is looking very tired. Angel wanders in with a glass of water and an aspirin bottle. "Here are your Advil, and some water, just in case your headache comes back, I put the phone next to the bed, but I turned off the ringer. So you won't get disturbed. Can I get you anything, anything at all?"
"No I'm fine, I'm more then fine, thank you."
"Are you sure? I could go get some ice cream, or tea, I could make you some tea with honey. Or what about chocolate I could..."
"Angel stop, I'm fine, really. You've done enough. I'm just going to try to sleep, I'll be better in the morning. Just you watch, I'll whoop your butt in training, I promise." her face brightens with a wide grin that could light up a room. Even Angel can't help but return a smile and relax a bit.
"Okay, but I'm going to hold you to that. You owe me a good ass kicking in the morning." his smiles fades, " If you need anything.."
"You'll be the first person I call, I promise. Now go on, I'll be fine." and she sinks down into her pillows with a small sigh, "I'll be fine." It's not until she hears the door close behind him that the tears come, with gentle sobs she crys herself to sleep.
He can hear her from the hallway outside her front door. Even without his vampiric hearing he would know that she was crying, could hear her small sobs of pain and grief. She sees in her mind the most viscous of evils on a regular basis, and it hurts more then just physically. He knows it, no matter how strong she pretends to be, and it breaks his heart.
"Jeez girl, you look like crap today, didn't you sleep, or did someone keep you up all night? Hmm...", Valarie asks as she leans against the counter at the Hyperion. Tall and thin the dark skinned girl looks as though she could have been a model, if she had only been a few inches taller. "Was it one of these handsome guys you work with, or someone else."
"No, I didn't sleep well last night, but I hate to disappoint you, but I was alone. No guy to speak of, sorry." Cordelia tosses her lipstick into her bag, "You ready to go?"
"Yeah, right behind you."
"Where are you guys going today?" Fred asks curiously. "We're going to go have a mini picnic in the park." Cordelia answers with a smile as she rounds the counter.
Valarie adds, "Hey, do you wanna join us, it's gonna be fun."
"Well, I don't know." Fred stares at her feet nervously, obviously wanting to go but not wanting to impose.
"Yeah, Fred", Cordelia smiles and runs back to grab Fred by the arm, "You should definitely come."
"Are you sure I wouldn't be imposing", Fred asks sheepishly. Valarie takes Freds other arm as they head for the door, "Absolutely not, just us girls, it will be great."
Angel comes down the stairs, Connor in his arms, "You guys going out?"
"Oh shoot, that's right," Fred slaps a hand to her forehead, "I said I'd watch Connor for you today, sorry Angel, I nearly forgot." She takes the child from him and heads back to the office a little disappointed, "Maybe we can do the girly lunch another time."
"OH!" Cordelia's eye's light up, "We could take Connor with us! That way Fred can still come, it'll be great."
Valarie walks toward Fred and Connor, "I don't know, I only allow myself to be seen with the cutest of men." She takes one look at Connor and scoops him up out of Freds hands, "He passes."
Cordelia hurries towards the office, "Let me just grab his diaper bag."
"Don't forget an extra bottle, in case he gets hungry again," Angel follows after her getting some things from behind the counter, "and his bear. Oh and take the camcorder." He starts putting things into the diaper bag. "You might want to take a blanket for him, and a sweater in case it gets cool out." "Right." Cordelia quickly finds a blanket from the closet while Angel grabs a little blue sweater and puts it in the bag. "Do I have everything?"
"Check out Mom and Dad." Valarie raises an eyebrow towards Angel and Cordelia, turning to Fred, "Are they always like that?"
"Yep, they go together like a wink and a smile." Fred replies with a satisfied grin.
"Good song." Valarie nods, "He is cute though, she could do a lot worse."
Angel helps Cordelia with the diaper bag and they both look up in time to catch the two girls gazing at them.
"Nothing. Fred says innocently, while Valarie just lets out a small chuckle, "Ready to go?"
"So did you have fun?" Angel is leaning on the counter as Fred is changing Connor. The sun has set and the hush of evening has fallen over everything. "Yeah, it was nice."
"So a lot of girl talk huh?"
"Yeah, mostly about men. I'd almost forgotten what a conversation that didn't revolve around demons was like."
"You talked about guys?" Angel seems to fidget nervously, Fred see this in the corner of her eye and smiles.
"Your name even came up at one point."
Angel can't help but smile, "Really."
"Yeah Valarie said she thought you were cute, and was asking if you were seeing anyone."
Angel is almost basking now, "She said I was cute?" he's practically glowing at this point.
"Yeah," Fred lets out a small giggle, "but then Cordy got all possessive, and was telling her not to even think about it."
"Oh, well." trying to figure out just how to react, seeming somewhat conflicted, "She's just worried because of the whole curse thing. Looking out for a friend." Angel walks over to the couch and slumps down in the seat, looking at the floor.
"Uh, yeah." Fred places Connor in his play pen and walks over to Angel, "Why don't you just tell her how you feel."
Looking up, fear in his eyes, "What do you mean, how I feel about her? We're friends that's all."
Fred flops down next to him, "Oh please, it's so obvious. You're in love with her."
Getting defensive, "What! I'm not. It's not obvious, there's nothing to be obvious about." Wesley comes walking out of the office, "Wesley, am I obvious?"
Wesley looks up from his book, "You mean about your blossoming feeling towards Cordelia? I would have to say, yes."
Angel stands, "How did you even know what we were talking about?"
Fred walks up to Angel and places a hand on his shoulder, "You should tell her."
He looks over at Fred, slightly defeated, "I should tell her." suddenly gaining confidence, "I should tell her right now." Goes for his coat, "I'll just go over to her apartment and tell her."
Fred follows smiling with satisfaction, "That's a great plan, but she's not there."
Angel turns, concern on his face that his plan is falling apart, losing his confidence a little, "What do you mean she's not there? How can I tell her if she's not there."
"She went out with Valarie to some club, let me think, where did she say they were going? Oh come on Fred think. They were going to a gig, some band, OH! They went to see Darling Violetta at The Gig. They invited me to go to but they aren't really my cup of tea, and besides someone had to bring Connor back to the hotel." by the time she looks up, Angel is already out the door. She looks over at Wesley; the two share a smile of a job well done. Wesley closes his book, "Well, it's about damn time."
The band is playing, the strobe lights are going and the large dance floor in the center of the room is jam packed with people pressed tightly together, moving to the beat. The music is so loud nothing softer then a scream could be heard over it. Cordelia and Valarie are on the dance floor, having a great time, when Valarie signals that she is going to the bar asking if Cordelia wants something. Cordelia shacks her head and goes back to dancing.
Angel comes through the door, and deflates at the sheer numbers. How in the world is he going to find Cordy in this mass? He's just about to give up when he spots Valarie, and heads over to her. He taps her on the shoulder, and she turns to him. Seeing who it is she lets out a flirtatious grim. Angel takes a quick look around and then yells, "Where's Cordy?" Valarie lets the grin drop and points towards the dance floor. Angel peers through the crowd and finally spots his seer, "Thanks."
With some pushing and squeezing he finally manages to get next to her, and takes her by the arm. Cordelia turns to look and is obviously surprised to find Angel standing there. "I need to talk to you."
Signaling she can't hear him, "What?"
"I said I need to talk to you!" yelling a little louder, but not loud enough, he's starting to get frustrated at the mass and noise.
"I can't hear..." before she can finish Angel loses all patience and grabs her to him and kisses her hard, possessively. Shocked at first, she slowly gives in to her own hidden passion and returns the kiss, wrapping her arms around Angel's neck, pulling herself up into the kiss. They stand there; completely ignoring the crowd of dancing people surrounding them, lost in each other.