Subtlety >> BtVS Books

Sins of the Father

So Angel walked and watched as the humans let spring convince them it was safe... He let them just drift by him without more than a casual glance at their faces.

Until Cordelia walked past him.

Angel blinked, turned, and watched her move away in the opposite direction. She was with a guy, arm in arm. Which wasn't all that unusual. But she'd passed right by him, withing inches, and when Angel had noticed her, Cordelia had been looking right at him, her expression sort of lost and disturbed.

But she hadn't stopped, hadn't said anything, not even to flirt with him, or disparage Buffy and her friends. And there was one more thing. Something he felt bad for event think. The guy that Cordelia was was - with his shaggy, unkempt hair and tall, bony frame, not to mention glasses - well, he wasn't exactly the kind of guy you'd normally see out on a date with Cordelia Chase.

Curiou and a bit concerned, Angel stated after her. Almost simultaneously, the lanky guy began to steer Cordelia toward a small alley...

Angel rouned the corner of the theater and rain into the alley. Cordelia was against an alley wall with a vampire holding her by the throat, admiring her before he feasted. Her companion was on the ground, nose bleeding, probably broken, and scabbling backward, reading to flee from the scene, to just leave her there.

[Angel] leaped over the bleeding kid on the ground. Just as the vampire leaned in to sink him needle fangs into Cordelia's nicely tanned throat, Angel grabbed the soulless creature by the hair and yanked his head back hard.

Blah, blah, Angel stakes the vamp and...

It exploded to dust in him arms, leaving Angel face-to-face with a completely expressionless Cordelia. She seemed almost entraced. He looke at her and frowned...

Angel didn't know what the kid had to do with any of this but he wanted answers...

Angel's face had returned to normal, but the kid had seen him. He was terrified. He was running.

"Stop," Angel commanded.

The kid faltered slightly, but didn't obey. He took off.

Angel caught him right at the mouth of the alley and dragged him back into the shadows where Cordelia stood leaning against a wall, still completely out of it...

"How'd she get that way?"

"She was like that when I ran into her," Henry [the kid] sobbed. "I swear, man. I swear. It was totally innocent. I mean, she's Cordelia Chase, y'know? I've been watching her in school for years. She's untouchable. But then I see her wandering aorund like, I don't know, like she needed a friend."

Fury burned in Angel's heart, and he narrowed his eyes dangerously.

"So you saw she was like this, helpless, and you figured you'd bring herinto this alley and be her friend, huh?" he growled... "I should've let that thing have you."

"What was that thing?" Henry asked. "I twas horrible."

"Yeah," Angel said acidly. "Imagine attacking a defenseless girl in a dark alley. Just go. Don't ever let me find you within a hundred yeards of her again."

Henry blanced. "But I'm in her history class."

Angel stated toward Henry, letting his lip curl back in a furious snarl. "I guess that's your problem, isn't it?"

* * *

Angel was able to turn his attention to the strangely silent Cordelia. He moved to where she still leaned against the wall and bent slightly, looking directly in her eyes. Her eyes didn't really seem to focus on him at all, and Angel moved back and forth to see it they followed him.

They didn't.

"Cordelia?" he ventured.

No response.

"Can you hear me? Do you know who I am?"

She still didn't look at him, but this time, her eyelids fluttered a bit, and the edges of her mouth turned up in a hint of a smile.

"Angel," she said breathily.

He grabbed her face, somewhat roughly, and turned her to look at him. Again, he stared into her eyes, and this time, he thought he saw a bit of recogmition there.

* * *

Angel shook his head, raised his eyebrows a moment, then let one of the doors swing shut and reached back out into the hallway. A moment later, he pulled Cordelia into the library by her hand. Buffy was about to ask what was going on, then she noticed the expression on Cordelia's face. Or, rather, the lack of any discernible expression at all.

"Cordy?" Buffy ventured, moving toward her.

Bufy Cordelia barely even reacted to her name. Angel propelled her gently toward the study table where Pike was sprawled, and pulled out a chari. He guided Cordelia to the chair, and she sat down.

"I found her like this downtown," Angel explained.

"Well," Buffy said reasonable, "I'm not sure this isn't an improvement. None of the people in Oz complained when they melted the witch.

Angel nodded. "Yeah. But the novelty of Cordelia keeping her mouth stut wears off after a few minutes, and then it's just eerie."

Unseen: The Burning

She picked up the phone, hands trembling just a little, and dialed the number of Angel’s office. The line rang once, and then was picked up. Buffy’s heart felt large in her throat.

"The number you are calling has been changed." a computerized voice told her. "The new number is -" Buffy scrambled for a pen and paper, both conveniently provided in the nightstand’s top drawer... She scrawled out the number the voice had given her and hung up the phone.

Looking at the number, she thought it seemed familiar. She stared at it for a few moments before she realized why. It was Cordelia’s number. That was strange. Angel and Cordelia? No, couldn’t be...

Unseen: Door to Alternity

"I have to go with Buffy one this one." Angel put in. "The multiple disappearances thing is a problem. We need to investigate further. We should assumed that Salma is a victim of the same thing that took Cordelia’s friend Kayley."

"Wow, Cordelia’s got friends and can’t keep them." Buffy drawled. Angel shot her a stern look. She knew he’d been spending a lot more time with Cordy lately than she had.

* * *

About then, Angel dragged into the living room from outside, looking, well, like he’d been dragged in. He murmured, "Hi, Cordelia."

"Coffee’s on the stove, blood is in the fridge." she said, still watching the broadcast. "And you need to hit the streets."

Angel watched along with her. "Already my plan." He said.

He padded into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. "There’s no blood in there," he muttered. Then, "Oh. Right. Coffee pot. Kitchen counter."

She grinned to herself.

Angel was so not a morning person.

* * *

"Tell me again what we're going here, Angel?" Cordelia asked. But, Angel thought, her asking sounds more like pleading. "I mean, I know this is the kind of place you hang out at night, but it's not, you know, really my preferred sort of evening activity.

They were in downtown Los Angeles, walking up and down the streets of a neighborhood that was, according to the beat cops, controlled by the Russian Mafiya.

"We're looking for clues," Angel said, trying to be patient with her. He knew she was afraid, but he wanted more than one set of eyes to be on the lookout, and Wesley was on research duty for a while--and anyway, there was always the likelihood that some people would rather talk to a pretty girl than to a vampire...

Anyway, he also knew that Cordelia was plenty brave-- he had seen her act with unconscious courage that surprised everyone who knew her-- but that it wasn't really part of how she saw herself. Cordelia believe herself to be a coward who would rather hide from confrontation that face her fears.

But that was a floaw in her self-image, not a fact of who she was. She had proven herself to be one of the bravest people Angel had ever know in his long and strange life. When he had asked her to come along, she had done so without a moment's hesitation, only asking once they were in the car what they were setting out to do.

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