Subtlety >> Waiting in the Wings

C/A spice: Strong! Yeah, baby!

Cordy and Wesley are talking about their love lives.

Cordy: I was the ditsiest bitch in Sunnydale, coulda had any man I wanted; now I'm all superhero-y and the best action I can get is an invisible ghost who's good with a loofah.

She realizes she's shared too much. Wesley smiles sympathetically.

Wes: Sorry, I missed that last part.

Cordy: You are a gentleman.

Angel: Who's doing what with a loofah?

Of course he's right there, and of course he missed the point entirely. How cute. How Angel-ish.

Wes: Not loofah... Loo....FAHnoocthskmuh. Demon: very... cleansing, bad demon --

Cordy: So! What's up with you? Hey, you went with the dark colors today! It's a look.

Angel smiles: Ask me why I'm smiling.

Cordy: I will because it's scaring me.

Angel reaches into his pocket, pulls out five tickets to something.

Angel: We... are steppin' out.

And the story begins...

Cordy and Fred are at what looks like a very nice boutique, shopping for a fancy dress to wear to the ballet (and returning it the next day of course).

Fred: And then we gotta find a dress for you. Something that'll make Angel crazy.

Cordy: Fred, sweetie, Angel IS crazy.

Fred: Well, I know he'll wanna look his best for you...

Cordy: That's right. The world's champion is gonna spend all day worrying about his outfit.

Ahhh, our Fred. Our very own C/A shipper working from the inside!

Next scene, cut to Angel worrying about this outfit. It looks like Connor burped on his tux, but the baby's sleeping now.

Host: (finishes) Who wouldn't, that sweet Irish lullaby you crooned, just a hair flat on the bridge but more to the point, Cordelia?

Angel: What about her?

Host: I read you while you were singing, you big corn muffin. And I can't say as I blame, I mean what a woman she's become.

Angel: You're not supposed to read me and anyway you read me wrong.

Host: Sorry, Strudel, but it's not just when you're singing. There's a little term we had on Pylea, "Kyerumption" --

Angel: I know it.

Host: Okay! When two great heroes come together --

Angel: There's no coming together. Okay? Everything we've been through, and all anyone wants to talk about --

Host: Can't fight Kyerumption, cinnamon buns. It's fate, it's the stars, kyerumption --

Angel: Stop saying that! And stop calling me pastries.

This sounds just like Fred and a very denying Angel in the exchange in Offspring. In a way, Fred and Lorne are the fans, watching the 'ship happen and liking it. Hehe...

The Host pauses, gets serious.

Host: You're a man of man limitations, Angel. Can't go out into the sun, can't feel the fresh air fill your lungs, can't, uh, achieve a certain level of physical intimacy without turning apocalyptically evil. But you're a man. You got a heart. It may not keep time but it's in there. And Cordelia is a hell of a lady. If I thought she liked to wear green I'd be elbowing you out of the way. But she's out of my league. She's a champion, Angel. Old school. Besides, we all know you got a thing for ex-cheerleaders. (wheezing laugh)

Angel says nothing. Until:

Angel: What have I got to offer her?

Host: Do I even have to answer that? You just gotta act, Angel. Gotta let her know what's brewing inside 'cause man, it's real, and you don't wanna miss that shot.

Angel: Lorne, Cordelia, she's....

Cordy: She's what?

She is standing at the door. Stunning doesn't cover it. The boys are agape.

Cordy: (cont'd) I'm waiting...

Angel: I was just saying you're.... not a ballet fan.

Host: (aside to Angel) You know, disregard everything I said. I forgot how homely she was, Hnnnnn...

Angel: (to Cordy) You, uh... look... like...

Cordy: (entering) A ballet fan. An aficionado -- a devotee, in fact. Tonight, I've decided we don't have to be our incredibly dreary selves.

She fixes Angel's tie absently as she talks.

Cordy: Tonight, we're just a couple of young sophisticates enjoying an evening of classical dance. How does that sound?

Angel cannot help but smile.

Angel: That sounds just right.

Sweet how she fixes his tie so naturally! Like a significant other might do :-P Now that's the end of the scene in the episode, but in the shooting script draft, there's another little addendum.

Cordy: (re: Connor) How's our boy?

Angel: Fast asleep.

Host: And I'll make sure he stays that way. He so much as peeps, I'll chloroform him.

Angel and Cordy throw him a look.

Host: (cont'd) New parents. Never with the humor.

Priceless, I wish they didn't cut it out!

Next scene, they're all dressed up and ready to go.

Angel and Cordy coming down the stairs, arms linked. They practically float.

Cordy: Thank you, no thank you. There will be no visions tonight.

Angel: How can you be sure?

Cordy: I had a vision.

He doesn't try to unriddle it, just lets the collective good mood carry him as they head for the front door.

I love how Joss wrote in the script "...arms linked. They practically float." Sigh.

In the middle of the lovely music and beautiful performance of the famous romantic era ballet, Giselle...

Cordelia snores in foreground, head back, mouth open. Looking as unglamorous as possible. Angel watches the ballet, looks over at her, looks around a bit -- her snoring is audible to others. Finally he adjusts his position, subtly nudging her. Instead of waking up, she just snuggles into his shoulder. Contentedly, he goes back to watching.

That's pretty cute of Angel. He doesn't want her to move from the position.

Angel is watching, Cordy still on his shoulder. (A little drool, but no way he's changing position.)

Anyway, the first act of the dance ends and there's thundering applause all over the auditorium and wild cheering from Gunn.

Cordy wakes with a start --

Cordy: I loved it!

Angel: It's just intermission.

He's clearly still puzzling something out. Cordy looks at his jacket.

Cordy: That isn't drool, is it?

Angel: It's okay. Matches the back.

LOL. Pretty funny stuff.

Angel figures out something's wrong because he's seeing the same dancers he saw over 100 years ago. Time to put the game face on, serious investigator mode.

Angel: You guys go back. I'll snoop.

Cordy: I'm with snoopy. Magic of the ballet not really getting to me.

Wes: How will the dancers keep time without your rhythmic snoring?

Gunn: Oh, that's too cold.

The lights flicker -- time to go back.

Cordy: (to Wes) Don't think that's not coming back to haunt you.

Angel: Go.

The trio moves back to their seats, Angel and Cordy heading in the other direction.

Cordy: I didn't really snore, did I?

Angel: Of course not.

There's a little gem at the end that was cut out :-)

I loved this scene! Cordy and Angel want to go backstage but there's a big security guard guarding the door that says "ABSOLUTELY NO ADMITTANCE".

Cordy: Check out the zeppelin.

Angel: Awful lot of muscle for a ballet company.

Cordy: You want I should distract him? (seductive) Make with the nice nice while you slip by?

Angel: Don't be stupid.

She is stung, but before she can reply --

Angel: (cont'd) I'm THAT guy, and the most beautiful woman I've ever seen is making eyes at me? It's either a bachelor party, or a scam.

Cordy: What did you just call me?

Oops, Angel slipped up. He pauses a second, tries to cover it up. Hehe...

Angel: I'm sorry. You're not stupid.

Cordy: No, after that.

Angel: (all business) I think I'm gonna have to go with my patented Sudden Burst of Violence.

Cordy: Eh, hold on. I may have an approach that's a little more subtle.

Cordy's plan?

Cordy: Say, do you like bribes?

Security Guard: (beaming) Do I ever!

Cordelia casually holds up a $20.

Cordy: We really wanna go backstage.

Security Guard: Okay, see, but that's not so much a bribe as it is a tip. And since I'm not parking your car, there's no way --

WHAM! Angel decks him across the chin.

The guy takes the hit and then just turns back and glares at Angel.

Cordy: (counting out more $20s) Oookay...

Angel: (to the guard) And that's just a taste of... you see I really wasn't warmed up.

Security Guard: I used to fight pro. And I'd say you're... about to find out... what...

He drops.

Angel: OKAY! That's how we do it.

It's funny how sometimes (ok, a lot of times) if Angel had just listened to Cordy, she'd be right and he wouldn't have had to go through all the trouble. And sometimes vice versa, like here :-)

Angel and Cordy are walking down a corridor. Angel opens one of the doors and they open. (See extra quotage for the shooting script cut of this scene.)

Cordy and Angel move silently around the room, examining things, touching them -- the energy of the place is very mellow and surreal , and their energy matches it. The room touches them.

They speak quietly.

Angel: This is her dressing room.

Cordy: The Prima Ballerina.

Angel: It's unchanged.

He runs his hand along the back of the divan. Cordelia sits at the mirror, picks up the hairbrush.

Cordy: She would wait for him here...

Angel: What?

Not answering, Cordelia puts the brush back and looks in the mirror. Unformed questions and half-answers playing through her mind. She picks up a long necklace with a tiny cross attached, bejewelled and elegant.

Angel: (cont'd) It's warm... it's very warm.

She stands and they are close, looking around. There is a slight sheen of sweat on their faces.

Cordy: I feel it.

Angel: Something happened here.

Cordy: Angel.

Angel: Yes.

Cordy: I want you... to undress me.

Angel: (struggling) You what?

Cordy: It's just another costume. I want you to see who I really am. You're the only one who can.

Angel: I... (fighting it) This isn't us. Cordelia, we're... acting this out. Someone is --

Cordy: (coming out of it) Whoah.

Angel: The energy of this room, it's...

Cordy: Did I actually just tell you to undress me?

He falls right back into it, getting closer to her.

Angel: Is that what you want?

Cordy: (slipping) Please, I --

Angel: You want me to make love to you right here?

Cordy: You know I do.

Their hands have begun roaming, touching hair, shoulders, backs... their faces inches apart.

Angel: But you're afraid.

Cordy: What if he finds us?

Angel: I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid of anything.

He pulls her close. They're gonna kiss. Her lips so close to his...

Cordy: (whispers) I'm only alive... when you're inside me...

And kiss they do. Big time.

I think the key to this scene is that Angel and Cordelia are in tune with the energy. I think the reason they were able to be possessed is because of their passion for each other. They are in the situation that the ballerina and her lover were in. Just like when Wesley finds Gunn and Fred kissing, only then does he hit a "hot spot", feeling the envious energy of the wizard that was in love with the ballerina. He's in the same situation.

And also, whoo-hoo, major C/A kissage! They look so good together, don't they? I'm still waiting for a real kiss between them though. Not one initiated by an attempt transfer the visions, an alternate universe, or spirits of old lovers. *cough* *cough*

Still, it's the next best thing :-)

Well, they're still kissing. It's pretty heated, I must say. <--- Joss Whedon script notes. Hehehe.

Cordelia brings her hand to his cheek -- the hand with the little cross dangling. It swings against his cheek and he pulls away briefly, regaining some of his composure, as does she.

Angel: Cordelia...

Cordy: Yes...

Angel: I'm sorry.

Cordy: No... We so need to be out of here.

Angel: Yes.

They move close again, about to kiss --

Cordy: This isn't out of here.

Angel: No. Right.

They force themselves to the door, always managing to keep in close contact. When they reach it, he is behind her and he moves his arm around her to get the door, she arches back into him, one arm up to cup the back of his head...

Cordy: (pure lust) Open the damn door...

Angel: Kinda hard...

Cordy: Kinda noticed...

He does open it, and they slip out -

Haha, Joss likes to tease us with the double meanings. Or maybe it's just me.

Anyway, it's the backstage hall outside the dressing. Angel and Cordy emerge.

They come out actually catching their breath. Shut the door behind them.

Cordy: Whoah.

Angel: That's a fair assessment.

Cordy: What the hell is that place?

Angel: There's spirits in there. Energy, trapped in time... took us over.

Cordy: Yee scary. Good thing it wears off right away.

Right here, Angel glances down for a fraction of a second and in a quick motion practically tears his jacket off and casually, casually, holds it in front of his pants. Oh, Joss, Joss, Joss...

Angel: Yeah. Good thing.

Angel and Cordy are starting down the hall.

Cordy: You sure this is the way?

Angel: I'm sure it's "a" way... Place is a maze, I'm just hoping we'll find another room that --

Cordy: Dammit.

She has stopped. He turns to her.

Angel: What.

Cordy: I said something. Back in that room, something important. Do you remember?

Angel: (uncomfy) Uh... you're only alive when I'm --

Cordy: Not that.

Of course Angel's thinking of that :-P

Angel: No. Of course. I was just... Oh! Hey! I said you were afraid.

Cordy: And I said "what if he finds us."

Angel: She had a secret lover.

Cordy: They were afraid of someone. And I'll bet you anything that someone is the reason we're stuck here. (frustrated) We left too soon.

Angel: We -- who? The room?

Cordy: It's a clue! Those spirits, or energy or whatever, are still in there so we can find out what happened! We have to go back in.

Angel: I'm marvelling at the wrongness of that idea.

Cordy: You wanna wander around backstage like Spinal Tap for the next... ever?

Angel: I'm sure there's other rooms that --

Cordy: All we have to do is play the scene out. Get in, get out. No one gets happy.

Note, in the shooting script, that last line is slightly different.

Cordy: All we have to do is play the scene out. Say what they have to say, and get out before... before I give you a happy.

Continuing on...

Angel: What if there is no more talking in that scene? Look, I've been possessed by the spirits of old lovers before, it never goes well.

Cordy: I've got my little cross, if things get out of hand... Hey, it's awkward, but it's not us, so as long as nothing is removed or inserted, it's all forgotten.

Angel: It is us, Cordelia. You and me. Kissing you, it's...

He's close to a confession here.

Angel: (cont'd) It's not something I can just --

Cordy: Oh come on. It's not that horrible.

She turns to go back, totally missing his point.

Both Cordy and Angel can be really oblivious at times.

Cordy: (cont'd) Up to his ass in demon gore, fine, but ask him to mack on a hottie and he wigs. My champion, ladies and gentlemen.

Angel and Cordy are in the room again, they're looking about themselves uncomfortably...

Angel: Anything coming?

Cordy: Uhhh... okay. (claps her hands, motivation time) Let's take it from the middle. (moves into position) I want you... undress me.

She is completely uninspired and wooden, rushing through it, and he is as well.

Angel: You want me to have sex now with you here?

Cordy: Yes! But I'm scared.

Angel: But you're afraid.

Cordy: And afraid. What if we, he finds us!?

Angel: He who? (off her look) Um, but I'm not afraid of anything.

He takes her stiffly in his arms.

Cordy: (mumbles) Only good inside blah blah blah --

KISS! Which is a microsmack, both mouths closed, not exactly act break material. Both wait for a moment -- anything?

Angel: (looking around) Maybe it only works the one time, when the energy is --

Cordy kisses the living shit out of him.

Cordy comes swiftly down onto the divan, Angel on top of her. His tie is undone, his shirt open. They are kissing, hands everywhere. He lowers himself, kissing her neck, her collarbone...

Cordy: This is wrong...

Angel: Hush...

Cordy: You don't know him. He has power.

Angel looks her right in the eye.

Angel: The power to do this?

We don't see exactly what he's referring to, but she breathes in sharply, eyes squeezing shut for an instant. But there is still fear in them as she breathlessly continues...

Cordy: I'm not... Stefan, his power is unnatural. He could --

Angel: What. Kill us?

Cordy: Worse.

Angel: Kurskov owns the company. He doesn't own you.

Cordy: He doesn't know that. (bitterly) He thinks I'm his. That I dance for him. He's nothing but a deluded fan... He thinks I love him.

Angel: Come away with me. Now. Tonight. We'll disappear. Even HE won't find us.

Cordy: I... Stefan, everything I've worked for is here...

Angel: You can still dance.

Cordy: Can I? I don't... Not yet. Maybe when we're...

Angel: (terse) Don't. Don't make promises.

She takes his head, brings it to her bosom, overcome, near tears.

Cordy: Help me... help me be not afraid...

The rest of the gang is hearing what they don't know is Cordy and Angel.

Fred: Do you hear --

A shadow moves across them -- they look, but no one is there.

Wes: There's something...

Faintly, they can hear a woman moaning and crying out.

Wes: (cont'd) Someone's in pain.

Fred listens harder. A rising, breathy moan.

Fred: Either that, or someone's in fun.

Back to Angel and Cordelia.

We're tight on Cordy as Angel slips the straps of her dress over her shoulders --

-- tight on her stomach as the dress is slipped down, Angel kissing her bare belly --

--tight on her face, struggling, succumbing --

Cordy: No... oh no...

She looks over at the doorway --

Cordy (cont'd): Oh no!

Close on Angel as he sits up, looking as well, and is tackled over the back of the divan by a figure in black.

They go flying into a heap in the corner, the figure punching Angel hard while he's on the ground.

From behind the divan, we see Cordy pop up, no visible dress but the back of the divan hiding anything truly relevant. She's harried -- herself again. Watches the figure hit Angel --

Cordy: (cont'd) Oh, thank god.

Angel snaps back from a blow, grabs the guy on top of him and pushes him back, getting his first good look at him: His face is that of a comedy mask, forever grinning. Angel takes a moment to register the creepiness, then hits the guy so hard he goes flying onto his back, off of Angel --

Cordy is pulling up her straps, dressed again --

Cordy: (cont'd) Okay, good; so they were probably interrupted by this Count Kurskov or his lackeys, right? So we're done with the --

As she's saying this, the other figure in black, with the face of pure tragedy, is emerging behind her.

Angel runs toward her -- and leaps over the couch tackling Tragedy.

Cordy: (cont'd) (ducking) We're done!

After a brief, Wes/Fred/Gunn interlude with the minions. The C/A scene continues.

Cordy is trying to get away from Comedy, knocking the screen over onto him, casting about for a weapon --

Cordy: Little help...

Angel has Tragedy on the ground, is forcing down his sword hand -- Tragedy stabs him in the chest --

Angel: Thank you --

He rears back, knife in his chest, both hands now free to grab the sword, flip it into his hand, pull the knife free and while stagging Tragedy in the heart throwing the knife without even looking --

-- whip pan -- THWUNK!

Right in the throat of Comedy.

Cordy comes to Angel.

Angel: (cont'd) You all right?

Cordy: Yeah. We gotta move.

Angel: You think they're not dead?

Cordy: You just looked really hot doing that.

Angel: Oh.

Cordy: Yeah.

Angel: Run.

They head for the door.

Angel and Cordy meet up with the others.

Fred: Uh, Cordy? Your, uh, tag is showing.

The price sticks out the back of Cordy's dress. Fred slips it in.

Obviously from Cordy's little escapade with Angel.

Gunn: Any idea where we are, or what the Hell?

Angel: Yeah. Cordy and I hit a kind of mystical hot spot. In one of the dressing rooms.

Angel's noticeably looking down, shifting his feet, when he's saying that. If he weren't a vampire, I'd say he was blushing. Meanwhile, Cordy's also... uncomfy.

Cordy: Seems like the Prima Ballerina had a lover back in the day, and there was a Count Kurskov who owned the company. I guess he had a thing for the girl, and they were mightily afraid of him.

Angel: He had power of some kind...

In another scene, Angel sees the prima ballerina. She's backstage, literally waiting in the wings. Sorrowfully, she explains to him that she had waited too long and lost everything that mattered. Angel says to her...

Angel: It's not too late. You can change things.

Back at the hotel, Angel takes this into consideration and talks to Cordelia.

Angel and Cordy are trying not to be awkward with each other. Cordy is examining her dress.

Cordy: You think I can still return it? 'cause otherwise we're gonna have to take a lot more cases.

Angel: Cordy, um...

Cordy: You know, we should probably just not talk about our little adventure. Anything that might have been seen, anything that might have been, oh, perky --

Angel: I just wanna pretend it never happened.

Cordy: Exactly.

Angel: Wipe it from my memory.

Cordy: (complete reversal) What, was it like disgusting?

Angel: No, I... I would just want, if we were to... I'd want it to be, um, new. Start at the beginning.

Cordy: Lost me in the middle.

Angel: Cordy, we've been working together a long time, and... I mean you've become... a truly extraordinary woman. I know we haven't always gotten along, but I really think we... you know we...

A radiant smile sweeps onto her face.

Cordy: Groo...

Angel: Yes, we grew, uh, closer together, and I was --

She is moving toward him, past him, he turns to see her pick up speed and throw herself into the arms of

Cordy: GROO!

It is in fact the GROOSALUGG, the Brave and Undefeated. Fred and Wes emerge as he sweeps Cordy up, spinning her and setting her back down, joy on his face.

Groo: Princess.

Cordy: Oh my God. I can't believe it's you.

Groo: I feared you'd forget who I was.

Cordy: Remind me.

And they kiss.

Angel watches, Host coming next to him. Host is well aware of Angel's feelings.

Host: Just showed up. Apparently, once everyone on Pylea got their freedom, political situation got kind of sketchy. The Groosalugg here got deposed -- they set up somekind of people's republic. (weakly) So he came looking for his... true love...

Angel: Well, that's... that's good for her.

Host: Yeah.

Angel: I think I'll check on Connor. (trying to hide his hurt)

Host: He's sleeping --

But Angel has already left.

It was too late for Angel. Just like the ballerina, he waited too long.

Fred: Well, that's a surprise. I thought for sure she was meant to be with Angel. I guess you can never predict those things.

All hail Joss Whedon, king of beautiful episodes with bittersweet endings.

Extra Quotage

Gunn: But... you got ballet on my Mahta Hari tickets.
Angel: This is the Blinnikov World Ballet Corps.
Cordy: He's been saying that like it has meaning.

Gunn: (more desperate than angry) This is not Mahta Hari. This is tutu's, and the guys with their big-ass packages jumping up and down... this is just... (to Angel) I will never trust you again. The trust is gone.
Cordy: Oh, get over it. (to Angel) Do we get dressed up?
Angel: Of course.
Cordy: I'm in.

Angel: Sorry they're not closer -- getting five seats together was --
Wes: Don't be silly. Best place. Get the whole panorama from here.
Cordy: Besides, back here we stand less chance of setting off the "Under 70" alarm.
(The lights begin to dim.)
Angel: Back in the day, I'd always get box seats... or eat the people who had 'em.
Cordy: Don't let's reminisce. We're here. Enjoy.

(Cordy and Angel in the backstage hall where's it old-fashioned and nothing like modern outside.)
Angel: This is clearly a spell, or a timeflux or something. I don't think we wanna be rushing in here.
Cordy: Let's get the others, talk options.
Angel is looking back the way they came.
Angel: Yeah...
The door is gone, and the hallway extends forever in THAT direction as well.
Angel: (cont'd) Works in theory...
(They turn a corner.)
Angel: Okay, there has to be something here besides this maze.
Cordy: And with our luck, it'll be a Minotaur or a giant Ms. PacMan.
Angel: Do you hear that?
(There is a faint sound. A sobbing, wheezing sound.)
Cordy: Someone laughing.
Angel: Or crying?
Cordy: Or both... Okay, officially creeped...
Angel: Look. (He indicates a door. It's open.)

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