Cordelia Chase walked through some city, which she had forgotten the name of. The name was unimportant. Nothing was important anymore. Nothing but getting to where she was going. She had a man to meet, well actually a demon, and the meeting was important. It had the potential to change everything.
Five years living in the dark. Cordelia wondered how Angel had done it for so long. Living with the memories. Living without seeing the sunlight. Cordelia never went out in the daylight anymore. In essence she had cursed herself. She was stuck in the dark like Kate was.
Cordelia was on her last legs. She knew she couldn't take much more. Kate was also on the verge of losing it completely. A few more years and Cordelia knew she wouldn't be able to control the vampire anymore. Kate was slowly losing the battle with her demon.
This meeting was their last chance.
"So do you have it?" Cordelia asked the demon.
"Yeah. I have it." The demon handed a piece of paper to Cordelia, "So does this mean we're even?"
"Yeah we're even. " Cordelia smirked, "No one will ever know you aren't the bad ass demon everyone thinks you are."
The demon growled but when Cordelia didn't flinch he sighed and walked away. Cordelia could have sworn she heard him whistling a showtoon.
An old abandoned warehouse - The next night
Cordelia sat down on a blanket and motioned Kate to sit down next to her. Kate paused a moment and then complied. Cordelia smiled at Kate. Even as a vampire, Kate was stunning to look at. Cordelia didn't even mind when she was in vampire form. It scared her a little, but she didn't hate it.
"Do you remember what I told you?" Cordelia asked.
"Kate and Cordelia are going home." Kate said simply.
"Yes. To Cordelia's home."
"Are you ready?" Cordelia asked as she took Kate's hand.
"Ready." Kate smiled.
Cordelia paused and then began the chant.
Winter comes and autumn goes
Changing leaves to bitter snow
Back in time to change the past
Hear this spell I here do cast
A single choice one last chance
What might have been
What still might be
With this spell set us free
Find the one who changed it all
Send us back before the fall.
Cordelia and Kate watched as the room began to spin. Cordelia grabbed on tighter to Kate's hand as she felt Kate's panic begin. Soon the room changed into swirly blue things that Cordelia couldn't describe. Then just as fast they left. Then Cordelia felt herself fall to the ground.
"Cordelia hurt?" Kate asked.
Cordelia looked around.
"The Bronze." Cordelia whispered, "I'm home."
Cordelia smiled, "We're in Sunnydale. But when?"
Burning The Night
Cordelia Chase wandered though Sunnydale trying to get her bearing. She had been back in town for nearly twenty-four hours and still didn't know, when she was. The first thing she did when she had tucked Kate in for the day was check the local newspaper. Like the police force in Sunnydale, the newspapers talked about PCP and gang violence. Cordelia knew however, that most of the front-page news, was pure Buffy. Cordelia almost smiled.
Now it was nightfall and Cordelia was wandering the streets looking for a real story. Something that could jog her memory and tell her exactly when in the past she was.
Cordelia avoided all the places she knew Buffy would be patrolling. She didn't want to see the slayer. Cordelia still had uncertain feelings for Buffy. She also tried to avoid Willow, but she figured they were both together. They were always together.
Cordelia walked though and old area of abandoned mansions when she heard a twig snap. A part of her wanted to walk in the other direction, but Cordelia was looking for answers and this might be one of them.
The sound came from one of the mansions so Cordelia walked closer until she could see two figures through a window. Cordelia recognized them almost immediately. It was Buffy and Angel.
A whole spectrum of emotions went through Cordelia. Love, hate, anger, betrayal, longing, hope, want, even forgiveness. She knew that what happened to Buffy and Willow wasn't their fault, but.......
Cordelia watched from outside as Buffy and Angel talked. Cordelia watched their faces and saw that neither of them was happy. Cordelia tried to remember she tried to figure out when this conversation could have taken place. It was all a blank to her. The only thing she knew for sure was this was after Buffy had sent Angel to Hell and PROBABLY before the others found out he was back.
Cordelia turned away from the window and paced back and forth trying to remember when and how the others found out about Angel. It had something to do with Xander, she remembered that. She just didn't know how and when. For all she knew this could be months before they found out.
Cordelia turned around to return to Kate when she ran smack into her past.
"Hello Cordelia." Angel said simply.
Cordelia stared at Angel for a moment. That's when she realized how much she truly missed the vampire. How much she longed to have him simply listen to her. He was the only one, besides pre-vamp Kate who actually listened to her. She missed that. And she missed how he trusted her.
"Hello Angel." Cordelia said trying not to cry.
Angel looked Cordelia up and down and realized something was not right, "You're not Cordelia are you?"
"What would make you think that?" Cordelia smiled.
"For one thing, you're nails."
"What about them?"
"There chipped, Cordelia Chase wouldn't be caught dead with chipped nails." Angel paused, "Your not.....dead, are you?"
Cordelia laughed, "No I'm not dead. But thank you for asking."
"Then who or what are you?"
"Well I am Cordelia Chase. I'm just not YOUR Cordelia Chase."
"Then what Cordelia Chase are you?"
Cordelia frowned and looked at the ground beneath her, "I'm the Cordelia who will be if the current timeline isn't changed."
"Let me guess, you're here to change it."
"I have no choice. "
"If I don't, the night will burn."
The Catalyst: Known Then
Cordelia has spent the remainder of then night and most of the next day explaining things to Angel. She had even introduced him to Kate. She had been very unsure of that. She knew the less Angel knew about the future the better it would be for him. She didn't know much about this sort of thing but she had watched enough Star Trek with Xander to know about Paradoxes and the last thing she wanted to do was create another one. Her presence in the past was bad enough.
"So Kate and you are....lovers?" Angel asked.
"She wasn't always a vampire." Cordelia said simply.
Angel just nodded.
"Kate was a cop." Kate said sing-song-like.
"A police officer?" Angel smiled.
Cordelia smiled awkwardly, "Yeah well...."
"I like it, Cordy." Angel smiled, "When did you meet?"
Cordelia paled for a moment. She had already told Angel too much. Any more and she would have to explain everything. How they met in Los Angeles, how she came to work for him, Doyle, she would have to explain.......everything. Cordelia wasn't ready for that.
"It doesn't matter." Cordelia said finally.
Angel nodded again, "You can't tell me."
"Me being here is already changing the future....I think. If I tell you what will happen in your life....."
"I understand Cordy." Angel smiled, "Just tell me what I need to know."
Cordelia heard a door open and close behind her. She saw Kate run out the door. Cordelia turned back to Angel and frowned.
"Just that there is something going to happen soon, and I have to stop it."
"Aren't you going to go after her?"
"It won't do any good."
"She wasn't like this when she was....alive. Something happened to her. Sometimes she disappears on me. When she comes back things are better for awhile."
Angel just nodded.
"She did things as a vampire. She killed people."
"Like who?" Angel asked kindly knowing that Cordelia needed to talk.
Cordelia paused for a moment, "You."
After talking for a little while Angel and Cordelia decided to go search for Kate. Cordelia had told Angel a few things about the future. He hoped she didn't tell him enough to change it too much. One of her worst fears was that Angel would do something, unintentionally that would change his, and her, future with Kate. Cordelia loved Kate too much to let that happen.
"It wasn't her fault, or yours." Angel said after a long silence between them.
"I know. It's just that....." Cordelia let her sentence drift.
"You blame yourself anyway."
"Kate had a normal life before she ran into us. Suddenly it changed and she began living a very un-normal life. She lost her friends....her family......"
"Alot like you."
"Yeah. Alot like me."
Angel was about to say something when he heard a noise in the distance. Angel and Cordelia ran toward the noise and soon saw something they would never forget.
Giles and Joyce Summers were walking down the street of Sunnydale. Giles was looking very un-Giles like. Instead of his usual tweed attire he was wearing jeans and white shirt. There was no tweed in sight. Joyce also looked different then Cordelia remembered her.
Cordelia and Angel continued to watch the scene in front of them. They managed to get close enough to here what the two were saying but stay out of their field of vision. Neither wanted to let their existence be known.
"You fancy it?" Giles said as he looked in a mirror of a clothing boutique.
"Yeah, but the store's closed." Joyce responded.
Giles took a drag from the cigarette he was holding and then through it aside. He grabbed a garbage can and swung it toward the display window. Cordelia and Angel stared in horror as the glass shattered. They continued to watch from the distance as Giles jumped through the window, ignoring the alarm, and grabbed the clothes off the mannequin as well as a hat, for himself.
Cordelia tried to remember, when this could have happened. Events started to come back into her mind. She just couldn't place them. She was thrown out of her reveille when she heard a policeman.
" Ooo... Copper's got a gun!" Giles responded to the cop taunting him the whole time. " You'll never use it, though, man."
"Will so." The cop said.
" Ripper, be careful!"
"Ripper?" Cordelia said to herself.
Cordelia and Angel watched on as Giles managed to take the gun away from the cop. Cordelia smiled a bit at that.
" Told him he'd never use it." Giles smiled.
"You are sooo cool. You're like Burt Reynolds." Joyce laughed.
Cordelia continued to smile as Giles put his arm around Joyce's neck.
"Uhh. Angel. I think we should be going."
"Why?" Angel continued to look at the scene. "Oh." He said after a minute.
"Come on, let them have their fun."
"Shouldn't we stop them?"
"Why?" Cordelia smiled, "This is meant to happen. It changes their relationship. Or at least it would have."
Angel and Cordelia walk away from the scene, pretending not to hear the screams of ecstasy coming from behind them.
"Besides I think I know what the catalyst is now."
What Is and Used To Be
Cordelia and Angel walked back to Angel's mansion in near silence. Cordelia was contemplating her last statement. Her mind was going back to the events that followed all the adults in town turning to teenagers. The events that occurred after had changed her life forever.
"Could that be the catalyst?" Cordelia whispered to herself.
"What?" Angel asked.
Cordelia stopped walking and stood silently for a moment before she spoke, "I think I know what I am here to stop Angel, but I need to be sure." Cordelia looked up at the night sky, "But morning is coming soon, we need to get back."
"You're not going to tell me, are you." Angel said as the entered the mansion.
"I've already told you too much."
Angel just nodded as he saw Kate sitting in a corner, "Well I see our wayward vampire has returned home."
Cordelia frowned, "You have no idea."
A few days later
Cordelia had just returned from the Bronze when she heard a familiar voice. It was Buffy. Cordelia motioned Kate to follow her and after a few moments of pure fear and hatred Kate followed her. Cordelia knew that Kate had mixed feelings about "her master." Kate had never liked Buffy, and now, things were worse. Especially with the constant battle Kate fought with her demon.
Cordelia watched as Angel taught Buffy some new moves. She knew that Angel knew she was watching but he pretended not to notice. Besides, Cordelia knew that when Buffy was around, he would notice World War Three. Cordelia smiled. They were a cute couple....at least at first. Then again she knew that Buffy was meant for someone else, and Angel was meant for something else. They both had different destinies. If they had known that then, maybe all the pain would have been avoided.
Cordelia tried not to grimace when she saw Angel and Buffy kiss. It took all of her self-control and her slowly failing control over Kate, to stay where she was in the shadows. Buffy could not know she was here. History had to happen like it did.
"Everything but one event." Cordelia whispered to herself.
"It's not hard" Buffy said with resolve, "Cold turkey, is the key to quitting."
Cordelia knew that it wasn't that easy to quit something you loved. Whether it was drinking, smoking, love, or hate. Quitting was the hardest thing to do. But sometimes it needed to be done.
"You think they make a patch for this?" Buffy said desperately.
Cordelia sighed. She really didn't want to see this. It was all too sad. So she took Kate's hand and they quietly left the mansion. Outside Cordelia shivered. It wasn't cold out, so she knew something else was wrong. She was going to check it, but Kate ran in the other direction.
"Damn." Cordelia ran after Kate.
A man walked out of an airport. It was getting late, and from what he heard, Sunnydale was not the place to be in at night. It really didn't matter though. This would be his home, at least until he finished his business. Then it didn't matter. He could go, anywhere and it all be the same to him. All he wanted was one thing. One thing he deserved. The one thing that by all rights, he should have been given a long time ago. He wanted the slayer.
"And I'll make you pay too, Mr. Giles."
When We Meet
A man stood in the shadows watching a scene unfold. He looked inconspicuous to the people around him. Just another man in another town. Then again, that was always his way. No one seemed to notice him. This time however it would work to his advantage.
"This is a nightmare. This is... My world is spinning." A young girl with red hair said to the boy who was walking with her.
"It's not that bad, Willow, really."
Willow? The man had heard that name before. This was the girl who was going to get him the slayer. This was the girl he was told about. The man smiled. And continued to watch.
"740? Verbal?! I'm-I'm... pathetic! Illiterate! I'm Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel."
The man laughed. He had been told this Willow was smart. He just didn't realize how true that statement was. This one would have to be dealt with.......subtly.
" That's right. And the fact that your 740 verbally closely resembles my combined scores in no way compromises your position as the village idiot."
The man was lost in thought for a moment until he saw a young man and woman walk up to the pair. He once again watched and listens about the group talk about some test they had taken. Finally the girl he had been waiting for walked up to the group.
" Buffy! Hey! Did you get your SAT scores?" Willow said happily
The girl, Buffy, didn't look too happy. The man smiled. Then again, slayers weren't known for their intelligence. Then again, this Slayer was different. The man knew that. That is why he wanted her so bad.
" By the look on your face, I'm guessing you and I are gonna be manning the drive-through window side by side." The first young man said.
"They're just test scores, right?" The slayer handed a piece of paper to Willow, "What do they really mean, anyway?"
"1430! Buffy, you kicked ass!"
The man watched as the group congratulated Buffy then he walked away. He had seen enough. The slayer definitely exceeded her limitations. He would make her his. Now all he needed was a plan. He was in no hurry though. Everything would happen in good time. Like it was meant to.
Cordelia and Kate had been wandering through the town for a good part of the night. They were hunting. Not for food, but for information, and for him. They were looking for the person or people who had destroyed their lives. It was time to put an end to it.
Cordelia knew that the person was in Sunnydale. She "felt" him. She needed to find him. Before the catalyst happened. She need to find him, before.......
Cordelia and Kate were heading back to Angel's mansion when they saw someone they never thought they'd see again.
"Spike." Cordelia whispered.
"Spikey. Spikey. On a bikey." Kate sung.
"Shhh." Cordelia whispered, "I want to hear this."
Spike was looking through the window of Angel's mansion. Cordelia knew almost instantly that he was drunk. Real drunk. It made her think of Doyle. Doyle had often come into the office with a hangover. Cordelia really did miss the half-demon.
" Yeah, you. You think I'm afraid of you?" Spike slurred.
Spike began to swing at the wind. Almost losing his balance.
" We were happy! You brainwashed her. I could just..."
Cordelia watched as Spike took a drink from an empty bottle and then throwed it to the ground.
"Yeah, I'll show you who's a cool guy." Spike turned to leave "You're goin' down."
Cordelia watched as Spike tripped over a flowerbed and passed out. A part of her wanted to help the vampire but she knew she couldn't. Besides in he was still dangerous. No chip in his head. Then she thought about it. If she could just.....
"No. I can't." Cordelia looked down at the ground.
"What can't?" Kate asked.
"I can't hurt Spike to stop it."
"Oh." Kate said finally.
Cordelia and Kate entered Angel's mansion. It was getting close to daylight.
The next afternoon.
Cordelia snuck out of Angel's mansion. It was still daylight so she knew that Kate would be safe. Cordelia had some things to work out and she didn't want Kate to be around when she worked them out.
As Cordelia continued to walk she began to have a strange sense of foreboding. She could almost attribute it to one of Doyle's prophecy headaches. Something inside of her told her where to go.
She walked on and on until she came to a clearing and she heard a man in the distance. Cordelia walked closer and closer, keeping out of sight. Finally she saw the man hiding behind a bush.
"Can I help you, sir." Cordelia asked.
The man stumbled and fell into the bush. Cordelia tried not to laugh. In the old days she knew she would have. And she would have enjoyed it.
As the man got up, Cordelia froze. There was something about him. She didn't know what but she sensed danger. Cordelia looked into his eyes. Even through the glasses she saw.....madness.
"My God. It's you." Cordelia gasped.
"I have no idea what you are talking about, young lady." The man smiled.
"Don't lie to me." Cordelia said angrily. "I know you are here to destroy the slayer."
The man's face turned white. At that moment Cordelia wished, for the first time in her life, that she wasn't so damn blunt.
"Ahh, I recognize you too, my dear." The man smiled, "You are Miss Cordelia Chase."
"And you are?" Cordelia tried to not look scared out of her mind.
The man grinned ferrally, "Where are my manners." He held out his hand, "The name is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce."
Cordelia Chase looked at the man who for the last five years had been the source of all her nightmares......and laughed.
Wesley's face turned red and shouted, "She was mine. I was supposed to get her."
"What are you talking about?" Cordelia continued to laugh.
"They promised her to me...not Rupert Giles."
Cordelia stopped laughing, "Let me get this straight, all of this because the Watcher's Council passed you over?"
"They promised her to me!" Wesley shouted.
"Poor little watcher boy, didn't get his own slayer to play with." Cordelia smiled, "It is just too clique."
"Damn you!" Wesley attacked Cordelia.
Cordelia had been waiting for this moment for five years and she was ready. Cordelia punched Wesley in the nose and he went down.
"I thought you were ten feet tall!" Cordelia shouted as she kicked him, "I though you had horns!" Cordelia punched him in the stomach, "With red eyes." Cordelia kicked him in the groin, "And long teeth." Cordelia kicked him in the head, "But you're nothing." Cordelia continued to kick and punch the fallen watcher, "Nothing, but destiny's fool."
"She was mine." Wesley gasped.
"You would have made a terrible watcher." Cordelia kicked him in the head and continued to kick him for a long time.
"I think he's dead."
Cordelia turned around and saw the goddess she had seen a long time before.
"Who are you?" Cordelia asked.
"I told you, my name is not important."
"Why are you here?"
"To thank you." The goddess smiled and then disappeared.
Cordelia, Angel, and Kate walked through town. The two vampires follow where Cordelia is heading.
"So are you going to tell us where you're going?" Angel says after awhile.
"To see if killing Wesley was enough to change things."
"So you did kill him?"
"I said I would."
"I know Angel.... It's OK. I can live with the blood on my hands."
Angel just nodded.
The three continued to walk for awhile. None of them said anything. After awhile they heard an ambulance in the distance.
"NO!" Cordelia yelled and then ran toward the sound.
Angel and Kate ran after her. They followed her to what looked like an abandoned warehouse. As the hid behind a bush Angel saw two men run into the building with a gurney. After what seemed like forever they walked out carrying someone.
"My God." Angel looked at Cordelia.
"This wasn't supposed to happen." Cordelia cried, "I thought I changed it."
Angel watched the scene unfold, He watched as the ambulance took off with Giles in the back. He watched as Oz wandered off leaving Willow and Xander behind. He had no idea what was happening but he knew it was big.
"He cheated on me.....with Willow." Cordelia cried.
"I thought I changed it."
"Maybe...." Angel paused, "Maybe this was meant to happen."
Cordelia looked at him in horror.
"If this didn't happen, you might have stayed with Xander. You wouldn't have gone to Los Angeles. You wouldn't have met Kate."
Cordelia turned around and saw Kate in full vampire form. Even as a vampire, Kate was still beautiful.
"You wouldn't have fallen in love with her. " Angel paused, "You told me that you were told that she was your reward."
"Well you would never have gotten your reward if you had not gotten.....hurt."
Cordelia looked on as Xander and Willow left the scene. After a few moments Cordelia got up and left. Angel was right, she knew it .
"Lets go home."
Cordelia opened her eyes and noticed that there was no ground below her. She stood up and standing in front of her was the goddess.
"You did good, Cordelia."
"What's going to happen, now?" Cordelia asked.
"What was meant to happen." The goddess smiled, "Buffy and Willow fill fall in love and defeat the darkness. Giles will marry the slayer's mother. Oz will unite the werewolves. Doyle and Spike will find their own destinies. Xander and Anya..." The goddess smiled, "Those two will find adventure and love in the strangest of place... then again what new with that..."
Cordelia smiled, "And Angel?"
"Angel will find what he is looking for."
"Redemption." Cordelia said softly.
"Yes...and a whole lot more."
Cordelia smiled, "So what now?"
"Now, destiny is back on track.... You will cease to exist."
Cordelia nodded, "I knew that already."
"You are not afraid?"
"I will live through her."
The Goddess smiled, "And she will have a very interesting life, my dear."
Cordelia smiled, "What about Angel?"
"He will not remember what has happened." As the goddess faded away she spoke, "He was right though. Some things are meant to happen."
Cordelia woke up and watched Kate sleep. Like most vampires, when Kate slept, she slept like the dead. Cordelia smiled and kissed Kate on the lips. Then she closed her eyes and they both faded into nothing. They were both at peace.
Cordelia Chase drove out of Sunnydale like a bat out of Hell. The farther she got, the faster she drove. When it came to the little Podunk town, there was no such thing as too fast or too far.
It was time for a change. That's all Cordelia knew. It was time for her to make something of her life. She was going to be an actress. She was going to be a star. Of that, Cordelia had no doubt.
There was nothing back in Sunnydale for her. Yeah there were her friends, but they had their own bothers and Cordelia was tired of it. She wanted a life where the biggest worry was whether or not you needed plastic surgery. Not whether or not you were going to survive the night.
Cordelia drove. She drove to forget the past. She drove to forget how much she missed Xander. She drove to forget how devastated she had been when he had cheated on her. Cordelia drove away from her past and toward her future.
Cordelia was going to be a star. It was her destiny.