Act Two: Brand New Way


Sight and sound dissolved into gray nothingness, leaving only the agony of Drusilla’s fangs in her flesh, until even that faded to numbness as Cordelia fell unresisting into the darkness, taking with her only a vague sense of regret...

And then there was light. Too much light, stabbing through her closed eyelids and urgent voices nagging at her when all she wanted to do was sleep.

“Can you tell me your name?”

“Miss, can you tell me what happened to you?”

She convulsed as a wave of bright agony swept her into consciousness.

I need compression here! She’s losing a lot of blood from the wound in her neck. There’s another bleeder on the left upper leg, looks like it just missed the femoral.

“What are those, animal bites? What did the guy who brought her in say happened?”

“He didn’t.”

“Get me two units O-neg. Lots of bruising on the thighs, and O.K. that’s definitely a human bite. I think we’re going to need a rape kit.”

It hurt. Worse than the worst vision. Pain made it impossible to think about anything else and would someone please shut up that woman, make her stop screaming? Hurt it hurt it hurt, don’t touch her, just NO! NO! Leave her alone she… NO!

Miss please! You have to calm down, we’re trying to help you! Nurse, push 100 g of Demerol, 5g Valium; she needs to calm down.

Oh. That’s better. The pain had faded away and the screaming had stopped and she could think a little. She stared up at the concerned faces, the white ceiling behind them. Busy people, crowded round her, doing things to her. She knows this one: Hospital. She’d been saved.

“Hello Miss, I’m Dr. Kelso, can you tell me your name?” He had a nice face, he looked worried. She wanted to tell him to relax. Everything was going to be O.K.

“Miss?” Ooops. He wanted some kind of answer.

“Cordelia Chase.” He smiled; right answer.

“Do you remember what happened?” Uh oh. Trick question. It would be fun to actually tell him the truth-- if she didn’t mind spending a few days under psychiatric observation. On second thought she’d pass.

She looked straight into the doctor’s clear gray eyes and lied. “I don’t remember.” He frowned, and she sensed he wasn’t buying it, but he didn’t push it.

“We’d like to perform a few tests—your condition suggests you might have been raped, and since you don’t remember…”

She could say no of course, but she didn’t want to set off any more alarms. “I guess, if you think I should…”

Cordelia drifted as various things were done to her body. Eventually she was moved into a private room and left alone. The slow drip of the IV and the quiet hum of the monitor were soothing. Tomorrow, or today – she wasn’t sure about the time – there would be police to lie to but right now all she wanted was to sleep.

She closed her eyes and fell directly into a vision.

This one was different, there was the usual headlong rush of images but none of the usual sense of urgency.

Middle aged guy in the remains of an expensive suit, tied to a chair. She’ll take Wolfram and Hart for a thousand Alex. Angel – and it is him, not Angelus, God knows she knows the difference – holds the sharp end of a paper holder a scary millimeter from the man’s eye. He begs. Angel’s face doesn’t change….

Abruptly her viewpoint shifted and she was looking down at the same guy. He has both eyes intact, different suit. He’s talking to a creepy-looking demon in a hood. “I want you to remove Angel’s soul.” Shit. At least she knows who to blame.

And again with the scene changes.
Angelus, creeping into Angel’s room. Smiling malevolently down at her obliviously sleeping self. Long pale fingers reaching out… Please, please, change the damned…

Thank you. Fred lying pale and broken on a bier of broken glass and garbage. Oh no, poor Fred…

Flash—the images are definitely speeding up. Drusilla sweeping grandly into the Hyperion’s lobby. She looks up and smiles.

Flash-- This time it’s Wesley standing out front of the Hyperion, looking worried as Gunn comes towards him. He’s not dead, oh thank God!

And again-- Gunn vamping out and slamming the lawyer’s head into a car. “Linwood,” Wesley says. Nice to have a name.

Flash -- Hoodie demon (she can’t tell for sure if it’s the same one) chanting. Pretty rock. Pretty lights.

Flash -- Angel collapses in a parking lot as light flares in his eyes.

Flash -- Light flares in Gunn’s eyes. He lets Linwood’s corpse drops to the ground. Guess she can forget about revenge.

Flash - Lorne talking to Angel “You’re safe as houses sweetpea: Wesley got you an upgrade. Your soul is bound to your body now – can’t have one without the other, so no more Angelus.”

“It’s never safe,” Angel says.

She opened her eyes. Angel was standing in the doorway.

The knot of tension in her stomach unwound at the sight of him. Not that she didn’t appreciate the Powers giving her an update, but seeing him in the flesh made it real. “Hey,” she said softly. “From the look on your face, I must look pretty bad.” He flinched.

“Cordy. God, I’m so sorry.” His hand clenched on the metal of the doorframe and made it groan in sympathy.

“Come over here, Angel.” Reluctantly he came to stand by the side of her bed, head bowed, and waiting for judgment. Having him this close was harder than she’d thought it would be. She made herself take his cool hand in hers.

“How can you stand to be near me…after what I did?” he asked softly.

“Angel – I know that wasn’t you. That could never be you.”

He didn’t say anything and his eyes were full of shadows. She refused to look at her wrists, at the bruises that matched the fingers entwined with hers. “Angelus is gone for good, the PTB gave me the good news. You’re free Angel. You can be as happy as you want to be.”

“Happy.” He made the word into a curse.

“Yeah, happy. Get used to the idea Broodzilla. Come on Angel, I need you. Gunn and Lorne and me we all need you.”

He winced at Gunn’s name and her own thoughts skittered nervously away from the whole undead Gunn concept. “Sucks to be us sometimes,” she murmured. He squeezed her hand gently.

They sat in silence. She didn’t remember being so aware of his unnatural stillness before, no breathing, no pulse or heat in the flesh holding hers. He sat there stolid and silent as a statue.

She was relieved when there was a knock at the door and Lorne stuck his head inside. “Hey, guys. Everything alright here?”

“We’re fine,” Cordelia stated.

“Sorry kids, hate to interrupt you kids, but Mr. Sun is on his way and the big guy needs to get a move on.”

Angel had been aware of the threat of daylight threat for awhile but he was reluctant to leave Cordelia. It had been so close, he’d almost lost her. He wanted to sit and count every breath and let himself be lulled by the cadence of her heartbeat, the solid reassurance that she was alive. She looked so small and pale in the cold hospital bed. So vulnerable. It would be so easy to hurt her. It had been so easy.

…and so much fun.

He stood up and let her hand slip through his. “He’s right,” he mumbled as he headed for the door.

“Angel!” He froze.


“Angel, I love you.”

He could almost taste the pain and truth in her voice. “I know,” he said and fled.

Lorne came over to the bed and kissed her gently on the forehead. “Hey Princess, I’ll be back soon as I get him home, ‘kay?”

“Make sure he eats.”

“Will do crumbcake. Anything I can do for you?”

“Can you go by my place – I don’t know where my keys are but Dennis will let you in – and get me some clothes, and a nightgown and maybe some moisturizer?”

“Sure thing doll. I’ll be back before you have time to miss me.”

Alone again, Cordelia settled back against the cool sheets with a sigh and pulled the thin blanket up. Shivering, she wondered why they kept the temperature so damned low in here. She’d never been so cold in her life.


Gunn had never noticed before how creepy the Hyperion’s lobby was. He didn’t like the way the high ceiling arched overhead full of shadows, even though he can see into them they still bug him. He felt spotlit sitting here on the couch in the huge empty space. Not like he’d ever spent any time alone here before. There’d always been someone around, hanging out behind the desk, lurking in the office while they waited for a client or discussed a case or patched each other up after a fight.

He wished someone would show up. Anybody: Cordelia or Wesley or Angel or even Lorne. Oh man, Lorne; he’s gotta be laughing his ass off about him being vamped; dude never did forgive him for that mess with Gio; shit, couldn’t really blame him. He was so fucked. Right now he don’t even have a place to stay. Can’t sleep in his truck. Fact was he’d better stay out of the old neighborhood and away from his old crew. He don’t see them giving him a chance to explain about how it was cool ‘cause look, he’s got a soul. ‘Specially since he isn’t 100% sure that’s true: having a soul never kept Angel from going off the rails.

He sucked nervously on his teeth. He could really use a toothpick, pretty sure Wes kept some in the top drawer of his desk. But it didn’t feel right for him to go in there. He wondered who was gonna be boss now. Cordy, or maybe Wes if he came back. No disrespect for Barbie, but personally he’d vote for Wes. Man showed them he’d got the strategy skills and they could sure use his book smarts.

His butt slid around on the plush upholstery as he tried to find a comfortable position. He felt itchy, like his skin didn’t fit right. Maybe because there was a demon crammed inside it with him now. The way his skin slithered over the changing bones when he vamped was just plain Nasty. Especially the part where it felt kinda good. He’s kinda curious about what he looks like; maybe he can get Cordelia to take a Polaroid so he can check out just how scary he is. Though it ain’t like he don't have experience being scary. Didn’t need fangs, just being a tall young brother made him pretty damn scary far as a big chunk of the population was concerned.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Man, where were they? After he’d pulled his shit together he’d come here like Wesley said. He’d gone upstairs to check it out but he’d only managed to make it as far as the hallway outside Angel’s room before the stink of blood and the memories drove him back down here.

There was no-one else alive or undead in the hotel. Just him. Worried and starting to feel hunger scratching around inside even though he can still taste his last meal in his mouth…

“Hey, Linwood, look at me motherfucker…”

Gunn shook his head free of the memory, he didn’t want to think about that shit right now. Or ever if he can help it. Can’t take it back, and he wasn’t sure he would even if he could; he’ll be damned if he’s gonna cry any tears over that bastard Linwood. He was sorry about torturing and eating him though. Even though he’d tasted so good…

He really needs Angel to come back. He needs to talk to Angel. That’s all. Needs some tips on how to deal with this new part of him that wants blood and violence and pain. That’s all. Don’t care what Wes said, he’s not down with that sire bullshit. Last thing he needs is a daddy, already got one of those, somewhere. And for the first time in years he hoped the asshole wasn’t dead. Cause he’d like to find George Gunn and show him how much his son appreciated being left to try and raise his baby sister on his own after mama got eaten by vamps on her way back from the stop-and-rob one night and they lost the house. Yeah, he ought to find Dad, make that motherfucker repent. Just like Linwood…

…raw red sockets oozed red tearstains to bracket the screaming mouth. He leaned forward for another taste at the same time digging his fingers into the soft gut, tearing through skin and meat to the slippery vulnerable organs inside…

Damn, he’d lost control again. He held his hand up to his face fascinated by the way his fingernails had gone all clawed. Definitely don’t want that happening on a date. He had to get some control. Before he hurt someone. Someone who didn’t deserve it. Aw shit, he’s ripped the upholstery. Cordy’s gonna kill him.

Cordy. The scent of her blood had been thick in the air upstairs. Please Lord Jesus, let Cordy be O.K. Because if she wasn’t then it was over for all of them. No way would Angel survive that, he’d lock himself up in a dark closet and Wes would blame himself like he blames himself for every damn thing. And Charles Gunn? Without his friends, his girl, or a purpose he’d be just another monster that somebody needed to put out of its misery.

He wished – wished he hadn’t been so damn quick up those stairs or maybe been just a little bit quicker. Wished he hadn’t looked into Drusilla’s eyes, or that he’d held out and not swallowed. Wished he’d been run over by a fucking bus on the way to meet Groo. Wished for whatever it would take for Fred to be alive and Cordy not hurt and for him to not be sitting here undead and fucked with bits of lawyer stuck between his teeth.


Angel greedily inhaled the clear night air as they stepped outside of the hospital, and then gave it all back, purging his senses of the hospital stink of chemicals, fear and blood. Always blood.

“My car’s over in the visitor’s lot. Come on.” Lorne walked away. Angel didn’t follow.

“I can make it back to the hotel on my own.”

Lorne looked dubious. “Angelcakes…”

“I need some time to think. I promise I’ll be there when you get back, OK?”

Lorne sighed and accepted the inevitable. “See you back at the hotel.”

Angel walked along the quiet streets as slowly as he dared, feeling the warning prickle in his shoulder blades as the sky paled overhead. He wished he had somewhere else to go, anywhere other than that damned hotel. The scene of the crime. Gunn was waiting there for him there; another in his long chain of dead only he has to face this one. What the hell could he say to him? ‘Hey bro, sorry I killed you? ‘

He hoped Dru had the sense to run before he had to kill her.

And he just can’t believe it was Wesley who saved the day. Wasn’t that a kick in the pants? So he guessed killing him is out and if he were a better person he wouldn’t still hate him. But he’s not. The best he can do is to not kill him.

He was fed up with cruel ironies. Congratulations, your soul is permanent! There’s no more Angelus; go on, be happy. Sure, he’ll just go up to her and say ‘Hey Cordy, sorry about my evil alter-ego raping you and killing your boyfriend. Wanna date?’

God, Cordelia. He’d felt every shudder she’d fought down for his sake when she’d held his hand and every half-conscious cringe and suppressed recoil had been a kick in the gut. Angelus had destroyed whatever chance they’d ever had to be together, all that was left now was tainted memories and a gaping hole in his chest.

She didn’t blame him. She blamed everything on Angelus and she believed he was gone for good. She was so fucking wrong on both counts it was funny.

She didn’t get it, none of them do. ‘Angel’ is just an alias. It’s not all their fault, he’d encouraged the confusion. It made everything so much easier. Though at first, he’d tried telling them the truth. He’d admitted to them that the memories of Angelus’ crimes weren’t nightmares, but it made the humans uneasy around him, made them draw away and he didn’t like that. So he’d stopped telling them. He’d gone along with the fiction that Angelus was a completely separate persona. It made it so much easier for them to let him in and treat him like a person, a friend. Angel needed that.

But underneath it all the truth is that he is Angelus. Same mind, same memories, same desires. The soul was the only difference: it lets Angel care about others, and keeps him from following his baser instincts, mostly. But it doesn’t keep him from wanting to go back to the hospital. Doesn’t stop him wanting to tear Cordelia free of the tubes and wires and carry her back to the hotel, lay her on his bloodied bed and fuck her until she screamed. Doesn’t keep him from craving her blood, wanting to taste it again, sweet and vital on his tongue.

If she knew what he really was, she’d run and never come anywhere near him again. And that would be the best, really. If she’d go. Remove the temptation. Leave him and make a life for herself in the sun. She deserved that. Everyone knows that the monster is never meant to get the girl. He’d thought she’d leave with the Groosalugg, but she came back. Why the hell does she keep coming back? Why won’t she hate him?

Too soon the Hyperion loomed before him, silhouetted against the brightening sky. Angel hesitated, tempted by the thought of walking into the dawn, but he’d promised her.

The first thing Angel saw as he stepped inside the lobby was Gunn sitting hunched on the lobby couch. He looked up and Angel couldn’t help but recoil a little from yellow eyes and ridged forehead. Gunn turned away and conflicting emotions washed through Angel as he watched his fledgling struggling to shift back. Sorrow and remorse as he remembered Gunn becoming dead weight in his arms, undercut by the memory of how very good the last of Gunn’s life had tasted sliding down his throat. His demon clamored, urging him to step forward and claim his newly made son; to touch/ feed/ shelter/ fuck/punish him. To mold him into whatever image pleased him. .

“Hey, Angel.” Gunn’s face was human again, his voice unsteady as he tried to maintain his cool. Angel saw how he leaned forward in unconscious yearning. He remembered crawling out of his grave with a dull ache in his bones that only Darla could salve; how he’d craved her attention, begged for her direction. Penn, eager and pliant. Angel moved a step closer.

He smelled blood. Not Gunn’s but vaguely familiar. Fuck. If Gunn had been feeding, if he has, soul or no soul he’ll have to kill him, again. He can’t do this. The silence stretched as neither vampire spoke.

“How’s Cordelia??” Gunn asked.

“She’s at the hospital.”

“She gonna be OK?”

“Yeah. I guess. I don’t know.” He stared at the patterned floor. “I don’t know why she doesn’t hate me.” He knew why Gunn didn’t hate him and he wasn’t going to be pleased when he figured out why.

“She loves you man.” Angel knew that Gunn was only trying to help, but he can’t hear this.

“Gunn, I don’t know what to say to you… What I did. I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah. I know. But it wasn’t you. I got that.”

Angel sighed and let it go.

More silence. The two of them standing just beyond arms reach.

“Wesley,” Angel said. “Lorne said he was the one who got my soul back.”

“Yeah, and mine. Wes really came through.”

“So he got to be the hero at last.” That probably came out just a teense bitter, but Angel was too tired to care. Gunn frowned.

“Man, I don’t think that’s why he did it. Wes…” Gunn’s mouth snapped shut at his sire’s growl.

“Gunn – I -- maybe you’re right. Probably. He saved Cordy, I owe him. But I still can’t forgive him for Connor.”

Gunn looked like he wanted to argue, but Angel’s glare silenced him. The uncomfortable silence nudged itself back between them. The dawn was beginning to send fingers of light through the lobby doors.

“So, uh – what do I do?” Gunn said.

“Huh? You know the basics. Drink blood, avoid sunlight, crosses, holy water, fire. Don’t kill humans or Lorne. Uh…”

“I mean, I don’t have any place to stay now. So, can I stay here for awhile?” The neediness in his gaze was like fingers plucking at Angel’s arm.

“Um. Sure, no problem.” He can’t do this. “I’m tired – I gotta go. Take whatever room you want.” He fled upstairs. After a few minutes Gunn followed.


She rode him, mouth smeared with his blood, her cunt clenched around his cock so tightly he can only move at her pleasure, a reminder of how easily she could break him in half. He’d lost track of how long they’ve been at this. Weeks, days, hours, blurred into an unending loop of him spilling himself into her by cock and vein interspersed by blackouts. As she shuddered through her climax and dragged him along with her, he sensed the end was near. He welcomed it. He was looking forward to the end of caring, one way or another.

She bent down to kiss him, cool silken lips leaching heat from his.. “Such a lovely, lovely boy. Mine. The nasty girl shan’t have you.”

He shivered as her teeth skimmed teasingly over his taut throat, snagging slightly on the rougher scar tissue. Now, he thought. Now. Perhaps he’d spoken out loud because she nuzzled in closer the tip of her tongue burning his skin with cold. “Patience, Charity, Hope and Prudence,” she recited.

“The Virtues?”

“My sisters. Daddy said Patience was the sweetest. Saving myself of course.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, because she seemed genuinely sad. She giggled.

“Silly boy, they’re much better off dead.” She nuzzled his throat. “Such kind concern should have a reward. Sweets to the sweet,” she purred, her words dripping like cold rain on the skin of his throat.

Her fangs sliced into him and it didn’t hurt much, certainly no more than he deserved. His blood fled eagerly down her throat and he felt himself grow lighter, insubstantial, free of his fears and regrets. He hoped vaguely that she doesn’t decide to turn him. All he wanted was for it to be over at last...


Wesley hit the snooze button with his eyes still shut and fell back onto the bed. 7:30 a.m., why on earth had he set the alarm for this unholy hour? Oh yes, he has an appointment in Burbank at 10:30 about some translation work and as he needs the money rather badly he couldn’t afford to be late. Resignedly Wesley slid out of bed and plodded towards the bathroom.

He turned the shower on high and nearly scalding as if to wash away the last shreds of his dream. He dreamt about that night at least once a week since the event.

The sun had woken him late that morning, warming his face after its long crawl across the piles of books, pizza boxes, crumpled wrappers, and dirty laundry. He’d sat up slowly, feeling the sting of his wounds, his whole body one throbbing bruise, and wondered what had gone wrong. Typical – he couldn’t even get himself killed properly. He had been quite disappointed with Drusilla.
He’d cleaned himself up, then made himself a cup of tea and some toast. Midway through his breakfast it occurred to him that she might come back that night, to finish what she’d started. The sheer terror that gripped him at the thought came as an epiphany. He’d drunk another cup of tea and phoned Willow.

The uninvite spell had been done well before sundown. He sat down in his living room armed with cross and holy water, but Drusilla didn’t appear. He hasn’t seen her since. He hopes he’ll never see her again.

After the shower he stood before the mirror his eyes fixed on the unfogged space he’d rubbed clear of steam and felt a familiar tickle at the back of his neck. He could feel someone standing behind him, watching. He tried to ignore it as he finished shaving, knowing from past experience that if he turned around there would be no-one there. The sunlight spilling through the deliberately gauzy curtains meant it couldn’t be either of the obvious suspects.

Wolfram and Hart? They certainly had the resources but he couldn’t imagine why they’d bother. His only importance had been as Angel’s associate. Now that he was on his own surveillance seemed pointless. Which did not necessarily rule them out.

It was all very annoying.

He nicked himself. Swearing he dropped the razor and spun around to find – nothing, again. He was growing tired of this game. Something will have to be done.


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