Timeline (4/?)

By Liam


September 20, 1998
Rupert Giles’ Home
8:21 PM

Angel stared blankly at the young witch. Willow gave another nervous smile. Oz left the room to tell Giles that the vampire was now conscious. “So,” Willow began, “you aren’t here to kill everybody, are ya?”

Even with that comment, Willow still talked to him as if he was her best friend. Angel always liked this girl. She had gumption, brains, and a weird sense of humor. If Angel hadn’t been so awestruck by Buffy back then, he might have made a run at this girl.

“I wasn’t planning on it,” Angel deadpanned. “How about setting me loose?” Angel rattled the handcuffs for emphasize.

“Oh well, that’s good then,” Willow grinned. In a flash, she turned nervous again. “About the handcuff thing, I can’t really do that. Not to say you’re a liar or anything, but last time we saw you, you tried to suck us into hell. No offense.”

Angel smiled at Willow’s niceties. “None taken,” the vampire said. “Since I assume Oz went to get Giles, you wanna turn the TV on while we wait. I want to see if Scooby-Doo is on.”

Willow had hoped that Angel was all better, but now she knew. He was still evil. The Angel they knew didn’t act like this.

“I have my soul,” Angel assured her, sensing Willow’s thoughts. “I have you to thank for that.”

Giles stepped quickly into the room bearing a crossbow. Buffy was right behind him with a stake.

“Hi,” Angel said, trying to be cheerful. “I was about to watch Scooby-Doo, you wanna join me?”

Giles glared at the vampire with a hardened look in his eyes. “You will tell me how you came to be here, and you will give me a damn good reason why you are here. Otherwise, I will send you back to hell.”

Angle met the watcher’s icy stare with one of his one. But after a few moments, the vampire’s eyes softened. “Take a seat,” he said. “You might want to bring the rest of the gang in here, too. They should hear this.”

Hyperion Hotel
October 17, 2003

“Duncan Smyth is a very interesting character,” Fred said. The girl sat behind her laptop and studied the web page before her. Everyone gathered around as she began to rattle off the details.

“Received his doctorate in physics from Cambridge at the age of 21. He was quickly given a professorship at Cambridge and instant recognition because of his youth. After that, his career ran into a lot of controversy. Most of it came in 1987 at the age of 24, when in a thesis published and reported at an international conference, he basically said all that Einstein reported about time and space was crap.”

“Damn,” Gunn said. “You gotta have brass to say Einstein was full of shit.”

Fred continued as if she had ever been interrupted. “Like I said, his career went downhill. In 1989, his lost all university funding on his experiments to prove time travel was possible. In 1990, Cambridge finally had enough of his antics and forced him to resign.”

“Interesting stuff,” Cordelia said, “but what about Schuber?”

Fred quickly jumped to another page she had book marked. “Friedrich Schuber was a boy genius basically. As a teenager in the 1970’s, he was helping design computer processors that would redefine the industry. After graduating from the University of Vienna with a doctorate in chemistry, Schuber became interested in electromagnetism.

“He gained quite a bit of fame in the field. Eventually, NASA hired him in an attempt to develop a fuel cell to use on lunar modules, and hopefully later on the space shuttle. Reportedly he came up with a revolutionary idea, but it seems he could never quite get it to work. His idea never got past the prototype stage. NASA fired him in the early 90’s. After that, both Smyth and Schuber sank into anonymity.”

“Until both began work at a small technology research company in London,” Wesley observed.

“That’s a hell of a story,” Lilah admitted. “But why would some two-bit research institute hire a pair of disgraced scientists? Certainly not for prestige.”

“Unless it was an educated gamble,” Cordelia inserted. “Maybe they took the chance that both men had refined their work.”

“That’s certainly possible,” Wesley said. “Two men with ideas that if applicable could change the course of human history. It’d be worth the gamble.”

“So what?” Gunn asked. “Tom and Harry finally get their toys to work? No, man. This chick was carrying around a piece of equipment that Fred said was flawed in its efficiency. That means the technology is probably still new.”

Fred picked up where Charles was heading. “Which means that it will still be several years before the ideas will finally catch up to the technology.”

“Wait a minute!” Cordelia shouted. “Flawed in its efficiency? Fred?” That was not something she wanted to hear.

“Angel will be fine,” Fred assured her. “I calculated wasted energy into the equation when I determined travel distance and stuff. Angel will get home.”

Cordelia’s blood pressure was still up five points from that. She needed to lie down, get off her feet. Patting her stomach, she decided Little One could use a rest two. “Fine,” Cordelia said. “I’m going to go upstairs awhile. Come get me if you need me.”

Once Cordelia was out of earshot, Wesley turned to Fred. “You’re sure that there is enough energy for Angel to get home?”

“Oh yeah,” Fred said confidently. There was a 94% chance he had sufficient energy to come home. Certainly better odds than at Lotto.

“You’re here from the future,” Giles said skeptically. Angel nodded in response.

“And you’re here to protect CORDELIA?” Buffy added. After the tears had ceased falling when she learned her love had returned, Buffy had gone into business mode. She prepared himself for when he woke up. But she was not ready for this.

“Why?” Giles demanded. “Why would you care about what happens to Cordelia? Why would you care if she lives or dies? You two have never been close.”

“Hey!” Cordelia said. “I’m in the room!”

Angel turned his head to give his full attention to the woman that would love him completely in a few short years. “Because you can’t even begin to realize the importance of the role Cordelia will play in the coming years. Hundreds of lives will be lost in the future if she were to die.” Softly, Angel said, “Because she’s my best friend.”

“How can we even believe you?” Giles questioned. “Only a few months ago you tried to suck the world into hell.”

“Yeah,” Angel muttered. “Not my finest moment. But you have to believe me. I NEED her to stay alive. For my own survival as well.”

“Why does this assassin want Cordelia dead?” Giles asked.

“It’s not Cordelia she wants dead,” Angel said quietly.

“Funny,” Cordelia snapped. “It sure seemed like she was shooting at ME.”

“It’s not you she wants dead,” Angel repeated loudly. “It’s the child you will eventually carry that she wants dead.”

The room fell silent. For several minutes nobody spoke. They were all shocked at the revelation. Finally, Cordelia spoke, a slight trace of amazement in her voice. “I’ll be a mom?” she asked.

“Why does this woman want to prevent this child’s eventual birth?”

“Our, uh, her child will evidently become someone of great importance in the future. I don’t know the exact reasons why she wants to prevent it. All I know is that she’s jumped to two different points in time to try and prevent this child’s birth.”

Angel hoped to God that no one caught his little slip of the tongue. They all seemed to have missed it, all except Giles that is.

“Who is the child’s father?” Giles questioned. The damn Watcher caught his slip. He had to lie quick.

“I don’t know,” Angel said. “Cordelia never told me, and I didn’t press her. I figured she’d tell me when she was ready to say.”

Giles seemed pacified for the time being. The Brit thought perhaps his hearing was going bad for a moment.

“I’m going to be a mom,” Cordelia whispered again.

Everyone tried to process the information they had just been told. It was a lot to take in, and was quite difficult to comprehend. Cordelia was silently marveling in the fact she’d eventually become a mother. Xander wondered who the hell the father was. Giles pondered whether he should kill Angel. Buffy, however, didn’t believe a word of it. It was all a lot of trouble to go through over someone like Cordelia.

“Are you going to let me go?” Angel asked. “Are you going to let me do the job that I came to do?”

After a moments thought, Giles responded simply. “No.”

Angel glared at the Watcher. He respected the man a great deal back then. Hell, he respected him still. And he was truly sorry for taking Jenny away from him. But “no” was not the answer he wanted.

“Tough shit then.” With a jerk, Angel tore the handcuff chain in half, instantly freeing himself of the bed. “I won’t let you stop me from protecting her.”

Giles quickly leveled the crossbow as the vampire gingerly rose to his feet. The Scoobies quickly pulled out their stakes, prepared to use them if necessary.

Angel glanced around the room, knowing full well that they would kill him. “In the future,” Angel started, “Cordelia is my best friend. She knows me inside and out, better than anyone has since my mother over two centuries ago. She means too damn much to me to simply bow down. I will protect her, and I will kill anyone who threatens to harm her.”

Angel cracked the handcuffs around his wrists like walnuts. He discarded the useless metal on the bed. “Next time you handcuff a vampire,” Angel advised, “make sure the metal is enchanted. Otherwise, you’d be dead.”

Slowly, Angel grabbed his duster from the chair by the bed. Any second he expected the crossbow bolt to pierce his heart, ending his existence. Wrapping the duster around his body to cover his bloodstained shirt, Angel slowly moved to the bedroom door. Everyone moved to the side to get out of his way, although none of them knew quite why. Head lowered, the vampire eased his way out the door and down the stairs to safety.

All the while, Giles had the crossbow trained on Angel’s heart. When the vampire disappeared, he lowered the weapon with a sigh, not really understanding what just happened.

“We just let that monster walk out of here,” Xander exclaimed. “We just let that damn vampire walk out of here! Who knows who he could kill! We should get him!”

“No,” Giles said. “Leave him be.”

“What?” everyone, including Buffy exclaimed.

“Need it be said that the demon that tried to suck the world into hell just walked out that door?” Xander asked.

Calming down, Buffy spoke. “Maybe Giles is right. He could have easily killed Willow when Oz left the room. But he didn’t.”

“So? He knew we’d kill him if he did.”

“No,” Willow said. “I admit, that wasn’t the Angel that we all know but it wasn’t Angelus either.”

“So the question remains: what do we do?” Oz asked.

“I honestly don’t know,” Giles said. The Watcher dropped the crossbow on his bed and proceeded to wipe his glasses. “But what I can suggest is that we gather to offer Cordelia some sort of protection, whether it be from this mystery assassin Angel spoke of, or Angel himself.”

Giles turned to Cordelia to get her opinion. “Cordelia? Do you have anything to say on the matter?”

Cordelia was still staring off into space, a slight smile on her face. “I’m going to be a mom,” she repeated. “That’s so cool.”