September 21, 1998
Sunnydale High School
“Is it just me,” Buffy began, “or is Cordelia not even in the solar system anymore?”
The Scoobies were all gathered in the library, trying to discuss the best course of action to keep Cordelia out of harm. The brunette wasn’t really contributing any ideas. Instead, Cordelia had the same faraway look in her eyes that she had the previous day.
“I’m wondering if we’re even in the same universe,” Xander answered. He waved his hand in front of his girlfriend’s face. No response.
“She seems to be taking this in stride,” Oz observed. The thought that Cordelia would be a mother didn’t terrify him as much as it probably should.
“She’s been like that since Angel said she’d be a mom,” Willow said. This was just plain weird. A future version of Angel came back in time to protect Cordelia and her unborn child. And Cordelia was going catatonic over the fact she’d be a mother.
“Welcome to the Hellmouth,” Buffy said.
Giles made his entrance from the back of the book stacks, frustrated. Try as he might, he couldn’t find much of anything to disprove what Angel was saying. If things didn’t change for the better, Giles might be forced to believe the vampire.
“Any luck?” Willow asked.
“Absolutely none,” Giles answered. The Englishman wearily wiped his glasses as he spoke. “I searched every prophecy I could find. I can’t find anything about a time shifting demon assassin trying to eliminate the birth of a child.”
For the first time that day, Cordelia spoke. “That’s because she isn’t demon. She’s human. Angel said so.”
“And we believe that monster all of a sudden, why?” Xander asked. “For all we know, someone might be trying to stop him from killing you.”
“Pfft!” Cordelia waved him off. “I’m sorry, but having half your hide taken off your back to save my life kind of endears me to someone.”
“Still,” Giles insisted, “if at all possible, I would prefer that Angel not come too close. Even if he speaks the truth about traveling back in time, we have no true idea of his motivations. It could be all a manipulation.”
Cordelia quickly waved off the Watcher before returning to her daydreams. Rebecca Leigh for a girl, Matthew Tyler for a boy she decided.
“Perhaps it would be best if some of you could stay with Cordelia tonight,” Giles suggested. “In her home, she would be safe from Angel. And with Buffy there, she’d have protection from this other anonymous being.”
“Me?” Buffy squeaked. “I should stay at Cordelia’s?” That was not her idea of a good time.
“Yes,” Giles said, not missing his Slayer’s reluctance. “Is that acceptable to you Cordelia?”
“Sure,” Cordelia answered, still in her daydream. Maybe Hannah Michelle for a girl, Cordelia considered. “Just come after 10:30. That’s when the housekeeper leaves for the night. She’s not supposed to let people in when my parents are away.”
“Then I guess it’s a sleepover,” Buffy groaned.
“Perhaps Willow could keep you company,” Giles suggested.
The redhead gulped audibly. Oh…joy.
“Goodnight Miss Cordelia,” Rosa, the housekeeper called to the teenager.
Cordelia sat at the kitchen table, and didn’t even look up from her notebook as Rosa shut the door on the way out. Jordan was a good name, she decided. That could be for a boy or girl.
Cordelia tossed aside the pencil and sighed heavily. What the hell was going on? Ever since Angel had said that she would eventually carry a child, she had been off in another world. She even flatly refused to go out with Harmony and the gang for a night at the Bronze.
Maybe it was the idea that she could be a better parent that either of the two she possessed that made Cordelia daydream. She may be a rich bitch with the material goods, but it’d be nice to have mom and dad give her a hug every once in a while.
Getting up, Cordelia went to the fridge and grabbed a Diet Coke. Searching through a drawer, she came up with a bag of popcorn. Tossing it into the microwave, she pressed ‘High’ and waited for the beep.
She didn’t hear the sound out the front door being jimmied open. Allison Beasley tucked the pick back into her pocket. She then pulled out her new toy. The Beretta felt damn good in her hand, despite the fact it was an antiquated relic. At least, in her time it was.
Walking silently through the living room, Allison twisted on her homemade silencer. From the kitchen she heard sounds of a microwave. Following the noise, Beasley quietly strode up to the kitchen doorway.
The mark was standing by the far counter, flipping through a book of baby names as she waited for the popcorn to finish. Allison leveled the Beretta at the mark’s head and pulled back on the cock.
Fuck, Allison mentally shouted. Didn’t count on that.
The sound of the bullet being chambered resonated throughout the kitchen. Cordelia Chase spun around and spotted the woman with the pistol. Thinking quick, she tossed the baby book at the intruder and dove behind the island counter.
Allison fired quickly, but the bullet missed and shattered a coffeepot. With a groan of frustration, Allison tossed the pistol aside. The silencer was only good for one shot. She then whipped out her favorite serrated blade.
Cordelia crawled towards the kitchen door to try to escape, but Allison was on her in a second. The assassin grabbed Cordelia’s hair, and jerked the brunette to her feet. Smothering Cordelia’s mouth with her left hand, Allison held the knife to her throat.
“Sorry, little girl,” Allison grinned. “It’s nothing personal. It’s just that your little bastard can never be born.”
The kitchen door flew off its hinges. Cordelia had never been so thankful to see Angel before in her life. And boy, did he look pissed.
“Let her go!” Angel shouted.
“Sorry,” Allison mocked. “Can’t really do that.” Allison grinned as she realized the vampire’s predicament. “Oh,” she taunted. “That’s right. You can’t come in unless you’re invited. That means you have to watch as I slit your little bitch’s throat. I may be from the future, but I read up on the rules about your kind.”
Angel growled furiously at the assassin. His game face slid easily into place, his fangs barred in anger. Angel then took a few steps away from the door. “Screw the rules,” Angel growled.
With a running start, Angel leapt at the door. The mystical barrier shattered like a pane of glass as Angel flew past the threshold. The moment of shock on Allison’s part was all the time the vampire needed.
Angel knocked Cordelia away and proceeded to land a series of punches to the assassin. But Allison quickly recovered and countered the vampire’s offensive. A shot to the gut and a spinning roundhouse kick sent Angel reeling backwards against the counter.
Allison jumped on Angel and twisted him around so his back was to her front. With her left hand, she jerked Angel’s left arm behind him in an arm lock. She then dug her right elbow into the very spot her pulse round struck two days before. Angel howled in pain as Allison ground her elbow into the wound.
“How’s that feel, vampire?” Allison taunted.
“Not bad,” Angel grunted. With a quick snap, Angel broke Allison’s nose with his right hand. “How’s that feel, bitch?”
Allison fell back, clutching her broken and bleeding nose. A sharp kick sent her flying against the wall. Angel pounced on his prey. He grabbed Allison by the neck and pressed her against the wall. Allison choked in desperation. She couldn’t breathe.
“Why do you want the child dead?” Angel shouted. “Tell me!”
Angel loosened his grip only enough for her to choke out her words. “The child is the Men-clar,” Allison grunted. “It is an abomination, a threat to the future. It must be destroyed.”
Angel’s eyes flashed dangerously. “Wrong answer,” he growled. “A piece of advise before I send you to hell. Never fuck with a man’s family.”
Allison forced a strangled laugh. “You’re not exactly a man.”
With a flick of her wrist, a knife dropped down into her palm from the holster attached to her forearm. She buried the blade in the soft flesh just above Angel’s left hip. Angel lost his grip as he shouted in pain.
Allison kicked the vampire away and grabbed a canister from the small of her back. As Angel jerked the knife from his gut, she said, “This isn’t over.”
She tossed the canister in Cordelia’s direction as she leapt into the living room. Angel’s eyes widened in terror as he realized what it was. “Cordelia! Get down!”
Pure protective instinct once again took over. Angel used a burst of vampire speed to grab Cordelia and place his body between her and the canister.
The fragmentation grenade exploded the instant it hit the ground. Shrapnel and linoleum from the tile floor sprayed throughout the kitchen. The metal fragments shredded Angel’s back as he dropped both of them to the floor. He stayed on top of Cordelia until he was sure the last bits of the blast had dissipated. Only then, with an agonizing grunt did he roll off her.
It was then that the Scoobies came through the kitchen door and saw the carnage.
“What happened?” Buffy shouted as she rushed to Angel’s side, not bothering to check on Cordelia.
“She was here,” Cordelia explained, too distraught to bitch about the lack of attention Buffy paid her. “She tried to kill me, but Angel saved me.”
Willow went to Angel’s side to help Buffy, as both of the men moved to help Cordelia up. “We need to call Giles,” Willow frantically said.
Buffy’s ears perked up at the sounds of police cars in the distance. “Scratch that. We need to go to Giles. Cops are coming. We need to go. I doubt this is something we could easily explain.”
Oz and Buffy grabbed onto Angel and hoisted him up. They needed to get him out of here quick.
“Men-clar,” Angel muttered. “Child is the Men-clar.” The vampire groaned one final time before lapsing into unconsciousness.
“What was that?” Oz asked.
“Dunno,” Buffy grunted as she lifted Angel at the shoulders. “It can wait. Grab his feet. We need to go.”
The two carried the wounded vampire out the door as Xander scooped Cordelia into his arms. Willow was the last to make her way out the door. Before she left, she took a last look around.
It’s like a war zone, she thought. To go through this pain, the war must be personal to Angel. Willow slipped out the back door just as the police began to pull up at the front door.