October 18, 2003
“Wow,” Cordelia breathed. She rubbed her stomach affectionately. “I knew this kid would be something special.”
“Something special is right,” Fred agreed. “The savior of mankind. Kinda swells you with maternal pride, huh?”
“I don’t want to burst any bubbles here” Gunn said, “but we gotta remember something. The child that is supposed to bring peace to the world has got some woman in the past trying to make sure it doesn’t get born. The question is why?”
The joyous moment was abruptly ended as reality was once again called into focus. That was the question.
“I doubt that we will learn why,” Wesley said. “The events foretold in the prophecy occur a couple decades in the future. Without knowledge of the situation in detail, we cannot understand Allison’s motivations.”
“But we can learn why,” Connor said. The group turned to look at the teen. “She’s back in the past. With dad. He can learn why.”
They would have to hope so. Because with that knowledge came a way to change the future.
September 3, 1998
With a copy of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ propped underneath a leg, Cordelia sat on a stool at the kitchen counter. Shrapnel still protruded from the wall. The crystal chandelier would never be the same, and neither would her mother’s china collection.
The police had bought the story about the microwave exploding, and considering the condition it was in, it was almost believable. Thankfully the stove still worked.
“My parents are going to have a fit about the repair bill,” Cordelia sighed.
Angel glanced over at Cordelia. Stirring the soup on the stove, he said, “Nah. Remember, as long as we stop Allison, the timeline is secured. That means events will transpire as I remember them, back from my time. I’m the only one who will remember any of this.”
“Which means I won’t even remember that I will become a mother,” Cordelia said. The sadness in her voice made his heart break.
“I know,” Angel said softly. “But I will remember. And I can go back to the future and tell your future self about how you fell in love with a life that won’t even be conceived for another five years.”
Cordelia smiled softly at that. “You think I’ll be a good mother?”
“You’ll kick ass,” Angel said. Grabbing a bowl, Angel poured some tomato soup for Cordelia. “It’s canned, but it was made with love,” he joked.
Cordelia gladly took the proffered soup. “When do you come back from hell?” Angel didn’t expect the question, and it was obvious. “I mean, since you’re around in 2003, that must mean you come back eventually.”
Angel nodded. “I return very soon. I didn’t know at the time, but I was released for a reason. Those people I told you about, the Powers, they brought me back to work for them.”
“So that’s what we do,” Cordelia said. Cordelia seemed to think for a minute. “Do you still love Buffy?”
The girl had a habit of asking questions point blank. “Yeah, I still love her. Not the deep, soul searing kind of love. She was my first love, so she’ll always have a place in my heart.”
“Does that mean you’re alone?”
“No,” Angel said. “The people I work with are my family. Besides, I have you. You won’t let me be alone.”
Cordelia actually blushed at that. It wasn’t often that he did that. And this was 1998 Cordelia he was dealing with. He didn’t think she knew about to blush back then.
It was then that Angel’s ears perked to a sound outside. It was a car, six cylinders. And from the strangled cries the carburetor was making, it was Giles poor excuse of an automobile. Angel cringed at the sound of the dying motor. “He really needs to take care of his car.”
Cordelia looked at him curiously. “What?”
“Nothing. Giles and gang are here.” Angel turned off the stove. “I’m going to cut out of here. I’m not too sure how Buffy and the others might take to my being here. When Giles comes in, tell him to patrol Ericsson Park. You know, the south side with the old Presbyterian Chapel?” Cordelia nodded. “Tell him to patrol there.”
As Angel moved to the door, Cordelia’s voice stopped him. “Where will you be when we patrol?”
Angel smiled at her. “I’ll be around.” Cordelia whipped around at the sound of knocking on the front door. When she looked back, she found the kitchen door open a crack, and Angel long gone.
“Damn vampire,” Cordelia muttered.
“Things are strange,” Xander said. The muttering around him confirmed his sentiment. “A guy, who is supposed to be in hell, shows up on our doorstep to protect a girl who supposedly will give birth to the next messiah.”
“Damn right,” Cordelia exclaimed.
“So, uh, Cordelia? Is there any swelling of maternal pride going on?” Willow asked.
“Damn right,” Cordelia said again.
“I think it’s great Cordelia’s got a destiny,” Oz said. “Everyone should have a role to play. Me? I’m hoping my destiny involves being the lead guitarist of Black Sabbath and a harem of blondes and brunettes hanging on my every word.”
“Hey!” Willow said, slapping her boyfriend’s arm.
“Oh, yeah, plus my favorite redhead by my side.” Oz smiled at his girlfriend, letting her know he was kidding about his destiny.
“Funny,” Giles muttered. “For a period in the mid-eighties, I was hoping that was my destiny.”
“Strange,” Buffy said. “I was thinking you to be more lead singer of Blue Oyster Cult or something.”
“That was late seventies,” Giles said. “Now keep quiet. We’ve a job to do.” The gang fell silent as they continued the patrol.
From the second floor of Sunnydale First Presbyterian in Ericsson Park, Allison Beasley waited. Silently she had stalked the so-called ‘Scooby Gang’. Always on the lookout for that damn vampire, she watched the group of teenagers, waiting for them to leave the highly populated city streets.
Finally they turned off Michigan Avenue and headed west. Taking a guess, Allison sprinted ahead to Ericsson Park, setting a sniper position behind the broken painted windows.
At 10:13, the group of vampire hunters appeared. As Allison peered through her rifle scope, she couldn’t help but think. How would the blonde be handling her supposedly hellbound lover protecting the vain girl? Allison thought the situation could be quite amusing.
But that wasn’t important. What was important was the fact that little brunette bitch was now in her crosshairs. And no vampire was around to save her.
“I know what you’re thinking,” a voice boomed from behind her. Turning swiftly, she saw the dark form of the vampire sauntering towards her. “You’re thinking that you’ve won. That it can all end with a pull of the trigger. Well guess what, bitch? You lost the second you decided to come after my family.”
Allison barely got to her feet before Angel was on her. The first punch sent her flying back against the brick wall, her head banging hard. “How’s your nose?” Angel asked. “I hope it’s okay.”
“How the…” Allison started.
“How can I be standing in a church?” Angel asked for her. “Yeah, I know it’s holy ground and everything, but then again, so is a graveyard. I don’t touch the crosses, I don’t get hurt. Although, there is a tingling sensation all over my body when I enter a church. Kind of kinky actually.”
Angel jumped at her, but Allison delivered a sharp kick to his gut. With the vampire reeling, Allison leapt to her feet and countered. A few hard punches sent him against the wall, his back pressing against a crucifix.
Angel shouted in pain when the symbol began to scorch his back. Angel kneed Allison in the gut to free himself. All he needed was for her to make one mistake. That was all it would take to snap her neck.
But she didn’t make a mistake.
When Angel tried to attack again, the little bitch brought out her newest play toy. The taser hurt like a mother against his chest. The burst against his head made the world go black.
A few minutes later the gang had surrounded the fallen vampire. Allison was nowhere to be found.
“Angel?” Buffy asked. “Are you okay? What happened?”
The vampire forced himself up into a sitting position. “The bitch hit me with a taser. I was going to kill her quickly, but after all this, I’m not so sure.”
“Dude, why didn’t you tell us what you were doing?” Oz asked. “We could have helped you nab her.”
“I needed stealth,” Angel said. “I couldn’t risk someone tripping over their feet.” He looked pointedly at Xander on that one.
“What?” the boy asked. It was then that he realized Angel wasn’t looking at him, but the empty spot behind him.
Seven Blocks Away
Allison tossed the taser away in disgust. She couldn’t finish a simple mission. Ever since her first time jump, things had gotten progressively worse. The vampire not only had her only means of getting home, but he had also foiled every attempt to eliminate the mark. Why couldn’t she get a break?
“Why?” a voice asked.
Maybe there was a God, Allison thought.
“Why do you want to kill my daughter?” Cordelia asked. “When she could do so much for the world?”