Chapter 16 – A Step into the Darkness

soulless ch 16

Angelus stepped back and enjoyed his handiwork for a moment, covertly taking a few photos of his bound lover. The ropes had been a genius idea the constriction emphasizing her already shapely figure even more. Too bad he didn’t have the time to play with his favorite toy at the moment, night had barely fallen and he already had so much to do.

“Stay.” The one word was all the instruction he gave, and all that was needed. Now that his Vixen was aware of exactly who she was dealing with her training had already begun in earnest, and she was taking to it remarkably well, instinctively turning to him for approval and consent before any action. Life was good indeed.

Walking out the front door he made more and more plans, his mind a whirl of ideas and desires that Cordelia’s acceptance had opened before him.

Cordelia had stayed tied up like Angelus had wanted for about thirty minutes before her muscles had started to cramp and she decided to ditch the accessories. Fun and games were fine as long as there was someone else around to play with, but when you were on your own it was just boring. Hearing the knock at her door she took a peak outside before quickly having to bite down on a squeal of delight, Oz had come to visit, of all the so called scoobies he was the one she truly adored, he never treated her any differently than he did anyone else. Oz was Oz and always would be. Throwing the door open she made a sweeping motion inviting him in, verbal invited just weren’t done even if you knew the person.

“Oz, what brings you by?” She may adore the typically unflappable guitarist but that didn’t mean she was dumb, he’d never just stopped by before and she wasn’t buying that he had no agenda now. Something was up, now she just had to figure out if it was of the good or bad variety.

“Just came to see if you wanted to hang. The Bronze is calling.” He was right, it had been far too long since she’d reigned over the court. Now that she knew exactly who her shadow was there was nothing left to fear. Time to party.

“Sure, let me change and we’ll go.” Normally she wouldn’t go to the Bronze with Oz, but right now that was exactly what she needed. A pillar of silent strength, someone who understood, Oz.

Kendra stayed in the background and let Buffy “work over” Willy, this was the other girls territory and she would not lightly interfere. After only a few low strength slaps to the face, barely above human normal the weasley man cried uncle and began to speak in earnest, his clientele already having migrated far enough away to be out of hearing range, and striking range. How pathetic.

“Alright, alright slayer, jeeze, I give. I’ve heard some rumblings yeah, mostly low-level stuff. You know minions congregating where they hadn’t before. Some of the more mid-range vamps are jumpy as hell. That kind of thing.” The man was cowering behind his bar, visibly shaking with fear.

“That’s nice, give us a name, or I give you a concussion.” If she had been in charge, Kendra knew she would have pulled back a bit more here, while the man did work with demons and frequent their world, he was still human.

“I ain’t got no name, honest. Whoever this is they’re keeping hush for now. Word is the latest big bad in the shadows is a real mean son of a bitch with a plan. Whatever he’s up to, he don’t want nobody spoiling his surprise by giving you and yours a heads up before the big reveal comes due.”

“And that’s all you know? Everything?” While the man was trying to appear earnest, her sister slayer seemed to have her doubts about his transparency.

“Only other thing I hear is that whoever he is, he displaced Spike at the top of the food chain. That’s it, I swear.”

Looking into Buffy’s eyes they both came to the same conclusion. It was time to pay Spike another visit.

Buffy led Kendra towards the warehouse district where Spike and Drusilla were said to have set up shop after the fight at the church that left Spike crippled and Drusilla in charge, which is what probably led to leadership being yanked away by an outsider. It wasn’t like the crazy seer was any good when it came to the actual decision-making side of things after all.

She was getting impatient, she had wanted to go straight to them, but Kendra had insisted on checking in with Giles first and basically getting his permission to do their jobs, so now here they were hours after sunset trying to approach with at least a little stealth. Such a waste of time. The quicker they could get this done, the quicker she could come up with a reason to talk with Angel. Alone.

Finally making their way inside all they found was a few ratty doll dresses and a throw rug, looks like the terrible two-some had moved on. Not a bad idea really, once you’d been ousted from the top it would be a bad idea to stay put, that would just be inviting an attack. Trying not to glare at her sister slayer for all the delays her procedure had caused she tried to focus on the bright side, this signaled the end of her slayer duties for the night. Ergo party, though she knew the other girl would not agree. As far as Kendra was concerned there was no such thing as an end to slayer duties.

“Looks like they split, why don’t you go back and report this to Giles and I’ll do a quick sweep to make sure they aren’t trying to fake us out.” With a curt nod the other girl left, and she followed right after her cutting around the back to make a huge circle towards the Bronze. Time to meet up with the gang.

She was not expecting to find quite as much of the gang present as she did.

Oz stood next to Cordelia’s chair, he knew he could have sat even if that would have ended with him surrounded by the Cordette’s but he preferred to keep on his feet too restless to stay down so close to the full moon. He knew she wasn’t in the best place right now having just gone through an ordeal that would have broken most people, but that was also why he thought this was just what she needed. When broken down to your most base parts sometimes what you really needed was to be reminded of who and what you really are when you finally manage to glue yourself back together again. Cordelia really needed to remember that in her heart of hearts she was still, and would always be, Queen C.

Catching a whiff of a familiar scent he glanced towards the door, making sure not to make a big deal out of it and spotted Buffy gaping at their table. It should have been several more hours before her patrol was done, but he assumed that with Kendra on the scene she had felt entitled to ditch. It was certainly in keeping with her attitude recently. Deciding not to bring attention to it he scanned the crowd looking for the others, where Buffy was the scoobies were sure to follow. After a slow perusal he found Xander at the pool table setting up a new game, Willow at the bar also gaping at him while the bartender tried to bring her attention back to her drink order, and Angel standing off towards the shadows glaring at Cordelia. Wonderful.

Angelus had packed up the family and brought them to Cordelia’s expecting to have a bit of a moving in party, before getting down to slayer business. What he hadn’t expected was to come back to an empty house with no one around to invite them in, Spikes laughter still grated on his nerves. It wasn’t hard to find her, for all her impulsiveness she really was a creature of habit. Standing in the shadows he watched his Queen reign over her minons and waited, his time would come.

Soon enough she excused herself and headed towards the restroom, on a path that took her right by him under the stairs. He timed her movements and struck when she stepped into range, pulling her towards him by her waist. She fought at first, unable to see him properly in the dim lighting, but subsided once she relaxed enough to truly feel him, her body melting against his. He glanced towards the wolf wondering if the boy would try to intervene, he was under no illusions about whose idea it must have been for them to come here tonight, but found him already converged upon by the others of their group. Good.

“Naughty girl, you were supposed to stay in tonight. You still have a lot to learn about your place it seems. Don’t worry I’ll show you.” Pulling her with him outside he nodded towards Spike and Dru, it was time for them to do their parts. He’d take care of the rest.

Oz tried to quell the urge to slam his head into the table, with the scoobies on one side of him demanding answers for why he was here with Cordelia and the Cordettes on the other side defending their Queen, there was an overabundance of sound assaulting his sensitive ears. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Angel pulling Cordelia out of there and wished he could make his own escape. At least he’d accomplished his goal of getting Queen C back on her throne.

He was so pre-occupied with getting the gang to calm down and just listen for once that none of them noticed when the Cordettes began to drift away from the table and towards a couple that meant nothing but trouble.

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