And lo, the episode "Reunion" did air. And lo, the fans were pissy, and mighty with it. And lo, there was Ventage... Once again, Things Needed To Be Said. Damnit. Joss is Evil. Joss Lies. Trust in Joss.
No claim is made to any of the characters manipulated herein - all rights (and a few lefts) reside and remain wholly with the Fiscally Interested Corporate Parties. No profit, no foul, no lawsuit.



INTERLUDE:

Warriors of the Light, with Scotch

by suricata

 



"You're underage."

Cordelia didn't even bother to respond to that weakly-worded protest. Knocking back what was left of his Scotch, she put the glass back down on the bar and waved at the bartender for a refill.

"Thought I'd find you down here."

"It's not as though I have a job to go to." He took the refilled glass away from Cordelia and drank deeply.

She sat down at the bar next to him, elbows on the polished wood surface, chin propped in her cupped hands. "You think he meant it? I mean, I know he meant it today, but you think he'll mean it tomorrow?"

Wesley gave her a sideways look of disgust. "He chose his path when he locked that door. That wasn't guilt at what he'd done, Cordelia, it was irritation at being called to task on it. He doesn't want to work for the good anymore -- he wants vengeance. It may be Angel walking, but Angelus is calling the shots now.

" Cordelia ate a peanut from the bowl in front of her, crunching meditatively. "I'll have what he's having," she said to the bartender when he made his next pass down their way. "In fact, make it two. I've got to catch up."


#

They sat there, not talking, just drinking, as noon shaded into afternoon and the bar filled up with the usual crowd. A couple of older guys approached Wesley about a game of darts, but he waved them off. Sensing it wasn't a good time, they shrugged and backed off without argument. Around two, Wesley ordered a plate of mozzarella sticks, and forced Cordelia to eat her share. The taste was surprisingly not unpleasant with the tang of the Scotch.

"Thought I'd find you two here."

Gunn shoved his way past a few casual drinkers onto the seat next to Cordelia, and looked sideways at her. "How many of those you had?"

"Not enough," she said glumly, holding the glass up to the light to admire the inch of golden-brown liquid remaining. She had given up on ice, deciding she liked the taste of it warm better. Although she did like the sound of the ice cubes against the glass every time Wesley took a sip.

"Who's buying?"

Cordelia held up a credit card. "Angel."

"I'll have what they're having," Gunn told the bartender. "And a plate of nachos."


#

"So."

Wes and Cordelia turned to look at him, annoyed that their perfect harmony of discontented drinking was being broken.

"You two brains got any idea what the hell happened this morning?"

Cordelia shrugged, the look in her eyes overriding the who-cares action.

"He was angry," Wesley said. He'd obviously been thinking, because his tone was less bitter than it had been earlier. "And scared. And we were making it worse."

"Angry I got," Gunn nodded his thanks to the waitress, and took a careful sip of his drink. "But scared?"

"Angel... cares about us. And Darla knows that. It stands to reason that we would have been her first targets. Angelus learned his tactics from her, there's no reason to assume anything would have changed. Adding to his fear for Darla, as a human, and his fear of Darla as a vampire -- as his sire -- the knowledge that we could be would be used against him..."

"And going all Dark Side is a better decision?" Cordelia snorted into her drink.

"No... but I suspect Angel hasn't thought his actions through, all the way. Not clearly, anyway."

"I think we've pretty much established that thinking's never been his strong point," Cordelia said.

Wesley and Gunn both toasted their agreement to that.

"Great. Well, I'm not sure --"

The glass fell from Cordelia's hand, and she bent forward, her forehead touching the bar's surface.

"Barbie doll?"

"Oh, damn," Wesley swore, putting down his glass and catching Cordelia before she fell off her chair. "No, it's all right," He said to the waitress, drawn by the fear of a lawsuit forming. "She gets these headaches sometimes, they're very sudden and painful. We'll just take her outside for a moment, to get some fresh air..."

Between the two of them, they got her into the lobby, avoiding the disgusted looks of people assuming she was drunk before six p.m.

"Vision..." she whimpered, resting the heels of her hands into her forehead as though to keep her brain from exploding.

"We figured as much," Gunn said, not unkindly. "Hang in there just a minute longer..."

Outside, the fresh air seemed to help her. "Oh god. Okay, very ugly, and very bad. We're talking kids, Wes."

"And we're currently without a Warrior." Wesley's voice was harder than they had ever heard it before, worse than the flatness that came when he talked about the Council, or Faith. Even Angel might have stopped cold, if Wesley talked to him in that voice.

"We have to do something..." Cordelia said. "I can't just sit here and let this happen, not knowing about it. I can't."

Gunn met Wesley's gaze in perfect understanding.

"We won't," the black man said grimly.



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