Aquiring the Taste -- by Echo
Description: Angel realizes he doesn't know everything.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. The Almighty Joss Whedon does.
Riley knew something was up, but no one was letting him in on it. The tension in the apartment of Rupert Giles was so thick it was almost choking him. There were three people in the apartment he'd never seen before. And everybody was glaring at everybody else. Willow happened to look up at him.
"Oh, Riley, this is Cordelia, Wesley, and Angel. Guys, Riley. He's with us now."
"There seem to be lots of new people with you now." Cordelia looked pointedly at Spike. He flashed her his most wicked grin and moved closer to Willow.
Riley looked at all of them. They had a past. He'd just gotten here. There was so much they'd been through that he had no idea of. And Angel, Buffy had told him about Angel. Looking at the guy, Riley felt a little twinge of jealousy. How could he ever compare to that? Buffy looked at him. She smiled and took his hand in hers. His jealousy vanished.
"Can we go home, Angel?" Cordelia was studying her nails intently.
"Cordelia, did you bring your laptop?"
"Go get it."
Wesley looked at his boss in confusion. "Angel?"
"Demon Database. I'm not quite finished here. I have this burning need to wail on a certain group of demons before I go home."
"Bloody hell. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm with Peaches. Let's kick some demon ass."
It was full-blown research central in the apartment. Plans were being made. Willow had tracked the demons using Cordelia's Demon Database. She was impressed. She'd even managed to tell Cordelia so. Willow and the former May Queen had been hunched over Cordelia's laptop for hours. Giles and Wesley had books strewn everywhere. Angel, Xander, and Riley had started talking battle strategy, military style. They'd even taken to drawing sketches of attack plans. Spike and Anya were whispering furiously by the stairs the 'Big Book of Demons' in Anya's lap. Buffy looked at all of them. Her friends. Her back-up. Her family. Even Spike.
It was just before dawn. Cordelia woke up and looked around. She was on Giles' couch leaning on Willow. The hacker was draped over the arm. Spike was leaning against the couch. They were holding hands in their sleep. Everybody was passed out. She looked for Angel to make sure he was out of the sun. He was twitching in his sleep. She got off the couch as soundlessly as she could and knelt next to him. He was sweating.
They were surrounded. All of them. Together. He watched as the platinum blonde pushed her behind him. They grabbed him, and he fought back. The girl started screaming and lunged at one of them. Other things. Bodies. Blood. Wesley. Xander. Anya screaming. He saw Riley go down. The slayer screamed and rushed them. They knocked her to the ground. Cordelia flew through the air and landed in a heap. Beside him. Not moving.
"Cordelia!" Angel jerked awake screaming, waking everyone else. Cordelia grabbed him.
"It's ok, Angel. I'm right here."
"Angel?" Willow looked at him sleepily.
Cordelia gasped and pitched forward onto Angel. Everyone jumped. She was shaking. Wesley rushed to the two of them. She grabbed her head with her hands, moaning. Angel cradled her in his arms until her vision subsided. Wesley brushed the hair off her forehead.
"What in the bloody hell was that?" Spike was standing several feet away with Willow in his arms. He'd yanked her off the couch the second Cordelia had started twitching.
"I'd have to agree with Fangless. What just happened here?" Xander was next to Willow and Spike holding Anya, who was staring in awe.
"She has sight." The former demon said quietly.
Buffy wrinkled her nose. "Huh?"
"Cordelia gets visions? When did this happen?" Giles had that 'oh goody a new thing to research' look on his face.
"Doyle. That adorable bastard kissed me and whammy." Cordelia rubbed her temples.
"Would you like some aspirin or something, Cordelia?" Giles smiled at her.
He'd never smiled at her. Cordelia liked it. "A glass of water would be nice."
"Of course." Giles walked to the kitchen.
"What did you see?" Angel was still holding her.
"We're in danger. All of us. There are a lot of them. We get surrounded."
"Well, we just won't make that mistake. Now we know. We can avoid it." It was the first time Riley had spoken. Buffy had been staring at Cordelia so hard she forgot he was there.
"Cause knowing's half the battle, huh, GI Joe?" Spike had a dry look on his face. Cordelia looked at the vampire who'd made her shiver all those months ago when he'd come to LA, and she laughed. Giles handed her a glass of water.
"It's true though. They come from behind us. From the mausoleum. We just have to be ready for it, but not look like we're ready for it." Cordelia took a big gulf of water.
"Cor's right." Everyone looked at Buffy. "What? She's been right before."
"So we need a new plan?" Xander sat on the couch and pulled Anya into his lap.
"No. We stick to the plan. We just give it a new twist."
Angel looked at her. She was amazing when she got all take-charge. It was one of the things that had drawn him to her in the first place. "What did you have in mind?"
The slayer grinned wickedly.
Angel cornered her by the refrigerator.
"You love him already, don't you?"
Willow smiled at him. "I might."
"I know he loves you."
"I know Spike, Willow."
"Not as well as you used to."
"I'm learning that."
She put her hand on his arm. "He's an acquired taste."
Angel laughed. Spike walked into the kitchen with an empty glass. He looked at them. He turned on the tap and filled the glass. He shut off the water and kissed Willow on the cheek. She blushed beautifully. Angel watched as Spike handed the glass to Cordelia. She smiled and thanked him. Willow looked at Angel. She smiled widely. Angel had a feeling things with Spike wouldn't leave such a bad taste in his mouth this time around.
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