Day 1, 8:32 pm
Cordelia tightened her bandanna and peered into the grime-encrusted room.
"This is the last time I offer to clean for you, Angel," she mumbled to herself, Lysoling a figure eight.
With a sigh, she picked up her cleaning bucket and strode in. Why Angel wanted to stay in his dusty old haunt on the third floor of the hotel, she had no idea. There were bigger, snazzier, more convenient rooms on the first. "Cleaner, too," she said aloud, but began to hack at cobwebs with her broom handle anyway.
If she looked on the bright side, having a gigantic hotel all to themselves was kind of cool.
"Sort of like The Shining," she said, immediately giving herself the creeps. Not that she should be susceptible. She saw the creeps weekly, right before her eyes -- sometimes real, sometimes Memorex. That is, if Memorex was the brand name for visions of death and destruction that came directly from the Powers That Be.
"They were all ghosts in The Shining anyway," she told herself as she swept the floor. "Ghosts don't scare me. I've got my very own--"
She saw a dark flash in her periphery and spun around. "--ghost."
Angel strolled from the bed to the dresser.
"Angel," Cordelia said, exhaling in relief. "I didn't hear you come in."
He opened a drawer in the dresser and picked out a comb.
"Right, vampire stealth. Of course!" Her smile faded as she watched him comb his hair, slicking it backwards. Angel was slicking back his hair? And what was he wearing? "What's with the Brat Pack look? Or is it the Rat Pack? You know, not Emilio or Rob... more Dean or Frank. Not that it doesn't suit you, because it kinda..."
He continued to ignore her, and began to walk towards the door.
"Angel? Hellooo?" Getting miffed now, Cordelia went out the door after him. But no one was in the hallway. "Angel?" She walked down the corridor. "Great. Now all I need are two little identical twins. 'Come play with us, Cordy. Forevah, and evah, and--'"
Turning, she screamed as she smacked into -- Angel?
"What's up?" Angel looked concerned. And the same as usual -- dressed in black and leather, hair shooting straight up. "What is it?"
She squinted at him. "You weren't in your room just now, were you?"
"My room? No... I just got here."
"Right. Of course you did."
"Are you all right?"
"Oh, yeah. Just - losin' my mind." Angel couldn't be a ghost: he wasn't dead. Well, not technically, at least. "Hey, did you find Headless Sorority Chick?"
"Yeah, but I'm gonna need you on this one." He was visibly upset. "They called me old and creepy."
"I was thinking 'old' was the ouch."
"The truth hurts, I guess." She took off her bandanna. "What? You're like a thousand."
"I'm not a thousand, I'm... immortal. Age shouldn't show on my face."
"You're right. It shouldn't." She knew it was wrong to tease her boss, but his insecurity frown was so cute. "It doesn't, okay? You look all of twenty-t... eight. Thirty tops."
"Alright Narcissus, think you can quit self-obsessing long enough to save an innocent co-ed from demonic sacrifice? 'Cause I could keep working in here 'til you're done."
"You know you don't have to, Cordy. I can fix it up myself."
"Please. Like I'd let you decorate?" She grinned as she shut off the light. "Friends don't let creepy old guys feng shui."
* * *
Day 2, 8:32 pm
Cordelia smiled, proud that she'd made so much progress. It had been a productive twenty-four hours: she'd almost single-handedly cracked the case of the Kappa Beta Nu decapitator and she'd mastered the art of cleaning blood stains out of textured wallpaper. Her skill set was really opening up.
She could get hired just about anywhere now as a ...psychic receptionist vampire-sidekick janitor.
Anyway, she was almost done. All she had left to do was vacuum, dust, replace the curtains and bed linens, spark up some incense and throw out the trash.
"Oh I love trash," she sang tunelessly as she turned on the vacuum and began in one corner. "Anything dirty or dingy or dusty. Anything musty or crusty or lusty... I love it because it's--" Gasp!
There he was again!
Impossible ghost of not-dead Angel, doing the same exact thing as the night before: walking from the bed to the dresser.
She turned off the vacuum switch.
"Okay, ghost of not-dead Angel," Cordelia said. "Aside from being impossible, you're creeping me out. And making me think I'm crazy. So just... stop it. Or do your thing and leave already. Go on and comb your hair, and, and, walk out the door, and--"
He did just that.
Cordelia exhaled, heart racing. "This is just too weird."
* * *
Day 3, 8:32 pm
Cordelia sat in a chair, staring at the bed. From the bed, to her watch. From the bed, to her watch. From the bed--
Angel materialized on the bed.
Cordelia's breath hitched.
He sat up, paying no mind to her.
She knew she should tell Wesley or Gunn or Angel, yeah -- especially Angel, about this, but there was something about it... Something that told her she needed to work this one out for herself.
As he stood, Cordelia stood. Slowly, she followed, and then she waved an arm through him.
He stopped in his tracks.
"Oh my god," she whispered, recoiling. "You felt that."
He turned toward her, sniffing the air.
"It's Gucci," she said with a smirk, knowing he couldn't hear. "Like it?"
He frowned, suspicious, looking right through her. "Who's there?"
"Oh my god. Yeah. It's me, Cordelia!"
He frowned again, and turned with a shrug. "Odd."
"Wait. You can feel me and you can smell me, but you can't hear me or see me? Again with the making no sense!"
He began to comb his hair.
Cordelia scoffed, exasperated. "Will you stop with the hair-combing?" She grabbed the comb, and... she grabbed the comb?
He halted, hand in the air, and turned swiftly around.
Their eyes met.
His brow furrowed.
She attempted a smile.
"Who... are you?" He looked her up and down. "And what are you doing in my room?"
"Angel, it's me, Cordelia. Me Cordelia? You Angel? Angel, the friendly ghost? I hope?"
He was nonplussed. "How do you know my name?"
"Because I've known you for the last five years!"
"I've never seen you before." He looked her up and down again. "I've never seen anyone like you before. What are you wearing?"
"What am I wearing? What are you -- " Cordelia got it. "Ohhhhh," she said happily. "You're Fifties Angel! Some kind of time traveling Angel from the past! Are you here to warn yourself about something?"
After staring at her a moment, Angel cracked a smile. "What are you talking about?"
"Okay, obviously it was a bumpy ride, you know, in the time machine, from there to here. So you're a little mixed up, right?"
"There's no time machine," Angel said.
"Oh, well, you know, some PTB super-time-highway."
"Yeah. Powers that Be? Wait. In the fifties, you had a soul, right?" She thought about it. "Right. Of course you did."
"Are you a demon?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Do I look like a demon?"
He tilted his head to regard her. "There are all kinds."
"Well, I'm not one, thank you very much. I'm one hundred percent human. I mean unless you count the visions, which I got from a half-demon guy, who you'll meet soon -- I think. Well in fifty years, give or take, and he's a really nice guy once you get to know him, but please don't let him jump into that--"
"Do you want to go to dinner with me?"
Cordelia froze. "Huh?"
"I don't eat... a lot of food, but... are you hungry? I'd like to take you to dinner."
Cordelia stared at him. "Who are you?"
"I thought you knew," he said with a charming smile.
"Okay," she accepted quickly. Then she shook her head. "No. Wait. We can't. You're not even real." She reached out to touch him, and her hand landed on solid mass. "Okay, you're suddenly real, but... that doesn't change the fact that there's another one of you right here in this hotel. Who already knows me, and could care less whether I'm hungry or not, and do you even have any money?"
He pulled a fat money roll out of his pocket.
"Works for me," Cordelia said, taking his arm. "Let's go."
They headed toward the door, he opened it for her, she walked ahead. She heard him close the door, and taking a deep breath, she turned.
He was gone.
"Angel?" she asked the air hopefully. "Fifties Angel?" She opened the door of the room and looked inside. No one in or outside of the room.
"Figures," she said, leaning back against the door with a sigh. "The cute, attentive, totally into me Angel can't even leave his room."
* * *
Day 4, 8:32 pm
"Don't tell me I exorcised you with my charm, Fifties Angel. Come on..."
He appeared on the bed, and turned to look at her.
"This just gets weirder and weirder," she whispered in awe.
"Who are you?"
"Are we gonna go through this again? I'm Cordelia. You're Angel. Fifties Angel to be exact; not the real Angel... sort of. I've been reading up but I still haven't quite figured it out. Some kind of temporal rift-y Angel, who's much cuter and sweeter and... what?"
"You're not a demon, are you?"
She rolled her eyes. "Human, totally. Except for the visions, and -- how many times do I have to go over this? Accept me, I'm here."
"Okay." She nodded. "So now I have to figure out why you're here." She sat on the bed.
"How 'bout you tell me why you're here?"
"I already told you. I belong here; you don't."
"Are you sure it's not the other way around?"
Cordelia frowned for a second, considering. She shook her head. "Don't confuse me. The time-space continuum is blipping; you're the blip, buddy. Not me."
"What did you say your name was?"
He had a really nice smile. "Cordelia. And this time, I think I'm gonna pin it to your shirt so you--"
"Do you want to go to dinner with me?"
Cordelia froze again, exhaled a chuckle, and said finally, "I think it's best we stay in."
"You're not like any girl I've ever met," he said.
"Damn skippy," she agreed. "I'm one of a kind."
* * *
"So far so weird," Cordelia said with a glance at her watch. "Usually by now, you've gone pumpkin. But every night it changes, so maybe you're just materializing more and more..."
"Yeah. Like Cinderella's carriage, only you disappear completely."
His gaze lowered to her mouth. "Are you my Cinderella?"
"I...," Cordelia tried to contain her girlish swoon. "...would look amazing in that dress."
"I bet you would," Angel said, his face somehow closer to hers than before. "I kind of feel like the handsome prince right now."
"Yeah you are," she whispered, in full swoon. Fifties Angel had game.
He inched closer.
"Angel," she said, momentarily coming to her senses. "This is weird. I mean, there's another one of you downstairs, or, wherever you are -- he is -- and... I feel like I'm cheating or something."
"Would he -- I -- he -- be jealous?"
"No. He'd probably just think I'm insane, which... I am, at this point."
"Let me get this straight. He's known you for five years and hasn't fallen for you?"
Cordelia nearly blushed. "Let's just say things get a little complicated along the way."
"There's things, and people. And, complications."
"I can't imagine that anything would stop me from wanting you."
Cordelia's breath caught in her throat. Suck on that, Buffy.
He ran a gentle hand through her hair. "Beautiful."
And that was the topper.
Their lips met. Groping ensued. Clothing flew. At first, Cordelia prayed that New Millennium Angel wouldn't bust in. Then she reasoned that she couldn't care less about New Millennium Angel. This was the good Angel. The better Angel. This was the... oh yeah, the best Angel. And lucky her, he wasn't even real -- so the curse was nil.
Moaning, whimpering in sheer bliss and surprise, she held his head between her thighs as he tongued her there. Yes. Yes, he was good.
Suddenly, she forgot there was another Angel. All that concerned her was his tongue, his body, his gorgeous self, giving her what she craved, consequences be damned.
She urged him onto his back to give him a taste of her tongue. When she wrapped her lips around his shaft, he gasped and sputtered. Must have been a long time for him too -- or it could have been her shockingly adroit oral talent. It was difficult to say.
His hands felt luscious in her hair, but she didn't want this to end prematurely. So, she climbed up his body, craned his cock upwards and dropped down.
"Ooh," she said, breathing through her teeth as she took him in.
"Cordelia," he said, eyes narrowing. He took hold of her hips.
"That's me," she said, and began to ride him. "Don't you forget it."
"Never," he said, his hands traveling up to her bouncing breasts, squeezing lightly. "Never forget you."
"Okay, this..." she gasped, "is the most wrong, bizarre, craziest thing I've ever done..."
"But it feels so good."
"So damn good," she agreed, bouncing faster.
"I know!" she marveled with him, and began to breathe harder, squeal, and moan and... so... very...
"Yes! Yes! YES!"
And they crumpled into a well-sexed heap.
"That was the best ever, ever, ever," Cordelia babbled.
"I haven't felt this good in... centuries," Angel realized, and she fell asleep on his chest.
* * *
"Why are you sleeping in my bed?"
Cordelia whipped her head up. Angel. The real one. "Huh?"
"Why are you sleeping... naked... in my bed?"
"Oh." She made a big show of stretching and yawning. "I just got so tired! It's been an action-packed couple of--"
"Was somebody else in here?"
"I smell... something."
"Well, would you stop smelling?" She tightened the sheets around her. "Can you just shut that thing off for a minute?"
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine. Now go away while I get decent."
"Okay..." he said haltingly. "I'll be... I'll be right outside."
Cordelia scanned the room. Where did the other Angel go? He was so gentlemanly he probably went out to buy her flowers or something...
"What am I thinking?" she asked herself as she dressed. "That we could make this work somehow?" She shook her scrambled head. "That's it, I'm out of here. I'm going home to my normal, everyday ghost. Not some stupid time anomaly who won't even remember me tomorr-AAAAAH!"
Angel was on the balcony. Angel was on the balcony? How did he--
The other Angel burst into the room. "What is it?"
Blouse shielding her bra, she stood in front of the open window so he wouldn't see his former self. "Nothing! A rat! Big rat, it's gone now--"
She gasped as Fifties Angel grabbed her roughly from behind and said through a mouthful of fangs, "Gone? But I just got here."
"What the -- Is that...?"
Oh, crap. Cordelia watched Angel's face as he recognized his darker half: Angelus. And this time it was her fault. "Um, I can explain?"
"Great," said Angelus, "'cause I've been wondering what the hell just happened myself. Mind you, I'm not complaining, I feel fantastic. Really free, you know? Not to mention the sex, it was... Mm-mm." Inhaling sharply, he pinched her terrified face and addressed Real Angel, "And you never took this baby for a ride. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Can't you see it in her eyes? She's begging for it."
"Oh god," Cordelia whimpered, thinking I totally get Buffy now. Did I just think that? "I so didn't mean for this to happen."
"But aren'tcha kinda glad it did?" Laughing, he kissed her cheek and bared her neck, then shouted as a stake lodged into his chest, courtesy of Angel's Batman-style sleeves.
"Angel, wait, no!" Cordelia said, remembering what she'd read about time travelers. And, also what she'd seen in Back To The Future. "You can't kill him! If you kill your past self you'll die too, the whole world will change! Probably for the worse."
Angel cocked his head at Cordelia. "Probably?"
"Well... I mean, who's to say, really?"
He got to the point. "Step away from him, Cordy. Now."
"But don't you get it? He can kill you!"
Angel shot another one, nailing Angelus' hand to the wall.
"Face it, old man, she likes me best," Angelus said, and yanked the stake out of his hand while Cordelia shimmied out of his grasp to the floor. "She said so herself. Can you blame her? I mean, for one thing, I still have working man parts."
"He does too have working man parts!" Cordelia said as the two Angels circled each other. "...Right?"
Angel scoffed at Cordelia. "Of course I--!"
Angelus used this distraction to catapult him into the hallway.
"Lemme get this straight," he said. "You kill me and we both die; I kill you, and you die. Hmm. What a quandary."
"The hallway," Cordelia whispered. Maybe he could go outside, but it was the hallway that always broke the rift... or restored it or whatever. "Angel! Stay out there, don't come back in!"
He didn't listen, big shock, and the room went all Jet Li movie. Two Angels, one good, one evil, totally equal in strength and speed, cleverly able to anticipate the other's every move, because duh, they're the same person, blah blah, all style no substance... As super-cool as it looked, she knew how Angel could win this fight. Without anyone dying.
"Guys, you know, the lighting, so much better in the hallway!" Sock! Pow! She wrung her hands. "Hello? If you could just listen to me for one second!"
"Yeah, Angel. Better listen to your bimbo or she might not put out. Oh wait, you're a eunuch now."
"'Bimbo'?" Did Angel think she was a bimbo? "I got a 1550 on my SATs!"
"Buffy was right," Angel told Angelus. "You are a dick."
Angelus laughed. "Who the hell is Buffy?"
They rolled around on the floor trading blows.
"And we're back to Buffy," she sighed. "Know what? Maybe you're both better off not existing anym... Whoa!" Without thinking, she grabbed the stake out of Angelus' raised hand and ran out into the hallway. Which actually turned out to be a solid strategy. "Come and get it, boys."
"No need," Angel snarled. "I've got one more."
"Great," Cordelia said, wanting to scream. Hey. What if she did scream? Standing at the edge of the door she opened her mouth and let loose a, "HEELLLLLLP!"
"Cordy!" Angel rushed into the hallway before she hit the P.
Cordelia pushed him to the wall opposite the door. "Stay right here. Do not move."
"Trust me. If I'm wrong you can... use me as a meat shield."
"Cordy. I would never use you as a meat shield."
"Aw. That's so sweet."
"Wow." Standing in the threshold, Angelus spun the stake in his hand and shook his head in disappointment at his doppelganger. "I have seen the future ...and it's pathetic. Falling in love with a human?" He smirked. "You make me want to kill myself."
Snarling, he thrust the stake at Angel, and disappeared.
"Huh," said Angel.
This was followed by a long and very awkward pause. Even Cordelia knew there were times when you shouldn't say exactly what was on your mind.
"So," she broke the ice. "I'm thinking... Maybe a different room for you."
"Yeah," Angel agreed. "Yeah. I mean, there are good rooms on the first floor..."
"For sure! I mean, they're much bigger, and totally better. Just... all around superior." She looked at him, and they were suddenly talking about more than the room.
Another pause, and then, "What he said, about--"
"You know what? It's been a long night, and I'd really rather--"
"Yeah. Okay. Yeah. You should... I'll drive you."
"Thanks." She let him help her up. "Sorry about all the... having sex with your past self and turning him evil. It won't happen again."
He shifted uncomfortably, cast a glance into the room. "Maybe tomorrow we should..."
"Make sure you never do the time warp again? Way ahead of you, boss."
* * *
Day 6, 8:32pm
"Who are you?" Angel asked.
"I," Cordelia said, reaching out to touch his cheek, "am way too much woman for you."
He frowned, looked at the other girl in the room, and phased away.
"Whoa," Willow said, lowering her talisman. "That was freaky. That was totally Angel! But from--"
"Yep, Ghost of Fifties Past." She looked past her to the hall. "Angel?"
New Millennium Angel, who'd been waiting outside so as not to alarm his time twin, popped his head in the door. "Is he gone?"
"I ironed out the wrinkles and spackled up the cracks," Willow confirmed with a proud nod. "He won't be having any more temporal tantrums. Did you see what I did there? Temper, temporal... Ooh, maybe I should have gone with 'temporal insanity', 'cause temporary works too..." No one was listening to her anymore. "Yeah. He's gone."
"I guess seeing me didn't crush any butterfly wings," Cordelia said, standing with Angel. "What with you still being here and all."
He looked at her strangely.
She stepped back, touched her hair. "What? What's wrong with my hair?"
"I remember you now. The girl in my dream."
Cordelia blinked at him. "Your ...dream?"
Willow zipped up her bag. "I don't get it."
"What?" they asked her at once, pulling themselves together.
"Why your Fifties self lashed out at you. You had a soul..."
Angel and Cordelia spoke over each other: "Time rifts are, you know, unpredictable..." "He was just grumpy, you know how Angel can get." "It's hard to say." "Yeah, I mean, life is a mystery!" "Yeah, it sure is." "Everyone must stand alone."
He squinted at Cordelia, who said as if it was obvious, "Madonna?"
Willow was still as curious as ever: "Maybe there was a reason for the rift, though. From the Powers, maybe? Like, there was something they wanted to show you through him... or maybe he had something to tell you, but the wires got crossed..."
Angel and Cordelia glanced sidelong at each other. In love with a human?
Looking down, Angel cleared his throat. "Guess we'll never know."
"Who cares what the old Angel had to say," Cordelia said, and hooked her arm through his. "We've got the new and improved Angel right here. The best Angel there is."
He ribbed her as they left his old room, and his old self, behind. "Too much woman, huh?"
"Time tested and proven, mister." She gave him a sly grin. "Time tested and proven."