Now You See Me


Author: astrothsknot
Feedback: welcome.
Rating: R - strong language, and some violence
Classification: General
Spoilers: Set Any time season 1
Summary: Angel and Cordelia have a poltergiest - or do they?
Status: finished.
Disclaimer: Joss owns Angel, not me. I definitely know that much.....
Thanks to for beta – ing


"We need to get an exorcism spell!" Yelled Angel, desperately trying to avoid the light from the window as the blinds pulled themselves up for the umpteenth time.

Cordelia was equally desperately trying to read a book of spells, whilst trying to stop the lipstick on the table disappearing and re-appearing.

Suddenly, It stopped.

Anxiously, the couple stood in the middle of the room.

It stayed stopped.

"Dennis was busy today", said Angel, burning his hand on a patch of sunlight from a displaced slat.

"It's not Dennis! I've told you that, like a zillion times, Angel!" snapped Cordelia. "This is too big for Dennis, and he never comes out our apartment! He's happy there!" She looked around. "It's your damned office, Angel! Have you thought of that? Maybe it's some pissed off spook from 200 years ago, when you were all 'GRRRRRR!!!!' with the fangs!

As if to accentuate the point, all the drawers in Angels' desk came flying out.

"See? It's all you! Shit only happens to me when I get in the way!" Cordelia went back to the book, that was promptly wrenched from her arms.

Angel jumped and spun around. "Cordy! It just touched my ass again!"

There was the sound of a disembodied giggle, and the door slammed shut.

"Think that's it for now?" Angel said nervously.

It had all started two weeks ago. At first it had been footsteps, things moving around in the office, when no one was there. Then It had moved downstairs, rearranging Angel's pathologically tidy apartment. It had, as Cordelia had noted, mainly concentrated on the vampire, but until today, with the blinds stunt, been annoying, rather than malicious.

At first, they had both thought that it was Dennis, even though Dennis seemed to be confined to Cordelia's apartment, and had never come out of it. Most of the stunts of this ghost were far beyond anything Dennis had ever done, and Dennis had never focused on Angel - It couldn't keep Its hands off him.

Given all of the terrible things that he'd done, as Angelus, it was perfectly feasible that It was someone from his past.

But that lead to other problems - who? What for? Both had the same answer - he had done so much to so many.

But why wait so long? Maybe it was from his last outing as Angelus, before Buffy had sent him to Hell, and Willow had re - cursed him.

It did seem to be a woman, though. Cordelia had thought as much. She had been the first to hear the voice, not even a voice really, just a laugh. But it was definitely a woman's laugh.

Then there was the singing!

Cordelia jumped out of her skin as the door banged. The keyboard was wrenched form her grasp.

"BBBOOOO!!" It shrieked at her, from the screen.

She screamed as she felt something behind her, and lashed out with the heavy book. It connected squarely with Angel's stomach, winding him. He slumped against the wall

"Jesus, Cordelia! I'll take you with me next time I battle something big and nasty!" He gasped.

"How can someone who doesn't breathe gasp?" Asked a voice that had a Scots accent and no body.

"I knew it was a woman!" Cordelia whooped in triumph.

This was lost on Angel as the elevator went down and the sound of his furniture being pulled around scraped all through the building. It was singing a rather charming version of 'On Top of Old Smokey'. This was followed by another bawdy song.

"Wwwwooo! What a big axe you have!"

"Please, just let It change the bedsheets." Prayed Angel, grimly.

"This is poof's hairgel!" Shouted the ghost.

The lift was heard coming up, oblivious to the fact that its passenger was an inch think layer of gel on the floor, topped off with a frothy layer of mousse.

"Toothpaste? Do vampires really use toothpaste?"

"I've found a spell we could use", said Cordelia, finding a use for the book apart from assaulting her boss. "But it's disgusting."

Another NC17 drinking song floated up the stairs, committing mental assault on them.

"What do we need?" Asked Angel.

It had taken 3 days to get the ingredients - garlic, sheeps eyes. Angel had nearly thrown up. Assuming he still had a gag reflex. So had Cordelia. It contained lots more digusting animal parts, mixed with mud, blood and something else that neither of them wanted to to think about. It had been placed in all four corners of the office and the apartment. It put off several clients "Paying ones, at that!" Cordelia had snapped.

It was so bad that Angel had to move in with Cordelia and her terminal untidyness for a few days. He'd almost spontaneously dusted when she'd put a glass down on a polished surface, without anything under it.

Oh, joy!

It actually had worked for a few days, until a can of air freshener had appeared, and the office had reeked of summer meadows.

Then It had gone off at full tilt, resulting in today's fun and games.

"Where did you hear about this woman?" Hissed Cordelia as Angel led her down steps. The walls were adorned with pentagrams and goats heads.

A chicken ran out of one of the rooms, clucking furiously. it seemed to take an instant dislike to Cordelia, and began attacking her shoes.

A tall, regal black woman came out of the same room as the chicken. She recognised Angel, greeting him warmly in French. She looked across to where Cordelia was trying to escape the clutches of the marauding chicken.

"He was hung for murder in his last life. Killed his wife. I won him in a craps game from some four - eyed demon. I forget his name." Countess Marie turned back to Angel. "How can I help you?"

"We have a poltergiest in the office," he said. "We've tried everything to get rid of it. But nothing."

"Did it start with the pranks?" Asked Countess Marie.

Angel nodded. "Now it's trying to kill me. At least that's what it seems like. It's pulled the blinds up in the office during the day, and yesterday it went for me with an axe."

"Have you tried to contact it?" Asked Countess Marie.

"It leaves messages on the computer. And it sings. Badly." He replied. "It's got quite a line in drinking songs, especially for a woman. It's Scots, if that helps."

"And it concentrates on you?"

Angel nodded. "That's why we think that it must be one of my victims."

"Maybe she just has good taste!" Chuckled Countess Marie.

"You mean like the Ghost has the hots for Angel?" Cordelia seemed to have shaken off her feather attacker.

"Stranger things have happened. Look at your own life."

"Yeah," agreed Cordelia. "You got your soul back, twice, and you're a vampire in love with a Slayer."

"Nah," said a Scots voice from out of nowhere. "It's the height, and the body, that lovely soft voice....By the way, Cordy, here's the chicken back!"

At which point, the chicken materialised out of thin air, and flew straight at Cordelia.

"See you back at the office!" Called the Ghost, bursting into a particularly gaudy song about calling to men of the sea.

Angel rescued Cordelia from the chicken. "Help!"

Countess Marie went into the room and came out with a bag.

Things were quiet at the office, but the presence could still felt. Countess Marie called up Gede, the Lord of the Dead, to help her, and entered Angel's office.

The sound of incantations in French, and some other language could be heard, as could the bleating of goats, and the clucking of chickens, at which Cordelia looked around nervously.

There were bangs and crashes. There were whoops and yells.

There was also a shriek of "For the last fucking time, I'm not a bloody ghost! So quit the Mambo bollocks!"

A few minutes later, Countess Marie came out, dishevelled. "That's no ghost, Angel. I can't help her." Clutching her bag, she left.

"Well, then who the hell can help?" Stormed Angel."It'll stake me in my bed at this rate!"

"If she's not a ghost, then what is she?" Wondered Cordelia. "A demon?

"Well, I'm not a chicken!" Came the voice, making them jump. "Cross my heart, Angel, if I wanted to stake you, I could."

Angel's shirt ripped itself open, buttons flying off. There was a sizzling sound as a cross branded itself on to Angel's bare chest. His true face appeared as he roared with pain and fury.

Cordelia shrank back against the wall, jumping as the cross clattered to the floor before her, out of thin air.

"Put the fangs away, Angelus. I'm done for now. See you tomorrow." The front door banged and a drinking song could be heard.

They read through every book they could find, every database, called in every favour. He tried to think of every demon with a grudge against him. He cracked heads, passed bribes, contacted spirits, charmed ladies, charmed men.

It always came back negative. There were plenty of grudges against him, but nothing currently active.

Angel had hit a brick wall.

Cordelia had decided to give the Presence a name - Max. "Y'know, because she's Scots. And Mac is just way too obvious."

Ever since Angel's branding, Max had been around, but quiet. She had only made occasional clucking noisesin Cordelia's direction. Cordelia had begun to talk to her - Cordelia always referred to Max as she, never It.

Angel began to use the name as well. Max, for her part, never complained, so Max she became.

A few days later, Countess Marie called to suggest that all the spirit wanted was some attention. So that was exactly what they did.

Angel began to speak to Max, whenever he felt her around. He felt Max's presence more literally than Cordelia. Especally on his ass.

She began to write things to them. Nothing major, merely things like "I take black tea" or "Can't stand coffee."

Angel bought her a cup with "Max" on it. It seemed to get used.

She still let fly with the odd song, and felt up Angel on a regular basis. The drunks at the back of the building complained about the singing ghost, and a child in the building insisted that Angel had a Mrs Doubtfire ghost.

"What I don't understand," said Angel."Is Max is a demon, why can't I smell her?"

"So she's clean." Cordelia shrugged her shoulders."At least she's stopped wrecking the office. I can just about take the kareoke now. She's no worse than you."

Just then the phone rang. Angel picked it up. "Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless."

"I'm not a demon." Max's voice was pleasant, with a Scots accent. She sounded genuine. "I really don't get any of this at all."

Suddenly Cordelia crashed to the floor, moaning. Or she should have, remaining suspended in mid - air. As she came round, a pencil and paper materialised in front of her.

Gross, two - horned demons, a child, and 14 Below.

The black - clad vampire burst into the club, into the thick of the chanting demons. Kicks and punches flew in the whirlwind that was Angel.

The childs' bond loosened as if by magic, though no - one could be seen. The child was spirited away in the melee.

Something hit Angel on the back of his head, hard. Stunned the vampire fell to the ground. A long, silver swaord glinted in the light as it was drawn. Several of the remaining demons were converging on Angel's prone form.

A plank of wood sent one demon flying into his friend. A bottle dealt with another. Then the sword picked itself up, and beheaded all three.

Angel got up, heard Max shout "Angel!" He pirouetted, knives shooting out from his wrists, killing the two demons rushing him from behind.

He heard a scream, and turned to see a demon clutching a broken bottle. It was feeling the air, a few inches off the ground. Where a body would lie, he realised with a chill.

There was blood streaming from one end of the space, spreading out on to the ground.

The demon fell over lifeless, as Angel broke its' neck. The child, a boy of about five, came running over. "The lady! She's bleeding! The monster hit her on the head with the bottle!"

"Where?" Angel asked the child, who pointed to the pool of blood. Angel quickly pulled off his top, and pressed it to where the child had indicated. He could feel a head, part of a face, and long hair, sticky and matted with blood. He could hear Max moaning, and feel hands gripping his wrists.

"The wee boy?" Asked Max. She sounded very faint.

"Fine, he's fine.I've got to get you home."

"You've got blood on your top," said the child.

"Doesn't matter." Angel replied.

"I meant the lady's top. It's all red now." The child spoke matter - of - factly.

"You can see her?" Angel asked in disbelief. The child nodded.

"Kids can for some reason. I think they can see stuff until they believe the adults who tell them it's not there, so they can't see it. So they stop seeing." Max sounded stronger. "Junkies, drunks and psychos can see me, too. Help me up."

Angel supported Max as she stood. He could feel a warm body, athletic. He could smell her now, blood and sweat. He could see the warm blood running out over his hands, caressing the skin, as a lover might....

"Are you going to get this kid home, or are you going feed off me, in public?" Asked Max.

Angel took the child home. After reminding him that if it was real to him, then it was real, Angel whispered to him. The child shook his head, then replied something with a shy smile on his face.

"It doesn't feel like it needs stitched". Angel was dealing with Max's head wound, noticing how the gauze and zinc tape disappeared when he placed it on her head.

Cordelia came in with a cup of tea for Max, that she gratefully accepted, then....... "Yuck! Sugar!"

"For the shock." Explained Cordelia

"Mine or yours?"

"Oh, yours," Replied Cordelia. "We're all shocked out with you. Right, now Dr Frankenstien's done, start explaing!"

"Explain what?" Asked Max.

"Chickens, axes, and my ass," said Angel.

"Oh, that."

Angel picked up the discarded top. "This is human blood, so I'm guessing that you're human."

"You knew that when you first felt my blood trail over your skin." Max made it sound like an intimacy between lovers. The first sensations of the blood, and its owner where still fresh to his senses.

Cordelia missed it, and brought them back to the present. "When did you first not see yourself?"

"Must be about six months now. I don't know anyone here, so I never saw anyone, so no one saw me. Didn't expect it to be literal."

"It must be a real pain in the ass when you can't get served at the store."

"Internet, credit cards. These days no one has to meet any one." Max said sadly.

"So what is your name?" asked Angel.

"Max is fine."

"You could have told us this before." Angel gave her a stern look.

"I tried! But if you don't expect to see someone, you don't. Same for hearing me."

"That's why the chickens. Normal people only hear you when they're pissed off." Cordelia realised.

"What's his excuse, then?" Max playfully pinched Angel's ass. He put on a mock - suffering look.

"What now?" He asked her. "Being invisible could have it's advantages. I couldn't have saved that kid without you. There, a place here if you need it, either as a friend, or actually earning the right to pinch my ass." He wedged his ass against the desk. "We've got used to you."

"And we both know how it feels to be alone". Cordelia agreed.

"Thanks. I'll bear that in mind," Max said. "And don't worry about me earning my keep!"

Angel gasped as his balls were cupped.

"Don't pay me like that," said Cordelia. "You don't pay me enough as it is."


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