Author: Nodakskip <nodakskip[at]>

Summary: Its 2003, and this is your wake up call.

AN: This fic is just something I dont have a huge plan for. I am just going to update it when I get blocked on others. I was going to post this as a challenge, but then thought Id do it myself. Xanders in the next parts.

Chapter 1

Office of Cordelia Chase
Senior Vice President, Entertainment Division
Wolfram and Hart, Los Angeles

October 10th, 2003

"Oh, cupcake, what are you still doing here already?"

Cordelia hit pause on her computer dictation program, and she then flipped the headset microphone up. "I'm here 'cause I've got way too much work to finish. Just have Angel send me a memo on the meeting, okay?"

Lorne frowned at her from the doorway, "Sweetikins, you listen to me. You may be my supervisor and all these days, but I'm still the empath around here. And let me tell you, even though the doctors may have fixed your body 100 % and you no longer get those head-splitting visions, you are still screaming out with the 'help me, 'cause I'm gonna explode!' vibe. I swear, you're throwing yourself into this way too much, you need a let's go see what the cuddle-muffin wants, huh?"

Lorne then wondered briefly if the term 'cuddle-muffin' would remind the young woman about Connor and Jasmine, which were not pleasant memories for her - or anyone else - these days. Indeed, the demon knew that Cordy and Angel were no longer an item now, in part because she associated that period of her life as something better off forgotten.

Not that she mightn't still have feelings for Angel, it was just that Cordy felt that she was living proof that no woman could ever make a relationship with him work. That it somehow always just turned out bad, in the end.

"Sorry Lorne," Cordy shrugged, as she picked up her phone. "I would if I could, but I'm trying to get this movie deal set up before the end of the day. And Angel can always beep me, if it's vital for me to be there..."

The empathic demon sighed in defeat, as he left the office alone.


Angel's private office

"Where's Cordy?" Fred asked him at once, when the former Host of Caritas came in.

"She's, uh, busy," was Lorne's glum answer, as he took his seat on the couch.

"She's always busy these days," Gunn grumbled. "Man, I thought we came here to change things. But she ain't even been to half the damn meetings!"

Angel walked around his desk. "Forget it. After all the things she's had to deal with in the last couple of years...not to mention Jasmine? My opinion, Cordy's just happy to have something else in her life, besides the demons and heartache." He looked over all his people. "If it helps take her mind off everything, then we should let her be for now."

"Alright then..." Wesley said from his spot. "So what's the topic of today's meeting? Another black project?"

"Wolfram & Hart doesn't have any black projects any longer," the liaison to the Senior Partners called Eve said, as she confidently strode into the office. "I called this meeting to inform you of something that the firm acquired recently..."

She handed both Angel and Wesley a folder. "Our branch in Athens purchased this from a band of Timus demons."

"A cryotube?" Wesley asked, as he read from the page. Fred's interest was peaked at that, as she moved to read over Wes's shoulder.

"A what?" Gunn asked, as he unbuttoned his suit.

"A cryogenic suspension device," Fred told him. "In theory anyway, they can be used to freeze people that are dying, until a cure is found for whatever illness they might have. But mainstream tech is still a long way off from a model like this describes..."

Eve agreed with her assessment. "The technology has been in use for a while now. Magic has been found as the only power source that can keep the tubes operational, for a long period of time." With a shrug she admitted, "The firm has four such tubes in storage, in case we ever need them."

"We do?" Fred asked surprised.

"Never mind that - what I want to know is, what's so special about this one?" Lorne asked.

"Ah. That would be the person in it," the young woman replied.

"And who's that?" Gunn asked.

Eve looked right at Angel, "Someone called Alexander Lavelle Harris."

Angel and Wesley both jerked upright at that. All the rest of the former employees of Angel Investigations were surprised at their coworkers' sudden change of attitudes.

"That's not possible," Angel declared. "He's dead!"

"Ah, I'm just wonderin', but who's this Alexander Harris?" Fred asked, slipping back into her native Texan accent - as she usually did, when troubled or surprised.

"He's - uh, he was from the old days in Sunnydale," Wesley answered, with a faraway look in his eyes. "He was Cordelia's boyfriend for over a year, before he-he turned on us."

"Turned?" Gunn asked. "You mean, he was turned into a vamp?"

"No," Angel answered. "He just tuned into, as he called it, the dark side of the Force. He went behind our backs early on in his senior year, and joined up with the Mayor - who was like evil incarnate. He turned over every secret he knew, our strengths and weaknesses, to the enemy...and he even tried to kill a few of us..." Angel frowned for a moment. "Now I'm glad Cordelia isn't here. What happened with devastated her, at the time."

"Asshole tried to hurt her?" Gunn asked, ready to defend his friend if need be.

"You could say that," Wesley said, not liking this particular trip down memory lane. "After it had become apparent that Xander had gone irredeemably evil, he tried to get Cordelia and Willow to join him. He failed, but after her family lost all their money thanks to the IRS, he tried to tempt Cordelia again...the blasted sod promised her more money than she could ever count, and that he would treat her like a queen-"

Angel took over the story. "But Cordelia couldn't, wouldn't live on blood money like that. I heard she cried when she said that he wasn't the Xander she'd fallen in love with anymore, and then turned her back on him forever."

"Wow," Fred remarked, her eyes huge. "Then what happened?"

"Basically, it all came to a head on Graduation day," the vampire continued. "The Mayor turned into a pure demon, and used his vampires to attack the ceremony - to provide him with sustenance, after the transformation. A vampire was going to drain Cordy's best friend Harmony, but somehow...Cordelia managed to appeal to whatever was left of Xander's morality. She told him that if he'd ever really loved her, that he would spare her best friend. After a tense moment, Harris had the vampire back off. Then he told Cordy to run if she had any working brain cells left, as that was the last thing he would ever do for her..."

"Wait, wait a minute," Lorne cut in. "Harmony? You mean that blond, that Cordelia brought in to be her assistant?"

"Well, yes..." Wesley replied, a little uncomfortable. "You see, after Xander went bad, we all thought that we'd lose Cordelia as well, but she rebuilt her friendship with Harmony and...that girl helped Cordelia cope more than we could have, I'm sorry to admit." He shrugged, making no bones about it, "My priorities were and had to be the two Slayers under my care, at the time."

"So, why are you so sure this guy's dead?" Gunn asked.

"Because Buffy killed him," Angel responded at once. "In the end, she had no choice but to shove a sword through his heart. I saw him die..."

"There was a service later," Wesley said, looking at Angel. "Correct?"

"Yeah," the ensouled vampire answered, looking down. "Even though only Cordelia and Willow attended it."

At hearing that, Gunn was confused. "Why the hell would she have cared, after what that bastard did?"

Angel let out a big sigh. "Both Cordelia and Willow were sure that, well, SOMETHING must have happened to Xander, to change him so much. I'll admit I had some thoughts about it myself - less than a year before he was a hero, he'd saved Buffy from Angelus when he went to kill her in a public hospital. I can't count how many nights they spent researching anything that might have been controlling him, but the girls never came up with a thing. He just went bad, openly rogue. It happens..."

The undead CEO then turned to Eve. "Did those demons try to bring him back from the dead, like what happened with Darla?"

"No," Eve replied at once, as she looked through her own copy of the folder. "The firm's had dealings with this tribe of Timus demons before. They tend to do odd jobs for various parties."

"So whoever has the money gets their services," Gunn said in understanding.

"Yes," the young woman nodded. "The money back then came from...the late Mayor Richard Wilkins III."

Angel perked up at that name. "Wilkins somehow had him revived, and put in that tube?"

"No," was Eve's instant denial. "I don't have all the paperwork yet -but I have learned two things of interest, that I feel I should point out."

"Which are?" Angel pressed.

"The demons say that Wilkins purchased organic material at the time, that could have been used to grow a human clone."

"A clone?" Fred asked, very surprised. "They've perfected that technology now?"

"Yes," Eve shrugged. "Of course, it's very difficult and expensive to do. But a skilled mage with, say, a hundred years experience could pull it off."

Angel did not like where this was heading. "What's the other thing?" he asked, not knowing if he wanted to know the answer.

"Their records indicate that they placed Harris into that tube on November 1st, 1998."

Angel quickly flipped to the page that Eve was reading off of. A cold chill came over him, as his mind tried to understand the implications of this.

"Oh my dear Lord," was Wesley's shocked utterance, as he read the same thing. "Angel...if this information is accurate, then - then-"

"Then the Xander that betrayed his friends, the son of a bitch that turned evil..." Angel muttered, shellshocked. "The Xander that nearly killed us all, that DID kill his parents, that put Buffy through her own personal hell after she killed him...that wasn't the real Xander?"