"Sins of the Father"
Galway, Ireland 1753
A young, brown-haired woman leaned over the well and carefully filled the jar she held with water. When she had finished, she turned and began walking away. When a quiet voice from behind her whispered “Anna,” however, she couldn’t help but pause in her steps and turn around.
Her eyes widened in surprise as she caught sight of the man hiding in the shadows, and there was a questioning tone in her voice when she finally spoke. “Master Liam?”
“Anna, come closer,” he said in answer to her question, and she quickly glanced around.
“Master Liam,” she said worriedly. “Your father--”
“Will be off to church by now,” Liam cut in, with the barest trace of a smile, “repenting of his sins, and well he should.” He stopped talking for a moment and gave her a roguish grin. Then, in a teasing voice, he called out, “Closer, Anna.”
Anna still stayed away from him, and an uncertain look flittered across her face. “Why do you keep to the shadows, sir?” she asked after a moment. “Are you not well?”’
“The light,” Liam explained, reaching up to rub his eyes gingerly. “It bothers my eyes just now.”
“And I know the reason why,” a stern-sounding voice said suddenly, and at the sound Anna darted backward a few steps.
The voice’s owner, a dark-haired man in his early forties, stepped up behind Liam and shoved the younger man to the ground. “Out again all night, is it?” he asked disgustedly. “Drinkin’ and whorin’. I smell the stink of it on you.”
Liam grabbed the edge of the well and unsteadily pulled himself to his feet. He gave the older man a mocking smile before speaking. “And a good morning to you, Father.”
“You’re a disgrace,” the older man replied with a shake of his head.
“If you say so, Father,” Liam said calmly.
“Oh, I do,” his father retorted instantly. “I do say so. Have you not had enough debauchery for one night?” He suddenly flung his head in Anna’s direction. “Must you corrupt the servants as well?”
“Servant, Father,” Liam corrected with an almost cocky grin. “We have one servant.” He gave a slight shrug then. “Anyway, everyone gets corrupted… but I find some forms of corruption are more pleasant--”
Liam’s words were cut short as his father slapped him with all his might, sending the younger man reeling backward. “I’m ashamed to call you my son,” he said with disgust. “A layabout and a scoundrel. And you’ll never amount to anything more than that.”
As his mind was abruptly brought back to the present, Angel touched his busted lip for just an instant before hauling his arm back and letting loose a strong punch. His fist connected with the face of the demon he was fighting, sending it reeling back into a nearby wall. Angel took a few steps toward it, but before he could make a move, the demon grabbed him and sent him flying through the air.
When he hit the opposite wall, Angel turned his fall into a roll and made it back to his feet just in time to catch the demon’s next punch. Within seconds, they found themselves in a pattern of dodging or blocking the other’s attack, only to find their own attack a moment later stopped as well.
“Crazy homeless guy got on a Central Street station,” a uniformed cop explained to the blonde detective walking beside him. “Went nuts. Started tearing up the car… threatened some passengers. It was one of them that pulled the emergency brake.” He paused long enough to point ahead of them. “They’re all pretty shook up.”
“What about the suspect?” the detective, Kate Lockley, asked.
“Gone,” he said simply, causing Kate to freeze in step and spin her head around to face him.
“The call said it was a hostage situation,” she said in surprise.
“It was,” he replied, causing her to stare at him even harder.
“The suspect escaped?” she asked in disbelief.
“Well, we’re still trying to get the story,” he said with a slight bit of hesitation, “but it’s a little unclear.”
“Unclear?” Kate asked, her voice raising in volume. “You have two dozen witnesses.”
“I know,” he replied quietly, “and they’re all saying the same thing.”
“Which is?” Kate inquired with a raised eyebrow.
“That the suspect went out through the top vent while the train was still moving,” he answered after a few seconds.
Kate’s eyes darted in the direction of the train. “He climbed out of a moving train?” she asked with surprise.
“They’re saying that he was pulled out,” the officer said.
“Pulled out by what?” Kate questioned him after a moment’s pause, but she was met by only a shrug. “Get statements,” she said with a sigh, before she turned and walked in the direction from which the train had come.
Angel flung the demon into a nearby wall and quickly braced himself for a counterattack. Instead of attacking him, however, the demon clutched its chest and suddenly sank to the ground in a fit of convulsions. As Angel stared in surprise at the apparently dying demon, the sound of footsteps suddenly echoed through the corridor.
The beam of a flashlight cut through the murky darkness as Kate rounded the bend. Her gaze stopped on Angel for a moment in surprise before she turned her attention toward the body lying on the ground… and she let out a gasp when she saw its clearly inhuman face.
“Well, I guess I can forget about reading him his rights,” she said weakly.
♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣
Angel: Changes in Seasons
"Sins of the Father"
With original dialogue/plot by: Tim Minear
♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣
“It’s, um…” Kate carefully aimed her flashlight’s beam at the body once more. “…not a person, is it?”
“No. A demon,” Angel replied after a momentary silence.
Silence filled the air once more before Kate suddenly glanced at Angel. “And is it--”
“Dead?” Angel questioned her softly. “Yeah, Kate, it’s dead.”
“So they… so they die then,” she said faintly.
Angel nodded. “Yeah.”
Kate let out a sigh and shook her head, drawing a puzzled glance from Angel. When she noticed his face, she shrugged slightly. “Sorry. I guess I’m still having a little trouble with this otherworldly stuff.”
“Right,” Angel said with an understanding nod. After a moment or so, however, he glanced back at her. “Although demons aren’t technically otherworldly. I mean, in fact, they were here...” He trailed off as Kate shook her head and began walking away. “...first,” he finished with a half-hearted chuckle.
With a sigh, he turned and followed after the quickly departing woman. As he reached her side, she glanced at his face for an instant. “So do I call the coroner or hazardous materials?” she asked quietly.
“My advice,” Angel replied, “don’t call anyone. I’ll see it gets taken care of.”
“And what am I supposed to put in my report?” she questioned him.
“Just do what you would normally do in a case like this,” Angel answered her.
She gave him an incredulous look. “There is no normal in a case like this.”
“It’s Los Angeles, Kate,” he replied. “You’ve seen this kind of thing before. Probably a lot. You just didn’t have a name for it, that’s all.”
“Uh, no,” she broke in. “I think I’d remember.”
“Yeah, well, people have a way of seeing what they need to,” Angel said, his gaze focusing on a young man being questioned by a uniformed policeman a few feet ahead of them.
“No. Nothing about him really stood out,” the man said without hesitation,” except maybe the smell. You know, just your average Joe Stink homeless guy.”
Kate glanced at Angel for a moment before walking over and taking the notepad offered her by the policeman. “Average height, average weight, average build,” she read before meeting the witness’s gaze. “Is this the best you can do?”
The man shrugged, and Kate let out a sigh. “You the one that pulled the emergency break?” she asked.
“Yeah,” the witness replied. “Guy came right at me.”
“Why?” she asked.
“He didn’t say,” the man replied as a slightly confused expression appeared on his face.
“No,” Kate said impatiently. “Why did you pull the emergency break?”
The witness paused for a second and stared at her. “It was an emergency?” he asked hesitantly.
Kate glanced back at Angel before handing the notepad back to the officer. “Well, let’s get this description circulated,” she said. “We want to find this guy, right?”
The officer nodded and walked away, leaving the witness standing with Kate. “Can I go?” he asked after a moment or two.
“Yeah,” she replied, “you can go.”
As the man walked off, Kate shook her head. Before she could say anything, though, Angel walked up beside her. “What’s your father doing here?” he asked softly, gesturing across the room and drawing a confused shrug from Kate before she quickly made her way toward the older man.
“Daddy, what are you doing here?” she asked as she walked up to her father.
“In the neighborhood,” Trevor replied with a smile.
Kate merely grinned at him. “You’ve been sitting in your apartment listening to that police scanner again, haven’t you?”
“Nothing on cable anyway,” he said with a shrug. “I heard you had a hostage situation. Looks like I missed all the action.”
“Thirty-five years on the force,” she said. “Don’t you think you’ve seen enough action?”
His smile faded some, but Kate didn’t seem to notice as she continued speaking. “Did you also happen to hear I was the lead officer on scene?”
“You look like you’re doing okay,” he said, before slowly turning around. “Let you get back to it.”
As he walked away, Angel stepped up behind Kate. “What’s he up to?” he asked curiously.
“I think he’s actually checking up on me,” she said with a slight grin, her eyes still focused on her father’s retreating form.
“You sound surprised,” Angel said softly.
“No,” Kate said suddenly, shaking her head as she turned to face him. “You don’t get to do that.”
“What?” he asked, confused.
“Kill a demon in front of me and then act like we’re going to have a cappuccino together,” she replied firmly. “It doesn’t work that way.”
“How does it work?” Angel asked.
“I’m not convinced it does,” she replied, looking away from him as she did so. “Look, no offense. I think you’re probably a pretty decent guy for a… you know, what you are. But let’s keep this strictly business, all right? We don’t get personal.“
She paused for a moment and shot him a warning look. “I’m not your girlfriend.”
Galway, Ireland 1753
“Who is he?” Darla asked curiously, her attention focused on a man on the other side of the tavern.
“Who, that one?” the barmaid asked, gesturing toward a dark-haired man on the other side of the room.
“Yes,” Darla replied with a smirk. “He’s magnificent.”
“Oh, yeah, God’s gift, alright,” the barmaid replied with more than a hint of sarcasm.
“Really?” Darla asked, her smile only growing. “I’ve never known God to be so generous.”
The barmaid gave the other woman a smile before shaking her head. “Oh, his lies sound pretty when the stars are out,” she said wickedly, “but he forgets every promise he’s made when the sun comes up again.”
“That wouldn’t really be a problem for me actually,” Darla replied, smiling as she caught Liam’s eye.
“Pay attention,” Cordelia said irritably, her eyes flashing as she finally caught Angel’s attention. “All we have to do is decide what the code will be.”
“Code?” Angel asked, the expression on his face one of complete and utter confusion.
“For the new security system,” Doyle called out helpfully from across the room, looking up from the book he was reading long enough to wink at Angel. “She’s been talking to you about it for the last ten minutes.”
Cordelia glared at Angel as it became obvious that he hadn’t been listening to a word she had said. “Come on,” she said with a sigh, “just think of something we can use for the code. The installation guy said it should be something easy to remember. Like my birthday.”
“I don’t know your birthday,” Angel said helplessly.
“Tell me something you don’t know that I don’t know,” she said as she rolled her eyes. “But after eleven and a half months of punching it into this, you and Doyle won’t have any excuses.”
“We missed your birthday?” Doyle asked in surprise as he glanced up from his book once again. “Why didn’t you tell us it was coming up?”
“Because I figured any real friend would have known when my birthday was,” she shot back.
Doyle raised an eyebrow, a playful twinkle in his green eyes. “Cordelia, tell me one thing… when’s my birthday?”
Cordelia started to retort, but she ended up shrugging sheepishly as realization dawned on her. Doyle let out a quiet chuckle as he laid his book to the side and walked over to where she and Angel were sitting.
“I might be able to make it up to you,” he said with a hopeful smile. “Cordy, would you be interested in--”
“Did you identify it?” Angel broke in, his attention on Wesley, who had just walked into the room with a large book balanced in his arms. He stood up and made his way over to where the other man was standing.
Doyle let out an annoyed sigh as Cordelia shrugged apologetically and stood up. He reluctantly followed her over to where Wesley and Angel were standing, an irritated expression on his face.
“I-I believe so,” Wesley answered, a confused expression appearing on his face as he caught the glare that Doyle was shooting in his direction. “Um… would that be the demon you encountered this morning?”
“Yeah, that’s him,” Angel answered as soon as he glanced at the drawing that Wesley was referring to.
“Her, actually,” Wesley corrected him. “It’s a Kwaini. They’re always female.”
The anger on Doyle’s face faded to puzzlement within seconds, and he became lost in his thoughts as Angel and Wesley continued their conversation.
“What does it say about disposal methods?” Angel asked.
“Well, it should be relatively standard,” Wesley replied. “Burial on virgin soil, simple Latinate incantation… however--”
“What?” Angel asked, with a hint of apprehension.
Wesley started to answer, but Doyle beat him to it. “Kwainis aren’t fighters,” he said as he glanced in the former Watcher’s direction. “Right?”
“Precisely,” Wesley answered, a vaguely impressed expression appearing on his face for just an instant. “A Kwaini is a peaceful, balancing demon. Non-violent.”
“Non-violent?” Angel repeated slowly. “No. This thing was a fighter.”
“Then the expert here,” Doyle said as he gestured toward Wesley, “must be wrong about it being a Kwaini.”
Wesley spluttered a few intelligible words, but he was quickly silenced as Angel shook his head. “It was the same demon that was in this picture, Doyle,” the vampire said. “It was definitely a Kwaini.”
“Then this is rather odd,” Wesley said, a perplexed look appearing on his face. “They’re incredibly articulate, gentle creatures not even capable of the kind of power and strength you described.”
“As much as I hate to agree, Wesley’s right,” Doyle said with a shrug.
Cordelia coughed, drawing all three men‘s attentions to where she had been standing quietly. “Wesley knows all this because he’s been looking it up in books for the last hour,” she said as she focused her gaze on Doyle. “How do you know so much?”
“Harry did quite a bit of research on various demons when we first found out about my… unique heritage,” he answered distractedly. “I actually listened to part of it. Now, can we get back to the present?”
The last sentence came out rather sharply, and Doyle flinched slightly as the words escaped his lips. He gave Cordelia an apologetic look, and she rolled her eyes before changing the conversation back to its original subject. “Fine with me,” she shot back. “Maybe the Kiwi was just having a bad skanky-rag day.”
“Kwaini,” Angel corrected as he sat back down with a sigh. “Something set it off, that’s for sure.”
“Clearly,” Wesley muttered.
“All right,” Angel said exasperatedly. “So, forgetting for the moment whether this thing should have been able to fight as well as it did, what would make a peaceful, balancing demon attack a train full of LA commuters in the first place?”
“Insanity?” Cordelia asked with a shrug.
Wesley shook his head. “Something on the train, perhaps?”
“Or someone,” Doyle said, comprehension dawning on his face.
Angel nodded in agreement, his mouth suddenly twisting into a smile. “Or someone,” he repeated. “I need to go have a talk with Kate.”
As soon as Angel walked out of the room, Cordelia glanced over at Doyle. “Were you trying to ask me something earlier?” she asked curiously.
Doyle blinked, but he quickly nodded. He glanced over at Wesley, who was still staring at the book held in his hands. “Could you give us a minute?” Doyle asked suddenly, a warning look his eyes.
Wesley glanced over at Doyle in confusion. “Excuse me?”
“Could you give us a minute?” Doyle repeated pointedly. “I need to talk to Cordelia. Alone.”
The former Watcher stared at him in confusion for a moment or two before his eyes widened in understanding. He shot Doyle an apologetic look before quickly making his way toward the door. “Of course,” Wesley said hurriedly. “There’s not much I can do until Angel gets back, so someone might as well keep an eye on the desk upstairs.”
Wesley quickly slipped out of the room, and Cordelia glanced at Doyle in amusement. “What was that about?” she asked.
Doyle cleared his throat before shooting her a slight gin. “Cordelia,“ he said nervously, “would you be interested in a belated birthday dinner?”
“At your place or a restaurant?” Cordelia asked with a raised eyebrow.
Doyle gave her a hopeful look. “A restaurant,” he answered uncertainly.
“So,“ Cordelia said slowly, “you mean… like a date?”
Doyle took a deep breath before nodding. “Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean,” he replied. “Would you be interested?”
For a few seconds, she merely stared at him. Then, without warning, she suddenly jumped up from her chair and gave him a hug. “It’s about time,” she said teasingly.
“Should I take that as a ‘yes’?” Doyle asked.
Cordelia rolled her eyes, but as she started to pull away from him she froze. The two of them stared at each other for a moment, surprised expressions on both of their faces. Almost unconsciously, they both leaning in, and their lips were just about to touch when the sound of someone clearing his throat caught their attentions.
They pulled apart abruptly, their eyes quickly moving toward the doorway. “What do you want, Wesley?” Cordelia asked irritably.
Wesley cleared his throat, shifting his feet uncomfortably. “There's someone upstairs who wants to see Doyle immediately.”
Doyle paled, and Cordelia shot him a worried look. “Who do you owe money to this time?” she asked.
“Several people… but not enough for any of them to send muscle after me,” he replied. “Not for another week or two, at least.”
Wesley’s eyes widened slightly in disbelief. “Good lord,” he said weakly.
Doyle glanced over at Wesley and raised an eyebrow, his worried look replaced by one of annoyance. “What‘s that supposed to mean?”
Wesley hurriedly backpedaled. “I don’t believe that he’s here for that reason,” he said hastily.
“Is it a client?” Cordelia asked in surprise. “A completely non-vision, walk-in client?”
“Well, you see--” Wesley reluctantly stepped out of the way, revealing the fully grown Brachen demon standing behind him. “--it’s not quite that simple, Cordelia.”
Both Cordelia and Doyle stared for a moment before she rolled her eyes. “Don’t be rude,” she snapped at Wesley. “We have no problem with taking demons as clients as long as they aren’t evil and have money to pay us.” She paused for a moment and stared at the demon with some scrutiny. “You fit both of those criteria, right?” she asked.
The demon didn’t pay any attention to Cordelia as he took a few steps toward Doyle, a smile making its way onto his face. “Hello, son.”
Cordelia’s mouth dropped open as spun her head around to face Doyle, who was staring at the Brachen with a stunned expression on his face. “Oh,” she said weakly.
Angel stood in the doorway of Kate’s office for several seconds, not saying a word as he watched her. She reached up to grab a folder from the shelf, and her eyes were focused on the papers inside as she turned around. After a moment had passed, however, she glanced up, and a startled expression appeared on her face as she caught side of her watcher.
“Angel,” Kate said in surprise.
“Hi,” he replied with a nod. “Can we talk?”
Kate tried to hide her nervousness as she met his gaze. “What’s up?” she asked.
Angel took a few steps toward her. “It’s about that demon from this morning--”
She quickly laid the folder on her desk. “Look, if you insist on talking about this stuff,” she said quietly before walking over to where he was standing, “could you please not say that word?” Kate reached past him and quickly pushing the door shut. “It makes me… I don’t know, just… uncomfortable,” she continued with a sigh as she closed the curtains. “Just say… ‘evil thing,’ okay?”
“Sure,” Angel replied. “Yeah, I understand.”
“Thanks,” Kate said, making her way back toward her desk. “Anyway, I thought you were going to take care of it.”
“It’s being taken care of,” he reassured her quickly. “It’s just that the, uh… evil thing… it turns out it wasn’t an evil thing.”
“The evil thing wasn’t an evil thing?” she asked with an amused shake of her head.
“Well, it was an evil thing in terms of that word,” Angel replied. “It just wasn’t an evil ‘evil thing.’”
“There are not evil ‘evil things’?” Kate asked.
“Well… yeah,” he said hesitantly.
Kate gave him an unreadable look before looking down at the floor. “All right. Sorry.” An uncomfortable silence filled the room for a moment before she glanced at Angel again. “Hey, anyway, how did you get in here? It‘s, like, the middle of the day. Don‘t you have to--”
“Sewer system,” Angel broke in. “It leads up to the parking garage.”
“Oh, right,” she said, shaking her head as she spoke. “Of course, I remember.”
Angel fidgeted for a second before pushing the conversation forward. “Listen, Kate,“ he said anxiously, “I need the names of the, uh, passengers on that train.”
“Why?” she asked.
“I think that the, uh, demon, uh--” Angel trailed off as Kate shot him a sharp look. “I think that the train may have been targeted for a reason.”
“An evil thing needs a reason?” she asked him wryly.
Angel gave her a look. “I think it was after something or someone.”
“There was nothing on the train,” Kate said with a shrug. “We searched it.”
“Passengers?” he asked.
“All checked out,” she shot back.
Angel shook his head in aggravation. “I want to look into them anyway,” he said firmly. “And I think we should start with that delivery guy. Uh, the man who pulled the emergency brake. He just said that the--”
“It is still dead, right?” Kate asked, turning around to face him.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Good,” she said as she looked away. “You told me to forget about it. I’d like to.”
Even though he could tell what she was saying, Angel kept pressing. “I think, uh--”
“Angel, there’s nothing here,” she said firmly, cutting him off mid-sentence. “Your not evil ‘evil thing’ was just evil. Okay? Now can‘t we just leave it at that?”
“Axtius, right?” Cordelia asked, an uncertain expression on her face. “So you’re really Doyle’s father?”
“That’s a broad interpretation of the word,” Doyle muttered beside her, looking at his father.
“Doyle,” Wesley said uncomfortably, “maybe you should at least hear him out. He is your father after all, and it--”
“Wesley, don‘t even start,” Doyle broke in, irritated. “I’m sure that you had a perfect childhood, but some of us weren’t that lucky.”
Wesley’s face hardened, and something akin to fire suddenly flashed in his eyes. “If you think that--”
“Come on,” Cordelia said hurriedly, grabbing Wesley’s arm and effectively interrupting the tension between him and Doyle. “Let’s go find a dead demon and leave the two of them to talk.”
“Cordy, that’s really not necessary,” Doyle said. “We don’t have anything to talk about.”
Cordelia turned and glared at him, and after a few seconds he reluctantly nodded his head. She gave him an imperceptible smile before turning her attention toward Axtius.
“If you hurt him in any way whatsoever,” she said sweetly, “I’ll make you wish you were dead.”
She flashed Axtius a broad smile before turning and following Wesley out of the room. As she walked out of sight, the Brachen turn toward Doyle and raised an eyebrow. “Well, she’s something else.”
Doyle rolled his eyes and walked over the one of the nearby chairs. He collapsed into it, his legs sprawling out in front of him. “I'm not sure why you're here,” he said dryly, “but if it's for some father-son bonding, then you’re about twenty-five years too late.”
“Touché,” Axtius replied with a wry grin.
Doyle snorted and let his gaze drift to a stain on the floor several feet away.
An uncomfortable silence filled the room for several seconds, and it was only broken by Axtius clearing his throat. “So, how’s your mother?” he asked.
Doyle shot him an unimpressed look. “Why don‘t you ask her yourself?” he said sarcastically. “Oh, wait… I forgot. You haven’t spoken with her in over two decades.”
Axtius flinched slightly, but he refused to back down. “Is she still living in Ireland?”
“The two of us moved to America when I was fifteen,” Doyle answered after a moment or two, “not that you’d know. She’s living in New York, and you’re even crazier than I thought if you think I’m going to tell you anything more about her.”
The Brachen stared at him for a moment or two before sighing. “Would you at least hear me out?” he asked softly.
“I really don’t see why I should,” Doyle replied.
“Look, I’m trying here,” Axtius shot back. “I was just passing through when an acquaintance of mine told me about a vampire with a soul that had set up shop last year. Imagine my surprise when they mentioned that he had a half-breed named Doyle working for him. I thought I’d try doing the responsible thing for once.”
“Responsible? I think it‘s a little late for that,“ Doyle said angrily as he pulled himself to his feet and headed for the elevator. “I’m out of here.”
“We tried, you know,” Axtius called after him. Doyle paused in the doorway, his attention caught despite himself. “To raise you together, I mean. But it was impossible. Maureen didn’t belong in my world, and I didn’t belong in hers.”
“And where exactly do you think that left me?” Doyle asked coldly. “I’m not exactly welcome in either world.”
He shut the door behind him, and as the elevator rose out of sight Axtius let out a sigh. The Brachen shook his head and dropped down into the chair that his son had just been sitting in. “He’s not going to make this easy,” he muttered.
“I suppose one can hardly blame her for being skittish on the topic,” Wesley’s voice said from the other end of Angel's cell phone.
“I guess so,” Angel replied tiredly as he sank back against the seat of his car. “I don’t know. Ever since she ran me through with a two by four, things have been different.”
“Well, she’ll come around,” Wesley answered. “I think you’ll find that most people require some period of adjustment after being confronted with the dark forces which surround us. Women in particular--”
Angel shook his head as Wesley trailed off, and he couldn’t help but smile as he heard Cordelia’s voice in the background. “Found it!”
The sound of a hacksaw being used suddenly came from the other end of the phone, and after a few seconds Wesley started speaking again. “--struggle with it.”
“Maybe,” Angel said reluctantly. “I’m just afraid if she keeps struggling with the bigger picture… she’ll lose the details.”
“Details?” Wesley’s voice asked.
Angel was careful to keep his eye on the delivery guy that was just getting out of the truck he had been watching. “Yeah, like why a guy who drives a delivery van would be on a commuter train during his shift.”
“Good question,“ Wesley said from the other end of the phone. “In any case, it appears we’ve located the Kwaini’s body.”
“So I heard,” Angel said dryly. “You’ll run the tests?”
“Yes,” Wesley replied.
“Good,“ Angel said as he prepared to hang up the phone. “I’ll see you back at the office.”
“About that,” Wesley said hesitantly, making Angel’s hand freeze in position.
Angel shook his head. “What’s wrong, Wesley?” he asked impatiently.
“Well, it’s really quite… complicated,” the other man said after a moment’s pause. “You see, soon after--”
“Doyle’s dad showed up right after you left!” Cordelia’s voice called out from somewhere.
Angel raised an eyebrow. “Did she just say what I think she said?” he asked, his voice slightly distracted as he watched the delivery man answer his own cell phone.
“Well… yes,” Wesley replied. “We’ll fill you in when you return to the office.”
“That'd be a good idea,“ Angel answered, quickly hanging up the phone as the delivery guy got into his vehicle and drove off.
Angel pulled his car over to the side of the street as his quarry got out of his vehicle and walked towards a nearby apartment building. As the vampire watched curiously, the guy reached out and knocked on the door of one of the rooms.
As the door opened, Angel felt his jaw drop. Trevor Lockley was standing on the other side with a package wrapped in brown paper in his hands. As Angel watched, Kate’s father handed the delivery guy the package. The man stuck it into his delivery bag and quickly hurried off.
“Damn,” Angel muttered.
When Trevor Lockley opened the door to his apartment, Angel gave him what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “Mr. Lockley?”
“Yeah?” the man asked.
“I’m Angel,” the vampire said. “We met at your retirement party? I’m a friend of your daughter’s.”
“Katie?“ Trevor asked worriedly. “Did something--”
Angel quickly cut in. “She’s fine.”
A relieved expression appeared on Trevor’s face as he glanced behind Angel. “She with you?”
“No,“ Angel said, shaking his head as he spoke. “She doesn’t know I’m here, either. Though you can bet she’d be interested to know who else was just here visiting you.“ Trevor raised an eyebrow, but he didn‘t have a chance to speak before Angel continued. “You know, she actually thought that you were at the crime scene today because you were worried about her,” the vampire said bitterly.
A suspicious expression appeared in Trevor‘s eyes as he stared at Angel. “What do you want?” Trevor asked.
“I want to know what was in that package,” Angel replied matter-of-factly. “The one you gave that delivery guy.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Trevor said.
“You removed something from the crime scene today,“ Angel said firmly. “Something somebody didn’t want the police to find.”
As Trevor prepared to shut the door, Angel tried again. “Who do you work for, Mr. Lockley?”
“I don’t work for anybody,” the man answered him coldly. “I’m retired. You were at the party, remember?”
“I will find out what’s going on, sir,” Angel said frostily. “I’m just telling you that now out of respect for Kate.”
“Are you threatening me, son?” Trevor asked, angry.
“No,” Angel said, after a moment‘s pause. “I’m trying to protect your daughter.”
“Protect my daughter,” the other man repeated. “From what?”
“From finding out the reason you were there today wasn’t because you cared about her,” Angel replied.
Trevor studied his face for a moment. “You got any kids, Angel?”
“No,” Angel answered reluctantly.
“Right,” Trevor said. “Then don’t think you know how a father feels, or why he does the things he does.”
Angel couldn’t help but flinch as the door slammed in his face.
Galway, Ireland 1753
Liam stumbled up to his mother and little sister, an angry expression on his face as his father called from behind him. “Liam! You’ll do as I say.”
Liam shot his younger sister a brief smile. “Sweet Kathy, no tears,“ he said gently as he reached over and wiped her face. “We’ll meet again.”
“Defy me now, you won’t,” his father said firmly. “Not as long as I live.”
“You’ll want to move away from the door now, father,” Liam said coldly.
His father glared at him. “Go through it, but don’t ever expect to come back!”
“As you wish, father,” Liam replied sarcastically. “Always, just as you wish.”
“It’s a son I wished for –- a man,” his father said. “Instead God gave me you! A terrible disappointment.”
“Disappointment?“ Liam echoed. “A more dutiful son you couldn’t have asked for. My whole life you’ve told me in word, in glance, what it is you required of me, and I’ve lived down to your every expectations, now haven’t I?”
“That’s madness!” his father shot back.
“No,“ Liam replied. “The madness is that I couldn’t fail enough for you. But we’ll fix that now, won’t we?”
“I fear for you, lad,” the older man said, shaking his head as he spoke.
Liam stared at his father for a moment. “And is that the only thing you can find in your heart for me now, father?”
“Who’ll take you in, huh?” the older main asked angrily. “No one!”
“I’ll not lack for a place to sleep, I can tell you that,” Liam said heatedly. “Out of my way.”
He pushed past his father, but the older man grabbed his arm before he could leave.
“I was never in your way, boy,” his father said softly, but Liam merely pulled away from him, opened the door, and stormed out.
“If you’ll go courting trouble, you’re sure to find it!” Liam’s father called out after him.
The door slammed shut with a loud thud.
“So why the sudden urge to have lunch?” Kate asked her father curiously.
“Lunchtime, ain’t it?” Trevor said with a shrug.
“Right,“ she said with a chuckle. “So you drive all the way out here for a hotdog?”
“Not just a hotdog,” her father replied, as he sat down on the edge of a planter. “One of Manny’s. Best there is.”
“Right. I’ll let you and Manny catch up then,” Kate said dryly.
“And I thought I could spend a little time with my daughter,” Trevor finally admitted with the barest hint of a smile.
Kate shot him a surprised look as she sat down beside him.
“So, you’ve been good?” he asked casually.
“Yeah,” she replied after a moment’s pause. “Yeah, good.”
Trevor nodded. “And, uh, - how’s Angel?” he asked.
Kate choked on her bite of hotdog, and her eyes widened in surprise. “Pardon me?” she asked in disbelief.
“Tall, good-looking fellow you brought to my retirement party,” her father explained slowly.
“Yeah, I know who you mean,” she said with a slight laugh.
“That ain’t a Mexican name, is it?” Trevor continued on. “Angel?”
“I don’t think so." Kate smiled.
Trevor nodded again before taking a bite of his hotdog. “You two still seeing each other?”
“We were never… seeing each other, Dad,” Kate said gently.
“What’s wrong with him?” Trevor asked after a moment’s pause.
“Nothing!” she replied immediately.
“Must be something wrong with him,“ he said with a shrug. “He married?”
“No,” Kate said.
Trevor gave her a scrutinizing look. “West Hollywood?”
“Daddy, no!“ she replied with grin. “Angel’s just… not my type. Or I’m not his type. I think there’s definitely a type involved, and it’s the wrong one.”
Trevor nodded, and for a few seconds it looked as if he was going to drop the subject. “He got a job?” he asked eventually.
Kate stared at him for a moment before answering. “Yeah, he’s a P.I.”
“Private Investigator,” Trevor said dryly. “He any good?”
“Yeah, he’s good,” she said with a nod. “Very good. And he doesn’t mind working nights.”
“That’s good,” he replied softly. “That’s good that he’s good.”
Kate stared at him for a few seconds. “You came all the way down here to talk about a guy you saw me out with once?” she asked in disbelief.
“Well, he made an impression,” Trevor said with a shrug.
“You like him?” she asked.
“No,“ he replied quickly, “not really.”
“Oh,” Kate said with a raised eyebrow. “Then what’s this all about?”
“Nothing, just – just, uh--“ Trevor trailed off for a moment and sighed. “It’s not good to be alone, Katie.”
“It was on drugs,” Doyle said, as Angel walked into the office.
Angel paused in mid-step and glanced over at his friend. “What was on drugs?” he asked in confusion.
“The Kwaini,” Doyle replied, standing up and stretching. “Wesley’s dissecting it down in your apartment. He said that whatever the stuff is, it increases a demon‘s power at least times twenty.”
“The delivery guy must have been taking it somewhere,” Angel said with a slight nod. “Come on, let’s go see if Wes has found anything else out.”
Doyle froze in mid-stretch. “I think I’ll pass,” he said.
Angel stared at him in confusion for several seconds before comprehension dawned in his eyes. “Damn, I forgot,” he said apologetically, “Wesley and Cordelia mentioned that your father showed up.”
“Lucky me,” Doyle muttered. “He’s down there with Wesley. He seems to enjoy watching a dead body get cut into little bits.”
Angel glanced downward, a suspicious expression on his face. “How did he know you were here?” he asked.
“Someone mentioned my name, and he decided to look me up because he felt guilty,” Doyle said.
“Do you trust him?” Angel asked, as he looked up and met Doyle’s gaze.
“Don’t ask me,” Doyle replied with a shrug. “I walked out after talking to him for five seconds.”
“Hey guys? Security system, remember?” Cordelia called out loudly as she walked into the office. “What’s the point of having it if you never turn it on? I could have been anyone or anything!”
“Did you have fun?” Doyle asked with a grin.
Cordelia rolled her eyes in answer to his question. “Well, he really is a delivery guy,“ she said as she handed Angel the camcorder she was holding. “But take a look at where he spent his lunch.”
“Did someone yell?” Wesley asked worriedly as he hurried into the room. “We heard some… Oh, Cordelia. You’re back.”
Axtius followed a few seconds after Wesley, but he quickly stopped in the doorway when he saw the unfamiliar face. “You must be Angel,” he said.
“And you’re Doyle’s father,” Angel said matter-of-factly as he looked up from the camcorder.
“The name’s Axtius,” the Brachen replied.
Angel nodded before glancing back down at the camcorder. “Did you find anything out?” he asked Wesley without looking up.
“The drug that I found in the Kwaini’s system was similar to PCP,” Wesley with a shrug. “That’s about it.”
Angel nodded before suddenly handing the camcorder over to Wesley. “Here’s the source,” he said.
Doyle came closer and glanced over Wesley’s shoulder so that he could see what was in the pictures. “Time for some reconnaissance then,” he said.
Angel nodded, but before he could say anything Axtius broke in. “Could I help?” he asked, drawing incredulous looks for everyone in the room.
“Why?” Doyle asked suspiciously.
“Because I’m not leaving until you at least hear me out,” Axtius replied.
Doyle stared at him for several seconds before finally letting out a sigh. “Fine,” he said irritably.
An uncomfortable silence filled the room for several seconds before Cordelia softly cleared her throat. “So, how did your talk with Mr. Lockley go?” she asked Angel tentatively.
“I really don’t want to get into it right now,” Angel replied after a moment or two. He shook his head before starting to walk away. “I’ll be in my office.”
“The guy’s name is Angel,“ Trevor said worriedly. “He’s a private investigator. From what I hear, he’s good.”
“Any idea on why he’s looking into our operation?” the man he was talking to asked.
Trevor shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “He’s got his reasons I guess. What was in the package?”
The other man shot Trevor a look. “Mr. Lockley, we agreed...”
“We agreed that I’d use my department connections to facilitate movement of your untariffed auto-parts,“ Trevor said angrily. “We didn’t agree that I’d be removing evidence from crime scenes or pumping my own daughter for information.”
“We understand the extra lengths to which you’ve gone,” the man said placatingly as he pulled out a thick brown envelope and laid it on the table in front of them. “Don’t think that we are not appreciative.”
Trevor let out a deep breath before reaching out and taking the envelope. “My advice to you guys?” he said, with a grimace. “Whatever it is you’re moving in your little brown packages, dial it down for a while.”
“Sound advice, Mr. Lockley,“ the man replied. “Thank you very much.”
As the door closed behind Trevor, the man turned around to look at a large demon that was stepping out of the shadows. “Any instructions on how we should deal with this Angel person, sir?”
“Kill him,” the demon replied.
“Are you sure that would be wise, sir?” the man asked uncertainly. “Lockley appears to be growing uncomfortable with our arrangement as it is. The sudden death of this private investigator could turn him...”
“Kill Lockley, too,“ the demon said as he turned to leave. “God, do I have to think of everything around here? Someone give me an adrenal gland!”
Cordelia stepped away from the doorway, an unreadable expression on her face as she walked over to where Doyle stood. “Wesley and your father went to get supplies,” she said softly. Doyle shrugged in reply, and she bit her lip slightly. “I’m assuming that things didn’t go so well between the two of you?”
He snorted in reply, and Cordelia paused for a moment.
“Axtius seems nice enough,” she tried again.
“Yeah, he’s great,” Doyle said dryly. He suddenly gave her a questioning look. “Do you still want to go out for dinner tonight?”
Cordelia blinked at the complete change in topic. “What?” she asked in bewilderment.
“Date. Tonight. Do you still want to go?” Doyle repeated.
She stared at him without saying a word for several seconds before raising an eyebrow. “You’ve got to be kidding,” she finally said.
Doyle let out a sigh and leaned back against the wall. He shot her a small smile and shrugged. “It’s okay,” he said softly. “I thought that you might have changed your mind, considering all that’s going on. We’ll just try again some--”
He was abruptly cut off as Cordelia suddenly leaned in and pressed her lips against his. He let out a surprised sound, but after a few seconds had passed he relaxed. After a moment or two, Cordelia pulled away and quickly met his gaze.
“Does that answer your question?” she asked, just a little bit breathless.
Doyle stared at her for several seconds with a stunned look on his face. He finally managed to nod, though. “Yeah,” he said weakly. “That answers it.”
“Good,” Cordelia said with a smile. “Now, go find out what’s bugging Angel.”
Galway, Ireland 1753
Liam’s father nailed up the window from the inside, a worried expression on his face throughout the task.
“You’re no different from the rest of them, are you, father?” Angelus asked from behind the man.
His father spun around and stared at the vampire behind him in shock.
“Cowering in their houses, boarding up the windows, smearing that foul herb in the doorways… You’d think something evil, and vile, and monstrous, had taken to terrorizing this village,“ Angelus said, with an eerie smile. “And everyone in it.”
“Be gone, unclean thing!“ his father said loudly. “A demon can not enter a home where it’s not welcome. He must be invited!”
“That’s true,” Angelus agreed with a nod. “But I was invited.”
Angelus glanced toward the doorway, and his father reluctantly followed suit. Kathy was slumped against the wall, two telltale marks on her neck.
“She thought I'd returned to her,” Angelus said with a grin. “An angel.”
His father spun around and charged at the demon, the hammer still clutched in his hand. “Murderer!” he cried out loudly.
Angelus pushed the attack aside, and he smiled as he pushed his father to the ground. “Strange,” he said curiously. “Somehow you seemed taller when I was alive.”
The man flattened himself against the wall, a panicked look making its way onto his face. “Lord, bind this demon now,” he choked out.
“To think I ever let such a tiny, trembling thing make me feel the way you did,” Angelus said with a laugh.
His father slowly made the symbol of a cross. “I pray ye, give me your protection, Father.”
“You told me I wasn’t a man,“ the vampire said as he stalked toward the man. “You told me I was nothing… and I believed you. You said I’d never amount to anything.”
Angelus stared his father coldly, and the man stared back with wide eyes.
“Well, you were wrong,“ the vampire said as his face morphed. “You see, father? I have made something out of myself after all.”
“So how’d it go?” Doyle asked, as he leaned against the door to Angel’s office.
Angel sat in a daze, his gaze focused somewhere on the other side of darkened window.
Doyle frowned a bit as he stared at his friend. “The chat with Kate’s father?” he pressed as he walked into the office and sat down in a chair near Angel. When the vampire didn‘t answer, his frown turned into a concerned look. “Angel, are you all right?” he asked worriedly.
“Do you ever think about your childhood?” Angel questioned softly, still lost in his thoughts. “Your actions? Your relationship with your father?”
“It’s a little hard to avoid the topic,“ Doyle stated with a weak smile, with just a hint of anger and hurt in his voice. “In case you failed to notice, my childhood and my father have suddenly reappeared.”
Angel turned his attention to Doyle as if he had finally realized that the other man was in the room. “Sorry, Doyle,” Angel said sheepishly as he turned his attention toward his friend. “How are things going?”
Doyle contemplated his answer. “There are a lot of replies to that question, but I’m just not sure I know which one is the most accurate.” He wasn’t sure he wanted to talk quite yet. He could put on a facade with Cordy, Wesley, and even his father, but he knew Angel wouldn’t buy the act. He quickly decided to change the subject. “What’s the news with Kate’s father?” he asked again.
“He’s definitely involved somehow,” Angel said reluctantly. “I’m just not sure how involved.”
“That’s it?” Doyle asked with a raised eyebrow.
Angel shot him a curious look. “What do you mean, that’s it?” he questioned.
“Not to admit that I'm on to your act and all, but you usually brood about three things: Buffy, being a vampire, or the fate of the world,” Doyle said dryly. “I’ve never seen this particular brooding look before. What‘s going on?”
Angel stared at Doyle for a moment before standing up and pacing. “Kate’s father implied that I didn’t know anything about protecting Kate,” he said reluctantly. “He said that I couldn’t understand why a father does what a father does.”
“And?” Doyle asked, clearly not getting the point.
“And it got me thinking about my father. We were never close, and both of us were a constant disappointment to the other. I just wonder, after all this time… were his actions just a way of protecting me?” Angel slowed his pace and paused near the window.
Doyle sat up straighter. “If that’s the case, does that mean my father’s complete abandonment of me was simply method of protection?” he asked sharply. “I doubt it. Angel, fathers have a tendency to make excuses for themselves and their actions, but it doesn’t mean they’re right.”
Angel glanced over at Doyle, a thoughtful expression on his face. After a few seconds, he shook his head and carefully changed the subject.
“Have you talked with your dad yet about his sudden reappearance?” Angel asked, the concern now changing sides.
“No, and for the time being I don’t plan to,” Doyle replied with a shrug. “I’m suspicious of why he’s suddenly turned up, being all charming and helpful. To be perfectly honest, I don’t like it in the least bit.”
“But…” Angel prodded gently.
“But sometimes, when I look at him, I just want to hug him,” Doyle said, with more than a little bitterness. “I haven’t figured any of it out yet, and -- quite frankly -- I don’t want to. I’ve got a date with Cordy coming up, and I’d much rather focus on that.” The cynical expression on Doyle’s face disappeared as he stood up, a boyish smile replacing it.
“Good luck,“ Angel said, a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth as he watched Doyle head out of the office.
Angel’s grin faded slightly after a moment or two, and a thoughtful expression appeared on his face. “I wonder if he’s forgotten that he and Axtius are supposed to be on recon duty before his date,” he said contemplatively.
“Who’s Axtius?” Kate’s voice asked from the doorway, drawing Angel’s attention immediately.
“Kate?” he asked in surprise. “What are you doing here?”
She gave him a weak smile before walking over and handing him a piece of paper. “Here,” she said.
“What’s this?” Angel asked as he took the paper from her hand.
“The list of those names you asked for,” Kate explained. “The passengers on the train.”
Angel leaned back in his chair and unfolded the paper. He glanced over the names and then looked back up at her. “Thank you,“ he said as he folded the paper back up. “What made you change your mind?”
“Something my father said, actually,” she said with a sheepish smile.
“Your father?” Angel asked curiously.
“Yeah,” she said with a nod. “He asked if you were good.”
“Good?” Angel repeated, a slightly confused expression on his face.
“At what you do,“ Kate explained. “I said you were.”
Angel gave her a slight grin. “Thanks,”
“No matter how uncomfortable I am with certain… circumstances,” she said with a shrug, “I can’t let myself ignore your instincts. If you think there's something more going on here, then there probably is.”
“I appreciate that,” Angel said with a nod.
“And I’d like to be involved,” she continued on.
Angel paused and shot her a look. “What?”
“With the case,” Kate said. “You find something, you bring me in, okay?”
“Are you… are you sure about that?” Angel asked worriedly.
Kate shrugged again. “Got to face those demons sometime, right?”
“Right,” Angel said.
Doyle and Axtius sat in the car silently. Neither had breathed a single word to each other since arriving to do recon nearly an hour ago. Although neither of them would admit it, each was unsure of how to start a conversation.
“That Cordelia is one amazing women,” Axtius said hesitantly.
“Uh-huh,” Doyle replied.
“How long have the two of you been seeing each other?” the demon tried again.
“Sorry, but I’m not really in the mood to chat about my love life,“ Doyle said angrily as he turned his head toward his father. “Seeing as you don’t have much of your own, not to mention that you’ve been non-existent for the last twenty-five years.”
“I’m just interested in your life,” Axtius shot back. “I am your father, after all.”
Doyle laughed sarcastically. “Is that what you call yourself? My father?”
“It’s what I am,” his father said in irritation.
“I usually use the term sperm donor,“ Doyle said. “It seems more fitting.”
“Look, I know you’re angry with me, but if you could just--”
“No, you don’t get to make excuses, and I don’t need to listen to them,“ Doyle said firmly. “You left my mother and me for no good reason other than you couldn’t hack it. I’ve spent my life trying to protect my mother and learn from your mistakes… and I turned out to be just like you. Gambling, drinking and running away from my problems.” He paused for a moment and shot Axtius a venomous look. “Thankfully my life didn’t stay that way,“ he continued on. “I was given a purpose, and I met some amazing people who accepted me as is. They’re my family, not you.”
Axtius sat back and breathed a sigh of relief. “That's the most you’ve spoken to me since I got here,” he said with a half-smile.
Doyle nodded mutely as he attempted to force the emotions off of his face.
“I know I haven’t been there for you or your mother,“ Axtius said simply. “You’re right. I ran away from my problems, and I have no excuses for my actions other than the simple fact that I’m weak. I’m not here to make promises, and I’m not here to become your father overnight. I just thought it was time to start making amends.”
The Brachen stared out the window ahead, and as Doyle finally glanced over at his father, he noticed the demon’s eyes water. Doyle smiled to himself as he shook his head.
“You’re right,” Doyle said softly as he -- mocking the actions of his father -- stared out the window as well.
“About what?” Axtius asked in confusion as he glanced at his son.
“Cordy… she’s one hell of a woman.”
“Isn’t this going above and beyond the call of duty?” Wesley asked. “Not to mention friendship?”
“I have to at least try, Wesley,” Angel said as he picked up a dagger and looked underneath it.
“Angel, I understand you want to protect Detective Lockley from learning about her father's questionable associations,“ Wesley said. “But you’ve already warned him once, and frankly even that may have been too much!”
Angel shook his head as he glanced behind a pile of books. “Look, I already warned him about me, Wesley. But now he needs to understand the real nature of what he’s working for.”
“If he doesn’t already know,” Wesley said irritably.
Angel started searching through Cordy’s desk. “He doesn’t know,” he said. “He can’t.”
“Perhaps,“ Wesley agreed. “Still, at the very least, he must realize that he is in league with someone who if not criminal is most certainly unethical. It’s his choice!”
“Yeah, I know all about it, Wesley, believe me,” Angel said as he shuffled through the piles of paper on the desk. “But sometimes the price we end up paying for one bad choice isn’t commensurate with the offense.”
“But…” Wesley trailed off before letting out a sigh. “You aren’t going to listen to me on this, are you?”
“Nope,” Angel replied as he moved away from Cordelia’s desk and starting looking through the drawers of a small table.
Wesley finally seemed to notice what the vampire was doing. “What on earth are you looking for?”
Angel glanced over at him. “My keys,” he said sheepishly.
“Wow,” Cordelia said for the fifth time, an awed expression on her face. “And yet again… wow.”
“We’ve been here for almost ten minutes, Cordy” Doyle said with a grin. “Are you going to stop repeating that one word over and over anytime soon?”
“Sorry,” she said sheepishly as she finally looked over at him. “It’s just… I wasn’t expecting this. Not from you, at least.”
“What?” Doyle asked. “I told you to wear something nice.”
“That doesn’t mean anything,” Cordelia shot back. “You’d probably tell me that if you were taking me to the local bar.”
“Maybe,” he replied with a wink. “But I thought you’d a appreciate a visit to a five-star restaurant more.”
Cordelia stared at him for several seconds before shaking her head. “You can‘t afford this,” she said softly. “This place probably charges more for a glass of water than Angel pays both of us in a year.”
“Don’t worry about the money,” Doyle said with a grin. “I got lucky at the races a few days ago, so I think I can afford to take you somewhere nice.”
Cordelia’s smile faded slightly as she stared at him. “I thought you weren’t gambling anymore,” she said.
Doyle held up his hands in a symbol of peace. “It was a one-time thing,” he said quickly.
“I’m sure it was,” she said, rolling her eyes as she took a sip of her drink.
“Cordy,” he said wearily. “You’re not mad at me, are you?”
Despite her better judgment, she glanced in his direction. The moment that their eyes met, she felt her irritation fade away. “No, I’m not mad at you,” she said with a sigh, as she reached over and touched his hand.
The moment that their hands touched, Cordelia felt a slight shock -- almost like static electricity, just slightly stronger. She jerked her hand away instinctively just as Doyle’s eyes widened in pain. He flung his hands up to clutch his head, planting his elbows on the table and making a valiant effort not to scream in pain.
Cordelia quickly jumped out of her seat and hurried over to Doyle’s side. She placed her hand reassuringly on his shoulder and squeezed lightly. “Just hang on,” she whispered. “It won’t last much longer.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Cordelia saw a waiter come running up. “What’s wrong with him?” the man asked anxiously.
“Seizure,” Cordelia said quickly as she tightened her grip on Doyle’s shoulder. “He has a medical disorder.”
As Doyle finally stopped shuddering, he weakly pushed himself back into a sitting position. He glanced at Cordelia, and she could see the look of resigned disappointment in his eyes. She gave him an understanding nod before glancing over at the worried waiter. “Could you bring us our check?” she asked. “I think I'd better get him to the doctor.”
Angel knocked on Trevor’s door, and he couldn’t help but let out a relieved sigh when the man opened it. His relief quickly faded, however, as he noticed the two men standing behind Trevor. “Mr. Lockley, I need you to invite me in,” Angel said.
“What?“ Trevor asked incredulously. “Get out of here.”
“Invite me in,“ Angel said once again as the two men started walking toward Trevor. “Do it now.”
“Son, you really need to go,” Trevor said firmly.
Angel strained against the barrier. “Invite me in,” he repeated frantically as the two men morphed into vamp face. “Invite me in!”
One of the vampires grabbed Trevor and threw the man across the room. ”No,” Angel said. “No!”
“Looks like you’re not welcome here,” one of the vampires said with a laugh as he leaned in and sank his fangs in Trevor’s neck.
Before Angel knew what was happening, he felt someone push past him. There was a blur of violent motion, the two vampires turning to dust before they even knew what hit them. Angel couldn’t help but let out a relieved sigh as Doyle turned toward him and winked.
“Someone thought you could use some help,” Doyle said, pointing upwards as he knelt down and felt Trevor’s pulse.
Angel shot him a slight grin before glancing at Trevor. “How is he?” he asked worriedly.
“He’s lost some blood, but he’ll be fine,” Doyle said as he stood up. “We should probably call an ambulance though.”
“Yeah,” Angel agreed as he pulled out his cell phone. “And I’ll see if Wesley can find Kate and tell her what happened.” He paused for a second and glanced curiously at Doyle. “Where’s Cordelia?”
“She took a taxi back to the office.”
Cordy walked into the office, allowing the door to close behind her. She tossed her purse onto the couch and glanced over at the coffee pot that sat nearby. After the unfolding of the night’s events thus far, she knew that the odds were that she was in for a long night.
She stopped at the alarm and set it before grabbing the coffee pot. “Would it kill you to let Doyle have one vision-free night?” she asked sarcastically as she glanced upward. “One night, that’s all I’m asking for.”
The door chose that moment to burst open, several splinters flying across the room as it thudded against the wall. “Door open,” the alarm system said robotically. “Door open. Door open. Door open.”
“I’ll take that as an answer,” Cordelia muttered as a demon stalked into the room, its eyes moving wildly around. She grabbed the nearest plant and threw it at the demon’s head, momentarily stopping its movement.
As a second demon came running through the door, however, she couldn’t help but let out a scream. She took several steps backwards before she hit the bookcase. Not even thinking about what Wesley would say if he saw her, she grabbed a few large books and began throwing them at the demons.
Cordelia flinched slightly as a few of the books missed their targets, flying by the demons and instead crashing into the window. As the glass shattered, the alarm once again spat out its warning. “Window open.”
“No duh,” she muttered under her breath.
She bit back a curse as the two demons regained their composure and began making their way toward her again. Cordelia moved backward several steps before she found herself backed into a corner. As she hit the wall behind her, she closed her eyes and prepared for the inevitable.
Then she felt something grab her arm, and instinct took over. She swung her hand out, and she couldn’t help but grin as she felt it collide with warm flesh.
“Cordelia?” a familiar voice asked in a slightly pained tone.
Cordy reluctantly opened her eyes, and she flinched slightly when she found herself staring into two familiar eyes. There in front of her stood Axtius, and the demons that had been attacking her lay unconscious on the floor. “Sorry about that,” she said sheepishly.
She straightened up and quickly stepped over the two demons‘ prone forms. “Thank you,” she said with a relieved smile as she glanced over at the Brachen.
Axtius nodded and shut the door. “Door closed,” the alarm said pleasantly.
Cordy glared at the alarm system‘s control box before stalking over to it. “That’s it,“ she stated firmly as she reached down and pulled its plug. “I’m turning you off.”
“What brings you by the office this time of night?” Cordy asked Axtius curiously as they grabbed some rope and began tying up the demons.
“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d check in, see how the case was going,“ he stated casually as he finished securing the demons. “I didn’t see any lights, but I heard someone scream. Figured I should check into it.”
Cordy stood, her task completed as well. “I was just about to make some coffee when I was… disrupted,“ she said with a slight shrug. “Would you care for some?”
She was still unsure about how Doyle felt having his dad back around, but so far Axtius had been polite and helpful -- even though he was a full-blooded demon. And he’d just saved her from what she refused to imagine could’ve happened.
“Really, I should be getting back. I’m glad I could help. Please tell Francis if he needs me...” Axtius trailed off, the expression on his face showing her that he was still hesitant about his relationship with his son.
Cordy nodded, a little disappointment making its way onto her face as she watched the demon walk over toward the door. “He is happy, you know,” she said before she realized what she was doing.
He paused with his hand on the door knob.
“He may not show it; honestly, it takes a lot for him to actually reveal what he’s feeling, especially if it’s something he feels so strongly about, but he is happy that you’re here,” she continued on.
Axtius glanced back over his shoulder at Cordelia. “Thanks,” he said softly as he turned back towards her. He walked over and sat down in one of the chairs. “Maybe I’ll hang around for a little while after all.”
Cordy smiled before grabbing the coffee and looking down at the unconscious demons on the floor. “It’s going to be a really long night,” she said dryly.
Angel and Doyle shared a look as Wesley’s motorcycle came screeching to a halt beside them. He pulled off his helmet and glanced over at Angel. “I found Kate at her apartment,” he said. “She left for the hospital almost immediately.”
The sound of gunshots suddenly came from inside the building behind them, and Doyle gave Wesley a look that was less-than-amused. “Or she decided to come after these guys herself," Doyle said.
The three of them grabbed their weapons and rushed toward the building. From inside, they could hear a voice talking almost mockingly. “What do you think you know? Do you know what walks this city?”
Kate pulled out her gun and shot the demon in front of her in the chest, but he barely even jerked. The vampires that were gathered behind him slowly made their way closer to her. “You have no comprehension!“ the demon said. “You do not understand what stands before you!”
Angel walked in behind Kate, casually twirling his ax. “A big, ugly, drug-running demon who thinks he's a lot scarier than he is, maybe?” he asked nonchalantly.
The demon and vampires turned to stare at him, but Kate merely smiled grimly. From the shadows, several crossbow bolts flew out. Two vampires turned to dust almost instantly.
“I think that she knows,” Doyle said coldly as he and Wesley walked out behind Angel.
The demon just watched as the four of them went to work on killing his henchmen. Angel walked over to the demon after several seconds of fighting, however, and pushed the blade of his ax against his throat.
“We walk out of here now, and you don’t lose your head,” Angel said.
The demon grunted and motioned for the other vampires to back off.
“Let’s go,” Angel said to the others.
As Angel and Kate turned to walk away, the demon took a step after them. “Look out!“ Wesley called out as one of the vampires grabbed Kate.
She threw the vamp over her and staked him as Doyle sent a crossbow bolt flying into the hearts of two vampires that stood on either side of Angel.
“You’re dead!” the demon cried out angrily.
“I’m already dead,” Angel said with a shrug as he swung around and beheaded the demon. “Welcome to the club.”
He slowly walked over to where Kate was kneeling. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“I’ve been better,” she said softly as she let him help her to her feet. She gave him a weak smile and started to walk away.
“Have you talked with anyone from the hospital yet?” Angel asked.
“He’s going to be fine,” Kate said after a moment’s pause. She turned and glanced back at the three of them. “Thank you for that.”
No one moved very quickly as Angel, Wesley, and Doyle made their way into their office. The night of fighting had not only exhausted them physically, but for several members of the team emotional exhaustion was playing a role as well.
Cordelia waved at them from where she lay on the couch, and she gestured toward the unconscious demons laying on the floor. “One of you needs to do something about them,” she said, “because I’m just sitting here for the rest of eternity.”
“What happened?” Wesley asked wearily.
“Demons broke in and Axtius knocked them out,” she said, gesturing somewhere behind them.
The three of them turned around and looked at Axtius, who was leaning against the wall with a cup of coffee. He gave them a slight grin as he took a sip of his drink. From behind them, Cordelia let out another sigh.
“Seriously, I never want to move,” she said weakly.
Angel shook his head before walking on into his office, followed closely by Wesley. Axtius walked over to the doorway, however, as Doyle made his way to the ouch and collapsed next to Cordelia.
“Goodnight,” he said quietly.
Doyle stared at his father. There was still so much to explain, but for tonight he just wanted to pretend as if things were normal.
“Goodnight?” Doyle asked hesitantly. “Or goodbye?”
Axtius gave him a slight grin. “I'll be around,” he replied.
Doyle smiled in return and nodded his head once before letting it fall back against the couch. With one last look at his son, Axtius turned and headed out of Angel Investigations.
Kate hesitantly pushed open the door to her father’s apartment. “Dad?” she called out worriedly. “Are you in here? The doctors said that you checked out…”
Her voice trailed off as her eyes adjusted to the dark room, and a gasp escaped her lips. The apartment was in shambles, and it looked like many of her father’s possessions were missing.
“What the hell?” she whispered as her eyes moved over the room.
Kate caught sight of a sheet of paper lying on a nearby table, and she reluctantly walked over to where it lay. She took a deep breath and picked it up, her eyes moving over the words written there before she had a chance to even think.
Her eyes widened as she read what was written on the paper, and a shocked expression appeared on her face as she let it drop to the floor.
I’m leaving town for awhile. Don’t worry about me. And don’t try to find me.
Cordelia let out a tired sigh as she rested her head in Doyle’s lap. “Well, this was some night,” she said.
Doyle gave her an apologetic smile. “It definitely didn’t go exactly like I’d planned.”
He stared at her for a moment, an unreadable expression on his face. Then he leaned down and pressed his lips against hers briefly.
“To be honest, I was kind of expecting something to ruin our date,” Doyle said as he pulled away. “I swear that someone up there gets their jollies from messing with my life.”
“I didn’t notice a thing,” Cordelia said softly as she leaned back and rested her head in Doyle’s lap again. For just a moment, she remembered the strange shock that she had felt just before he had the vision. “Not a thing.”
Lilah sat at her desk, her eyes moving over the mounds of paperwork piled high around her. “The work of the evil is never done,” she whispered, smiling discreetly as she heard her office door open.
“Should I grab the tissues now?” she asked, glancing up at the late night intruder with a wry grin.
“It was far from a warm and fuzzy moment, but I made much more progress than originally expected,” her visitor replied dryly.
“Then you may be of use to us after all,” Lilah said with a smirk as she leaned back in her chair.
Axtius stepped into the dimly lit room, nodding his head in agreement as he walked over and took a seat in front of her desk. “I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” he said with a grin that didn‘t quite reach his eyes.