Angels with Dirty Faces. 4

Part 4

A grimace laced with distaste twisted at Lorne’s mouth as he surveyed the battleground surrounding him.

Glossy pictures of the past were scattered across the floor without care, furniture broken, drapes were torn from their fixings and far too many empty booze bottles littered whatever surface was available. A debris of regret that suffocated what little life that had dared to inhabit that usually pristine apartment.

Amidst it all, passed out on his stomach still clad in his Armani suit, tangled in whiskey drenched sheets, was a 210lb vampire that had once worn the title of Scourge of Europe.

It was the most pathetic sight Lorne had ever seen, and he’d seen his fair share.

“Whatta mess,” Lorne muttered as he carefully picked his way across the room to the large windows that overlooked the city. With a quick flick of his wrist, he opened the blinds, letting the bright, necro-tempered, morning light into the dim apartment.

“Wakey wakey, rise and shine!” Lorne sang. Loudly.

Angel grunted, pulling a pillow over his head to block out the world.

“Nuh huh, twinkle toes,” Lorne snatched the pillow away.

“Fuck off,” Angel growled, turning his face away from the prescient demon.

“My, aren’t we a surly drunk first thing in the morning,” Lorne clucked as he moved around the apartment, righting the furniture that hadn’t taken the brunt of the vampire’s intoxicated violence. He look sadly at the broken emerald green Tiffany lamp, glass shattered, wires twisted. Probably by a fist or boot.
He picked it up, careful of the jagged edges as he surveyed the damage.

“Is nothing sacred to you?” Shaking his head at the waste, Lorne turned back to face the unmoving vampire, cursing the fact that he’d drawn the short straw for this particular assignment. It was a literal short straw, too. He was pretty sure Spike had fixed it.

“Get up, Angel,” Lorne said, the usual affection he felt for his friends absent from his voice, his patience with the CEO of Wolfram and Hart had run out days ago. “They’re leaving to find the girls in an hour, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll be with them.”

Slowly, as though the weight of the entire world was pressing down on his broad shoulders, Angel turned over on to his back, rubbing the palms of his hands over his face.

“I can’t,” he told the ceiling.

“Tough,” Lorne snapped, the anger that he’d been able to keep in check since Cordelia had woken began to burn like acid in the back of his throat. “This, for once, isn’t about you. This is about your girl, Angel. Cordelia. Remember her? The woman that gave up everything so she could help you with yourmission, the woman that lost everything for you, the woman that you say you love and yet-“

“I get it,” Angel cut Lorne’s tirade off. He sat up like an old man, body weary and uncooperative as the jack hammer in his head made the room spin and his stomach lurch. He dropped his head into his hands and tried not to think too loudly.

“God, I hope you do, Angel,” Lorne said quietly, “because Cordelia may be the only thing you have left soon if you’re not careful.”

Angel dragged his gaze up to meet Lorne’s cold glare.

Another card crumpled to the ground.

“You know?” Angel asked.

“Yeah, I know,” Lorne crossed his arms over his chest, desperately trying to keep a hold of his righteous anger in the face of Angel’s wounded eyes.


“She sang, my ears bled, Fred snooped and suddenly everything seemed a hell of a lot clearer.”

Rubbing his eyes roughly, Angel struggled to clear the cloying mist from his brain.

“I thought it was the right thing to do,” he finally said once the silence had stretched glacially thin.

“Well, sure, I can see how you’d think that. When the chips are down, I’m sure every champion takes the easy route of a mass mind wipe. There’s nothing like a little cerebral rape to right the mistakes of the past.”

“Who else knows?” asked Angel, flinching internally at the bitter edge of ice that cut through his friend’s voice.

“Just me and Fred. And Cordy, of course, but I think she has other things on her mind right now.”

Angel scrubbed his hands through his hair as he studied the plush carpet beneath his boots with the same concentration Wesley often paid to his books. He knew Lorne was waiting for an explanation, an apology, but the words refused to form in his mouth, tongue dry from the secret only he had known for months.

“Uh huh, figured as much.” Lorne cocked an eyebrow at Angel’s silence.

“Look-” Angel started, only to be abruptly cut short but the shrill beeping of a cell phone. He winced at the not so melodious music rattled his abused brain.

Lorne held up his hand, signalling Angel to hold that thought as he answered the call.

“He’s up,” Lorne told Gunn without preamble, “…uh huh…right…oh, trust me, he’ll be there.” He killed the call without saying goodbye and pocketed the phone all in one highly practised movement. “They’re waiting.”


Cordelia tilted her face towards the sun, letting the early morning rays seep into her pores, hoping that it might thaw the ice she could feel forming in her veins, crystallising her capillaries into threads of pain. She clicked the bones in her neck and leant back against the driver’s side of the DeSoto, forcing the muscles in her shoulders to relax. Closing her eyes, Cordelia watched the sun’s shadows dance behind her eyelids until everything faded away but the burn of her retina and the sound of the slight breeze whipping across the landscape.

Simple, peaceful, nothing.

If she tried hard enough, Cordelia could pretend that she didn’t exist at all.

“This piece of crap is held together entirely by rust,” Faith groused as she slammed the DeSoto’s hood down. She wiped her hands on her jeans, leaving smears of oil and grease across her thighs.

“Fixed it?” Fred asked as she studied the map that she’d spread out on the DeSoto’s roof.

“I don’t even know what’s wrong with it,” Faith said, digging out a flattened carton of cigarettes from her back pocket. “We should probably stop at a garage in the next town we hit.” Lighting her cigarette, Faith tilted her head to the side as considered the long stretch of dusty road that stood both in front and behind them. “That is if we ever find civilisation again.”

“We’re not lost.”

“Coulda fooled me,” Faith snorted.

“I know exactly where we are,” the Physicist insisted.

“And that would be?”

Fred flipped her hair away from her face with annoyance. “Somewhere. I think we took a wrong turn someplace,” she scowled at the map. “I knew we shouldn’t have got off the interstate.”

“Hey, you were the one that wanted to see the desert,” Faith pointed out with the glowing tip of her cigarette. “And look-” she waved her hands lazily at the surrounding landscape of dusty red mountains and hungry cacti. “-desert.”

“I think,” Fred ignored her, “I think if keep goin’ in the same direction we should wind up in Ajo, and then we can head east to Tucson,” she nodded, satisfied with the decision.

“And we’re going to Tucson, why?”

“God, Faith, I don’t know, just because!” Fred snapped, throwing the map into the messy back seat of the DeSoto.

“I’m just sayin’, we could turn our butts round and be in Vegas by-“

Fred stiffened at the mention of Las Vegas, too many memories that she could no longer trust muddied her brain. “No, we’re going to Tucson.”

“What the hell is so special about freakin’ Tucson?”

“If you want to be in charge here, Faith, be my guest.”

Cordelia sighed as the two women’s bickering infiltrated her brain, pulling her out of her silent world. She wanted to stay there, locked in the noiseless nothing, waiting to see if the Arizona sun could thaw her from the inside out. If it couldn’t, what could? Did she really want it to? Wouldn’t it be easier on them all if she were to walk straight out into the desert, relieve Fred and Faith of their burden, lay down like Ophelia on the broken ground and let the glare of the sun turn her to dust and memories.

A shiver chased over her arms.

No. That would be too easy.

She slipped on the sunglasses Fred had bought her and turned to face her travel companions who stood, hands on hips, arguing over their final destination. The first warning prickles of a headache sparked behind her eyes.

“Children!” Cordelia barked, as surprised at the strength of her voice as Fred and Faith were. “I don’t care where we go, as long as it’s somewhere, OK? Somewhere preferably that serves alcohol because I swear to God, you two make me want to mainline Jim Bean!”

Fred and Faith blinked in unison.


“Whatever’s good with you, C.”

“OK, then,” Cordelia nodded, shaken by the sound of her own voice. “Right,” she stepped towards the back end of the car only to stop just as quickly, flailing a moment as though her body was moving too quickly for her brain.

Fred and Faith watched her silently, scared that saying anything might cause the third brunette to retreat back behind the wall she’d erected to the outside world.

“I’m driving,” Cordelia declared, swinging the driver’s door and dropping down into the seat before anyone could argue with her. Not that they would have.

Fred raised her eyebrows with an unspoken question.

Faith shrugged, dropping her cigarette and grinding it into the hot asphalt with the heel of her boot.

“You coming?” Cordelia stuck her head out of the window, an eyebrow cocked behind the heavy black sunglasses.

A bloom of hope unfurled in Fred’s chest.

Maybe taking Cordelia away from LA, from Angel, had been the right choice.


The elevator announced its arrival with a jarring ping as the doors slipped effortlessly open on the busy main floor of Wolfram and Hart. Angel winced at the wave of noise that flooded his ears and scrubbed his hand over his face. Two glasses of blood, a cup of black coffee and he could still taste his hangover lurking on the back of his tongue. The urge to press the penthouse button and return to the gloomy quiet of his apartment itched in Angel’s fingers, but he knew Lorne wouldn’t grant him such an easy escape.

Feeling agitated and tense, Angel stared blindly out at the bustling lobby. Familiar and unfamiliar faces chatted as they went about their work, the worker ants of Wolfram and Hart shuffling from A to B, then back to A once again.

Angel steeled himself to enter the throng.

When a full minute passed without movement from the vampire, Lorne prodded an expensively manicured finger into Angel’s shoulder.

“You asleep with your eyes open?”

Angel shook his head.

“Then you’re gonna wanna get out of the elevator-“

“Ever thought that maybe they don’t want to be found?” Angel asked quietly, ignoring the confused stares they were receiving from the employees that walked by.


Angel nodded once and took a step forward, only to stop and look at Lorne over his shoulder.

“Are you going to tell them?”

“I have a feeling they’ll find out soon enough without my help,” Lorne said honestly. He didn’t have to be prescient to see the dark cloud lurking on the horizon.

Rotating his shoulders like a boxer readying for the fight of his life, Angel strode into the belly of the beast. Employees scattered out of his path, weary of being trampled down by broad shoulders and a scowl. Even though the icy fingers of dread had dug themselves deeply into the small of back, Angel walked with all the confident arrogance that came with two hundred plus years of being a vampire.

This was his town, his people, his game, his-

“Hey Bossy,” Harmony chirped, stepping directly into his path in a blaze of pink and yellow. “I’ve cancelled all your meetings for the rest of the week, which I think deserves a raise in itself because Mr Hannity? So not the rescheduling type. He threatened to send us all to the fiery pits of hell, and I’m pretty sure he meant it, what with him being one of Satan’s actual toadies. But I, your faithful and dedicated assistant, managed to calm him down. You see, it’s all about people skills. Just because I’m evil doesn’t mean that-“

“Harm!” Angel shouted, he learnt it was the only way to break through her mindless chatter.

“Yes, Boss?” she blinked.

“Hannity works for Satan?” he asked before he could stop himself.

“Yup,” she nodded. “He was with Geragos, but after that whole Michael Jackson fiasco Mr Hannity decided he didn’t want to be represented by a man with no morals.”

“Really? But isn’t he-“

“Evil? Sure is!” Harmony beamed, delighted that she’d remembered that little snippet of information. Another light bulb flickered in her brain. “That reminds me, you have a meeting with Michael Jackson next week.”

“No, no, no, no,” Angel shook his head fervently. “No Jacksons. None. There are some evils even we can’t rid the world of.”

“You’re the boss,” she shrugged.

Angel raised his eyebrows at her.

Harmony tilted her head to the side. “What?”

Angel sighed. “Could you get out of my way?”

“Oh, right,” Harmony bounced on her toes and moved to his side, not breaking step as she continued with her chatter.

“Gunn, Wesley and Spike will meet you in your office in fifteen and Wes has taken care of Eve. Um, not ‘taken care of’ in a Tony Soprano way, though. At least, I don’t think he meant it like that. Meh,” she shrugged and thrust a clipboard and pen into Angel’s hands as they walked, showing him where to sign. “This is so romantic.”

“Huh?” Angel frowned at the papers he’d just signed. “What have I signed and why are they romantic?”

“No, silly,” Harmony snorted, swatting his arm. “I mean you calling up the cavalry and charging after the woman you love,” she sighed dreamily, clutching her hands to her chest for a moment before her mouth took over again. “Word at the water cooler is there might be a Wolfram and Hart wedding in the future, is that true? Because Marge in accounting told Suzy in acquisitions who told Petra in legal that she saw you with a little blue box last week when you came back from New York. Do you think Cordy will ask me to be maid of honour? Can a vampire even be a maid of honor?”

Relief flooded through Angel like a drug when they finally reached his office. Without answering Harmony’s questions, he entered his haven and slammed the door behind him.

“I should have just staked her when I had the chance,” Angel muttered, rubbing his eyes.

“I heard that!” Harmony shouted through the door before the clack clack of her heels signalled her departure.

“Rough day at the office, darling?”

Angel snapped his attention to the intruder in his office.

Lilah Morgan sat perched on the edge of his desk, long stocking clad legs crossed demurely at the ankle.

She was smiling.

That couldn’t be good.

“Long time no see, Lilah.” Angel slowly raked his gaze over her silk suit and everything that it hinted at. “Although I must admit, death is starting to take its toll on you. You’re looking a little….worn around the edges.”

Lilah effortlessly ignored him. “If that lack brained minion of yours is correct, I owe you congratulations. Sleeping beauty finally woke up and fell into your arms, did she? Kudos to you, Angel,” she nodded, her snake charmer smile curving her mouth dangerously as she stalked casually towards him. “So, where is Cordy exactly?”

Angel clenched his fists and gritted his jaw.

“Don’t play dumb, Lilah, it’s not attractive.”

“I don’t know what you mean, Angel,” she fluttered her eyelashes with faux innocence. “So you and the woman who fucked your son aren’t about to talk the long walk up the aisle? Gosh, colour me shocked and disappointed.”

Angel’s hand was around Lilah’s neck before the last word left the mouth.

“You might want to think about shutting up now,” he snarled, his lips brushing the shell of her ear in a parody of a caress.

“Or what? I’m already dead, idiot,” Lilah rolled her eyes.

Angel tightened his grip on her throat. The sickly crunch of bones grinding together echoed in his ears, yet Lilah still watched him out of the corner of her eye with bored indifference.

“You were more fun when you were alive,” Angel grunted, releasing his hold and wiping his hand disdainfully on his jacket. “What do you want, Lilah?”

Lilah straightened the silk scarf that hid her multiple sins. “What? A girl can’t just drop by for a chat with an old friend?”

Angel crossed his arms over his chest.

You were more fun when I was alive, too,” Lilah huffed, smoothing invisible wrinkles out of her Donna Karan.

“Lilah,” Angel growled a warning.

“I have a proposition for you,” she smiled, her teeth as sharp as knives.

Raising his eyebrows, Angel nodded for her to continue.

“Recent events have caught the Senior Partner’s eye, and while the ennui of your personal life is barely a blip on their omnipotent radar, Cordelia’s awakening has come to their attention. They believe it would be…beneficial for all parties involved to…” Lilah paused, as though she were inwardly debating the perfect words to use.

Angel knew she was simply pausing for the drama of it.

“…give the slate another wipe clean, as it were.” She canted her head to the side. “Cordelia included.”

Angel swallowed down the immediate yes that rose from his gut.

“The spell wasn’t as strong as the Partner’s had believed it to be. Your girlfriend’s re-emergence caused a tear that will just keep on growing if something isn’t done, and done soon. You’ll have bigger things to worry about other than little Miss Burkle pulling a Thelma and Louise. At some point that last card is gonna tumble and your boy will be right back on the path you put him on.” Lilah soothed her hands over the lapels of his jacket. “Is that what you want for Connor?” she asked, as sympathetic as a python.

“Angel, Angel, Angel,” she sighed his name like a sated lover. “You know it makes sense. I could snap my fingers and it make it all go away. Everything could be the way it should be.” Her warm breath licked across his lips as she promised to shape the world anew once more.

“Isn’t that what you want, Angel?” she purred. “A new start with the woman you love? No more pain, no more guilt, you could free her from all of it. You could have everything you’ve ever wanted.”

Angel wanted to shout yes at the top of his lungs, wanted to so desperately that he could feel it vibrating in his bones. Everything could be the way it was meant to be with Cordelia at his side with her sunshine smile and caustic tongue. Yes. Yes. He ached for it. Hungered for the life, woman, friend he’d lost. One simple word would bring her back. Make her the girl she once was. Heal her wounds and erase the nightmares.

Lilah cocked an eyebrow, the devil dancing in her eyes. “Well?”

The corner of Angel’s mouth twitched with a smirk as he let his gaze devour her. Twisting a fist through her perfectly hair, Angel leant forward to capture her mouth with his, only to stop millimetres away from her dead, red lips.

“Lilah, Lilah, Lilah….” Angel brushed his nose of the rise of her cheekbone and inhaled her scent. Chanel, sex and fear. It would be just like old times if it weren’t for the stench of death that cloyed at her skin. Lilah was as much of a walking corpse as he was.

Lilah shivered and licked her lips in invitation.

“How can I say this so you understand?” he drawled slowly, letting himself enjoy the full press of her breasts against his chest before pushing her away and crossing his arms.


Lilah rolled her eyes. If she was flustered, it didn’t show. “Figured as much. The Senior Partners won’t be pleased.”

“Not my problem,” Angel shrugged.

“Ah, but it will be,” Lilah promised, her eyes darting towards the door. “Sadly our time together is up for today. Have fun in Arizona. Get some sun, you’re looking pale.”


“I thought so,” she smirked. “Give my love to Wes.” With a wink and a kiss blown to the air, Angel was once again on his own. Lilah hadn’t so much as disappeared, as simply ceased to be.

His stomach rolled over at the realization of what he’d just declined. Rubbing his temples tiredly, Angel grunted when a familiar knock sounded on the other side of the door.

Wesley poked his head around the door. “Ready?”

“Not at all,” Angel sighed. “Lets go.”


Cordelia flexed her stiff shoulders and shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Maybe she shouldn’t have commandeered the wheel, her body still felt brittle from the long months of inaction and her arms were aching with their sudden use. But the long, empty stretch of highway was a seductive mistress and Cordelia could bring herself to stop and rest.

She’d had rested enough in the coma.

The DeSoto was all but silent apart from the snuffled murmurs and snores of two her travelling companions. Fred laid sprawled over the back seat, her shoeless feet propped up on the open window while Faith was slumped in the seat beside Cordelia, her head lolling loosely like a marionette.

Faith talked in her sleep.

It was more interesting than the radio.

Cordelia wiped the back of her hand across her forehead, grimacing at the gritty sweat that seemed to cake her entire body. It was too damn hot. The mid day sun glared down angrily at the DeSoto and heated the inside like a microwave. Cordelia could feel long tendrils of sweat running down between her breasts, soaking her bra to her skin. Her T-shirt stuck uncomfortably to her back and her bare legs were being roasted by the DeSoto’s leather upholstery. Skin that had once glowed with the California sun now felt raw and thin, stretched tightly over weak muscles and fragile bones. No matter how much she scrubbed, no matter how many small, sickly smelling bottles of soap she emptied into her hands, Cordelia couldn’t erase the invisible graffiti left by another’s deceit.

Faith jerked awake, snapping Cordelia out of her thoughts. She scrabbled like a frightened animal readying to attack as she returned to the waking world, fingers that had slain and murdered curled tightly over the dashboard until her knuckles blanched white and the worn plastic creaked painfully.

Cordelia watched her wearily out of the corner of her eye.

“Shit,” Faith grunted, slumping back into her seat. She pressed the heels of her palms roughly into her eyes, trying to scrub out the dream that caused her heart to beat too fast and her hands to tremble.

Dragging a hand through her hair, Faith stared blankly out at the blurry landscape, steadying her breath so it no longer rattled her rib cage.

“Bad dream?”

“Something like that.”

Silence sliced through the DeSoto. Waves of tension crackled around the slayer like an electric storm, stifling the already thin air and scratching at raw nerves.

“Who’s Robin?” asked Cordelia so she wouldn’t be forced to think.

Faith whipped her head round to glare at Cordelia, but the other woman’s eyes were hidden by her sunglasses, her gaze fixed resolutely to the road.


“Robin. You kept saying it in your sleep.”

Faith frowned, wondering what else she may have said as her nightmare gripped her mind with terror. “Robin is…no one.”

“Didn’t sound like-“

“So you’ve finally decided to rejoin the land of the talking, huh?” Faith said quickly, deflecting the attention as far away from herself, Robin and the reasons she’d been so eager to leave Cleveland in the first place, as she could. “Does that mean you’re over your little melt down? Or is this just a momentary relapse into sanity before you start staring blankly into space like a zombie again?”

“Fuck you,” muttered Cordelia.

“Uh huh, I’ll take momentary relapse for one hundred, please Alex,” Faith snorted, defences back in place like a well oiled suit of armour.

Cordelia tightened her grip on the steering wheel until her hands cramped painfully, but even then she didn’t release her hold.

“OK, lets see what blondie listens to before we slip into another one of those fun, bleak silences, shall we?” Faith didn’t wait for an answer as she snatched up a handful of old beaten up cassette tapes from the passenger side floor.

None of them were labelled.

Faith wasn’t in the least bit surprised.

With a wrist flick that had slain more vampires than she could remember, Faith jammed the least abused tape she could find into its home.

All three women jumped when the sickly melodious tones of prepubescent love blared out of the speakers.

“Jesus, I swear this car has a mind of it own,” Faith shouted over the din, quickly ejecting the tape and turning the volume down. “This better be Dawn’s.” She turned the tape over in her fingers for a moment before tossing *Nsync out of the window where they belonged.

“Nice wake up call,” Fred groused under breath as she sat up in the back seat. “Give a girl a warning next time you’re trying to kill her with a heart attack, OK?”

“Quit ya whining, Burkle,” Faith rolled her eyes and loaded the next cassette. “If this is Celine Dion, I’m having a serious talk with Buffy about her choice of men the next time I see her.”

Mercifully, it wasn’t.

“Now this I can live with,” she smiled happily as The Who’s My Generation filtered through the DeSoto ageing sound system. Roger Daltrey crackled as he told society to just f-fade away, but the soul of the song was still intact and it covered up the silence and rattling engine. After a while The Who changed into the Buzzcocks roughly lamenting the pain of falling in love with someone you shouldn’t and both Cordelia and Faith felt the urge to silence the song that was cutting far too close to the bone.

Fred, however, was too preoccupied staring out of the back window to notice tense pair up front.

“Um, Cordy?” she said slowly.


“I don’t suppose you might have noticed how long we’ve been being followed, have you?”

Faith snapped her head around like a slingshot, her eyes wide and filled with a fear that Fred had never seen before. It was gone in a heartbeat though, replaced the arrogant confidence that the slayer had honed.

“Huh, looks like your boys have sent someone else to do their dirty work,” said Faith.

“What do you mean?” Fred frowned, her eyes darting to Cordelia’s reflection in the mirror. If Cordelia was scared it didn’t show in her face. That worried Fred more than she liked.

“Look at it,” Faith nodded at the SUV that shadowed them at a safe distance. “Blacked out windows, no plates, fresh paint work, new tyres and a suspiciously large aerial. If that doesn’t scream quasi evil law firm than nothing does.”

“It’s a public road, chances are they’re just regular people,” Cordelia spoke up calmly.

“Yeah, sure, with our luck?” Faith snorted sarcastically.

“Point,” Cordelia acknowledged with a nod and pressed her foot down harder on the accelerator. The DeSoto jerked forward unsteadily with a cough before it finally found its stride and the speedometer shuddered upwards.

The SUV accelerated behind them.


“God save the queen, the fascist regime, they made you a moron, a potential H-bomb….”

Angel twisted his hands over the steering wheel like he was trying to strangle it. His left eye was beginning to develop a twitch and the hangover had turned into a headache which was quickly evolving into a migraine.

“…God save the Queen, she ain’t no human being, there is no future in England’s dreaming…”

Angel hit the horn twice, quick impotent barks of noise that did nothing but irritate the other drivers around him. The old woman with purple hair and nicotine stains on her lips in the car beside them flipped him the bird.

“…don’t be told what you want, don’t be told what you need. There’s no future
there’s no future-“

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up.” Angel snarled dangerously at his singing travel companion.

“You know what your problem is, Angel?” Spike asked, no longer intimidated by the other vampire.

“Apart from you?”

“Your problem is you don’t know how to relax. Sit back, enjoy the vampire safe sunshine, it’ll do you good.”

“This is a traffic jam, Spike. Not a weekend in Tahoe.”

“You always were a glass is half empty type of ponce, Liam.”

“And you never knew when to stop that mouth of yours from flapping, William.” Angel thumped his fist on the horn again and gave purple haired lady the finger before she could strike first. Spike snorted and lit a cigarette, ignoring the growl of annoyance that rumbled through the older vampire’s chest.

The traffic crawled forward like an asthmatic snail before it ground to a halt once again.

Angel thumped his head against the headrest.

“Careful there, mate. You might dislodge those three brain cells of yours.”

“I will pay you to be quiet.”

“But then who would supply the colour commentary?”

“Seriously, I’ll give you ten thousand dollars, right now, if you just stop talking.”

Spike tilted his head to the side, mulling over the offer.

“Naw, not gonna happen.”

Angel slumped forward over the steering wheel in defeat.

“Hey, it could be worse. You could be stuck back there with Shaft and the English patient,” Spike jerked his thumb at the vehicle behind them where Gunn and Wesley sat together in a stony silence.

Angel grunted.

“Cheer up, old man,” Spike patted his shoulder. “We’ll find your girl soon enough and then you’ll really have something to be miserable about.”

Angel wondered if Spike knew just how true that was.



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