Giles gritted his teeth and stepped on the gas. Xander, Oz, and Willow were in the backseat debating whether the Flintstones or the Jetsons was the better cartoon. Buffy was in the passenger seat fidgeting nervously.
“There is nothing wrong with my car,” Giles defended.
“It’s old and slow,” Buffy countered. “Kinda like you.”
“Would you like to walk the rest of the way?”
In a low voice, Buffy muttered, “Might be quicker.”
“I heard that.”
“I’m just saying the resemblance between Bam-Bam and Elroy is remarkable.”
“Because they were drawn by the same animators.”
“Wouldn’t it be neat if the Flintstones were actually the ancestors of the Jetsons?”
“They do have different last names though.”
“Judy was an attractive person.”
“I totally agree with that, Will.”
The office door exploded into splinters at Angel’s kick. The instant Cordelia saw him she bolted from her chair. Deftly eluding Jameson’s hands she rushed to the safety of her rescuer.
“Angel! Thank God you’re here! I knew you’d be around because this asshole killed this girl and I knew you’d want to bludgeon his ass and I knew you’d rescue me in the process and you’re the girl that kept hitting on me last night!”
Cordelia glared at Adele and completely ignored her rescuer much to Angel’s chagrin.
“Uh yeah,” Adele stuttered in embarrassment.
Cordelia’s tone immediately softened. “How’ve you been? Are you all superhero-ey too?”
As Cordelia chatted up Adele and seemingly forgot the danger, Angel lifted his battleaxe and prepared to confront it.
“You had Julie killed.”
“Julie?” Jameson played dumb. “I don’t know of any Julie.” He backpedaled as Angel slowly advanced on him.
Angel shifted into vampire face and growled. “You took advantage of her and then whored her out so you could make a profit. That alone was enough to seal your death.”
Angel lifted the axe blade and prepared to wheel it around in a deathblow. He was interrupted when a section of wall opened up to reveal the room’s hidden passage. A half dozen guards armed with pistols stormed into the room. Jameson, who a moment earlier was reeling in fear, now straightened his suit and smiled in satisfaction. He was much braver with support.
“It was only business, Angel.”
Growling, Angel held his ground. If he were alone, he would not hesitate to stick around and fight this out. But he had to get Adele and Cordelia away. “Girls, run.” He didn’t hear them move. Twirling around he roared, “RUN!” When they finally got moving, Angel hefted the axe and flung it directly at Jameson’s head. As the first bullet impacted his chest, Angel cringed when Jameson narrowly ducked the blade.
Wheeling around, Angel sprinted away, but not before a couple more bullets lodged in his back. He hung a right down the hallway and caught up with the girls.
“What do we do?” Adele shouted. “We can’t go back to the tunnel because of the vamps!”
“Then we take the front door!”
“But the sun…”
“I smell rain!”
The trio began to barrel down the stairwell when several more guards appeared and moved to cut them off. Angel turned the girls around and ushered them back upstairs. Another bullet slammed into Angel’s body. He stumbled a moment before recovering and guiding the girls to the left and down the hallway.
The office guards emerged from the shattered doorway. Angel barely had time to throw his body in front of Cordelia to interrupt another round’s path. He grunted loudly. There was a whole lotta metal he’d need to have removed when the day was over.
They continued to rush down the hallway, Angel bringing up the rear and acting as a bullet shield. Bullets whizzed past and shattered a Victorian era vase. Angel cringed at that loss more than when a round embedded in his rear.
When they reached the end of the hall, Adele kicked down the door on the left and the trio burst through. It appeared to be the master bedroom. On the far side of the room were sliding glass doors that opened up onto a balcony. Sure enough, all could see that storm clouds were effectively blocking out the sun. The rain would provide enough cover for Angel to not burst into flame.
Angel quickly slammed the door shut behind him and tipped over a dresser to block the entrance. Adele slid open the glass doors and peered over the railing.
“About a thirty foot drop!” she called back. “When we hit the ground we can run to that far wall with the ivy!”
Cordelia and Adele were still looking over the ledge when Angel rushed out onto the balcony. They heard the sounds of guards pounding on the bedroom door behind them. Cordelia squealed when Angel swept her up into his arms.
“You ready?” he asked Adele.
“Sure. Why not?”
“You’ve got to be shitting me!” Cordelia screamed when Angel lifted a foot up onto the railing and jumped off. Adele tucked and rolled when she hit the ground. Angel’s knees buckled with Cordelia’s weight and the wound in his rear. Adele noticed him grimace.
“No! I got shot in the ass!”
“Grin and bear it. We gotta run.”
It was a hundred yard dash to the ivy wall that ran along Excelsior Avenue. A few bullets began to whiz by as guards finally made their way onto the lawn. But Angel and Adele were far too quick. Adele easily used her demon agility to leapfrog the fifteen-foot wall. A wounded Angel found it more difficult. He barely cleared the top and somehow managed not to drop Cordelia in the process.
They had made it out. But Angel wasn’t satisfied. He went in to kill Jameson.
“Worry about him later,” Adele said. She clearly knew what he was thinking. “We need to get Miss Chase here to safety and take care of those wounds.”
Angel nodded slightly. Cordelia and Adele latched onto his arms and helped him to cross the street. They still needed to get far away. Adele’s Taurus was parked in the nearby alley. But before they could reach it, a rusty looking shitbox of a car came to a screeching stop in front of them.
“Bloody hell,” Angel murmured. “I can’t catch a break.”
Buffy was out of the car in an instant. “What the hell is going on here? We came to the address Willow gave you to see what the hell was wrong with you! And why are you out during the day? You could go poof! And why the hell is Cordelia with you? And who the hell is that? What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Allow me to introduce myself. I am Madame Rosalita. I am Monsieur Angel’s personal masseuse…” Adele was silenced when Angel elbowed her in the ribs.
Angel glared at his girlfriend. He really didn’t want to do this now. So he decided he wasn’t going to. “It’s none of your concern Buffy.”
“The hell it isn’t…”
“It’s none of your concern!” Angel snapped. Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies recoiled at the sharp tone. “I don’t feel like getting into this with you right now. I want to get inside before the sun decides to show. And if you were smart you’d leave before the nice people with guns showed up.”
“Did he say people with guns?” Xander asked in the background. The Scoobies snapped to attention at the sound of pistol shots in the near distance. The gang quickly ran back to the car, all that is, except Buffy. She turned back around to question Angel further but found that Cordelia and the other girl were helping him to a car in the nearby alley. Knowing her questions must wait, Buffy rushed back to Giles’ car and jumped in.
The rusted British auto speed off south on Excelsior. The Taurus pointedly headed north.
“This is a position I never thought I’d find myself in.”
“Glad I’m not the only one.”
Angel, propped on his elbows and knees, rested on the hotel bed, his naked…rear…sticking straight up in the air. Adele held a pair of tweezers in one hand and an alcohol soaked cloth in the other. She gritted her teeth and used the tweezers to try and dig the bullet out of his ass.
“Bloooodddyyy heeellllll!” Angel drawled.
“Ssh!” Cordelia admonished from her spot on the floor. “I’m trying to watch Andy Griffith.”
Angel continued to grunt and moan until Adele finally latched onto the bullet and jerked it out. He howled a bit more when she dabbed the alcohol soaked cloth over the wound. After Adele proclaimed “All better”, Angel mumbled a few obscenities and pulled his pants back up. He watched as Adele disposed of the six bullets pulled from his body.
“It’s not over,” he stated flatly.
Adele rinsed the blood from her hands in the sink. She grabbed a towel and dabbed the water away. “I know.”
Cordelia leaned forward and flipped the television off. She looked up and between Adele and Angel. “You’re not going back after him are you?” The concern in her voice surprised even Cordelia. “I mean, you obviously killed that weirdo Jacob guy and whooped the hell outta his guards. Jameson won’t try anything. Will he?”
Angel said nothing as he grabbed his duster from the corner chair. “Go check on Donovan,” was all he muttered before opening the front door and exiting the hotel.
“Mr. Jameson, I promise you that Wolfram and Hart is taking this situation very seriously,” Lilah Morgan assured. She, along with several other firm representatives and members of Jameson’s staff, was gathered around a conference table on the first floor of the mansion.
“This assault on your home and against your operation is egregious and unwarranted. As a representative of Wolfram and Hart and as the council designated to your firm, I have been instructed to inform you that we intend to seek out the responsible party and bring him into a situation in which he faces the consequences.”
Jameson, with a shaky hand, slammed back a tumbler of bourbon. He was obviously still disturbed at his compound being breeched. “Thank you, Miss Morgan. Your help at this time is appreciated.”
Lilah nodded courteously. “As a client of Wolfram and Hart you are covered in the event of certain unfortunate scenarios. And since you have been with the firm for several decades, your needs are a high priority.”
The meeting was interrupted by the sounds of the mansion alarms going off. The door at the front of the room swung open and Angel swept in, his black duster flowing behind him.
“Wow. Short search,” Lilah observed. She lifted up from her chair and interrupted Angel’s advance. Lilah had no reservations about turning on her most seductive smile and using her sweetest voice.
“Mr. Angel, I presume?” Angel nodded in a bored fashion. “My name is Lilah Morgan and I represent Wolfram and Hart. Mr. Jameson is a long-standing client of ours. He is a respected member of the community and a pillar of moral rectitude. Any further assaults against him and my firm will be forced to bring you into the light of day. And somehow, I don’t think that would be a good thing for you.”
In a calm and deadly voice Angel spoke. “Mr. Jameson is a murderer. I’m here to administer justice.”
“That is slander. My firm will make sure to take note of that.”
Angel was tired of listening. He shouldered past Lilah and stood in front of Jameson. The man looked incredibly frightened. In a desperate attempt for survival, Jameson began to plead his case.
“Mr. Angel, you must be aware of how the world works. After all, you are obviously a cultured and civilized man. The world operates on capitalism, free market, open business. It’s all about making money. Julie was a means to that end. It’s only business, Mr. Angel. Nothing personal.”
Angel nodded slowly. He stared down at Jameson with a look that turned the man’s blood cold. “It felt very personal. And my killing you is more of the same.”
Jameson couldn’t even move as he watched the long blade slide from the right sleeve of Angel’s duster. A quick stroke later and Lilah went wide-eyed as a head rolled on the floor. Angel twirled the blade and imbedded the point in the head of the table. A small smile played at his lips when he saw Lilah’s stunned look.
“Looks like you lost an account.” Lilah’s stunned expression turned scathing as Angel breezed by her. Before he left the conference room, a sudden thought crossed his mind. “I wouldn’t suggest doing something stupid like coming after me. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
Angel then left.
Angel continued to sip his beer as Adele sat down at the neighboring stool at the Bronze’s bar. He nodded slightly at the bartender to inform that Adele’s drink would indeed be on him. Adele took a swill of red wine deposited before her. The pair sat in companionable silence and sipped on their drinks.
A band called Holy Water belted out some weird reggae/new wave garbage. Angel disliked them starting with the band name. Most of the club’s patrons didn’t mind the shit they played. They danced oblivious to the fact that creatures such as him existed. That creatures such as him prayed on their innocent flesh and blood. He spotted a young couple groping in a darkened corner.
Well, innocent in a metaphorical sense.
“You know a Juan Ramirez?” Adele asked suddenly. Angel nodded that he did. He was the guy that ran the strip club. “It seems the police raided the bar and took him into custody. I was at the station inquiring about Donovan when they suddenly came across information he might be involved in a prostitution racket and conspiracy to commit murder.” Adele smiled innocently at Angel’s glance.
“How is Donovan?”
“Still not quite understanding the situation. He’ll be in foster care for the time being. Maybe someone will adopt him. They’re contacting Julie’s known family to see if they have a taker.”
The last half of the beer was drained in a long gulp. Angel slammed the bottle down and indicated for another. In moments he had one.
“Angel, you did good. You killed the baddie.”
The vampire laughed derisively. “And what good does that do? It was too late to save Julie. I thought that was the purpose of this whole damn thing. To get into people’s lives. To make a difference. Who’s life did I make a difference in? Certainly not some little boy’s who is now missing a mother. So who, Adele?”
“Mine,” a voice said. The pair turned around slowly to find Cordelia. She looked completely different from any time Angel had seen her. She looked liked a normal person, not like Queen C. Must be the casual clothes, Angel mused.
“You made a difference in my life,” Cordelia continued. “You saved it.” She glanced quickly at Adele. “Both of you did. I want to thank you for that.”
Angel was stilled confused by the attitude. And when Cordelia accepted Adele’s invitation to join them, Angel removed his coat from a neighboring stool and allowed her to sit down. Cordelia ordered a Diet Coke and the three sat down and drank. And despite the ordeals of the past twenty-four hours, Angel found himself enjoying the experience.
He smiled slightly as he watched a happy and very much living Cordelia joke and laugh with Adele. As he did so, Angel came to a vague conclusion.
Maybe he had made a difference.