Title: Cat in Hell’s Chance
Category: Angst, action (+ smut)
Summary: This is an action piece mainly – Wesley stumbles across something nasty and Angel gets drawn into it. Meanwhile Cordy is frantic to find them both and gets a little help from and old friend from SD (Giles) and Lorne (eventually) & a surprise guest!
Spoilers: Beyond S5 [AU]
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: This is a sequel to Lost & Found and is set Post S5 (AU) L & F summary for those that haven’t read it: Cordy wakes up and runs off, returns and then the serial deals with the obstacles W&H throw at C & A before they work it out and get together as a couple. Angel’s still boss of W & H LA and Cordy runs her own agency.
Thanks/Dedication: Big Thanks to Califi my beta (hugsXXXX)
Feedback: Yeah feed me!
THE HYPERION HOTEL (1 am)
The lobby was dark and deserted and his footsteps rang on the cold tiles as he crossed it, heading for the stairs to the upper level, a large callused hand trailing on the rail. Moonlight lit what it could through windows and glass doors but left most in shadow and his was the biggest shadow moving silently and fluidly despite his size and the big black leather coat that reached almost to his knees.
He stopped outside a room and laid a hand on the wooden panel as if trying to sense if she was inside even as his other hand turned the handle and opened it. She lay partially on her side on the bed with the sheet pushed down around her naked hips; a hand lay palm up on the pillow next to her beautiful face and one knee was raised, giving him tantalising glimpses of the shadowed secrets of her body, secrets only a lover can know. He stood next to the bed for a few moments to drink in the view, able to see perfectly in the darkness.
Finally he shrugged out of his heavy coat and placed it quietly on a chair by the bed, nimble fingers pulled at his clothes, undoing zippers and buttons, slipping cloth over his dark head as he headed for the shower. He was back within 10 minutes, naked shoulders gleaming as he passed through patches of light crossing to the bed to slip under the covers with her, his body warmed from the heat of the water and then carefully rubbed dry to try and retain some of that heat until he could absorb hers.
He spooned his big body around her and leaned on an elbow to trail a loving finger down one soft cheek and neck, mesmerised all over again by the satiny texture of her skin and the sweet heat that came off her sleeping body in warm living waves. She stirred slightly and tucked herself closer to him, murmuring his name but remaining asleep even as her full lips curved in pleasure.
He nuzzled into the crook of her neck, enjoying the buzz the smell of her brought to his body; even the blood hunger was erotic and he got hard just being close to her. It was a reaction he was getting familiar with and so he tamped down the urge to roll her over, she was so peaceful and relaxed he didn’t want to disturb her.
He settled down to just look, giving her whisper soft caresses that soothed rather than aroused, his full lips curved in crooked smile at his own response. Happy to wait until morning when she would wake and start an exploration of her own, she knew he would be disappointed if she didn’t.
Wesley sat with his legs apart and a large heavy book resting on his lap; his brows were drawn together in a frown over sharp blue eyes. As an ex-watcher he was accustomed to a great deal of reading and digesting of information in order to reach a conclusion based on logic and knowledge.
But logic was defying him, or at least it wasn’t making any sense, a no-no for seekers of logic. Irritated he put the book carefully aside and stretched trying to work the kinks out of his tired body. A quick check of his watch had him rubbing suddenly gritty eyes and wishing he were in bed where he should be at this hour.
“This makes no sense; why now and by whom”? Good questions and he was no nearer to finding the answers than he’d been hours ago. “At least I have a good idea of where”.
He dropped his hands and contemplated the palms, deep in thought and trying to reach a decision. Should he wait to speak to Angel tomorrow afternoon or try and check it out now?
The report on his desk had made it clear that the numbers were on the increase and it smote at his conscience for even thinking about waiting. But he didn’t really have enough to go on that would justify disturbing the others. A few seconds later he rose and headed for the chair where he’d tossed his jacket. He’d made a decision; he would do a quick recon and then report back.
A little later he surveyed the low level building with its corrugated sides and big-padlocked bay doors. This was the last building in the suspect area that could feasibly be the centre of the problem; he checked around looking for anything obvious but saw nothing out of the ordinary even with the concealing darkness.
Then he heard the sounds of an approaching vehicle, the headlights heading directly for here. He quickly moved around the other side of the building and settled down to watch. He didn’t have long to wait, a dark coloured van pulled up outside the garage bay doors and a large male figure got out.
The man unlocked the doors and pulled them back so that the van could drive inside and all of a sudden it was decision time for Wesley again. Should he try and sneak inside or stay outside and see what he could hear from here? He darted inside before the doors were pulled closed again and while the man had his back turned and attention elsewhere.
Then he hit a snag, the building was literally empty and there was nowhere to hide except under the now parked van before he was spotted by either the driver or the other behind him, quickly Wesley slid underneath it, glad the lights inside the building hadn’t been switched on yet and trying not to notice the dirt and grit on the floor under his hands and face.
“Strange for a motor repair facility to have no cars, tools or lifting equipment; just an empty building”, thought Wesley, keeping as still as possible; and wishing he’d been able to find somewhere with better viewing opportunities. He watched as two black boots walked back towards the van and pulled the sliding doors aside.
He heard mumbled voices but could only make out a few of the words, there were bumping noises over his head and then a thump and a groan. A face appeared to look under the van and Wes nearly jumped out of his skin at the fierce ugliness of the demon before he realised it was unconscious and couldn’t see him, then the face got dragged away and another took it’s place as the van got unloaded.
Wesley counted at least a half dozen demons and four humans, “pay dirt”, this was the location and these the people responsible for the demon and human abductions over the last few weeks; he just wished he wasn’t alone and could do something about it.
“Dammit I’ve done it again: jumped into a situation alone without consulting anyone! Angels going to have my head over this when he finds out”, thought Wesley castigating himself and knowing he was in for more if he got out of here in one piece.
“There are only two of them, big – yes but I’ve dealt with bigger”, he couldn’t just leave the humans to be taken, he was here and he had to do something! He waited a few seconds to figure out the locations of the two abductors and then slid out from under the van. They didn’t spot him right away and he took advantage of that fact.
He assessed them as he approached, his boots silent on the cement floor and wishing there were some shadows to blend in with but grateful for the lack of light and his own dark clothing. They were both busy with their unconscious cargo, lining them up on the floor in such a way as to convince Wesley this was not the final destination but just a stopping point. He got close enough for them to sense and then whirl to face him.
For a moment, fear chased across their human faces until they realised he was human too, then they snarled and rushed him. Wesley stood firm and let them close the last few feet, watching their body movement to guess where and how they would attack. One came in low on his right, the other took the opposite tack, as a strategy it wasn’t bad and he had to twist to the side when punching at one to avoid a similar fate from the other.
The man on his right was laid out for the moment caught full in the face by his short and hard punch, groaning and holding his nose. Wesley turned his full attention on the other who now stood to one side head cocked as if checking him out properly, now that he’d managed to hurt one of them. Wesley didn’t like that as it hinted at an intelligence that could make this tricky.
Neither spoke but charged at the same time, Wesley felt his waist get grabbed in a crushing grip and then he was lifted in the air, hard arms squeezed, crushing the air from his lungs. Wesley snapped down with an elbow right onto the fellow’s ear, the grip loosened at the pain inflicted and he followed through with an identical blow to the same place. He found himself back on his feet but only for a moment before he saw a bunched fist flying towards his face, he ducked and it whizzed past his head.
He stiffened his fingers and stabbed them into his opponent’s throat and then stood back to watch as the man fell to his knees gagging and wheezing, trying to get air into his lungs past his injured throat. The other was just getting to his feet and so with a half turn Wesley lashed out with a sharp kick; the force of it snapping the head back and laying him out again.
Without hesitating he walked over to the humans lying on the dirty floor, he crouched down and checked their pulse and then eyes, drugged he sighed and sat back on his heels, he looked back towards the van and quickly walked over to it; as he was checking for the keys in the ignition he felt something come up behind him and his head whipped around, too late, blue eyes widened just as something heavy and blunt smashed into his skull and blackness fell like a curtain.
HYPERION HOTEL (3 am)
Angel woke abruptly and only just managed not to jostle Cordy and wake her too; he lifted his head and listened intently with all of his supernatural ability, something had woken him, a noise or movement out of place. He heard nothing more but there was a tingling sensation at the back of his neck, and that was an instinct he never failed to heed.
He looked down at the sleeping beauty next to him and then eased away out of the bed and bent down to pick up his pants, he didn’t bother with anything else just slipped out of the room to investigate. His head swivelled a little as he checked the rooms in passing, listening for movement or unusual smells, each room only taking a second to check before he moved on satisfied there was no danger lurking inside.
His feet were as silent as ever but quickened in pace when he approached the landing overlooking the lobby and heard the faintest of scratching sounds. He considered just jumping over the rail but decided it was just as quick to simply bound down the stairs, which he did; still silent as he approached the office and it’s closed door.
He opened it and looked inside the lamp lit room, dark eyes narrowing at the sight of a hunched figure riffling through a drawer from the wrong side; awkwardly bent over the expanse of the desk and obviously searching for something. The intruder cursed under his breath, it was a male voice; having no idea he’d been discovered.
At least until his searching hand was caught in a vice like grip at the wrist, lifted high above his head and twisted so that he had no choice but to turn, eyes wide with fright clashed with menacing dark brown. He recognised the vampire and nearly fainted with fear. The man was only small and he flinched when the grip got tighter and his feet left the floor as he was raised up even further until his face was only inches away from his captor.
The intruder gulped and his arm trembled with the strain, he shut his eyes thinking that not being able to see that terrifyingly recognisable face would lessen the fear, it didn’t so he opened them again. He’d heard the vampire had killed at least three humans in the last year, but that was before the woman had come back and he could only pray that what they said was true about him being less bloodthirsty now she was back.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I swear”, he said to Angel in a high-pitched voice. Angel said nothing for a moment but continued to look at him, his grip not slipping even a little and also not caring that it was obviously painful for the little man.
“You come in here, in the dead of night where a woman lives alone; sneak around in her office and then tell me you’re not doing anything wrong?”, his voice was low pitched and growling.
The man definitely felt faint then I’m so dead, he thinks I’m here to hurt his girlfriend , he nearly sobbed and wished he was stronger and braver instead of the wimp everyone called him, Talk you stupid idiot, or you will be dead.
“Honestly; I just wanted to leave a note, that’s it I swear. I didn’t realise you’d be here”. He hadn’t meant to say the last as it gave him away and he groaned and hung his head; the pain in his impossibly stretched arm giving way to numbness, and he looked at his dangling feet in despair.
Angel’s eyes narrowed further as his brows lowered even more forbiddingly, but he dropped the man back on his feet and released his wrist. Angel didn’t even have to try and tower over the man, he was so little anyway, for god’s sake, Cordy was taller than this guy! “Leave a note about what”? He snapped.
“A note for you” was the quivering reply, “about Wesley Wyndham Pryce” he rubbed his sore wrist, trying to get feeling back into the limb.
“You were leaving a note for me here, but you didn’t think I’d be here”? Replied Angel angry and confused “Who the hell are you anyway”?
“Evans, Neil Evans, I’m from the Transport Division, maintenance and facilities that sort of stuff”, a hopeful note had started to creep in.
“You work for me”? Asked Angel, eyebrows raised and yet still managing to glare down at his erstwhile employee. Angel looked him over again and sighed, feeling like a bully. This guy was just a normal average human, emphasis on the average; brown hair medium length, clean shaven with big nose small mouth and watery blue eyes.
“Yeah” the little man nodded enthusiastically, looking up into Angel’s face and watching his reaction hopefully.
Angel stepped back a little and put his hands on his hips looking down with suspicion but less hostility on his face. “That still doesn’t explain why you came here at all”.
Gulp time again, thought Neil, come clean or try and get away with a convincing lie, not much choice really when one of those options could get him killed since he was crap at lying. “I didn’t want this traced back to me”, he admitted.
“Get what traced”? Asked Angel, frustrated and wanting to get to the point of this charade like now!
“Your friend’s just walked into a whole world of trouble” he said it hesitatingly, knowing it wouldn’t be a welcome announcement.
“Wesley’s in trouble”? Interrupted Angel; still confused and even more frustrated. Plus the pure fear coming off this guy was incredibly distracting, not to mention making him feel damned hungry, not a good thing in the circumstances.
“Yeah, I was hoping to have at least until tomorrow before he did anything but…”, his voice trailed off when Angel took a threatening step closer; crowding him back against the desk, out of patience entirely.
“Wolfram & Hart have been running a delivery operation of abducted demons and humans to a secret location for months and the Watcher stumbled onto it”, the words literally streamed out of his mouth as he babbled uncontrollably, trying to placate the angry vampire.
Every muscle in Angel body tensed with rage at hearing that the company he supposedly ‘ran’ was still up to its evil tricks behind his back and now Wes was in the middle of it; how?
“How” Angel snarled, still crowding. This guy was going nowhere until he got the answers he needed.
“How what”? The idiot even blinked owlishly at him. Angel strove for patience,
“How is the operation being run, and how did Wesley find out about it? I want details – all of it”.
Neil sighed and his narrow shoulders slumped, “I don’t really know much more, just that it happens and it’s carried out only by two of the drivers, twice a week, same van and it always comes back cleaned”.
Angel moved back a little giving him some space but also to get away from the cloying smell of fear, “Why did you come here to tell … or OK leave a note about this if you’re so scared”, it could be a trap but all of his instincts were telling him this guy was on the level, even so?
“I like Mr Wyndham Pryce, he gets around and he doesn’t ignore the little guy”, there was a slightly accusing look in the ‘little guys’ face as he said it; which given the circumstances Angel ignored.
“OK fine, so where is Wes now, and what kind of trouble do you mean”? Angel walked around the desk and sat down picking up a pen and paper.
“Oh he’s in big trouble Mr Angel – the worst kind from the whispers I’ve heard but if you want to know more, you’ll need to speak to the two drivers, Danny Lindsey and Peter McCloud”.
“Write down their addresses and likely hangouts and add yours too. If you’re telling me the truth, you get a promotion -if not you get dead”. Neil had no reason not to believe him and started to scribble furiously.
Wesley woke up with a head that hurt like the blasted devil; he opened his eyes and tried not to move any part of his aching body whilst keeping the contents of his stomach where they were. For a few moments all he could see was stars as he struggled to focus, but then he made out the grimy bare walls and dirt packed floor that surrounded him.
Best guess; I’m in a cell of some kind – that’s just great, Wes!. His blue eyes travelled further and lit on another huddled figure in the dark gloom. It was too dark to make out any details but whoever it was they looked to be fairly sizeable.
“Where are we”? Wes managed to croak out, licking his lips to try and moisten them.
“Sshhhh” came back in a terrified reply. Hmm not exactly informative thought Wesley, trying to get his bearings and gearing himself up for the pain of sitting up.
“Where are we” He repeated, hoping persistence would get him somewhere.
“No talking” the whisper was almost too low to be heard and then “Were in hell”, dry sobbing followed before silence reigned again.
“Really” said Wesley a little dryly “which one might that be then”?
His cell-mate was saved from having to answer by the clang of bolts being drawn back, which gave Wes the impetus to finish sitting up so he could move until his back was to the grimy wall nearest to him, he looked towards the door.
Wesley had to blink from the flickering torchlight as it came into the room, unable to adjust instantly to the change, he raised a hand to help shield himself and looked towards his cell-mate; whom he could now see was a demon. Not a breed he recognised but he catalogued the details anyway, a green spiked crest on top of the head and around the ears, facial skin a paler green with large eyes that looked to be topaz in colour. He was big and he was scared – not a good sign, thought Wesley, when something that scary looking was itself shaking with terror.
He looked back to the door and found more demons being brought in, two of them; both of whom were unconscious. The guard was clothed in a studded leather vest and leg coverings wrapped around thick bulging limbs like tree trunks. The bald head and face was covered in a mask up to entirely black eyes but from the shape of the mask, humanoid looking was at least a possibility.
Wesley stumbled to his feet and swayed a moment before forcing his knees to lock. While the new demons were being dumped and dragged into the cell, he moved closer to the door, debating the wisdom of a dash for freedom; he had no idea what lay beyond that door but experience had proven it was better to be free than caged.
He never made it that far. The guard, despite it’s size was fast, and before he could evade it Wesley was struck by a high kick that caught his shoulder and sent him crashing into the wall beside the door, his head hit it with an audible crack and he slid down to the floor, dazed and now with blood dripping into his eyes from a cut on his forehead.
A meaty hand fisted in his jacket and shirt, picking him up effortlessly and flung him back towards the other side of the cell and away from the door, he came to rest beside one of his newest fellow prisoners; still reeling from the latest blow to his head.
He saw the leather wrapped legs stop next to him and waited for another blow but none came, he looked up then but couldn’t see any expression, just the blank mask with the dead black eyes.
“Why am I here”? He dared to ask beyond caring about safety, he was all but dead anyway by the looks of it. The demon didn’t answer him, perhaps couldn’t with that mask; just walked away, and the next thing Wesley heard was the bolts crash into place and the cell was once again pitch black.