Wow. It’s only been 7 years. Will wonders ever cease? I’m going to try to finish this story (for anyone who is still reading it!) before 2018 lol. – (Gabriella)
Towering over the city of Los Angeles, the legal offices of Wolfram and Hart cast a great, ominous shadow over the parking lot, blocking out the moon. Seven figures dressed in black walked quickly across the asphalt, soundlessly making their approach towards the building.
Cordelia adjusted the zipper on her leather catsuit, the belt around her waist armed with various weaponry. Kate had gone in a moment earlier, demanding that a detective from the LAPD wanted to speak with the Head of Security regarding recent property thefts. Pfft. They’d have to take out as many big guns as they could in the lobby, then make their way up…or was it down?…and deal with the rest.
Cordy stared at the tall, imposing structure, her heart pounding in her chest and adrenaline pumping in her veins. Her fists clenched, itching to maim something.
“A catsuit?” Buffy whispered beside her, dressed in a far more subdued combination of jeans and a turtleneck. “Really?”
Cordy shrugged. “What? I can’t look good for my honey?”
Riley scowled on the other side of her. “Not exactly why we’re here. Though, still a little hazy on that…”
“Just roll with the punches, Ri.” Cordelia grinned at him. “Literally.”
Riley cocked his head towards Wesley. “I can’t believe you approved this.”
“I’m still attempting to grasp the concept myself,” Wes groused as they neared the glass entrance, keeping low to avoid being seen. “When we were discussing the potential difficulties it would present if the information we need to help Angel were actually housed in the firm’s home office, I never imagined the three of you would take it as a personal challenge.”
Cordelia blanched. “Excuse you, but a) not personal and b) totally not our fault that Wolfram & Hart keep the files on their important vampire employees in the third ring of hell.”
“Hell being the operative—and, may I add, literal—word here.”
“Okay, can you stop being so literal?” Buffy glared at him, the affronted look still on her face from his earlier accusation. “You’re starting to give me the creeps, Wes. And did I mention we’re trying to work here? You could be just a tad more supportive.”
“I’d settle for less chatty,” Faith piped up, wincing when the glares turned on her. “What? Call me old-fashioned, but silence makes the whole stealth thing a lot easier to pull off. So maybe you three can hold this argument until after we get back from the Department of Eternal Damnation?”
Xander grinned at her. “Hopefully, once we get outta there you won’t ever have to talk about it again.”
Cordelia glanced at Willow, who gulped. “Hopefully.”
“You don’t have a warrant. You’re not welcome here.”
“Do I need to tell you how this works?” Kate narrowed her eyes at Grant Darrow, or so the badge said. “I’m a cop. You’re the Head of Security.”
“Let me dumb it down for you,” Kate smiled without mirth, “I’m Paper. You’re Rock.”
Darrow’s expression never changed. Instead, he turned towards the security guards behind the desk, dropping a hand to the gun at his hip. “Escort Detective Lockley out.”
“Them and what army?”
Faith’s voice cracked like a whip behind her and all of a sudden, the room seemed to buzz with motion. Kate barely had time to turn her head before Buffy delivered a swift kick to the side of the security guard who ran around the desk to confront her, flipping over him in a somersault and slamming his face into the table. Cordelia ducked the baton that another guard swung over her head, grabbing it with her hand and pushing the offender through the glass entrance doors. Riley disarmed him, tossing Cordy his gun.
Darrow raised his walkie talkie immediately, calling for back-up from the floors above. He levelled his gun at Wesley, who was creeping into the lobby, Willow and Xander on his heels.
Kate raised her own weapon to his head without hesitation, her heart leaping into her chest, “Not my boyfriend, you dick. Drop it.”
Darrow froze, lowering his arms slowly. The elevators behind him made a sound and he spun quickly, sneering at her as the weapon was turned in her direction. “You’re about to be demoted, Detective.”
Kate kept her hands steady as almost a dozen security guards poured out of the lifts, weapons at the ready and pointed at her friends. She kept her eyes on Darrow, waiting for the signal…
Wesley’s voice sounded across the lobby and Kate ducked and rolled, taking shelter behind the counter. Bullets sprayed in every which direction from Buffy, Cordelia and Faith’s stolen guns, while each of them avoided gunfire from the elevator lobby.
Kate aimed her gun and fired, taking out one, two, three security guards as she hit them in the arm, thigh and shoulder, dropping them to their knees.
Riley and Xander worked together, punching a security guard in the stomach and the backs of his knees, knocking him unconscious to the ground. Willow rubbed her palms together and muttered something Kate couldn’t understand, the room crackling with electricity as she generated a shockwave from her outstretched hands, hitting three security guards and sending them toppling to the floor.
“Cordelia! Riley! Go!” Wesley’s voice sounded across the room again, springing the two into motion and towards the now empty elevator lobby. Cordy pulled one of the shurikens attached to her belt loose as Darrow raised his gun again. Her wrist blurred in a short, deft movement, the throwing star slicing quickly through the air and into his lower arm. He dropped the gun with a yelp of agony, falling back against the wall.
Cordelia smirked, following Riley into the open elevator. Kate caught her smile fall as the doors closed, her eyes darting quickly to Wesley as he knocked out a guard with the back of his hurling axe.
Faith leapfrogged from behind the counter, wrapping her thighs around the neck of a security guard and bringing him down, hard. She pulled the gun from his hip, leaning backwards and shooting another in the calf as he made a dive for Buffy, baton swinging out a few inches too short of her blonde head as he crumpled to the ground.
Buffy blew her a kiss, dropping to a squatting position and kicking out the heels of the guard in front of her. He fell and she landed a devastating kick to his side, flipping him a couple of feet to her right.
“Buffy! Look out!”
Kate raised her weapon as another guard sprang for her but Xander was already there, his legs around the guy’s waist and his arms around his neck, trying to choke the life out of him.
Buffy looked flabbergasted, then amused, then enamoured, all in a single second. She delivered a swift punch to the guard’s nose, allowing Xander to find his footing and shove him into the side of the counter.
He dropped, breathing but unmoving to the ground.
Buffy grabbed the lapels of Xander’s shirt, kissing him as though there was nobody watching. “My hero…”
Faith grinned. Willow grinned. Kate grinned.
“For god’s sake!” Wesley griped, moving toward the elevators and stepping over the trail of unconscious security guards in his wake, “This isn’t a bloody rom com! Let’s get on with it!”
Angel paused, his senses flaring, looking up. The door to his office clicked open and two familiar faces barged through it, smirks on their faces.
“Hey sweetheart,” Cordelia winked at him, stretching the fabric in her hands taut. “Ready to be taken against your will?”
Angel stood, grinning when she approached him and kissing her hard on the mouth. “I love it when you talk dirty to me – ”
Riley rolled his eyes, making a gagging sound for added effect. “Would you get on with it?”
Cordelia twisted Angel’s arms behind his back, wrapping the material loosely around them and tying a knot. “Too tight?”
Angel gave an affronted huff, turning to face her, “You’re fine.”
“Good,” She knocked a swift kick into his desk, sending papers and folders flying. At his confused look, she shrugged, “Looks like there was a struggle.”
“Wow,” Riley drawled with a smirk, waggling his eyebrows at Angel. “You must really have a reputation for being easy.”
The insult rolled off Angel’s tongue with a grin, “Look in the mirror, Finn.”
“Whatever,” Riley pulled open the door, peering around it cautiously. “We’re clear, let’s move.”
“Hey,” Angel caught Cordelia’s eye, cocking his head in a gesture for her to come closer, “One for the road?”
Wordlessly, she kissed him, arms wrapping tightly around his shoulders, breaching the gap between them. Pressed against his body, she deepened the kiss, uninhibited as the love she felt for him.
Riley’s voice was impatient and incredulous, “If you’ve both finished copulating, maybe we could get outta here?”
Cordelia sighed, allowing herself a moment with her forehead pressed against her lover’s. Swiftly, she turned, grabbing Angel’s bound hands and guiding him forward. Riley led the way and she followed closely behind, stepping out of Angel’s office and into the hallway.
“This place is like a maze.”
Faith levelled her gun as she lead the team down yet another corridor, Willow, Wesley, Kate and Xander right behind her. Buffy brought up the rear, gun cocked and ready for any unwelcome interruptions. Despite the fact that they’d been here before – two times too many for Faith’s liking – the offices of Wolfram & Hart still seemed cold, desolate and entirely unfamiliar to her.
“It has to be somewhere here,” Wesley’s voice was terse, clipped, and it made Faith’s stomach roll, “Willow, anything?”
Willow clutched the location stone tightly in her hand, her frown deepening, “We’re getting close, I can feel it. Just keep moving.”
Faith held up her hand as they neared another hallway, swiftly ducking her gun around the wall, eyes darting everywhere. “Clear.”
“Turn left,” Willow ordered, and Faith glanced down at the stone in her hand. It glowed dimly and her palm was pink, as though the object were giving off heat.
“This is too easy,” Buffy said from behind them, “Where are the demons? And vampires? And…lawyers?”
“Same difference,” Kate muttered.
“It’s 10pm, Buffy,” Wesley replied, “Presumably all Wolfram & Hart’s employees have gone home.”
“Not to mention the security we took out downstairs,” Xander said, making a face, “And really? Too easy? Hasn’t watching Bruce Willis movies with me taught you anything? Don’t tempt fate.”
Buffy shrugged, “I don’t believe in tempting fate.”
Xander paused, “I feel like we’re saying the same thing here.”
“This is it,” Willow interrupted, the stone in her hand flashing brightly now. Faith stopped, taking in the larger than usual elevator in front of her, eight feet of seemingly impenetrable steel. There didn’t appear to be any buttons around it, nor any way in.
“How – ?”
“Do you have them?” Wesley asked and immediately, Buffy dropped the bag she was carrying, pulling it open and taking two objects out. Faith recognised them as the ring and the glove they had stolen from the warehouse the night Cordelia had –
She swallowed, noting how Buffy seemed to share the sentiment because she swiftly handed them to Wesley, as though horribly unnerved by them.
He stopped her, shaking his head, “It has to be Angel.”
“Present!”, came a voice from behind them and everyone swivelled around to see the vampire in question being guided down the corridor they’d turned left into, Cordelia and Riley flanking either side of him. “Er, you can untie me now, Cor.”
Cordelia pulled the bindings from Angel’s wrists as they approached, her expression perplexed, “That was pointless. We didn’t see anyone, this place is deader than I was that one time.”
Angel, Buffy and Faith blanched.
“Our path was pretty clear too,” Kate said.
Xander slapped his forehead, “What did I just say?!”
Riley smirked, “No idea, but do that again.”
“Here, Angel,” Buffy handed him the ring and the glove, bringing the focus back to the job at hand, “You know what to do.”
Silently, Angel slipped on the glove, taking a deep, unnecessary breath, “Right. The Home Office. Here we go.”
He pushed the ring onto his middle finger, looking up expectantly at the elevator beside them. The round light above the elevator clicked on with a loud ding and seconds later, the doors slid open.
“Everyone in,” Wesley said, stepping in first as they all followed suit one by one. The lift was large and empty, accommodating them all easily. Buttons were lined vertically along the front right wall and Angel took a step forward, pressing the lowest one, which said nothing but the word, “DOWN”.
“Well, if anyone ever wanted to tell me to go to hell,” Faith glanced at her friends as the doors slowly closed, the grin on her face a complete contradiction to the terror she felt inside, “Now would be the time.”
The elevator plummeted.