BY: Dark Star (email@example.com)
DISCLAIMER: All characters and Angel/Buffy things belong to Joss Whedon
RATING: Anyone old enough to watch it
TIMELINE: Angel’s Season 1 (Somewhere between City Of… and In The Dark)
FOR: Blackhorse - Hope you like it
Angel pushed his way through the seething mass of people as he tried to get to the bar.
“Hey,” he called to the barman.
“Hi,” came the friendly response. “What can I get you?”
“Information. Is Charlie here?”
The young barman shook his head. “Sorry. Not due in ‘til Wednesday.”
Disappointed, Angel nodded his thanks and began to turn away. But the background music caught his attention, and he turned back.
“Is that the Dingoes playing?”
“Yeah,” the barman confirmed. “One of our most popular bands.”
Angel paused; he had no reason to stay in the club now that he knew his contact wasn’t available. But still he hesitated. Dingoes Ate My Baby – and Oz in particular – were a link to his old life. Maybe he had some important news.
He found himself working his way toward the band, knowing as he did so that it was a bad idea. He should walk away, sever all links with his past; so it was against his better judgement that he was drawn to someone who had recently been close to …her.
Oz saw him moving through the crowd, and his brief smile of greeting was genuine. The song ended, Oz said something to Devon, and then he joined Angel.
“Hey!” He greeted.
“What brings you here?” Oz asked, curiously. “Never figured you for the nightclub type.”
“Looking for someone, but he didn’t come in tonight.”
A strained silence followed. Eventually Angel asked, awkwardly, “So, how’s… things?”
“Things are good,” Oz replied gently. “She’s good.”
Angel flinched. Was he really so transparent? But there was nothing but compassion in Oz’s eyes, and Angel knew that Oz was only trying to reassure him.
“Funny seeing you here,” Oz was saying. “Must be a convention.”
At Angel’s enquiring look, Oz added, “Saw your old pal Spike earlier.”
“I didn’t know Spike was in town,” Angel frowned.
“Think it could mean trouble?”
“Probably. Where did you see him?”
“It was on my way here. I don’t know LA that well, but I could show you.”
“Thanks, but don’t you need…” he gestured toward the band.
“No, it’s OK. We’re done. I’ll have to be back later for the equipment, though.”
Oz went to collect his jacket, and informed the band he was taking off for a bit. He took Angel to the street where he’d seen the blonde vampire. He stopped the van just inside an alley, and pointed.
“Saw him just in front of the building, there.”
“He must be losing his touch,” Angel commented, drily.
“Yeah, well, I’ve kind of got into the habit of looking for vamps, you know?”
“Yeah.” Angel opened the van door. “Wait here, Oz. I’ll take a look.”
Oz watched as the vampire melted into the shadows, and he smiled. Angel was nowhere to be seen.
He didn’t know how long he waited, but he jumped when he heard a loud noise from outside the van.
There was no answer. Oz checked the mirrors. No one was in sight. Maybe Angel was in trouble. He rummaged under the seat, pulling out a large wooden cross and stake. If nothing else, living in Sunnydale had taught him to be prepared.
He was about to check the mirrors again, when it dawned on him that since vampires have no reflection, the exercise was pretty pointless. He sighed, deciding he had to take the chance. He couldn’t just stand by if Angel was in trouble.
He opened the door as quietly as possible and climbed out. Almost immediately, a strong arm wrapped round his chest and yanked him off his feet.
Angel’s search of the building had not been fruitful, though it looked as if someone had been there recently. A loud clatter from outside drew him back toward the alley.
“Spike.” Angel turned toward the shadows where Spike had concealed himself. Spike stepped forward; his arm wrapped round Oz’s neck
“Picked something up,” the younger vampire grinned.
“Let the boy go,” Angel said. “He’s no threat to you.”
Spike shrugged. “I’m hungry.”
Angel took a tentative step forward. Spike’s grip tightened round Oz’s throat and he gasped.
“What are you doing here, Spike?”
“Right now?” Spike laughed, “Playing with my food.”
“Hiding behind a child? You’re getting soft,” Angel said, contemptuously. He heard Spike’s low growl, and added, “No wonder Dru left you”.
Spike hurled Oz into some cardboard boxes and advanced toward Angel.
“You can talk, mate. I don’t see you with your precious Slayer.”
Angel shrugged. “It was time to move on.”
Spike suddenly kicked out; he was angry with the brooding vampire. Although they had never actually been friends, they used to have an uneasy alliance. They’d fallen out from time to time over minor things, but Angel had stepped over the line and had come between him and Drusilla. He knew Dru had always been sweet on Angel, hell, the guy was her sire after all; but that didn’t mean he had to like it.
Angel easily sidestepped the kick and retaliated with one of his own. Spike grabbed up part of a packing crate and hit Angel across the shoulders. When Angel looked round, he saw Spike escaping toward the back entrance. He thought about pursuit but something on the floor caught his attention. A piece of paper. He was certain it hadn’t been there earlier; Spike must have dropped it. He stuffed it into his pocket and went to check on Oz.
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah.” Oz took the proffered hand and let the vampire pull him up. Man, that guy sure had some grip.
Angel walked with Oz back to the van, and offered to go back to the nightclub with him, but Oz said that he was fine. He climbed up into the van and looked back down at Angel.
“Do you want me to give Buffy a message?”
Angel’s thoughts reeled as he tried to decide what to say. ‘Tell her I love her? That I miss her? That she haunts my dreams? That I see her everywhere I go?’
“Tell her…. I said Hi.”
Oz nodded with understanding and said goodbye. Angel watched the van pull away and pushed his hands into his pockets. He remembered the scrap of paper that Spike had dropped and he smoothed it out. It was an extract of a Latin Text, dirty and crumpled. Angel was able to decipher enough of it to make him smile. Spike must really be losing it, he thought as he screwed up the piece of paper and tossed it away.
After all, everyone knew that the Gem Of Amara was nothing more than a legend…
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