Night Out

by Ares


Summary: Ever wondered what a Night Out with the Fang Gang would be like in Season 5 of Angel?
Rating: PG-13
Author Notes: Many thanks for Jo and her beta work, cause I needed it. Mel for looking it over, and Deb who nudged me and cheered me on no end.
Story Notes: Set between Why We Fight and Smile Time. When did Angel get that vision?
Disclaimer: Sorry, I make no profit from this, I'm just playing and will put them back I promise. All belongs to Joss and The WB.

**

 

"No!"

"Come on...it'll be fun."

"I said no!"

"I know you said no, but, you mean yes."

"No."

"Crumbcake; everyone will be disappointed if you don't show."

"Who's everyone?"

"Everyone you know...well everyone who happens to be your friend. Spike will be there."

"Definitely not going."

"Okay. Bad choice of words, sugarlips."

"Did you just call me sugarlips?"

Lorne ran a hand through his hair in frustration. Getting Angel to go anywhere that involved fun was like pulling teeth from a Drokken, and he should know. He looked at the vampire who, if he didn't know better, was pouting, but Angel didn't do pouting; brooding was more his style. Lorne knew the others were counting on him so he gave it another shot.

"Angel, baby." Lorne ignored the glare coming his way. "You've been busy with the slaying...."He held a hand up, "we all know that you go out late to help the helpless and work all day in the office. You need to do this, you need to relax a little, and a sad Angel is a cranky Angel."

"I'm cranky?"

Lorne sighed and sat next to the vampire, who had turned his face to the window.

"Killed any employees this week?"

Guilt crossed his face before Angel remembered, "He was evil."

"And the client?"

Now, the vampire shifted uncomfortably. "He was evil?"

"Yes, but Gunn was negotiating a...." Lorne paused, as he had no idea what the negotiations were about.

"So!" He clapped his hands together and stood up. If he thought that pulling at Angel would get him to his feet he would have, instead he cajoled. It was what he was good at.

"Get your glad rags on, we're going out!"

Angel looked down at his clothes. "What's wrong with my clothes?"

Lorne looked at the deep blue silk shirt; okay it was lovely and the all black that the vampire had on, and decided that it would do.

"Nothing! You look fabulous cupcake, let's make tracks."

"And why am I saying yes?" Angel asked, still not moving, but now looking at his green friend with a look that almost said he was going to lose this argument.

Lorne changed tactics. If there was one thing he had learned over the years with Angel, it was Angel never put himself first.

"The others have gone to a lot of trouble, and they need this more than you?"

Angel sighed and stood. Lorne positively glowed with delight. Mission accomplished.

However Angel wasn't going without a fight. As he moved towards his desk, Lorne asked, alarmed, "What are you doing?"

The vampire gestured towards the paperwork stacked neatly there. "There's a case that needs...."

Lorne virtually flew the few steps to Angel and grabbed his elbow. "The case can wait until tomorrow. No more delays muffin, let's vamoose."

Angel withdrew his arm from Lorne's grip and patted down his clothes. Lorne knew that Angel was his, when he said, "Do I need money?"

"Come on boss. The night awaits, and no, you do not need money." It was like moving a rock uphill, but Lorne managed to manoeuvre the vampire into the waiting limo.

Angel settled back, and felt way too big for the car. The seats were too soft and his knees seemed to be heading above his ears. The company limousines were spacious, but being a large man, they weren't big enough.

Lorne noticed his fidgeting. "Oh, have a drink and stop squirming," he admonished as he poured a Sea Breeze.

"No thanks." Angel looked out the window without really focusing on anything.

Lorne got busy poking about in the little bar fridge. "Do they keep blood in here?"

Angel just looked at him, and Lorne decided that no, they didn't. He sat back with his drink and lapsed into silence. Angel turned his head to look out the window, once more wishing he was out there, somewhere, preferably driving his own car. He missed the black convertible; hell, he missed a lot of things.

Lorne opened his mouth to chit chat but then remembered that Angel didn't do small talk. Instead, he began to hum a little song as he fiddled with his cell phone, and drank from the glass in his other hand.

Angel gritted his teeth at the humming, and then decided to block it out, he was good at that: he remembered Cordelia complaining often. He sighed softly; this was going to be a long night.

"Come on Percy!" Spike roared, putting Wesley right off his throw.

"Shut Up Spike!" Wesley ground out between clenched teeth as he readjusted his stance.

"What-" Spike was cut off by Gunn's elbow in his ribs.

When Spike opened his mouth again, Gunn mimicked a staking; the vampire shut it.

Everyone hushed as Wesley took his shot. It hit its mark. "Double nine!" he shouted.

Gunn high fived him, before both of them turned to Spike with gloating looks. "Pay up!"

"S'not fair," Spike grumbled. "I have a handicap."

"Hey!" Fred pouted, hands on hips. "I'm not a handicap, and just for saying it, I'm not going to be your partner anymore."

"Having preternatural reflexes gives you an unfair advantage Spike. Fred, who has never played darts before, balances that advantage." Wesley pulled his darts from the board and placed them carefully together in his special case. Wesley prided himself on his prowess at darts. Spike should have realised that when Wesley pulled out his arsenal. But then, Wesley mused, Spike wasn't exactly the most discerning of vamps.

Spike made a show of emptying his empty pockets. "Sorry, I'm a bit skint at the moment, but if you can wait until Captain Boring gets here, he'll pay."

"Oh no you don't! You don't get to make bets and then get Angel to pay." Gunn looked at Wesley with a hint of evil in his eyes. "We'll think of some way you can make restitution."

"Besides, Blondie Bear, you did miss a couple of shots," Harmony added, with evil definitely in her eye.

Spike gave her the two finger salute before stomping off. "I had a beer or two that put me off my shot," they heard him grumble.

"I bet Angel could take you," Gunn shouted, which stopped Spike cold.

Spike turned on his heel with a scowl. "Is that a bet? Cause, I've already taken the old man once."

"From what I saw, he gave as good as he got, and I might add, besting Angel has only happened once in your-oh whole-undead life." Gunn smirked as he watched the vampire grit his teeth in indignation.

The humans moved back to their table and their waiting drinks, blatantly ignoring the annoyed vampire. Harmony followed, sliding in beside Fred, which gave Wesley pause before he grabbed the chair closest to Gunn. Wesley sat, and teased Spike some more.

"I've seen Angel at a dart board. He's pretty accurate."

Spike stormed over to glare down at the Angel gang. "I can be accurate."

Wesley mmmed, which made Gunn and Fred giggle. "Angel was using knives at the time."

"What.....darts too good for Peaches?" Spike continued to glare at everyone. "Just wait until he gets here, and you'll see."

Harmony didn't know whether to side with her ex, or her boss. Seeing that Angel wasn't here, she decided to go with Spike for the moment. Harmony left her seat, and draped herself all over the out-of-sorts vampire. Her pink dress rode up her thighs and the human males looked away with effort.

"Come on honey. Let's get a drink." She led him away, leaving behind the humans snorting and chuckling.

Fred hiccupped. "Do you think we did the right thing...I mean, Angel may not want to play darts....in fact, I haven't seen him play much of anything...other, than that computer game of yours..."

"Fred," Wesley interrupted gently, "Angel doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to."

Gunn, who couldn't wipe the huge grin off his face, said, "Did you see Spike's face? It had a nice feeling to it to wind him up for a change. Now he'll worry about it until Angel gets here."

Fred leaned towards him, sloshing her drink a little. "When is he getting here? Has anyone heard from Lorne?"

"They're on their way; I received a message from him on my phone."

Angel stepped out of the limo, and gave the building a glare.

"What is this place?" He eyed the innocuous building with suspicion.

"It's a club," Lorne sashayed to the door, where a doorman waited.

"Club."

"It's a gentleman's club." Lorne waited for Angel, who had not moved a muscle. The big guy was looking like he wanted to bolt.

"Come on, Angel cakes. The others are waiting." Lorne nodded at the doorman, who apparently had seen it all, including a green demon. The doorman opened the door, and waited.

Angel shook his head and sighed. "Why did I let you talk me into this?" he muttered as he was ushered through the doors first.

Inside, the vampire blinked. Not what he was expecting, as he looked at the empty lobby and empty reception desk.

Lorne skipped over to the far door. "This way," he announced as he flung it open.

Again, Angel blinked. The inside looked just like a bar, complete with smoke, billiard tables-Angel squinted-a dart board, a juke box and drunken clients a.k.a. his friends....and Spike; and...He groaned. Harmony. "I'm an idiot."

Green fingers slapped his back, as a chorus of voices greeted him. "Angel! Over here!"

Angel made his way to the table his friends had commandeered. He put a smile on his face, not realizing that it looked kinda sad.

Gunn stood. "What'll you have?" Gunn leaned in for a conspiratorial whisper. "By the way, you're paying."

Just what he wanted to hear.

"Whiskey...neat." Angel decided that he'd need it before the night was over.

Angel took stock of the room again, noticing the absence of something. "Where are the people?"

Wesley indicated an empty chair. Angel sat as Wesley explained. "Wolfram and Hart booked the place out tonight. There are no other patrons."

"So, it does pay to be evil."

Wesley smirked at Angel's joke, and nodded.

Gunn came back with his drink, a happy Fred following him.

Grinning from ear to ear, Fred saluted Angel. "Hi Angel. Wesley and Charles have a bet on you against Spike."

Wesley and Gunn glared at Fred, wishing she hadn't blurted it out like that. Angel downed his drink. Just what he needed, a bet against Spike.

"What Fred meant to say..." Gunn trailed off at the look in his boss's eye.

Wesley fared no better when he tried to explain, Angel's dark eyes fixed on his face.

"I was trying to defend..."

Fred interrupted. "Gunn and Wes were matched against Spike and me. They won, we did not, and Spike blamed the loss on me."

Angel didn't have a clue abut what they were talking about. "Match?"

"Darts, we were playing darts."

"Another drink Angel?" Gunn asked, leaving quickly for the bar before Angel could reply.

Just then, Spike with Harmony in tow, swaggered up. Angel glared at Spike and Harmony. Why did they get included in his night off? Wait, was Spike drunk?

"Finally got here, eh Peaches?" Before he could say more, the juke box started playing, and everyone turned in amazement. Barry Manilow was singing. Lorne was at the box with a drink in his hand, and he was looking mighty pleased with himself.

"Gods, no!" Spike cursed. "Anything but that, Kermit!"

Now, Angel really smiled. Not only could he enjoy Manilow, he could tick off his grand childe, and that was a plus as far as he was concerned. His night may not be a total loss after all. Angel stretched his legs out and slid lower in his chair.

The Pylean sauntered over. "You can have a turn later, Spike. Angel's paying."

"Wanker!"

"Does it play Ricky Martin?" Harmony asked, and the men grimaced.

"What about the Dixie Chicks?" Fred put in, sipping on something creamy, while a brightly coloured mini umbrella raised its head from the glass.

Again, Angel didn't have a clue what they were talking about.

"Ladies!" Lorne held up a hand. "The night's young, you can play what you wish when this tune is finished. Go: check it out." Lorne shooed them away, his mottled hands waving them on.

The girls scrambled over to the juke box and began sorting through the choice of music.

Gunn returned with a tray of drinks and snacks. Spike immediately snapped the snacks up, amidst a cry of "Hey!"

"I thought vampires didn't eat food." Gunn handed the drinks round.

"That's the old man's gig." Spike nodded in Angel's direction. "We can eat when we want to."

"It doesn't taste like anything," Angel insisted. He watched as Spike tossed back a handful of crisps.

"And let's not think about where it goes," Gunn said as he sat.

Wesley opened his mouth, but Spike beat him to it, not wanting to hear. "Game's waiting, Angel. Time to meet your maker."

Angel didn't move. "I am your maker."

Wesley said, "I thought Drusilla..." Brown eyes narrowed at him, so he shut up.

Spike sniffed loudly, and threw more food into his mouth. "Percy here insists that you could beat me at a game of darts. So of course I accepted the challenge on your behalf." Spike liked to think that he was better than Angel, and any opportunity to prove it was okay with him.

"Or, we could have a friendly game of pool," Gunn suggested, but Spike was having none of that. His prowess had been called into question.

"No, Chuck, it's darts. So, what do you say?" Spike looked at Angel, a sneer in place. "Are you game?"

Angel took his time with his drink; making Spike wait was all part of the fun.

Fred looked over at the men in her life. Spike was all posture, bluster and sharp angles. Angel was smooth, languid, powerful, and unbelievably kind. Wesley was lean, and confident, and curious. His eyes were always watching, taking note. Charles, dressed casual, still exuded smarts, and kindness, whilst Lorne provided sympathy, advice and, of course, his brand of humour.

"Watcha looking at?" Harmony asked, finally noticing that Fred had stopped talking.

Fred nodded to the men at the table. "Oh, just the men in our lives. The differences..."

Harmony broke in. "Of course they're different. Spike is a vampire, and, well, so is bossy, and Gunn and Wesley are human, and Lorney Tunes is well...whatever he is." She gave Fred a look that screamed, duh.

"No, that's not what I..." Fred changed her sentence, remembering to whom she was talking. "Do you and Spike still....?" She raised her eyebrows.

"What?"

"You know..." Fred giggled, her hand at her mouth.

"Know....oh!" Harmony's eyes widened. "He wishes! We did that, that one time in the office; you know, when everyone bled from the eyes, and I bit him and, hey! Not the first time I've bitten him you know? I don't know why he made such a fuss about it; I mean did he have to punch me so hard?" Now Harmony was glaring in Spike's direction, as she continued her rant, "No, he's still got a thing for that slayer freak in Sunnydale, although what he sees in her is beyond me."

"Angel loves her too."

"Yeah, but Angel loved her way before my Spikey, and he had an excuse. He was-is all soulful. Spike thought he loved her while he was like me; evil. Even though he tried to kill her, like a gazillion times." The song ended, and Harmony stabbed at a button. She Bangs rang out and Harmony started to swing her hips.

"Wanna dance?" she asked Fred, her tirade forgotten.

"What? No." Fred watched as Angel finished his drink while Spike collected the darts.

"So, is Spike different from when he was evil?"

Harmony snorted as she gyrated. "Not that I've noticed, only he doesn't drink humans anymore."

"Neither do you."

"Only because Angel will stake me if I do." Harmony sounded a bit sad about it.

Fred nodded absently as she watched Spike line up to take the first throw. "Come on." She grabbed Harmony's arm. "The game has begun."

Harmony squealed, and followed Winifred Burkle to the male members of the group.

Spike threw his first dart. Angel had insisted on numbers only, and going for the treble each time. Bastard had to have things his way, noooo, couldn't play a regular game like most people. Spike hadn't objected though, as he could out-t---hrow his grand sire any day.

Spike's three darts hit their mark, and Spike smirked as he wrestled them free of the board. Take that!

Someone clapped and cooed. Harmony! God, the bint was as daft as a... Spike couldn't think of an appropriate adjective for how dumb she was.

Angel ignored the smirk on Spike's face, and threw his darts lazily. They hit home as he knew they would, and he stepped over to free them. He resisted the urge to smirk as he stepped back. He could see Wesley and Gunn doing just fine without him. Angel didn't know how he got talked into this; it wasn't as if he had anything to prove, to Spike of all people. Inside, a thought niggled, that he did have something to prove. Spike had beaten him to the Cup, even though it had been a fake. It didn't matter that it had all been in vain; the fact remained that Spike had beaten him. He, Angel, Champion of the Powers as Cordelia had vehemently assured him, was the chosen one, not Spike. Still, a vampire had his honour to consider, and a petty part of Angel had taken up the challenge, in this small arena called darts.

Fingers snapped in front of his eyes. "Are you in there, mate?"

Angel focused his eyes past Spike's fingers, as Spike added, "Your turn."

Angel looked at the board and saw that Spike had his next three numbers.

"Are you going to remove your darts now, or shall I throw them at you?" he threatened.

Wesley and Gunn sat on either side of their Pylean friend.

"How did you convince Angel to take the night off?" Wesley asked, his eyes on the dueling vampires.

"Believe me kids, it wasn't easy. You guys owe me big time, and next time, you get to do the dirty work."

"Does that mean groveling?" Gunn asked, teasing. He chuckled at the look Lorne gave him.

Lorne brushed at his suit, and mumbled something about ungrateful lawyers and Research Heads. Gunn and Wesley drank their beers, wide grins splitting their faces.

Spike was on a roll. He hadn't missed a number yet, and he was imagining Angel sweating. Taking a swig at his beer, Spike peered over the bottle, and looked for signs of sweat. Bastard still looked cool and collected, and Angel hadn't missed a shot either. Spike slugged back another large swallow, and began to think of ways to put the old man off his throw. He chose his moment as Angel raised his arm.

"Once upon a time we would have had different uses for these, mate." He held the darts up to examine them. "Did I tell you about the time?"

"No!" Various voices rang out to stop Spike's reminiscing.

Spike smirked, and glanced over at Angel. Damn, the poof hadn't missed a beat; his eyebrows weren't even twitching.

Angel knew what Spike was doing; the boy was getting rattled, so he stayed calm and let loose. Three quick flicks and his darts were where they should be.

"They're evenly matched, aren't they?" he heard Fred say.

Harmony let her lemon drop slide down her throat as she considered her options. Mmm, perhaps buttering up the boss could be a good thing for her career right now.

"I don't know Fred, Spike has the moves, but I think that Angel can beat him."

"Hey!" Spike glared at his ex as Angel retrieved his weapons. "You'll say anything `cause he's your boss."

"At least I have a job, Spikey! What do you do eh? Where do you get your money from? You steal it from Angel, that's what!" Harmony flounced over to a seat, yelling, "I hope you lose...you big loser!"

There was an awkward silence as the group considered the two blonde vampires. Spike puffed out his chest, grabbed another beer off the table and leaned in to within an inch of Harmony's nose.

"Do you think what you do for Angel is work? Fetch his blood, answer the phone,kiss his arse. It's degrading for a vampire, and you're evil, so don't get on your high horse with me!"

"Yeah, well, at least I'm here working, not running around after a slayer and being her lapdog, Spike!" Harmony screeched back, before bringing her hand up and turning them over to scrutinize her nails, just to piss Spike off.

Spike stepped back, trying to get his rage under control. He remembered he had an audience, and when he looked around, everyone was staring at him.

"Show's over folks!"

Angel watched, as Spike threw back his beer before tossing his darts. The last point hit the wire and deflected the dart away. Angel allowed his smirk to bloom, knowing it would sting the bleached vamp.

"Bloody Hell!" Spike swore as he pounced on the wayward dart. He made a show of examining the board while watching Angel from under his lashes. "Something's wrong with the board. We can't finish the match with a damaged board!" Spike flung his arms about, outraged.

"It'll be fine, Spike."

Angel stood back as Wesley examined the board. "It looks in good condition to me."

"What do you know, huh? I say we give this up and do some more drinking. I'm getting bored." Spike sniffed loudly, but his eyes never left Angel.

Now Angel had the opportunity to rub Spike's nose in it, especially with Harmony's reminder that Spike had been Buffy's sex toy, but suddenly Angel was tired of it all. He shrugged his well-tailored shoulders.

"Yeah, whatever."

Angel saw Spike's eyes widen a little in disbelief. The vampire was now unsure of why Angel wasn't taking advantage. Spike was the thorn in Angel's butt as things usually went, and Angel would like nothing better than to make Spike's life a misery. Lately though, Spike in all his annoying self, had helped out on occasion and, Angel decided, he could cut the guy some slack.

Angel threw his three darts into the board, and all three hit the bull, but Angel knew that already and had turned away without waiting to see. Spike swayed a little as he considered his elder. Why was Angelus being so nice about this?

"I could've had you," Spike muttered, as he sprawled into a chair.

"Sure you would have, pumpkin," Lorne consoled, his feet propped up on another.

Gunn and Wesley were thoughtful as they considered their friend. Angel ignored them as he headed for the bar. Might as well have another drink, he thought, and wondered how long it would be before he could make his escape. The barman waited attentively while he stood thinking. Wesley caught him by surprise by sidling up beside him.

"That was...." Wes began.

"What?" Angel arched a brow.

"You let Spike off the hook."

"Did I?"

Wesley considered Angel's words. He then realised that Angel had been very clever. He had given the vampire his dignity, and yet at the same time made it clear that Angel would have been the winner.

Wesley nodded, before asking, "What are you having?"

Angel listened as the music changed. He turned his head. Harmony had pulled Fred off her chair, and the women were dancing. Gunn and Lorne were laughing at something one of them had said, and Spike was silent, sulking no doubt.

"Angel?"

Oh, Wesley had asked him something. "What?"

Wesley nodded at the barman. "Same all round, thank you."

The Englishman waited while the drinks were being made, and when it didn't look as if his boss was going to say anything, he asked, "Something on your mind, Angel?" It was hard to tell with Angel, sometimes. The man wasn't exactly verbose.

It took a second before Angel realised that Wesley was talking to him. "Ah...running Wolfram and Hart?"

Wesley had a gut feeling that it was more than that. "If you're worried about what Lawson did the other night...?"

"What?...No." Angel was distracted by watching the barman. He was mixing the spirits and cream, the concoction was for Fred.

Wesley leaned one elbow on the bar, and half turned to look at his friend. He noticed that behind Angel, Spike and the other two men had taken to the pool table, Spike grumbling something at Gunn and Lorne. The girls were still dancing, and his eyes drifted to Fred, who looked especially lovely tonight. The way she moved, the way the light caught her hair....Wesley shook his head. He was talking to Angel who, it appeared, had drifted away. He looked past the bar, and saw the vampire standing by the kitchen doors. He noticed Angel cock his head and sniff the air.

"The kitchen has prepared dinner for...." His explanation tapered off when he saw a stake appear in Angel's hand, and was that a blade in the other?

"Angel?"

The music blared on, but the group had stilled. Spike was at Wesley's side, reaching for a paring knife that lay on the counter top, before stepping to the other side of the doors. Spike nodded at Angel, and he swayed only a little.

Gunn had moved up to Wesley. He handed him a cue from the pool table, saying, "Just no staking the boss."

Wesley looked to see that Fred was going to be okay, but it looked as if Harmony and Fred were all about protecting Lorne. They had him huddled against an alcove, one of Spike's empties at hand: Harmony had her game face on, and Fred held a cue all ready to do business. Pride blossomed inside his chest at the brave girl that was Winfred Burkle. They were still a team, for all the months spent in separate departments inside Hell Incorporated.

"Just Spike then," Wesley answered, the skin around his eyes crinkling in amusement.

Gunn's white teeth flashed with an answering bob. "It would make Angel's life easier, and we wouldn't have to put up with his moods."

Wesley tensed, as Angel kicked open the kitchen doors, and disappeared inside with Spike on his heels.

"So, stake Spike it is." He laughed to show that he was kidding, although the thought did appeal.

They all jumped a little at the crash of crockery from inside the kitchen.

"Looks like dinner is off," Lorne called from behind them.

Just when Gunn had decided that he was following the two vampires, a body sailed through the doors and landed in a bloody heap at his feet.

What sort of demon it was, Gunn didn't care to think. He poked it with his cue and it didn't respond.

"It's dead."

Understatement of the year, but Charles Gunn didn't have time to continue as Spike came crashing through the doors, two demons doing their best to kill him. The doors flew back once again, as another demon, vampire this time, sailed through, two more followed, with Angel in pursuit. Wesley noted that the barman had disappeared, probably squatting behind the bar in fright, before he joined in the fray.

Now this was more like it, Angel thought, as he stomped over a demon and tried to stake the vampire. His stake would have found its mark if he hadn't been jostled from behind.

"Sorry man." It was Gunn.

Angel's smile matched the one on the lawyer's face. Gunn was tackling the demon he had kicked away from Spike. Angel surveyed the room quickly-Harmony was attacking the demon that had tried to kill him, and Wesley and Fred were working together on another-before he brought his attention back to the vampire.

The vampire was running for the exit, and Angel couldn't let it escape. He flew through the air, and tackled the vamp with enough force to crack the wall behind. Angel felt his stake roll out of his grasp, as the vampire twisted his wrist to almost breaking. Not to be deterred, Angel head-butted the vamp, making it loosen its grip. Angel rolled away, searching for his stake, making sure the vampire didn't run by tangling its legs with his own. The vampire kicked out, but Angel's fingers had found the stake. He rammed it home with casual ease; he couldn't waste time when his friends needed him. He reached up, having landed near the dartboard, and grabbed back his feathered weapons.

Harmony was pummeling the demon about the head; her legs were wrapped around its waist, riding him like a horse. Angel ignored her, his eyes looking for Fred. Wesley seemed to have things under control, although it looked as if staking the thing wouldn't kill it. Angel's wrist flicked once, and a dart lodged in the demon's eye. It screamed, clutching its face in agony, unaware that Wesley and Fred were about to finish it off.

Angel turned to see Spike kill his attacker, the look of satisfaction matched his, "Take that, you stinking sod!"

Gunn had kicked and beaten his opponent down to the floor, his expensive shirt spattered and rent in places. Angel smelt Gunn's blood, and thanked the Powers that he didn't smell more on his other friends. Seeing that Gunn was capable, Angel turned back to Harmony. The demon was shrieking as Harmony pulled its hair and gouged its eyes. The blonde vampire seemed oblivious to the harm the demon was inflicting, as it crashed against the wall in an effort to pull her off.

Harmony's boss winced at the gashes and blood running down her pretty legs, before he stepped in, and punched the demon in the stomach. It doubled over, and Angel yanked Harmony away, before kicking it in the face. It fell back and hit the floor, out cold.

"Thanks, Boss!" Harmony said, "Although, you could've asked me instead of yanking my arm." She held up the limb for all to see. "I can see fingerprints....gee boss, your fingers are long." She studied the imprints on her pale skin.

Angel mumbled "sorry" before he remembered who he was talking to. She beamed at him, until he ruined it by adding, "You're a vampire, you'll heal."

When her face dropped, he felt bad, so continued, "How are your legs? I saw blood."

Harmony looked down and screeched. "Oh no! My dress is ruined!"

That said it all for Angel, so he tuned her out to survey the carnage. Wesley and Fred had finished off their demon, a broken chair testament to the force required. Spike waltzed over; Angel could see that his demon lay still, his neck twisted at an odd angle. Gunn had managed to impale his demon up through the neck, the cue driving into its brain, killing it instantly. Angel nodded appreciatively; his people could take care of themselves.

"Aren't you going to kill this one?" Spike asked, beside him. Lorne and the others moved closer to eye the unconscious demon.

Angel kicked the demon's legs, it didn't move.

"I say, Angel, that move with the dart was impressive." Wesley applauded, not one for letting an opportunity go to waste. His eyes were on Spike though, watching his reaction. The blonde vampire looked over Wesley's shoulder to see feathers sticking out of the corpse's eyeball.

"Lucky shot," he grumbled.

Angel kicked the lump on the floor once more. "There's an unconscious person in the kitchen." He knelt next to the demon to shake it.

"That'll be Michael...the chef," the barman said, peeking from behind the bar.

Fred and Gunn hurried past to see to the injured man.

"Watch your step!" Spike called as the two disappeared.

Wesley and the others watched, as the demon groaned awake because of Angel's rough treatment.

Its yellow eyes opened to see Angel's dark, angry orbs glaring down at it.

"Who sent you?" Angel ground out behind clenched teeth. His eyes flickered gold, and the demon stared.

"Nobody."

"You came here to kill somebody, didn't ya?" Spike growled behind Angel.

Angel carefully put his foot on the demon's hand, and leaned some of his weight on it. It yelped, and tried to pull free. Angel leaned some more, and everyone heard the crunch of bones. It screamed.

"Angel!" Wesley warned after Lorne gave Wes a look of horror. Spike grabbed hold of Wesley, and shook his head.

Angel ignored his coworkers, and concentrated on the task at hand. An Angelus-like grin snaked across his face as he leered at the demon.

"Who are you?"

Panting with pain, the demon managed to spit out his name. "Lenny."

Angel eased up the pressure a little. "Why are you trying to kill us?"

Lenny looked into his interrogator's eyes, and saw his death there.

"We weren't." Before pain was applied again, Lenny hurried on. "We came here for Thomas. He usually hangs out here on a Friday. We heard he was going to be here tonight, so we changed our plan." He bit his lip as Angel leaned forward again.

"Thom Ass?" Angel growled.

"And who may this Thomas be?" Wesley joined in, hoping that the torture part of the night was over.

Gunn preceded Fred into the kitchen to shield her from anything unpleasant. He needn't have bothered. Winifred Burkle pushed past him, stepped over the two dead and leaking demons on the floor, stepped delicately over the pile of food and brain matter, until she kneeled before a white-clad figure, crumpled against the dishwasher.

"Is he okay?" Gunn called, as he pulled a knife from the throat of one of the demons. The knife looked like something that Angel would own. He wiped it on the demon's clothing before joining Fred.

"He doesn't look too damaged, Charles. I can't see any wounds, and Angel did say he was unconscious." Fred looked up at him and giggled.

Gunn couldn't help smiling back. "What?"

"I think I'm a little drunk." She giggled again. Fred felt as if she was flying, the adrenaline rush from the fight and the alcohol making the world spin.

Gunn leaned in to lift the southern belle to her feet. "I think you are. Here," he handed her the knife, "I think this belongs to Angel." He knelt down and checked the man over just to be sure. He couldn't see any blood, except for a large bruise beginning to form on the chef's face.

"We need to call an ambulance."

"Okey dokey." Fred waved the knife around, and Gunn wondered what he was thinking? Fred had handled herself out there in battle, what was wrong with her now? He got to his feet, and took back the knife.

"Come on; let's get someone to help move him."

"Did ya see Wes and me fight that demon, Charles? He had it comin'."

"It was pretty impressive, Fred." Charles agreed, although he hadn't seen her and Wesley; he had been too busy with his own fight.

They stopped short outside the kitchen doors when another scream pierced the air. The jukebox was now silent; the barman was busy cleaning his bar in a deliberate attempt at not wanting to look towards the group of people from Wolfram and Hart, the people who were huddled around a creature that was screaming. Gunn and Fred rushed past him to see what the problem was. They stopped when they saw who the problem was.

"He was talking, Angel." Wesley had a hand out to touch his boss. Wesley realised perhaps that would not be a smart move on his part, and withdrew the hand.

"He was?" Angel looked back at Lenny. "Sorry" he said, although it sounded more like, "can I do it again?"

"You can take your fingers out of his ribs now, Angel."

Angel ignored Wesley, and continued to stare at Lenny. "Shall I kill you?" he asked thoughtfully and considered it.

"What's up?" Gunn asked, moving up beside Lorne and Harmony.

"It seems as if we weren't the target of tonight's little escapade. Lenny here, and his demon mates, were after a Thomas."

"So, who is this Thomas?" Gunn asked Spike.

Lorne put his arm around Winifred as she leaned into him. "Some demon that cheated these guys out of their hard-earned illegal stash. It seems as if they don't like to be screwed over."

"Do we know this Thomas?"

"Probably," Wesley answered with an eye on Angel. "I haven't heard the name, but you can-"

"Bet your bottom dollar, that he is a client," Spike finished for him. He too, had an eye on Angel; he wanted to see what Peaches was going to do.

"Will we be able to touch this Thomas?" Lorne asked. He was unable to look away from Angel.

"We'll have to look into it." Wesley nodded at Gunn, as if for help.

"Talking of, we need an ambulance for Michael in the back-"

Winifred Burkle decided that she did not want to stay around. Killing demons that were intent on killing you was one thing, but to torture and kill one that wasn't?

"I think I will go and wait in the kitchen with our patient." Fred took one last look at Lenny as she turned to leave.

"Just kill him," Harmony said, nodding at Lenny. And just like that, she added, "Does this mean the party's over?"

"Call the team at Wolfram and Hart; they'll take care of everything."

Wesley appealed to the vampire, as Gunn took out his phone. "Angel?"

Spike found to his surprise, he was stepping over to his grand sire, and kneeling beside him. The look on Angel's face was one he had seen numerous times before. On Angelus, it was the look he had when contemplating the most painful way of dispatching a victim.

"Looks like this bloke could save us some time." Spike waited a heartbeat, and continued when Angel didn't move. "Looks like you broke him mate, and when he goes running back to his pals, and tells what happened here, they'll leave the place alone." Still no response.

Spike tried again. "Word might even get back to Thom Ass. He'll be shaking in his boots when he hears that we had to take care of his business."

Finally, Angel opened his mouth. "I doubt that." Everyone breathed a sigh when Angel released the demon. "Spike just saved your worthless hide." He stood. "Get out!"

The demon scrambled up, cradling his hand, and limped as quickly as he could out the door.

Spike rose to his feet, giving Angel the room he apparently needed. The older vampire stared after Lenny and, when he turned, Angel's face was in its usual place: unreadable.

Spike watched carefully as the mask Angel wore changed to concern.

"Is everyone alright?" Angel asked, eyeing his friends.

"We're just Jim Dandy, sugar pie," Lorne answered, before looking to Wesley.

"I think I need a pick-me-up though, after all the excitement." Lorne left the group, Harmony trailing behind him, both of them making a beeline for the bar.

To his credit, the barkeep began to make up the drinks, the tremble in his hands the only indication that he was shaken.

Wesley frowned. Angel had resorted to torture, and it wasn't the fact of the torture that worried him, it was the relish with which Angel had performed the odious task.

"A couple of bruises will be evident tomorrow, Angel. Do not worry yourself about it." Wesley nodded at Charles, "Although, Gunn has a cut or two..."

Gunn finished his call, interrupting Wesley to inform them that medical and the clean-up crew were on their way.

"Get them to look at you, and Harmony, if she needs it." Angel backed away, edging for the door and freedom.

"You callin' it a night then?"

Blast Spike and his mouth! Angel looked longingly at the door and back to his friends.

"The evening was....fun, guys." Angel glanced at the demon corpses littering the floor, his feet still moving. "Make sure that the place is cleaned up, for the.....you know..."

"It'll be taken care of, boss." Gunn assured him. "One drink for the road?" he asked, watching Angel getting closer to his escape.

Angel pointed at the exit and his gaze followed his finger. "I think I need to go.....do something. Yeah, there is something I need to do." His dark eyes looked back at his crew.

"Something we can help you with?" Wesley offered, knowing that Angel would turn down his offer.

"No, no...you guys stay, or go, whatever." Angel had reached the door; his hand was on the wood.....

"I'll come with."

Angel froze and glared at Spike. "No!" He lowered his voice. "Stay. Spike, really! See you tomorrow." And he was gone.

Wesley, Gunn and Spike stared at the closing door.

A long moment later, Wesley spoke. "That was interesting."

"I thought we didn't do torture no more." Gunn said.

Spike snorted at the two men. "Since when?"

"Since..." Wesley tried to remember the last time Angel tortured someone. He came up with nothing. "Since we took over Wolfram and Hart," was all he finished with.

"He wouldn't even torture Eve, remember?" Gunn reminded them both.

Wesley shrugged. "Well Eve is human; at least, we think she is. Lenny was a demon, there is a difference."

"There is no difference, Percy. A being in pain, the pain that you inflicted, it's all the same." Spike paused as the men considered his words.

"I think the rules have changed."

Angel stalked purposefully past the doorman and out onto the street. His steps faltered as he considered the limousine standing at the kerb. He decided to ignore it, and turned about, scenting the air. Angel caught the faint aroma of Lenny and made to follow the demon. No harm in checking up on it to see if the truth had been told.

As Angel moved away from the club, he reviewed in his mind the events of the evening. He had tortured Lenny, and a sick part of him had savoured every delicious moment of it. It hadn't taken much to reach inside his demon and get in touch, as it were. Still, it had to be done. He had to use every means at his disposal to fight this war, the war he had against evil; and that meant the firm, Wolfram and Hart. Cordelia had said, "have at it," and had been astounded that he wouldn't use force to question Eve. Since when had his sensibilities gotten in the way of the good fight? The rules had changed. His friends did not know that yet, but they would

Angel turned the corner, and was gone.

 

 


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