Author: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Word Count: ~1900
Prompt: 025: BtVS s2/s3
Characters/Pairing (if any): Angel, Skip, other
Summary: So what happened to Angel when he got to Hell, and how did he get back again?
A/N: Ftooomch is borrowed from the British comedy The Young Ones, but you don't need to have watched that to get this.
Demon bars are pretty much the same all over. Telescopic barstools to accommodate any body size, lots of dark little nooks for making and breaking deals, back rooms rentable by the hour (usually with an extra surcharge if you don't want to clean up the blood yourself), and jukeboxes without a single record from Stax or Motown. Also, the best selection of drinks anywhere; after all, demons come in all shapes and sizes, and whereas some of your more sophisticated demons are very particular about what they drink, some will pour any old poison down their gullet. This means that the accomplished demon bartender will have to be able to serve delicacies like Mohra blood chilled to the exact right temperature (4.2 degrees C/39.6 degrees F) or lymph from a virgin Transuding Fury (and that isn't easy to come by, either), but he must also not be too proud to serve utterly repulsive items such as pig's blood, Fyarl mucus (on the rocks) or even Coors Light. Apart from that, though, his/her/its job is pretty much the same as any other bartender's; act friendly, listen to the customers and throw anyone who doesn't fit in with the clientele out. (If by "throw out" you mean "incinerate".)
Demon bars in Hell have the added feature of air conditioning; after working the sulphur pits all day, many demons find it soothing to relax in a relatively cool environment. It would still be hot enough to burn a human to a cinder, but of course that's kinda the point.
Jem'tland, a huge bulky red-black demon with three arms and a bartender's diploma, liked his job at the BeelzeBubble just off the towering inferno of Ghazlahar on the seventh level of Hell. He'd been working here for a couple of eons now, and knew and got along with most of the regulars. Ftooomch, for instance, the chubby little red imp who was just now entering the bar with drooping horns and dragging his pitchfork behind him like it weighed a hundred pounds. Jem'tland checked the clock; the little guy must have put in some overtime, his shift was supposed to be over 3 hours ago. If Jem'tland knew his customers, Ftooomch would now slump down onto a barstool and spend the next half hour bitching about how awful his day had been and what an idiot his boss was. Not THE boss, you don't bitch about him, but a grunt like Ftooomch has a lot of bosses; bureaucracy and middle management are, after all, original Hellish concepts.
Ftooomch slumped down onto the barstool, which automatically rose to allow the 3-foot demon to rest his elbows and, if he so chose after a certain amount of drinking, his forehead on the bar. He sighed. "Man. What a day. My boss is an idiot."
"Yeah. Better make it a double."
Jem'tland relayed the order to the kitchen. A high-pitched scream was heard and abruptly cut off, and a few seconds later one of the bartender's assistants brought a large glass of something reddish and foamy with ice and a little umbrella (a black one).
Ftooomch downed half of it in one swallow. "Might as well have him make me one more. In fact, keep'em coming." By the time he was almost all the way through his second drink, he seemed ready to talk about his ordeal. "So... today was the day."
"The day...?" Jem'tland racked his mind to remember.
"Yeah. The day? THEE day? The one I've been talking about every time I've been in here for the last two months?"
"Oh, right. The... Apostle thing?"
"Right, of course. So how did it work out?"
Ftooomch just sighed and drank another mouthful. Finally he continued. "This was supposed to be our biggest project ever, right? All of mankind being sucked into Hell, all six billion of them, and our department won the contract to take care of them when they arrived. I tell you, I've never seen the boss more wrathful." (To demons, of course, 'wrathful' is a positive emotion.) "We had even started setting up – and lemme tell you, processing six billion souls in one morning takes some logistics – when we got word from the prophecy people. 'Apocalypse is off, sorry. Slayer's gonna stop it.' All of our plans down the drain."
"Gee, man. That sucks." Jem'tland nodded in sympathy.
Ftooomch laughed bitterly. "Wait, it gets better! See, genius that I am, I called in some favors and – oh, hey Skip!" He nodded to a big metallic demon who just came in.
"Hey." Skip sat down next to him (an action which produced a noise not completely dissimilar to that of a set of keys being jingled) and ordered a Coors Light. "Heard you got in some trouble at work today. Tough breaks, buddy."
"Yeah, thanks. I was just telling Jem'tland about it." Ftooomch turned back to the bartender. "So, like I said, I know some people who know some people, and they told me someone was still coming through the Acathla thing. Someone really evil. Guess who."
"Uh... Jim Carrey?"
"Good guess, but no. Angelus himself."
Jem'tland whistled, impressed.
"And that's not all! Turns out the seer who knew this hadn't told HER boss, so we're the only ones who know about it and can get to him first. I mean, can you imagine what a coup that could have been? Getting Angelus to join our department? The boss was pretty damn wrathful when I told him. He even talked about promotion if it worked out. One of the most evil, vicious creatures ever working for us, meting out punishment, keeping track of office politics, not to mention how much ass we'd kick in the softball tournament with Angelus on the team!"
"So I take it it didn't go as planned?"
Ftooomch snorted. "Oh, it went as planned alright – on our end. There was just one tiny snafu Earthside."
"I heard something about that", Skip said. "Something about a curse?"
"Damn right we cursed! Apparently some little schoolfriend of the Slayer managed to stumble onto some spell and gave Angelus – get this – a soul. And just seconds before he went through the portal too, so there's no time for us to change anything."
Skip shook his head. "Man, that's just wrong."
"Yeah. So anyway, there's us standing by the portal like a bunch of assholes, right, the whole department dressed up in ceremonial garb and shiny weapons, banners saying 'WELCOME ANGELUS', a marching band and a nice juicy girl for him to drink – the whole enchilada. The boss has this long speech planned and written down, he looks like the mayor in 'Blazing Saddles', it's ridiculous. And the portal opens and out tumbles this... pitiful excuse for a vampire with a sword through his chest and just collapses onto the ground and starts crying."
Jem'tland couldn't help himself; he stifled a giggle. Skip also looked less than horrified.
Ftooomch went on, getting ever more upset. "So he's sitting there, weeping and moaning and sniveling like a little kid who skinned his knee, calling out for – oh, get this: do you know what the Slayer's name is?"
Jem'tland thought about it. "Wasn't it Cohen something?"
"Oh, have you seen 'Fargo'?" Skip had found his favorite subject. "Man, the Coen brothers are absolute geniuses, how that movie didn't win Best Picture I'll never know."
"I don't know..." Jem'tland scratched his impressive neck with his middle arm. "I thought it was a bit-"
"GUYS! Please, can I finish?" Ftooomch was getting pretty drunk by now, and less willing to stand for subject changes before he finished his story. "Cohen was the one before this one. The new one is called – ready? – Buffy."
The other two demons stared at him. "Buffy?"
"The apocalypse was stopped by someone named BUFFY?"
"I know, it's ludicrous. As if my day wasn't bizarre enough, right? So anyway, he's sitting there, the mighty Angelus-scourge-of-Europe, crying and whimpering and bleeding and shit, going 'Oh Buffy Buffy why did you do this to me Buffy I'm so sorry'..." The other two demons started laughing at this point. "And then he looks up and he sees us, welcome banners and everything. Half the marching band starts playing 'For He's A Jolly Good Fellow' before anyone has time to rip their throats out. Guess what he does next?"
"Tries to fight?"
"Please." Ftooomch scoffed at Jem'tland's guess. "Even Skip here could take this guy."
"No, he gets to his feet, pulls the sword out of his chest – whimpering the whole time – and tries for an Evil Laugh. Here. Seriously, can you think of a worse place to try to fake an Evil Laugh? I mean, we deal with the real thing every day, give us some credit. And then he starts in on this whole I'm-the-evil-Angelus-and-you-should-all-bow-down-before-me-minion-scum spiel, sounding about as convincing as a fluffy little bunny in sunglasses trying to pass itself off as a whole army of Nezzla demons – STOP LAUGHING! So anyway, we chain him up and he knows he's busted, so again he gets all weepy and broody and starts mumbling about true love and swords and forgiveness and stuff..."
Jem'tland was struggling for breath, he was laughing so hard. "Really, that's just... wow. I still don’t get why you're so angry, though?"
"Well, remember how I said we were the only ones who knew about it? Means he's not in the system. Means someone could get in a lot of trouble if he turns up here. And so the boss starts looking for a scapegoat and guess who he points to? ME. So now I have to babysit the biggest saddest puppy in all of Hell 24/7 and listen to him whine and brood, and if any of the bigshots find out about it I can forget about a raise or a promotion for the next 1000 years or so."
Skip shook his head with a sad jingle-jangle. "That's bureaucracy for you, man. So where is he now?"
"I've got him tied up back at my office." Suddenly a thought struck Ftooomch and he pounded his tiny fist on the counter in frustration. "And I can't even charge overtime for this since officially he doesn't exist!"
"Hey, drinks are on the house tonight." Jem'tland smiled at him (a rather terrifying ordeal considering the size and number of his teeth). "So what are you going to do with him?"
"I have no idea. I tried to toss him in the Barry Manilow pit, no one has ever made it out of there in one piece, but it turned out the bastard liked it. It's like he wants to suffer, and seriously, where's the fun in punishing someone like that?" Ftooomch emptied his drink and got up to leave. Halfway out the door, he turned back to his two friends. "I tell you, guys, first chance I get I'm gonna send him back up to Earth and tell the boss he staked himself. I've got a career to think about."
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