Demons and Angels
Written by Donald E. Fleming II
Story concept by Donald E. Fleming II
Disclaimer: Original Gargoyles characters are the property of Disney and Buena Vistas Studios. Angel and other related characters are the property of Warner Bros. Other Gargoyle characters are the property of The Gargoyle Saga (TGS) writing staff. All characters are being used without permission of their creators.
Note: This story begins at approximately the same time as Part One of "A Sunnydale Werewolf in Manhattan" and concludes shortly after the start of Part Two, for those continuity freaks out there.June 17, 2000
Los Angeles, California
Detective Kate Lockley smiled as she listened to the statement the officer took from the strikingly attractive redhead who had just had her purse snatched. Or rather someone had attempted to snatch it. The thief had taken two running steps away from her before she yanked him back and decked him. He went down without so much as a whimper, and she hadn't even broken a nail. They had already taken him into custody by the time Kate got there and she grinned at the sight of blood flowing from his nose. I hope that teaches him not to judge a book by its cover, she thought as she considered the redhead.
She certainly didn't look like she was capable of taking down your average street thug, she thought. But then, take away the tattoo and neither does Mrs. Fox Xanatos, and Kate knew she was most certainly capable of taking down even armed assailants. That was why most crooks tended to steer clear of the former Pack leader.
But this woman was as different from Fox as she was from Cordelia Chase, at least judging by outward appearances. This woman obviously was from a tailored background, judging from the red tailored business suit she wore. And she looked vaguely familiar.
When the officer finished taking her statement, the woman asked him a brief question before retrieving her purse and leaving. Kate walked over to the officer.
"Excuse me," she said.
"Detective Lockley," he said. "Nice to see you again."
"Thanks. Who was that woman?"
"Her?" he said, pointing to the woman's retreating back. "That was Dominique Destine."
The name sounded familiar, but she couldn't place it.
"Dominique Destine," the officer repeated, seeing her trying to place the name. "As in Nightstone Unlimited Dominique Destine, one of the richest and most powerful women in the known universe."
"Oh, that Dominique Destine," Kate said. Now she remembered. Nightstone Unlimited had opened a new office building downtown and her picture had been in the local papers. But what would a classy businesswoman like her be doing in this part of Los Angeles?
"She asked you a question," Kate said, remembering. "What was it?"
"She wanted to know where she could find Angel Investigations," the officer replied.
"Did you tell her?"
"Yeah," he said. "Even gave her a card."
Now that was weird, she thought. What would the world famous Dominique Destine be wanting with Angel?
Dominique threw her purse on the bed as she pulled off her jacket and began to undress. She had been upset when that petty crook tried to steal her purse, but she had taught him a lesson he would not soon forget. It had been an interesting way to release some of the frustration she felt, and it had given her some unexpected results.
Now she knew where Angelus was.
No, not Angelus, she reminded herself. It was Angel now. Angelus was dead and gone. She had seen to that.
How long has it been? she wondered. One hundred years or more at least. It had been some time after Paris when she first encountered him in Romania and she could see right away that he was trouble. She knew his reputation as a ruthless killer, but even she blanched at the merciless way he killed his victims. She had fled, luckily Angelus had had the same dislike for gargoyle blood that Spike had, but that didn't stop him from trying to feed on her. Weakened, she was found by a band of gypsies who knew of her kind and cared for her while she recovered. For the first time since Michel died, she found herself growing close to humans again, and she developed a special rapport with the gypsy princess who, like herself, was a formidable sorceress.
That was changed in one night. Angelus found their camp while she'd been out hunting and killed her friend. In retribution, Demona had taught the girl's grandmother one special spell…
She looked at the clock before she retreated into the bathroom for her shower. She still had time. Nightfall was not for several hours. She had plenty of time to get ready. She stepped into the shower and let her mind drift as the water caressed her body…
It was raining again, she noted. And she hated flying in the rain. What was it, the third night in a row? she thought. She went to the mouth of the cave and looked outside. The rain was a solid sheet of water. It was a miserable night and Demona felt just as bad.
Why were the gods punishing her like this, she wondered. Was it because she had been unable to save Valjean and the rest of the Paris gargoyles from the mob, or was there another reason?
A blast of cold wind whipped up the rain and sent a good amount straight into her face. She fell back, suddenly sodden and retreated back into the cave to stir the fire she had started. Gargoyles didn't feel the cold like humans did, but it kept the cave lit and did provide enough heat to dry her. It also seemed to brighten her mood a little.
"Would ye be willin' to share that fire?" she heard someone say. Demona spun and caught sight of a human standing at the mouth of the cave. He was dripping wet and obviously chilled to the bone, although for some reason he didn't appear to be shivering.
"What do you want, human?" Demona snarled. She had no intention of sharing either her cave or her fire with this person.
"Not much," he said. "Just a little company and a place to dry myself." He spread his arms and Demona could see the water dripping off of him. "Ye wouldn't begrudge me a little comfort." He turned and looked out at the rain. "'Tis not a fit night out for man nor beast. Nor gargoyle for that matter."
For some reason, she took pity on him. It could have been the fact that he wasn't all that bad looking for a human, or that she had to agree with him about the weather. It was terrible outside, and not even she would want to be out on a night like this. Or it could have been that he didn't seem to be like most humans.
"Very well," she said, turning back to the fire. "You may stay for a little while." Then she turned and looked at him as he approached. "But be gone before sunrise," she added. "I have no intention of sharing my cave with a human that long."
"Thank ye kindly," he said smiling. He took of his coat and set it on an outcropping of rock to dry before kneeling down before the fire.
"Might I ask you why you were out in this storm?" she asked. "I'm certain that you would have no problem finding a bed to sleep in for the night." Most likely with a busty serving wench, she thought ruefully.
"The innkeeper down the road didn't take kindly to my company," he said. "Something to do with his daughter falling ill."
"And he suspected you," she said.
"Aye," he said.
Typical, Demona thought. Always at each other's throats, these humans. At least, they wouldn't be blaming her for this. They didn't even know she was here.
"You probably deserved it," she said.
"Nay," he said. "I wouldna' have forced myself on her if she hadn't asked me first."
Demona crossed her arms. "So you did do something." She looked towards the mouth of the cave as she realized the storm was finally letting up.
"She'll recover," he said. He stood up and turned towards her.
"What did you do?" she asked as she turned back to face him. The moment she did, her face went pale.
His face had changed and now he wore the visage of a vampire.
"I was hungry," he said.
"Who are you?" she asked as he approached her.
"Where are my manners?" he laughed. "Please, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Angelus."
Angelus, she thought. She had heard of him. She remembered William the Bloody mentioning that Angelus was his sire, the vampire that had brought him across. She took a step back towards the entrance as she recalled how brutal William said he was.
Then she stopped. Vampires don't feed on gargoyles, she thought. They don't like the taste. She drew herself up and stared at him. "I suggest you leave, Angelus," she said. "The storm is passing and I have no desire to share my cave with the likes of you."
"You'd send me out on a night like this," he said, still wearing his hideous visage.
"Yes," she said. "Even though I know how little vampires like the taste of gargoyle blood, I still do not trust you. Now, go!"
"It's still raining out there," Angelus protested. "And besides, I'm still hungry."
Demona's moment of shock was all he needed to get the drop on her. Angelus leapt and bowled Demona over before biting down on her neck.
She screamed, more in shock than in pain and felt him begin to feed. She tried to push him off her, but he was too strong, too strong! He must have just fed, that innkeeper's daughter, no doubt, and she was weak from hunger; the storm had kept her from going out to hunt. She could feel herself start to go numb from the loss of blood and she tried to throw him off again. She managed to wrap her tail around his neck and start to squeeze.
Angelus stopped for a moment to try to get Demona's tail from around his neck and she used that moment to whip him away from her. He got up quickly as she struggled to her feet, holding her hand to the side of her neck to stop the flow of blood.
"Now that's what I like," he said. "None of this 'No, please' garbage. I like a woman with some spirit!" He rushed over to Demona to take her down again.
She saw him coming and stopped him with a shot to the jaw. It appeared to stagger him, but then he smiled at her and shoved her up against the cave wall, sinking his fangs into her throat again.
She screamed again, this time in pain and terror, and a sudden burst of adrenaline gave her strength enough to bring her knee up into his groin. This time, Angelus went down as the knee spur hit something vital. She shoved him away and took off running towards the mouth of the cave. She stumbled twice, but got up quickly, not wanting Angelus to catch her when he recovered, and she wasn't sure her immortality would guard her against the effects of the vampire's bite if he should actually drain her dry. She reached the mouth of the cave and launched herself out into the rain-filled night.
She didn't know how long she was in the air, fleeing the vampire. She didn't want to risk setting down to rest because she was afraid, and this was a first for Demona, that he would be there waiting for her. At least the rain had finally let up and she could see a few stars peeking through the cloud cover.
She didn't know when she blacked out, but she regained consciousness just as she was falling towards the forest floor. She spread her wings to bring herself out of the fatal plunge, but was unable to avoid clipping a tree as she tried to regain altitude. She heard and felt her wing spar go snap as it struck the massive trunk and suddenly Demona was plummeting towards the forest floor. She hit hard and tumbled a short distance before coming to a stop.
Demona tried to get up, but she was too weak, both from the pain she was in and the loss of blood. She managed to drag herself a short distance to try to hide herself while her body healed itself, but the effort wore her out quickly and she discovered that she hadn't traveled all that far from where she had come down. She sagged to the ground and began sobbing; wishing for the first time in centuries that she could just curl up into a ball and die.
The sound of footfalls on the forest floor drew her attention. She looked up and saw a young woman looking at her. Her hand was clutched around the hilt of a dagger.
Demona let her head sag to the ground and prayed that it would be quick.
She felt wetness on her brow. Cool and refreshing. She risked opening her eyes to take in her surroundings.
An old woman was sitting next to her as she lay on a cot. The woman removed the wet cloth from her brow and soaked it in a basin of water before ringing it out and applying it to her forehead again.
"What…" she started.
"Shhh," the old woman said. "Hush, child. You need to rest."
Child? Demona thought. What a laugh. She easily had at least eight hundred years on the old woman, but as she looked at her, she suddenly felt as if she were a hatchling again. Weak and defenseless. She tried to sit up, but gave up on that as a wave of nausea hit her. She forced it down.
"Now see," the old woman said. "You are fortunate my granddaughter found you when she did. Had she not, you would have bled to death before the sun could heal you."
"Where…where am I?" Demona asked. "Who are you?"
"Do not tell her, mother," another voice said. Demona looked and saw a large human male standing nearby. She looked around and discovered that she was in some sort of wagon. Gypsies, she thought, noting the way they were dressed.
"That will be enough, Yosef," the old woman barked.
"You risk us all by helping her," Yosef said. He stalked over and raised her upper lip. Demona took a quick snap at his finger as he backed away. "She has already turned," he said. "Note the fangs."
"She is a gargoyle, Yosef," the woman said. "Of course, she has fangs." The old woman got up with a speed that belied her age and confronted him. "Now, out!" she commanded. He puffed himself up briefly but futilely in the face of his mother before turning to leave.
The old woman turned back and sat back down next to Demona. "You must forgive my son," she said. "As our clan leader, he wishes to keep all of us from harm, but sometimes forgets his place when it comes to obligations."
"Obligations?" Demona asked. "I don't understand."
"I will tell you in a moment," she said. She went over to a small table and picked up a small cup. "Here, drink this."
Demona took the cup and sniffed it cautiously. She took a small sip and spit it out. "Ugh," she grimaced. "That's terrible!"
"That may be," the old woman said. "But it will help clean out any impurities the vampire may have left in your blood and help you to regain your strength. Now drink, or I will have Yosef sit on you while I hold your nose and pour it down your throat like a stubborn infant."
Demona thought about that for a moment. Yosef was not as strong as Goliath, but he would have no problem holding her down, especially in her weakened state. She took another experimental sip of the concoction before gritting her teeth and downing it in one gulp. It left a truly horrendous taste in her mouth.
"Now, drink this," she said.
Demona took the small bowl the old woman offered her and sniffed at that. Beef broth, she realized. She took a healthy swallow that left more running down her chin than her throat.
"Slowly, child," the old woman said. "You needn't act like you haven't eaten in days."
"I haven't," Demona admitted shyly.
"The storm?" she asked as she took the now empty bowl.
"Yes," Demona said. "I was forced to take shelter in a cave to wait it out."
The old woman got up and crossed over to a small pot hanging from a hook. She took the lid off and spooned some more broth into the bowl. Demona's mouth watered at the smell. Her host returned and handed her the bowl. "Slowly now," she warned. "If you haven't eaten, then you should give your stomach time to adjust."
Demona nodded slightly and slowly brought the bowl to her lips. She took a small sip before speaking again. "You mentioned an obligation," she said.
"Many years ago," she said as Demona took another sip of the broth. "My family helped a small group of gargoyles escape the revolution of Paris. In exchange for their protection during the night, they helped them to escape France."
Demona was shocked by this. Part of Valjean's clan escaped! She couldn't believe it. "How many?" she asked.
"Three, so I'm told," she said. "Two females and a male, plus their clutch of eggs."
The rookery! The rookery survived!
"Are you all right?" the old woman asked, seeing the tears of joy streaming down Demona's face. "What is wrong?"
Demona was about to answer when the sun peeked over the horizon, freezing the look of joy on her face.
Nightfall found Demona still lying on the cot as she broke out of her stone skin. She sat up to take in her surroundings and found she was still in the old woman's wagon. Realizing she still held the bowl of beef broth in her hand, she brought it to her nose and sniffed at it. Cold, she realized. She set the bowl down on the table and got up to stretch.
"I see that you are up," she heard the old woman say. She turned and saw her standing at the door. She held a garment in her hand. Demona realized it was her halter.
"Why is it humans always feel the need to undress me when I am sick?" she asked sarcastically. The last one to do that had been Michel, when she fell victim to the Black Plague. At least the old woman had left Demona her loincloth.
"Your garment was torn and covered with blood," the old woman returned. "Your own, I would imagine. It needed to be cleaned and mended."
"Thank you," she said as the old woman handed her the garment. She put it on carefully.
"Sit," the old woman said. Demona sat back down on the cot as she approached and reached for her neck. "Let's have a look, shall we?"
Demona sat still as the old woman undid the cloth bandage she had no doubt placed on the gargoyle's neck to staunch the flow of blood from Angelus' bite wounds. The woman put her fingers to Demona's chin and tilted her head to one side.
"You are lucky," she said, getting up and crossing the wagon to the door. She opened it and a young woman came in with a fresh pot of broth, which she hung on the hook. As she watched her work, Demona raised her hand to her neck.
She could feel the spots where Angelus had bitten her. Four small scars were present on her neck. She wondered about that. Surely, the spell that granted her immortality would have cleared those up by now, she thought. Of course, given the demonic nature of vampires, it could be one of the aftereffects of the bite. It would make for an interesting text in the Grimorium, she mused. The Effects of Mystical Wounds and Vampire Bites on Immortal Beings, she could call it.
"Why is that?" she found herself asking.
The old woman looked at her. "Yosef is still afraid that you will turn on us during the night and drain us," she said, smiling. "Those scars should ease his fears."
Demona knew why. Vampires typically didn't retain the scars left by the bites of those who created them. Human victims who survived their encounters with vampires usually did.
She was suddenly aware of the young woman's eyes on her. "What?" she said. She didn't care to have humans staring at her.
The old woman turned and saw her granddaughter staring at Demona. "You must forgive Jenna," she said. "She has never seen a gargoyle before."
"I thought you said your family helped…" Demona started, but realized the futility in the question. The French Revolution had been over a hundred years ago, she thought. She should know, she'd lived through it. Despite her age, Demona knew that not even the old woman would have been alive then. And certainly not this young girl who couldn't have more than twenty summers on her. "Never mind," she said.
The old woman spooned some fresh broth into the bowl after dumping out the cold contents and crossed over to Demona. She handed the gargoyle the bowl and motioned her to turn.
Demona complied and felt her sitting on the cot behind her. "How does the wing feel?" she asked. Demona could feel the woman's hands probing the wing spar she had broken in her crash. Fortunately, her immortality had managed to mend that properly without the need of a splint.
"It is better, thank you," she said.
"You are fortunate," the old woman said. "I had thought that you would lose the use of that wing given how badly it was damaged."
"I heal extremely quickly," Demona said. She put her hand over the bite marks on her neck. "By nightfall tomorrow, even these will have faded."
"You are lucky," the old woman said. She pulled aside the neck of her blouse and exposed a set of similar marks on her own neck. "I received these when I was no older than Jenna. I was more fortunate than most of his victims."
"Him?" Demona asked.
"A vampire," she said. "A demon with…"
"…the face of an angel," Demona finished.
"You know of him," she said. "Angelus."
Demona pointed to her neck. "His handiwork," she said.
The old woman looked to her granddaughter. The young girl nodded and headed outside.
"She goes to inform Yosef," she said, seeing the look on Demona's face. "We will probably be leaving this area soon. You are welcome to come with us if you like."
Demona looked at the kindly old woman. She should leave, she told herself. Best not to get involved with humans again. But she found herself smiling at the old woman.
"I would like that," she said.
They had been travelling for a little over a week together, and in that time Demona found herself growing closer to the small band of humans, in particular the old woman and her granddaughter. And she learned quite a bit from them.
Both the old woman and her granddaughter were sorceresses. Not quite in her league, but they did have power and they were more than willing to accept Demona into their circle, once she admitted to her own abilities.
She also learned that the gargoyle eggs she had thought lost in Paris had been taken across the Channel to a clan in London. At first she worried about that, knowing the intolerance of the English towards her kind, but if a clan had managed to thrive this long in London, then the eggs would no doubt be safe. Probably long since hatched, she thought. She wondered if she were to go there to seek out this clan, would she be able to find Valjean's offspring.
The gypsy caravan slowed to a stop and she jumped off the seat she shared with Jenna. She noted that Yosef gave her a disapproving look, but at least he was no longer hostile towards her. Especially after she had gone out one night and returned carrying a deer carcass over her shoulders and several quail from her hand. They had feasted on venison and roasted quail for three days after that.
"Going hunting again?" he asked her.
Demona took the reins and tied up the horses. "Yes," she said. "I flew over this area several months ago and spotted some promising game. It shouldn't be that hard to locate again."
He looked at the full moon. "Guard yourself," he said. "You never know what could be prowling in these woods."
She gave the horse a pat and turned to head off into the woods. "I'll be fine," she said.
Demona was in high spirits when she returned. Not only had she found a clear stream with exceptionally pure water, which they could use for holy water to guard against Angelus, provided they could find a priest to properly bless it, but the game she had originally sought as well. She thought about trying her hand at catching some of the fish that swam in the stream, but gave it up after two tries. She settled for deer and pheasant.
She found Yosef crying, cradling the lifeless body of Jenna. The deer and pheasant hit the ground.
"What happened?" she cried out, rushing to Yosef's side. She put her hand on Jenna's head and noticed how pale she was.
"You brought this down on us!" he snapped. "He followed you here!"
"The vampire," he said. "Angelus. He came looking for you."
"No!" She looked around and spied the old woman's wagon. She rushed to the open door.
"Leave us," he said to her. "Go, before he returns!"
Demona didn't hear him. She was already vaulting the stairs into the wagon, looking for the old woman.
She found her weeping on the cot. Demona thought she never looked so ancient in her life than at that moment.
"What happened?" Demona asked. Given the blunt dismissal she had just received from Yosef, she was afraid the old woman would act the same.
"He was here," she said.
"I know," Demona said, looking towards the open door. "Yosef said…"
"Yosef believes, but he does not think," she said. "Angelus did not come searching for you, but it was enough that Yosef believes he did." The old woman hung her head. "And now our little princess is gone."
Demona let out a scream that shook the wagon. She grabbed a glass and hurled it against the wall. "I will have his misbegotten life!" she screamed. She turned to race out of the wagon, but tripped and fell to the floor. She tried to get up, but found her strength leave her and she started sobbing on the floor. "I will make him pay for this!" she managed to say. When she was able she stood back up and turned back to face the old woman. "We will make him pay for this," she said. She went over to the shelf and grabbed a box she had found years ago and had given to Jenna. Inside was a crystal sphere. Demona opened the box and showed it to the old woman.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Our revenge," Demona said.
Present DayAngel Investigations
"All I'm saying is we should try something like this every now and then," Cordelia said.
"Cordelia," Angel said. "We're not Ace Ventura, Pet Detective."
"But think of the money," she said.
"I don't do dogs," he said. Picking up the picture, he looked at it before handing it back to Cordelia. "Besides, I'm not real big on Chihuahuas. Too much nervous energy."
He turned and headed downstairs.
Wesley chose that moment to enter the office. He took one look at Cordelia and guessed Angel's reaction.
"No go, I take it," he said.
"He wouldn't even consider it," she said. "He's not a dog person. Which is weird considering Oz is a one three nights every month."
"Cordelia," Wesley said. "You have to remember that what Angel does falls outside the purview of normal private investigators."
"Huh?" she asked.
"What I mean to say is…"
"I know what your saying, Wes," she said. "But why do we have to focus only on the weird stuff and leave the normal gigs to somebody else."
"Because we ourselves are not normal investigators," Wesley said. "Angel is a vampire, I'm a rogue demon hunter," Cordelia raised her eyebrows at that, but Wesley ignored the gesture. "And you receive mind-numbing visions. Normal just doesn't fall into our line of work."
"Good," they heard a voice from the door. They both looked at the open door and caught sight of a woman in a red business suit. "Because what I am looking for is something other than normal."
Cordelia couldn't believe her eyes. Standing in their office was Dominique Destine, one of the richest women in the world.
"May we help you?" Wesley said.
"Yes, you may," she said. "I need to speak with Angel."
"And whom may I say…" he started, but received a quick elbow in the ribs from Cordelia.
"You have to excuse him," Cordelia said. "Good temp help is so hard to find." She quickly turned Wesley around and started to push him towards Angel's office. "That is Dominique Destine," she whispered. "The head of Nightstone Unlimited. She has more money than even I could spend."
Wesley took a quick look over his shoulder. "What would she want with Angel?" he asked.
"Who cares?" she said. "Just go get him." She practically threw Wesley through the door and turned to face the Nightstone CEO. "He'll be right up," she said. "Can I get you something? Coffee, Danish, a new wax job on your limo?"
"No, thank you," Dominique said. She smiled inwardly. Spike had mentioned her when she was in Sunnydale, but he hadn't told her that Cordelia Chase was such a suck-up when it came to money.
Angel and Wesley stepped out of the office at that moment.
"Can I help you?" Angel asked.
"I certainly hope you can," she said. "I'm…"
"Dominique Destine," he said. "I know. Wesley told me."
"Then you know who I am," she said.
"The CEO of Nightstone Unlimited," Angel said. "Which causes me to wonder why someone as rich as you would ask for help from someone like us." He ignored Cordelia's Are-you-crazy-do-you-know-how-much-money-she-has look as he considered her.
"I require…specialized help," she said. "I cannot go to the police with this, nor can I handle this internally." She shifted her gaze to the window. Sunset was only a few moments away. She turned her attention back to Angel. "Will you help me?" she asked. "You may consider it repayment for troubles you have caused me in the past."
Angel looked at her. "Have we met before?" he asked.
"Yes, we have," she said. "Angelus."
At that moment, the sun set.
Cordelia and Wesley jumped back in surprise and shock as the Nightstone CEO doubled over in pain and transformed right before their eyes. Her skin changed from pale pink to azure blue and a pair of wings sprouted from her back, ripping through the expensive business suit. Her feet lengthened, bursting through the shoes she wore and a long tail snaked out from her skirt. When it was over, she snarled as she flared her wings before settling them around her shoulders and returning her attention to Angel.
"My word," Wesley said. Off to one side, Cordelia grabbed a potted plant and held it up as if to throw it.
"Hello, Demona," Angel said.
"I am pleased you remember me," she said.
"Demona," Wesley said, trying to place the name.
"I imagine the Watcher's Council has a great deal to say about me," she said, turning her attention towards him.
"How did you know…"
"I was in Sunnydale last month," she said. "Spike and the Slayer had quite a bit to say about you." She looked at Cordelia. "And you can put down that fern, Miss Chase. My business is with Angel."
Cordelia set down the plant and looked at Angel. "You know her?" she asked.
"We met in Romania," he said. "A hundred years ago."
"Is she a…"
"No, I am not a vampire," Demona said. "I'm a gargoyle."
"But you are immortal, if I'm not mistaken," Wesley said.
Demona turned to him and nodded.
"So what are you here for, Demona," Angela asked. "A little payback for what happened?"
"What happened?" Cordelia asked.
"I tried to feed off of her," Angel said. "It took me a week to get the taste out of my mouth." He watched as Demona rubbed the spot on her neck where he had bitten her. "Is that what this is all about?"
"No," she said. "I took my revenge on you long ago, after you stole something very precious from me and some friends of mine."
Angel realized what she was referring to. "The gypsies," he said.
"Yes," she said.
"You were the one who cast the spell that restored my soul," he added.
"No," Demona said. "That I cannot take credit for. But I did provide the spell and the incentive. I thought it appropriate to make you suffer for what you did." She backed off a bit as she returned to the reason she had sought Angel out in the first place. "That's all in the past," she said. "Right now, I need your assistance. I need…a detective."Los Angeles Police Department
Kate looked at the picture again. What did the CEO of Nightstone want with Angel, she wondered. Did it have something to do with Wolfram and Hart? She set down the picture of Dominique Destine and picked up the one of Angel. It was a surveillance camera picture, taken during that bizarre time when everyone in the precinct was acting exceedingly mellow. Even Angel had been affected. And he was a vampire.
She thought about that. Did Nightstone have some vested interest in uncovering his secret? Given that the headquarters of Nightstone Unlimited was in New York, home to a clan of gargoyles, was it possible they were looking for a way to exploit Angel?
There was some sudden activity in the squad room. She looked up as several uniformed officers started heading for the door.
"What's up?" she asked.
"Trouble at the new Nightstone Plaza," one of the officers said as he rushed out. Kate grabbed her jacket and followed them out. Her questions about the connection between Angel and Dominique Destine would have to wait until later.Angel Investigations
Angel watched as Demona discarded the ruined business suit. Fortunately, she had chosen to wear her usual attire, halter and loincloth, underneath the human clothing. She reached into her handbag and pulled out her armlet and tiara, putting them on.
"I'm still not sure why I should help you, Demona," he said. "From what I've heard, helping you tops the list of things not to do."
"I agree," Wesley said. "The Watcher's Council has made it clear that aiding you is not exactly a good idea. Especially given your past."
"Since when have you listened to what the Watcher's Council says, Wesley," Cordelia said. "Besides, this is Dominique Destine. She has more money than Xanatos."
"Not quite," Demona said, turning to look at the aspiring actress/secretary. "But give me time." She found herself growing fond of the human. Especially the way she sprang to her defense, even if it was because of the money.
"I don't know," Angel said. "We do have a case to work on already. A missing chinchilla…"
"Chihuahua," Wesley quickly corrected.
"Chihuahua," Angel continued. "And its owner is really looking forward to us finding…"
Angel stopped when he saw the look of pain on Cordelia's face. For a brief instant, he thought she was faking it; like when she tried to convince him to take Rebecca Lowell as a client to protect her from a 'deranged fan', only to find out later that it was a publicity stunt cooked up by her agent, but he could tell from the way Cordelia sagged against the desk that it wasn't an act.
Images flashed in Cordelia's mind, as well as a host of strong emotions, most of it fear.
Panic, as she saw someone running down a hallway.
Pain, as she felt him being thrown against the wall.
Terror at the sight of the creature looming over him.
Agony as she felt his death.
Angel was quickly at Cordelia's side as she started to collapse to the floor. He held her up and guided her to a chair.
"What happened?" Demona asked.
"She's had a vision," Wesley said as he thrust a pad and pen into Cordelia's hands. She began writing down an address.
"A vision," Angel said. "She's my link to The Powers That Be." He turned to look at Demona. "She's a seer."
Demona looked at Cordelia. "How long has she had this gift?"
"Not long," Angel said. "A…friend passed it on to her before he died." He thought of Doyle for a brief moment. He turned his attention back to Cordelia. "What did you see?" he asked as Wesley went to the small office refrigerator and retrieved an ice pack from the freezer.
"Trouble, what else," Cordelia said painfully. She handed Angel the pad. She had written down an address. "I saw a guy running down a hallway and something attacked him."
"A demon?" Wesley asked as he handed her the ice pack.
"Thanks, Wesley," she said as she pressed it to her forehead. "I don't know what it was, but it sure looked like it. All big and mean and scary looking."
"Where?" Wesley asked. Angel read the address.
"Wait a minute," Demona said. "That's my building."
Angel turned to face her. "Your building?"
"The new Nightstone Office Plaza downtown," Demona said. "It opened last month. It appears you'll be taking my case after all," she added.
"Let's not jump to conclusions," Wesley said. "It could be just a coincidence…" He stopped when Angel grabbed his coat and headed for the door. Demona turned to follow him. She stopped when Angel turned to look at her.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"With you," she said. "This is my company you're going to."
"And your employees are aware of your…dual nature," Wesley said pointedly.
Demona smirked and quickly uttered a few word in Latin. Her appearance changed quickly and once again Angel and Wesley were looking at Dominique Destine.
"How did you…" Wesley asked as he brought up his hand to touch her. Dominique quickly stepped away from him.
"An illusion spell," Angel said. She nodded her head in response.
"I sometimes find it necessary when I travel abroad," she said. "It gives me a measure of freedom during the night. Although it does have its limitations."
"No physical contact with another person, I take it," Wesley said.
"Precisely," she said. "It shatters the illusion. That is why I use it infrequently. Although I have used it to scare the living hell out of someone who ticked me off on more than one occasion." She fondly remembered the night she invited Darien Montrose over to her house to talk to Angela. And the look on his face when both she and Angela changed to gargoyles right before his eyes.
"Wesley, you stay here with Cordelia," Angel said. "We'll be back as soon as possible."Nightstone Office Plaza
Downtown Los Angeles
Kate Lockley watched as Angel drove up in his car. She walked over to him and caught sight of Dominique Destine getting out.
"I suppose I should ask you what you're doing here, Angel," she said. "But I guess that's obvious." She looked over at Dominique.
"Have we met?" Dominique asked her, seeing the look Kate gave her.
"Not really," she said. "But I was there when they arrested that guy who tried to snatch your purse. Nice work, by the way."
"Thank you, detective…"
"Lockley," Kate said, extending her hand. Dominique just looked at it and Kate withdrew it finally. Nice attitude, she thought. Must not like cops.
"What's going on here, Kate," Angel asked, noticing the number of squad cars parked outside the Nightstone Plaza main entrance.
"There was a break-in about twenty minutes ago," Kate said. "Whoever it was killed one security guard and seriously wounded another one. He's on his way to the hospital right now. We're trying to get a statement from the guard who called in the alarm."
"I need to talk to him," Dominique said.
"I'm sorry, but I can't allow that," Kate said. "This is a criminal investigation."
"This is my company, detective," she said. "And I'll speak to whomever I wish to." She stalked past Kate and headed towards the main entrance. Kate made a move to stop her, but Angel quickly grabbed her by the arm.
"I wouldn't if I were you, Kate," he said. "You might not like what you discover."
"Like finding out that you're a vampire," she said as she pulled her arm away. For a brief moment, she considered the possibility that Dominique was one as well, but tossed out that idea when she remembered that the attempted purse snatching had happened that afternoon in broad daylight. She looked at the CEO as she disappeared into the building. Whoever, or whatever, Dominique Destine was, it was obvious that she and Angel had a history. She looked back at Angel before following Dominique into the building. Angel went in after her.
She found her trying to get around two police officers that were barring her path to the remaining security guard.
"Listen lady," one of the officers said. "I don't care if you're Janet Reno, you can't interfere in a police investigation."
"It's okay," Kate said. "Let her talk with him. We're about done here anyway."
Dominique turned to look at her briefly before walking between the two officers to approach the security guard.
"I'm sorry, Miss Destine," he said. "There wasn't anything I could do to help them."
"What happened?" she asked calmly. "Try to remember every detail."
Her calmness seemed to relax him, Kate noted. He was probably afraid that he would lose his job over this incident, but apparently she wasn't going to hold this against him.
"I was in the security room," he said. "Where all the monitors are. Dave was doing rounds and Steve was down here at the desk. All of a sudden, we get a disturbance up on Twelve, so Dave goes there and that's when this…thing…attacks him. It knocked him around and then let him go." He began to shake at that moment. "Then it…it…chased him down the hall and…"
Kate could guess the rest. They had found the guard 'Dave' slumped against the wall with a massive scorch mark on his chest. Apparently this guard had seen the whole thing over the security monitors.
"What am I going to tell his wife?" he asked. "They were expecting their first kid in August."
"She'll be cared for," Dominique said. "Please continue."
Her tone surprised Angel. He had always heard that she despised humans, and would like nothing better than to see them wiped off the face of the Earth. Now it appeared that she actually cared about what happened to them. Apparently, something had happened that had changed her entire outlook. He wondered if the rumored Unseelie War last year had something to do with it.
"It got into one of the elevators and started down," he said. "So I called down here to tell Steve what was going on and then I killed the elevators to keep it from escaping." He looked towards the elevators. "It didn't even slow it down."
Kate and Angel looked towards the bank of elevators. The doors to one of them had been blasted open from inside the shaft. Angel went over and looked through the ruined doors. He could see the bottom of the elevator car five floors up. The floor had been ripped open from the inside. Whatever had done that had to have inhuman strength. He pulled his head out of the shaft as he heard Kate approach.
"So what are we dealing with here?" she asked. "Some kind of demon?"
"I don't know, Kate," he said. He took out a flashlight and shined the light on the inside of the doors. "No demon I know of is capable of something like this."
Kate looked at the door. There was a massive scorch mark on the inside of the door. She had never seen anything like it.
They heard footsteps approaching. They turned to see the security guard and Dominique walking towards them.
"Angel, Detective Lockley," she said. "If you would come with us, we may be able to find out who is responsible for this." She turned and led them towards the security room.
The guard sat at the monitor panel, his fingers flying expertly over the playback console. Dominique stood behind him, watching him work.
"What are we looking at?" Kate asked.
"This is a high resolution, digital scan system," Dominique said. "All the images are captured onto a series of rewritable DVD-CD's after being stored on a computer chip. With it we can view images within thirty seconds of an incident."
Kate whistled low. Apparently, Dominique Destine was proud of her company's latest technology.
The guard pulled up the image of the hallway on the twelfth floor and began the replay. They watched as the guard Dave ran down the hall, only to be grabbed and thrown against the wall, by something that was regrettably out of view of the camera. But then they caught a glimpse of something. A wing.
"Stop!" Dominique said. The guard froze the image. She looked at it for a minute.
"You've done enough," she told the guard. "I'll take over from here."
"Are you sure, Miss Destine?" he asked. "I could…"
"No, that's all right," she said. "I can handle this."
The guard got up and left, and Dominique slid into the chair, mindful of her tail which hung invisibly over the side. She had to be careful. If either Angel or the human touched it inadvertently…
She continued the playback and saw what she expected. The creature finally came into view. It picked the guard up, almost as if it were helping him after he had taken a bad spill, then allowed him to take a few steps away from him. Then it called to him, causing the guard to turn and that's when the creature fired some kind of energy from its hands. The energy struck him in the chest, flinging him backward against the wall. Then the creature turned towards the camera and stuck its tongue out while crossing its eyes before finally extending its middle finger to the camera and then ramming the digit through the lens.
Dominique knew the culprit all too well.
"Fang," she hissed angrily.
"Who?" Kate asked.
Damn, Dominique thought. She'd forgotten that the human was in here with her and Angel.
"His name is Fang," she said. "Or at least, that's what he goes by now. I have had… dealings with him in the past."
"What is he?" Kate asked. "Some kind of demon?"
Dominique turned to look at Angel. "It's okay," he said. "She knows my secret."
Now Kate was more than a little curious about her. And just what is your secret, Ms. Dominique Destine?
Dominique looked at her. "No," she said. "He's not a demon. He's a Mutate."
"A what?" Kate asked.
"He's a human that has been genetically altered," Dominique said. "It was an experiment conducted by Dr. Anton Sevarius on several...individuals."
"Anton Sevarius," Kate said. "The geneticist?"
"Butcher would be a more suitable title for him," Dominique said. "But yes, him. I've had an occasion to see some of his work...up close...for an extended period of time."
"He worked for you?" Kate said.
"Yes, I'm sorry to say," she admitted. "I have since terminated his employ." She turned to look at the screen, backing up the image until Fang's face was on the screen. "This one was being held in a special facility until his condition could be reversed, but he escaped. He's been missing ever since."
"And now he's here," Angel said.
"Any idea what might've been stolen?" Kate asked.
"None," Dominique said. "At least not until I can consult with the staff that uses the floor he broke into." She made a few adjustments to the picture and then printed a hard copy for Kate. "I suggest you be careful, detective. Fang will not be easy to find. He has been on the run for nearly three and a half years. And don't forget," she added as she recalled the image of him killing the security guard. "He is extremely dangerous."
Kate took the printed copy of the picture. "I'll be sure to let everyone know about him," she said. She turned and left the security room.
"Okay, Demona," Angel said after Kate left. "Suppose you tell me what's going on?"
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
"You didn't drop by my office to reminisce," he said. "You told me you needed my help, and now this happens. What's going on?"
Still wearing the illusion of Dominique, Demona went to the door and closed it. "A little over a year and a half ago, I discovered that someone was siphoning off funds from my Paris office. They lost well over a half million. Last year, I discovered who it was." She turned to look at him. "It was my former partner, Alexander Thailog."
"That name doesn't sound familiar," Angel said.
"I'm not surprised," she said. "Considering that until 1995, he didn't even exist. Thailog is a clone, a duplicate of my former mate Goliath. He was another of Anton's experiments." She sat back down. "I met Thailog in Paris, sometime after he stole a substantial amount of money from Xanatos. I fell in love with him, but I later discovered that he was interested only in my money. He even tried to replace me with a hybrid clone named Delilah." She looked at Angel before turning her attention back to the video monitor. "I think that Thailog is here in Los Angeles."
"What makes you think that?" Angel asked.
"Last month, I became aware of certain projects that were being planned for this site," she said. "Projects that would need my authorization in order to be implemented. And a few others that I would never okay."
"The rehiring of Sevarius," Demona said. "He's here in Los Angeles, and where he is, I know that Thailog can't be far behind."
Angel looked at the image of Fang. "And how does he fit into this? Is he working for Thailog?"
"If he is," Demona said. "He's probably in it for the money. From what little I do know about Fang, he was a petty crook before he became a Mutate, and money is about the only thing he cares about."June 18, 2000
"Thanks again, Giles," Wesley said. "I'll keep in touch." He hung up the phone.
"So what did Giles have to say?" Angel asked. Following their departure from Nightstone, Angel dropped Demona off at her hotel before returning to his office and began checking up on her.
"Her story about being in Sunnydale last month checks out," Wesley said. "Apparently she was there to recover something that Mayor Wilkins had stolen from her."
"Any idea what it was?" he asked.
"Giles said it was the Jewel of Ragorak," Wesley said.
"Hmm," Angel said. "I wonder what she needed that for?"
"What is it?" Cordelia asked.
"It's part of a gargoyle fertility ritual," Angel said. "It's supposed to ensure male potency."
"Sort of like a gargoyle Viagra," Cordelia quipped.
"Something like that," Angel said.
"Somehow, I don't see her as having that kind of trouble," Cordelia said.
"According to Giles," Wesley said. "Demona told them it was to be an anniversary gift to her daughter."
"That could explain her change of attitude," Angel said. "Last night, she actually cared about what happened to her employees. One of the security guards was killed, leaving a pregnant wife behind. Demona said she'd be cared for."
"Not exactly the human-hating she-demon the Council reports her to be," Wesley said.
"Believe me," Angel said. "Her reputation was well deserved. But it looks like she may have had a change of heart over the past couple of years. Her daughter could be what caused it."
"Motherhood will have that effect on you," Cordelia said. "So, are we taking her case?"
"I don't know," Angel said. "I'm still not sure I trust her." He sat there for a moment before returning his attention to Cordelia and Wesley. "See what you can turn up on her past," he said. "And find out everything you can on her old business partner, Alexander Thailog. I have a feeling there's something here she's not telling us." He got up and grabbed his coat.
"Where are you going?" Cordelia asked.
"I've got a few questions to ask her myself," he said. He headed downstairs.Dominique Destine's penthouse
Dominique stepped out of the shower and pulled on the bathrobe before looking at the clock. She still had a few hours before she was to review what happened with the Research Department. Whatever Fang had been after, he apparently hadn't found it, or he had and the department heads were keeping mum about it, which irritated her because she pretty much owned their miserable lives. She stepped out of the bathroom and crossed over to the wardrobe.
"If you ask me," she heard a mocking voice say. "I'd say red is definitely your color."
She spun and caught sight of Fang lounging in the chair. "You!" she snarled. She turned and made a grab for the blaster she had set on the top shelf. She spun around to shoot him when a bolt of energy sent it spinning out of her hand.
"Now is that any way to greet an old cellmate?" he said, putting his hand over his heart and trying to sound hurt.
Dominique massaged her hand, trying to get the feeling back into it and thanking no one in particular that she hadn't lost any fingers. "What do you want, Fang?"
"The boss wants to see you," he said.
"You can tell Thailog that he can go to Hell for all I care," she snarled. "I have no interest in his petty schemes."
"Even if it concerns your company," he taunted.
That caught her attention. "What are you talking about?" she asked, even as she realized what Thailog wanted.
"He wants Nightstone, Demona," Fang said. "And of course the only way he can get it…"
"Is if something rather fatal were to happen to me," Dominique said. She crossed her arms across her chest. "It's a nice plan," she said. "But it's been tried before. In Paris. I'm certain he remembers how that turned out."
"Well, that was because Elisa and Goliath got in the way," Fang said. "And unless I miss my guess, they're back in New York. Getting really close, if you know what I mean." He put his hands together and began making kissing noises.
"As if I care," Dominique said through clenched teeth.
"Oh, I can see that you do," Fang said. "It must kill you to see your old hubby running around with someone else. Oh, wait," he said. "That's supposed to be my job."
Dominique dived behind the bed just in time to avoid the blast. There was a big hole in the wardrobe door where she had been standing. She reached between the mattress and box spring for the spare she kept hidden. Where is it?
"Are you looking for this?" she heard Fang taunt. She looked up and saw the gun dangling from his finger. He tossed it in the air and blasted it apart. "Oops, sorry."
Dominique snarled as he got out of the chair and walked towards her.
"You know," he continued. "You're just making this hard on yourself. All Thailog wants is your company. Once you're out of the way, he can take over without any trouble. I mean, it's not like you'll be dead or anything. At least not permanently."
"No," Dominique hissed. "Just long enough to have my death confirmed by a coroner. That way, it'll be nice and legal."
"You got it, babe," Fang said. "Now, how do you want it? Quick and painless, or not."
"Not," Dominique said. She grabbed a high-heel shoe and flung it at him.
Fang ducked under the improvised missile, not wanting to get hit in the head by the heel, and that gave Dominique time to race for the door. She was almost hit when Fang threw another blast at her, but she opened the bedroom door just in time and used it to block the blast. The force of the blast sent her tumbling out the door and down the stairs. Fang raced through the ruined door and watched her pick herself up.
"Boy, I love it when a woman plays hard to get," he said gleefully.
Dominique looked up at him and snarled. "While you just play hard to get rid of," she hissed through clenched teeth. She had dislocated her right shoulder in the fall and it hurt like hell. She grimaced as her muscles pulled the joint back into place.
"Man, I bet that hurt," he said. He spread his wings and jumped down. "Want me to massage it and make it all better?"
Dominique eyed him venomously as twin globes of energy formed around his hands.
"I'd like to speak to Ms. Dominique Destine," Kate Lockley said.
The desk clerk gave her a visual once-over and frowned. "And for what may I ask?"
Kate took out her badge and showed it to the clerk. "I'm investigating the break-in at the Nightstone Office Plaza," she said. "Since Ms. Destine owns Nightstone..."
If it was possible, the frown on the clerk's face seemed to grow. "Very well," he said. He picked up the phone and dialed the number to the penthouse.
Fang looked at the phone as it rang. He jumped over to the table and picked up the receiver. "Hello," he said.
The desk clerk pulled the receiver away from his ear and looked at it briefly. "Who is this?" he asked. "Where is Ms. Destine?"
Fang looked at Dominique, who was easing her way back to the stairs up to the bedroom. She had one more thing she could try. "She's in a meetin' right now," Fang said. "And she's not takin' any calls." He hung up the phone and then ripped the cord out of the wall. "Now, where were we?" he said. He turned and saw Dominique bolt up the stairs. He fired another blast at her as she cleared the top stair, and the edge of the blast caught her in the back. She screamed in pain as she went flying into the bedroom. Fang started up the stairs and cracked his knuckles. "As I was saying..."
The desk clerk tried calling her room again. "I don't understand..."
Kate handed him a card. "Call this number," she said. "Tell them I need assistance."
"This is..." he started.
"Now!" she snapped as she raced for the elevator.
Dominique struggled to her feet as Fang approached her from behind. He grabbed her by the arm and pushed her towards the bed.
"You know, Dom," he said. "As much as I enjoy this, we really have to get right down to business. So just hold still and I'll do this as quickly and as painlessly as possible."
Dominique spun and slapped him across the face. "I have no intention of giving up, Fang," she hissed.
"Somehow, I knew you were going to say that," he said. He shoved her backwards onto the bed and charged up for another blast.
Dominique let her momentum carry her across the bed and onto the floor. She rolled until she ended up next to the blaster Fang had shot out of her hand previously and leveled it at him. He ducked as she squeezed the trigger.
"Hey, no fair," he protested. "You're not supposed to fight back."
"Sorry to disappoint," she said, as she readjusted her aim.
Fang headed for the door as Dominique squeezed the trigger again. The blaster sparked and fizzled before shattering in her hand. Fang stopped in his tracks and turned to look at her.
"My turn," he said, grinning.
Dominique had just enough time to throw the remains of the blaster at him before the blast he fired caught her in the chest.
The hairs on the back of Kate's neck stood up in response to the charged feeling in the air. She started to knock on the door to the penthouse when she heard the scream.
"Oh, crap!" she said. Kate put her shoulder to the door and tried without success to force it open. "They would have to have decent locks," she said, pulling out her gun. She fired three shots into the lock and kicked the door open.
Fang turned as he heard the shots being fired. Leaving Dominique where she was, he left the bedroom just in time to see a woman holding a gun kick open the door and race inside.
"Freeze, police!" she commanded, pointing the gun at him.
"I don't think so," Fang said. He turned quickly and raced back into the bedroom. He paused for a moment, considering taking the body with him. The sound of the cop racing up the stairs decided it for him. He took off for the open balcony doors.
Kate entered the room just in time to see Fang leap off the balcony. She raced outside and took careful aim, intending to shoot him in hopes of crippling him, but he got out of range too quickly.
"Damn!" she said. She turned around and caught sight of Dominique's body laying face down on the floor. She quickly ran to her side and carefully turned her over.
There was a large scorch mark on the woman's chest. Kate took out her cellular phone and called for an ambulance even as her fingers sought out a pulse, not surprised when she couldn't find one.
Dominique Destine was dead.
To be continued...