Author: Tazzy (jellicalcat1 )
Pairing: S/W, S/Aus,(implied)
Category: drama, angst
Disclaimer: No one belongs to me. Although if they did, I know I wouldn't be letting Darien, Angel or Spike out of my toybox ever.
Spoilers: In Buffy, during season four but pre-adam, in Angel, post-Darla trouble, and in Invisible Man, "Legends" and Season 1.
Summery: Darien, Hobbes, and the Keeper are sent to Los Angeles on a case and run into everyone's favorite vampires from Sunnydale.
Feedback: I need it like the vamps need blood or Darien needs counteragent.
Distribution: You want it, it's yours.
Author's notes: Okay, for I-Man, this takes place after Season 1 but before Season 2 and the Agency is still part of Fish and Game. For Angel, dunno the season, but after his little mess with Darla. He's once more working with Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn. Tara and Willow also are not the couple they are, but really good friends, but Spike still has his chip problem. Anything in is thoughts or internal arguments. I have only seen one Angel episode and nothing of Buffy since the second season so I'm guessing at the Graduation date for the Scoobies.
E.B. White once said "One of the most time consuming things is to have an enemy", which is true. Enemies keep a person wondering what they're gonna do next and if their enemies will be stopped in time. Often, enemies can lead you to new friends...
Slouching in his chair, Darien Fawkes stretched his long legs out before him as he laced his fingers over his abdomen. His partner, Bobby Hobbes, was sitting next to him, his posture slightly relaxed but still appearing to be almost at attention. Claire, the Keeper, was casually perched in her chair on the other side of Darien with her hands folded neatly in her lap, while Eberts stood in his usual position next to the Official. It had started out like any other Friday morning, but when Claire had followed him and Hobbes up from her lab in the basement of the Agency, Darien had a sneaking suspicion that he was going to have to postpone his plans for a monster movie marathon for another weekend.
"Gentlemen, your next assignment is in Los Angeles," announced the Official, a smug grin on his face as Eberts handed each of them a manila folder. "Due to the nature and distance of your assignment, the Keeper is going with you to handle the counteragent."
"Sir, why are we going to Los Angeles?" inquired Hobbes, glancing at the folder in his hands.
The smug smile grew slightly. "It appears that our old friends at Chrysalis have taken an unhealthy interest in a small-time detective agency called Angel Investigations. Your job is to see what makes them so interesting," the large man stated in a calm voice. For all the emotion he showed, the Official could have been talking about the weather instead of a group that threatened the stability and peace of the United States, and had come after Darien more than once. The Official nodded at Eberts who cleared his throat and picked up a folder similar to what the others held in their hands.
"Angel Investigations was founded in July of 1999 after Angel O'Shea moved to Los Angeles and purchased both an apartment and an office," began the plain man, reading from his folder. "He was joined by Francis Doyle, now deceased, and Cordelia Chase, a native of Sunnydale which was also Mr. O'Shea's last known address. Since then, they have been joined by two more employees, Charles Gunn, a Los Angeles native, and Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, an Englishman who also came to Los Angeles through Sunnydale. They often deal with cases of a supernatural nature, and if a person is in trouble but can't afford their bill, Mr. O'Shea will waive the agency's fee. When their office building was blown up, Mr. O'Shea purchased the Hyperion Hotel and has furnished it as an office for Angel Investigations and an apartment for himself."
"Wait a minute," interrupted Darien, staring at Eberts in disbelief. "Are you telling me that this guy is rich enough to buy an old hotel and yet he's still working?" When Eberts nodded, the lanky man frowned. "Where did his money come from? I mean, this Angel has to be at least as rich as our pal Stark, if not more so, to buy the Hyperion and not declare bankruptcy. The hotel alone takes up nearly a block; and to be able to refurnish it to make it hospitable, you're talking some healthy money."
Eberts consulted his notes briefly. "It appears that Mr. O'Shea inherited a sizable fortune from his family as well as valuable antiques and a prosperous stock portfolio," he reported.
"Anything else we should know about these characters?" inquired Hobbes, addressing the Official directly.
"Only that they seem to operate mostly after sundown," remarked the Official before turning to shuffle some papers on his desk, effectively ending the meeting and dismissing the agents. Exchanging amused glances, Darien and Hobbes stood up and left the office with Claire right behind them.
Claire glanced at her watch before looking at the two men. "Give me an hour to pack the counteragent and a bag," she requested, turning to head for the elevators and her lab in the basement. "I'll meet you back here so we can leave in that van of yours, Hobbes."
When she vanished behind the metal doors, Darien turned to Hobbes with a grin on his face. "You notice she never mentioned Pavlov in that little explanation," the lanky man mused, his voice full of mock-innocence that didn't quite match the mischievous twinkle in his dark eyes.
A chuckle escaped from Hobbes. "I think she just pawns the pooch off on the neighbors when she goes with us," came the remark. "Like when people go on vacation." He shrugs as if the problem is of no concern to him, and glances at his watch before looking at the ex-thief. "You should head back to your place to pack and I'll swing by and pick you up on my way back here for Keep."
With a nod and a wave, Darien easily makes his way back out into the warm October sunlight. Casually, he slips his dark glasses on as he folds his lanky form behind the wheel of his used car, and a slight grin crosses his face as the engine easily starts. Still wearing the grin, he steers the black car down the slightly crowded San Diego streets on his way back to his apartment. The wind was ruffling his spiky hair through the open window. He still found it hard to believe that it was only a few days from Halloween because the trees were still green and the weather warm enough for short sleeves. He could remember, as a child, hiding in a pile of leaves and then jumping out at his brother, Kevin, when he walked by with his nose buried in one scientific book or another. The year before Darien was convicted with his third strike, he had gone with Liz to a costume party at a club in Seattle. After hearing about his brother's obsession with "The Invisible Man", she somehow managed to convince Darien to dress as the lead character while she had donned a slinky Catwoman costume.
He chuckled at the memory. he mused, a touch of bitterness in his thoughts, as he maneuvered the car into the parking lot near his apartment building. Locking his car, he easily scaled the stairs to his apartment and dug in his closet for a duffel bag. Tossing it onto his bed, he proceeded to stuff it full of enough clothes to last him a week. When he came across a black bag shoved into the farthest corner of his closet.
Frowning, he pulled it out and unzipped it to reveal black clothing and a coil of rope resting on top. It was his bag of burglar tools that he hadn't used since Liz was last in town. They had used her gear when they were breaking into the Feds' building, but he still had his. Hesitating for just a second, Darien closed the bag and tossed it on the bed next to his other bag. A few more minutes, and he was packed for however long he was stuck in Los Angeles; and ready to try and avoid falling into Chrysalis's hands while digging up the dirt on this detective agency. He shrugged as he scooped up both bags and deposited them next to the apartment door. Maybe he'd be luckier this time than he had been in the past, and actually be able to get into a place, get what he was after, and get out again without getting caught.
I can hope at least, he thought, as he stocked up Darien the rat with extra food and water for the duration of the assignment. Shaking his head, the lanky man grabbed his bags and descended to the street just as the battered agency van pulled up to the curb. He had a feeling that it was going to be a long assignment.
The door to the Magic Box opened and Spike waltzed in as if he owned the place. His duster floated around him; earning glares from Buffy, Xander and Giles and a timid glance from Willow. Anya only rolled her eyes at the bleached vampire's actions and went back to counting money. He strolled over to the table and threw himself into a chair across from Willow who blushed an even deeper red when he winked at her.
"So what do you need the Big Bad for?" he drawled, leaning back to put his boots up on the table. "Finally decided to let me end your miserable lives?"
Buffy snorted and folded her arms across her chest. "In your dreams, Fangless," she retorted before turning to Giles. "Is it really necessary to send him?"
"I'm afraid so," apologized the Watcher, removing his glasses to absently polish them. "He can protect Willow, and he also has a reason for wanting to leave Sunnydale right now." Spike tried not to wince at the memory of the Initiative commandos that had practically taken over the night, forcing all of the smart demons to run from the Hellmouth. Those that weren't as smart or not as cunning found themselves in a sterile white cell where various scientists experimented on them before they died. There was no way he was going to let those tossers capture him again, chip or no bloody chip. Shoving those thoughts aside, he focused on the conversation that was going on. Apparently, they needed him to protect the redhead when she went somewhere, but that was all he had managed to get from the conversation.
"Pet, what do you need me for?" The soft question was directed at Willow while Buffy and Giles continued arguing about the necessity of sending Spike with the witch.
Startled green eyes flew to meet glittering blue. "I need to go to LA to get a book from Angel," she confessed in a soft voice. "It's too old for him to mail it to us, and apparently it has information in it about some demon that's rumored to be heading here to open the Hellmouth."
Spike leaned back in his chair and fixed her with a serious look. "And this has nothing to do with the rumor that Angelus is on his way back thanks to some law firm." Willow looked at him with fear evident on her face. He sighed, "Apparently, you hadn't heard that one."
"Then I have to go to LA immediately," she whispered, her words carrying to the vampire. She gazed at him, seriously. "I found a spell to permanently anchor his soul." Her calm announcement floored him and he looked at her in shock. A spell to permanently anchor the Poof's soul, and make sure that Angelus never terrorized the Earth again? But did he really want to participate in that decision- never to have his sire again?
whispered his demon, drawing forth the memories of abuse he had suffered at the hands, and mouth, of Angelus when the wanker had lost his soul. Spike could definitely agree with that observation, and had to wonder if the soul had somehow driven the demon crazy. The Angelus that he had known in the last century never would have tried to suck the world into Hell where he would just be a small lackey with no real power. No, being feared and having that control over others was too important to the Angelus that had taught William the finer points of being a vampire.
"When can you leave?" inquired Spike, watching her as he came to a decision. He definitely didn't need the crazed version of Angelus back, especially since he was unable to feed from humans. If he thought what had happened when he had been stuck in a wheelchair was bad, he didn't want to imagine what he would be put through because of the chip. Willow glanced at him and smiled as she stood up.
"How soon can you be ready?" she asked, slinging her purse over her shoulder as she scooped up a book off the table.
A cocky grin crossed his face as he gracefully rose to his feet. "Got my smokes, my coat, an' my cash," he announced. "What more do I need?"
His answer coaxed a giggle from Willow before she glanced at the still arguing Watcher and Slayer. "We're leaving now," she announced, only to shake her head, as no one seemed to hear her. Sighing, she grabbed a piece of scrap paper and scribbled a quick note before snagging Spike's arm on her way out the door. "Let's go before something happens." Spike laughed and followed her out of the store.
A comfortable silence surrounded them that lasted until they were on their way to Los Angeles in Willow's car. Finally, the hacker was unable to ignore the question that was scampering through her mind like a crazed animal. "Spike, why are you so anxious for Angel's soul to become permanent?" The question startled the blond vampire out of his thoughts and he turned crystal blue eyes on her in puzzlement. "I mean, it doesn't seem like you two can even stand each other and yet, you're willing to let me permanently secure his soul and prevent Angelus from ever re-emerging."
A soft sigh slipped from pale lips as Spike returned his attention to the front windshield. "The Angelus that terrorized you and your mates wasn't the Angelus that I knew," he confessed his voice emotionless. "True, the stalking and killing was Angelus, but he did things that he never would have done before the soul. Like trying to suck the world into Hell." he added silently. "I think that somehow the soul or the curse warped his demon."
"You too?" Willow asked.
Spike's head whipped around so fast to stare at her that he would have suffered from whiplash if he weren't already dead. Willow nodded in agreement. "I read all of the Diaries that talked about Angelus," she said, "and I couldn't understand why he was so anxious to awaken that Alcatha just because Buffy kept defeating him. Everything I read made him appear to be the ultimate Alpha male; not wanting to submit to anyone or anything no matter how strong it was." Willow gestured with one hand while she steered the car with the other. "Surely he knew that sucking the world into Hell would drop him down to one of the lowest people on the totem pole instead of being one of the most feared vampires on Earth."
The peroxide blond vampire continued to stare at her as her words echoed through his mind. He knew she was the smart one of the group, but this was a level that he had never expected from her, and it surprised him. He had come to the same conclusion after living with Angelus for nearly a decade, about the same time he had adopted the nickname "Spike", and here she had picked it up from reading the Watcher's Diaries. "Yeah, but with your little spell, that wanker will be gone for good," he replied with false cheerfulness.
Willow sighed. "There's a slight danger," she warned, nervously biting her lower lip. "If the spell is interrupted for any reason at all, then he'll be Angelus forever and no amount of cursing will return his soul to him."
"Then we make sure that noting disrupts the spell, pet," announced Spike, his voice firm. He stared out of the front windshield as silence once more descended on them, and tried to ignore the feeling of dread that threatened to envelope him.