Yes, this is unfinished. The Angel characters are owned by Joss, and this
is set early (EARLY) season 1 of Angel. If you'd like me to continue it,
let me know.
Doyle strolled into Angel's "office," still being refurbished. Cordelia,
amazingly, was cheerfully rearranging the furniture and decorating the
room, apparently going for something of a noirish feel that suited Angel
perfectly. No matter, he wasn't here to critique the decor, he was here on
business. That didn't stop him from staring and Cordelia's legs perhaps a
bit longer than necessary. Finally, conscious of her glare, he said, "The
boss man awake?"
"Yes," Cordelia answered. "He's down there making some kind of tea. I
"Tea?" Doyle was puzzled; it didn't seem to be a very Angel thing to do.
"Yeah. It involves stripping to the waist and moving around. Beats me how
that's gonna get him caffeinated."
Cordelia wasn't stupid, but if it didn't directly affect her she didn't
seem to want to learn it. Ah well. She was still lots of fun too look at.
"Thanks. I'll have to try that kind of tea myself sometime." She gave the
half-demon a funny look, and he edged past her and made his way down into
It resembled the famous batcave in underground location only; god, what a
good tyrannosaurus rex or giant penny would do for this place! Though
Cordelia was a lot hotter than Alfred, and hooray for that, eh? Angel was
just wiping off some sweat and putting a shirt back on when he saw Doyle
enter with the slip of paper in his hand.
"Yeah." He handed over the sheet. "This headache was wickeder than most.
I'll be feeling it a week. Dunno for sure, but I think that means
complications." Angel read the name off the sheet; it was a young woman
named Denise Jacobs, and the place to find her was at a bookstore. Not too
far away, Doyle guessed.
"Complications?" Angel asked.
"Beats me as to what, but there will definitely be other forces at work
"Good to know. Wish you could be more detailed, though."
Doyle sighed. "Me too, but whatcha gonna do, eh? Now, come on. You got
lives and souls to save."
Angel headed for the shower.
* * * * *
Three women were standing in a diner just before 5:00. Two of them, a
heavyset black woman in her late '60s and an attractive redhaired white
woman in her early thirties wearing a flowing blue dress, were on the
customer's side of the counter. The black woman was standing behind the
redhead, who is pleading with the woman behind the counter.
"Can't you see, Miranda? You hurt him terribly when you accused him of
doing those things. He's at the bus stop even now, getting ready to leave.
You can't let him go like this! He's changed, he's a good man now. He has
placed his faith in the One Above who guides all things."
Miranda, a small, wiry dark-haired woman in her early '40s, choked back a
sob. "I wish I could believe you. But I've seen what he can do. I've felt
it!" Unconsciously, her hands rubbed the fading bruise on her cheek.
"You can," the older customer said. "Trust in Him. He won't let you down."
"That's right. Love will find a way," the redhead said. "If only you
believe strongly enough." She took Miranda's hand and said, "Go to him.
Miranda looked up, a loving glow in her eyes. "I will. By God, I will!"
Then she dropped the plate she'd been absently washing and rushed out of
the diner down the street, to where her errant husband was waiting at the
"Alejandro," she begged. "Don't leave. I – I love you too much to let a
silly thing like one bruise come between us. I have found it in my heart to
forgive you. Can you do the same for me?"
Alejandro looked down at her. Then he swept the thin woman up into a big,
rough hug. "Of course, I can, sweetheart," he said. "I knew you'd come to
your senses eventually. You know I didn't mean to hurt you like that."
Back in the diner, the two women looked at each other with broad smiles on
their faces. "You know, Tesh," the redhead told her older friend, "Every
once in a while I love my job. Seeing them, like that, so happy –"
Tesh grinned, and sharp teeth showed when she did. "And all the while
knowing that he'll beat her to death within six months, now that we've
gotten them back together."
"Pain and misery can be so satisfying for the soul." The two of them walked
out of the diner.
"Well, it would be if we HAD souls, Demonika. Now come on, devil in a blue
dress; we got lives to destroy and time's a wasting." They walked down the
road and disappeared around the corner, heading for a nearby bookstore . .
* * * * *
As Tesh and Demonika rounded the corner, they ran into a pleasant-looking
young man in a cream-colored suit. They greeted him familiarly.
Tesh called out, "Hey there! How's our favorite deathstalker today?"
They pulled up and greeted each other like old friends, which in a perverse
demonic fashion it must be supposed they were. Demonika said, with her
lilting Irish accent, "Andro! We have some good news for you."
The human-appearing demon smiled at them in an almost angelic way, his
teeth gleaming preternaturally, his short brown hair nonetheless rippling
in the wind. "What's that?"
Slapping him on the back and laughing heartily, Tesh said, "Andro, you dog!
You've been feeding recently!" Andro fed on the pain of the dying; the
worse their deaths were, the more pleasure and sustenance he got. But for
some reason it didn't work when he killed the people himself. This was a
good thing, as Andro didn't have it in him to be a torturer; he lacked the
necessary sadistic streak.
So he and Tesh and Demonika were sort of complementary. Tesh and Demonika
caused a lot of pain, and with any luck Andro got to feed off it when it
led to someone's untimely and lingering death. But in this case –
"Yes, please tell us, do," Demonika said.
"Yup," he grinned, "A nun got herself mugged and knifed a few blocks away.
I stood over her and watched her die, bleeding to death from a dozen stab
wounds. Her soul was, well, delicious. She died swearing and cursing."
The younger demon smiled, while the elder laughed again. "I do so love a
story like that."
After he waited for his compatriots to calm down, Andro prompted, "You said
you have good news?"
"Actually, two pieces of good news," Demonika said. They went on to explain
about Miranda and her abusive husband. "So stick around the area and in six
months or so you should be in a position to feed off her."
"I'll be like Bill Clinton and feel her pain."
Tesh continued, "The second piece of good news involves our next target.
See that bookstore down the block?" Andro looked where the dark-skinned
demon was pointing, to a used bookstore called The Fantastick, and nodded.
"Well, deathboy, she's being stalked. So far the stalker's just been
sending her notes that are a little too graphic, gifts that are a little
too personal, and so on. But soon, soon, with a little help from yours
truly, he's going to escalate. Ask her out a few times. Get pushy. And we
know he's not her type already. Nothing MALE could be."
"And," Demonika took up, "That's where I step in to . . . support her."
Puzzled, Andro asked, "And how do you know she won't win the fight?"
"The man in question isn't a man, sugar, he's a vampire. Jackie Chan,
maybe; one hundred-pound woman who ain't into working out, not a chance."
Andro smiled again. "I'll keep my ears out. Metaphysically speaking, of
"Timeframe – three days?" Tesh frowned at Demonika when she said that. "Two
days?" Now the elder demon was nodding her head approvingly.
"Thanks." And with that the deathstalker walked down the street. As he
passed by the recently reconciled Miranda and Alejandro he gave them a
"Right then," Tesh said. "Your work is in there. Mine . . . is in one of
these basements someplace. Well? What are you waiting for, Christmas? Get
* * * * *
Angel, dressed in a red t-shirt, black leather jacket and dark blue jeans,
walked upstairs shortly before sunset. The office wasn't in half-bad shape,
really. Cordelia sat with her legs propped up on a desk and said in his
general direction, "So what do I get to do?"
"Get to do?" Doyle asked, puzzled.
"Yeah! I wasn't a member of the Scooby Gang in Sunnydale for nothing, you
Doyle appealed to Angel. "Sorry, lad. She's speaking some foreign tongue."
"Cordelia," Angel answered, "Was OCCASIONALLY an active member of the
Slaying activities back in Sunnydale. However, Cordelia, let me point
something out to you. We're not exactly being backed by a platoon here.
There's no Xander waiting with a heroic but foolish save, no Willow to cast
a timely spell, no Giles waiting in the wings with a crossbow if things get
"So you're worried I can't pull my own weight. Is that what you're saying?"
Typical Cordelia. "Not at all. You've done a pretty good job with the
office, and you'll be able to do some legwork and data-gathering during the
day. But I do the fighting."
Scornfully, Cordelia pointed at Doyle. "And what does HE do? Besides stand
around and try to look up my skirt, and drive the getaway car?"
Unfazed, Doyle grinned. "I'm the most important one of all. I'm the idea
"Yeah, well, get THAT idea out of your head." Cordelia snapped out the
words, but there was no real venom behind them.
"In any event, this is just reconnaissance, I just want to find out who
this Denise Jacobs is I'm supposed to help, and what I can do. Doyle: Did
your subconscious tell you the name of that bookstore?"
"No, sorry, but it is only a mile or so down that way. Keep an eye out."
As soon as she'd heard Angel's question Cordelia had picked up the phone. "
. . . the 2700 block or so?" A brief pause. "Okay, thanks," and then she
hung it up. "There are two bookstores. One's a chain; the other's called
The Fantastick." She scribbled down the names and addresses on a piece of
paper. "Here you go."
Angel took a quick look at the writing and took off down the block.
It took him only a minute to discover that no one named Denise Jacobs
worked at the Barnes & Noble. A few hundred feet down the road, on the
other side, Angel could dimly make out a large green hand-painted wooden
sign with the words "The Fantastick" in white calligraphy. As he got closer
he peered in the window before entering. It was a rather spacious building,
not what he'd been expecting at all. A tall brown-haired woman in her early
forties worked behind the counter. That was likely the person he was
supposed to help.
As he entered he bumped into a slender redhaired woman coming in from the
other side. "Sorry," angel muttered.
And Demonika did the same.
* * * * *
75% of what Tesh knew, she knew through research. She had some kind of
talent that told her who the ripest victim was for her and Demonika to go
after, but all she got out of that was the bare details. If she
concentrated, she could find out where the other people or beings were
connected with whoever she and Demonika were trying to destroy. After that,
though, it was a lot of work sometimes getting the rest of it down.
The most important thing now was finding Scorpio, the vampire with the
fixation on the bookstore owner.
The fixation, then and there, should have told her the vamp was playing
with a deck missing the kings, queens, jacks, and the entire suit of
hearts. Scorpio's fixation wasn't leading him to want Denise a vampire, and
he didn't want to torture her; he wanted her to LOVE him for who he was,
first. Damn shame. Happened sometimes when a vamp's original personality
was strong and fairly stupid. Overrode the natural instincts to kill most
of 'em and convert the rest.
Tesh took a deep breath, clasped her hands together, and closed her eyes,
trying to clear her mind so she could discover the other demon's
whereabouts. Outwardly, this looked like praying, and when she was
interrupted, she said she was "seeking divine guidance." After years of
practice, she could say it with a straight face. It was a lot of fun, this
pretense of peddling God's wisdom, and the most fun of it was, 99% of the
BS they used was straight out of the mouth of some religious person on TV
or other. Naïve and simpleminded religious pap played with the masses very
Had to love those stupid masses.
Anyway, Tesh told herself, gotta get with it, demon! She took another deep
breath and cleared her mind. There! A faint trace, getting stronger . . ..
there he was! After dark as it was, he was moving around, Probably looking
for an early snack before he dropped by the bookstore to give Denise the
eye all night.
Walking quickly – but not too quickly, didn't want to attract the curious --
Tesh followed the trace and found Scorpio standing a few feet back in an
alleyway. Probably hell on the local muggers. Anyway, Tesh stood at the end
of the alleyway and yelled, "Hey, Scorpio! Get your lazy bloodsucking
behind out here. I got something to say to you."
Confused and puzzled, the vampire walked a bit hesitantly out into the glow
of the streetlights. "You . . . know me?" he asked. He sniffed a bit.
"You're another demon. Damn! I'm hungry."
"Name only, sugar, name only. I know you're a vampire, and I know you got a
thing for this bookstore
owner a few blocks away."
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Well, I'm here to help you."
"Really?" His face brightened. He was actually quite a handsome vampire, 31
or so in age, medium build, muscular, Asian features except for a pair of
striking blue eyes. "Not to look a gift demon in the mouth , but why would
you be interested in my love life?"
"Just call me Satan's little helper," she said, clapping Scorpio on the
shoulder. "Anyway, you know that –"
Tesh was interrupted by a woman who tapped her on the shoulder. "Excuse
me," she said, "You seem to be familiar with around here. Is this alley
Tesh looked up at Scorpio, then nodded. "Yup. And don't worry about Scorpio
here. He wouldn't harm a fly."
Smiling her gratitude, the woman started walking down the alley. Five feet
down, Scorpio jumped her and started feeding.
Tesh watched and laughed. "'course, you're not a fly . . ."
* * * * *
Angel walked inside and scoped out the territory. As he'd guessed, the
Fantastick was a science fiction and fantasy bookstore, with an emphasis on
women authors, although it didn't sell them exclusively. The palce was
clean and neat and laid out like most other used bookstores, except the
shelving was the same kind you'd've found in a chain bookstore.
There was music coming from the speakers, an unfamiliar song. He listened
"Modern scribes write in Jesus Christ everyone is free . . .
And the doors open wide for all straight men and women but they are not
open for me.
Who is teaching kids to be soldiers
To be marked by a plain white cross?
You kill just a little to save a lot more,
The philosophy of loss . . ."
As he rounded a bookshelf, he bumped into the same redhaired woman he'd
encountered at the bookstore's entrance.
"Sorry," he again said, a bit awkwardly.
"Apologies from me as well," the woman said with a faint Irish accent.
Irish? God, he hadn't used his own accent in so long . . . they did a
little dance and then Angel moved to one side to let the woman past. He
spent a few more minutes browsing the shelves, zooming past the Anne Rice,
lingering over the Laurell K. Hamilton – until he gauged that it was only
he, the redhead, and Denise Jacobs left in the store. Grabbing a random
Star Trek novel, he walked up to the register area . . . and the redhead
did the same. He stopped. She stopped. He moved forward. She moved forward.
They both stopped again and laughed an identical uneasy laugh.
"Go on ahead," she said.
"No . . . I'm in no hurry. Why don't you?" Angel answered.
"No, really, I insist."
This was odd behavior. "Alright," Angel said and strode up to the counter,
the redhead a step or so behind him. Denise Jacobs looked at him. "Are you
ready?" Angel nodded. She looked down at the book, then punched in the
total with a mildly disgusted look on her face.
"It's not for me," Angel said. "It's for a friend." Denise Jacobs nodded,
though it seemed she wasn't really paying attention. Perfect. This gave
Angel the opening he needed. "You okay?"
"Hmm?" she said as she opened the cash register.
Angel ,reaching for his wallet, said, "You seemed a bit . . ."
Surprisingly, the redhead finished his sentence. "Distracted." At Angel's
odd look, she said, "I notice these things." She reached forward – past
Angel – and offered a hand. "Hello. I'm Monika."
Denise Jacobs, a bit bemusedly, shook the hand. Angel simply added, "I'm
Angel, by the way. So . . . is something bothering you?"
"Nothing either of you can help me with." The bookstore owner's words were
"Are you sure?" Angel asked.
Monika followed hard on Angel's words with . . . "Sometimes it helps to
talk about it . . . "
Angel said, taking control of the conversation back, " . . . with someone
who doesn't know you all that well."
She took Angel's money and handed him the change, slamming the cash
register's drawer shut. "Look. While I might want to talk with YOU –" she
said, pointing at Monika, "under other circumstances, it wouldn't be about
my problem. And you – oh, shit. It's him." Denise was looking at the door.
Angel and Monika both followed her gaze. Oh shit was right. Because the
young man coming into the shop was a vampire.
Had he looked behind him, Angel would have seen "Monika" smile widely.
* * * * *
Denise Jacobs grimaced. "Scorpio," she began –
The vampire grinned, and the smile was clearly intended to be charming.
Angel thought it creepy, and if he'd been on the receiving end he imagined
he would have been quite unnerved. Denise Jacobs, on the other hand, seemed
to be keeping her composure. In a deep, melodic voice, the other vampire
began, "Hello, my love."
Gritting her teeth, Denise answered, "Scorpio, I used to think that was
cute. But I told you the last time you came in, I told you when you sent
me the flowers, and I told you when you brought me the figurine, I'm not
interested in you."
Scorpio's face took on a wounded look. "Denise, Denise, that's only because
you don't know me well enough yet. Give me time."
"No, it's because I'm gay."
Scorpio smiled again and said, "That's also because you don't know me well
Great, Angel thought. Not only was Scorpio a delusional vampire – not up to
Dru's level, but then, who was – he was also a bigot, and a sexist. And
looking at Denise Jacobs' face – he'd overestimated how well she was
keeping her composure. Right now she seemed to be a step away from having a
very public breakdown.
Monika said, "You aren't going to let him talk to you like that, are you?"
Scorpio glared at the redhead.
Barely glancing at Monika, Denise said, "I wasn't planning to," and then
glared at Scorpio. "I've told you and told you I'm not interested. Get out
and if you come by again, I'll call the cops."
"Cops?" Scorpio said. "The cops won't step in, and if they do I'm not
afraid of them." Which either meant he'd kill them, he had legal help
(Wolfram and Hart, no doubt), or both. In neither case did this bode well
for the future.
"Ms. Jacobs told you to leave." Angel said, calmly.
"Ms. Jacobs," Denise said, "didn't ask for your help, Angel. This is my
store, I don't need anyone's help." And usually that might be true, but it
wasn't now, unfortunately.
And Monika wasn't helping matters. "You don't need anyone's help," she told
the bookstore owner. "With faith, you can move mountains. One man should
hardly be a problem."
"Should isn't always is." Angel said.
"I can take care of myself," Denise said, and moved from behind the counter
to directly face Scorpio. "Go," she said. "Out of the store." Scorpio just
grabbed and began trying to kiss her. Denise did the obvious next move –
she kneed him in the balls, and when he yelped in pain and loosened his
grip, pushed him backwards towards the door of the store. After slamming
into the door, Scorpio shook his head and growled.
This was about to get ugly. Uglier. Angel charged over, reached behind
Scorpio, and pushed the door open, then flexed his body into the other
vampire and knocked him out onto the sidewalk. Scorpio didn't seem inclined
to immediate retaltiation; instead, he stood and glared past Angel. "I'll
be back, my love," he said. "When there are fewer . . . distractions
around." He bowed slightly and walked off down the street.
Angel and Monika turned to Denise at the same time. They both started to
ask her if she was okay when she looked at both of them and said, "Get. I
said I didn't need help, and I don't. I handled it myself, now both of you
leave." When they hesitated, Denise said, "I said –" her voice cracked into
a sob – "Go." Angel and Monika both walked out the front door, which the
owner locked behind them.
Monika gave Angel a penetrating look, then headed off down the street.
Angel looked around for a second – Scorpio was nowhere in sight, but that
didn't mean he wasn't nearby, waiting for the right moment. After making
sure that Monika was out of sight, Angel faded back into a nearby alley and
She'd make it home safely, at least.
* * * * *
Denise Jacobs locked the door and walked back to the counter. God, she'd
known those two were trouble from the second they'd opened their
interfering mouths. And trying to drive them away – insulting his taste,
"hitting" on her – hadn't worked, hadn't driven them away. At least they
seemd fairly normal, but still – she didn't want friends, couldn't they see
And then Scorpio – again. Something about her aloneness must have appealed
to him, perversely, and not a single revelation would make him leave her
the hell alone.
Dammit! Why wouldn't people just go away?
Connections – she didn't want connections. Didn't want people to be nice to
her. People should come in, make their purchases, and leave. She wasn't in
the bookstore business to make friends, she wasn't in it to make friends,
she . . . .
She shouldn't have been in it at all. She didn't even like science fiction
all that much. But she'd promised Lissa .
And for two years she'd kept the Fantastick going.
Is that enough, Lissa?
Will you tell your ghost to stop haunting me already?
She leaned her head on the counter and began to cry.
Oh, Lissa . . .
Why did you have to leave me alone?
* * * * *
Demonika caught Tesh chatting with Andro in a nearby bar. They were
comparing notes; Tesh was recounting their celebrity encounters. Reverend
Bakker, love is never a sin. By all means, keep on a drunken chauffeur, Mr.
Al-fayed. Strike out on your own, Mr. Caruso. And so on.
Andro saw her first and gave her a friendly wave. Tesh said, "Get over
here, devil child. Tell me how your first encounter went."
"Very oddly," Demonika answered. "There was another vampire running
interference. He threw Scorpio out before any real trouble could start."
That threw Tesh for a loop. "Another vampire? What was his angle?"
"No friggin' idea. He just kept trying to encourage Denise Jacobs to let
him handle Scorpio." She growled, and for a second she began to glow.
"Watch out, girl!" Tesh said. Demonika gasped and reasserted her self-
control. Soon the glow stopped. It happened sometimes when she or Tesh were
stressed or annoyed; the glow came out. It was their natural forms showing.
Usually they managed to cover it up; it was amazing how many people
believed them when they said it was their inner light shining through . . .
She and Tesh had a good laugh about that, every time.
Speaking of which . . . "He called himself Angel. Does that mean anything
"I have," Andro said. "He used to provide me with a lot of business, a
century or so back. Then he went and got himself a soul."
Tesh began guffawing. "Please! You think he's trying to make up for his
evil ways? Oh, that is just too, too rich." Then she got serious. "Still
–We've been having our fun this way for too long, demon baby, we don't need
any interlopers now."
"I could – have a chat with him," Andro said.
"And if he's not up for talking?" Demonika asked.
"Then I'll kill him."
* * * * *
Angel had waited nearly two hours to make sure Denise Jacobs was safely in
her apartment; 90% of that had been marking time until she left the
bookstore. She looked much the worse for wear, as though she'd spent the
previous hour and a half crying. Which she may very well have done, as
she'd been none too stable when he'd left the bookstore. But approaching
her as she left was the wrong way to go. Angel might not have keenly
developed instincts about socialization, but he wasn't that naïve, either.
Then, after trailing her home, he went back to his office at top speed.
Fortunately, Cordelia and Doyle were still there, although Doyle had gotten
an early start to the evening's drinking and was nursing a whiskey.
"So, what's this woman's problem?" Cordelia asked. "Wbich horrible new
species of demon are we going to have to look up this week?"
"The woman's problem," Angel answered patiently, "is a garden-variety
vampire stalking her."
"Oh, thank GOD. Do you know how much I hate reading up on those creatures?
They can be so disgusting."
"Not all demons are disgusting," Doyle commented. "Some can be quite . . .
"Yeah, until they sleep with you and try to kill you, and I should really
stop using that as an example, shouldn't I?"
Angel said nothing. It was the safest course.
"But otherwise it ran smoothly?" Doyle asked.
"Smooth as an avalanche. There was someone else there giving advice to
Doyle's head shot up so quickly he should have suffered whiplash. "Someone
else, you say?"
"And I don't think she was your typical good samaritan, either. This Monika
kept trying to cut me off . . . almost like we were competing when we were
trying to help Denise Jacobs. And what she said –".
"Let me guess. Her advice was the opposite of yours."
"Seemed that way," Angel answered, and proceeded to describe Monika, the
way she dressed, her accent, everything.
"Welcome to your complications," Doyle said when Angel was done.
Cordelia caught Doyle's tone before Angel did. "Wait, wait – you know this
"By her reputation only, which is bad enough." Doyle took another drink of
his ale and then put the alcohol aside. "Her real name is Demonika. She's
an Irish half-demon who enjoys causing trouble by doing good."
"Huh?" Cordelia said.
"She gives humans advice and encourages them to "do the right thing" –
usually by making blind references to God and faith – but the right thing
always turns out to be the wrong thing in the long run. She may encourage a
man to not give up on trying to pursue his true love, all the while knowing
that the true love has a jealous ex-husband who beats the living hell out
of anyone who goes after "his woman." Things like that. She travels around
with another human-appearing demon, calls herself Tesh. Tesh is a finder –
she can think of a person, a demon, anything sentient, and find either a
specific individual or just one of a type. Tesh gives Demonika advice on
who to go after next."
Angel asked, "Any other special powers or weaknesses?"
"They're strong and tough, but neither one of them is really a fighter. And
like all half-demons, Demonika has a stress reaction. She's the same
species as – well, normally, she'd get spikey. But working with Tesh has
changed DeMon – she glows instead, so as not to give away her real nature."
Suspiciously, Cordelia said, "What did you say?"
Face unreadable, Doyle said, "That Demonika tends to glow with an inner
light when she gets angry."
Cody shook her head. "Nooooh, that's not what you said. You called her
"I did no such thing."
As Cordelia was about to sputter out a "yes you did," Angel said, "That's
not important." Then he looked at Doyle. "Is it?" The half-demon shook his
head. "Then answer me this: Why would two demons behave like this? What's
in it for them?"
"This is how they get their kicks, mostly," came Doyle's answer. "No real
agenda, nothing driving them, and it's no natural compulsion, like drinking
blood is for vampires."
"How is it you now so much about these demons?" Cordelia asked, again
suspiciously. "No offense, but you're hardly scholar-boy."
Doyle hemmed and hawed, finally coming out with, "Connections, lass."
As Doyle had hoped, Cordelia came to the wrong conclusion. "Oh – you both
being Irish and all that. That makes sense." Then, after a pause, "But
Angel ignored that, seeing how uncomfortable it was making Doyle, and said,
"Well. That cuts my work out for me, but there's nothing else I can do
about the two of them right now. Doyle: You have connections who know the
supernatural side of the city, right?" Doyle said that he did. "Contact
them, see if they have any idea where this Scorpio hangs out. Cordelia, you
give him a hand."
"Right," Cordelia answered. "I'll also go to the bookstore when it opens
tomorrow and you're kind of . . . indisposed."
"Cordelia –" Angel began.
"Look," Cordelia answered. "Someone needs to be there to watch her, keep an
eye out for the two evil leapers. And while Mr. Sun is doing his thing,
that someone is me."
"How much do you know about science fiction?" Angel asked skeptically.
"More than you, apparently," Doyle said. "I caught the Quantum Leap
Cordy beamed. Angel gestured for Doyle to walk outside with him, conceding
Cordelia the undercover work. When they hit the street, Angel turned to
Doyle and said, "Now, what were you holding back? – and don't say you
weren't. I caught the DeMon part, too. I understand you don't necessarily
want to let Cordelia in on your family tree, but if you know more about
Demonika than you're letting on –"
"I know a lot more than I'm letting on, even if none of it's relevant.
Demonika isn't quite her real name. Her real name is Deirdre Monica . . .
Doyle. My sister."
* * * * *
After Angel and Doyle had their quiet conversation, Cordelia and Doyle
split up the list and began making phone calls.
". . . no, I will NOT go out with you! Ick, you probably have horns or
something." Doyle looked at the list, and whispered to Cordelia. "Well, um,
I meant horns in the metaphorical sense . . ." A loud click from the other
end, and then a dial tone.
"Not all of my connections to the supernatural are supernatural
themselves," Doyle commented mildly. "That one, for instance, is a priest."
"Oh." Cordy blinked, then caught something. "Wait a minute, he just asked
"I never said he was a GOOD priest."
Cordelia snorted. It was probably another one of his bookies, or a
bartender, or something. "Any luck?" she asked Doyle.
"Mixed," was his one-word reply. "Nothing on Scorpio, but Tesh and Demonika
have been wending their way through the city wreaking havoc, going south.
Worse still, they've been seen in the company of another demon named
"And this is bad because . . .?" Cordy prompted.
"Because Andro is a deathstalker. And of course you don't now what that
means, so let me just say that they're tough, strong, smart, and they feed
Cordelia put two and two together and wasn't fond of the four she arrived
at. "And Angel IS dead."
Doyle nodded, and as one the two of them rose to pore over Angel's volumes
of demonology, he asked her, "What did you discover?"
"Near as I can tell," she said as they entered the elevator, "Scorpio
doesn't have a home. There's something about him that just screams
psychotic loner." The doors closed. "How do you know all these demons?"
Before Doyle could answer, Cordelia said, "And if you say connections, I'll
Doyle wisely said nothing all the way down the elevator.
* * * * *
Angel finally left his office, strangely unsatisfied after the last
conversation with Doyle. Doyle and Demonika were half-siblings through
their father, dad being the demon half of both of their families. Doyle,
despite his shortcomings (which he cheerfully confessed to) had turned out
far better than his sister. They hadn't exactly been close; they'd never
even lived in the same building. But they knew each other.
"I think I'd better lay low on this one," Doyle had said. "Play it close to
the vest, not go out much. For now, I'm your secret weapon; if she doesn't
know I'm with you, she won't know that you know how she operates."
Angel had gone along with that, noting wryly as Doyle had turned back that
the half-demon had avoided giving away any more information. Still, Doyle
had come to him with the mission, not the other way around, so Angel had to
assume that he indeed wasn't holding back anything that would be of help.
Still, having to assume something wasn't the same as liking it.
He put those thoughts out of his mind for the moment and walked back to the
front of Denise Jacobs' bookstore. As fixated as Scorpio was on the young
woman, no doubt he'd hole up somewhere nearby . . . somewhere that offered
easy access to food, too, as he hadn't been malnourished. He also didn't
seem like he lived the kind of life Russell Winters had led; in fact, Angel
was willing to hazard the guess that Scorpio wasn't paying for his current
lodgings. So which way had he gone? Angel seemed to remember that as he'd
watched Scorpio's retreating back that he'd turned left about a block up,
so Angel walked that way. The road Scorpio had gone onto was another one
much like the one Angel was standing on, a block full of short office
buildings with a lot of storefronts. Plenty of sub-basements and unused
suites, no doubt, plenty of places for vampires to hide. And that was
assuming he stayed on this block.
Still, that was what Doyle and Cordelia were doing right now, tracking down
hideouts and hangouts. If he stumbled across Scorpio's bolthole it would be
sheer luck. In any event, the other vampire hadn't turned tail and run,
he'd walked off slowly, so he wasn't likely retreating to his lair to "lick
his wounds." And the night, while not young, still had a good four hours or
so to go. Normal vampires – and Angel used the term laughingly – could be
doing anything right about now. Someone as obsessed as Scorpio was would be
suborning nearly everything to his obsession. Feeding would be quick,
careless, casual. Socialization would be minimal and never for fun.
He thought that he'd checked the area around Denise Jacobs' apartment, but
obviously he couldn't examine everywhere at once. So, on instinct, he hung
a left at the next corner. HE didn't give the block he was leaving more
than a cursory examination; vampires tended not to hang around dark alleys
in corporate blocks at 2 AM for the same reason muggers didn't.
Wandering, musing over Scorpio, and Denise Jacobs, and what the hell kind
of complications Tesh and Demonika would bring – just what he needed this
early in his career of making amends, complications – he didn't notice the
pleasant-looking man until he crashed into him.
"Pardon me," Angel muttered, and kept walking.
Or at least, he tried to, as the man popped up once more into his path.
"Excuse me," Angel said more firmly.
The man – man? No, now that Angel paid closer attention, the being was
definitely some kind of demon – smiled charmingly and said, "No, I don't
think so." He laughed. "You are a bear to find, you know that, Angel? But
that's the case with a driven vampire like you, always on the go, am I
"And you are?" Angel prompted curtly.
"Sorry, where are my manners?" This was said without a trace of irony or
threat. "I'm Androphilius, but my friends call me Andro." He reached out
for Angel's hand, and didn't appear the least offended when Angel didn't
return the courtesy. "One of those friends is named Demonika. She has
business with a woman who owns a bookstore . . . you're interfering in her
business. I'd advise you to stop."
"I don't take advice well," Angel said, "Especially from strange demons.
And even more especially from strange demons who are telling me not to do
my job. If you'll excuse me?"
Andro shook his head. "I hate this part, I really do." Then his skin began
to ripple, and he started to change shape.
Angel assumed the worst, cocked a fist, and smashed Andro in the face
before he could fully transform. As the demon stumbled backwards, Angel
hit him again. The change was complete by the time Andro hit the sidewalk,
and it revealed a demon with smooth, ebony skin, long claws on its fingers,
and vestigial wings sprouting from its shoulder blades.
Having run into a deathstalker demon more than once in the bad old days as
Angelus, Angel knew exactly what kind of fight he was in for. His two
wristblades shot out, almost of their own volition; one of them delivered a
killing stroke to a nearby bush, but the other embedded itself in Andro's
upper shoulder. The demon looked down, and, in the same voice he'd been
using in human guise, said, "Ow." Then he picked up the blade and tossed it
aside before advancing.
This was going to be a problem. Deathstalkers fed off death, so any time
Andro touched Angel's bare flesh he could drain some of Angel's essence.
Had Angel been prepared, he would have brought more missile weapons, to
slow the deathstalker down, at the very least. A hand-to-hand combat would
be sheer suicide.
So Angel did the one thing Andro would have never expected: He turned and
As he watched the vampire's fleeing back, Andro cursed mildly and shifted
back to human form. Smiling, he said to himself, "That was easy."
Alas, he didn't have the sophistication to know the next phrase.
* * * * *
Angel came loping in about an hour before sunrise, to find Cordelia asleep
on the couch and Doyle yawning fiercely. "Oh, good," he siad. "You're
"A busy night of research, I see. What'd you discover?"
"That Cordelia snores." Angel snorted. "Not much about Scorpio, except that
apparently he's crazy as a soup sandwich and doesn't have a regular flop.
Seems no one can take him two nights running. About our complications – "
"I know,"' Angel said grumpily. "They have a deathstalker demon for a
friend. I ran into him a couple of times tonight."'
"You keep running into all of the bad guys yourself, Cordelia and I are
going to wonder what you need us for," came Doyle's answer." Then he
blinked. "I do notice you're still in one piece. Neat trick. How'd you pull
that off twice? I mean, no offense, but deathstalkers tend to have vampires
for breakfast, and I mean that literally."
Angel mumbled a response. "What was that?" Doyle asked disbelievingly.
"I ran away, okay?"
"Well, don't worry yourself over it," came Doyle's immediate reply.
"Sticking around to fight one of those creatures would have been suicide."
"I know," Angel said heavily. "Still, the only reason I way able to bring
myself to take off like that was knowing that there wasn't much chance of
him attacking passersby. I . . . don't like running like that."
"And you don't make a habit of it, so don't go having an emotional
breakdown or anything. Besides which," he said, pointing to a nearby open
book, "Cordelia and I have a way for you to deal with the sucker if you run
into him again."
"Really," Angel said, expression brightening slightly. "What would that
"Douse his wings with holy water. It won't kill him or make him any less
strong, but he won't be able to feed off death until they grow back . . .
and that should take a while."
"Thanks," Angel said as he walked to the elevator. He stopped right before
he got on. "Thanks for not razzing me about running away."
Doyle smirked. "As Cordelia would say, please! Right now, it's bothering
you that you had to take a powder." He paused a beat. "I'll wait 'til
you're feeling better and then I'll give you a hard time."
"You're all heart."
* * * * *
"Room service!" Came the call through the hotel room door. Demonika went
over to take a look at it, Tesh being in the second hour of her daily
shower -- "Doing the kind of evil we do is hard dirty work," she always
said. "And after all, cleanliness is next to godliness." She usually had
trouble keeping a straight face when she said it, though.
Demonika looked through the peephole and saw Andro standing out there, with
a grin wider than a piranha. Quickly the half-demoness unlatched the door
and let in her friend. "You seem happy," she commented. "Busload of orphans
go off a cliff?"
"Nope, didn't feed all night," Andro said. "But you won't have any more
trouble with any guardian Angels."
"He ran in fear. Twice!" Andro seemed quite pleased with himself. And who
could blame him?
"Thank you for that, then," DeMonika told him.
Andro sensed her hesitancy. "What's wrong?"
DeMonika sighed. "I'm – not entirely sure. Call it a hunch, if you will,
Andro, it's just that he seemed so determined to interfere yesterday and
now all of a sudden he runs at the slightest hint of trouble?"
"Not to be arrogant here – and you know I'm not, truly –" Actually,
DeMonika felt Andro could be one of the most patronizing beings she'd ever
met, but she let that slide – "but to a vampire I'm hardly a slight hint of
"I know," the half-demoness answered.
"You want me to stick around? No real trouble, and if he shows up again,
well, then, I said I'd kill him, and I will." Matter-of-factly he said it;
Like death, Andro could seem pleasant and welcoming, but in the end, like
death, he was capricious, and cruel, and didn't give a damn about the
"That would be nice." DeMonika then said, "Want to stick around for some
human food? Tesh has a weakness for cinnamon-raisin bagels . . ."
"Naah, Tesh's cutesy quirks just get on my nerves after a while. Besides,
it's been a nearly a day and I'm starting to feel a bit peckish. I'll be
back around later tonight, don't worry." And with that he turned around and
walked out the hotel room door.
The water went off in the bathroom. Soon breakfast would be here, then Tesh
would go work on Scorpio some more while she went to see how much backbone
she could give Denise Jacobs.
And, with any luck, the woman would be dead in two days.
* * * * *
Cordelia had only gotten maybe three hours sleep, but a nice long bath and
a thorough scrubbing and she felt as good as if she'd gotten at least five.
Angel was asleep and Doyle was either off getting drunk or betting on horse
It had taken her a lot less time than she'd thought dressing for the
occasion. After all, it's not like she was trying to ATTRACT Denise Jacobs,
just keep an eye on her, maybe find out her troubles. And as for genre
knowledge, she DID know about science fiction and fantasy, and not just
because of Xander's longtime obsession with all things Star Trek. With the
life she'd had, and still had – well, just because she was rich didn't mean
her parents couldn't be negligent bastards just like Xander's had been.
God! Had there been a member of that little troupe with a normal family
Anyway, so here she was, hair unfettered and free, midlength black skirt,
black flats and a maroon blouse, walking into the Fantastick at 11 AM. The
store had a handful of customers, mostly her own age, with that distinctly
three-days-past-laundry-day college student look. None of them were
vaguely ethereal redheads, but Denise Jacobs was standing behind the
counter, her eyes puffy enough to make Cordelia certain that she'd cried
herself to sleep the previous night and then cried herself awake this
morning. What was her damage? And for once she didn't mean it
Well, nothing like the direct approach. She walked up to the counter,
pulled some cream from her purse, and handed it to the startled woman.
"What's this for?" Denise said suspiciously.
"Your eyes." Cordelia said. "You just look like you've been crying, and if
you don't rub something in you could get some really nasty wrinkles, make
you look older."
"Um . . . thanks." Every word a little tragedy. This was a woman in pain.
Well, that's what Cordelia was here for.
As Denise applied the cream – "Only a little!" Cordelia tried to think of
something else she could say to the woman. " Um . . ." she began.
"Yes?" Denise said as she screwed the cap back on the tube of face cream.
"Look. I don't have that much experience with science fiction books. An ex-
boyfriend of mine got me interested. Do you have any recommendations?"
"The classics." Now that the better bonding through face cream was over,
Denise seemed to want to end the talk ASAP.
"And they would be . . .?" Cordelia hung the question.
"Isaac Asimov. Robert Heinlein. Harlan Ellison. I don't know."
"No offense," Cordelia said, "But for someone who runs a science fiction
store you sure don't seem to know much about science fiction."
"No, I don't, do I?" the proprietor said casually, walking away.
Talk about a woman who needed to be groomed in the finer points of customer
service! Cordelia walked back to the bookshelves, and every once in a
while took a look at how Denise Jacobs was doing with the other patrons.
And the answer was, not well. She was abrupt, she was tired, and when
anyone asked her questions about science fiction or fantasy beyond where
certain authors were, she gave evasive answers. Now this could just all be
from her being stalked by obsessovamp, but it really didn't look like she
really enjoyed any of what she was doing.
But Doyle had said she'd owned the bookstore. Why would she be doing this
if it didn't bring her any pleasure?
Then a redheaded woman of about 30, dressed in all-white and so achingly
pure it made Cordelia want to vomit, walked in and immediately beelined the
cash register and Denise Jacobs.
Cordelia edged closer. This was about to get interesting.
* * * * *
Denise Jacobs took a deep breath as the same interfering woman from
yesterday walked in the store. Only a few minutes ago – she would have
sworn it was only a few minutes, given her headache, but as she looked at
the clock on the wall she could see it had been almost half an hour – she'd
brushed off that attractive scatterbrain.
She didn't need this. She didn't need anyone telling her what to do.
Except for Lissa, and she wasn't there anymore. Lissa had been so strong,
so sure –
And this was a road she didn't need to go down now.
"Hello there," The woman – Monika? – called out cheerfully. "I was in the
neighborhood again and –"
Denise spoke before the woman could get any further. "Look, I don't know
what religion you're peddling or what psychobabble cult you want me to
join, but I'm not interested in having you come in here again and try to
diagnose what's wrong with my life. I'm not buying it, whatever it is. If
there's one thing I don't need right now in my life it's SOMEONE trying to
pretend they care about me."
"And why don't you think people care about you?"
"Because if they did they'd know when to leave me the FUCK alone!"
This was said loudly enough to attract the attention of everyone in the
bookstore. All of them turned to look at her for a few seconds; Denise
mustered the best sheepish look she could come up with, which wasn't very
convincing – but no one left the bookstore, either.
"Look," the woman said in an annoyingly musical voice, "All I'm trying to
do is help you in this your time of need. This is a time of tremendous
struggle for you. All I'm here to do is let you know –"
The ditz spoke up. "Excuse me, but are you deaf? The clerk told you to bug
off. Now, normally I wouldn't care, but you're really starting to get on my
nerves too. There's nothing more annoying than someone who can't take a
Monika turned to look at the ditz through narrowed eyes. "I don't believe
you were in on this conversation."
"Yes, well," she answered, "I don't believe you were in on it either.
Because to have a conversation you have to have two equal participants --
and what I see right now is one woman trying to start a conversation and
another who's doing everything short of yanking out and Uzi and firing it
at you to communicate her LACK of interest in a discussion. How slow are
"She's obviously troubled," Monika said. "And obviously is in need of some
"She doesn't seem to be asking for YOURS, Dr. Laura."
Finally, Monika backed off, though with bad grace. "I can see that I'm not
wanted here," she said ridiculously. "But – if you ever need to talk to
"It won't be you," Denise told her, and watched her exit the shop. For the
first time in a while, her mood lightened. She looked at the ditz and said,
"No problem," she said. "Truth be told, she was really starting to get on
my nerves." Then she turned around and looked to go back to her browsing.
And suddenly Denise didn't want her to turn. "Look," she said, "About the
way I treated you earlier –"
"No big," she said. "Clearly you felt the need to let loose your inner
bitch. I can respect that. No need to explain. It's just that, well, she
seemed like she was trying to exploit your pain, that's all."
"Worse than exploit it – she was trying to make me feel better."
"And my guess is, right now you're not much into feeling better."
Truer than the woman – unfair to call her a ditz now – could know. "I can
deal with my problems on my own. I don't need anyone to help me."
"Maybe you do," she rejoined. "But it's not up to anyone to force
themselves on you."
"Exactly." Then an awkward silence. Damn. Much as Denise hated to admit
it, the redhead had been right about one thing – she couldn't bottle this
up forever. And just maybe – "Hey," she said hesitantly – "Would you like
to come have lunch with me?"
"Um – are you sure? I mean, I wouldn't want to intrude –" Curiously, she
now seemed almost diffident.
"It would only be intruding if I hadn't invited you."
"Alright then." Denise shooed everyone out of the Fantastick and locked the
door behind her.
She asked the young woman as they walked down the block, "What's your
"Cordelia Chase. And your name is . . . ."
"Well, Denise, if you're going to take me out to lunch I have to warn you –
I'm not cheap."
* * * * *
A couple of hours later and Denise had just started to relax. Not because
Cordelia Chase was anywhere near her type – too vain, too blunt, too young,
and indeed not cheap – but because for the first time in a long time she
was spending time away from the bookstore, away from Scorpio . . . .
And god! Away from Lissa.
Away from where Lissa had been, away from what Lissa had started.
This was the first time she'd consciously chosen to spend some time away
from Lissa's influence in, how long? Most times she ordered in, or just
stopped off at a deli, a McDonald's, and came back.
And it helped her relax.
She was sipping at some oolong tea and polishing off her final egg roll
when Cordelia asked, "Why are you running that place if you hate it?"
"Why do you think I hate it?" she asked, dragged back to reality.
"Well, let's see," Cordelia said bluntly but not harshly. "You snap at the
customers and you belittle their choices. You have worry lines all OVER
your face. And as we've been sitting here chatting politics and fashion and
whatever those lines have started to fade. Not entirely! But they've
started. And as soon as I bring up the Fantastick again, boom, here come
the lines again. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that running the
place is a hassle. So the question is, why?"
"Lissa," came Denise's one-word answer.
"And Lissa is?" Cordelia asked.
"The woman I loved. Died of pancreatic cancer two years ago. She was a huge
science fiction fan, and a specialty bookstore'd been her dream since she
was little. But by the time it was up and running, she'd started getting
the symptoms. And then six weeks later –"
"Six weeks," Cordelia said. "Pancreatic. God, I'm sorry –"
"She made it to the opening and she took the first sale. And then after
that she never left the hospital. And since then –"
"You've been keeping her store alive because to not do so would be like
dishonoring her memory."
"But keeping it open is driving you to a nervous breakdown."
"Not just that," Denise said, putting down her cup of tea. "There's this
guy stalking me. Name of Scorpio. Total loon, thinks he loves me, thinks
I'm in love with him – or that I will be once he gets done teaching me."
For the first time in a long time, Denise smiled. "Thanks."
"For what?" Cordelia asked. "It's the truth. Anyone who thinks all a
lesbian needs is a good strong man has the brains of a horsefly and the
moral acuity of Pat Buchanan. Now, as for what to do with your store I have
an idea –" But Denise stopped paying attention when she saw the man
approaching from the back of the restaurant. "Excuse me?" Cordelia said.
"Behind you," Denise whispered as she stood up and backed away. "Scorpio."
* * * * *
Cordelia shot up out of her seat like someone had stuck her with a nail.
Then she said sotto voce to Denise, "Who?"
"Chinese guy around thirty." Then, realizing this described half the men in
the restaurant, she clarified, "The one wearing the ratty denim jacket."
"Ah." Cordelia put a hand inside her purse and left it there as Scorpio
approached. Not only did he dress down, he smelled like he'd just been
running through the sewers. Which, seeing as he was a vampire, he probably
"Denise!" Scorpio said cheerfully. "Good to see you again!" Denise grimaced
as though someone were ripping a tooth from her head sans novocaine.
Scorpio looked at Cordelia and said, "Excuse us, Denise and I would like to
"Yeah," Cordelia sneered. "I can just tell that by the look of horror on
her face. Why don't you just go crawling back into the sewers where you
"Stop trying to keep us apart!" he yelled, drawing the attention of
everyone in the restaurant.
"Look here, stalker boy," Cordelia said. "I've read De Becker. I know no
matter what I do you'll just take it as encouragement. So I'm not going to
waste my time." She looked at Denise. "Come on, Denise."
Amazingly – given how Denise seemed to act when anyone offered help –
Denise got up. "He'll follow –"
"No he won't," Cordelia said confidently. Then, looking straight into
Scorpio's eyes, she said, "I know his type. They HATE the sunlight."
Scorpio's eyes widened for a second; then he grinned and reached for Denise
anyway. "What can you do to stop me?"
Cordelia said nothing, but instead drew out a spritzer full of holy water
from her purse and sprayed it into Scorpio's face. Turning, she said,
"Let's go," to Denise, and the two of then hustled out the restaurant's
Behind them, Scorpio, his face burning, turned around and sprinted into the
And once the commotion had died down, one of the restaurant's patrons put
down a copy of the morning's LA Times and said, "Interesting. So. Cordelia
Chase . . . ."
Which wouldn't have been noteworthy had the patron not been Tesh.
* * * * *
Demonika stormed into the hotel room, swearing like a boatload of sailors.
Tesh raised a sardonic eyebrow. "Tough day, devil baby?"
What Tesh got in response to that was more swearing. She waited patiently
for the half-demon to calm down before she went on. "I take it that's a
"What gave it away?" Demonika said angrily. Tesh patiently refused to
answer. "I was there in the bookstore when someone ELSE interfered. This
one managed to get me near to thrown out." She slammed her fist down on a
nearby end table, leaving a visible crack in it.
"Careful there, girl! Ain't like we're on an unlimited budget." Demonika
took a couple of deep breaths and faced her companion. But before she could
speak Tesh said, "Tall, dark-haired, athletic babe, not as dumb as she
looks and good thing?"
Demonika looked at her bug-eyed, and this time didn't bother to tone down
the glow. "How the --?"
"I was keeping tabs on Scorpio – great Satan, what a piece of work it is
trailing that vampire through the sewers. Those smells are NEVER going to
come out of my dress. Anyway, he tracked Denise Jacobs to a Chinese
restaurant – I got in ahead of him to check his style – but before he could
do more than spout off the babe'd gotten Jacobs up and out and, now get
this, threw HOLY WATER in our boy's face."
Demonika stopped pacing and thought. "You sure that was holy water, now?"
"Either that or Scorpio's got one hell of an allergic reaction to mace;
half his face was gone next time I saw him."
"So," Demonika said thoughtfully, "Either what we have here is TWO random
"Or the vampire got smart and send along someone else to keep an eye on our
target. And you know me, girl, I ain't the type to gamble, but if I were a
betting woman I wouldn't put down a bent penny on the first option."
"Me neither," Demonika said. "So, what next? Give this one up as a bad job?
Move on? No sense fighting the good fight in a lost cause, eh?"
Tesh laughed. "Lost causes are our specialty. I haven't had this much of a
challenge since the '80s." In the '80s Tesh, in the guise of a bearded man,
had pulled much the same routine she and Demonika were doing now, only back
then she was doing it with a cheerful-looking demon named Jonthan, who was
so painfully clean-cut and All-American he looked like someone you would
have seen on Little House on the Prairie.
"Your companion in the '80s died, didn't he?" Demonika said.
Steel entered Tesh's voice. "All part of the game, Miss Spikes. You knew
the job was dangerous when you took it, so don't go trying to back out
Managing a pale smile – given her skin, really, the only kind the redhead
could manage – Demonika said, "Wouldn't dream of it."
* * * * *
"So, what's the good word?" Doyle asked Cordelia when she came back into
the office. From the looks of things, he hadn't moved. Cordelia gave him a
summary of what had happened. When she got to the part about fighting off
Scorpio, Doyle's eyebrows raised. "Nicely done."
"Thanks. She seems to like me. And boy, is she miserable."
"Sounds like it," Doyle said.