The girl stiffened and leaned her head to the left, then the right,
His eyes widened at her realization. "Slayer," he responded.
She quickly reached for the stake hidden inside her boot, running toward him and aiming at his heart. She was taken off course when he grabbed her arm and twisted her around. She stood trapped, her back to his front with his strong arms wrapped around her.
"Let me go!" She struggled against him, but found her efforts fruitless against his hold.
"I'll let you go if you promise to put your stake away and hear me out." His voice was calm and rational as he spoke into her ear.
"Why should I? I'm not dumb enough to let you put me in your thrall." She stopped struggling when she noticed that the prickle on the back of her neck had calmed to a dull tingling.
"I'm different." He noticed the way her body seemed to relax, and hoping he was getting through to her, he loosened his grip on her body. "Let me explain."
Taking advantage of his disregard of her strength, she stomped on his foot and used the element of surprise as her line of defense. She released herself from his hold, and once more assumed a fighting stance. "Why can't I feel you like I do other vamps? What is this place, where am I?"
He remained perfectly still, knowing that his slightest move would launch an attack. "I have a soul. My name's Angel, this is my place of work and you are in Los Angeles."
"A soul?" Her eyes opened wide. "That's impossible."
He shrugged. "It's rare."
"Where is Los Angeles?" She decided it would be easier to find out where she was rather than try to understand why this vampire had a soul.
"Where are you from? Do you know how you ended up on my training room floor? What's your name?"
She shook her head, tried to be present and understand that she was having this conversation with a vampire. What had happened to her? Where was her watcher? She suddenly felt disoriented and sat down slowly before she could lose her balance.
Angel walked over and sat down next to her. "Are you okay?"
Deciding that he wasn't a threat, she let her guard down and answered him. "I'm confused. A minute ago I was arguing with Jo- my watcher, and then suddenly I was here."
"Okay, let's figure this out. Where are you from?" Thankful that she had finally decided not to kill him, Angel began the task of solving the mystery.
"You're from California?" He gave her a disbelieving look.
"Yes, I am."
"But you don't know L.A.?" She shot him a nasty look. "Sorry, this is California. Los Angeles, California. What's your name?"
"There's no such place where I'm from. My name's Rowena Ravene."
"Rowena." The name rolled nicely off his tongue. He liked the sound of it. "I think we should talk to my friend Wesley. He has a lot of books on things like alternate realities and different dimensions. He can help us figure all this out."
She nodded, but refused to take his hand when he tried to help her up. They walked out of the room and down the hall in silence.
"A soul." She mumbled as she shook her head in disbelief.
Finally, after climbing up a flight of stairs and walking down another hallway, they reached a door. Angel came to an abrupt stop and knocked.
"Wes, are you there?"
"Angel, yes, come in." A British accented voice answered from inside.
"You allow foreigners in?" Rowena asked the vampire.
He gave her a curious look. "You don't?"
"It's easier to keep the peace among humans if everyone stays in their own country. We have enough to worry about with vamps and demons." She followed him into the office and stopped in front of a dark, mahogany desk where a dark haired man in a light blue collared dress shirt sat.
The room was filled with ceiling high shelves containing an amazing amount of books. It was dark and musty. The desk sat in front of a large window with thick drapes drawn across it only allowing a small sliver of light to come in. For a moment she thought that the man behind the desk was also a vampire and feared that perhaps she was in some kind of vampire only dimension. Then the man spoke again and her fears were laid to rest.
"Who is this?" He pointed his chin at toward her. He didn't sense she was a slayer.
"This is Rowena, she's a slayer. She kind of just materialized in my training room." Angel didn't know how else to explain the red head's sudden appearance.
"One minute I'm doing Tai-Chi, and the next she's attacking me with a stake."
"Oh, that's rather interesting."
"Watcher." Both men turned to look at Rowena who had just blurted out the word.
"Pardon?" Wesley didn't know how she could have possibly guessed.
"Where is your slayer?" This man was a watcher; she could feel the energy seeping out of him. So where was his slayer? Shouldn't this dimension also have one?
Angel and Wesley exchanged an uncomfortable glance; they looked both pained and sad. She didn't know what to make of it.
"You are mistaken." Wesley took the lead on answering. "I am not a watcher, at lease not anymore."
"You can't deny who you are. Embrace it, it's your destiny." Rowan flopped down in the dark leather Victorian chair across from the desk and crossed one leg over the other.
"So, am I in some kind of alternate dimension? I mean, so far vampires have souls, watchers deny their calling and foreigners are allowed in to run amuck in the country. I must be very far from home. Please tell me that you at least have shrimp here."
Angel smirked, she amused him, and she was funny.
"We shall have to do some research in order to find out." Wesley stood and began looking through his many books. "Where are you from, Rowena?"
"My California doesn't have a Los Angeles. That's what gave it away." Rowena let out a big yawn and stretched her arms up.
"You must be tired." Although slightly annoyed by this slayer, Wesley took some pity on her. She must feel out of sorts being ripped from a reality or universe she knew and thrown into this one. "Why don't you get some sleep and we can work on all of this tomorrow?"
"I agree. I can show you to your room." Angel chimed in.
Rowena looked from one man to the other, then nodded. "Ok. I could use some sleep." She stood up and followed Angel out. "Good night, watcher. I'll see you tomorrow."
"I'm not a watcher." Wes said, sounding more than a bit annoyed.
Rowena smiled at him and turned to follow Angel toward her room. When they made it to the downstairs hallway she saw a white haired man in a long black leather coat walking toward them. The coat billowed behind him, his face held an intense frown as he marched forward angrily, making her feel on alert and strangely…turned on? She stopped abruptly and pulled Angel back toward her by his arm. He gave her a confused look, then realized that she must be having the same reaction she'd had toward him.
"Hello grandsire, who is this lovely delectable treat?" The man walked closer to the two and inspected Rowena in a purely animalistic way. He circled her, taking in all of her lovely bits. Sensing her strength as well as her confusion, he raised an eyebrow at her.
"Spike, this is Rowena. It's complicated, she seems to have travelled here from another dimension."
"That so?" Spike couldn't take his eyes off of her. "You're a slayer." He could feel her power reverberating from her.
"He's like you." She spoke to Angel while her eyes remained on Spike. There was something raw about him, something Angel lacked, but she found that she was not threatened by him like she had been by Angel.
"Yes. Spike also has a soul, but he is nothing like me. We're nothing alike."
She sensed the bitterness in his voice. "I see."
"What's your name, love?"
"Rowena." She placed her hands on her hips in an attempt to ward him off with her bravado. If it was a shy girl he was looking for, he was barking up the wrong tree.
Spike smirked, her stance was having just the opposite effect. He could smell her arousal and he was even more attracted to her. "I like it."
"I was just showing her to her room. She's pretty tired, had a rough day. We'll see you tomorrow, Spike." Angel didn't like the vibe that was building between the two and thought it better to cut it short before it got out of hand.
"Good night then, slayer. Maybe we can get together tomorrow and spar. You look like you can handle yourself on the mat." Again he gave her his leer.
"I can handle myself on and off the mat." She jutted out her right hip and lifted and eyebrow.
"Can't wait to find out. G'night grand-dad." With a wink at the girl he turned around, and walked away, his long leather jacket swishing behind him.
Rowena was left staring after him, the dampness between her legs driving her mad. Angel felt uncomfortable, Spike wasn't the only one able to scent out her reaction. Finally pulling himself together, he led her down a few more doors to her room.