Disclaimer: The Buffyverse belongs to Joss Whedon and Co.. But the original characters are mine.
Sorry about the long wait. I've had a bit of a dry spell.
Morgan stepped into the kitchen and surveyed the scene. Spike and Lindsey sat at the small table staring straight ahead. Lindsey absentmindedly toyed with the mug in his hands while Spike drew little circles on the table with his finger.
"You boys should slow down a bit. It's only noon, at this rate you'll be worn out by nightfall."
Lindsey gave him an old fashioned look then returned to staring into space.
"Had a cold and lonely night did we?"
There was no response.
Morgan sighed and turned his attention to making fresh coffee.
"I realize that it's none of my business but you'll just have to give them some time to decide what they want."
"And if they decide we're too much trouble?" asked Lindsey.
"Then you live with that choice.
"Come on then, no sense expecting the worst. Besides, we might not survive the Coming."
"That's what I like about you Morgan," said Spike. "Always looking on the bright side. Bugger this. Any minute now I'll be brooding like Peaches. Can't have that. What say we take a little trip down into the tunnels? May get some useful information."
"Sounds good to me," said Lindsey. "No point hanging around here staring at the walls."
"Okay. But I have a class at 3:00 and then office hours after."
The Three materialized in a dark tunnel. Water dripped from the walls and the earth trembled from the passing of a subway train. Morgan closed his eyes for moment, then turned to the north.
"There's a group of humans that way. We may as well start with them."
The humans were sitting around a small fire. They did not rise as The Three approached, they were long past fearing what came from the darkness. The oldest of the humans looked up from his contemplation of the flames.
"Well, what d'you want? Think careful before you answer because we ain't got much."
Spike dropped down on one knee and met the human's eyes across the fire. "All we want is some information, about anything you've seen down here lately."
The man laughed then began to cough. After a minute he subsided. "Lookin' for information huh? Well we've seen some things, but what's in it for us if we tell you?"
"Not much," said Morgan. "Of course if The Coming destroys the world they'll be even less."
"Maybe we'd like that. Look at us, we're not living. We're just here. Why should we care what happens?"
Morgan shrugged. "No reason I can think of."
The man stared for moment then sighed deeply. "The things have been runnin' around a lot lately. They've been gathering too, on the other side of the river, in Jersey."
"Well, that figures," said Lindsey. "The Coming's in New Jersey."
Angel sat at the kitchen table nursing a mug of blood. He wondered where the others had got to but all he could do was wait. He wished they had at least left him a note. He was definitely getting bored.
He was scanning the bookshelves for something to read when he heard the front door open. A whole crowd piled into the room bringing bags and packages. Cordelia collapsed on the couch and let out a long breath.
"I love a good day of shopping!"
"You went shopping," asked Angel incredulously. "Now? When an apocalypse is coming?"
"An apocalypse is always coming," said Buffy. She sat down next to Cordelia.
"That's right honey cakes, so we may as well have some fun. Here, try one of these truffles, it'll make you forget your troubles." Lorne proferred Angel a bag that smelled intensely of chocolate.
"No thanks. What about you Wes, I never thought of you as a shopper."
"Depends on the merchandise. Rebecca and Rannilt know of a number of shops around town that deal in rare books and other items. I found a very rare volume that was a steal."
"Okay fine. I see the Three aren't with you though."
Wesley shook his head. "They were gone by the time I got up. Rebecca did try a locator spell but no joy there."
Rannilt threw herself into an armchair. "I think I've had just about enough of them. I say we forget about them. We can find out about The Coming ourselves."
"Sure," agreed Buffy. We've done this before. Come nightfall Angel and I can go get some information from the locals while you guys do some serious research.
"But right now, I really need food. Anyone else hungry?"
There was a chorus of yeses and the group piled back out and toward the kitchen. Angel found himself sighing again. "I guess if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Gracie's was still mostly empty when Angel and Buffy arrived just after sunset. The barman was putting out the demon equivalent of bar snacks while one lone patron sat slumped at the corner of the bar. He glanced up when the door opened.
"Oh, it's you. Still looking for The Three?"
"No. We found them thanks." Angel sat on a stool and leaned on the bar. "'At the moment we're looking for some information on The Coming. Sound familiar?"
The barman began polishing glasses. "Nope. Any other questions 'cause I gotta get the place all ready."
"Come on," said Buffy. "An apocalypse is on its way and you know nothing about it. Not you, you're the kind of guy that knows everything."
Angel turned and gave her a look with raised eyebrows. Buffy ignored him and leaned over the front of the bar. She smiled at the barman and rested her chin on her hand.
The barman put down his cloth and leaned close to Buffy. "If I tell you, will you get out of here and never come back?"
"Yes," answered Angel.
"Then it's worth it." The barman pulled out a cigarette and lit it with a candle.
"There's some kind of big thing happening over in Jersey. Don't know what the deal is but it's been keeping a lot of folks real busy. And whatever it is is almost ready. I can feel it, like something crawling on my skin.
"That's it, now get out of here. You're gonna give this place a bad name. And make sure you take the dip here with you."
"Hey!" yelled Buffy as Angel dragged her out by the arm. "You're no prize you know!"