Begins Angel, mid-season 5, based on just the one casting spoiler. Honestly, the rest is entirely my imaginings.

Thanks to hecatehatesthat and girlwithjournal for both saying they really liked the idea, which told me that I should probably actually finish this one.

Fanfiction Soundtrack:
Karma Police by Radiohead
This Mortal Coil by Song to the Siren
Perfect Circle by REM


This Is Your Life   

January, 2004 – Help

     The knocking hadn't stopped when Angel roared a curse, and Hyperion Hotel had no Wolfram & Hart door monkeys waiting to send away visitors with a shake of the head.  No, it was empty here.  Lonely too, until Gunn and Gwen returned.  In the good way.  The solitary, undisturbed brooding way. The jerk at the door would give up soon, when he noticed the sign.  They were closed, out of business, had been for weeks since their posh headquarters across town tumbled to a rock pile.  This one would go away soon enough; the knocking was already faltering.

     Sixteen minutes later, despite a brief slowing of pace around knock # 368, it hadn't stopped.  Bang, bang, bang against the wood.  Angel jumped from his vigil-couch and strode toward the double-doors, shouting at the interloper to cram it up his ass in the first three languages he could think of.  One of them wasn't human; at the sound of it the pounding outside increased three-fold.  Snarling, Angel grabbed a sword from the nearby umbrella rack and whipped the door open.

      "I can't do anything for you, which you'd know if you'd read the damn sign, and I don't care if I once killed your cousin's best friend's hatchery-brother in a c—"

     His eyes alighted on the visitor, and discussion became superfluous.

     There was a man on the other side of the Hyperion doors, ordinary and thin.  Matted curls of light desert brown hair went in all directions from his head. Dirt decorated his face and neck.  A deteriorating blue blazer hung from his shoulders, and the thin grey trousers of a dockworker sagged on his hipbones the same way his body sagged on the doorframe.   Angel's vision narrowed on an oversized pendant encrusted with black crystals that bounced up and down against the stranger's naked chest with each gasping inhalation he took.

     A vampire's finer senses could absorb the significant details about most any creature in a matter of seconds of meeting them. Regular diet, sex life, body habits... species. The quality of the scent from the blood dripping down this man's splinter-worn knuckles was almost as offensive to Angel's comprehension as the sweat and grime smell of the rest of him.

     The shock began to set in and the vampire let the sword fall and leaned forward to stare, open-mouthed.  The other man took a huge, deep breathe, an almost desperate half-grin lighting up his face and youngish blue eyes.  Angel looked into those eyes hard, examining the smooth, unmarred features.  His ears pounded with the sounds of the man's hot, rushing blood; his gaze skittered over his skinny frame. The skin around the man's right fourth rib, where Drusilla and Darla had once gotten over enthusiastic with their toy; his left hip, where an apothecary in Budapest a decade later had taken a poisoned holy knife to—

      "Your scars are gone."

     It was not the first thing Angel had wanted to say to him; it entirely lacked in wit and style.  Wit was something the other had always appreciated, and Angel liked nothing better than one-upping him at his favorite game.  Yet it was the first thing to come to Angel's mind, and when shown head-fucking shit like this it was understandable that most thoughts went straight to his mouth and skipped the business in between entirely.

     The man—the uncomfortably human man—across the doorway let loose another profoundly weary sigh of relief, and met the vampire's stare with a sort of despairing resoluteness.

      "Help me."

      "We're closed," he replied.  "But alright."

*