TITLE: A Present From Hell

AUTHOR: Erin Giles

RATING: PG (angst is ahead)

SPOILER WARNING: None

DISCLAIMER: Neither "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" nor "Angel" belong to me. That is the pleasure of Mr. Whedon and Mr. Greenwalt. Therefore none of the characters belong to me. (Except the crazy drunk guy of course! As well as a few doctors and nurses and any other cameo I decide to throw in as I realise I'm now giving away the plot.) The only thing that does belong to me is the twisted plot I have weaved for the characters that used to be pretty angst free until I got a hold of them. (Ok I lie. they weren't all that angst free. But if they weren't going to throw themselves of tall buildings before they're certainly going to do it now.)

DISTRIBUTION: Fanfiction.net anyone else please ask! (I need promotion!)

SUMMARY: It's Christmas in L.A. and Sunnydale but it's not all hot coco and log cabins. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong leaving the Scooby Gang and the Angel Investigations team without a 'Merry Christmas.'

Note that this fic is set after Angel Season 3 ep. "Dad" And Buffy Season 6 ep. "Tabula Rasa"

FEEDBACK: Always welcome! Email me @ akilahdoyle@hotmail.com or leave a review.

***********PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTINUING TO STORY***********

A/N: The Author would like to remind you not to drink and drive, the consequences have been described rather graphically and please to not continue if you are easily upset or are likely to commit suicide after reading this. (This includes everyone save for the happiest people in the world who are warned that they may become clinically depressed after reading this.)

*********************************************************************

L.A. ~ Christmas Eve.

*~*~*~* 12. 01am *~*~*~*

It's Christmas Eve in Tinsel Town. The bars are still open, so are the clubs. Most people have finished working for the holidays. Celebration has begun for most of those ten million.

Some are mourning though. Some are wondering whether they'll receive some Christmas cheer this year, but already know better. And some are just too caught up in their own lives to notice others.

A driver rounds the corner, not paying attention to the oncoming traffic as it swerves out the way of the blue Vauxhall estate. The man in the car has a wife and two kids, one five and one eleven but he didn't think of them when he left the pub that evening too drunk to get into his car without falling over.

He speeds down the highway, completely oblivious to the fact he's now got cops on his trail and is swerving into the opposite side of the road. He's giggling to himself now, laughing at some joke one of his friends cracked at the beginning of the night, but it's too late. There's a sickening thud as a motorcycle swerves into the side of the car and the drunk, suddenly sober, swerves, too late though. The man loses consciousness as the rider tries to bring his bike to halt, already knowing it's too late.

The bike crashes into a lamppost and stops, the rider grimacing as he continues to tumble through the air before coming to rest on the pavement a few feet away. The rider loses consciousness, as all thoughts of the Christmas dinner he had planned with his friends for tomorrow at lunchtime are lost. Possibly forever.

*~*~*~* 12. 11am (Gunn's Truck) *~*~*~*

"Thanks for picking me up by the way."

"No problem." Gunn said as he pulled to a halt behind the Harley-Davidson truck. He tapped his fingers off the steering wheel to the tune in his head as Cordelia

continued to talk,

"I mean I could've got a cab and also Wes offered to pick me up but I'm not all that sure about motorbikes. I don't know what it is. They just give me the heebie-jeebies." She shuddered for effect as Gunn's truck started to trawl on, blue flashing lights coming into view up ahead,

"Did Angel tell you what was up? I mean it being the festive season and all I thought he might have cut us a little slack. Plus he has Conner to look after now." Gunn shook his head as the truck picked up speed again,

"Just said it was urgent."

"Right." Cordelia said, craning her neck to look out of the window to see what was going on.

Police cars had blocked half of the street off. Cordelia could see a car crumpled against a fire hydrant, a paramedic helping some guy away from the wreck. It was the motorbike that was lying on it's side, further away, wrapped around a lamppost that was more distressing though. Several paramedics and cops were huddled around something on the floor, almost ten feet away from the bike itself, the rider Cordelia presumed. All she could see was the top of his helmet as Gunn headed off round the corner into the next street that would lead them to the Hyperion.

"I think that's just justified my whole 'motorbikes give me the heebie- jeebies' theory." She commented as she sat back in her seat.

*~*~*~* 12. 23am (Hyperion lobby) *~*~*~*

"Where've you been?"

"And Hello to you Mr. To-good-to-tell-us-what-the-hell's-going-on." Cordelia said coming down the stairs into the lobby and following Gunn to the desk where Angel was sat behind,

"Sorry man got held up. There was an accident." Gunn explained leaning heavily against the desk,

"So what we got? Nasty demons? Cult of vampires?" Gunn asked, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. Angel put a book down in front of Gunn, continuing to look at his own book in front of him,

"Research?" Gunn asked, confused while looking downhearted at the same time,

"Aw man y'all could've said before I dragged my ass here. I was looking forward to some demon killing after I got outta my bed at three am." He said, opening the book and starting to randomly flip through it,

"So what we looking for?"

"Demon. Likes water, probably needs it to survive. They run in groups, hunting together. They're hard to kill."

"It would seem almost impossible." A voice said coming out of Wesley's office. Cordelia stood up from where she had just sat down by the computer, staring at the new figure,

"Giles?" Cordelia asked in disbelief,

"Hello Cordelia." He said with a faint smile as Cordelia turned vengeful eyes on Angel,

"What was I just saying about Mr. To-good-to-tell-us-what-the-hell's-going- on?"

"Sorry," Angel said absentmindedly,

"We have a house guest."

"Well I got that now." She snapped back as Angel continued to look through his book, before she turned back to look at Giles,

"So is this a flying visit?" she asked, confused as to why Giles was here,

"Or are you the bringer of evil for Christmas. In which case as good as it is to see you, you can go ahead and take your presents back." Giles smiled at her comment, shuffling his feet for a moment before taking his glasses off and cleaning them.

"Actually I'm on my way back to England. For good. I just thought I'd pop in and see Wesley and the rest of you before I went."

"Oh. So you're not staying for Christmas?" She asked,

"I mean in Sunnydale. You're not spending Christmas with Buffy and the others?" Cordelia, frowned realizing she'd probably just put her foot in it as Giles looked away at his feet, but Angel saved her,

"Cordelia will you search the web. Gunn start looking through the books. Wesley have you.?" Angel stopped mid-sentence, suddenly realizing that Wesley wasn't amongst the assembled,

"Where's Wesley?"

*~*~*~* 12. 45am (Fred's room) *~*~*~*

Fred awoke with a start as someone knocked on her bedroom door,

"Aristotle's theories were never proved." She shouted to the empty room, suddenly realizing it wasn't as empty as she first thought. She turned to look at the closed door, as someone called her name,

"Fred?" she pulled the covers up over her head as if she could protect herself,

'Fugitive!'

"Oh no!" she whispered urgently, but soon realized that she was no longer in Pylea as her senses seemed to take hold of her again. The man at the door continued to call her name, not daring to step inside her room and at first she thought it was Wesley, as the soft English voice came again,

"Wesley?" she called, getting up out of the bed and moving towards the door,

"You know your welcome to come in.," she said as she opened the door, only to discover that it wasn't Wesley, but someone older,

"Oh." She said, taken aback by the figure, not sure who he was, but he had a kind face and so she let him talk before deciding to run away in abject terror, screaming,

"I'm sorry Fred, but that was the reason Angel was wanting you down in the lobby." He paused as Fred continued to look at him confused. Giles brought a hand to his head, suddenly remembering his manners,

"Sorry, it's been a long day," he said, sighing and holding out his hand,

"Rupert Giles. I'm a friend of Wesley's and I suppose Angel and Cordelia as well." She grasped his hand, shaking it firmly, a smile on her face,

"Winfred Burkle," it was her turn to put a hand to her head,

"But I guess y'all ready know that seen as you were calling my name through the door." She said, grinning sheepishly,

"You're a Watcher, like Wesley was. The girl with the funny name, she was your Slayer." Giles felt a stone dropping to the bottom of his stomach and he smiled sadly,

"Yes I was Buffy's Watcher." There was a long pause before and Fred wondered if she had said something wrong. She was sure Buffy was alive and well again.

"I'm sorry. I've been away for five years and I tend to put my foot in it." She said by way of apology,

"You've not put your foot in it Fred." He said softly, before changing the subject,

"Angel was wondering if you would come down and see if you could help look for Wesley. He seems to have gone missing and he's much needed here." Fred nodded enthusiastically, looking down at her pyjamas,

"Sure, just let me change." She said, flouncing back into the room, leaving Giles to plod solemnly back down the stairs into the lobby.

*~*~*~* 1. 30am (Hyperion lobby) *~*~*~*

Lorne wandered down the stairs of the Hyperion, baby Conner in his arms, cooing innocently up at him with wide eyes. Lorne was sure that if Conner could talk he would be calling out for his father at the moment; he just had that look in his eyes,

"Hush little one. Uncle Lorne's off to find mummy bear Angel." He said softly as Conner started to whimper. He could hear Cordelia talking on the phone as he started to cross the lobby, he could also hear voices coming from Wesley's office, and so he presumed Angel was in there, discussing something with Wes like they always were. He headed for the door, humming softly as he continued to watch Conner, only to bump into someone.

Giles looked up from his book, halfway through an apology before he jumped back, startled by the demon's appearance in front of him,

"Who are you?" he asked, raising the book as though ready to strike,

"Who are you?" Lorne asked, taking a step back, and putting a protective arm round Conner who was beginning to cry. Angel appeared out of the office behind Giles, hearing his son's cries,

"Hey, whoa you two!" He said, standing between the two before taking Conner from Lorne's arms, rocking him,

"Giles this is Lorne. Lorne's a - guest here. Lorne, Giles is - a friend." Giles and Lorne still continued to look at each other cautiously before each went their separate ways. Lorne turned to Angel, who was gently rocking his son,

"Angel buluba, what's all the hubbub?"

"Case," Angel said softly, continuing to rock his son,

"Plus we can't get a hold of Wesley." The telephone started to ring and Cordelia picked it up, immediately going into her telephone voice,

"Angel Investigations, we help." the rest of it was drowned out by others speaking,

"Chill out Angel cakes. Wes'll turn up. He's probably at a pub somewhere, soaking up the beer and darts." He said nudging Angel in the ribs,

"You know how the English are. Speaking of soaking up the beer," Lorne said, turning towards the kitchen only to get a look from Giles about his comment towards the English,

"Anyone up for a nightcap?" Lorne asked as he sauntered away, not expecting a reply, but by the look on Giles face he looked as though he was ready to follow the demon, but Cordelia chased away any thoughts of alcohol,

"Angel," Angel looked up from his smiling sons face into the worried face of Cordelia,

"It's the hospital."