DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Angel and all related characters are the creations of Joss Whedon and copyright of 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy, Inc.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This takes place immediately after the final episode. If you haven't seen it... Major Spoilers Ahead! You have been warned! It's rated for character deaths (in the series but mentioned in this story) and some violence in later chapters.


A Promise of Tomorrow
Chapter 1: Lorne's Fate

By Shadow's Mirror


The bar was one of those smoky, dimly lit establishments where no one knew anyone else or wanted to know anyone else. Total anonymity. That was exactly what Lorne wanted at that particular moment. Unfortunately, it seemed that the bar's newcomers weren't aware of that aspect of the social niceties.

Lorne sighed and glanced at the group of 'men' approaching him. They looked like regular humans, all heavyset with shaven heads, square jaws, steely eyes and muscles that would make a wrestler envious. At least they'd made an effort to blend in. In this seedy part of town, there was nothing about their looks that would attract any undue attention. Even their clothes were simple and effective camouflage. Black t-shirts and faded denim jeans, no, nothing odd there. Lorne might have been fooled… if they hadn't arrowed in on him as soon as they entered the room, and if he hadn't been expecting their arrival. Oh, not them exactly. He hadn't known the form in which his death would arrive, but from the moment he had agreed to Angel's plan, he had known his death would come.

But why couldn't they have waited until he'd finished off another Seabreeze?

His hand tightened on his glass and he resolutely turned his back on the approaching demons. If Wolfram and Hart's Senior Partners wanted to take him down, then fine. He'd go out drinking. After all, it was the only pleasure in life that he still had. He closed his eyes momentarily as a flash of self-pity filled him. After everything he'd seen, everything he'd done, this was how it was going to end. In a smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall where everyone would hear him scream and no one would care. Great.

As he raised the glass to his lips, he absently noted that his hand was steady. He was proud of that because it meant that he wasn't scared. On the other hand though, he was also disappointed. It also meant that he wasn't yet drunk. He'd hoped he would be. Maybe then he wouldn't have such a strong urge to try to fight the demons who had been sent to kill him.

Taking a long sip of his drink he considered that for a moment. His chances were abysmal at best if he tried to fight. He didn't particularly want to die, but on the other hand he'd already taken one life that night and he was still sickened by it. He wasn't a fighter. He never had been. But he'd done what he'd had to do. For Angel.

Lorne sighed and took another sip as the memory of Lindsey's startled eyes filled his mind. The idiot had honestly believed that they'd give him a chance to turn on them. With the Senior Partners now out for blood, it had been obvious that Lindsey would have used the situation to his advantage. He would never have been able to resist the chance to get back in the Senior Partner's good graces. He was slimier than a Pylean Sliggerslug… and that was slimy! Besides, Lorne had heard him sing.

His thoughts were interrupted by a soft sound behind him. Lorne sighed. Apparently he wasn't going to have time to finish off his drink after all. He slowly lowered the glass back to the table and took a deep breath. He knew what he had to do. "Okay guys, so, what's it going to be? Axes? Swords? Knives? At least make it quick. Oh, and don't bother trying to behead me. Trust me, that doesn't work." Lorne smiled to himself. What the hey, a little reverse psychology never hurt. It had worked for Briar Rabbit.

"Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of saving your friends."

The female voice was as soft and smooth as sun-warmed velvet and as familiar to Lorne as the words to a favourite song. The only thing more surprising to him than hearing it at that moment was hearing it saying those particular words. He spun around on his stool and stared in shock at the hooded figure standing a few feet away from him. His gaze shifted to take in the six figures sprawled on the ground behind her. The room was too dark for him to see clearly, but Lorne thought he could make out a pool of dark liquid spreading from underneath each of them. His stomach turned at the thought. He looked back at the hooded woman. He may not have approved of her methods, but at that moment he was too grateful to complain. Apparently Fate wasn't quite through with him after all. Lorne smiled.

"Hey, Sweetpea. Thanks for the assist. What was that you said about my friends?"

"The Senior Partners have sent a demonic horde after them. I thought you might be interested in assisting me in sending said horde back to the realms of chaos from which they have ascended." The hooded figure shrugged slightly, as though dealing with a demonic horde would be no more strenuous than taking a walk in the park. Lorne blinked.

"Nice idea, Sugarmuffin, but I hope you have a good plan because I'm fresh out. I don't even know if it's possible to do what you're suggesting." He tried to ignore the pain the knowledge caused him. The thought of Angel and his other friends in trouble... But he'd already made his choice. He was helpless to do anything to save them and he couldn't bear to just stand by and watch as they died. He'd already had to do that with Fred. He couldn't bear to go through that torture again.

The hooded figure raised her head and started to sing. It was an old tune, wordless and almost tuneless, but the moment she began to sing it the entire bar fell silent. Lorne's heart almost stopped as his gift kicked in and he 'read' her soul as she sang. In that moment, he knew exactly who and what she was.

The figure ended her song and stood still, silently regarding Lorne as she awaited his verdict.

Lorne blinked and stared up at her in disbelief. During his life as the Host of Caritas, the demon karaoke bar he'd once owned, he'd encountered her many times. She'd been a regular visitor to the club, but he had never heard her sing. Now he knew why. "Oh. Yeah. I guess it is possible after all."

After paying his bill, along with a generous tip to the bartender to cover the clean-up since he knew how hard it was to get demon-blood out of wood floors without it staining, Lorne escorted the woman out of the bar. As they walked through one of the many back-alleys that he always favoured when out and about, he thought of something. "Did you say they sent an entire horde after Angel and the others? They only sent six demons after me. I think I'm insulted." A soft chuckle came in reply.

"If it is any consolation, it is a rather small horde, as demonic hordes go." The figure paused for a moment before adding, "although the dragon should make things a little more interesting."


To be continued…