DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are the creations of Joss Whedon and copyright of 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy, Inc. Nemesis is an original character from my Watchtower Gargoyles series. Briarley and Prophecy are original characters from my Witchhaven County series.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 1: This is the final chapter. It contains some spoilers from the final episode of Angel. Thank you to everyone who has read this story. I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: Text in 'single quote italics' is being thought, not spoken.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 3: For anyone who's interested, I discuss the background of this story with the Dark Magician (Yu-Gi-Oh!) during chapter 6 of my story 'Interview with an Authoress'. Chapter 7 will most likely contain something about it too, when I write it.
DEDICATION: To the show, its creator and its actors, for bringing 'Angel' to life. Also, to my fellow fans, because a show is never truly gone as long as it is alive in our hearts.
By Shadow's Mirror
Lorne closed the front door of the Hyperion Hotel and turned. For a moment he simply stood there, taking in the scene before him. The lobby looked just as it had while they had lived there before, only clean and new. The restoration had done wonders for the place. His gaze moved from the architecture to the four people in the room and a feeling of calmness spread over him.
Angel and Spike had apparently agreed to disagree and had retreated to opposite corners of the lobby where they were studiously ignoring each other. The blonde vampire was having a rather animated discussion with Illyria while Angel spoke with Gunn. With Spike and Illyria, their choice for conversation could have been anything from battle stories to the best strategy for Crash Bandicoot. But the mood over on the couch was so somber there could be only one topic of discussion.
Lorne sighed softly. 'Well folks. Here we are. It's not quite back to the beginning, but this is where it all started for me. So much has changed. Not all of it good.' He sighed again.
'Doyle, I never knew you but I've heard the stories. Your memory lives on. Cordy darlin', you are so sorely missed. You put him back on the right path in the end though, and for that, we all thank you. Fred.' A tear trickled down Lorne's cheek. 'Ah Fred. A part of you is still here, with us. In a way, that makes it all the more painful to know that you're gone. That just leaves… Wes.' Another tear fell, then another. 'Find her Wes. Find her and be happy. But you've left a legacy here, whether you meant to or not.' Lorne looked over at Illyria and smiled through his tears. 'She misses you, Wes. You took a being who hated humans and now look at her. She's one of us. Only you could have done it, Wes. Only you.'
"Hey Lorne! Are you planning on spending all night over there? Come on, we have plans to make."
Angel's voice jolted Lorne out of his internal monologue. He nodded. "Coming." Turning back to the door, he made a show of locking it while covertly wiping the tears from his eyes.
Lorne joined Angel and Gunn just before Illyria and Spike reached them too. Spike frowned slightly. "What you got there, mate?"
"What? Oh, you mean this?" Lorne held up the object in his hand. "It's a little thing called a business card. You may have heard of them."
"I can see that, you green git. I meant where did you…" Spike suddenly blinked and looked around, as though searching for something, or someone. "Hey! Where'd she go? Angel! That hooded woman's gone!"
"What?" Angel looked around and grimaced when he saw Spike was right. "No! I had some questions for her!"
Lorne chuckled softly. "Relax Angel-Cake, you'll have plenty of opportunities to talk to her. I'm going to see her tomorrow. She mentioned a job opening."
Angel blinked. "A job? Doing what? Who is she, Lorne?"
In answer, Lorne handed Angel the business card. Then he dropped onto the couch beside Gunn and waited for Angel's reaction.
The card was a pleasant sandy-parchment colour with an elegant silver and gold border designed to look like entwined vines. The company name was printed neatly along the top, with the hooded woman's name underneath it. Angel read the words, blinked, re-read them and then slowly raised his head to stare at Lorne in shock. "You're kidding."
Lorne reached up and plucked the card from Angel's hand. He grinned as he slipped it into his pocket. "Afraid not, Muffin."
Spike and Gunn looked from Lorne to Angel and back again, identical looks of confusion on their faces. "Will one of you please tell us who she is, or do I have to hurt someone? Preferably him," Spike added with a gesture at Angel.
"She works for Nine Muses Inc. They're a company specialising in the creation and promotion of art, entertainment, music and literature," Lorne explained, trying not to grin.
"Ah. Never heard of them. Well, I have heard of the Muses, naturally, but not the company. So, what's her name?" Spike leaned against the wall and crossed his arms, looking bored.
Lorne smiled serenely. "Oh, that was Melpomene. You know, the Muse of Tragedy." Lorne settled back in his chair and smiled as he enjoyed the rare sight of Spike, Angel and Gunn all staring at him in stunned disbelief.
Illyria looked at the three of them and frowned slightly. "You were not aware of her identity? Could you not sense her power?"
Spike glanced at Illyria and suddenly grinned. "Love, if I'd known who she was, I would have asked her for her autograph! Well that settles it, that does. Angel, I'm staying." He nodded and leaned back against the wall.
Angel frowned at him. "You're what?"
"I'm staying. There's no way you're getting rid of me. Not now I have a chance to meet a real Muse. Have you any idea how long I've wanted to meet one? The Muses are my idols. Always have been. Since before Dru turned me. I mean… hello! Poet, remember?" Spike smirked.
"Spike, I know you write, I'm just not sure if it could actually be called 'poetry'."
"What? Hey! I'll have you know the guys at the bar loved it! They kept asking for more!"
"Bar? What bar? Never mind. The point is, you're not staying!"
"Oh yes I am!"
As Lorne listened to the two vampires arguing, he smiled slightly. "Ah… It's good to be home."