DISCLAIMER: Other people own these characters, but I got the plot. If I did own the characters, there would be some serious changes.
Author's notes: This took me a long time as it is but I'll have another chapter within a month if ya really want to know. Enjoy!
Los Angeles, The Hyperion Hotel.
"Cordelia, I don't understand," Wesley said following her behind the front desk. " No name, no face, and why San Francisco?"
" How would I know? If I knew how the PTB worked then maybe I wouldn't have to have mind splitting headaches, where I drool and have this vein popping out of my head and-"
" Cordy," Angel broke in. " just give me the address and I'll go."
" Pfft, yeah right. Like I would pass up a great demon ass kicking, and might I mention shopping opportunity."
" But-" Angel started. Cordy cut him with the finger-silence gesture.
" I am going with you. No arguments. Wes here can hold down the fort, can't ya?" She didn't wait for him to answer before grabbing a small handbag from under the front desk. She breezed out of the door expecting Angel to follow. He did but only after giving Wesley a very bewildered look.
The drive to San Francisco was quicker than Angel thought it would have been, but then again, he did have Cordy talking the whole time. They found the club easily, though it was nestled not far from the business district of San Francisco. People were coming in and out of the busy club as Angel and Cordelia passed it. He parked his sleek black car not too far away and got out, but had to wait while Cordy adjusted her hair and makeup.
" Wait, wait," Cordy put a hand on Angel's shoulder. " I got something in my shoe." Angel was amazed; she had come up here wearing a thin jacket, a T-shirt, and jeans. Now she was wearing a very stylish black dress that reached a little above her knees, with a shawl and stiletto heels. Her hair was no longer wild from wind, but smooth and sleek.
" What?" she asked when she caught his glance.
" Nothing, just wondering how you put that on in the car."
" You totally zoned me out about a half-hour into the drive."
" Oh," he did 'zone' her out, but he didn't think she knew. She adjusted her shoe and without a word stepped in front of him. If he could breathe he would have sighed heavily while he followed her.
Before he could enter the well-populated club after Cordy, he heard something. It sounded like a muffled scream. Again, he heard it. He followed the noise to an alley right next to the club. Before he turned the corner, he could hear voices and struggling.
" Jake, Jake," A male voice warned. " Don't do this. Julian will have your head."
" Let him have it then, at least this Bruja bitch will be dead." Another male voice said. Angel rounded the corner ready for battle. One man had his fingers gripping the girls throat and the other man had his hand on the first mans arm. " I should rip our throat out, just for the fun of it."
" Jake, let's talk about this," said the man who was holding 'Jake'. Then he spotted Angel, he whispered something to Jake. Jake lowered his knife, but held the girl in place.
" Shut up Cash. Just because your slut is Bruja doesn't mean you have to-" he was cut off by noticing a dark clad man in the alley.
" I think you should let her go," Angel said, walking towards them.
" Who the hell are you?" Jake asked while he tightened his hold on the struggling girl.
" Angel," he was glad he decided to bring some stakes along with the sword in the trunk of his car. " Why don't you let her go?"
He was close enough to reach Jake in one jump. Gauging his timing Angel dove for Jake just as he glanced at the girl. Jake released her as he fell under Angel's weight. He punched Angel squarely in the jaw before Angel could stop him. Immediately Angels demonic face came out. They struggled to their feet and broke apart. Jake and the other man stared while the girl nearly screamed. Angel was still ready for a fight as Jake backed up into the other man. The hostility that plagued the air had quickly changed to debilitating shock, stopping any fighting.
" What are you?" Angel was surprised by the question. His face changed back to the human guise he always wore.
" Cash? What is he?" the girl said in a tiny voice.
" I don't know Jana," he replied. Angel was completely confused. They were not afraid as much as they were curious.
" What are you?" Angel asked, perplexing the trio. He knew they were not human, Jake's eyes were an unearthly yellow, but they held a heartbeat that was unnaturally slow. They must be demon, he thought, no vampire has a heart beat, no matter how slow.
" Julian. We have to take him to Julian," Cash said. " We won't hurt you, what did you say your name was? Angel?" He nodded slowly. Angel was still dubious of the whole situation, but he moved cautiously towards them. They walked into a backstage door to the Haven. They all kept their distance from Angel, not trusting him in the least and he the same.
The club was full of people doing what they do best; eating, drinking, and being merry. He tried to spot Cordy but it was impossible to discern a certain face from the rest. Angel stopped for a second and looked over the crowd and around the club. He liked the style of it. The lighting was low, intimate, and private. He had to smile when he saw the stain-glass window that was held in the ceiling. It was the painting 'Starry Night' by Van Gogh in glass. The irony of it was not lost on Angel. Cash led the way through the club to some stairs near the back. Angel followed them up, keeping his hands ready for an attack.
Julian was talking to Lilly when Cash came in.
" Since when don't we knock?" Lilly said standing up from sitting on Julian's desk.
" What is it Cash?" he said before Angel entered the room. " Who is this?"
" His name is Angel, he is not human, but he's not Kindred either," Julian calmly slid his gaze to Angel, studying him. Julian couldn't hear the mans heartbeat, but he could feel his hunger.
" You are clearly not human." He said addressing Angel. He stood to take better measure of the stranger. He circled Angel, checking him over. " What makes you certain he isn't Kindred, Cash?"
" His face, it changed" Jana said quietly when Cash didn't answer right away.
" I see nothing wrong with it," Julian circled Angel for a second time, agitating him. Angel was irritated with his inspection, and his patience was waning thin.
" What are you, who are you, and what is Kindred?" Angel said, clearly annoyed.
" I'm sorry, we have been rude. Please sit," he gestured towards a chair in front of his desk. Julian moved smoothly behind his desk and sat down. Placing his hands on the desk in a very practiced move he once again contemplated Angel as he sat. He knew formalities were in order, but under the circumstances formalities be damned.
" What are you?" Julian asked bluntly. Angel couldn't help but sigh in exasperation. " I apologize for my bluntness, but I feel it is an imperative that needs answering."
" I am a Vampire. Now, what are Kindred?"
" You, my friend, are Kindred. Or what the humans call vampire."
" So you all are vampires?" His voice held a note of disbelief, but his body tensed anyway.
" Kindred," Julian corrected. " You are family now, so there is no reason to fight. The Kindred are peaceful creatures."
Angel could have laughed if all the faces around him weren't so serious. He shook his head anyway, thinking; this is all I need a nest of delusional vampires.
" Now all we need to know is what clan he is," A quiet voice said from beside Julian.
" I agree. Angel this is Lilly, she owns the Haven." Angel nodded in acknowledgment.
" Who embraced you?" Her voice was soft and melodic.
" Who made you what you are?" The patience that humored them nearly broke at the mention of his Sire. He tried to rise but a hand was placed on his shoulder, gently restraining him.
" You can tell us Angel," Julian soothed. Lilly came from around the desk and knelt beside Angel.
" How long ago was it? How long have you been what you are?" Her icy blue eyes stared into his deep brown ones. There was something about her, about her eyes. Something mesmerizing. Angel tried to tear his gaze from her but it was locked. Something made him trust her.
" 247 years." He whispered. Shock once again reverberated around the room. Julian never heard of Kindred so old. He himself was not much over 100. The fastest to recover, Lilly went on.
" How long has it been?" Angel knew what she meant; her eyes whispered it to him. She meant his hunger, his need, his demon. How long has it been since you had human blood? That's what she meant. He didn't want to answer. He didn't want to acknowledge his burning need for life, for blood. He didn't want them to know how much it hurt each and everyday to wake up with that craving. Yet, he could not stop himself.
"Over a century," His voice was laced with his pain. Her eyes held him, captured him. He couldn't escape, and he tried to turn away but he couldn't. This is how weak he was; he couldn't even get away from a woman's gaze. He'd already gone too far, already told too much of himself with only a few words. " Stop making me do this."
" I'm not making you do anything you don't already want to do." Lilly tried to probe deeper into his mind, but he wasn't letting her.
" I'm not like you," Angel snapped back, suddenly getting defensive. He tore his eyes from hers to look around the room. Restless, he tried to stand again, only to feel a hand on his shoulder, but he pushed past it and stood. When he shifted towards Julian, Cash once again took hold of his shoulder to stop him.
" Remove your hand before I remove it for you," Angel all but growled. Julian gave an 'it's okay' look to Cash. Angel made his way to the window behind Julian, looking out on to the Club below. He had to look at something else, move his focus onto something else. She was close, damn close, to having him tell all. Even about Darla.
" How do you like my club Angel?" Lilly said, now sitting in the chair he was just in. He wasn't going to answer, but he decided the shift in atmosphere would be good.
" It's moody, and artistic. I very much appreciate the stained-glass work on the ceiling." The corner of his mouth curled into a half-grin. He could feel the flattery coming from Lilly.
" Well, thank you. When I bought this place the glass was already there. The irony seemed perfect."
" So I bought it for her." Julian said. " It used to be an old office building. Lilly changed it nicely." Angel had to agree. He looked out to the crowd and the tables. He saw Cordelia sitting alone in one of the booths. I'll have to go and get her soon, he thought. There was some movement behind Angel's back; he heard the door open. Angel turned towards it.
" Wait, Jake." Jake stopped in the doorway. " What's a Bruja, and why did you attack her?" All eyes turned to Jake. He looked like a caught rabbit.
" What is this about, Jake?"
" She's Bruja," he spat before thinking. He expected Julian to order his death or something, but he only nodded. But Cash on the other hand looked ready to kill Jake.
" Cash, take Jana to the guest room, and please escort Jake out. Jake, we'll talk some other time." Julian ordered. There were no complaints and the three exited the room. Angel wished he could only get that kind of control over Cordy and Wesley when they start bickering.
" What's Bruja?"
" Bruja are one of the various clans of Kindred we have residing in the city." Julian went on at Angel's look of confusion.
" I am what is called the Prince of the city, I preside over the clans making sure there is order. There are five major clans that live in my city. The Ventrue, the Toreador, the Gangrel, the Bruja, and the Nosforatu. Ventrues are businessmen, Toreadors are artists, and Gangrels are our protectors. The Bruja right now seem to be our troublemakers, but they are of the businessmen as well. The Nosforatu are our link to the old ones. I am of the Ventrue clan, and by nature a businessman." He explained.
" He owns half the city," Lilly put in.
" Lilly here is the primegin of her clan, the Toreador. A primegin is something of their representatives, shall we say. Does that sum it up Lilly?"
" Just about. Yeah." This was a lot to take in but Angel soaked up all he was saying. Clans? Of vampires? Working together for peace? It was almost laughable, but Angel was beginning to believe it.
" You said earlier that you needed to find out what clan I am. What good would that do?"
" It would have given us some insight on who made you, but by your age we could only assume your sire is dead." That she is, Angel thought guiltily. His mind wandered back to the dreams he kept having. He was brought back to reality with Julian's question.
" Jana said your face changed. How exactly did it change?" Angel was dumbfounded. If they didn't 'go all grr' as Cordy called it, then how did they feed?
" You mean your face doesn't change?"
" Only a growth of the nails, teeth, and eye color change, that's all." Lilly said quietly.
" Can I see how you changed face?" Angel converted to his vampiric form and Lilly gasped. He immediately returned to his human face, not wanting to scare her. Julian was shocked but he didn't look like it. He calmly stared at Angel's face.
" Lilly, please go and get Daedelus for me please."
" You don't think he's-" Julian cut her off with a nod towards the door. There was a silence between the two vampires for a few moments.
" You said before you were not like us. What did you mean?" Angel didn't really know what he'd meant, just that at the time it seemed true. So in answer, he shrugged. The beat of music had stopped and all was now quiet.
" Would you like some wine? Red is all I have," Struck with the famous line " I don't drink… wine", Angel chuckled and nodded. It had been a long time since he had good wine. He drank from the glass offered to him. The wine was rich and sweet, but that was the extent of his tasting skills. He wished that his long dead taste buds could have appreciated the wine better. Julian was expecting a reaction out of him and Angel humored him. He nodded and gave a small salute with his glass. He set down his glass and moved to the door.
"Where are you going?"
"To the club,"
" To retrieve a friend."
It was simple enough, Julian nodded." But come back up here."
Angel left without assuring him. The twists and turns of the building were enough to get him confused but he finally found the stairs that led to the club. The crowd was thinning as bouncers began to shove people out of the bar. He spotted Cordy in a shady booth near the back of the club. She played with the straw of her drink with boredom. When he slid into the opposite seat she gave him a look of death.
" So much for demon ass kicking. But hey, at least I got to socialize right?" Her breath carried across the table, heavy with alcohol. " Did I mention they have great drinks here? And they are oh, so much fun to drink alone with vampires breathing down your neck."
" Vampires? You know there were vampires here?"
" Yeah," she answered, " ya know those way too pale undead guys?" she nodded towards three men in suits leaning on the bar. They were 'Kindred' as Julian called them. Angel's eyes held an apology, at least Cordy thought she saw one there. She slapped one of his hands, which were resting on the table.
" Don't worry, I forgive ya, but only if it's a good excuse." Oh, it's a screamer, he thought.
" I want you to come with me." Cordy didn't look in the least shocked, she just looked, well, tired.
" Wha-?" was all Cordy could get out before Angel grabbed her hand and led her to some stairs. She warily followed his broad black back through endless hallways. She quickly got bored of looking at his back and began to look around. Well, she thought, who ever owns this place has *some* style. After stumbling disgracefully a few times from looking at things she decided not to look around anymore. She stared at her moving shoes, thinking about a new pair when Angel's back suddenly stopped and she walked right into it. It was like walking into a brick wall, she bounced back and unceremoniously fell, tripping on her stilettos. He turned back and helped her up, she smacked him hard on the shoulder. But it wasn't Angel who helped her up.
" I'm Julian Luna, and you are?" his voice was liquid warmth and his mismatched eyes looked into hers. Wasn't this nice? Here she was, probably drunker than a skunk, and being held by a beautiful male. Ahh, Cordy, she thought, You're dreaming again. Cordelia could have melted right then and there. She was surprised when she didn't.
" C-Cordelia Chase," she mentally kicked herself for stumbling over her own name. She was going to stutter out a 'thank you', but a woman at the door interrupted her.
The door opened and Lilly came in with another man.
" I came as fast as I could Julian. What is the problem?" Angel looked at the new stranger. He was as tall as Angel was and completely bald. Cordy was still too enraptured by the man still holding he to notice anyone else. She almost whimpered when he cast one last look down at her and let go. She wasn't *that* drunk.
" Don't you think we should talk about this privately?" Lilly nodded towards Cordelia who had plopped down in Julian's chair. Angel shook his head. But Julian answered.
" No, she won't remember anything in the morning." Lilly nodded knowing that he didn't mean from the alcohol.
" Have you heard of any new members to your clan Daedelus?" Julian said, turning to him.
" I would be the first to know, but no, there have been no additions to my clan. Why?"
" Angel, show Daedelus your face," Angel lifted an eyebrow in question. " Your other face." Angel caught on and shifted his features. Daedelus came up to him and studied his face.
" It looks like our primitive form, but he is not of the Nosforatu." That's what Julian needed to know. He glanced at his watch absently, 5:45 am. The sun was rising and everyone needed some sleep. He would have to solve this matter out further tonight.
" Angel, please, be our guest for tonight and stay with us." Julian offered. " You're friend is welcome too." Angel was intrigued with this new race of vampires and decided to stay. He nodded.
" All right, let's go home then." He said before gathering up some papers from the desk. Angel gathered up a sleeping Cordelia in his arms and followed them all out to Julian's limo. Cordy stirred in Angel's arms to say 'I think he's hoooottttt' and drifting back off to sleep. She didn't know she was sitting next to the one she called 'hot'.
The sun was already casting its colors on the sky when they arrived at Julian's mansion. Angel accepted one room for both Cordy and himself. He once again took the couch and she the bed. He settled down comfortably on the couch and drifted off to sleep. He dreamt of nothing that night.
* * *
" Damn it Holland, he's gone out of town. I heard his little employees talking about it." Darla yelled at Holland, the Vice President of Special Operations.
" All I can say is that he'll be back soon. He has to, he has ties here." He walked over to Lindsey's desk.
" If I'm not in his dreams even for one night, he'll figure it out, he's smart Holland, even if he's not exactly my boy." She started pacing across the room. Lindsey who was standing in the corner, came and placed his only hand in her shoulder to steady her. She calmed and looked at Lindsey then at Holland.
" He won't figure it out, Darla. He doesn't suspect anything." Lindsey soothed.
" How do you know?" she turned towards him. Her eyes were on fire with emotion, he caught worry, anger, sorrow, and longing. All things were still new to her.
" We know." Darla seemed deflated all of a sudden. She seemed tired.
" Take me home, Lindsey, I'm tired." Holland nodded when Lindsey looked to him for confirmation. Lindsey gathered his things and waited for Darla to exit before him.
" Oh, Lindsey? Try and find Angel's whereabouts this evening. We'll need to make sure he'll be back. And don't play with the investments please." Meaning Darla. Lindsey returned the half grin Holland shot at him before closing the door.
" Don't worry Darla, Angel will be back soon."
Darla stopped him from saying anymore with a finger on his lips.
" Do we have to talk about Angel all the time? It gives me a hurting in my head, what do you call those?" she moved her fingers to her temple.
" A headache, I often get one while speaking of Angel and a few other cases. I won't talk about him again until we reach your apartment." He gained a smile from her. More and more everyday with each smile that came from her Lindsey melted a little. He didn't mind it at all. It had been so long since he had been attracted to a woman. But this woman was exceptional.
" What are you thinking about Lindsey?" She asked in the elevator.
" Things," he answered vaguely. " Darla, I can't have dinner with you tonight. I have some business to attend to. Is that all right?"
" Sure, I think I know how to entertain myself after four-hundred years of practice." She chuckled lightly and Lindsey smiled. They got into the car and no words were exchanged until he stopped in front of her apartment. She sighed deeply at the sight of it.
" You know, I never expected to be here, now, like this."
" I know,"
" No, no you don't. But at least you tried," she turned to him and planted a small kiss on his cheek. She got out of the car and thanked him for the ride. He stayed until he saw the light flicker on in her apartment. Smiling slightly he sped off to his next location. Angel Investigations.