Riley was in an undisclosed location in the hills of Virginia. The barracks at the base were Spartan and in August the moist heat was like being broiled alive. The outside wasn't much better even in the shade it made him wish for the cooling breezes of California. He had been in Virginia since May, since the death of his wife, Sam. They hadn't even been on a mission just a stroll around Washington to see cherry blossoms and eat some civilian pizza. Now, she was dead. She hadn't even died in a fight, she was holding a slice of thin crust mushroom pizza when a dart, like something from an Indiana Jones movie, hit her in the neck. Riley had been a ghost ever since she died.

He wandered around or did filing today, however, he lay under a tree looking at the leaves. He didn't stir when the thud of boots moved closer or when he was looking up into the face of Peters. Peters didn't have the most handsome of mugs but it was fine enough for a man with a few broken noses behind him.

"Finn, I have some news from Los Angeles. About your wife." Riley sat up. "Good, got your ear. Here's the boy's report." Peters dropped a thick sealed manila folder into the other man's lap. "You're not going to like what you find. It's that demon law firm." The older man leaned against the tree with a sigh as Riley opened up the file and read the summary page.

"Angel." Riley was frowning but he sat straighter, with more vigor in his voice than in the last several weeks.

"Yup. The gist of the assassination motive was a client of his firm, Clayton Matthews, was transporting a Machida or Machodo. Well, your wife stopped that."

"So, it was business?" Riley looked ruffled through the papers and pulled out a close up picture of Angel opening a car door. He leaned closer to the photo and saw standing in the background; Spike. "How can I get to him?"

"Walk through the door." Peters said with a hacking chuckle.


"Look, I've been working the special operations for a while. One thing I've learned about these demons is that they don't see people. You get me? Like in this old book I read how before Earth was a hell and demons were the top dogs everywhere. But look now, do you see demonic slugs in the day? Hell no. I figure that's how people push them underground. They didn't see us coming. You think that rich-y dead bastard is going to see you when some thing in horns is walking pass?"

Riley nodded as he put away the papers. "When can I go?"

"Anytime, we were going to send you out to LA to get rid of a body snatcher running for office, as if we didn't know. The nerve of them. They don't even learn after thousands of years."

Riley snagged a drink and was bringing it to his lips when he saw Spike trying to mosh with something large and horned. Spike with a soul was more than similar to Spike un-souled in appearance; same crinkly leather jacket, scuffed boots, tight black shirt, and molded platinum hair. His face looked different as the eyebrows were more natural and he seemed a tad worn around the edges. Riley had told Buffy back when they were together that Spike tweezed. Riley guessed the guilt ate at him so much he couldn't even primp anymore. He could still down Heineken and party. He shoved his glass at an emaciated bald thing on a leash before he strode over to Spike.

Spike's ease at having a conscience but not drowning in guilt for more than a century of cruelty would be enough to piss him off on a regular day but this wasn't a regular day. Riley didn't want a confrontation that would lose his chance at Angel. He'd made sure to get all of his aggression out in a fight with that demon politician. This Halloween party that Wolfram & Hart had set up was the perfect way to get to Angel. Riley wasn't sure he would be able to get in but that green guy, Lorne liked his cheekbones. The people at the door acted like this place was Studio 54.

"Riley, you look like shit." Spike said as he did a dance oddly alike the Snoppy dance Xander did at Thanksgiving.

"Happens when you become a widower." Riley sucked in a deep breath. "Where's Angel?"

Spike kicked and Riley crouched into a defensive position until he realized that the vampire was still dancing. With a fist in the air and jumping feet Spike mumbled between the lyrics of 'Girls, Girls, Girls' that Angel went with a petite brunette to his penthouse. Riley swore before turning to the elevator. If Spike had pissed him off by being happy then the fact that Angel was getting it on was infuriating. Didn't he just leave a girlfriend in a coma? What sort of consciences were they handing out these days?

The clarity of anger was a beautiful thing. It had woken him up from his grief and set him on the path to avenging Sam. It had given him the determination and patience to wait to review and refine his plan. When he had first learned the news of Angel's involvement in Sam's death he'd wanted blood. The passing two months hadn't cooled his desire for vengeance but sharpened it. Angel was going to pay and he wouldn't even know it.

His case files had come with blueprints and through study Riley had learned the location of every escape route and important office. The way to Angel's apartment was the first thing he'd memorized. He hadn't been surprised him that Angel would have a 'secret' elevator leading from his office to his housing. Anyone with eyes could see that the vampire had batman fantasies from the coat to the brooding and now he got his very own 'Wayne Industries.' Riley could have laughed out loud when he read that the door opened when you unsheathed a sword. He wouldn't get the chance to see the elevator because when he walked in the office, Angel was undressing a girl.

He had so many things he had wanted to say. Riley had speeches he practiced until he took a cue from the 'Princess Bride:' keep it simple. Sure, his wasn't as striking as 'My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die' but he thought his had a ring to it never the less.

"Why did you kill her?" Riley asked, watching as Angel's hands stilled. The vampire turned to face Riley with obvious shock.

"What? Who? Riley?" Angel asked, feebly trying to bat away the petite brunette who was nibbling on his neck. Riley strode over to the vampire and took a picture of Sam out of his pocket. It was his favorite; Sam in mid-spin at their small jungle wedding wearing a hippie skirt and blouse along with some flowers. This was the picture that he looked at every night so that when he dreamed it wouldn't be of her on the stretcher under the cherry trees.

"You had my wife killed. Her name was Samantha Marie Finn. And yes, it's me." Riley said as his hands shook as he held the photo. The clarity was harsh as he realized that Angel wouldn't fall to his knees and repent. Angel was biting back a groan as his little corporate secretary, or whatever she was, rubbed against him. He had known that the vampire wasn't good before but seeing how far Buffy's saintly ex had fallen was both upsetting and satisfying. There was no reason for him to be here. Angel had no clue who his wife was. The stupid version of the Scourge of Europe was too busy living it up to realize he was writing away lives. "You just signed a paper sending assassins against a woman who fought for good and you don't even care."

"Riley, I'm truly sorry but-" Angel started but he soon got distracted by the girl unbuttoning his shirt.

Riley was just disgusted. Angel was lucky that Buffy wasn't able to see him now. Rage was making him grind his teeth and he knew that he could do nothing. Sam wouldn't be avenged. That feeling of impotence lead him to vent like the ignorant farm boy everyone always thought he was.

"Angel, you ought to have the lady step aside." Riley said, as Angel stared in puzzlement at the girl who in turn was looking at Riley anxiously, her hands finally stopping as she did move. That was when with one upper cut to the jaw, which would have taken the head off a human, he let all his anger out. "Look through your files tomorrow and you'll find more victims."

He felt so tired as he walked out of the office. Everything that had kept him going had died in that punch. The fire in his belly and the anger that put a stomp in his step left him as he shuffled into the elevator. There was another person there, a tall black man who was zipping his pants but beyond the first glance Riley didn't notice. He saw Sam dancing ahead of him as they went to barracks that Graham had made the boys turn into a neat little honeymoon abode. She was crying because he had failed.

Riley walked out of the elevator and passed a drunken pair of bookish looking brunettes. The party had really started but it could have been a funeral for the way he was feeling. Spike bounced into him knocking Riley against the green guy, Lorne. He apologized and was backing away when Lorne asked a question.

"So, are you having a fun time, cheeks?"

"I'd be happier at a cemetery." Riley said, thinking of the small graveyard in Illinois where Sam was.

Lorne turned a darker shade of green when he yelled, "I stage the best party this side of the seventies and this is what I get all night? Fine, if you want to be with the dead why don't you just die! Go ahead and kill yourself."