Author: Meltha

Rating: nothing too objectionable

Feedback: Yes, thank you. Buffy season two.

Summary: At the end of the nineteenth century, Angelus enjoys an evening in Paris.

Author's Note: Twenty-sixth in the Jewel Box series, a collection of 500 word fics (in response to The 500 Club) and an idea taken from Challenge in a Can www.dymphna. In this case, it's Angelus, jewelry, and peaceful. I have also been skipping my way through the alphabet with the titles, and this completes the alphabet.

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy. Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you. Thank you.

Yesteryear's Pleasures

Angelus was in a particularly good mood as he strode through the lanes of the wealthiest part of Paris. A warm, summer evening breeze followed him companionably down the streets. It was such a fine night that he was far from the only stroller under the twilight sky. As he passed the well-dressed residents, he savored the heady perfume of over-confidence from those who believed their money was an assurance of safety. Angelus had long ago learned the lovely blindness the rich had to their own mortality was ubiquitous throughout the world.

But he was in no hurry to find prey. He was hunting alone, finding it delightful to choose his pace rather than keep up with Drusilla's whims or avoid William's idiocy. Even Darla could annoy him; while she normally tolerated his flirtations with mortals, she hadn't appreciated his recent liaison with a voluptuous young nymph, and he'd strangled the relatively amusing creature to keep peace. But tonight the others were intrigued with their own affairs: Darla with shopping, and Dru and William with breaking into the Louvre. Freedom flooded through him.

His steps led him to the Seine, and he found himself standing on a bridge that spanned the water like a gull with open wings. He looked down into the river, enjoying the soft slap of waves against the piles and watching boats sail beneath with moonlight-white wakes. Pulling a cigar from his coat pocket, he rolled it sensuously between his fingers, enjoying the smell of the tobacco. Cuban, he decided. His last victim had possessed exquisite taste.

Reaching into his vest pocket, he produced a cigar cutter that glittered gold in the gaslights, engraved with an ornate letter "A." It had been a gift from Darla on the last anniversary of his turning. The sharp blade had proved useful for many other purposes besides trimming his cigars, which was fortunate as his sire loathed their smell. With a contented sigh, he nipped the end of the cigar, letting the tip fall into the river. He scratched a match along the bridge railing and puffed soothingly, letting the taste wind around his tongue.

He was the picture of a wealthy foreigner. As he stood (too still if a viewer were alert), his face was illuminated by the glow of his cigar, throwing his handsome features into fine relief. Before long he felt eyes on him, and the sound of footsteps echoed against the pavement. Angelus lifted his gaze to assess a couple as they came towards him, the man mundane, but the girl a rosebud dressed in demure white and pink. She glanced at him merely moment, but in that moment he saw an entry. She would be Angelus's before the week was out, and of her own choosing.

"Bon soir," he murmured politely.

The man nodded and the girl blushed, averting her eyes. Yes, he thought, his demonic face flickering after they passed, noting the direction they took. It was a fine night indeed.