Disclaimer: Angel and his respective adversaries belong to Joss Whedon and Co., and all of 'Charmed' belongs to Constance M. Burge; I'm just using them for the moment

Feedback: I'd like that, believe me

AN: This is set just a few months before 'Charmed Again', so Paige isn't a witch yet. Also, in this reality, Buffy Summers was never called as a Slayer- the Slayer line jumped a track and went straight on to Kendra in this dimension- so Angel was never 'sent' to help Buffy learn how to be a Slayer

Sent to the Witch

The vampire formerly known as Angelus, Scourge of Europe, sighed as he stepped up to a trashcan and began to go through it. A man walked past him and on down the street, but, despite the fresh blood singing from the human's veins, Angelus wasn't even tempted; he'd forsaken human blood almost a century ago. Having found nothing in the bin, Angelus made his way into a nearby alley with slow, laboured steps, his long dirty hair hanging down around his face.

Tired and weak, Angelus staggered into a concrete post at the side of the alley and stopped. He coughed and rolled around to lean with his back against the post, just breathing for a moment…

And then he sniffed.

Something was there.

He searched the alley with his eyes and then his eyes fell on it. It was a rat, scampering across to the other side of the alley. He took a couple of unsteady steps, brushes the hair from his face and began to stalk the rat. He knew it was a low move for survival, but when the alternative was human flesh, he had no choice.

The rat reached the other side and disappeared into a pile of trashcans and bags. Angelus dived after it, scattering the cans and bags noisily…

And all for nothing; the rat had run away when the clattering began.

As Angelus sat there, staring blearily up at the night sky, a man came into the alley behind him.

"God, you're pathetic," the man said, attracting Angelus's attention.

Rolling his eyes slightly, Angelus glanced in the man's direction. The man was about average height, maybe a head or so shorter than Angel, and wearing a brown jacket and trousers, as well as a brown hat, that clashed horribly with the vivid green-and-black patterned shirt he wore underneath.

In the old days, Angelus might have attacked him for the insult, but now he just glanced down at himself.

"This is really an unforgettable smell," the man commented, as he walked further into the alley, looking at Angel all the while. "This is the stench of death you're giving off here. And the look says, uh..." he faltered, waving his hand as though seeking the correct term, before clicking his fingers, pointing at Angel, and saying, "Crazy Homeless Guy."

He shook his head. "It's not good."

"Get away from me," Angelus muttered, as he turned around to look down the alley again. Maybe he'd find another rat…

"What are you gonna do, bite me?" the man asked jokingly. Then, before Angelus could assume his 'game face' and convince the man to leave him alone, the man gasped and jumped back. "Horrors! A vampire!"

Angelus looked at him in surprise.

What was this guy?

"Ah," the man said, shaking his head slightly as he looked at Angel, "but you wouldn't bite me on account of your poor, tortured soul. It's so sad, a vampire with a soul. It's so poignant."

"Who are you?" Angelus asked, starting to feel very confused by the way things were going…

"Let's take a walk," the man said, offering Angelus a hand to haul him back onto his feet.

A short while later, the two of them were walking along the sidewalk, before the man turned into the street to cross to the hotdog stand on the other side. Angelus, as nonchalant about his personal safety as ever, wasn't really paying any attention to the traffic, leaving his strange companion to grab the vampire's arm to stop him.

"What are you eating?" the man asked, as he and Angel finished their trek across the road. "Like, a rat once a month?

Angelus strayed and almost walked into another car; if this man was just here to make fun of his eating habits, he wasn't interested in sticking around. But to no avail; the man grabbed him again and pulled him back in time.

"Hey!" the man yelled at the car, which merely honked once at them before they continued. "Look," he said, turning to look back at Angelus, "you're skin and bones here! You've got better alternatives, you know; butcher shops are throwing away more blood in a day than you could stand. Good blood."

He glared over at Angelus, as though the vampire had just inquired as to the way to his own head. "You lived in the world a little bit, you'd know that."

They finally reached the other side of the road, and Angelus turned to look at his strange acquaintance.

"I want to know who you are," he said simply

The man stopped and turned to face him "And I want to know who you are," he replied.

"You already do," Angelus said, shrugging dismissively.

The other man shook his head. "Not yet," he said simply. "But I'm looking to find out. 'Cause you could go either way here."

"I don't understand you," Angelus said, maintaining a blank expression despite his growing confusion.

"Nobody understands me," the man replied, before chuckling slightly. "That's my curse."

Angelus didn't need to ask why the man had emphasised the word 'curse'; evidently, he knew how Angelus possessed a soul, unlike his counterparts.

The man stepped over to the street vendor and pulled out some cash.

"Dog me," he said to the man. "Mustard."

He watched the vendor get out the hotdog and squirt on some mustard, before briefly looking back at Angel. "My name's Whistler," he added, before accepting the hot dog from the man. "Thanks," he said, handing over a bill before turning back to Angel. "Anyway, lately it is." He chewed casually on the hot dog.

Angelus looked down at Whistler inquiringly. "You're not a vampire," he said, after a few moments.

"A demon," Whistler said casually, then raising the hand that wasn't holding the hot dog in a defensive manner, noticing Angelus having visibly tensed up. "Technically. I mean, I'm not your stereotypical bad guy. Not all demons are dedicated to the destruction of all life."

Angelus could only nod; he'd certainly encountered enough in his life to believe that. "What do you mean, I can go either way?" he asked, looking back at Whistler.

"I mean," Whistler explained, as he continued to chew on the hot dog, "that you can become an even more useless rodent than you already are, or you can become someone. A person. Someone to be counted."

Angelus shrugged and turned away. "I just want to be left alone," he muttered over his shoulder as he began to walk.

"Well, yeah," Whistler said, as Angelus began to turn around a nearby corner, "you've been left alone for, what, ninety years already?"

As Angelus stopped and turned back, Whistler grinned and continued. "And what a package you are. The Stink Guy!"

Angel sighed, turned around, walked back towards Whistler, and stared the other demon in the face. "What do you want from me?" he asked bluntly; if this guy wouldn't take a hint, Angelus might as well find out what was so important.

"I want you to see something," Whistler said simply.

He gave Angelus an intense look, but Angelus just looked back at him blankly, giving no hints about what was going on inside.

"We'd have to leave now," Whistler said to the vampire. "You see, and then you tell me what you want to do."

Angelus sighed. He might as well humour this lunatic…

"Where is it?" he asked.

A few hours later, the two demons stood in the shadow of an alleyway, watching the building opposite them. It was a social work centre, near the end of the day, and two women were just walking out of it. One of them, a tall blonde woman, didn't really interest Angel, but the other woman was somehow more appealing to him. She was slightly shorter than the other, but only by about half a head, with shoulder-length black hair and skin so pale he might have assumed she was a vampire if it wasn't for the fact that she was in the sunlight.

"So, Paige, available for a party tonight?" the redhead said, looking over at the other woman. "I was thinking of checking out that new place; you know, P3? Sounds pretty good."

'Paige' nodded. "Yeah, sure thing," she said, nodding at the other woman. "Just don't forget; I won't be drinking anything stronger than sparkling water."

"Yeah, I know; the alcohol thing," the woman said, patting 'Paige' reassuringly on the shoulder. "Don't worry; I'll make sure everyone else knows it too."

Angelus looked over at Whistler curiously.

"The point?" he asked.

Whistler smiled. "Elementary, my dear Watson," he said, indicating Paige. "That young woman there, in around…" he paused and checked his watch before continuing, "four month's time, is going to become the newest member of the Charmed Ones."

Angelus froze.

The Charmed Ones? He'd heard of them, of course, but only in legend…

Then he looked over at Whistler in confusion.

"In four months?" he asked. "I thought Melinda Warren's prophecy was that all three sisters would receive their powers at once?"

"Correct, but, well, the prophecy failed to factor in the possibility of one of the Charmed Ones being rendered inactive after taking on their powers," Whistler explained, sighing sadly as he and Angelus looked back at Paige, now walking off towards a green VW Beetle. "Some of the higher-ups got an inkling that something's going to happen to one of the sisters soon, but we don't know precisely when, how, or what."

He jerked a thumb in Paige's direction. "All we know for sure is, she's the new girl; shares the same mother, but father's a Whitelighter, so, naturally, the mom hid her away from the Elders."

Angelus looked at Whistler in confusion.

"But… if the Elders don't know about her, than how…?" he asked.

"My bosses are a little… bigger than the Elders, shall we say?" Whistler said casually. "We can't do much, but we try our best."

He sighed again, as he indicated the direction that Paige was currently driving in. "She's gonna have it tough, that witch. She's practically just a kid. The world's full of big, bad things…"

He looked up at Angelus, as though to make sure that the vampire got what he was about to say. "And the other two have much more experience at this game than she does."

Angelus nodded. He knew how much experience counted when fighting the undead and the demons of the world; he'd faced countless monster hunters who'd rarely known what they were dealing with, and had been eliminated easily.

True, the experienced ones hadn't lasted that long either, but he could excuse that; without sounding arrogant, he had been a dangerous adversary back in the day…

"I want to help her," he said eventually. Whistler looked up at him from where he was chewing on a recently purchased burger, and Angelus continued. "I want... I want to become someone."

"God, jeez, look at you," Whistler muttered, through a mouthful of burger and mustard. "I knew she was good, but I didn't think she'd be that hot."

Angelus looked away; given how much Whistler had seemed to know so far, the demon probably knew that Angelus had killed more than his fair share of witches as well as other monster hunters. No matter how much he'd tried to stay away from magic, it always seemed to come back to haunt him…

Right up to the curse that left him in this condition.

Whistler sighed, tossed the burger into a nearby rubbish bin, and walked over to look Angelus directly in the eyes. "This isn't gonna be easy. The more you live in this world, the more you see how apart from it you really are." His tone became sterner as he continued. "And this is dangerous work. Right now," he said, indicating Angel's dirty and torn clothes, "you couldn't go three rounds with a fruit fly!"

Angelus merely straightened up slightly and looked back at Whistler. "I want to learn from you," he said simply.

Whistler nodded. "Alright," he said.

Angelus glared briefly at Whistler. "But I don't want to dress like you."

He turned around and began to walk away from the alley, towards a nearby building that Whistler had pointed out to him earlier.

Whistler sighed. "Again, you're annoying me," he said despairingly, as he began to walk after the vampire. "You're lucky we need you on our side…"