Fanfic by Jixie 12/2005

She said goodbye to her father first.

In a way, it was the hardest. There was so much left unsaid. He knew so
many things which she did not understand, and she understood so many things
that he did not know. She wanted to share it with him, to learn what he had
in his mind, and have the chance to grow close to and love her father.

It was too late for that. She had no choice but to say her farewell and
move on.

The rain had stopped, leaving Paradigm city dank and mucky. Soaked to the
bone-- she wondered if the water could really go that deep.

It was a little trouble tracking down the law enforcer, but she eventually
found him. A little bar & lounge called Amadeus, down a dark stairwell
where the wet leaves and litter collected. It was surprisingly classy
inside, not at all like the hole-in-the-wall its stairs hinted at.

Dan Dastun was lost in his thoughts when she approached. She took a seat at
the bar next to him, and listened to the soft piano music while she waited.
When he started to come out of his reverie, he noticed the pretty blonde
besides him.

"Hey, uh..."

It actually took him a moment to recognize her. Stunned, he stumbled over
his words before they finally came out right.


She smiled politely and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Mr.
Dastun. I hope you don't mind--"

"Oh, no! No, no it's okay. Er, I mean... you can call me Dan."

"Of course, Dan. I won't take too much of your time. I just wanted to give
you something."


Reaching into her jacket, she pulled out her pistol. Vera had given it to
her when she'd joined the Union, back before then. Dastun had given it to
her when she'd failed to use it, back before... and then...

"To keep some of your sanity," she started, holding the pistol by the
barrel and offering it handle-first to Dastun. "Someone once told me that
sometimes we need these to prove to ourselves that we are who we are. It's
almost sad really, but it may be the best that we have right now. All we
can do is accept it... and protect others."

He looked at the gun of for a while, digesting Angels words. For a moment
he looked as if he was going to ask her something, but then decided against
it. Angel was relieved-- she had very few answers to offer for the
questions he might ask. Finally he reached over and accepted the 'gift',
quickly tucking it away into his oversized coat. They received only mild
questioning glance from the barkeep.

"Thanks," Dastun said. Angel slid off the stool and placed a hand on his

"Goodbye, Dan. It's time for you to find your own role. I wish you the best
of luck." She turned and headed for the door, stopping when he called out
to her.

"Wait, Angel. What's it all mean?"

Glancing over her shoulder at the former Colonel, she offered him another
smile. "That's for you to decide."

Seebach was waiting for her.

Quickly heading up the stairs from the Amadeus, Angel did a double-take at
the man standing by her car. She didn't recognize him right away. It had
been a while since she'd last seen him the way he used to be. The moment he
started talking however, she knew exactly who it was.

"Ah, to be graced with the presence of an angel, sent from the heavens to
guide us mortals towards the truth and the light. Or is it really that she
is a fallen angel, and we are but lost souls meandering around the infinite
depths of hell, where there is no light nor truth to be spoken of? If the
truth is but a fali--"

"Goodbye, Schwarzwald." Angel brushed past him and headed for her car. She
had no time for this.

"Oh ho! The phantasm known as Schwarzwald is but a mere figment of
imagination, which is, in reality... wait." He cut her off and gestured
towards the passenger side. Somewhat hesitantly, she allowed him to lead
her and open the door for her. "I have much to discuss with you. If you
insist on leaving with such haste, it give me but no choice than to
chauffeur you to your intended destination."

She gave him a blank look. "I have to go to the Paradigm Headquaters."

"Then so be it. Who am I to meddle in the affairs of gods, no, those of a
goddess who decides the very fate of this play in which we are supposedly
puppets and actors performing a scripted drama?" He walked around to the
other side of the car and climbed into the drivers side. If driving around
in a bright pink convertible bothered Michael Seebach any, it didn't show.
Within moments he was chattering away.

Angel leaned her head against the window and let him ramble for a while.

"...and that it was, Big Duo, guiding me to the one place which had
previously been neglected in my ever unrelenting search to find the reality
of our existence." He paused, as if uncertain on how to continue. This
surprised Angel, it seemed that Seebach never ran out of words. She
enjoyed the momentary quiet. "I would like to inquire if I have actually
uncovered the truth."

How could she give that a satisfying answer?

"The truth is what you make it."

"Ah, so cryptic. Gordon Rosewater would be proud. Then perhaps you would
be willing to inform me on why we have lost our memories before, only to
regain them now? How few of them we have actually found, and yet they are
lacking any substance or reason."

She stared out the window. "Sometimes, Seebach, people are so frightened of
what they know... that they choose to forget it. Only once they've
forgotten, they are more frightened by what the might have known than
what they actually knew in the first place."

He chuckled, a low, grating cackle that scratched at her nerves. "Then it
is as it has always been, inside of the captive prisons of our own limited
finite and uncomprehending minds, the minds of the weak and unmotivated
masses which exist in this very city. What is your role, angel from the
heavens who manipulates our reality?"

"I'm Angel," she said simply.

"Then you deny changing things? Have you merely set back the clock?"

They were at the Headquarters. She thought he would park at the garage, but
instead he headed for the underpass to let her out. Angel pursed her lips
and waited for him to stop besides the curb.

She didn't answer him before she left the car.

The receptionist wasted no time ushering her into the master suite atop
Paradigm Corps. Headquarters. Apparently they'd been expecting her.

"I was hoping you'd learned some humility, Mr. Rosewater."

Alex studied her for a long time before replying. "Maybe. You know, Fau..."

"I know what Fau did. It was about time someone gave you a taste of your
own medicine."

With a slightly pained look on his face, Alex folded his hands in his lap
and nodded. "I deserved that," he agreed. "What I don't understand is why
you've given this all back to me."

Angel smiled at her brother. "How can I give something back if it was never
taken away?"

"... there are many who feel that I am unfit to govern."

"So? You abandoned your responsibilities for a while. It was a learning
experience. Before one can rule over a city or a nation, one must be able
to rule themselves. Now that you understand your own weaknesses, you're
more capable of helping the people during these troubled times. Who else,
Alex, could I leave Paradigm in their hands?"

There was another long pause, the silence drifting slowly like sand in and

"Then why did you change things for Vera Rhondstat?"

It was possibly the most difficult question she'd faced since the event.
Angel chewed on her bottom lip for a moment, searching for the right answer.

"Vera... chose to end her own life. She isn't... she needs more time. I
wish there was more I could do for her, but I know she'll be able to sort
it all out for herself. And the Union needed guidance. The people outside
of the domes can't be forsaken any longer. I won't allow it." For a moment
her eyes focused on the shadow looming behind Alex, and she hoped he

"Of course not."

"Alex, I want you to promise me something." He nodded, urging her to
continue. "Vera wasn't really my 'mother', but... well... promise me she'll
be cared for."

He promised.

"My, my. It looks like a naughty kitty's been into the cream."

The secretary hadn't stayed to escort her out, but after Angel left the
office, she wasn't alone in the hallway for very long. Alan Gabriel
sauntered towards her in a way that only he could pull off.

"Alan," she acknowledged. He was still wearing that stupid mask, which made
it difficult for her to talk to him as a 'person'.

"How nice of you to pay a visit to the loosing team. I'm surprised you
didn't do a victory dance in Rosewaters office."

Angel growled, biting back a rude response. How was it that he always
managed to get things completely opposite? "You're wrong. There was no
'game', there are no losers... you... are just wrong, Alan. Get it?"

"Not a game-- what is it, then?" he asked, taking a step towards her.
"Were you trying to teach us all a lesson? Helping your little negotiator
friend unravel the truth?"

She shook her head. "Alan, why are you with Rosewater?"

"As if it matters, pretty kitty. Why I am even alive?"

"...I thought you'd go back to the Union," she continued, choosing not to
answer his question.

He smirked. "The Union, now under Sybil Rowans control. You sure fixed

Angel felt a muscle under her eye start twitching. "I only did what needed
to be done."

"Oh, of course," said Alan, sarcastic mocking sympathy. He casually waived
the mechanical hand. "That explains why you didn't fix this."

"It's not your body that needs fixing, it's your head. I can't do that for
you." Then she thought of something. "Come on," she urged, turning to head
for the elevators.

"Where are you going?"

"I want you to meet someone."

To say that Seebach was unhappy about meeting Gabriel face-to-face was an
understatement. Alan didn't fare much better.

"Surely you must be mocking me," Seebach growled, glaring at Angel and
pointedly refusing to look at Alan. "This is a cruel and depraved joke, oh
Mistress of fate."

"I think you two have a lot to talk about," she offered helpfully. Neither
of them would hear it.

"You're sadly mistaken if you think this raving maniac has anything useful
for me."

"I would sooner disown my duity to the divine discovery of knowledge and
truth than to share ideals with this folly of humankind and machine. You
can not be serious in this matter."

Angel chewed on her lip again, remembering why she'd tried to avoid Seebach
in the first place. She didn't have time for this nonsense.

...but she couldn't bring herself to just abandon the two without giving
them a firm shove in the right direction.

"Look, neither of you where able to pilot the Big Duo. Alex Rosewater need-
ed Roger to learn how to be humble and appreciate this city of his. Roger
Smith needed Alex to bring out the caring in protective nature within

They both stared at her.


"If either of you want to be Duos' dominus, you have to figure out what the
other brings out in you. If there's a sane mind between the both of you, it
won't be too hard."

"Oh please," Alan spat, "that has to be the biggest cop-out I've ever
heard. Why don't you give us something useful?"

Angel smirked at him, and gave Seebach a friendly pat on the shoulder
before heading for her car. "Sorry, that's all your getting."

She knew they'd sort things out eventually.

She was going to say goodbye to Roger last.

In a way, it would be the hardest. There was so much left that would go
unsaid. She knew so many things that he did not understand, and he under-
stood so many things that she did not know. She wanted to share it
with him, to learn what he had in his mind and heart, and get the chance
to grow close with the man she loved.

It was too late for that. Angel wanted nothing more than for Roger to find
happiness, and she knew he'd never find it with her. So it was, the
unexpected twist in an unscripted life.

She had no choice but to say her farewell and move on.