Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the WB's television series 'Angel'. All those pretty shiny characters - such as Spike, Angel, Wesley, Fred and Lorne - belong to Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. The only thing that belongs to me is Lisa and the part of the story line which isn't based on season 5. This story was purely written out of fan appreciation and because I enjoyed doing it. So please don't sue.
Lisa sat in her chair, comfortably leant back, her feet on top of her desk. Her eyes were fixed on the panoramic window that stretched over the entire left side of her office. She wasn't looking at anything in particular, just enjoying a brief moment of relaxed contentment. A happy smile briefly flitted over her face.
It was an ordinary day, just one of many, but right here and there she felt very much at ease with herself and with the way things had turned out. She was doing fine at university, her job at Wolfram & Hart gave her the feeling of doing something useful with her life, plus it provided a comfortable financial bolstering. But that wasn't the reason for her unusual cheerfulness. Who was she kidding? She was in love and it felt damned good.
At first it hadn't seemed like an awful clever idea hooking up with a vampire. Well, she probably would never introduce him to her parents. Not that Lisa thought that her mother would appreciate the thought of her daughter having a relationship with a man who looked like Billy Idol, not to mention that he was a notorious chain smoker. On a second thought maybe she should arrange a meeting just to enjoy the shocked looks on their faces.
Lisa briefly shook her head. Still smiling inwardly at the idea, she finally returned to the case she was just working on. She put on her reading glasses scanning the pages in front of her attentively. An old hospital full of ghosts, my oh my, that sure was trouble. Not the best recommendation for the doctors working there. A case of that size she had to run by the boss, so she stuffed the papers back into the manila folder and left her bureau.
Her heels clicked loudly on the stone floor when she casually walked by Harmony's desk, briefly calling out, "Here to see the boss. Should be quick." Lisa registered the blond woman getting to her feet from the corner of her eye, but didn't stop walking. She was already through the door, when Harmony came up behind her. The office was empty. Strange. It was a Monday. The busiest day of the week.
"Where is he?" she turned around looking at Harmony questioningly.
The other woman made a point out of slowly brushing a strain of loose hair out of her face. After she had done so she carefully inspected her fingernails as if it was something of high importance which required her utmost concentration.
"Harm!" Lisa rolled her eyes. It was no secret that she and Harmony detested each other.
"He's out," the secretary answered smilingly.
"Well, that much I could already deduce from the empty room, thank you," Lisa crossed her arms over her chest. "Care to be more precise."
"You don't now, do you?" Harmony's smile even broadened a little bit, if that was still anatomically possible. "He and Spike flew off to Rome," the pleasure of being the one to deliver the news was clearly audible in her voice.
Lisa's yaw literally dropped. "To Rome….," she gulped. "What!"
"You heard me right."
"What in hell's name are they doing in Rome?"
"Oh, let me see if I remember correctly…. I think it had to do something with Buffy. They seemed to be in such an awful hurry. Left without even saying goodbye," Harmony was enjoying herself immensely, her cheerfulness reverberated in her voice and gave it a certain squeaky quality.
"Buffy! He... They ran off because of Buffy. Both?" Lisa said unbelievingly.
"Yes, your Spikey is gone. Off, off and away."
Rome, the fucking city of fucking love. Lisa slammed the door of her office behind her. How could he do this to her? Did the time they spent together mean nothing to him? Well, it certainly looked that way.
She tried to calm her flaring temper, but wasn't quite able to. She kicked against the leg of her sofa in frustration and drew in a sharp breath, when her toe immediately started throbbing with pain. There she was Lisa Gray, twenty-two years of age, servant of the mighty Osiris, big-ass psychic and necromancer, shacking with anger and hopping around on one foot. Great! Did she happen to mention that her lover ran off to help his ex-girlfriend out of some kind of trouble she had managed to get herself in?
What now? First of all she ripped the silver bracelet from her wrist, Spike had given her just a week ago. It had felt special - as if his gesture had actually meant something. Like a ring you wore it signalled something to the outside world – belonging, but maybe she had misinterpreted his gift. Maybe it meant nothing at all… Lisa briefly looked down at the piece of jewellery as it lay there in her hand -innocently gleaming in the light – then she threw it away. It bounced several times on the floor, than started to circle before it finally lay completely still. That was the precise moment she had an epiphany. What if Harmony had just been messing with her? Was she just trying to push her buttons?
She started pacing, slightly dragging her sore foot behind her. But what if she has told her the truth? Well, it certainly wouldn't allow her to have a good night of sleep anymore. She wouldn't just sit there bawling her eyes out, like a girly girl. No way in hell! Lisa stormed out of her office. She was going to take a little trip to Europe.
"I know why I am on this plane, but what on earth are you doing here?" Angel looked at Spike incredulously.
The blond vampire rolled his eyes in frustration. Admittedly he had already posed himself the same question several times in the last hours, but then again there was this little voice in the back of his head that was nagging at him not to let Angel come out the winner this time. He had stopped kidding himself about it. As Lisa had so neatly put it a couple of days ago, Peaches and him wouldn't even stop competing if someone came along and broke every bone in their undead bodies – for a lack of better opportunities they would probably start a spitting contest then. She was right about that. It seemed very probable. But this, right now, was not an ordinary thing…This was about Buffy. So letting Angel gloatingly celebrate a triumphal victory in Rome was out of question.
"Me? I'm here for the drinks and my usual place in the front row, from where I can see you fall flat on your ass," he answered for a lack of a better retort and threw back another mini-bottle of whiskey. He made a face, "Can't even get drunk off those."
"You know what I meant. You've got a girlfriend and still you're sitting on this plane complaining about your inability of getting inebriated."
"Oh, look who's talking," Spike's eyes narrowed. He was getting annoyed, "If I recall correctly there is this bint named Nina…you know the one who almost ate you up when you were this wee little puppet," he just loved to rub that one in, "Must not be all that serious."
"Same goes for you, buddy," Angel grinned at him maliciously.
Uncharacteristically Spike didn't respond to that. He turned his head and stared out of the little oval window beside him (which was of course vampire proof). White clouds formed a fluffy white carpet below them like the ones on which you sink in when you walk them barefooted. Could he still be riding that plane if he really loved Lisa? Right now he had no answer to this dilemma, maybe it would come along the way.
Something landed in his lap. His head immediately turned around. It was another tiny bottle of whiskey.
"To us being jerks," Angel toasted at him and swallowed down the contest of his bottle in a draught.
Several hours and many, many coffees later Lisa was standing in front of an apartment in Rome, repeatedly hitting the doorbell underneath the little sign that cheerfully announced the name "Summers".
"Un' attimino (Just a minute.)" a male voice answered from inside and shortly after a young man with tousled blond hair opened the door. He looked slightly dorky, but maybe it was just on first impressions.
"Buona sera, signorina (Good evening, Miss)," he said with a heavy American accent.
"Yeah, good evening to you, too," Lisa had picked up enough Italian on her travels, to understand him. Though her irritation had slightly lessened on the flight, there was still plenty of it to go around and it slightly increased in vehemence due to her exhaustion.
"Hey, you're American, too… What do you want?" his eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"I'm Lisa Gray. I don't think my name will mean anything to you, but I'm looking for Angel and Spike," Lisa wasn't much for beating around the bush, especially today. Was it even today given the different time zone? Oh, what the hell!
He stuck out his chin at her, "How do I know your not one of those who have sworn to serve the dark side of the force?"
Lisa sighed, "Cause I'm not wearing an oversized black helmet and I don't have respiratory problems?"
"So you've mastered the skill of sarcasm…but that won't get you past….hey!" Lisa had just shoved him unceremoniously back inside the apartment and stepped over the doorstep after him.
"I have to warn you. I may not look it, but I've already slain several demons with these hands," he raised his fists.
Lisa was tempted to ask how many exactly and whether they tripped into his sword, but decided to hold her tongue in check just this once. "I'm sorry, but this is urgent."
"Yap, as if I hadn't heard that phrase a hundred times before…"
"Okay," Lisa let out an exasperate groan, "Actually I'm just looking for Spike."
"Fascinating. Why would that be?" he cocked his head and squinted, apparently trying to look enigmatic. His attempt failed. Instead he just looked like he was terribly short-sighted and in dire need of a pair of glasses.
"We have an important…thing…there's a thing I have to talk about with Spike," she stuttered inelegantly.
"Really?" for some reason the young man seemed to find her explanation amusing.
"Yes, you wouldn't by any chance have seen him?" somehow coming here had sounded a better idea on the plane. Her left foot started tapping.
"I have…. You don't look like one of the bad guys," he observed after scrutinizing her carefully. Lisa raised her eyebrow at that. She always thought that her extremely pale skin and dark hair positively qualified her as looking….differently.
"Well, it would just be too obvious," he smiled at her. She couldn't help it, but somehow she was starting to like him. Maybe it was her up to now undiscovered maternal instincts kicking in or because she could relate to him, from freak to freak.
"Oh, and by the way I'm Andrew," the young man added.
She nodded at him in acknowledgement.
"Have a seat," Andrew slipped back into the role of the self-confident host. "Buffy and Dawn are out. Angel and Spike passed by only twenty minutes ago…"
"Oh," that seemed to be something she said a lot these days.
"It might be interesting to you, since you're so eager to find Mr. Bleachblond, that Buffy is out on a date," Andrew informed her while he handed her a glass of water she hadn't asked for, but which she thankfully accepted.
"Yep, with the Immortal," a long pause followed.
"So you and Spike….you are an item?" Andrew wanted to know, not being able to hide the curiosity sparkling in his eyes.
"I don't see how this should be of any concern to you. Since neither Buffy nor Spike are here I might as well leave," Lisa answered brusquely.
"No, you stay. Andrew has a certain nag for fixing problems with l'amore as the Romans say," he leant back on the couch opposite of her with an air of cockiness – somehow it didn't fit him.
"Hmmm….Alright," it wouldn't hurt if she stayed here a few more minutes, after all she didn't have any place to go. Lisa hadn't thought of booking a hotel thanks to her hasty departure.
"Why did you come here?"
That was really an excellent question, considering the fact that it was so hard for her to answer. Why was it again she had come? To talk Spike out of still loving Buffy? That sounded even ridiculous to her own ears.
"Well?" Andrew was still waiting.
"I didn't want to sit around in L.A. constantly thinking about what might happen…," it was always best to stick with the truth. She had learned as much in the past. Lisa massaged her temples tiredly. The caffeine was starting to lose its effect. Damn! She felt like run over by a truck.
"I think I can tell you what will happen," Andrew smiled at her smuckly. "Angel and Spike will chase after Buffy, which will result, of course, in nothing, because she has already moved on."
"I thought he did, too, but apparently I was fooled."
"Maybe you're not. Buffy still means a lot to both of them. She's been their guide on the stony path towards redemption, the north star that helped them set their course…" he made a theatrical hand gesture.
"Yeah, for Buffy!" Lisa mumbled ill-humoredly. "He still did run away without telling me."
"Look, if you want to wait up for Buffy…she might be able to help you, smooth things over..," Andrew told her patiently. He made Buffy sound like some of those shamans, who could heal by touch. Unfortunately it wasn't as easy.
Did she really want to wait for Buffy to come home?...Lisa honestly didn't know. Somehow it just seemed too grotesque of an idea.
"I suppose you have no place to crash, right? You could stay here, I'm sure they wouldn't mind," Lisa highly doubted that Buffy wouldn't mind her sleeping on her couch.
She pondered for a while on the thought whether it was a clever idea talking to Buffy about her problems. Maybe it would help deconstructing the myth that surrounded her. No human being could possibly be that perfect...
"I think I'll just stay until either Spike or Buffy will come around here, but thanks for the well meant offer anyway," she said courteously.
"You can watch some T.V. while you wait. I have an appointment with two very lovely signorine, they should be here any minute now," he stood up straightening his clothes. "And if you touch my Star Wars collectibles while I'm away, your dead," Andrew added on an afterthought.
Lisa just smiled and raised her hands defensively. Funny, he didn't seem worried at all that she would clean out the entire flat as long as she kept away from his toys.