From Ages Past By Ardin

Disclaimer: Shocker, I don't own any part of Angel. It belongs to Joss Whedon and company.

When: This is set sometime during Season Three just because that's as far as I've actually gotten, but it's totally AU so it really doesn't matter where in the series you shove it. The AU stuff is: No Connor, so Wesley is still a member of the team. Cordelia has become part demon to deal with the visions, but has not gone all ascended.

A/N: Normally I don't write Angel stuff, but I was given a request for a piece from my niece and then my muse hit me with a story idea and here it is. So, this is for Laura, on the eve of her 14th birthday.

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Chapter One

Raised voices rang through the air, disturbing the silence that had, just previously, pervaded the halls of the old hotel.

"So, what you're saying to me is that, after six weeks of research, all we know about this new player is…" Angel paused, glancing pointedly back and forth at the rest of his gathered team, "Nothing. We know nothing, except that they, whoever they are, seems to be systematically wiping out every vampire nest in the city." The frustration in his tone was obvious and the others could do little more than offer up helpless shrugs in the wake of his rant.

Silence reigned again for a few moments before Gunn's voice broke it. "I don't get why we even care. Whoever, or whatever, this thing is, it's doing our job for us, so why don't we just stay out of its way?"

"It's not that I have any warm and fuzzy feelings for the blood-sucking, murderous elements of this city, but something out there is hunting vampires. And seeing as one of my best friends is one, I'd kinda like to know what it is and what its motivation is." Cordelia's matter-of-fact tone came from behind the main desk, where she was bent over an old text. "Besides," she continued, looking up, "It's not like we have any other pressing cases to work on."

Angel gave her a slight grin before speaking. "As much as I appreciate that you don't want me dead, I'm thinking that you'll need to change your mind about that whole no case thing." As he finished speaking he raised an arm to point towards the doorway.

The others followed his gaze to the young woman who stood on the entry landing, hand still holding onto the door, baggy jeans and sweatshirt hanging off her lean frame. She let go of the door, allowing it to shut behind her, and moved down the stairs. Her motions were slow and cautious.

Angel watched her with distinct curiosity painted on his features. Despite his fantastic senses, he hadn't heard her entry; instead it was the smell of blood, which he noticed was dripping steadily from beneath her sweatshirt and down her fingers. There was something else about her that he couldn't quite put his finger on, but which intrigued him all the same.

She paused at the bottom of the stairs and, after a measured gaze at each of them, she turned her attention to Angel, apparently uninterested in the rest of the group. She stayed silent, her eyes fixed on his face until Lorne spoke up.

"Welcome to Angel Investigations, hun." He moved toward her with a smile, taking her disinterest in his green features as acceptance of them. "How about you come on in and we can take care of that bleeding thing you've got going on while you tell us why you're here." He gestured toward the chair in the lobby despite the fact that her gaze remained steadily on Angel.

She didn't move, but spoke in response to his comment, her voice strong and even. "I don't know why I'm here." She glanced down her arm at the small pool of blood that had formed on the floor. Angel felt a pang of disappointment at their sudden lack of eye contact, but smiled at her next words and actions. "I'm sorry about the blood, I didn't realize…" She bent her elbow so that her fingers no longer pointed at the ground. Glancing at Lorne, she gave him an apologetic smile. "I can clean that up."

"Don't worry about it, sugar. It happens more often than you'd think. Just come on over here and we'll take a look at whatever is causing the blood in the first place, huh?" With a hand not quite touching her elbow he led her to the chair in the center of the lobby. Without prompting she began to remove the sweatshirt, moving her bleeding left arm as little as possible in the process.

As Cordelia moved forward to tend to their injured guest, Angel, Wesley and Gunn did their best not to stare since the removal of the sweatshirt had left her standing in the lobby in jeans and a black sports bra. Continuing to stand despite the offered seat, the woman, whom Wesley guessed was probably in her early to mid-twenties, offered her arm to Cordy, who moved to stand just behind her to get fully to the wound. For a moment Angel noticed she stiffened while looking at the other woman's back and he thought that her gaze shot up to his for just a second. Not wanting to distract her from her task, he resolved to ask her about it later.

Everything was silent for several minutes until the wound had been covered and her sweatshirt restored. Only then did anyone attempt to restart the conversation that had been started earlier.

"Hi, I'm Fred." The woman in question's voice was gentle as she stepped out from behind the main desk. "I don't mean to be all prying and everything, but what do you mean you don't know why you're here?"

"I mean I don't know. I had been exploring the city – I've never been here before – and then there was a man with a knife who wanted my money. That's how my arm was cut. Then I was walking again and I saw this building and felt I should come in." Her tone was even despite the rather clipped flow of her sentences. It was as if she just didn't want to speak rather than an inability to do so properly.

"You felt that you should come in? Want to expand on that? Why would you feel like that?" Gunn's questions were abrupt and he was beginning to look at her suspiciously.

The young woman didn't seem particularly unhappy with what was starting to seem very much like an interrogation. Shrugging, she shifted her gaze from Fred to Gunn. "I felt like I should come in because they wanted me to."

Angel's heart sank as he realized that their as yet unnamed guest might be little more than a homeless person hearing voices. Worried that he would seriously regret doing so, he asked the question that they were all thinking: "Who wanted you to?"

Her gaze once again shifted back to his and their eyes locked for several long moments before she answered him.

"The Powers That Be."

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A/N: I'm hoping to update this alot faster than some of my other stories. My muse has been kinda slow recently, but seems to be going to town on this idea. I have no idea how long it will be, but I'll keep writing until it's done. Please let me know what you thought.