Mistrust

Mistrust

As always, Wesley was the first to arrive at the offices, not counting the pair that lived there.  The lobby was still and deserted.  That Angel wasn't up yet was only to be expected but Fred was an incurable morning person and despite almost two years of claiming a vampire as her best friend and lately something more than that, she could generally be found up and about long before the agency opened.  A post-lunch nap was her way of adapting to Angel's nocturnal existence.  But this morning she wasn't.

Half an hour later Cordelia and Gunn straggled into the hotel and made a beeline for the coffee maker.  Neither Fred nor Angel had shown themselves yet.

An hour after that, feeling quite cross Wesley sent Cordelia up to roust AI's final two employees from their respective beds, or whichever bed they'd chosen to share.

Less than a minute passed and Cordelia dashed back downstairs and grabbed up a cross.  "Angel's either possessed or evil, I'm not sure which," she announced brandishing the cross toward the staircase.

Gunn quickly snatched up a sword as Wesley loaded his crossbow.  "Has Fred been harmed?" he asked.

"I don't think so… she looked okay… unless maybe he turned her," Cordelia reasoned.

Angel and Fred appeared at the top of the stairs, both were paint spattered, bare-foot and clothed in jeans and old tee shirts.

Angel glanced over the armed trio assembled at the foot of the stairs and his eyes darkened in disgust.  "What do you think I've done this time?" he demanded irritably.

"You're evil again!" Cordelia proclaimed.

"You concluded that based on what, exactly?" Angel snapped.

"Well… um… you were laughing and you know the clothes are anything but Angel-normal," Cordelia said.

Angel rolled his eyes.  "We were painting Fred's room.  I enjoy being around her, hence the laughter."

"And none of his clothes would do for painting.  So we got new ones, I even put a hole in the knee of the jeans so they'd be right.  Can't paint in anything but holey jeans and old shirts," Fred explained.  "Can clothes make you evil?" she asked Angel.  "That would be really weird, even in Pylea."

Angel smiled at her, "No, clothes don't make me evil, but when I lost my soul a few years ago my alter-ego developed a real fondness for leather pants and satin shirts."

Fred looked Angel over appraisingly.  "I think you'd looked good in leather pants," she decided.

"He does, good enough to eat, that is if he doesn't eat you first," Cordelia said.  "But that's not the point, Angel in weird clothes equals evil."

"Trust me Cordelia, without my soul I'd never be caught dead helping someone with anything," Angel sighed.  "I'm taking today off unless a case comes up.  I don't really feel much like being around you three right now."

"Can you say 'never be caught dead'?" Fred asked Angel as the air disappeared into the depths of the hotel.  "Cause, you know, the whole being dead thing.  Maybe you should say caught alive or maybe…"

The weapons Wesley, Cordelia and Gunn held suddenly looked awkward in their hands as they stood there staring up at the empty landing.