Still humming the last song that she'd heard on the radio, Cordelia grabbed a little tighter onto the newspaper in her hands as she pulled out her keys, unlocking the office doors so she could make her way inside.
Sitting her things down, along with the large box of donuts that she'd also been somehow carrying, she went over to begin working on the first pot of coffee of the day. When she'd got that started, she went over to the file cabinets to pull out a few files then began making her way to her desk to check for any messages when she finally spotted him.
Angel was sitting, rather uncomfortably looking, over in Wesley's chair. His head was tilted back and his eyes were closed, he was still wearing those boots and his leather duster. He did not look to be in the best shape by a long shot, all busted up, bruised and blood over there.
She took a moment to appraise him in this state before turning the lights on, giving a smile his way when his eyes slowly began opening up. "Hey there Champ," she greeted, "Busy night?"
Angel groaned, moving in the chair. "You could say that."
"Well," she smiled again, waving the newspaper at him. "At least you made the front page again."
Angel groaned again, this time less out of his physical pain. "Great," he muttered.
Cordy rolled her eyes and sat down in her chair, messing around with some of the papers and files scattered about. "You know, most people would kill for your kind of fame. You're a superhero for Christ sake, Angel! You act like it's a curse."
'Well, in some ways it is,' he thought.
Angel sighed and rubbed his forehead for a moment. For the past ten years, shy of a few more days, this had been his life. He didn't regret it or anything like that, he just wished it was a little more... private. Like it had been... once. Instead, he was sort of in a comic book hero world. He didn't exactly have some horribly embarrassing costume.. at least not usually, though he had dressed up for certain jobs a time or two... something he wanted to forget... but he had his 'game face' as Cordelia called it. And it helped him in a lot of ways with all of his media attention. There weren't too many people out there who knew who he was when it wasn't out to play. At least that he could be thankful for.
He didn't have a Bat Signal either, but after getting a small team together he did get a small office. Well, actually there were two small offices. One that was more for show then one for the more serious cases.
Then... there was the media spotlight. Something he hated from the beginning. It was never something he wanted, nothing he ever asked for. He was just doing his job... no, just doing what he thought was best. Doing what he thought was right. But.. eventually... he started getting noticed.
It wasn't completely out of control... yet, but it was still more than he wanted to deal with. Being on the news, in the paper, in magazines and so forth... that really was never the plan. But, what could he do. Lashing out, going into hiding, quitting, moving to another city in need.. they sounded good in many ways but it wasn't really an option. Laying low worked for awhile, but the more people wanted to see him, the harder that got. Now he just tried to bear through it... usually.
He often wondered, though figured he already knew, what people would think if they really knew about him. About who he really was, or who he'd been, if they knew of the things he'd done, if they knew...
He was over two hundred years old, lived through three names, and a few more lives.
First, there was Liam, the human. And with Liam there was the boy who he once was and then the man he'd grown to be. As a child, he could still remember being so happy and free, smart and playful. He was a bit rebellious and bit of a trouble maker, but nothing extreme, nothing like what he would later become. He was hard working and determined, a protective older brother, caring and gentle boy... but somewhere, he still couldn't pin point where exactly, it all changed. He placed it in his earlier teens and maybe even his preteens, but sometime along the way, he'd become nothing but a disgrace. A useless and pitiful excuse for a human. He was foul, a drunk, cheater, abuser, ungrateful, nasty son of a bitch... just to put it mildly. And in the end, that's what got him to the next phase of his life.
Angelus. Angelus. Angelus.
To say that Angelus was a vampire would do him no justice. Not only because he still was a vampire, just with some extra baggage, but because Angelus was everything and more. He was a murder, an embodiment of pure evil, a monster, an animal, a machine... he was... he didn't have the right words for just what Angelus was. No one seemed to. Anything you could say, and many did, were true... but none did him justice. The worst thing you think of would still fall flat at his feet.
Vampires and other creatures kill, the murder, the torture. They feed, they breed, they survive. They plan, they destroy, they control. He just wanted... carnage. He had no means to become a ruler, take over the world, or to destroy it... none of that petty shit. He just wanted to kill, rape and murder. He wanted to drive people insane, he wanted to play and trick around with their minds, he wanted to inflict pain. He wanted chaos to follow behind him, wanted everyone to fear even the mention of his name, he wanted... he just wanted.
Eventually that life came with a price. His soul. Quite a hefty price too after all he'd done.
From there had came going insane new vamp with a soul times, suicidal ones, traveling endless days at a time with just trying to survive somehow one day to the next, there was a short lived return to Darla and the gang and trying to pretend he was his old self though he was anything but, there were times he'd just hide from the world, a few times where he'd tried to pretend to be human... He went through a lot of changes.
Right before he started down this road, he had given up all over again. He was living out on the streets of New York then Boston then Detroit... and so on until he reached California, feeding on rats blood to survive, hiding from the world. He gave up trying to be around people at all, around anything at all. He'd given up living out of apartments and motels, treating himself to clothes or real meals or anything at all that he knew he did not deserve, never did. This he didn't even deserve.
But... somebody had other plans for him.
One night, he met Whistler who was a demon sent by 'The Powers That Be' to lead him down a new road, hand him a new destiny. And it all started with an eight year old girl by the name of Elizabeth Anne Summers.
"So Buffy, have you ever been to LA before?" Willow asked her new roommate as continued to get to know each other better as they unpacked.
Buffy looked over her shoulder at the redhead and smiled. "Yeah, once."
"Oh, about ten years ago." Buffy smile grew, remembering the last time she'd been here. Something that had stayed with her ever since. More importantly, the someone who had stayed in her mind since.
Staring at a rather large poster of Angel, Buffy turned to Willow, "So, what's his deal anyway?"
It had been two days, two days too many and Buffy just couldn't make it another without asking. She's managed somehow through the past few, even when Willow had mentioned him earlier, and not to mention just about everyone else seemed to have too. But for some reason it made her nervous so she remained quiet, listening for anything helpful.
She was ready to burst though.
But now here she was, standing in front of a kiosk-style shop at the mall where she and Willow had come to spend their first real free time that selling 'Angel memorabilia' and figured it as good of a time as any.
Willow immediately smiled brightly, her whole face lighting up, as she started. And Buffy let her talk and talk, spilling out, with great enthusiasm, everything she knew and/or had heard about him. And Buffy quietly listened, letting it all sink it, mentally checking anything she could use, and fought the urge to bombard the redhead with a thousand questions she had burning inside.
When she started into story after story that she knew, Buffy stopped her though, asking if she'd ever met the dark hero.
Willow smiled and shook her head. "No.. well... no. I mean, I haven't been rescued by him or anything like that.. thankfully I haven't need to have been! But... I think I might have seen him in an alley once or twice. I'm not sure though... but it could have been."
Buffy took a deep breath. "Do you know how someone might... reach him?"
Willow started to open her mouth then quickly closed it, looking Buffy over for a moment with a questioning look. "Is there something wrong?"
Her eyes widened. "No, no, nothing like that. Just curious is all."
"Are you sure? I mean, I know you just met me and all, but if something is up..."
Buffy shook her head. "Nothing's wrong, I promise. I'm just curious. This is all sort of new to me and everything."And she thought, 'Well, it's not exactly a lie..'
The redhead looked her over again then shrugged. "Well... there's a few ways... so I've heard..."
Doyle popped a few more Asprin tablets then reached for the door. He made a crack about Wes, grabbed a cup of coffee, flirted quickly with Cordy then plopped down on the edge of Angel's desk.
Doyle nodded a hello at Whistler then tilted his head to read the front page of the newspaper Angel was buried in, not surprised to see a story about Angel and the team looking him back. He smiled and took a drink, savoring the warm liquid for an extra moment.
"Pretty nice picture there, looks like you called in Gunn after all. Say what you will about that kid, but he sure is photogenic. Although, a picture of Cordelia or Gwen or someone instead... but hey," he chuckled and took another drink. "So, what are we doing to celebrate?"
Angel lowered the paper and lifted his eyes at the Irishman. Well, man-slash-demon. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh, come on man. Don't tell me you're not planning to do something."
Angel gave him a questioning look.
"Ten years... ringin' any bells?"
Angel sighed and looked back at the paper.
"It is ten years right?" he asked more in Whistler's direction.
"See. We need to celebrate!"
"Take the night off! Take tonight and tomorrow off, someone else will cover and we will go get pissed. Hell, we might go straight into the weekend... and, if we're lucky, maybe even next. Come on!"
"Doyle," Angel said sternly, "You're working tonight too."
"Field too, Angel," Cordelia joined in. "Not like the other day when he can just skip off and leave you alone for me to find you a complete wreck the following morning."
"Oh, Cordelia. Why do you do this to me?"
Cordelia gave him her brightest smile. "Because I can. And it's fun."
He heard the tone, the same one he had been hearing for the entire night. "No one is twisting your arm to stay, Doyle."
"Be that as it may, if I split I'll have a kick in the balls waiting in the morning." And he could already see Cordelia in his mind, shoes been to leave ever lasting memories coming right for him...
"Well then try and be a little more usefull then would you. Or quieter."
Doyle rolled his eyes, making some mental crack about the broody vamp as the continued prowling about the city.
For the most part, it had been a slow night and he'd spent almost the entirety of it pointing that out along with trying to convince Angel that he need to live a little.
He was about to choose one of the two roads when finally business picked up.
After a rather unpleasant fight with a pack of vamps that they chased a few blocks, Angel let Doyle take the last one as he walked closer the the dorm buildings in front of him. He 'checked' out two before stopping before the one he was looking for and started searching it out.. the best he could.
He didn't really know what the hell he was searching for either, but something was in there and it was pulling on him, he could feel it running through him, pulling at his heart, his mind feeling like there was something he should know.. but just couldn't figure it out...
He tried focusing on one room at a time, stopping again when he found the one and went no further. Instead, he tried to use everything he had to figure this out.
He was still so into it too that he didn't hear Doyle coming up at first, missing the odd look his friend was giving him along the way as well.
"What are ya doin'?"
Angel lifted his hand up and slid it over his chest to his heart. "I don't know," he finally answered.
Doyle shot him another look but the vampire's attention seemed to be back on whatever it was again. He sighed and looked up at the window he figured Angel was all hellbent on at the moment with him but couldn't sense anything himself. He shrugged and waited for the trance or whatever was going on to be broken, not thinking much of it.
Even less when Angel finally tore himself away and went about his business, glancing back once and wandering what was going on before blocking it from his mind until he could really get into it and wouldn't be so distracted.
At least the most he could anyway.