Say It Anyway

By Shakespeare's Girl

A/N: Angel's POV, beginning of a companion series to "Requiem." Looking at the events of "A Hole In The World" from our favorite vampire's points of view.

"How's she handling it?" I asked, striding out of the medical wing and into the main office area.

"She's smarter than all of us put together," Wesley sighed, although it didn't seem to have much effect on his tension level. "She knows it's bad."

"How bad? What do we know?" Gunn demanded. I could relate. It sucks to know less than nothing about what's going on.

"Whatever she's got, it doesn't match up with any of the pathogens in our archives," Knox announced as we made our way down the stairs toward the lobby. "It's mystical, and it's not ours."

That was not good news. "What about the sarcophagus?" I asked.

"My team is cross-checking the symbols, but it's also new territory for us," Wesley answered me. He looked about as worried as the rest of us put together.

"Angel, what exactly is happening to her?" Gunn wondered. I had been dreading this question. "You talked to the doctor--"

"They have something?" Wesley interrupted hopefully.

"Yeah, I--uh . . ." I swallowed. This wasn't good news either. "Some parasitic agent is working it's way through," I tried, facing them as they gathered in a circle around me. "I mean, as near as they can tell . . ."

"Get to the point," Wes demanded tersely.

"Her organs are cooking," I told them, not bothering to sugarcoat what was happening. "In a day's time, they'll liquefy."

"No," Spike shook his head, and I turned to look at him. I'd almost forgotten he was there, he'd been so quiet since we left Fred's room. "Not this girl," he vowed. "Not this day." I had to swallow both my pride at his determination and the urge to be sick at the terror I saw underneath it. I knew it was like loosing a sister for him. They'd been getting close ever since he'd arrived here.

"Look, Wes," I began, tamping down my emotions, "you gotta tell me what was in that box. I need a name, a history, anything."

"We can't get it open," Knox chimed in. "Not even the lasers--"

"Where did it come from?" Wes asked, his voice growing harsher with his need to save her.

"It just showed up," Knox shrugged. "No return address. Didn't recognize the guy who brought it in--come to think of it, in the middle of the night."

"This was deliberate," I guessed.

"Senior partners?" Lorne ventured.

"Doesn't add up, but I'll hit the White Room," Gunn ran a hand over his head. "Talk to the conduit."

"Now look, if the senior partners didn't do this, you gotta get them to help us," I told him. In any case it would give him something to do.

"Anyway I can," Gunn promised.

"What about Doyle--uh, Lindsey?" Spike asked. "The man likes to play his games."

"I was looking to work the streets, and we've got his address. For all we know, he's probably sitting there laughing. And if there's muscle work to do . . ." I trailed off.

"Let's make it twice as fast," Spike nodded, catching my drift.

"And baby makes three," Lorne said firmly, taking a half step forward. "In case anybody feels like singing."

"Good," I nodded and looked around at my team. "Guys--"

"You don't have to say it," Wesley murmured, looking ready to bolt.

"I'll say it anyway," I ignored him. "Winifred Burkle. Go."