Chapter 10


Jenny Sheppard had followed Gibbs down to autopsy. He and his team were helping Angel's injured team down to see Ducky. He had sent the doctor down to get ready to administer medical assistance. Jenny was read in on the last couple hours and decided to stick around for the explanation and questions that Angel would no doubt answer.

Ducky met them at the elevator, gasping at the sight of Angel when he stepped out. The doctor's fear of the man still fresh in his mind after what he had previously witnessed. Angel couldn't blame him for the way he felt. It wasn't every day that you were face to face with a dangerous demon that could kill you with less effort than it took to open a stuck mayonnaise jar.

He ushered Cordelia out of the elevator and gave the skittish doctor a kind smile. Then he walked into autopsy behind his teammate. The others followed, Gunn favoring his left arm. Tony, Ziva, Abby and McGee followed after them. Gibbs and Director Sheppard were last to exit the elevator.

"Mr. Palmer, would you please see to young Winifred, please. She doesn't look particularly hurt, but she seems to have some bruising around her neck." Ducky asked kindly.

"Of course, Doctor." Jimmy obeyed and led Fred to one of the tables. She sat on top of it, cringing at the thought of what had last laid on the table.

"I will tend to miss Chase. Here, dear, sit at the table on the end. Our dearly departed Captain Taylor is still on the middle table. I'll have to put her to bed, give me a minute."

Ducky moved to cover up the Captain. The second he touched the white linen sheet, her eyes popped open. He gasped and stepped back, a few of his autopsy utensils falling to the floor. Her features morphed and she leaped to attack the terrified and paralyzed doctor.

Wesley tossed Angel's backup to him, returning the favor from earlier. Angel was at Dr. Mallards side within seconds, a speed that defied reality. Before the vampire could sink her virgin teeth into the man, Angel staked her. There was a surprised look on her face and then she crumbled into a pile of ash at Ducky's feet. Ducky looked up at the suave face. It looked a little guilty and sad, but mostly unaffected by what just happened.

Several moments passed, Gibbs and his team stunned by what just happened, before the doctor regained his voice.

"Thank you." He said, his voice shaking a bit.

"Don't thank me…if not for me, that woman wouldn't have been attacked in the first place."

Angel walked away and leaned against the wall near x-ray. He folded his arms and watched as his team was bandaged. Gibbs couldn't help but watch the vampire. The boy looked tired. He looked lonely even though he had the most loyal friends that Gibbs had ever seen. And he looked defeated. That confused Gibbs more than anything. The man had just won the battle and he looked as though he had lost.

"Thanks, Doc." Gunn said appreciatively. Ducky had just finished casting his broken arm.

It annoyed Gunn that he would be held back due to his injury, but he didn't intend to let this stop him from doing his duty. Angel needed him. No cast was going to get in the way of tracking down and beating Shane. Fred came over to him and sat next to him on the table. She inspected the doctor's work and then wrapped an arm around him possessively.

Wesley and Cordelia, less wounded than the rest, occupied the only two chairs within the autopsy room. All eyes were on them now. Though, they had known this was coming.

Doctor Mallard turned to Angel. His fear remained, but he pushed it away to ask him about what he had said earlier.

"I thought that you weren't involved in all this." He said.

Angel said nothing.

"What did you mean that…'if it weren't for you those woman wouldn't have been attacked.'?" He pressed further.

Angel sighed heavily, "I sired Shane. If it weren't for me…."

"Sired. What does that mean?" Ducky continued.

"I made him." Angel responded simply.

Ducky looked terrified. He took a step back from the black clad man. Wesley noticed his fear and stepped toward them.

"Wait, Dr. Mallard. You misunderstand. Angel is not very good at explaining things. Let me help. Angel is right, he made Shane, but that is not the proper term. Angel is blunt."

"Wesley…I don't mind. I understand why the doctor is afraid. If I were human, I probably would be too. You don't have to explain."

"But I do, Angel. He needs to understand. They all do, if we plan on working together to find Shane and kill him."

"You mean bring him in." Jenny said.

"No, I stand by what I said. This is not a human. He is a creature of the night. Vampires are killers. Angel is a special case. He has a soul," Wesley sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, "Let me explain. And please, no interruptions until I'm done."

Ziva and Tony raised an eyebrow at that and looked at each other, grinning. The Englishman had guts. They stood close to their boss and listened intently. McGee and Abby were propped against one of the tables in the middle of the room. Gibbs and Jenny were leaning against the massive steel sink, waiting more patiently than the rest it seemed.

Wesley continued, "Vampires are made when a human is bitten by another vampire. There is a certain technique. Not all humans are turned, some are pure and simple food. To sire a vampire, means that you take a particular interest in them. You turned them, you teach them everything you know. It's almost like a family thing, sort of. The reason that Shane is so damn good, is because Angelus taught him how to fight, how to hunt, how to stalk, how to charm prey, how to torture, how to kill. Angelus, yes in a sense made him. But that is the way of a vampire. That was when he was Angelus. Angel is a different man now."

"The gypsy curse right." Abby interjected.

"Correct. A very long time ago, Angelus attacked and killed a young gypsy girl. As punishment for his crime, the gypsy tribe cursed Angelus, giving him a soul…thus becoming Angel. With a soul, Angel was haunted by his own guilt due to the pain and suffering he had caused. His conscience returned. He would feel their pain, the guilt of what he had done. He understood that he was doing something wrong. But, he was still a vampire and needed blood to sustain his sanity. That is the curse of a vampire with a soul."

"Geez…" was all Abby could say.

"Today, Angel is a champion. He protects the innocent, regardless of species. He is a good man. A good vampire, and with the exception of one other individual, the only one of his kind. He look blames himself for a lot of things. Angel is trying to atone for the evils he has committed in his past by protecting the innocence of the future."

"That's awesome. Way to go, Angel." Abby cheered.

Angel looked at her with sad eyes, "I will never be able to atone for everything I have done. No one is capable of doing that. But I will fight and die doing exactly that."

"To us and to Angel, his soul is not a curse, but a blessing." Cordelia said.

They all stared at him. He didn't look like he appreciated those words, but his team knew otherwise. Gibbs stepped forward.

"Alright, enough with the history lesson. Let's get back on topic. Tell us everything you know about Shane."

"Angel and Gunn have been tracking his movements since his arrival in Los Angeles. We don't know what his original intent was, but now that Angel has gotten involved, his only goal now is to kill Angel. At first he tried to get Angel to join him, but when he refused Shane, Shane became angry. Now it's a race to see who is the best. Shane won't stop until he has killed Angel. Right now, he is torturing him. All these young girls he is killing and turning are to torture Angel." Wesley explained.

"How is that torturing him?" McGee asked.

Abby smacked him upside the head rather hard, "McGee! Angel is a hero. Protector of the innocent. How do you think he feels when he is too late to save another woman from Shane's clutches?"

"Sorry…I…I didn't think…"

"It's okay. Don't worry about it." Angel said simply.

"Thanks," Cordelia said, moving to stand next to Abby, "If you hadn't done that, I would have."

Abby and Cordelia grinned at each other and locked elbows. A friendship was going to brew there quickly. McGee massaged the back of his head, his eyes narrowed at Abby. It was very rare that he received any kind of physical retribution from anyone, least of all Abby. Tony and Ziva came close to him. Ziva lay a hand on his shoulder and Tony simply gave him a sympathetic look.

"Don't worry, Probie. We still love ya." He teased, ruffling what little hair his junior had.

Gibbs turned away from them, rolling his eyes, "So how do we find him?"

"He is easy enough to track. Gunn and I will patrol tonight. We'll find out where he is hiding. Wesley, Fred and Cordelia will work out his next target zone." Angel said, suddenly all business.

"You intend to leave us out, now?" Gibbs asked, slightly annoyed that he hadn't been included on the 'patrol'.

"Well, honestly, we only came here to work with you because we were protecting you. We needed an in to keep the vamps at bay once they were brought inside the building. Other than that, we don't really need your help. It's best you stay out of it for your own protection." Angel said. He moved away from the wall and shoved his hands in his pockets.

Gibbs hands were fists, his voice tight in anger, "You are not leaving us out. He killed Navy personnel, he has to pay for what he did. It's my job to bring him in."

"You don't get it do you? Look, Pops. Shane is a vampire. He doesn't abide by laws and human rules. You think that he can't take you and an entire court room or state prison all on his own? He'll massacre the place. It's not safe. We don't intend to take him in. We intend to stake him. That's what we do. The world will be a safer place without him." Gunn said, jumping off the table.

"We're armed." Ziva argued.

"Yeah, with guns. Knives. That ain't gonna do no good. The only way to kill a vampire is to stake them through the heart with a sharp wooden object. End of story." He shot back at her.

"I'm sorry Gibbs. This is what we do. I can't let him run around free and putting him into the system isn't going to do any good. If you really want to…you can help us find him and fight him. But we intend to kill him. He's a vampire. That's all there is to it." Angel said softly.

"Fine. We'll help you find him. Just give us the weapons we need and we'll fight along side you. We could use your help." He agreed.

"No, you don't understand. We are not helping you. You are helping us. There is no way that you are going to be able to explain this case in a court of law. You might as well destroy anything that you have on this and mark it as unsolvable." Jenny was going to interrupt, but Angel continued, "As for fighting, I'll have to train you guys up a bit first before we go out. If you are going to help, you're going to need to learn how to fight my way. This is not like chasing after a human. You do as I say, got it?"

Gibbs was silent. He wasn't used to taking orders anymore. Once he had become a senior field agent, he was used to giving them. He supposed, for this case, he would have to follow someone else lead. He nodded his head.

"Fine. We will do it your way."