Chapter Twelve

Once Angel and Spike had found the screaming children, they found the demons. Not the cult, not what they'd been expecting, but that hadn't mattered. As soon as they saw the screaming children, the demons holding them, they attacked. Killing three of them and letting the one get away. Once they had the kids calmed, they looked them over, and got them back to their parents, Angel frowned.

"That seem a little too easy to you?

"You mean how none o' the kids was hurt, or nothin'?"

"Yeah, it's like, they were waiting for us."

Angel frowned then looked at Spike.

"Trap."

They both took off back towards the office at a dead run. They slowed a few steps when they saw it, both faces dropping. Nothing but rubble greeted them. Angel shook his head in disbelief, but Spike growled and ran for the rubble.

"Get ove' here! Gotta couple o' heartbeats!"

Angel finally was moving, the two digging by hand until Angel caught a moan.

"Here!"

As they both concentrated on the area the sound came from a hand flexed and long dark hair sprinkled with glass and dirt lifted. Faith grimaced and tried to move.

"Faith?"

"Wes, he's, under me. I tried, to, move but, it happened too fast."

Spike and Angel dug them out, pulled Faith out and looked her over. Faith shook her head.

"Just, banged up, and, shit, my leg. Get Wes."

"What about Cordelia?"

"She left, before, she wasn't here."

They nodded and got back to digging. Faith removed her jacket and tied it around her leg. Winced at her shoulder and watched nervously as they found Wesley.

"The Watcher ain' movin'."

"He's breathing though. We need to get them to the hospital."

"Sounds like 'ts covered."

Spike glanced up to the sirens on their way. He helped pull Wesley out and frowned.

"This was a hit, means the seer. . . "

"Faith, where did Cordy say she was going?"

"Home."

Faith slurred and Spike and Angel looked at each other.

"Spike, go look for her, meet us at the hospital."

Spike nodded and took off.

AA

Angel stayed in the waiting room of the emergency room. Pacing and waiting to hear something. Another ambulance came and he moved out of the way for them to bring in the gurney, his head snapping up as he heard the screaming. There was a lot of noise as they brought her in and he tried to follow but they pushed him away.

"I know her!"

"Sir, is she on any medication, any history of seizures?"

Angel shook his head, answering questions as they went. By the time they got to the room he was pushed out again to wait. Running a hand through his hair he looked up to see Spike arriving.

"She weren' there. The ghost hadn' seen her."

"She's here."

"Here?"

"They just brought her in, won't let me in yet."

Spike frowned until a doctor came in to talk to Angel about Faith and Wesley. Faith was coming up just behind him. Angel frowned.

"You sure you're okay? Faith if you need to stay. . . "

Faith shrugged it off and shook her head.

"I'm fine. Besides, trying to explain how I heal so fast is more trouble than it's worth. Trust me. Where's Wes?"

He nodded down the hall and they headed to his room. He was unconscious and on a ventilator but the doctor said he was stable. Faith walked in and over to the bed. Spike and Angel frowned watching him, both mulling over their next stop. Faith ran her fingers over his hand and lowered her head. After a moment she finally turned, not bothering to hide the tears that had fallen.

"I want to know who did it."

Spike and Angel exchanged a look.

"We think, it's Wolfram and Hart."

"Don' forget, pet. Gave us a warnin' when that lawyer stopped by."

Faith nodded.

"So now what?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, pretty sure this whole rehabilitation thing means no going in there and just beating the shit out of her, so what do we do?"

They looked at each other and Angel smiled.

"Nothing wrong with threatening, after all, they don't have to know we won't follow through. First, we need to find out what they did to Cordelia."

AA

Lilah was enjoying a glass of champagne in her office. Staring out the large windows over the city she had disposed of her jacket already. Word was that both the slayer and watcher were hospitalized. At least one on a ventilator which was a good sign. They'd found the seer, sedation into a vegetative state was the only option. Meaning that even if the two vampires were getting along, they were left with nothing but each other. A small toast to her own reflection in the glass.

"No connection to the Powers, no friends. Nothing like cutting the legs out from under a champion."

"Oh I don't know, I've always preferred the cutting fingers off part first. But, to-mato, to-mahto."

She froze and stared behind her through the glass. The reflection of course showed no one, then stepping into view, was a slayer. A very unhappy slayer. Bruised and glaring. Lilah carefully leaned to the side and set her champagne down before turning to the door. The slayer was standing between the two vampires, and she put a smile on as her eyes flickered just past them.

"If you're looking for your security team, you might want to see about upping their health plan."

Angel smiled and stepped in, followed by the other two. Lilah didn't move, refusing to give up ground to him.

"Now Angel, we all know you don't kill people. That little soul of yours has you helping little old ladies across the street, and earning merit badges instead."

Spike grinned and inclined his head towards Faith.

"The Slayer an' me don' have that problem."

"Yeah, see he has no soul and well, you already know that I can't get shit right. So straight and narrow, not my styled."

The first bit of panic flickered through Lilah's eyes and she looked at Angel.

"But you aren't about to let them go on a murder spree."

Angel moved to a chair and sat back. He crossed his legs and raised his arms, folding hands behind his head.

"Well, there's the problem Lilah. You hit my people, came after me when I warned you about that. So, normally, I'd be threatening you, probably have you by the throat already. Find out what you did to Cordelia, make you fix it. All that. But, that takes a really long time."

Spike and Faith looked at each other and advanced on Lilah, before she could finish her gasp Spike had her by the throat and pinned to the window. Faith had a knife to the woman's stomach and with a quick slice removed a lower button.

"See you didn't just go after my people. You went after theirs, and you know, they don't look happy Lilah."

Angel turned his head to watch and Lilah wriggled, trying to find a way to move back farther. She raised a hand to the one around her throat and Spike put on his game face.

"Gettin' tired o' the bottled stuff, pet. Could use a fresh nip."

She closed her eyes as Spike leaned in to sniff at her pulse.

"All right all right! What do you want Angel?"

"What did you do to Cordelia?"

When she didn't answer right away Spike grazed teeth over her neck and she winced turning away.

"The mark! We, we marked her. It turns on her link, full force. Visions. Just, visions, non stop."

Spike growled and tightened his hand around her neck.

"Like an overload yeah? How. Do we. Stop it?"

Lilah licked at her lips and tried to nod towards her desk. She winced as Spike slammed her head back again.

"The file! You have to get, the demon to reverse it. Or, kill him."

Angel stood up and went to grab the file, he looked through a few before finding the one he wanted.

"You're also covering their medical."

"You have got to be kidding me."

Lilah moaned. Spike dropped her and her hand went to her throat just as Faith reared back and punched her in the face.

"All right! Medical."

Rubbing at her face a bruise already blossoming over her cheek. She gave Angel a look and smiled.

"Looks like someone is skirting the line. You know, as soon as you cross it. . . "

Angel shrugged.

"I won't. But let's face it Lilah, you sold your soul to the Senior Partners long ago. Killing you would be a mercy killing, and I will kill you if you touch them again."

Faith grabbed her hair and pulled her up smiling at her.

"Won't be fast either. Bet on it. Oh and if he doesn't wake up by morning. You'll be in a bed right next to him."

With that she slammed the woman to the floor, Lilah went limp. Faith looked at Angel who gave her a look.

"What? I'm a work in progress."

"All right let's go. We need to find this guy."

"Lead on, poof. Sorry, Angel."

Spike held up his hands defensively then followed them out of the office.

AA

Heading into the hospital several hours later everyone looked grim, but Faith and Spike kept glaring at Angel.

"Still don' understan' why you got t' do the killin'."

"I told you. You two would have enjoyed it. The point is to not kill for enjoyment."

Faith snorted.

"You're telling us you didn't enjoy killing that thing after it bragged about driving 'the seer' insane?"

Angel stopped and frowned.

"That's not the point."

Faith and Spike exchanged a look and rolled their eyes. Angel narrowed his at them.

"You know, I'm really not liking you two right now."

He turned to head down the hall and Spike walked ahead to put an arm around Angel's shoulders.

"Aww, the poof loves us, you know."

Faith matched their pace and smirked.

"Yeah, he's cute when he gets all daddy bear on us."

Angel growled at them both then stopped in the hall, they nodded and separated. Faith went to check on Wesley and the two vampires went into Cordelia's room. As soon as they entered she turned her head towards them. Her face pale, eyes in shock and bags looking almost like bruises.

"Angel? Spike? Where's, Wes?"

Angel shook his head and went to sit next to her.

"He's in a room down the hall. Faith went to check on him."

Cordelia went to sit up and Spike was on the other side of the bed pressing her back down.

"Easy there luv."

"What happened to him?"

"They, blew up the office. After you left. He's all right, he's stable."

Her eyes teared up.

"The office? Our office? The one Doyle . . . "

Angel nodded and reached for her hand. He gave it a squeeze and brushed the hair from her forehead.

"It's okay. We'll be fine. How are you doing?"

She shook her head and looked from Spike to Angel again.

"I saw them Angel. All of them. All those people, all that, pain. We have to help them."

"We will. I promise."

"Sure will, bit. Soon as you're better."

Angel and Spike shared a look and Cordy reached for Spike's hand giving a forced smile. They both then looked at her.

"Trust me, there's enough saving for both of you. There's, there was, so many."

The tears fell now and she knew she'd never be able to explain what she saw, felt. There were people around the world, people they'd never reach. Innocent people that had no idea of the darkness stalking them.

Angel's face fell and he brushed the tear from her face. Spike looked, lost suddenly and leaned in to kiss her forehead.

"We'll help 'em, pet. Won't we, Peaches?"

Angel looked at him and for the first time, saw what Cordelia had seen. The struggle in Spike's eyes that spoke of a man. A man that even without a soul, was struggling to find his place, and to lessen the pain in the world. He nodded.

"Yeah, we will. We all will."

AA

Faith entered the room and at first she panicked There was no tube anymore and she rushed to the side of the bed, grabbed his hand. He squeezed hers right away and she froze. His head turned and he swallowed, coughed, and opened his eyes. His voice gravely.

"Faith? You're, all right."

She let out a breath she'd been holding and smiled a crooked smile.

"Five by five. You gave us a scare though."

"Yes well, my apologies."

"Oh you can stop that shit."

"Wolfram and Hart."

She sighed and pulled up a chair to sit without letting go of his hand. Once sat she brushed the hair from his forehead.

"Yeah, we kinda figured that. Found Cordelia too. She's down the hall."

His eyes went wide.

"Is she?"

"She's good. Well, better now. They'd, done this mark thing. Never ending visions. We got to threaten Lilah though? So you know, that was fun. Angel killed the demon to bring Cordelia out of it."

"Threats aren't going to work. Not on that woman."

Faith grinned.

"I might have, fractured her cheek bone. And knocked her out. After I told her I'd kill her nice and slow if you didn't wake up. So you know, I think I lost that bet."

He looked at her, brow furrowed.

"Why would you do that?"

"Um, she blew you up!"

"Yes well, if I remember correctly, and that's a big if right now, you were in the building as well at the time."

She frowned and bit at her lower lip.

"Yeah well, fat lot of good that did. Tried to cover you but, you still took a lot of damage, Wes."

His hand tightened on hers.

"And you?"

She shrugged.

"Some bruises, no big. I'll be a hundred percent by tomorrow watch. Slayer healing and all."

He nodded.

"Thank you."

"For what?"

"For saving me, for saving Cordelia. And as petty as it sounds, for knocking that pompous bitch out."

Faith grinned.

"My pleasure, watcher man."

AA

Cordelia walked out of her kitchen to the living room with a mug of tea and handed it to Wes.

"You sure you should be out so soon?"

He accepted it gratefully and sighed. He knew she was asking but the other eyes on him meant they were all thinking it.

"I would have gone insane staying in that bed one more day. I'm fine, Cordelia. And you? Any, after affects?"

Cordelia shrugged and sat in the chair. Wes and Faith were on the couch, Spike stood and Angel had another chair.

"Nothing I can't handle."

Angel shot her a look.

"Cor."

"Okay so fine, headaches from hell, but I think we're all living off of pain pills and sleep for now. That's not why we're here though."

Spike huffed out a breath.

"We're here 'cause them damn lawyers blew up th' office!"

Angel raised a brow.

"You've only been there twice. Once to kidnap my friends."

"Angel."

He looked at Cordy and sighed.

"Fine, our friends."

She grinned.

"Okay so, my thought is, we are going to be working out of here for awhile."

Wes frowned.

"Do you think that's wise?"

"You have a better place? No offense but let's look at our options. We so don't have the cash for another office. Angel doesn't have a place to stay anymore. What we have is here, and your place. You want us in your place every day, all day?"

Wes frowned and sipped at the tea.

"Good point. Cordy's place it is!"

Faith frowned.

"That's a place to work, what about, you know, to live?"

Cordy worried at her bottom lip.

"Well, I have the second bedroom."

Wes nodded.

"As do I. Faith could stay at my place. If, that's all right."

Faith nodded.

"Works for me. No offense, living day and night with a couple o' vamps will mess up my vamp sense."

"I'll take th' second bedroom then."

Angel frowned.

"Why do you get the bedroom?"

" 'cause I said it first, poof."

"I've known her longer."

"I've already settled in, been here, 'member?"

Spike grinned and Angel frowned. Faith and Wes rolled their eyes and ignored them. Cordy clapped her hands.

"Hey! What did I say about the whole 'who gets Cordy' fighting? We'll flip a coin, you guys can take turns in the bedroom. Or, you can share."

"Share?"

They both yelled and stared at her. Cordy shrugged and got up to head to the kitchen to grab the mugs from the microwave and hand them over to the vampires.

"We're a family, this is going to be our headquarters for awhile, so you'll have to learn to get along anyway. Oh and if you keep me up all night with your fighting, I'll tell Dennis to wake you up by opening the curtains in the morning."

Angel and Spike both took the blood and Spike frowned as Angel growled.

"You wouldn't."

Cordy grinned and pulled out a quarter.

"Try me. Okay Spike call it. Heads or tails."

"Why does he get to call it?"

" 'cause she likes me better, poof."

"Idiot."

"Pansy."

"That's it, you both get the couch!"

AA

A/N: So that's the end! I'm debating some sequels with the five dealing with other cases and being the new Angel Investigations. Which would mean probably no Gunn or Fred. Much as I love them, these four really don't need the added members so quickly! It's a thought, but for now I shall say. . .

FIN