Disclaimer: I don't own Angel, Angelus or anything else in the Buffyverse – they belong to Joss Whedon and friends. However, Luc Tarpeau is mine.

Author's notes: It is 1838, and for the time being, Angelus has left Darla behind in London as he settles in Paris for a spell of socialising and murder. But this isn't his story, not really. It's the story of one young Breton, sucked into a nightmare from which he cannot escape.



Les Chroniques Parisiennes – Chronique 1: The Beginning

"My father served briefly at court," Paul Genet said, "and my mother is housekeeper for a house on the Ile de la Cité." He pushed papers halfway across the desk. "I was taught by …"

"Can you tie a cravat?"

"Certainly, monsieur."

"Clean shoes, light candles, open doors?"

Paul Genet smiled slightly, somehow succeeding in being condescending and respectful at the same time. "Naturally, monsieur."

"So can I. Therefore, why should I give you this position?"

"Well, monsieur …" Genet hesitated, "I have excellent references."

"Mmm." The papers were picked up, examined somehow in the dim light of the study, and dropped again. "I don't care about what people think. I care about what I think. The interview is over." Genet nodded, and rose, picking his hat up off the floor. "Wait – no, don't worry. Thank you."

Paul Genet nodded and left the house into the evening, passing as he did so a young man hurrying into the courtyard. He never knew what a lucky escape he had had.

"My name's Luc Tarpeau. I'm eighteen years old. I came to Paris last year searching for work; my father's a farmer in Brittany."

"Why not farm?"

Luc looked hopefully in the general direction of the voice, wondering what this man looked like.

"It's … it's not a successful farm," he said. "The land's poor, and my father's only continuing because it was his father's before him. I'll earn more selling it than working it."

"I see." The voice was soft, but behind the calm Luc fancied he heard a note of razor-sharp steel. "And why should I take you on? Why you, Luc Tarpeau?"

Luc shrugged. "Because I need the job? Because you need a manservant?" He paused, and added belatedly, "monsieur?"

There was a laugh from the shadows of the room. "I like your honesty, Luc. Honesty is perhaps the only true virtue, or at any rate, the only virtue actually worth having. I shall repay yours with my own." A rustle of movement and a hiss, and the gas lantern on the wall flickered into life. "There. See better?"

"Much." Luc met the eyes of his prospective employer and nodded. "Much better, thank you."

"You don't like the dark?" He was leaning back in a deep leather chair, fingers steepled beneath his chin, dark eyes quizzing Luc. Luc shrugged.

"It's not that I don't like it … but it's easier to see things with light."

"Is it? I shall take your word for it. I rather like the dark. If I took you on, Luc, would it … bother you, if you worked mostly at night? Your days would be your own, the mornings at least."

"No." Luc shook his head. "No, I don't think it would matter for me. I imagine I could become accustomed to it, monsieur."

"Good. First things first, then, Luc Tarpeau, please drop the monsieur. I dislike it. And no lords either. I'm not one." His new employer laughed softly. "Far from it, in fact. Use my name. Call me Angelus."

"Yes."

"Number two. If I employ you, which I rather think I might, you become mine." The steel in the voice was sharper now, more at the forefront, and Luc nodded. "Whatever you see here, whatever you hear here, remains inside your head. On the other hand, any rumours you get told from other servants in other households, about me, about my dealings, you come and you tell me. Immediately." The dark eyes, glinting oddly with a golden speck, bored into Luc's. "Thirdly, I would be very much obliged if you took off that crucifix you have around your neck and threw it away before moving in."

"It was my mother's," Luc objected, frowning at the request – no, the order. He put his hand to his neck and drew out the chain, looking down at the delicate work. "It's rather precious to me." He looked up and froze.

The creature opposite him, wearing the same sumptuous clothes, with the same colour hair, sitting in the same chair as Angelus, bared a pair of long deadly fangs and growled very low. Luc's mouth had gone dry, but he somehow managed to drag off the chain and put the cross away in a pocket, his eyes wide in panic and fear though he could not draw them away from the demonic yellow ones so close to him.

"I … I …" he stammered, wanting desperately to get up and run away. The distorted features faded back into human ones.

"That was number four," his employer said calmly. "And be very sure, Luc, be very sure indeed that should that filter out into society your death will be long and extremely painful." He smiled, an astonishing, charming smile. "If it doesn't get out, your death will be very quick and a while into the future." Angelus stood up, gracefully, and held out his hand. "You can move in this evening." Luc took the hand, cool and dry, and shook it. His own was still trembling. "Be here by seven. There are dangerous things out at night."

Luc managed a smile in return, and turned to leave, when the calm voice stopped him. "By the way, your first task will be to find me a good chef. I'm afraid I have no idea of what good food for humans tastes like, but I'll need it when I give parties and so on. I don't care who, but they'll be well paid, and better paid if they keep their mouths closed too. Until this evening."

Luc nodded, and opened the door. He felt, somehow, that a bow was appropriate, and nodded again more formally before escaping into the corridor.

Angelus watched him go and then, a small smile on the corner of his lips, picked up a book, switched off the gas lamp and settled down contentedly to read.