Back In Time
Disclaimer: I merely own the right to express my idea in this manner.
What was the point of having underlings if he still had to respond to every, single emergency as if he was the only one capable of dealing with it?
What, exactly, was he paying these people to do?
For that matter, was he the one even paying them..?
He would have to remember to ask Gunn about that the next time he saw him.
Shaking his head to clear it of thoughts unimportant, for now, he walked down a narrow hallway briskly.
She had sounded both excited and worried all at once when she'd sent for him, a potentially volatile combination.
He hadn't even been at the job barely a week and he was already missing the small, simple business he'd run out of the Hyperion.
He'd never really been a people person at any point in his life, and trying to run a company, an evil company that he didn't trust at all, while dealing with hundreds of employees and contacts and informants, it was torture.
And now this, whatever this was, had happened.
Would it be too much to ask for him to just catch a break, for once?
"There you are!"
She pounced on him as soon as he pushed open the door and stepped into the heavily sterilized lab area, which appeared to also have been bleached an abnormal shade of white.
"I had to go over and approve some paperwork first—something about a judge needing a seer to finish up his case."
"Yeah, yeah okay—just wait until you see what they sent us!"
"I'm pretty good at waiting."
She rolled her eyes and grabbed hold of one of his arms to tug on.
"At least keep an open mind Angel. This is our business now; this is what we do."
"I know that Fred, I get it, but that doesn't mean—"
"That you have to think the worst all the time."
Fred gave him a look and then released him.
"Now, wait here, I'll be right back."
Why was it that he was the boss yet he always seemed to be the one being bossed around?
He really needed to take another look at that contact…
"It's okay…don't worry, you're safe, I promise."
Fred stroked the back of a frail hand, smiling at the figure she led across the floor.
"This is the one I was telling you about, remember? His name is Angel."
He turned at his name and looked down at Fred and her new "friend" accompanying her.
"Angel—I would like you to meet—"
It couldn't be.
Bowed head lifted and he gazed into crystal clear, sapphire blue eyes chalk full of alarm and uncertainty.
Fred looked between the two, greatly confused, as Angel took a cautionary step backwards.
This had to be a trap of some kind, a trick, a—a…
"How did you know my name…?"
For the first time in nearly a hundred years Angel indulged in an act he'd convinced himself he had gotten the better of.
He ran away.
Though Fred tried to chase after him, calling, begging, for him to come back and explain what was wrong, he was gone in the blink of an eye.
There was only one person he wanted, needed, to talk to.
"You don't look very happy for a newly established billionaire CEO. Maybe it's time to take some of that cash and get a nice Swedish massage."
"What did you do?"
"Hello to you too, and I can say, for once, scout's honor, nothing."
"Don't pretend like you don't know what's going on."
Her heart rate was at a perfectly normal level, and her breathing was breezily easy going.
He couldn't find any physical, or otherwise, indication she was lying to him, but…she had to be.
"Look, Angel, I told you when you took over this job that you might meet some people, or see some things, you wouldn't like. This 'is' Wolfram & Hart, it may take a while for you to expunge all evils."
"That's not—Spike just got here, Lilah."
Lilah shut up at that, speechless.
He stared at her dubiously.
"You're telling me you had no idea he was here? That he'd been brought here this morning?"
"No. I thought he was dead."
"Dead? What do you mean 'dead'?"
Angel's question was ignored as Lilah's brow creased in concentration.
"This is interesting…if he is here then that means they brought him back, and—they rarely do that."
"Brought him back? Back from where? And who are 'they'?"
"Your new bosses, who else, and where do you think? If he was dead then probably hell or someplace equivalent."
Lilah looked at Angel then as if he was a dimwitted imbecile for asking such dumb questions.
A look he did not appreciate.
And he really was going to need to take another look at that damn contract.
"I need you to find out what they're up to."
"And you seem to think I can just snap my fingers and make that happen?"
"I'm sure you can think of something."
"Lilah, if they intend to start meddling in my life already and think I am just going to stand around and let them because I agreed to this deal, they're wrong. The next time I see you I expect you to have some answers, or don't bother coming back until you do."
"You always mange to ask the simplest things of me don't you?"
"Pardon the interruption, but, Angel?"
He cast his gaze over at the newly arrived speaker.
"Don't worry Wes, we're done here."
"I guess that's my cue to go play sexy detective."
She grinned slyly at Wesley.
"Wouldn't be my first time though."
The man's cheeks caught a bit of color and he cleared his throat.
"Don't worry, I'll keep our little secrets to myself. But be mindful of Mr. Bossman here, he's a little moody today."
Angel glared off after her as she sashayed away.
No matter how many times he dealt with her, he always felt as if she had the upper hand in some way.
"Fred sent me."
Wesley stepped closer to Angel, getting his full attention.
"That person is—is he really—?"
Angel's short reply had a touch of hostility to it.
"But how can that be? William the Bloody? Spike? That man down there can barely keep eye contact with you when you're speaking to him for longer than three seconds."
"I know, it took m—took Angelus a long time to break him of that."
Angelus had broken him of plenty more as well, slowly but surely transforming the timid, sensitive, depressed weakling into a semi-confident, braggart, heartless, sadistically psychotic serial killer.
Which was why he reacted so strong when he saw him again as that person, as that man child, it reminded him exactly of what he'd stolen and ripped away from him, cruel and unforgiving as he'd turned innocence into insolence and love into loathing.
It was, yet again, another reminder of a life he had heavily influenced for all the wrong reasons; a good man he'd molded into a monster after his own image.
"Scared. And he is."
Angel's face clouded in thought.
Wesley tried to get a read on his friend's current temperament and failed miserably to do so, as usual.
"Then what are we—"
"I'll wait for Lilah to report back to me, and then I'll go from there. I can't do anything about him until I know what happened to him, and why."
"Angel, he's um—he's asking for you."
His mouth opened but no words followed and so he closed it again, eyes dark and stormy.
"He doesn't understand how you already knew his name."
"Just, tell Fred to make up a story. Say I have it on file or something."
"You could just—"
"No. No, I can't."
Angel's cold emphasis was not lost on Wes, who bristled some at it inwardly but remained stoically unflustered.
"Fine, Fred and I will handle him for now; I'll let you know how it goes."
He felt as if he should say something more, explain himself better, perhaps, but his pride, his apprehension, wouldn't let him, so he merely nodded at Wesley who left to tend to the one who was actually, by all rights and purposes, his responsibility.
With a low snarl of exasperation he punched a button on the phone sitting atop his desk, the only one he really knew how to work or what it was for.
"Harmony, I need you to get in touch with Charles for me. Tell him I need to see him, in my office, as soon as possible."
"Sure thing, I'm on it."
Angel released the button first and then released a reserved groan.
He had to get it together.
Spike's, or rather William's return wasn't that big a deal, he could handle it.
He could handle him, easy, he used to all the time.
This was no different, well maybe a little, but—
Harmony's soft voice coming back through the speaker of his phone unexpectedly broke his concentration.
"There's a—situation brewing down in the lab."
"I think someone tried to bite Fred?"
He really needed to get his hands on that contract, asap.