Kegan sat at the bar, nursing a whiskey, trying to block out the conversations of the humans around her. On and on they spoke about their problems, how they couldn't land a job or a boyfriend or a girlfriend, how they hated their family, how they wished they could see their family again. She was tired of humans, tired of their way of thinking. They thought too much about what they would do, rather than what they were doing.
The half-demon wanted nothing more than to leave this damned bar and find a casino with a high stakes poker table, but she couldn't. She was waiting for someone. Who, she wasn't quite sure. Why, she was even less sure. All she knew was that they had better come within the next ten minutes or she would have someone's head, very possibly the head of the man sitting next to her, bragging about his new job to some blonde-haired bimbo.
"Kegan, am I correct?" asked an English voice behind her.
"Who wants to know, Red Coat?"
"Who else but Wolfram and Hart?"
Kegan swallowed. Wolfram and Hart were one of the few people she did not want to have a beef with.
"Cordelia, you're looking positively ravishin' today," Doyle commented as the young woman walked in.
"Must be all that sun I've been getting," Cordelia muttered sarcastically. "Downside to working for a vampire? I will never have a tan again."
"Well, if you ask me, I don't think you need one," said Doyle.
"Cordelia, why can't I find anyone in these filing cabinets?" asked Angel frustratedly.
"Because my way of filing is special," said Cordelia.
"Well, could you clue me in?" asked Angel pointedly.
"'P' is for paying customers, 'V' is for vision customers, 'PV' is for paying vision customers, 'R' is for your random customers, you know, the ones that you just happen to notice are in vampire trouble or whatever as you walk by," said Cordelia. "And 'N' is for you non-paying customers. The ones that come in and you're too noble to ask them for money. Speaking of, I need a raise and more day time in which I can get a tan."
Angel stared at her.
"Cordelia, generally these sorts of filing cabinets have an alphabetical filing system," he said.
"This is alphabetical," said Cordelia. "I used the alphabet, didn't I?"
"She got you there bud. Next time, try for- Ah!"
Doyle doubled over in pain, pressing his hand to his forehead and screwing his face up against the vision. Angel ran around the desk to steady him and Cordelia rushed for some form of alcohol.
"What you do see?" Angel demanded.
"A girl...a demon...Wolfram and Hart...that Lindsay kid."
Doyle gasped as the vision ended.
"Lindsay's got a girl at Wolfram and Hart that he wants a demon to kill?" asked Angel.
"Your guess is as good as mine," said Doyle shakily. "All I know is that there's something going down at Wolfram and Hart."
"What did the demon look like?"
"Uh...brown with redish stripes, yellow eyes, cat-like face, thin, pointy ears, thin, tall, really long brown hair, rough skin," Doyle reeled off, accepting the glass of whiskey Cordelia pushed into his hand.
Angel straightened up, running this through his head.
"What about the girl?" he demanded.
"Same hair, pale green eyes, white skin, tallish, pointed jaw...smokin' hot," Doyle admitted.
"Did she actually look scared?" asked Angel.
"I couldn't tell," said Doyle.
Angel's brow furrowed. It couldn't be who he thought it was, could it?
"Angel, vision," Cordelia reminded him. "Bad things happen if vision isn't taken care of. Go take care of vision."
"Might not be as good an idea as you think it is," Angel muttered, leaving the office.
"Your guy reckons you want to speak to me," Kegan growled, jerking her arm out of a beefy man's grip.
The lawyer in front of her nodded at the man, who left the office.
"My name is Lindsay McDonald," he said, walking around his desk and gesturing at a chair. "Please."
Kegan didn't move.
"Kegan, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way, and trust me, you don't want to do this the hard way," said Lindsay, putting on such a lawyer-ish smile Kegan felt the immediate need to take a very long shower in order to wash off the slime. "Sit, please."
Kegan sat on the very edge of the seat as Lindsay lent against his desk.
"Kegan," he said, still smiling at her, "I have heard some truly amazing things about you, you know that?"
"I do now," said Kegan pointedly. "Be careful, only half of those truly amazing things are truly true."
"I have reliable sources," said Lindsay. Kegan so wanted to wipe that smile right off his young, overly-confident face. "You're a few years past the 300 mark, am I correct?"
"Do I look 300 to you?" asked Kegan waspishly.
"You don't like the easy way, do you?" asked Lindsay pointedly.
"I figure you're an evil lawyer, you should be able to get information on a...neutral half-demon without too much trouble," said Kegan. "You already have all the facts you need about me, why am I here?"
"Okay, I understand. You're a demon of focus."
"Half-demon," Kegan corrected. "If I were just a demon, I wouldn't be tolerating this sort of treatment and you'd be coming grovelling to me."
"Yeah, no I wouldn't," said Lindsay. "There are a host of better things I could do with my time. You're not here because I need you, you're here because I want you."
"I can't believe how quickly she got you to say that," said Angel from his position in the shadows of the office.
"I knew I smelt vampire," she muttered. "Soul or not, you really rock the dark thing."
"She's not going to join you," Angel told Lindsay. "If she's not needed and it's not going to get her great amounts of money and power, she's not gonna do it."
"Hold on. Why are you even here?" asked Kegan.
"That is a good question," said Lindsay, picking up his phone and dialing in a number. "Yes, I need security up here. Right now."
"For some unknown and whacked out reason, I was sent here by the Powers That Be to help one of you. I'm not entirely sure who yet," said Angel. "Either way, it's a stupid idea because tomorrow I'll probably be beating one of you up."
"Ooh, the Powers That Be," said Kegan cynically. "I didn't realise they'd sunk so low as to send the vampire with a soul to do their dirty work. Don't they have living champions these days?"
She turned back to Lindsay.
"Well, it was nice talking to you, but as long as I'm not needed, I'm going to leave now. Vampire," she said, nodding an acknowledgment to Angel and getting to her feet.
"Security is almost on top of us. You try to leave, he'll make sure you never leave again," said Angel.
"Don't worry, I have similar plans for you," said Lindsay.
"I really didn't want to make this hard for you," she said.
"You consciously tried to make it hard for me," Lindsay pointed out.
"Okay, I lied," she admitted, smirking. "Still, I didn't really want to fight tonight."
"I think you're about to," said Angel, pulling a knife from his sleeve. "There's a few of them."
The door banged open and at least eight muscular men barged inside, wielding guns, batons and anything else they could use to cause physical harm. Angel and Kegan immediately jumped into action.
Angel fended off a baton and brought his forearm down hard against the back of a man's neck, sending him sprawling and moved onto the next one, kicking his gun out of his hands and narrowly avoiding a vicious swing aimed at his jaw.
Kegan spun around, whipping out an arm and knocking a man into the man beside him, causing them to topple into Lindsay's desk, Lindsay only just managing to avoid getting squashed by the two beefy security guards. Finding herself boxed in by three new men, she turned and jumped up onto Lindsay's desk, pushing herself off and flipping over the three of them as she changed smoothly into her demon form, landing catlike on the floor behind the men and taking out a knee with a well placed jab to the nerve.
Angel lashed out at the man he was fighting with his leg, hooking his leg over his shoulder and pushing off from the ground, kicking the man hard in the face as he flipped over, landing back on his feet while the man he'd just kicked crumpled. The next man had pulled out a long-handled stake and was holding it out in front of him like a sword.
The brown and red demon avoided a baton swing aimed at her head and flicked her hands. Fire appeared on her fingers and palms. Her fist shot out to meet the chest of the man who had swung at her and his shirt caught fire at once. Yelling in fright, the man backed away, batting at his chest to try and put out the flames. A gun went off and Kegan snarled in pain, her knee buckling.
Angel sent a volley of punches into the face and chest of the next man in front of him until he wasn't much more than a bloodied pulp before grabbing the guard who had shot the gun by the neck and throwing him bodily across the room. Kegan was shaking, her whole body clenched around her leg.
"Ah Jesus Christ. Get down!" Angel yelled, diving behind Lindsay's desk as Kegan's head shot up.
Flames exploded from her, filling the entire office with a blazing heat. Crouched behind Lindsay's desk, Angel felt the heat of the fire and knew at once that anyone who hadn't taken cover was officially toast.
After a few moments, the flames died down and Angel opened his eyes. Lindsay was flat on his stomach in front of him, eye closed and hands covering his head. There were security guards rolling around on the floor, yelling in pain as they tried to extinguish their uniforms, and one was crying 'mummy' as he tried to put out the flames on his head. Rolling his eyes, Angel scrambled to his feet and peered from his hiding place. Kegan was lying on her back on the floor, glowing slightly from the amount of power she had used, slowly turning back into her human form. Angel knew that after losing control of her power and using up that much energy, there was no way she was going anywhere in her human form without help.
"You good to touch?" he asked.
Kegan nodded slightly and Angel came around the desk, hooking his arms under her shoulders and dragging her to her feet. She staggered and Angel grabbed her arm, pulling it over his shoulder and keeping a firm hand around her waist to make sure she didn't fall over. Angel helped her limp out of the office and down the hallway. As they reached the lifts, more security guards came running out of them and immediately had a bead on Angel and Kegan.
"He's in there!" Kegan sobbed. "Oh my God it's so bad! You have to help! It's terrible! He's completely insane! He's got some sort of fire thing and he's just out of control!"
The guards immediately ran for the office and Kegan smirked as Angel helped her into the lift.
"Suckers," she muttered.
Angel couldn't help but be impressed.
"You're quick on your feet," he commented.
"You already knew that," Kegan growled.
"Yeah, but you've improved," said Angel. "In some areas at least."
Kegan let go of him and slid down the wall of the elevator, peering at her knee. Angel could smell her blood, rich and powerful, and could almost feel it's heat. The denim around the bullet wound was blackened and burnt from the blood.
"Guess I just haven't been shot in a while," she muttered, breathing heavily and screwing up her face against the pain. "You wouldn't happen to be bleeding anywhere, would you?"
Angel shook his head.
Kegan held her hand over the wound and concentrated hard.
"Come on, come on, come on."
A single finger lit up and Kegan grimaced as she put what was left of her energy into the task, running the finger over the wound. It didn't heal completely, but it stopped bleeding. Kegan swooned as her finger went out.
Angel caught Kegan's head as she fainted.
"So you got her," said Doyle, opening the door for Angel as he carried Kegan in. "Saved her from the demon?"
"Not exactly," said Angel. "Cordy, I need you to light a fire downstairs."
"Okay, sure," said Cordelia, hurrying down the stairs.
"A fire? I thought you were more of a water guy," said Doyle.
"It's not for me. She's the demon Doyle. She's half-demon, like you."
"Tor'Aal," Angel informed him, placing Kegan carefully on the couch and retrieving a pair of tweezers from Cordelia's desk drawer.
"Kegan, half-human, half Tor'Aal. Fire demon, capable of using her powers even in her human form. She's just as twisted as the legends say she is. She was around before I was," said Angel, examining Kegan's leg.
"She stronger than you?"
"Well I wouldn't say that. But she's faster and she plays with fire," said Angel pointedly, inserting the tweezers carefully into the bullet hole and drawing out the bullet a minute later. Kegan's leg began to bleed again. "A little smarter too. She's capable of a huge amount, especially in her demon form. Thank god she's not truly evil. Just...neutral. She won't do anything if she doesn't gain something from it."
"Okay Angel, fire's lit," sad Cordelia, coming back up into the office. "You know, you could really benefit from some matches."
"Cordelia, I'm a vampire," said Angel pointedly.
"I'm not asking you to dance in them, but if you want me to set a fire, I'd appreciate some matches," said Cordelia pointedly. "I had to use the stove and I hate your stove."
"I'll think about it," said Angel, brushing her complaints off and picking Kegan up. "I need you to stay with her."
"Me? But Angel-"
"Vision comes first Cordelia," said Angel pointedly.
She huffed and followed him back down to his apartment.
"Don't take your eye off her," Angel warned. "I don't need her going anywhere."
"Where's she gonna go Angel? She's unconscious," said Cordelia pointedly.
"Yeah well, not for long," said Angel, placing her down beside the fire and placing her hand into the flames.
"Angel, what are you doing?!" Cordelia all but shrieked.
"Don't yell at me. I know what I'm doing," said Angel. "Don't forget, watch her."
Cordelia sighed, watching the unconscious girl and trying not to remember that she was starving.
"Watch her like a hawk," she muttered mutinously. "She's asleep, and I need food!"
Her mind made up, Cordelia got to her feet and moved into the kitchen. She opened the fridge and cupboards, looking for something edible. Finding ingredients enough for a sandwich, she glanced back over at the fireplace. Kegan was still there, so she busied herself in making her breakfast.
"I don't know what Angel's doing, but whatever it is, he'd better get back soon, because I'm tired of baby-sitting," she told the sleeping girl. "Oh well, at least you're not a five year old trying to tie me to a chair."
Cordelia moved back over to the couch and froze. The girl was gone.
"Cordelia! Is she awake yet?" Angel called as the lift moved down to the apartment.
"Uh...yes," said Cordelia. "There's just one small problem."
"Look, Angel, I'm sorry alright. She was unconscious. How was I supposed to know she'd move so fast?" asked Cordelia.
"I told you very clearly to watch her," said Angel. "How hard is it to watch a sleeping girl?"
"Hey, I haven't had nearly as much practice in it as you obviously have," Cordelia snapped. "Why didn't you watch her?"
"I was looking her up!"
"Doyle could have done that!"
"Fine," Angel sighed. "I was out at a strippers club that doesn't change the fact that you had one simple task!"
"We'll have to agree to disagree then," said Cordelia simply. "I was hungry."
"I'm getting hungry," Angel growled pointedly.
"You wouldn't bite me. You wouldn't have any connection to the human world without me. God knows Doyle wouldn't help at all."
Angel huffed impatiently.
"If you looked her up, why don't you just go and find her?"
"Because she knows me. She knows how I do things. She's not just going to go home."
"Where will she go then?"
"Crematorium?" Doyle guessed.
"Who on earth would want to go to a crematorium?" asked Cordelia.
"Cordy, in case you didn't notice that her hand was in the fire, she's not exactly normal," said Angel pointedly. "But I don't think so. How's she going to explain that if she gets found?"
"A bar?" asked Cordelia. "Not everything has to be creepy and supernatural. Maybe she just wants a drink."
"No. She was injured. She'd need to put her leg in flames," said Angel.
"Maybe she is at her place because she'd know that you wouldn't go there because that's what you usually do and you know that she knows what you usually do," said Cordelia.
"Not that I followed that, but I think I know what she's getting at and it's actually not a bad idea," said Doyle.
"I really don't want to go to her place," said Angel, grimacing.
"Why not?" asked Cordelia.
"Because she's disturbed!" said Angel. "The last time I was at her place she was collecting spleens from human bodies."
"Spleens?" asked Doyle.
"The name amused her," said Angel darkly.
"Oh...yuck," said Doyle. "Still..."
"I'll see you two tomorrow. If I'm still alive," he muttered.
Kegan looked up as Angel opened the door carefully.
"Congratulations. You found me," she said, mouth twitching into a sadistic smiles. "Come in Angel."
Angel stared around in distaste as he entered. Kegan was in her human form, sitting in the middle of a glowing coal pit, a scalpel in her hand and a small body of some sort on a tray in front of her. The place was dark, with not light except for the coals, and smelt of blood and animals. Beside the pit was a bucket filled with what Angel took to be dead rodents.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Dissecting. Care to join me?" asked Kegan, holding up another knife.
"I'm alright, actually," said Angel, fighting the urge to throw up. "Why are you..dissecting?"
"It keeps me entertained. And I like the hearts."
To prove her point, Kegan reached into the chest cavity of whatever animal was currently on the tray and pulled out it's small heart, showing it to Angel before reaching behind her and dropping it into a jar filled with some sort of preservation liquid. There were already other hearts in there.
"You drink blood yet I'm disgusting?"
"I drink blood because I have to. You do this because you're...deranged."
"As long as I'm happy," she said simply.
"You know Wolfram and Hart's not going to leave you alone now," said Angel.
"I do," said Kegan.
"Well, what do you plan on doing about it?" asked Angel pointedly.
"Annoy them," said Kegan, smirking at him. "Why are you here? You don't like me."
"I don't," Angel agreed, "but, it wouldn't hurt to have a little extra muscle."
"Angel, I'm sitting in a fire, cutting hearts out of small creatures. Is that really the sort of person you want hanging around the office?"
"Not really," Angel admitted, "but it would be handy to have you around. Let's face it. You're smarter than my team put together, you can most definitely hold your own, and you have some pretty good experience in the world of demons."
Kegan got to her feet and came right up close to Angel, who backed up into the wall, staring down at her with caution.
"What's in it for me?" she asked, running a finger down his chest and leaving a scorching burn.
"Not that," said Angel pointedly. "You know the curse, you know I can't."
"Then you have nothing I want," said Kegan simply, turning on her heel.
"I can pay you."
Kegan whipped back around, her eyes lighting up at the idea of some easy cash.
"How much?" she asked.
"Depends on the job," said Angel. "You in?"
"I'm going to need a number bud," she said. "What if Wolfram and Hart were to come to me with a more...lucrative deal?"
"If it has to be."
Kegan held out a flaming hand.
"Shake on it?" she asked, grinning evilly.
"How do you get people to like you?" asked Angel waspishly.
"I'm pretty," said Kegan, giving him her best innocent smile as she turned away from him. "Leave if you want to continue walking."
Angel swallowed and left without another word.
"You recruited her?! Are you out of your mind man?" asked Doyle indignantly. "She'll kill us all!"
"I'm sorry, I'm still trying to get my head around the half-demon thing," said Cordelia. "Who on earth would have a kid with a demon?"
"A lot of people don't know that a person's a demon when they do," said Angel. "They only find out after the act."
"Oh that's really disturbing," said Cordelia.
"Wait till you see her heart collection, then you'll know what's really disturbing," said Angel pointedly.
"You lot are talking about me and I don't like it," said Kegan from the doorway.
"Sorry, I didn't realise you were so sensitive," said Angel coolly.
"Are you going to introduce me?" asked Kegan, gesturing at Cordelia and Doyle.
"Cordelia Chase. Don't worry, I know I'm hotter than you, but, there's no competition here," said Cordelia, her smile far too wide to be sincere as she held her hand out.
Kegan took it and Cordelia squeaked, jerking away and shaking her hand to cool it down.
"Sorry, I think I missed that. Who was hotter?" asked Kegan.
Cordelia scowled at her and moved away.
"Doyle," said the Irishman, avoiding all contact with the demon.
"Vampire, human and-"
"Human," said Doyle and Angel pointedly.
"Of course," said Kegan, smirking. "What else would you be? A Brachen demon?"
Doyle, contrary to his usual easy-going nature, looked like he was going to kill her.
"I just came round to tell you that Wolfram and Hart paid me a visit, and they weren't after me," said Kegan. "I figured I owed you one for helping me a back there, so I thought I should warn you. They are not about to give up. They really want you."
"Thanks for the heads up," said Angel. "Since you're here-"
"No," said Kegan at once. "I'm about to cheat some very rich people out of lots of money and I just don't think that five hundred is going to cover that."
"Five hundred? You're paying her five hundred for a job?" asked Cordelia angrily.
"Cordelia, did I mention that I was going to give you raise?" asked Angel.
Cordelia smirked and made a rude gesture towards Kegan. Kegan's eyes flared and she made towards her, but Angel got in between them.
"Girls, please," he said. "I know you don't get along now, but sooner or later, I'm sure you'll be discussing the latest fashions and what not like you're best friends so just lay off each other until you're absolutely sure you hate each other and then, please leave each other alone."
Kegan stepped away.
"Guess I'll see you around," she said coolly, walking out of the office.
There was silence in her wake until Doyle spoke again.
"Angel man, not that I want to pry but, what's your history with her?"
Angel sighed as he sat down.
"1845," he said. "Darla and I had a small...fight, and I was at a tavern. She was there as well, trying to pick up a sucker. At the time she would pretend to be a prostitute, get taken home, and then she'd rob them for everything they had before finding their wives, girlfriends and families and telling them that they'd tried to hire her."
"What? The money wasn't enough for her?" asked Doyle.
"She's sadistic and cruel. She likes to add insult to injury," said Angel. "Anyway, she took one look at me and knew I was vampire, but she still went for me. She wanted my blood."
"What? Why?" asked Cordelia. "Wanted to be a vampire as well?"
"No see, vampire blood is basically a drug for demons. It makes them stronger, gives them a real high. She cheated me out of everything I had, plus my blood. I think it's safe to say I was a little angry."
"So you beat the crap out of her the next time you saw her?" asked Cordelia.
"No. No, before now, I hadn't seen her since then. But I did make sure that no one in their right mind would talk to her. She heard she left the country in order to get away from the reputation I gave her."
Angel smiled sadistically.
"One of the few things I don't regret doing," he said, somewhat proudly. "But you know, now we don't like each other."
"She's only a half demon, didn't your blood affect the human part of her?" asked Doyle.
"No," said Angel, frowning slightly. "Maybe because she's still able to use her powers in her human form. Whatever it is, it means she's powerful, and probably a little more demon than human."
"And you recruited her," said Cordelia. "You're going to get us all killed."
"Sorry," said Angel sheepishly. "I didn't go there with the intent to recruit her."
"That's ironic," Doyle snickered.
"What?" asked Cordelia.
"Well, vampires generally have some thrall over people. They're able to make people do what they want, that's why a lot of people don't fight back as much as you'd think they would when they're about to be bitten. This vampire here, just got thralled!"
"I didn't get thralled!" Angel snapped. "I just...okay I got thralled. But she was reluctant to join!"
"Which gave her a bigger pay check when you finally got her to join," said Doyle pointedly.
Angel grumbled incoherently to himself.
"Well, thrall or not, you've got quite the problem on your hands," said Doyle. "Not only do you have to pay her every time she helps, but you're going to have to baby sit her in between."
"Why?" asked Angel.
"Because if she does something to a prospective client then they come in and see her, they'll freak out," said Doyle.
"Angel, I swear if you let her ruin any opportunities you have to get money, I will kill you myself," said Cordelia fervently.
Angel stared at them both in horror.
"She's going to be the death of me," he muttered.