"Who wants to break the law with me?" Kegan declared as she strode into Angel Investigations.
Angel and Doyle looked up, unamused.
"Oh come on, don't be so stony. It'll be fun."
"Fun? Breaking into houses or mansions, setting off alarms and running from police is your idea of a good time?" asked Doyle. "I can think of many things far more fun than that."
Kegan grimaced at him.
"Not on your life," she said simply. "And I don't set off alarms."
"Fine, but you don't know what you're missing."
"And yet somehow I'll live to see another day," said Kegan coolly. "Angel come on. You used to enjoy breaking the law."
"I'm busy Kegan."
"Angel, I was there the moment you...needed me. I dropped everything," said Kegan, coming around Angel's chair and running a finger along his collarbone. "Now, I would hate to be otherwise occupied the next time you need me."
Angel glared at her hand as she ran her finger back and forth along his chest.
"What are you talking about?" asked Doyle. "You turned him down last time he needed your help."
"Shut up Quick Draw," Kegan snapped. "And let me remind you that outside of the office, Angel and I do still talk."
"No, we fight," said Angel. "Doyle, maybe it'd be best if you went and helped Cordelia research that demon."
Doyle gave one last longing glance at Kegan before he got to his feet.
"Right," he said, leaving the room.
"You have no shame," Angel hissed.
"Mmm, true," Kegan breathed, running a tongue along his neck and leaving a trail of boiling saliva.
"Get off me," Angel growled through the pain in his neck.
"Make me," Kegan challenged, nipping lightly at his shoulder and running her hands up under his shirt.
Angel grabbed hold of her wrists and held her away from him as he got to his feet.
"If you back off, then sure, I'll help you."
"Good, let's go," said Kegan simply, moving to the door.
Angel stared at her.
"What? Just like that? No catch?"
"We'll get to that. Now hurry up, we don't have long."
"What exactly don't we have long to do?" asked Angel.
"You'll find out."
"I'm not going to back out Kegan."
"We need to get ready for a ball."
"Lots of rich people, and you're a distraction," said Kegan simply.
"I'm a distraction?"
"You're very distracting," said Kegan, smirking. "You still a 56 long?"
"I want it on the record that I am completely and utterly against this," he muttered.
"Denied," said Kegan simply. "Now come my little flying monkey. I have a suit for you."
"I feel like I'm back in the eighteen hundreds. You know, when balls were cool," said Angel.
"Oh quit your whining. And balls never went out of fashion, people just ran out of money."
"Yeah, because you stole it all from them at their balls," said Angel, trying and failing to remember how to do his bow tie. "Why do they still wear these monkey costumes anyway?"
"Having trouble with your bow tie?" asked Kegan through the door.
"Yes," Angel hissed.
"Yeah, you were never good at that."
"We're still not telling Cordelia and Doyle that we uh..."
"No, I have kept that particular avenue of torture shut off," said Kegan, "because if it came out that I used to run with you, my reputation would go straight down the drain."
"What? I used to be very, very evil."
"You also used to be more of a player than me," said Kegan, sticking her head out of her room to examine him. "You'll do."
"I'm about to help you break more laws than I care to admit to myself. I had hoped I would get better than just a 'you'll do'."
"Well then you better start learning to do up your bow tie," said Kegan.
"I don't exactly have a reflection to help," he said.
"How is that my problem? You're from the eighteen hundreds, you should know how to do it in your sleep."
"Yeah, I don't th- Ga-ah."
Angel stared as Kegan opened her door. She was wearing an emerald green dress that tied up at the back of her neck. It was made of some sort of silky material, and was low cut with a cowl neck. It clung to Kegan's curves, and opened at the top of her leg to reveal her porcelain skin right down to her feet, which were wrapped in silver, roman sandal style high heels. She wore a silver necklace with a single teardrop diamond hanging from it and held a small silver clasp. Angel swallowed.
"I uh...you look...adequate," he choked.
"I think the word you're looking for there is 'stunning'," said Kegan, smirking.
"No, no, let's keep this friendly," said Angel.
Kegan rolled her eyes.
"You know, you are allowed to compliment me."
"Why start now?" asked Angel as Kegan came over.
"Hmm, very funny," said Kegan sarcastically, taking the bow tie and doing it up around Angel's neck.
"Remember when we used to enjoy this dance before a ball?" asked Angel.
"I'm enjoying seeing you squirm," Kegan offered.
"The word 'we' generally means us," Angel pointed out.
"Yes but I'm the only important person in that grouping, so I'm the only one that matters. Alright. You're adequate. Let's go."
"Oh, I'm so glad I meet your standards," Angel muttered sarcastically, holding open the door for her as she passed him.
Kegan started as Angel took her around the waist and pulled her onto the dance floor.
"Busy Angel," she growled.
"One dance will not seriously diminish your take tonight," said Angel.
"I'm running out places to put things anyway," she muttered.
"Good. I need to talk to you."
"About what?" Kegan asked as Angel took up her hand and began to slowly turn her around the dance floor in time with everyone else.
"Something isn't right with these people."
"What do you mean Angel?"
"Don't they all seem a little...dazed to you?"
"I haven't looked at their faces yet."
"Has a single one of them noticed you swiping stuff from them?" Angel asked.
"I'm very good," said Kegan simply.
"See that woman there? Take her purse when we pass," said Angel.
"What? Angel, I wanted to break the law, but I didn't want to get caught."
"That's the problem. I don't," Kegan muttered.
Kegan sighed and watched the woman until they were right next to her. Faster than Angel could catch, her hand whipped out and grabbed hold of the the purse, pulling it away from the woman as they passed. The woman didn't even blink, just continued to talk absentmindedly to the man next to her.
"Okay," said Kegan, opening the purse and peering inside. "There's a hell of a lot of cash in here and she didn't notice at all."
"Like I'm saying, I think something's wrong."
"Well, do you mind sharing what you think is wrong?" asked Kegan pointedly.
"Spell," said Angel.
"On everyone? That's a little excessive, don't you think? And why isn't it affecting us? And why would you cast a spell over a whole crowd of people anyway?"
"I don't know, but I would hazard a guess the reason why we're not affected is because we're not human. Not entirely anyway."
"Angel, half the people here can't exactly be classified as human either. Most of them are lawyers."
"Well, whatever it is, we're not affected."
"So this is some sort of...stunning spell?"
"Something like that," said Angel.
"Okay, so we need to isolate the source and burn it. Easy," said Kegan.
"Easy huh? How exactly do you propose we isolate the source?" asked Angel pointedly. "And what are we going to burn it with? I don't have a magical item combust or on me at the moment, do you?"
Kegan raised an exasperated eyebrow at him as Angel realised what he'd just said.
"And to think I thought I was being smart," he muttered.
"Well...it's gotta be something in this room right? I mean, that's the easiest way to put a spell on everyone in the room," said Kegan.
"Okay, that's good, but see, this is a ball Kegan. There are lots of things in this room."
Kegan scowled at him.
"No kidding Sherlock," she snapped. "There is another way to go."
"And what would that be?"
"Find the spell caster," said Kegan.
"You know what? Somehow, I don't think that's going to be a great deal of fun. Let's just stick to finding the-"
"Are you scared of witches?" Kegan cut over him.
"The better question would be why aren't you scared of witches?" said Angel. "They're far more powerful than you."
"Yeah, but only when they're powerful," said Kegan. "Most of them aren't."
"The person doing this has to be powerful. No one can put a spell on an entire crowd of people without some serious power."
"Well, as serious as their mojo might be, they haven't affected us, so I don't think there's any real reason to be scared of this guy. Not to mention, whoever it is, all they've done is made people a little oblivious. They haven't harmed anyone."
"Yet," said Angel darkly.
"Well look at you Mr Glass Half Full," Kegan muttered sarcastically.
"Look, we need to find out who's doing this, and we need to stop them."
"Well then, I- Wow."
Kegan stared after a man as he walked past.
"Have fun," said Kegan quickly, patting Angel on the shoulder and making a beeline after the man.
Angel sighed as Kegan disappeared into the crowd.
"That'd be right," he muttered. "Guess I'm on my own."
"Mmm, I could do with some of that," Kegan muttered as she followed almost right behind the man. "Alright, let's get in front."
She slipped behind a group of people and sped up, stepping right in the man's path, causing him to run straight into her.
"Oh, sorry," he muttered, as he staggered away from her. "I didn't...how could I not have seen you?"
Kegan smiled innocently.
"It's alright. It was my fault."
The man took hold of her hand and bent to kiss her hand.
"Samuel Thompson," he said smoothly. "It's a pleasure to bulldoze into you."
"Kegan," the demon replied. "Hunter. Kegan Hunter."
"Related to Mark Hunter?"
"I hope not, as I have no idea who that is."
"He's a business...tycoon," said Samuel. "Not important. You're more attractive than anyone in that family anyway."
"Thank you?" Kegan guessed.
"Oh trust me, that's a compliment," said Samuel fervently. "Tell me Miss Hunter, how did you find yourself here tonight? I don't remember seeing you on the guest list."
Something about what the man said struck as peculiar to Kegan.
"I was...invited as a plus one," said Kegan quickly. "I didn't realise this was your function."
"It's my father's," said Samuel, flashing her a confident grin. "You've heard of Leroy Thompson I hope? It's his ball. Well, he likes to think it is. Still, it's smart. Trying to impress all his business rivals with an over extravagant ball. He doesn't even like most of the people here."
"So you must know everyone here," said Kegan.
"Indeed," said Samuel. "Except you."
The man didn't have the same glassy-eyed look that the rest of the people did. Kegan eyed him more carefully now that she was aware that he may well be the person Angel was looking for. He looked...far too good to be a normal human.
"So, everyone here is on the guest list? Even people who came at the last minute?" asked Kegan.
"Indeed. You know, I'm glad you're here. A mystery to solve. Everyone here is so...regular to me. You're different, you're new."
"Gotta figure out whether you're gonna need a different incantation to put me under the same spell as everyone else?" Kegan guessed.
Samuel grinned slightly.
"Well, I don't know how easy you are to seduce yet," he said.
"Do you have any idea what's going on here?" she asked.
Samuel frowned slightly.
"What do you mean? Are you...not interested?"
"Oh you poor clueless bastard, you have no idea how interested I am," Kegan muttered, pulling the piece of cloth from Samuel's breast pocket and digging inside his jacket to grab a pen. "Give me a call later. I'm free from...well I'm free all the time, except for right now. I have to go. But call me. Seriously. You'll hate yourself forever if you don't."
"Well, we can't have that," said Samuel, smiling roguishly at Kegan as she passed by him. "See you tonight."
"Hmm, you're confident aren't you?"
"It's one of my best qualities."
"We'll see about that. Excuse me."
Kegan slipped away from the man and headed over to where Angel was trying to coax information out of a small group of people.
"I know who you're looking for," she muttered as she passed him, heading for a room off the ballroom.
Angel whipped around and followed after her, entering the dark coatroom and turning as Kegan locked the door behind him. He scowled.
"You don't actually know, do you?" he asked.
"Oh, I do, but nothing's free Angel. You should know that."
"I do not have time for this. Whoever's doing this may well kill them all at any second!"
"Probably," Kegan agreed, undoing his bow tie and starting on his shirt buttons.
"Do you know a Mark Hunter?" asked Kegan curiously.
"No," said Angel at once.
"Well then, looks like we can make a deal. You tell me your info, I'll tell you mine," said Angel.
"Yes, well, I would, but since your information can be found on the internet, I don't think it's really a fair deal."
"Oh, you won't find out everything you need to know about the Hunters on the internet," said Angel fervently. "Sure, you might find out how much their worth, but there is much more to them than any website is going to tell you."
"And how do I know that what you're telling me is legitimate?"
"You know perfectly well that I couldn't lie like that without you catching me out," Angel pointed out.
Kegan considered him, fingers ghosting over his chest as she weighed the options.
"The man you're looking for is Mr Leroy Thompson. It's his ball, and everyone on the guest list happens to be either business associates or business rivals. I think we can both see where this is going."
"That's why we're not affected. We're not on the guest list."
"Well done. A plus," said Kegan. "Now, tell me about the Hunters."
"How did you find out about this?" asked Angel.
"Don't you think maybe his son had been sent to talk to you? Throw you off the real trail? What if he's the one casting the spell?"
"Don't you think maybe I thought of that and using my superior wit, charm and intellect I found out that none of the above are true?" asked Kegan pointedly, taking up Angel's hand and licking at his fingers.
"Kegan, I do not have time for this."
"And you know what? I will allow for you not to have time for this if you deliver on your side of the deal. Who are the Hunters?"
Angel reached around Kegan and unlocked the door, doing up his shirt buttons with the other hand.
"Are you sure you want to know?" he asked.
"If I didn't want to know I wouldn't have asked," Kegan growled.
"Watchers," Angel muttered in her ear as he passed her, leaving the coat room.
Kegan stared after him in horror.
"Who doesn't attend their own ball?" Angel asked frustratedly.
"So, let me get this straight. Mark Hunter, who's apparently the richest man alive, is also a Watcher? And so's his wife?"
"Oh, did I mention that his daughter's the Slayer?" asked Angel, mounting the stairs and peering out over the heads of the crowd, looking for anyone who didn't look drugged.
"No!" said Kegan indignantly.
"I don't know why you're getting so angry, it's not as if you've planned a heist against them yet," Angel muttered. "Does that guy over there look normal to you?"
"He's way too young to be Samuel's father. Is there anything else I ought to know?"
"Well, Mark's son is training to be a mechanic, and his eldest daughter fell off my grid when he stopped talking to her. I think she was at law school at the time or just out of law school or something. It never really came up. I got the impression that Mark wasn't exactly proud."
"Why would you not be proud of your daughter suffering through law school?" asked Kegan.
"I don't think she followed the path of the environmental lawyer," said Angel. "More the blood-sucking lawyer."
"Well, the environment isn't exactly going to keep her rolling in the cash that the rest of her family's in," Kegan muttered. "So basically what you're telling me is that the most lucrative heist just dropped into my lap, but I can't do it because they'll take one look at me and fill me full of lead?"
"Basically, yeah," said Angel simply. "If you were a witch about to kill a whole group of rivals and people that you never really trusted, or get said people to do the killing themselves, where would you be?"
"Somewhere I could watch, but nowhere that I might get hurt," said Kegan. "Why does this happen to me? Why can't the richest people on the planet be blind and deaf and not at all technologically savvy so their security is not at all up to scratch?"
"Because you're a demon and God doesn't smile down upon you," said Angel, mounting the next flight of stairs until he reached the third floor landing. "What do you reckon? Think somewhere up here?"
"Well, we can't go any further," said Kegan pointedly. "And height is generally a good vantage point. And I'm a half demon."
"Why are you insistent upon that?" asked Angel. "I'm a half demon but I don't go correcting everyone when they call me a vampire."
"You're not a vampire/human idiot! You're just a vampire! And I just want everyone to know that I'm a half demon so that it's all the more scary when I use my powers in my human form. That door over there. If I was going to watch people kill each other, I'd want a penthouse view."
"Got any weapons?" asked Angel.
Kegan stared at him.
"You're just thinking about this now?" she hissed.
"Well, you distracted me by talking," said Angel.
"I have fire, will that do?" asked Kegan.
"Should," he said eventually, turning to the door. "Would you like the honours?"
"I'm wearing high heels."
"Suit yourself," Angel muttered, rearing back and lashing out.
With a CRASH, the door flew right off it's hinges and the man inside the room leapt to his feet. He was in his late fifties, with salt and pepper hair and age lines marking his face. He had a scar down his left cheek, but it was almost hidden by the markings painted on his face in what appeared to be blood.
"I'm sorry to barge in like this but I'm afraid witchcraft was forbidden during the Salem period," said Angel.
"Vampire," the man growled.
Angel and Kegan both dived out of the way as a bolt of electricity was loosed from the man's hand.
"Oh, that's just plain nasty," said Angel, scrambling to his feet.
"How did you get in here?" the man snarled.
"Well, I find it difficult to believe that you missed it, but he kicked the door in, remember?" asked Kegan.
Thompson growled and sent another bolt of electricity at her. Kegan flattened herself to the floor and it connected instead with the handrail above her head. Angel dived, tackling the man backwards and causing him to fall into the alter he'd been working on. Thompson kicked Angel hard in the stomach and pushed him off, rolling away and jumping to his feet. Kegan got to hers just in time to catch the ball of flame Thompson sent straight at Angel. The witch stared at her.
"That was a stupid idea," said Kegan simply. "Only I'm allowed to kill the vampire."
The ball of flame grew exponentially in size as she hurled it back at the man, who screamed in pain as he was engulfed in fire. Kegan pulled Angel to his feet.
"Thanks," he said sincerely.
"Don't thank me. I wasn't kidding. Only I'm allowed to kill you."
"Why are you so happy?" asked Angel shrewdly.
"Well, aside from the witch, I had a very good time last night," said Kegan simply, tossing her feet up on Angel's desk as she sat down. "Am I not allowed to be happy about that?"
"That kid came by after you pushed me out of the apartment, didn't he?" asked Angel.
Kegan licked her lips.
"It was a very good night," she said simply.
Angel rolled his eyes.
"However, I'm not very pleased with the information you gave me about the Hunters," said Kegan, taking up one of Angel's pens and twirling it around her fingers. "There are gaps."
"What do they trade in?"
"That's never come up."
"Why are they here, not in England?"
"Wanted a change of scene."
"Most importantly, how do you know them?"
"You're not privy to that."
The glint in Kegan's eye the moment he said that told Angel that it was the wrong thing to say.
"Why not?" she asked. "What's so top secret about your relationship with this family?"
"That's top secret," said Angel simply.
Kegan glared at him.
"I will find out Angel."
Angel looked up at her stonily.
"Back off Kegan. The Hunters are under my protection."
"Under your protection?" asked Kegan skeptically. "Yes, you look like you're really working hard as their bodyguard. And how come you don't know what they trace in if they're protected by you?"
Angel got up abruptly and came around the desk, pushing Kegan's feet off it and leaning over Kegan, hands on either side of the chair, face almost touching hers.
"I am only going to tell you once, so listen very carefully," he said quietly. "If you lay so much as a finger on any of the Hunters, I will not rest until I've killed you. Do I make myself clear?"
Kegan stared at him, slightly open mouthed. The last time she'd seen him so quietly threatening had been many a year ago, and it had scared her somewhat back then, even though he hadn't been threatening her. Now he was doing it to her, Kegan could see why Angel really got what he wanted from people, and it had nothing to do with the thrall of a vampire.
"Crystal," she said finally.
Angel pulled away and sat back down.
"If the only reason you're here is to brag about last night, then I suggest you leave," he said curtly.
Kegan bit her lip. She wasn't entirely sure she wanted to push him at the moment.
"Alright," she said eventually. "I'll leave. But only because I have nothing left to brag about."
"Thank god," Angel muttered.
Kegan glared and threw the pen back onto the desk. Angel jumped as it lodged itself tip-first into the wood right near his hand.
"See you when I see you," said Kegan, smirking as she left the room.
"I don't know who you are, but I can smell lawyer on you from a mile away," Kegan growled, not turning around as someone tapped her on the shoulder, and instead taking hold of one of the bottles behind the counter she was sitting at and taking the liberty of pouring herself another scotch. "And if you think for one moment that I'm going to fall into another Wolfram and Hart trap, then I've got some bad news for you."
"I'm not here to trick you," said a female voice.
"I'm not joining Wolfram and Hart either," said Kegan.
"Will you at least listen to what I have to say?" asked the woman, sitting down beside Kegan.
"Probably not but I'll pretend for your sake. I'd hate for you to feel ignored."
"You've been looking into the Hunters."
"My name's Lilah Morgan. I think we could help each other."
"I'm not interested in the Hunters any more," said Kegan shortly. "You've been misinformed."
"Yes, the vampire can be very protective of them, can't he?" asked Lilah.
"What do you want?" Kegan growled, finally turning to look at the lawyer. She was young, obviously new to the business, but she already had that over-confident air to her. She had shoulder length light brown hair and hazel eyes, and she was smirking slightly.
"To swap information," she said. "I'll tell you about the Hunters, you tell me about Angel."
"I've already been approached by someone from Wolfram and Hart trying to get to Angel, and I didn't like them any better."
"Nobody likes Lindsay McDonald, they tolerate them," said Lilah simply. "And I have no intention to bullshit you into a trap. I'm not that stupid. I want nothing more than to help you get one over on the richest family in America."
The way the woman spat out the last phrase made Kegan smirk.
"You're the other daughter, aren't you?" she asked. "I bet Mr Hunter wasn't very happy to hear that his favourite daughter had decided to join Wolfram and Hart."
"I was never Mark's favourite anything," said Lilah, and Kegan noticed the resentful little twitch in her features. "But that's not what we're discussing. If you're willing to give me a bit of an insight into what Angel's currently up to, I'll tell you about the Hunters. If not, I'll walk away, and you'll never have to hear from me again."
"How will I know what you're telling me is legitimate?"
"Would I lie to you?" asked Lilah, smirking.
Kegan considered her.
"How is Angel connected to the Hunters?" she asked.
Lilah smiled and got to her feet, gesturing for Kegan to follow her over to a booth.
"He saved Mirany Hunter's life," said Lilah simply, sitting down as Kegan slid into the seat opposite her.
"Mirany? The Slayer?"
"One and the same," Lilah grunted, frowning. "Of course, back then she wasn't the Slayer, she must have been...seven, maybe eight. She got a little angry with daddy dearest and took off. Unfortunately, it was the middle of the night and there was a nest of vampires nearby."
"She got cornered?"
"Angel was in the area, don't ask me why he was in England of all places, I don't know, but he found her and took them out. I wasn't there at the time, but apparently when he brought her back home, Mark and Tanya were this close to taking him out when he couldn't get over the front door step. But since the girl was fine and he'd obviously helped her and managed to avoid having his head chopped off, they got into talking and found out who he was. They've been mates ever since."
Lilah's last since was so bitter that Kegan offered her the drink she was holding.
"Somehow I think you could use this more than I could right now," she said.
"Thank you," Lilah muttered, taking a mouthful and handing it back. "Anything else?"
"How on earth did they get so rich?"
"They're in the trade business...and the real estate business...and the oil business...and every other lucrative business there is to be in," said Lilah.
"Huh," Kegan grunted. "And why they came here from England?"
"They felt it was a better place to raise their little prodigy," Lilah spat.
"Mirany was the gen of the family, wasn't she?" asked Kegan, smirking.
"Still is," said Lilah. "Especially now that she's the Slayer too. What luck to have both parents as Watchers."
"Bitter, aren't we?" asked Kegan.
Lilah took a deep breath and regained her composure.
"In any case, is that all? I have other appointments."
"Wait, didn't you want info on Angel?"
"We both know you have nothing to share at the moment. But when you do, give me a call," said Lilah, sliding a business card across the table. "Until then, I do hope you find my information of some help to you."
She slid out of the booth and walked away as Kegan picked up the business card.
"Damn," she muttered.
She'd been tricked again. She'd been too quick to get the information she wanted. She knew perfectly well that she'd just entered into a deal with the Wolfram and Hart lawyer, and that she wasn't getting out of it until the information she gave Lilah Morgan was equal in value to the information she'd just received. Kegan had no idea what value the information about the Hunters held yet, but she now hoped against hope that it was the sort of information that anyone with half a brain could get a hold of.
"This could be problematic."
"What could be problematic?"
Kegan jumped as Angel slid into the booth across from her.
"Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" Kegan hissed.
"Did it work?"
Kegan glared at him.
"I thought you didn't want to talk to me."
"I didn't. Now I do."
"Well, you know exactly what my price is," said Kegan, running her foot up his inner thigh. "So what's bothering you?"
Angel shifted uncomfortably as her foot brushed against places he'd rather be left unexplored.
"I uh...please stop."
"What's in it for me?" asked Kegan, grinning evilly.
"This was a bad idea."
Kegan's grin increased in volume.
"That's why you're here, isn't it? What? Couldn't find me at home?"
Angel was silent. Kegan smirked and took up his hand.
"Well come on then big guy. Let's go satisfy those cravings."