Dinner with Shaw had turned into a four hour bullshit session, but by now Angel had figured out that was pretty much par for the course.

Most men were complete egoists, but she'd never met anyone who liked to hear himself talk as much as Shaw did. There was no getting a word in edgewise, even if she had wanted to. What was worse was that he only had a limited range of topics on which to pontificate, most of which boiled down to the idea that everyone was stupid but him. And he repeated himself, too. Over and over and over again.

Angel smiled and nodded when she was supposed to, knowing that the smile never reached her eyes and that that didn't matter, that he was too self-absorbed to notice or care. Shaw had his expectations, and you either met them or wished that you had, but all that was really expected of her now was to sit and listen as though she was interested, while he talked on and on about how clever he was, about how he had the most powerful governments in the world dancing like puppets on his strings, how he was going to come out on the very top.

He rarely bothered to pretend that any of it was about Mutants when they were alone, especially once he'd had a drink or three.

When she finally got away it had been late as hell, and she had been exhausted – being in the same space with Shaw was as mentally and physically exhausting as sitting across from an armed bomb – but sleep wasn't an option.

She was pacing the halls, feeling as restless as a caged animal, when she rounded a corner and all but collided with Janos.

He danced backward to avoid her. Janos's hand fluttered up against his chest, as though the surprise had knocked the wind out of him, but he didn't say anything.

He's scared of his own shadow, she realized, and for some reason the realization made her angry. Over the last two weeks she had spent so much time feeling scared – trapped, up against a wall – and she found herself completely out of patience with fear.

"You know what the worst thing about that bastard is?" she demanded, hooking her thumb over her shoulder, back towards Shaw's rooms. Janos's eyes grew wide and he opened his mouth to say something, and that should have been her first clue, but something was boiling over in her now – she was going and she wasn't going to stop, and she bowled over him. "He's so boring. No, actually 'boring' isn't even a strong enough word – he's fucking banal.

"He is boring and he is stupid as hell and I can not even take him seriously, but then I remember – shit – I guess I better, huh, because if I don't I guess I'm likely to wind up dead, right? But he doesn't even know how science works!"

Angel threw her hands up in the air. "You know what the big plan is, don't you?" she demanded, not entirely rhetorically. Azazel had said that Janos didn't know any English, but Angel doubted that very much – he would have had to have picked up something, just by listening to the conversations around him. She didn't know how much of this he was following – how much of it would make it's way back to Shaw – and at the moment at least she did not care. "He wants to start a nuclear war. How the fuck is that even supposed to work? Even if we don't end up dying, too – and I'll bet you anything you like that we will – what the hell are we supposed to eat if he nukes the entire goddamned planet?"

Janos winced – at her words or her tone, Angel couldn't have said. "Silencio," he warned, cupping his hands over his ears. It was the first time she'd heard him say anything, and Angel was surprised by how small and breathless his voice was. "He hears... No es bueno. Understand?"

Unfortunately, she did.