A/N: I wanted to say thanks again for all the reviews and messages I received with the last few chapters :) I'm glad to know you are liking this story and for the ones who asked, I will definitely keep updating and not leave you hanging haha ;) I hope you understand that life just sometimes doesn't permit me to write as often as I would like to haha!
So enough talk, please enjoy :)
Unbetad, so sorry for errors.
. . .
"What do you want me to say, Angel?" Gwen sighed in frustration. "Even if there was a second intruder"-
"There was!" Angel interrupted.
-"I don't know anything more than I already told you!" she went on, pretending to not have heard his protests.
Angel inhaled deeply, trying hard not to yell at her. Gwen had not been very enthusiastic at his sudden appearance and neither was Connor, who was currently trying to work at his desk in the back of the room. He could sense that he had come in a very bad time.
On his way up to the top floor, he had not failed to notice how incredibly crowded each floor was. He had smelled the large amount of blood on all the desperate humans, the tears, the sorrow. It was all his fault. All of this was happening because he had decided to betray the Senior Partners. The monstrous pain of that truth cut into him like a knife, placing immense weight on his already burdened soul. Sometimes he wondered if that soul really made a difference to Angelus. Either way he had managed to destroy so many lives. What did the victims care if he had done it with good intentions or not?
He struggled hard to stay focused, for now was not the time to disappear into his usual pit of self-loathing. "Look…" he started slowly. "I know this changes nothing on the prophecy… But if you had something on the second intruder that would"-
"Angel, I didn't even know she was there!" Gwen responded, her voice verging on a hysterical laugh. "How am I supposed to know jack shit?"
"Just give me something!" It almost sounded like a plea. "Anything! When exactly did the alarm go off?"
With a humourless chuckle she shook her head and tried to remember. "While I was in the vault… I think I was just closing a drawer or something."
"See?" Angel said excitedly. "That doesn't make sense! It would either go off when you entered, or when you removed something, not while you were still looking."
Again the same laugh. She was laughing at him. "Angel, I'm sorry, but you're so old-school," she chuckled, a strange mixture of amusement and helplessness in her voice. "Security systems haven't been that simple for a long time… And I think you know that, you just don't wanna see it."
"She could've triggered it as a diversion," Angel suggested. "You know so she could slip out unnoticed."
Gwen vigorously shook her head in disapproval, sending her long, velvet curls flying all around her.
"Did you see anyone?" he continued grilling her.
"No, Angel, no, I didn't," she sighed in exasperation
"You must have, maybe you just didn't notice her," Angel insisted. "A woman who didn't look like she belonged there?"
Her laugh was getting more and more hysterical with every idea he pitched in and it was seriously starting to piss him off. Didn't she understand what this meant? If she didn't know anything, he'd be back to square one; he'd have nothing.
"If she's as good a thief as I am," Gwen responded, a frustrated expression on her face. "Which she had to be to even get in there, no one would've seen her."
All of a sudden Connor rose up from his chair and interrupted their argument. "Ok, this is seriously starting to annoy me," he barked at Angel. "We're trying to work here. And since she clearly doesn't know anything, I think it's time for you to leave!"
The force of his words crushed Angel's determination within seconds. To hear his own son talking to him so coldly… There was no greater pain in the world. He couldn't bear it.
Naturally it could never be compared to the way he had used to talk to Angel, but it still held the power to remind him of it. In the back of his head, he could hear the sound of long passed words, horrifying words buried so deep within his mind that he would never have to be reminded of them. But in moments like these it was no use. The carefully suppressed memories resurfaced all too easily.
I know everything. He told me all about you. That you're a thing that kills and drinks blood. You're a vampire.
But the worst part had never been the words themselves, but the unquenchable hatred placed within each syllable. Even after all this time back in his own world and the new memories – which had finally managed to give him some mental stability – a glimpse of the same emotion could still be caught in the depth of Connor's eyes. For exactly that reason Angel mostly avoided looking too hard.
"Connor, I…" he tried to find the right words, but Connor didn't give him time.
"You know, for the record," he continued angrily. "She didn't have any reason to do this. She did it for you. She almost got killed and this is how you thank her?"
"Hold on there, Junior, I think I can stand up for myself," Gwen pointed out, sounding slightly offended.
"But it's not just you, Gwen!" Connor started gesturing wildly towards Angel, seeming more agitated by the second. "We've been helping you as much as we can, since we started here. You don't know anything, you don't know how much trouble we're going through here, how closely we're being watched. They could shut us down at any time, especially with you coming here!"
"I'm sorry," Angel said defensively, as he felt his defiance slowly returning to him. "But that's exactly why I need your help. The city's in enough chaos as it is, we can't fight against that if we don't work together!"
"What do you wanna fight against, Dad?" Connor yelled with a humorless laugh. "Are you gonna go one million demons against three?"
Dad. He said Dad. Due to the heat of the situation no doubt, but at least it was something.
"That's why I need something," Angel tried to explain.
"Well, we don't have anything," Connor growled. "Except maybe a couple hundred homeless people bleeding to death, for which we don't have the resources to help!"
Angel was troubled by the edge of desperation penetrating Connor's voice. This was wrong, this was all wrong. They were yelling at each other because they were desperate, because they didn't have anything else to do. Connor wasn't supposed to be like this, not his new persona anyway. He had always been such a cheerful, satisfied person. It broke Angel's heart seeing his young son's face lined with such concern. All the pain he had seen in the past two years had made him grow up far too fast. And yet his eyes were still filled with an incredibly juvenile innocence.
All of a sudden Angel felt the urge to pull him into his arms like he had done, when Connor had still been an infant. He wanted to tell him that everything was gonna be ok, make all his problems disappear. Wasn't a father supposed to do exactly that?
"What's wrong Connor?" Angel could hear from the sound of Gwen's voice that she had also felt his desperation.
"I just… uh…" Connor's voice was trembling as he tried to remain calm. "Just got some more reminders is all…"
"Damn," Gwen stated, sounding resigned.
Before either of them could say another word, the door burst open with a violent crash as Spike came running into the room, followed by Illyria. "Time to go," he panted. "They're here!"
"Who's here?" Angel asked in alarm.
"Police," Spike responded "We've gotta get out, now!"
"You brought the police here?" Gwen shouted aghast.
"Oh yeah, I brought them along for the ride cause we're such good chums," Spike retorted sarcastically. "What do you think?"
"Where are they?" Connor wanted to know.
"Everywhere," Spik said nervously. "Started spreading right after they came in, I don't know how close they are, but I'm betting they'll be here soon."
"All right, we need to get out!" Angel decided frantically.
"Where?" Spike shot back, sounding reproachful. "The only two exits are blocked, plus one of them is useless anyway, unless you want us to end up like bloody torches!"
"You talk of fleeing," Illyria scoffed, casting them both arrogant looks. "Insolent cowards. Why not stay and fight?"
"Right then, new plan," Spike snapped. "You fight while we enjoy watching them bash your sodding head in!"
Ignoring their sparring, Angel quickly opened the door to check if the hallway was safe. "We have to move," hee called out to them. "Follow me!"
"Angel, wait!" he heard Gwen's voice behind him, but the three of them had already scurried out of the room and down the hallway.
There were loud voices coming from the floors below. All the various people they encountered on their way down seemed nervous and confused. Trying not to get sidetracked by this, Angel, Spike and Illyria pushed their way through the crowd and sped down the stairwell onto the next floor. Their enormous speed seemed incredibly random, for Angel had no idea where they were heading. Surely the only way out would be blocked, but they still had to try. If there were only a few policemen it would be no problem getting past them, but Angel knew Wolfram & Hart was smart enough to know exactly how many mere mortals it would take to bring them down. They would not leave anything to chance.
As they hurried along the hallway towards a bend, Angel slowed his pace to look around the corner. When he spotted two policemen coming their way, he immediately stretched out his arm and slammed Spike against the wall beside him to stop him from going any further.
"Hey, watch it," Spike hissed.
"Sorry," Angel growled, not really in the mood for Spike's nagging attitude now.
As he heard the voices slowly coming closer and closer, Angel subconsciously held his breath, trying to remain calm until the right time to strike. He clenched his fists, feeling his opponents come closer. The moment they appeared around the corner, he attacked full on, taking them completely by surprise. He punched the first policemen hard in the face, sending him crashing into the wall by the force of the impact, while Spike lunged for the second one and knocked him to the ground instantly.
"Come on!" Angel indicated for them to follow him, leaving their opponents lying unconscious on the floor.
They quickly sped along the hallway, randomly pushing people out of the way. Angel felt terrible in doing so, but what other choice did he have? He could hear screams all around him, the chaos was growing bigger and bigger by the minute. As they turned into the next stairwell, they suddenly ran into five more policemen, who were completely dumbfounded at their sudden appearance. Angel, Spike and Illyria charged through them as fast as they could. One policeman raised his gun, but Angel knocked it out of his hand and head butted him out of the way before he could use it.
"Bloody cops!" Spike growled and punched one of them so hard that he collapsed, tumbling down the stairwell. They quickly jumped over his doubled up body and ran along the next hallway.
Having reached another bend, Angel's path was blocked by a blonde woman. He almost pushed her to the side until he realized it was Nina.
"Angel!" she gasped.
"Nina!" He grabbed her by the shoulders and looked around frantically. "I need your help, we need to get out of here!"
Before she had time to answer, he heard Spike's warning voice behind him. "Angel!"
He turned his head, to see a large group of policemen at the end of the hallway. "There they are!" the nearest one of them shouted.
"Damn it," Angel growled and they turned around to go in the other direction, only to see another group blocking it as well.
"Go back, go back!" Spike yelled, as they hurried back into the direction they had come from. Unable to think of anything else to do, they ripped open a door, hurried into the room and started barricading the door behind them. Angel and Spike quickly grabbed the dresser and shoved it against the door, pushing themselves against it with their backs.
"That's it," Spike announced. "We're done for!"
Angel grunted as multiple thuds through the door made the dresser jolt behind them. "I've always admired your optimism…"
"You're one to talk!" Spike snapped as he tried to intercept another jolt from the door. "Like you're such a bloody joy to hang around with all day!"
Yet another cascade of thuds came through the door and Angel could hear the wood cracking treacherously. "Angel," he heard a voice calling to them through the door. "It's over, you're surrounded. Save us all the trouble and surrender."
"Surrender my arse!" Spike yelled angrily. "You might as well ask us to commit suicide!"
The jolts through the door were becoming more violent by the second. They wouldn't be able to hold it much longer.
"We are but two floors up," Illyria suddenly noted from the other side of the room. Apparently she had deemed it beneath her to help them barricade the door, for she was looking out the window in high interest.
"Brilliant," Spike responded sarcastically. "Now instead of making useless remarks, why don't you try giving us a hand before they pulverize us?"
Illyria turned around and shot them a disdainful look. They both knew it, for she used it often whenever she wanted them to feel extremely stupid. "It is not a long fall," she stated. "I propose we jump."
"Fabulous," Spike shot back, his voice filled with sarcasm and irritation. "Enjoy your escape with the two big piles of dust!"
Illyria eyed him with a strangely amused fascination, as she disdainfully responded: "It is a riddle to me how you have managed to survive for over a hundred years." And in one flowing, regal movement she leapt on to the windowsill and dropped out of sight.
"Illyria!" Angel bellowed, but it was already too late. "Damn it!"
They struggled to keep the dresser pressed against the door. "She's completely out of her mind," Spike complained. "We can't go out into the sun."
"I don't think we have a choice," Angel responded with a sigh. "We have to try."
Both of them stared at the lethal rays of sunlight covering the windowsill in fear. How many times had they come dangerously close to a flaming death? Angel was dimly reminded of a moment that now seemed a lifetime ago, when he had leapt full on into the sun on a Los Angeles pier. At that time he had been chasing a vampire in possession of the ring of Amara, which enabled any vampire on earth to walk in sunlight. Oddly enough, he himself had turned down exactly that possibility later. Too bad, he thought to himself in grim amusement, would've been useful now.
"Bloody hell," Spike sighed.
Angel could sense the fear coming off him in waves. "We're gonna regret this, aren't we?" he said gloomily.
"Dust can't regret," Spike chuckled. "Let's just get it behind us, shall we?"
Angel gripped the dresser behind him almost like a safety net. As if he was desperately holding on to something that would prevent him from jumping. Although his lungs didn't need it, he drew a deep breath to calm himself. If his lifeless heart would still possess the ability to beat, he was sure, it would've penetrated his chest by now.
"Ok…" he muttered. "Ok… on the count of three." Violent thuds kept rocking the dresser. Policemen were screaming aggressively.
The wood behind them started to crack open.
Angel's finger desperately clasped the wood of the dresser. He slowly forced them to release.
And in one decisive moment, ignoring their enormous fear, they both pulled away from the dresser and charged towards the window. Without a second's pause, Angel jumped over the windowsill and out of the building, for he didn't want to give himself any opportunity to hesitate.
As he was falling towards the porch roof of the courtyard below, Angel felt the hot sunbeams burning all over his undead skin. Unable to catch his fall properly, he briefly crashed onto the porch roof and rolled over the edge to thud onto the courtyard pavement. Searing pain shot through every fibre of his body and pinned him to the ground, while he dimly recognized the bloodcurdling crash of Spike landing next to him.
Angel groaned while trying to sit up, his vision became blurred from white flashes due to the pain.
Spike was bawling next to him, rolling around and frantically patting his coat all over. "I'm on fire, I'm on fire!" he screamed hysterically.
Angel rapidly sat up and started freaking out, patting his clothes as well and scrambling for cover in the shadows. It was only then that he realized he wasn't on fire. His clothes weren't even smoldering; he was perfectly fine.
Feeling utterly confused, he looked over at Spike who seemed to have noticed as well. He was eying his clothes with a completely dumbfounded expression. "Why are we not on fire?" was the only thing Angel could think of saying.
The burning sensation, which he had felt on his skin not a moment ago, had suddenly vanished. Had it even been there before or had his fear just made him imagine it?
"What the bloody hell is going on?" Spike demanded.
"Foolish half-breeds," they suddenly heard Illyria's scoffing voice.
Angel turned around to see her standing in the shadows on the porch behind them. He hadn't even realized that she had been waiting for them.
"Why do I even bother speaking?" she said, more to herself as she strutted past them. "They naturally do not listen."
"Hang on," Spike said frowning. "Didn't you say"-
Angel turned around to see that several policemen, who were just coming out of the back entrance of the hotel, had discovered them. "Run," he said lightly, as their pursuers started chasing after them.
While they were running out of the hotel courtyard and into the nearest alleyway, Angel couldn't help but feel extremely lighthearted. He had no idea what was going on or how it was even possible, but just the sheer ability of walking in the sun filled him with undying happiness. He almost forgot that they were on the run, as he simply relished the feel of the warm sunlight on his skin and the soft breeze blowing through his hair. They were dashing along the narrow alley at almost inhuman speed, leaving the running cops more and more behind them. Everything around him seemed so light, so alive. He himself felt more alive, almost… human.
He could hear Spike laughing gleefully next to him. "That's right, tossers!" he exclaimed, looking back over his shoulder. "Eat my dust!"
Illyria was running in front of them, her long hair blowing in the wind. For the first time Angel noticed the incredibly graceful beauty buried within the blue color of her hair.
As the three of them sped out of the alley and into a wide street, Angel was suddenly ripped out of his joyful cloud of thought and back into reality. The wailing sound of police sirens penetrated his ears as several police cars pulled into the street, blocking their way.
"Bugger!" Spike shouted.
"This way." Angel led the way, running into a narrow street to try and shake them off. The sound of the sirens – which they had briefly left behind them – grew louder and louder, as the cars followed their targets into the street. Spike abruptly turned a hard right and led them into another alley, through which the cars hopefully wouldn't fit. Angel looked over his shoulder while he ran, just in time to see the frustrated policemen get out of their cars and raise their guns.
"Illyria, watch out!" he screamed, pulling her to the side and pushing her against the wall to shield her with his body. Not a second too late, for next thing they knew, a violent cascade of bullets started shooting through the alley.
Angel groaned in pain as he felt several of the bullets tear into his back and struggled hard to stay on his feet.
"Get your hands off me, vampire," Illyria hissed. "I am capable of protecting myself!"
"Yeah, you're welcome," Angel growled in response.
"Fucking wankers!" Spike bellowed furiously back at the policemen. "I'm gonna tear all your necks out!"
"Spike, don't," Angel gasped, while he tried to ignore the dreadful pain all over his body. "We have to keep moving!"
The three of them hurried on out of the alley, into another wide street and ran for their lives. They tried to make their way through a huge amount of pedestrians as fast as possible and at the same time without attracting too much attention to themselves. Only moments later they could hear the blaring sound of the police sirens approaching once again.
Angel frantically looked over his shoulder, as he heard them drawing nearer. He didn't know how to escape; they had nowhere to go.
Only seconds before they had reached another alleyway to disappear into, a police car pulled in before them and came to a screeching halt, thus blocking their way. Before they had a chance to escape back in the other direction, four more cars had pulled in around them, cutting off all their escape routes and pinning them to the wall of the building behind them.
"Would you like me to be an optimist now?" Spike pointed out scathingly.
"Shut up, Spike," Angel snapped angrily.
He was hastily scanning their surroundings, desperately trying to spot any way out of this situation. Several policemen got out of their cars and pointed their guns at the three fugitives. "Hands up!" one of the officers demanded.
Angel looked around at all the passers-by, who were curiously following the turn of events. Surely the policemen wouldn't risk hurting innocent bystanders, if they tried to escape, would they? He didn't know what to believe, for he was sure the usual rules didn't apply these days.
"Do it!" they were commanded once more.
Both Angel and Spike slowly started raising their hands. "I do not take orders from insignificant vermin," Illyria stated in her authoritative manner.
"Illyria, this isn't the time for your moods," Angel hissed, suppressing the urge to roll his eyes. "Just do it!" But she showed no reaction.
"I told you going to the hotel was a bad idea," Spike growled under his breath.
"Do you really think now's the time to assign blame, Spike?" Angel spat in irritation, for he couldn't believe that the vampire would pick now of all times to talk about this.
"Well, yeah," he responded. "Figure this is my last chance since I'm probably gonna be dust soon. I'll have you know this is all your fault!"
"You're not gonna be dust, just… calm down," Angel commanded quietly, trying to think of a solution.
A few police officers warily moved closer toward them. "Put your hands on your head," one of them ordered. "And drop to your knees."
"Any of your brilliant plans in sight now?" Spike muttered, while they both slowly placed their hands on the back of their heads.
"I'm thinking, I'm thinking…" Angel hissed.
"Then bloody well think faster!" Spike growled under his breath.
"All right," Angel whispered, when the officers were close enough to them. "You take the front, I take the back, just go for it!"
In one swift, sudden movement both of them lashed out at the policemen standing before them, sending them flying back into their cars and quickly grabbed Illyria, placing her between them as to shield her as much as possible from the oncoming bullets, while they charged towards the car blocking the alley. Angel kicked his first opponent hard in the stomach and pushed the second one backwards into the car, doing his best to still shield Illyria in the process.
While the three of them leapt over the hood of the police car, he could again feel the unpleasant sensation of several bullets penetrating his skin, each one of them causing searing, hot pain all over his body. The inevitable numbness almost made him lose control of his motions. He staggered on his way into the alley and nearly fell, but Illyria caught him just in time and pulled him with her before he could do so.
Spike led them randomly through various alleyways and streets, making turns as often as possible, trying to shake off their pursuers. As they slowly but surely managed to entangle themselves into the complex street labyrinth of Los Angeles, the policemen started falling more and more behind.
When they were finally out of sight for only a moment, Angel eventually opened up an entrance to the sewers, into which the three of them disappeared unnoticed.