DOYLE, DEMON WATCHER
BY DANIELLE DUCREST
Disclaimers: Angel: The Series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Mutant Enemy, Greenwolf Corp, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television,Twentieth Century Fox Productions, and Warner Brothers Studios. Highlander: the Series belongs to Rysher Entertainment, Davis/Panzer Productions, and Gaumont Television. No copyright infringement was intended. This story was written for entertainment and no money was exchanged.
Special Thanks go to my beta reader, Sharlene. I'm very lucky to have a beta-reader as good as she is.
Spoilers and Timing: In the Angel Universe, it takes place after "Rm w/a Vu" and there are spoilers for "In the Dark". In the Highlander Universe, it takes place after Highlander: The Series' ending and right before Highlander: End Game
. There are spoilers for "Money No Object" and "Methuselah's Gift," because that's the episode Amanda bleaches her hair.
PROLOGUE Summer of 1996
Images flashed before his eyes. He couldn't focus on anything in the Vision for very long. Objects came into focus only briefly in his line of vision, then faded into the background before being replaced by clearer, different objects.
Several things appeared in a sequence. A woman with bleached hair was the first one that flashed before his eyes. Every other feature on her shapely body wasn't visible. He watched as she entered an alley and looked around. Then she reached into her white trenchcoat, pulled out a broadsword, and held it in a defensive position.
Next, the vision centered on a man hiding in the shadows of the alley. When the man took out a cell phone, he revealed an unusual blue tattoo on his left wrist.
The image changed to a bar he recognized called Harry's Bar and Grill. The woman with bleached hair walked in.
The vision ended. The pain the Vision caused receded into a headache and Doyle opened his eyes. He found himself staring at his apartment's carpeted floor and the piles of clothes littered on it, which was where he'd spilled part of his cup of coffee. The rest, unfortunately, was soaking through his pants in the worst place possible.
Doyle ran toward the bathroom, wondering what the Powers That Be wanted with him this time, and why they just loved to give him Visions while he held a very hot beverage.
Amanda opened her eyes. The Buzz of another Immortal echoed in her ears and mind.
She jumped out of bed and pulled out her broadsword. She couldn't see anyone in the darkened apartment, but didn't expect anyone to be in there. She had a good feeling she knew who the other Immortal was.
She crept to the window, pulled down one of the blinds, flattened herself against the wall, and looked out. She could see no one in the alley or in the parking lot across the street, but that didn’t mean a thing.
For three weeks, she'd been followed by another Immortal. The Immortal kept to the shadows, never revealing himself to Amanda. He would step into range everywhere; at the movies, at restaurants, at stores, and in her apartment.
The mysterious Immortal was beginning to get on her nerves. She just wished he would reveal himself so they could fight and get it over with. She hated having to look over her shoulder, not knowing who she was facing. It was driving her insane with curiosity and fear.
She'd tried running. She'd gone from Paris, to New York, and now LA. She had tried making it hard to trace her, but he still found her. She was sure it was the same person, too. The Immortal always followed the same pattern.
The Immortal was still nearby. She still felt the Buzz. That was odd. So far, the Immortal had stayed in range for only a few seconds before stepping out of it again.
She was beginning to wonder if it was a different Immortal when the phone rang. With one more glance out the window, Amanda went to answer it.
"Hello?" she asked.
"Harry's Bar and Grill. Now."
He hung up the phone. Amanda hadn't had enough time to identify the speaker, but she was sure the voice was familiar.
She put on her coat, slid her sword into its hidden sheath, and took off.
Allen Francis Doyle was a man with blue eyes and dark hair, and had that innocent look to him. If they'd known he was a half-demon, they wouldn't have thought so, but he'd told no one except his mother. Because of his demonic heritage, he could transform at will into this demon with blue spikes all over, and he had Visions, like the one earlier.
Doyle stepped into Harry's Bar and Grill and glanced around at the patrons. He couldn't see the bleach-haired woman or the man with the tattoo, so he walked over to the counter and sat down.
The bartender came over and smiled. "Hey, Doyle. How's it going?"
Doyle smiled at him. "Just fine, John," he answered, his Irish accent obvious.
"What'll it be tonight? The usual?"
"That'll be fine, thanks."
John fixed him the drink. The door opened again, and more customers came in. None of them were the people from his vision, so Doyle didn't pay much attention. John left to wait on them.
Doyle lifted the glass and drained half of it in one gulp. He cradled his drink afterwards and stared at the TV, not really absorbing what was happening in the current program.
He glanced around again. It was around eleven, but the place was filled. On the other side of the building, he saw friends eating at the grill, while over here, truckers and regulars talked and drank.
He didn’t give it much thought, however. He was really thinking about the vision he'd had less than an hour ago. What could it mean? The woman he saw couldn't have stopped in the alley just to practice, and the reason why she carried a sword around in her coat couldn't be because she needed an easier way to carry it to an antiques store. The man he saw couldn't have been calling home to his wife, either. He really had no idea what they were doing.
As for the symbol, he'd never seen it before, but he intended to find out what it meant. If he didn't get his answers soon, he was going to start asking for information from his contacts.
The door opened again. His back was to it, so he didn't know who entered, but all the men in the room started catcalling.
"Hey, little lady, how about you come sit with me?" one of the patrons called.
"Sorry, boys, but I'm here to meet someone," a woman answered.
"Hope it's me you're going to meet."
"No," the woman said. Doyle heard her take several steps toward the patron. "But I may just dump him."
Everyone whistled, and another patron called, "Go, Bill!"
"I'll be right here, baby," the patron said as the woman began to walk away.
She walked up to the bar and sat on one of the stools. She told John what she wanted and he left to go get it.
Doyle turned and saw her, and recognized her as the woman from his vision.
John served the drink and walked away. The woman glanced around her cautiously, and Doyle turned away at the last minute.
The door opened again. Both he and the woman turned and looked at it. A man, dressed casually in jeans and a jacket, entered. He glanced around the bar, just as Doyle had done. His eyes rested on Amanda for a few seconds before moving to a just emptied booth. He was the man from Doyle's vision, the one with the tattoo.
Doyle glanced at the woman. Her eyes narrowed at the man, suspicious, but she didn't move. Doyle wondered if she recognized the newcomer.
She turned back to her drink, but glanced back at the man every few seconds. After this had gone on for some time, Doyle decided it was time to introduce himself.
He slid onto the next stool, the only one separating him from the woman. She looked up at him and narrowed her eyes again.
Doyle pretended he didn't notice. "Hi," he greeted. He smiled and tried to seem as friendly as possible. "My name's Doyle." He held out his hand.
The woman gazed at him for a minute longer before taking his hand and shaking it. "Amanda."
"Are you waiting for someone?" Doyle asked. "Or did you lie to that creep to make him buzz off?"
Amanda smiled. "Actually, I am waiting for someone."
"Are you meeting him to have dinner?"
Amanda narrowed her eyes. "I never said it was a he."
Doyle shrugged, trying not to give anything away. "Just, it seems to me that a lady like yourself wouldn't have any trouble finding a boyfriend."
"I have a boyfriend," she answered. "But I'm not meeting him tonight."
"So," Doyle continued. "Does the person you're meeting like seeing you dressed in a coat, even with such a light breeze out tonight?"
Amanda shrugged. "It's our way."
Amanda glanced around. Her eyes seemed to roam everywhere, even to the wall behind the bar counter. Finally, they rested on a man outside the building, peering at them through a window.
"Is that him?" Doyle asked as she got up and put a few bills on the counter.
Amanda nodded. "I have to go."
The man outside began walking away. Amanda followed.
The man from his vision got up and followed them out.
Doyle watched them go. When the second man was about to disappear from view, he stood up.
"Sorry, John," he said as he, too, left a few bills on the counter. "But I've got to go."
"Okay, Doyle. See you later." John called after him.
Doyle left the restaurant in time to see the second man turn left down an alley. He followed.
The alley was lit brightly by a streetlight attached to the bar and grill. He could see Amanda pause further into the alley and glance around. The man from the window had disappeared, but the man from his vision was hiding behind a row of wooden crates. Doyle chose a dumpster closer to the alley's entrance, out of sight of both of them, and waited.
Amanda pulled out a sword and held it defensively in front of her. She looked around at the shadows. Suddenly, the man from the window appeared, also holding a sword. They said a few words, but Doyle was too far away to make them out. The two circled each other, both watching their opponent carefully, cautiously.
The man crouched behind the packing crates took out a cell phone, pressed a button, and held it to his ear, mimicking what Doyle had seen in his Vision.
A few minutes later, the man put his cell up. Doyle turned his attention back to the fight.
He watched, amazed, as the two fought. These two were pros with swords.
The fight lasted for several minutes. It was too dark to check his watch, but he knew it took a long time. Finally, the woman disarmed her opponent and forced him to his knees.
Then, to Doyle's disgust, she caught his head off. Well,
he thought, At least I know what the swords are for now.
For a long minute, the woman stared down at the body, breathing heavily. Doyle watched it, too, half expecting it to explode into dust like a vampire. But he didn't get what he'd hoped for. The body stayed the way it was.
Then, something he hadn't expected at all happened. It didn’t shock him as much as it would have a few years ago, before he knew about demons and prophecies and witches and vampires. It just surprised and amazed him.
A white mist wandered out of the headless body lying on the ground. It wandered over to Amanda and entered her chest. She gasped, but did or said nothing. Then she was struck repeatedly by blue and white lightening bolts from a cloudless sky. Her arms, one still holding onto her sword, were forced open by a sudden wind. Amanda looked up to the heavens and gasped again. She cried out as one large bolt made her body jump.
A few minutes later, the light show was over. Amanda picked up her opponent's sword and put both in her coat. Then she took off down the other end of the alley, disappearing down the other street.
The man hiding behind the shipping crates got up to follow. He glanced in Doyle's direction. Doyle, still gazing where the Quickening had taken place, was slow to react and knew the man spotted him. Doyle hurried back in his hiding place and hoped the man hadn't gotten a good glimpse at him. His Irish luck, it seemed, wasn't going in his favor that night.
"Hello?" the man called. Doyle heard the man's footsteps getting closer. He got in a defensive position and braced himself for an attack.
The man appeared around the Dumpster. Seeing the position Doyle was in, he stopped a few feet away. "Look, I don't want to hurt you," the man said.
Doyle gazed at the man, and knew this may be his ticket to getting the information he wanted.
"Then why were you spying on those two people?" Doyle asked. "And why did she cut his head off? Why didn't you stop her? What was the deal with the light show?"
The man sighed. He motioned toward the bar. "Come on. I'll explain it all to you, if you'd like."
Doyle gazed at him, looking for any indication that this was a trick. He didn't see one, but that didn't necessarily mean a thing. But it was unlikely that the guy would pull something in a crowded bar. Doyle nodded. "All right."
They went back to Harry's Bar and Grill, and the man introduced himself as Carl Case. He explained everything involving the Game, the Prize, Immortals, and the Buzz. Then he told Doyle about the Watchers.
Doyle had heard about a Council of Watchers. They had the Slayer, one girl chosen in the entire world to fight the forces of darkness. But this was different. Carl told him about the Society of Watchers, and their sworn oath to observe and record, but never interfere, in the lives of Immortals.
Doyle took it all in without comment. It didn't amaze him as much as it would someone without knowledge of the supernatural. Immortals weren't the only immortal race he knew about.
They talked some more, and Carl asked what he was like. What did he do for a living?
"I'm employed," Doyle answered carefully. If the Powers That Be could be called office managers. "But I work very odd hours."
Carl asked him more about himself. Did he like to travel, did he like doing research, that sort of thing. Doyle answered him every way possible without giving away too much information, such as Visions or what had really happened to him in the past few years since he found out about his demonic heritage. "I've been traveling around a lot in the past year," Doyle answered. "Started out in Ireland, then I moved to the States and moved from place to place, getting temporary jobs, that sort of thing. Been thinking about settling down here in Los Angeles."
They talked some more before Carl asked, "Would you like to join?"
Doyle started. "Excuse me?"
"I know this may be all a bit to take in," Carl said, "but I've been watching you tonight and after all you've told me, I think you'd make an excellent Watcher. Please," he took out his wallet and handed Doyle a card. "Think about it. Call me when you've made a decision."
Doyle looked at the card, then back up at the man. He nodded. "I'll think about it," he said.
Carl smiled. "I'll be waiting for your answer then," he got up. "I hope to see you again soon."
Doyle waited until the man was gone, then got up and headed toward his apartment.
Doyle watched as the battle raged on in the empty train station. The Immortal he was assigned to won the fight, and he watched while the Quickening took place. The Immortal's name was Gary Sparrow, and spent half of his time at a church located in Los Angeles, helping the church's priest. This was one of the rare times he'd actually fought an Immortal.
In the past two years, Doyle had been Gary's Watcher. One good thing about his assignment was that Gary didn't want to leave L.A., and after Doyle had met Angel and Cordelia via mind-numbing Visions and started helping them out, he was happy for the inactivity.
A lot had happened in the last few years. Even when he'd gone to the Watcher Academy in Geneva for a year, the Powers hadn't stopped sending the Visions. He'd had a hard time explaining what his headaches were to his classmates during that time. The pain he experienced when he got his Visions was similar to the pain a new Immortal might feel when he felt the Buzz, even though his reactions to them might seem a little extreme for an Immortal. Doyle wouldn't be surprised if the Watchers were keeping him under surveillance, although they might be a little shocked to discover he spent most of his free time fighting the forces of darkness with a two hundred year old vampire and an ex-May Queen. They would be just as shocked if they ever saw him transform into a blue-spike Brachen Demon, too. Doyle hoped they never found out about his heritage.
As Gary walked to his car, Doyle spotted the dead Immortal's Watcher hidden on the other side of the train station. He nodded at Doyle before disappearing. Doyle knew he'd call him very soon to wrap up the dead Immortal's Chronicle.
Doyle followed Gary in a cab to the church. After Doyle saw the Immortal disappear inside, he told the driver to turn around and head to Angel's place.
When the driver backed up in the church's lot to do just that, Doyle's cell phone rang. He picked it up. "Hello, Doyle."
"Doyle, just what the hell are you doing?" Carl Case's voice asked.
Doyle was puzzled. "What are you talking about, Carl?"
"There's been rumors," Carl began. "I'm at HQ, and there are a few Watchers assigned to do research into your friend Angel's background. They say he's an Immortal."
"That's impossible, Carl."
"Is that so? Well, you'd better tell that to the Tribunal, cause they're thinking about kicking you out, or doing what they almost did to Dawson a few years back."
Doyle cursed. "It won't come to that."
"I hope not, my friend," Carl said.
Doyle sighed. "Look, I've gotta go, all right? Sparrow just won a fight. I've got to report it before morning, or even more people will be angry with me. I'll call you back later."
There was a pause, and Carl sighed. "All right. Just watch your back, Doyle."
He hung up, worried. If the Watchers found out what Angel really was…he just hoped it would never come to that.
Cordelia sat in the back office at the computer. Because no one needed help at the moment and they didn't have to research the latest mystical demon that decided to stop in LA, she'd gone on the Internet and done some surfing. She had found several people with a fashion sense almost as good as hers, and was busy e-mailing them tips. They didn't need to know she couldn't afford anything she advised them to wear.
Angel sat on the couch, reading one of his old musty books. He always seemed to be reading something, like he couldn't get enough when they had to research the latest demon in town.
Cordelia saw an ad on the computer. "Ooh! Look at this! This says it can tell you how many times you've taken a breath in your lifetime! Let's see…5…22…1981. There!" Cordelia pressed enter. "Woah. That's a lot. Actually, I bet I've breathed a lot more, 'cause of all those heavy fights I've gotten in the past, not to mention the dry-cleaning bills I've had to pay for because of them. Angel, want to know how many times you've breathed in the last few centuries? How long has it been? Two hundred and forty-three, right? Or am I off?"
Angel glanced at her from his book, finally acknowledging her presence for the first time in the hour and a half she'd been at work. "Cordelia…"
"Oh, yeah. You're a vampire. Vampires don't breathe. Perhaps I could check out how many times you breathed while you were mortal?"
The front door opened, and Cordelia left the computer to see who it was. She missed Angel's relieved expression when he put his book down.
Cordelia hoped Doyle was there. She was disappointed, but only slightly.
Instead of the blue-eyed Irishman, there was a man with graying hair. He held a cane and walked differently, like his knees were as stiff as wood. It wasn't Doyle, but this man may need help, which would make him a client. That was always a good thing, especially if this client paid money.
"Hi," Cordelia greeted him. "Welcome to Angel Investigations, where we help the hopeless. I'm Cordelia."
The man smiled. "Joe Dawson," he greeted. He looked past her. "I'm looking for Francis Doyle. Is he around?"
Curious, Cordelia answered, "He's not here, yet. But Angel is. He's the boss and he can help you with whatever problem you have. There is a fee, of course," she said, leading him into the vampire's office. Angel was waiting.
"Hi," Joe greeted. "I take it you're Angel?"
Angel nodded. He motioned to the chair in front of his desk. "Please, sit down." Joe did as he asked. "Would you like some coffee?"
Joe waved the offered beverage away. "No, thanks."
"So, you know Doyle." Angel prodded.
"Yeah, we're old friends. He told me he worked as a Private Investigator now. Guess I just had to see it for myself."
"Did you know him when he was a school teacher?" Cordelia asked, still curious about Doyle's old life.
Joe shook his head. "I'm afraid not. We met about a year or two ago up in Seacouver."
The front door opened again. A few minutes later, Doyle appeared at the office door. The first one he noticed was Cordelia. "Hey, Cordy."
He looked at Dawson, and the older man looked back. Doyle's face broke out into a smile. "Joe!"
When Doyle entered the building used as Angel's apartment and their office building, he was surprised to find his old friend sitting in the guest chair. He smiled. "Joe! How are you?"
Joe managed a half-smile in return. "Hey, Doyle. Long time no see," he started getting up.
"No, that's alright," Doyle said, waving him back down. "Man, you coming here is cause for celebration! I'm ready for a drink."
"You always want a drink," Cordelia complained for the thousandth time.
"So," Angel asked. "How do you know each other?"
"Oh, I happened to wander into Joe's Bar up in Washington State one day. It's really the same old story. He was the bartender, I drank a few things, we got to talking."
Joe shook his head, smiling. "You still owe me the money from that tab, you know."
"Yeah right. You won it from me from all those times we played poker together."
Joe smiled, but the light in his eyes was sad.
Doyle saw his friend's change in mood. "Joe? What's wrong? What happened?"
Joe glanced at him, then over at Cordelia and Angel. Doyle got the message. "Cordy, Angel, could you give us some time alone, please?"
Doyle could tell Cordelia and Angel wanted to stay and hear more about his past, but both got up anyway. "Sure," Cordelia said, walking to the outer office.
Angel glanced at Doyle, then went to the elevator shaft and descended to his basement apartment.
Doyle waited until the door had closed behind Cordelia before he asked, "What happened, Joe?"
Joe sighed. "Remember Jake Dearstrom?"
Doyle stared at Joe. "You're joking."
"No, I'm not."
"But," Doyle began. He sat down behind the desk. "He-he was the best! None of the Immortals he was assigned to ever found out about him-not as a passerby or patron in a bar or anything. Even the Watchers of the Immortals his Immortals came in contact with couldn't spot him!"
"I know," Joe said, distressed.
Doyle had met Jake during Joe's poker games. He'd been a nice guy, had even shown Doyle a few tricks to being the best Watcher in town. "How'd it happen?"
"He was attacked from behind," Joe answered, then shrugged. "At least, that's what the police say. He also lost quite a lot of blood. Investigators found two puncture holes in his neck. It happened on the other end of L. A."
Doyle stared at his friend. "Sounds like someone's copying off of a vampire." Or maybe they weren't, but he couldn't tell Joe that.
Joe nodded. "He's not the only one."
"Joe, who else?"
"At least three more, all in the states. In the LA area."
Joe nodded. "All Watchers. The police say there's a vampire cult around here. Wackos believe they're actually vampires."
"Sounds like a lot of talk." Inwardly, Doyle was more worried than he let on. He ran through all the vampire gangs he knew of that were currently in the big city. He couldn't think of any reason why any of them would go after a group of people that had nothing to do with them, except of course for food, unless they got the Watchers' Society mixed up with the Watchers' Council.
He should let Angel know about this. If there was a new gang of vampires out there, he was the one who should know about it.
"Yeah," Joe agreed. "Look, I was wondering if you could help us out. I've heard you help out here, solve cases."
"A few." Doyle said. "I'll help. But my friends have to know at least part of it if this is going to work."
Joe nodded. "Okay."
Doyle got up and went to the door and opened it. Cordelia looked up at him expectantly from her seat behind her desk. "Could you get Angel and meet us in here?"
"Sure," Cordy said. "But if he's sleeping, don't expect me to wake him up. I will not be his midnight snack, thank you very much." She went to the stairwell and started down it.
Doyle closed the door and turned back to Joe. Puzzled, Joe asked, "His midnight snack?"
Doyle shrugged, trying not to look worried. "It's just an inside joke."
A few minutes later, Angel, Cordelia, Doyle, and Joe were gathered in the office. Joe retold his story, minus the Watcher part. He just said the murdered men were friends of his, which was true.
Angel took the seat Doyle had used earlier and asked most of the questions. Joe watched Angel most of the time. He could understand why some members of the Watcher Society believed this man was Immortal. His eyes spoke of so much emotion and suffering commonly seen in Immortals. But there was also a primitive hunger there kept at the end of its lease, something he hadn't seen even in the times Joe had looked into Methos' eyes and seen Death. He felt Angel was something else entirely. He seemed like the kind of monster that would kill four Watchers and drain them of their blood, but Joe wasn't sure about that. There was something else in those pair of brown eyes, something that said he'd do everything in his power to see Joe's and Doyle's friends brought to justice.
After Angel had finished questioning him, Doyle showed Joe to the door. "We'll find who did this to them, Joe," Doyle promised.
"I hope so, Doyle," was all Joe said.
Joe left the Angel Investigations building and hailed a cab, and directed the driver to his hotel. A few doors down from his hotel was a fancier one. It would have cost too much if Joe wanted the Watchers to pay for the complete expenses of his trip, and he wanted to keep a low profile.
When they arrived, Joe paid the driver and got out. Just as his cab pulled away, another cab pulled up in front of the fancier hotel. Amanda stepped out.
"Hey! Amanda!" Joe called, knowing it was safe. Carl Case, her Watcher, was still in Paris. He started walking toward her.
Amanda looked up at his voice and smiled. She walked up to him. "Hey, Joe," she greeted. "What brings you to L.A.?"
"Watcher business," Joe answered. "What about you?"
"Immortal business," she answered.
"Who is it?"
"An old enemy, Nathan Prescott," Amanda replied.
Joe whistled. "I've heard he's good."
"He is," Amanda agreed, but she wasn't giving Prescott a compliment. "But only through cheating. I've fought him before, and this time, I'll be ready for him," She gestured to the hotel. "Want to join me at the hotel's restaurant? I hear they serve very good pasta."
Joe shook his head. "Thanks, but I'd better get some sleep. I've got a little bit of jet lag."
"Tomorrow, then," Amanda said. She walked toward the doors of her hotel. "See you later, Joe."
"Watch your head."
Nathan Prescott walked into the vampire leader's lair, quite happy. Everything was going according to plan. "Good morning, Spike," he greeted his vampire ally.
Spike, also know as William the Bloody, glared at him. "You promised me Angel, Prescott," he reminded the Immortal in his Brittish accent. "But all I get are scared, puny humans."
Nathan sighed. Spike's anger deepened, and inwardly, Nathan laughed at the sight. "Spike, how many times do I have to tell you? These Watchers that you've been killing are leading us straight to Angel."
"And just how is that? No, wait, I know. We let his sidekick know about the murders so he'd go running and screaming to Angel and beg for help, and brood boy will do everything in his power to see things right."
"Be happy, Spike. You get what you want, I get what I want."
"I'll be happy once you get all of the Watchers out of my hair, mate," Spike said, saying the last word with anything but cheerfulness.
Prescott smiled. Spike had no idea that his vampires had attacked four members of the Society of Watchers and not the Watchers' Council. If he did know, he couldn't harm Prescott in any way. "Relax. Doyle and Dawson will be taken care of, and then you can have Angel."
Spike smiled. "Sounds great. Just be sure to do just that."
"How do you and Dawson know each other?" Angel asked.
"We met a few years ago," Doyle said. "He helped me settle in."
"Settle into what?" Cordelia asked.
Doyle hated lying to his friends, but he couldn't tell them Joe had helped he settle into his role as a Watcher. They may not understand. How could he tell them he watched Immortals kill each other, and he did nothing to stop it? He was just happy he wasn't assigned to a guy who hunted for sport. "LA."
"Do you have any enemies?" Angel asked.
Doyle started shaking his head but stopped when he remembered something Joe and Carl told him once. "There was a guy, but he's dead."
"What's his name?"
"James Horton. He was crazy and believed anything that wasn't mortal was a fiend." He was also a Watcher who hunted Immortals down, good or bad, and took their heads. Oh, and he's Joe's brother-in-law.
"He died three or four years ago, but he had a lot of followers."
"So Joe knows about vampires and stuff?" Cordelia asked.
Doyle shook his head. "He doesn't. Like I said, Horton was crazy. He believed in a lot of things that weren't true."
Angel nodded slowly, as if all the pieces were coming together in that two hundred-year-old mind of his. "Cordelia, I want you to look up any newspapers mentioning the murders and anything about this Horton guy."
"Got it," Cordelia said, walking to the computer.
"I'll ask Kate if she knows anything," Angel said.
"Are you sure she'll tell you anything?" Doyle asked. Kate Lockley, a detective in the LAPD, had met Angel while undercover. She knew he was an investigator, even though he didn't have a license, but she wasn't about to share every police file the police force had.
Angel ignored the question. "After that, I'm going to ask around, see if anyone has been biting people matching your friends' descriptions or has a grudge against either of you. Doyle, why don't you do the same, maybe check on your friend when you're done?"
Doyle nodded. "Okay."
While he drove to see one of his contacts, Angel pondered over what he'd learned that evening. Everything Doyle and Joe Dawson had told him had been half-truths. He knew they were holding something back. Dawson was better at hiding it than Doyle, but his vampire hearing picked up their heartbeats as they quickened every time they lied about something, and his enhanced sense of smell could detect a small bit of fear that Angel would find out. Angel may not know everything about Doyle, but he knew that if it was just up to Doyle, the half-demon would have told Angel the entire truth. Angel would just have to trust that it was for the best.
One of Angel's stops was not to see a vampire, but a human. Like Willy the Snitch in Sunnydale, this man owned a bar. But unlike Willy, he didn't know that his customers were often vampires or other demons.
His name was Jinx, and he was pretty friendly. Ever since he'd seen Angel come in with Kate and she'd introduced herself as a police detective, he'd been very courteous. Jinx probably figured Angel was undercover or something, but every time Angel came to him for information, Jinx gave it to him.
When Angel got there that night, the bar was full, and music blared from the speakers, making it perfect for private conversation. Angel sat on one of the stools and waited while Jinx served two men drinks. Then he wandered over to the vampire and smiled. "Angel, what'll you have?"
"Nothing today, thanks," Angel answered. "I'm hear to ask you about the vampire-like murders happening lately."
Jinx picked up a glass and began to clean it. He nodded. "I've heard about those. Of course, there've been several in the past few years. Do you want to know about a certain person's murder?"
"Perhaps," Angel replied.
"Are they the ones where the victims have the weird tattoos?"
Curious, Angel told him, "Go on."
Jinx glanced around the bar before leaning in closer. "I've heard a few of my customers talk about it. They said they helped kill these members of some cult called Watchers. Their victims all had these blue tattoos on their inner wrists."
Watchers? They were the victims? Angel couldn't remember hearing anything about a tattoo from Giles, and if Dawson was a Watcher, why would he seek out a vampire like Angel for help? Had the council actually changed its decorum? That wasn't very likely, so what was going on? Maybe he should get Doyle to tell him what he'd been holding back after all. "Anything else you know?" Angel asked. "Like who did it?"
Jinx shook his head. "Never seen them before. They weren't regulars and having been back here since, and in the lighting I didn't get a good look at them, so I can't help you identify them. They kept saying that they hoped Spike wouldn't kill them. They were afraid of this guy. They also said they wanted to drain the guy Spike's working with, whatever draining means."
Angel digested this. Spike was in L.A., and he was allied with someone. "Who's Spike working with?"
"Don’t know, except the guys said he carried a sword. Don't ask me why. That's all I can tell you."
Angel nodded. "Thanks," he said, and left.
When he got back to the office, Cordelia was still at the computer. "Hey, Angel," she greeted.
"What have you found?" Angel asked.
"That Horton guy was killed a few years ago and buried in Paris," Cordelia said.
"Who killed him?"
"It doesn't say," Cordelia replied. "But in '97, his brother-in-law dug him up in France so Horton's family could bury him again in Chicago."
"Who's his brother-in-law?"
Angel walked around the desk and looked at the screen. "The same Joe Dawson that came to see us today?"
Cordelia nodded. "There was a picture of him. It was the same guy." What else has Doyle been keeping from us?
Angel wondered. He asked, "What about the murders?"
"They don't say much," Cordy said. "Just that two puncture wounds were located above one of the veins in the neck of each victim, and their bodies were drained of blood. The four people killed had these blue tattoos, and-"
"Wait, stop," Angel told her.
"Do they show the tattoo?"
"Yeah, I think so. Why?"
"Just let me see it."
"Okay," Cordelia replied, and went back to the newspaper reports about the murders. They found a picture of the tattoo and opened it separately in a new window.
Angel studied the tattoo. It was round, with one circle around a smaller circle. In the smaller circle was something that looked like an 'M'. Also, in the space between the two circles were thirteen smaller circles lined up like the numbers on a clock.
"Could you print that out?" Angel asked. Cordelia complied.
"Do you think you could look for the tattoo?" he asked.
"Yeah, sure, but I don't think I'll find it. Willow is better at this than me."
Angel looked at Cordelia. "I think I'll call her, then. But first, I'm calling Giles."
"One of my sources told me the tattoo belonged to a group called Watchers."
Cordelia's eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed in confusion. "But, Giles doesn't have a tattoo. Well, not like this one. He only has that tattoo from when he and Ethan were buds, and I think he had that removed."
"I'm going to call him anyway," Angel said.
"Okay. Hey, have you seen Doyle?"
"He's not back yet?" Angel asked.
"He probably went to check on his friend, Dawson." Angel walked to his office door and opened it. "When he comes in, tell him I went to speak to him."
Angel sat behind his desk and called Giles. During his visit, Oz had given Angel and Cordelia a list of phone numbers they could call, now that everyone was in college and Giles had become an unemployed bachelor.
He rang up Giles. The ex-Watcher picked it up on the second ring. "Hello?"
There was a silence, then Giles, slightly surprised, said, "Hello, Angel. Why are you calling?"
The conversation was a strained one. Angel knew Giles hadn't forgiven him for what he did two years ago, but he knew Giles wouldn't let that get in the way of helping someone. "I need some information. Do the Watchers wear a blue tattoo on their inner wrists?"
Giles was silent for a moment while he contemplated the question. "Not to my knowledge, no, but because I have been out of the loop concerning Watcher activities for a few years, I wouldn't know if the Watchers use a tattoo at present. Why do you want to know?"
Angel told him what was going on. When he was finished, Giles said, "Well, I'll try to find everything I can about this tattoo and another group calling themselves the Watchers. I'll ask Willow to use that dreadful machine."
"Thanks, Giles," Angel said. He paused before he said his next words. "Say 'hi' to Buffy for me."
Giles paused again. "I'll see that she gets the message."
Angel checked his fridge. "Damn."
"What is it?" Cordelia asked from the table.
"I'm out," Angel said.
Cordelia was about to ask what he was out of when she glanced at the fridge, then at the hungry expression on Angel's face. "Oh."
Angel grabbed his jacket and his keys and headed toward the elevator. "I'm going to get some more."
Angel looked at her. "You don't want to know."
"That was more information than I needed, actually," Cordelia answered.
Angel said nothing and traveled up the elevator.
Doyle visited several of his contacts, but none of them knew about the vampire murders. He hoped Angel found something out.
If these vampires were killing Watchers in the L.A. area, there was a possibility that he or Joe were the next targets. Angel had offered to watch Joe, but Joe had refused. Doyle knew Angel would be hanging in the shadows. Joe just didn't know what he was facing, which was why Doyle was heading over to Joe's hotel to talk to him.
The cab pulled up to Joe's hotel and Doyle got out. He walked up to the lobby door and pulled on the handle.
Before he could go inside, however, he heard a feminine voice ask, "Excuse me, but do I know you?"
Doyle turned and saw Amanda whom, unlike two years ago, he knew was around twelve hundred years old and very good with a broadsword. She stood only a few feet away from him on the sidewalk. "I don't think so," Doyle told her.
"Oh. I must have mistaken you for someone else. Goodnight."
"Goodnight," Doyle replied before slipping inside.
Amanda had recognized the young Irish man the minute he stepped out of the cab. When she engaged small talk, his accent just confirmed it.
She didn't think he was a Watcher. He had spoken to her freely two years ago, when they first met. But that had been the same night she'd taken a Quickening, and it couldn't just be coincidence that he was here now. She was sure he recognized her, too. The look he'd given her confirmed it, and he was a bad liar.
She decided to follow him. She watched through the window as he walked past the counter to the elevator. She waited until he disappeared inside before entering the lobby.
She walked to the elevator and watched the numbers above the doors. They stopped on the third floor.
Amanda slipped into the stairwell and started walking up.
She didn't spot Doyle in the hall. Amanda walked cautiously down the carpeted floor, listening for Joe or Doyle's conspicuous accent.
When she reached the end of the hall, she found one of the doors was slightly ajar.
Amanda approached it cautiously. Back pressed against the wall, she listened in, trying to figure out what was going on. What she heard was an argument.
"Joe, you could be the next target!" the Irishman yelled. "I could be the next target! Angel can protect both of us. He's very good at that."
Joe sighed. "You're right. I just didn't want him to find out about us."
"Is the Tribunal sending any guards?"
"No. I'm not their favorite, you may have heard. That's why they sent me. If the vampire cultists kill me too, they wouldn't think it was much of a loss. They were planning on killing me three years ago, remember?"
Amanda gasped. Vampire cultists?
The two Watchers, because Doyle was obviously a Watcher now, may not know it, but she knew exactly what really went bump in the night.
The sound of growling jolted her out of her thoughts.
"Joe, look out!" Doyle shouted, followed by a soft thud.
Amanda rushed in, taking out her sword. "Joe!"
Joe lay on his stomach on the ground, knocked down by Doyle, who got up and faced the window.
She looked out the open window. Five vampires stood on the hotel room's third floor balcony. She guessed that when Joe had gotten too close to the window and probably leaned out of it. The vampires tried to grab him, but Doyle knocked him out of reach. Because they had to be invited in, even into an occupied hotel room, they couldn't just waltz right in and try to grab him again. Instead, the five vampires watched them with yellow eyes and snarled.
Amanda ran over to Joe. "Joe, are you alright?"
Joe was a little surprised to see her, but much more surprised to see the vampires' game faces. "I'm all right."
Amanda turned to Doyle. She was shocked when he pulled out a stake and a cross and approached the window.
"Wait!" Amanda told him. Doyle turned to her. There was no time to ask him how he knew about vampires, although she really wanted to know. But Doyle was mortal, and she wouldn't let him go out there without any backup.
"We rush them on three," she said. Doyle nodded. "One, two, three!"
Amanda and Doyle rushed out the floor-length window frame onto the balcony. Amanda was the first to make a move. She swung her broadsword at the first vampire that rushed her and beheaded it. The vampire turned to dust, leaving two for Amanda to deal with, and two for Doyle to deal with.
One of her two grabbed and yanked out a metal bar in the window frame and stood on guard. The other vampire hung off to the side, doing nothing.
Amanda swung at the first vampire's stomach, and the demon parried. She swung upwards at his left shoulder, then down at his right leg, and he blocked both of them.
Amanda feinted toward his neck. The vampire moved the bar to block the swing, but Amanda moved the swipe downwards at the last minute. It slashed into his shoulder, cleanly removing the arm holding the bar.
The vampire only got out a short scream of pain before Amanda beheaded it. The creature turned to dust as Amanda turned to the other vampire.
The second vampire was terrified. He looked at her, then at her sword. He turned and stepped onto the rail. Before he could jump over it, however, Amanda beheaded it as well. The dust fell onto the balcony and began floating to the ground below.
Amanda turned to see how Doyle was doing.
Doyle was holding off the other two with the cross. There wouldn't have been a need if he transformed into his demon self, but Doyle couldn't risk it in front of Doyle or Amanda. Amanda, it seemed, had experience with vampires and demons, but Joe would get a big enough shock when they explained vampires to him.
After a few minutes, one of the vampires decided to rush him, despite the pain the cross promised. Doyle stepped back through the window, out of reach. The vampire slammed into an invisible wall and lost his balance. Doyle moved in and staked him.
The other vampire was waiting behind the dust cloud. Doyle brought the cross back up. The second vampire did not try to attack him like his companion. Doyle stepped forward, and the demon stepped back, trying to avoid contact with the cross.
Doyle backed him up to the railing. The vampire glanced at the railing, then back up at Doyle. He knew he had no where to run. This time he did rush him.
Doyle stepped to the left and, as the vampire was passing him, he plunged his stake into its heart. The vampire's eyes widened in surprise before it exploded.
Doyle turned to assist Amanda, only a few feet away from him, and saw that she had taken care of her two. As one, they turned back to the open window.
Joe stared back at them. "What the hell just happened?"
Doyle and Amanda looked at each other.
"I can't believe it. I just can't believe it," Joe repeated for the fiftieth time.
He and Amanda sat on the hotel room's bed, and Doyle sat in the chair. Doyle and Amanda had explained everything to Joe. They'd told him what vampires were, that witches, demons, and other supernatural phenomena were real, all of that. They'd excluded anything revealing how they themselves had found out about demons and vampires for their own reasons.
Joe had enough trouble believing in Immortals back in Vietnam. But vampires? His logical mind wanted to reject the idea, but the evidence he'd been presented with proved it was true.
"Well, believe it, old chum," Doyle told him. "You've already learned about Immortals. Why not believe in everything else?"
"I need a drink," Joe stated. "I put some in the fridge."
Amanda got the beverage and poured all of them some. Joe and Doyle drained theirs in one gulp; Doyle from practice, and Joe because he really needed it. Joe was the one who ended up coughing.
Amanda set her glass down on the nightstand and sat on the twin bed, opposite the men.
"So," Joe began when he could talk again. He looked at Amanda. "How did you find out that demons and vampires were real? Care to share the lost chronicle?"
Doyle raised an eyebrow and smiled. "So, Duncan wasn't the only Immortal who found out about his Watcher?"
"No, but thankfully, not all of them do," Joe answered. He turned back to the black-haired woman. "Well, Amanda?"
"Well," Amanda began. "It was nineteen twenty-seven. As I'm sure you have written in my chronicles, I had been with Cory Raines robbing banks across the country, and having a good time. When we split up, I said goodbye to him and Duncan, and headed for New York."
"At a dinner party one night in the Big Apple, I met Nathan Prescott. He challenged me and we went to a nearby alley to fight."
"Nathan wasn't very good, and I got the upper hand. But when I was about to behead him, he smiled. Then I heard a scream, coming from behind some trashcans. I think he was my Watcher. He had been attacked by several vampires. More vampires fell from the rooftops and attacked me. I fought back. I soon discovered that most wounds wouldn't stop them, so I went for the neck. I was kind of surprised when the creatures turned to dust."
"There were too many of them, and I knew it. I knew the vampires would get the upper hand very soon, and then Prescott would have me."
"That was when another figure appeared at the other end of the alley. It was a girl who couldn't have been older than sixteen. She helped me kill all of the vampires. During the fight, Prescott fled."
"I was scratched by one vampire before I dusted him, and it hadn't healed by the time we'd killed them all. So the girl saw my cheek heal, right before her very eyes."
"She got in a defensive position and demanded to know what I was. I knew the girl was good, and it probably wouldn't do any good to lie to her, so I told her. After I was finished, I asked her what she was. She told me she was the Slayer, and that she had a Watcher. She wouldn't introduce me to him because, if she did, her Watcher would never let her fight with me again, because it was the tradition of Slayers to fight alone. I agreed, and helped her several times after that until she died."
Amanda picked up her glass and drank the rest. "So, that's my story."
They were silent for a minute when Doyle spoke, "Actually, the current Slayer doesn't follow the rules. She has several friends, and even her Watcher has accepted them." He told them what he'd heard from Cordelia and Angel about life in Sunnydale and Buffy.
Amanda smirked. "About time. I met the other Slayer's Watcher at the funeral. Stuffy English know-it-all told me to-ooh, to think she'd been in his
care! It makes me so furious! It was no wonder she died, with his rules and ignorance."
Joe had been confused since Amanda first mentioned the word 'Watcher'. "What do you mean by Watcher?"
Doyle cleared his throat. "There's a different group of Watchers called the Watchers' Council," he explained. "Their object in life is to train the Slayer to fight the forces of darkness."
Joe scratched his head. "Wow. If I hadn't have seen it for myself, I wouldn't have had any doubts that this wasn't real. But now that I have…" Joe looked at Doyle. "I think I should take this Angel guy's advice, and get some protection."
"Protection from what?" Amanda asked, remembering the conversation the two Watchers had been having earlier.
"A vampire, or several, have been targeting Watchers in the area over the past few months," Doyle informed her. "I work at a detective agency, so Joe came to me for help."
"I'm giving it," Doyle replied. "So are the others at Angel Investigations. Let's go there, and tell Angel and Cordelia what happened."
"So the cultists were actual vampires," Joe said, trying to digest this. "Angel and Cordelia know about vampires too?" Joe asked.
"Do they know about Immortals or Watchers?" Amanda asked.
Doyle shook his head. "No. I…never told them."
Joe got up. "Well, let's go then."
"I'll help," Amanda offered. "As long as I'm here, and until I find Prescott."
"Nathan Prescott?" Doyle asked. Amanda nodded. "He's been known to torture Immortals before he kills them. If he doesn't have time, though, he'll win a challenge in minutes."
"I know," Amanda said. "But I beat him before, and I'm not going to let him get away again."
"Are you sure about that?" Joe asked. "I heard he's been practicing."
Amanda shook her head. "No. But I'm not giving up."
Angel stepped out of a building and put the packets of blood in his car. It was parked next to the alley separating the Donation Building from a blues club. He peered into the alley, but it was too dark to see anything.
He opened his car door before he heard something coming from the alley. It sounded like a can hitting concrete. Angel closed his door, made sure he had a few stakes and that the stakes attached to the springs in his sleeves were still working, and moved toward the alley.
When he reached the mouth, he heard muffled sounds and took out a stake. A few feet away, a vampire was leaning over a woman, draining her of blood.
"Get away from her!" Angel told the vampire.
The vampire turned to him. He looked him up and down and said, licking his lips, "Well, well."
Angel got in a defensive position and raised the stake. He glanced behind the vampire at the woman. She was slouched down, her eyes unfocused. Angel felt regret and guilt that he was too late to save her.
The vampire, noticing his look, smiled. "Well, the mighty Angelus couldn't save them all, could he?" he taunted.
Angel was a little surprised the vampire knew him. Sure, he'd been pretty famous in Sunnydale, but this was LA. He wasn't sure he'd seen the minion before.
The other vampire continued, "Is it too late to save himself?"
Two vampires rushed him from both sides. With both fists pointed at the two rushing vampires, Angel thrust his arms inwards at the elbows. From his sleeves, two stakes emerged on springs. They penetrated the two vampires' hearts easily. Both vampires looked a little surprised before they burst into dust.
Angel heard the swoosh-like sound above him, but it was too late. A vampire fell from the roof onto his back and grabbed him by the temples. The vampire twisted Angel's head, attempting to tear it off by the neck.
Angel turned and ran backwards, slamming into the wall of the alley. The vampire stopped twisting his neck but did not let go. Angel slammed into it again and the vampire let out a grunt. After the third time, the vampire slid to the ground.
The first vampire rushed him, but Angel kicked him his chin, which was a blow that would have killed a human. Then he turned and staked the fallen one. He spun around and raised his stake, ready to fight the first one.
The vampire met his face with a roundhouse punch. He almost hit him again but Angel deflected it. Then Angel kneed the vampire in the worst place possible. When the vampire double over in pain, Angel hit him in the small of his back, and the vampire went down for the count.
Before the vampire got back up, Angel rolled him onto his back and straddled him, pinning his arms with his knees. He positioned the stake over the vampire's chest directly over his heart. "Who's your leader?" he asked, inwardly grimacing at the bad line.
The vampire glanced at Angel, then at the stake, afraid. "Please! If I tell you, will you let me go?"
"Yes," Angel said. "Who is he?"
No big news there. "Why did you attack me?"
"Spike wants you for this spell or ritual or something. I think it's to locate his insane girlfriend, Dracula or Drusilla or whatever. He said something about needing her sire's blood."
"What else do you know?" Angel asked.
The vampire was freaked. "I don't know, man! I've told you everything! Now, please let me go."
Angel seemed to consider it for a minute, then he lifted the stake from above the vampire's chest. The minion sighed in relief. Then Angel brought it back down and slammed it into his heart.
The vampire gasped. "You said you'd let me go."
"I changed my mind," Angel told him while the other vampire turned to dust.
Angel stood up and was turning toward his car when something shocked him. Electricity flowed through his blue veins. Angel fell to the ground, paralyzed. Through his pain, he looked up, trying to see his attacker.
Spike stood only a few feet away. The bleach-haired vampire had been hiding behind a few trashcans, and had several more of his vampire cronies with him.
Spike held a high-tech weapon. It looked like something only the military would know about. Spike glanced down at it. "I've got to ask Prescott where he gets these little toys."
He motioned toward Angel. "Take him away, boys."
Three of his minions stepped forward and dragged Angel's limp body to their van.
Prescott was furious. He paced back and forth in Spike's lair. The vampire minions stood out of range. He'd already dusted two in his rage, and without knowing how to kill him, they were afraid of him.
Prescott ignored them. He wanted Doyle and Joe, but the vampires had to go and mess it up.
He walked up to the vampire scout that had been near Joe's hotel room. "Tell me everything that happened."
The scout nodded nervously and began his story. "The others waited until the limp guy, Dawson, was next to the window before they grabbed at him. But the other Watcher knocked him to the ground out of the way. Then this b**** with a sword runs in, checks on Dawson, then she and Doyle face the window and attack. The other vampires fought back, but Doyle and the woman dusted them in only minutes."
"This woman, what did she look like?" Prescott asked.
"She was tall, maybe six feet, and had short black hair. She wore fashionable clothes, and her sword was a broadsword, I think."
Prescott smiled. So, Amanda, you've finally caught up with me.
The door opened, and Spike came in. His minions followed him, dragging along an unconscious man Prescott assumed was Angel.
Unlike Prescott's pseudo-unhappy mood, Spike was pleasantly cheerful. He walked over to a table and opened an ancient volume. He looked at one of the pages and his smile got wider. "Soon, Dru. We'll be back together very soon."
Prescott cleared his throat, and Spike looked at him, annoyed. "What?" Spike asked.
"Your minions failed to bring in the Watchers."
Spike stepped toward him until they were only inches away. "You promised to take care of them, Prescott. I gave you those vampires because you said you could get rid of them."
Prescott smiled. "Are you threatening me, Spike? You can't kill me. You've tried."
Spike glared at him. "So, what do you propose this time? Have the Watchers kill us all, because that sounds just fabulous, mate."
"I'm going to set up a trap," Prescott answered. "Go ahead and perform the spell to find your girlfriend. I know just the way to lead them into my trap."
"And just how is that?"
Prescott smiled. "You'll see." He turned and walked out the room.
Spike glared at the retreating Immortal's back. But when Nathan Prescott closed the door behind him, the vampire smiled. He walked over to a cabinet and opened it. "You're wrong about one thing. I do know how to kill you, Prescott."
He pulled out a blade. It was an eleventh-century hand-and-a-half Broadsword. Three blood grooves ran down the middle of it.
Spike ran his thumb down one sharp edge. Instantly, blood was drawn from his vein. Satisfied, he looked around at his vampire minions and asked, "Who was the scout at Dawson's hotel room?"
"I…I was," the scout weakly answered.
Spike walked toward him. Realizing his fate, the scout backed away.
"Restrain him," Spike ordered.
Two more vampires held the cowering minion's arms. The scout watched helplessly as Spike approached him. "Please," he begged.
Spike ignored him and swung the blade toward his neck.
The blade sliced cleanly through his neck. The disembodied head fell toward the floor and almost landed when the scout's body turned to dust.
Spike smiled down at the dust pile, then looked at the blade. "Killing you, Prescott, is going to be very fun. I've always liked playing with sharp objects."
After all, he wasn't called Spike for nothing. His favorite torture device was a railroad spike, but for Prescott, the Broadsword would do.
With one more smile, he put the sword back in the cabinet, then walked over to the book and picked it up. "Let's get this show on the road."
When Doyle, Amanda, and Joe got to Angel Investigations, Cordelia was waiting for them in the office. She jumped up when she saw Doyle, relieved. After a minute, she tried to hide it with a scowl, but she was pretty sure it had been seen by all, much to her embarrassment.
"Well, you took your time," Cordelia told Doyle. She noticed the two people behind him in the hall. "Hello, Mr. Dawson," seeing the blonde woman, Cordelia looked back at Doyle. "Who's she?"
The three entered the office and Amanda offered her hand. "Amanda. I'm a friend of Joe's."
Cordelia felt a little relieved that she didn't say she was a friend of Doyle and they shook hands. "Cordelia."
Doyle had gone into Angel's office. Now he came back out and asked, "Have you seen Angel, Cordy?"
Cordelia shook her head. "He had to get some-substance," she answered. "But it's been awhile since he left. He hasn't called or anything. Of course, he's always had this habit of disappearing, even in Sunnydale."
"Sunnydale," Amanda repeated. "Is that where you're from?"
Cordelia nodded. "Boy, am I glad to get out of that place. Although, ever since I hooked up with Angel it hasn't been any better."
"Don't worry, Cordy," Doyle assured her. "They know about vampires and demons."
Cordelia's eyes widened, then relaxed. "Oh. That's good to know." She looked around at everyone. "So what happened?"
Amanda, Joe, and Doyle told Cordelia what happened. "They really have a grudge against you, don't they?" she asked Joe and Doyle.
Joe shrugged. "I guess so."
"What have you found out, Cordelia?" Doyle asked.
Cordy picked up the picture of the tattoo. "We found out that all of your friends had this tattoo on them. Know anything about it?"
Doyle and Joe exchanged looks. They turned back to Cordelia. "Nope. Never seen it," Joe lied. Doyle nodded in agreement.
Cordelia just shrugged and put the picture back on Angel's desk.
A silence followed this until Doyle asked, "Anything else?"
Cordelia nodded. "Yeah. Spike's the lead suspect."
"Spike?" Doyle asked, alarmed. "He's back in Los Angeles?"
"Who's Spike?" Joe asked.
"He's a vampire," Cordelia said. "He kind of has this grudge against the Slayer. And Angel, because he took the Ring of Amara a few weeks back."
"It makes a vampire practically invincible," Cordelia answered. "Nothing can kill them. Not stakes, not sunlight, not anything. Angel crushed it, though, so I guess it doesn't work anymore." Suddenly, she remembered something. "Spike's working with this guy. Angel said the guy carried a sword."
"It's Prescott," Amanda said.
"Are you sure?" Doyle asked.
Amanda nodded. "I'm positive. He's worked with vampires before."
"Who's Prescott?" Cordelia asked.
"He's an old enemy of mine."
"So Spike and Prescott are working together. What do we do now?" Joe asked.
"Wait for Angel to come back, I guess-" Doyle grabbed his head.
"Doyle, what's wrong?" Joe asked, standing up.
Cordelia, who'd seen this before plenty of times, told them, "Get him some water and some aspirin."
Amanda got the water and aspirin, which she found in Angel's office. When she returned, Doyle's vision had ended, but he still looked terrible. Amanda offered the glass and pill to him, but he waved it away. "Could someone get me a scotch?"
Joe smirked, grabbed the bottle sitting near the coffee machine, and poured him a shot.
"What did you see?" Cordy asked.
Doyle, after sorting out the vision, answered, "Angel's been captured by Spike."
"It's for a spell. Don't know exactly what kind. All I saw was Angel lying, beaten, in a spell circle. There were candles, and symbols were painted on his chest. Spike was there, reading from a book, and so was Prescott."
"Doyle, do you know where this is?" Amanda was less surprised than Joe was that Doyle had Visions, and recovered faster.
Doyle shook his head. "There was a sign, but I couldn't make it out. It's in a warehouse, though."
"There must be hundreds of warehouses in L.A.," she said.
"Um, guys," Joe said. When everyone looked at him, he asked, "Visions?"
"I'll explain later," Doyle turned to Cordelia. "Cordy, could you look up warehouses and their locations? I just need to see the logo and I'll recognize it."
"Okay," Cordelia replied, and headed toward the computer.
"Um, guys," Joe spoke up. Everyone looked at him. "I know a faster way to find Prescott and Spike."
Doyle said, "Are you sure, Joe?"
Joe nodded. "It was different when we thought only vampire cultists were involved in this. Now that we know real vampires and Prescott are involved, Cordelia should know. If you trust her, I trust her."
Doyle looked over at Amanda. She nodded. Doyle took a deep breath. "Okay. Joe, go ahead and log onto the Watcher Database. Cordelia, come here. There's something that I want to tell you. Please don't kill me for not telling you sooner, okay?"
Angel woke up sitting on a hard concrete floor, leaning against a support beam. He tried to move his hands from behind his back and discovered they were chained to the beam. The metal was too strong to break. His ankles were manacled as well.
He studied his surroundings. He was in a small clearing in a warehouse. To the left were two large sliding doors, and to the right were several offices. Between the walls, spread disorderly across the concrete floor, were crates and empty boxes, letting him now that the owners had long since abandoned the warehouse, unless Spike got to owners first. The windows and the skylight above were covered to keep the sunlight from pouring in. He had several more hours of the night left over before he had to worry about that, however. Artificial lights lit the building.
One of the office doors opened. Angel looked and saw Spike and several minions walking toward him. The minions held several items needed for spells, such as holy candles, holy chalk, a spell book, etc. One vampire held a limp doll, which Angel recognized as Miss Edith, Drusilla's favorite doll. He remembered the conversation he'd had with Jinx. Spike needed him to get Dru back. Angel didn't see any good that would come if those two were reunited, but while manacled to a beam, there was nothing he could about it.
A man in a trenchcoat was also with them. Angel knew he was human, because he could hear his heart beating at a normal rate. Must be the guy with a sword Jinx told me about.
Spike smiled at Angel. "Well, Angel. I don't know about you, but I for one am happy to see you, sire."
"Feeling's mutual, William," Angel replied.
"William? Your name's William?" Prescott smiled.
Spike glared at the Immortal. "Why are you still here? Aren't you going to stall your friends before you loose a major part of your anatomy?"
Prescott smiled. "Empty threats, Spike. But I am going. I was waiting for the spell to start."
Spike glared at him. Inside he was fuming. He put his hands at his sides and felt for the sword hidden within his own trenchcoat. It wasn't an empty threat, Prescott. If you don't stop those pesky Watchers, I
will have your head.
He turned to his minions. "What are you standing around for? Get to work!"
His frightened minions scurried to do his bidding.
Prescott watched while the preparations were made, then slipped out, taking ten vampires with him.
Cordelia made a face. "You have to cut off your head to kill you? Eww."
Amanda gaped at the young woman. Doyle wasn't too surprised Cordelia had accepted Immortals and everything about them so fast, but Amanda was. Okay, maybe he was a little surprised, although he shouldn't be. He felt guilty that he hadn't told her sooner.
"You believe me?" Amanda asked.
Cordelia nodded. "Lady, you should visit Sunnydale. The Spanish named it Boca Del Inferno with very good reason, you know. We had to take care of vampires and demons almost every week, perhaps almost every day. I've heard the word apocalypse so many times, there never seemed to be an end to them. Immortals just add to the list."
"I've found him," Joe called from the computer desk.
Everyone went over to him. "What have you got, Joe?" Doyle asked.
"His Watcher was one of the people the vampires killed," Joe said. "Before he died, he reported that Prescott had just bought a warehouse owned by Xanatos Storage. The previous owners had been found dead with their blood drained a few days earlier. Because of that, Xanatos had been going out of business and he'd gotten the warehouse cheap."
"Know where Xanatos storage is, anyone?" Cordelia asked.
Amanda tensed and looked around. "We don’t need to."
"Another Immortal?" Doyle asked.
Amanda nodded. "Yep, and I'm willing to bet it's Prescott."
She reached inside her coat, which was resting on her chair, and pulled out her broadsword.
"Woah, Amanda, you aren't planning to go out and face him, are you? What if he has vampires with him? He's done that before, you know." Doyle asked.
Amanda smiled. "That's why it's always good to have friends."
The Buzz led Amanda to an alley opposite the Angel Investigations building. When she reached the mouth, she pulled out her broadsword again and walked on.
Prescott stepped out of the shadows in the middle of the short alley. Behind him was a dead end and around them were trash piles and cans. There were a million hiding places here.
Prescott smiled. "Hello, Amanda."
Amanda held her sword up in a fighting position. "Prescott."
"I didn't know you were here. If I had, I would have had so much more fun."
"Glad to disappoint you," Amanda said. "Are we going to fight or hold a tea party?"
Prescott smiled again. "Actually, I thought we could reach some sort of agreement. You know I have the vampire with a soul. If you win, I'll make sure he doesn't die. If you loose, well, you won't live for much longer."
Amanda filed the fact that Angel was a vampire with a soul away for later and smiled deviously, knowing how bad Prescott was with a sword and at lying. The only reason he ever won was because of his vampire cronies. She knew there was no chance in hell he was going to win this time. "Agreed."
They fought. Amanda was on the offensive right away. She swung at his left shoulder, and he blocked and forced him to walk further back. She kept swinging, and he kept blocking or parrying, and she kept forcing him back.
Prescott soon felt the alley's dead end wall against his back. It distracted him enough for Amanda to knock his sword out of his hand.
Amanda put her sword against his neck. Prescott looked surprised. She smiled. "Where's Angel and Spike?"
Prescott stared at her for a minute, then he relaxed. "You haven't won yet, Amanda." He paused for a minute or two, then glanced around. "Idiots," he muttered, then called, "You can come out now!"
"If you say so, Prescott," Doyle said, stepping out from behind a row of trashcans on the left. He held a cross and a stake.
Cordelia stepped into the light on the right. She held a crossbow, and in her belt, she had a stake and a cross. Between them, Joe appeared, holding an empty crossbow and a cross.
Prescott stared at them, then at Amanda. He gulped.
Amanda smiled. "Now," she dug her sword into his skin. Prescott grunted.
Wearing gloves, Spike's minions placed blessed candles at key points around the warehouse, while others drew symbols on Angel's naked chest with pig's blood. One symbol was a star, which was drawn onto the center of his chest, with the star's center placed directly above his heart. When they were finished, the minions stood in front of each candle and waited.
Holding an open book of Egyptian spells and a sacrificial knife, Spike stood at least five feet in front of Angel. "Osiris, god of the dead and the afterlife," he chanted. He took a step toward Angel.
He thrust the blade up to the hilt through Angel's chest less than an inch above his heart, but still within the center of the star-symbol.
Angel screamed. The blade was blessed, and it hurt a lot.
Spike stepped back, and spoke to the ceiling, "I offer this vampire as a sacrifice. Accept his blood, and grant my request."
As if in an answer, the candles' flames burned higher and brighter for several seconds before calming down.
Angel's blood flowed out of his chest onto the ground. The blood stopped a few inches away, and formed a small circle of red liquid around the vampire. Spike stepped back and stood outside the circle. The symbols on Angel's chest glowed a bright red, except for the star, which glowed a bright, blinding white.
Angel's blood never stopped flowing from the wound. He could feel himself getting weaker. He needed to drink soon, or he'd die of blood loss.
Spike knew it, too. He smiled, and leaned down to Angel's ear and whispered, "Hurts, doesn't it? With you dead, Dru will have no choice but to accept me."
"You-you think…she'll come to you after…everything that happened?" Angel said weakly. He laughed, trying to seem stronger than he was, but he couldn't. The knife and perhaps even Osiris were preventing him from keeping up a strong front. He ended up coughing. "She'll still prefer me over you…any day."
Spike fought to control his fury, then looked back up at the ceiling. "Almighty god Osiris! I, William the Bloody, also known as Spike, the grandchilde of this sire, hearby call upon you to locate this sire's childe, the vampire known as Drusilla."
A minion handed him Miss Edith and stepped back. Spike threw the doll into the circle of blood.
"This object was hers. Almighty, I request that you use it to find her and lead her back to my arms."
A wall of white light appeared around the circle. The symbols on Angel's chest glowed brighter until it hurt too much for Angel to look at them.
Angel felt pain all over his body, as if the light were as deadly as the sun. In only a few minutes, the spell would be complete, and he would be dust, if not from the light then from blood loss.
After a rumbling noise reminiscent of thunder, the barrier of light flashed and disappeared, and the candles were blown out by a wind that wasn't there.
The symbols on Angel's chest were the last things to dim and become dry blood. The pool of Angel's blood on the floor evaporated, sending smoke up to the ceiling.
The warehouse was completely dark.
"Lights!" Spike called.
The main power was turned back on, and the room was lit again by electricity.
Angel was still tied to the pillar. The sacrificial blade was still plunged in his chest, but no more blood flowed out of the wound. Angel wasn't dust yet, but he was getting very close.
Spike stared at Angel for a minute, not sure if the spelled worked or not.
Then the arrows began to fly through the windows.
Nine of his minions fell under the onslaught, and Spike dodged behind a crate, barely missing an arrow.
Cordelia, Doyle, and Amanda charged into the warehouse. Cordelia and Doyle held crossbows and Amanda held a medieval sword.
"Get them!" Spike ordered his remaining eight vampires.
His minions attacked. Doyle fired another bolt at one of them, and it was dust. Then they were too close to use the crossbows. Amanda swung her sword, beheading two vampires with one clean stroke. That left five.
Doyle hit one vampire on the side of the head, sending him spinning back to Cordelia. She staked him in the back. Another vampire rushed her, and she held it back with her cross.
Meanwhile, a third minion was fighting with Doyle. Amanda faced the fourth one, having already beheaded the fifth vampire. Her vampire had found a crowbar and was blocking her swings.
Doyle dusted his vampire and turned to Cordelia. Her vampire knocked the cross out of her hands and grabbed her neck. Doyle walked up to him. The vampire looked in his direction and Doyle punched him. The vampire let go of Cordelia. Doyle brought his fist up again but the vampire blocked it. When he tried to punch the vampire with his left hand, the vampire grabbed his wrist.
Cordelia had picked up her cross and now stuck it in the vampire's face. The vampire loosened his grip on Doyle and Doyle kneed him in the stomach, forcing the vampire away.
Meanwhile, Amanda dusted her vampire and hurried over to help the others.
She saw the remaining minion rush Doyle. Doyle side-stepped its attack. Unable to stop, the vampire raced over to her and her sword. Amanda beheaded it.
The vampire burst into a cloud of dust.
The threesome looked around and saw Angel. There was no sign of Spike. "Angel!" Doyle and Cordelia cried at the same time. They ran over, took the knife out, and untied him while Amanda scouted the area. She returned a few minutes later.
"Spike's fled," she reported.
Once he was untied, Angel slid on his back to the ground. His features had transformed, hungry for blood.
Doyle pulled a pack of blood out of his jacket and held it to Angel's lips. They'd found Angel's car on the way there, and had gotten the blood from it before heading there.
Angel drank greedily, draining the entire packet. Doyle, Cordelia, and Amanda tried not to look disgusted by the sight.
A few minutes later, his wounds were beginning to heal, and Angel's face returned to normal. Doyle and Amanda helped him up and over to the convertible, where Joe was waiting, and he helped them get the vampire in the car before they drove off.
Angel, now fully recovered, sat at the table in his apartment. Amanda, Doyle, Joe, and Cordelia were eating supper, and Angel even ate a few things.
"So, you're a vampire," Joe said. His eyes glistened with curiosity and excitement, even a little fear, but the denial and shock was gone. Angel figured the Watcher had seen enough proof that night not to be in denial.
Angel smiled a little. "Yeah. I'm a vampire."
Joe spent the entire meal drilling him with questions-did he drink blood, how old was he, did he sleep in a coffin, etc. Finally, Doyle cut in, saying, "I think you've tortured him enough, Joe."
Angel threw a relieved look in the half-demon's direction.
After they finished eating, Joe and Doyle told Angel about the Watchers and the Immortals. When they were finished, Angel nodded. "That explains a few things," he commented.
"Well," Amanda said, getting up. Even after they explained it all, Angel still had trouble believing that this young-looking woman was actually twelve hundred years old. He'd gotten used to being the elder. "I've gotta go. I don't think Duncan would mind if I came over for a short visit."
Joe chuckled. "He'd love to see you, Amanda. He always does. Are you going to warn him before you show up at the airport?"
Amanda seemed to consider it for a moment. "Nah."
Joe chuckled again and stood up, too. "I've gotta head on up to Seacouver, too." He looked at Doyle. "I'll be expecting your report tomorrow."
Doyle rolled his eyes, but nevertheless answered, "You've got it, Boss. You came seeking my help, and we discovered that the killer was Nathan Prescott just about the same time Amanda here took his head. Nothin' about vampires or the part where we worked with Amanda or nasty headache-inducing Visions to speak of."
Joe smiled. "Glad to hear it."
"What about Prescott?" Angel asked, wondering if Amanda really did take his head.
Amanda smiled. "You won't have to worry about him anymore."
Angel didn’t press. He got his answer.
Doyle, Cordelia, and Angel escorted them up the elevator to the front door. After Joe and Amanda were gone, the three walked back to the office. "I need a drink." Doyle said, walking toward the liquor bottle beside the coffee machine.
Cordelia grabbed his arm, stopping him. When Doyle looked at her, she slapped him.
Doyle rubbed his red cheek. "What was that for?"
"Why didn't you tell me you were a Watcher? We agreed not to keep secrets from each other. We agreed it was bad to keep secrets, cause stuff like all this could happen!"
"Relax, Cordelia," Angel said, smiling inwardly. "We all have our secrets."
Cordelia didn't say anything else about it, but she was still pissed. "I'm gonna call it a night. If you need me, Angel, I'll be at home."
She stormed out. Doyle sighed, poured the much-needed drink, and sat down. He'd known Cordelia wouldn't take it lightly that he'd lied to her, but it still hurt for the girl he had a crush on to be angry with him.
"She'll get over it," Angel promised.
"Yeah," Doyle said. He downed his shot. "Spike completed the spell." He looked at Angel.
The vampire sighed and looked at his desk. "Yeah, he did."
"Drusilla's going to come," Doyle said. "Spike will probably head back to Sunnydale. If they're going to be together again, Buffy should know."
"I'll tell her tomorrow," Angel promised.
Doyle nodded. "I'm going to head off. 'Night, Angel."
When he heard the door slam, Angel picked up the book he was reading earlier and read from the bookmarked page onward. He wasn't paying attention to it, however. He was thinking about everything that had happened that evening.
He wasn't angry with Doyle. He understood the need for secrecy sometimes. What he was worried about were his childe, Drusilla, and his grandchilde, Spike, and of Buffy, who would have to deal with them.
He was about to call her when the phone rang. Angel picked it up. "Hello, Angel Investigations. We…help the helpless." Even now he winced at the slogan Cordelia had invented.
"Hello, Angel," Giles said. "We've managed to log onto the Watcher Database, and it's hard to believe what's there. There's no mention of these Immortals or the Watchers that chronicle their lives in any of my books, yet the site claims that the Watcher Society has been around for four thousand years."
"You don't have to tell me, Giles," Angel said. "I know all about them."
"Oh," Giles paused. "You got information from another source?"
"Well," Giles went on. "I hope it helps with…whatever you need it for."
"Oh, it did," Angel assured him. He added, "Spike was here."
"Spike? What was he doing in L. A.?"
"He needed my blood to locate Drusilla and bring her to him."
"Oh, dear," Giles said. "Did he succeed?"
"Yes, he did."
"I'd tell Buffy and the others right away. I would advise you to be careful in case they show up in Los Angeles sometime in the future. Thank you for telling me, Angel."
"I'll be careful," Angel promised. "Tell Buffy and everyone to be careful, too. Bye, Giles."
Angel hung up.
Doyle stepped into his apartment, cleared a space on his couch, and sat down. He sighed heavily. Cordelia and Angel knew about Immortals now. That wasn't a big deal, really. It was Joe he was worried about.
He was sure Joe would keep quiet about all of this, but what about the other Watchers? What if they found out that Angel was an immortal being, and they mistook him for an Immortal?
He'd always worried about these things ever since he became a Watcher. But before, he'd never associated with an actual Immortal except with Amanda that night in Harry's Bar and Grill. What if they found out that he'd worked with Amanda to get Angel back? What if they found out he was a half-demon?
He couldn't guarantee Joe would stay silent, but Doyle couldn't exactly get out of this. The Watchers were everywhere, pretty much. He'd just have to take the same risk he'd taken for the last three years. He'd also have to figure out a way to get in Cordelia's favor again.
That's when the pain came. Doyle didn't know it at the time, but his arms lashed out, knocking clothes off the couch onto the piles on the floor.
Doyle saw only flashes of images, but they were enough to fill him in.
When the Vision ended, Doyle got some aspirin and picked up the phone, dialing Angel's number. He had to tell Angel what he saw before it was too late.
James Horton's followers, the Hunters, were coming to LA.