Chapter Nine - Fights Reveal A Lot
Remember, this story takes place right before “Somnambulist” in Angel
season one, so Angel still lives in the basement apartment. I always liked that setting much better than the Hyperion Hotel in the later seasons. DISCLAIMER
I own nothing from either 21 Jump Street
or Angel Chapter Nine
The next day, Booker decided that he would do whatever he needed to do to discover Angel’s secret and take the other private investigator down. Screw the rules, screw the law, screw common sense even. If he needed to get down and dirty to get to the bottom of this case, then so be it.
Kate had suggested trying to get to Angel through the British man who worked for him, but that suddenly seemed too tame of an idea. He had to find out everything he could about Angel and he had to do it now.
He had never seen Angel in the office during the day. In fact, he had never seen Angel at all during the day. Every time the other PI had shown up somewhere, it had been at night. Wherever he spent his days had to be tied up in his strange life somehow.
Booker knew that his motorcycle was too suspicious. The day after Kate’s father confronted him, he stopped by his office to grab his business credit card, then took the 5 Freeway up into the San Fernando Valley and got off at the Burbank Airport. Reluctantly, he left his beloved bike in the lot of a rental car lot and took the most inconspicuous vehicle he could find instead.
Stopping only to get a very large cup of coffee, Booker then got back on the freeway and headed toward Angel’s art deco office building. Then he pulled his rental car into a parking lot with a good view of the building’s front door and waited.
He waited through the entire morning and early afternoon. Cordelia got to the office sometime around ten in the morning, followed an hour later by the British guy Wesley. No sign of Angel.
Booker had never been a patient man. By the time that the first set of workers slipped out of the office to avoid the maddening Los Angeles rush hour, he was going stir crazy. He glared darkly at Angel’s building for a moment, then punched the steering wheel and muttered, “Screw it.” Jumping out of the car, he locked the door and darted through traffic across to Angel’s building.
He remembered that the first time he and Kate had met about the case, she had told him that Angel lived in the basement of the building. Well if Angel could show up at his doorstep, then why couldn’t he show up at Angel’s?
There was a sunken entrance to an underground garage around the side of the building. Booker glanced around to make sure that no one was peeking out of any office windows, then strolled down the driveway, trying to be quick and casual at the same time. There was no one else in the garage and he quickly found a passage in the corner that led up a couple steps before leveling off.
There was a sliding metal warehouse door just off of the landing. Booker tried to ease it open, but it creaked loudly as the door slid against its rusty frame. He cringed. Not as stealthy as he would have wanted.
It led him into a dark apartment. He frowned as he looked around. Besides the massive amounts of ancient weaponry mounted on the walls, the obvious basement setting, and the conspicuous lack of light, it was not a bad place. There was a kitchen, a sunken living room, and a closed door in the back that presumably led to a bedroom.
“Huh,” he muttered aloud. Not the typical Los Angeles basement apartment.
Angel was nowhere to be found, so Booker took the opportunity to inspect the unusual wall decorations. There were weapons of every kind: knives, swords, axes, sais, crossbows. They might have been antique, but they were still very sharp.
They also all looked slightly used. When Booker looked closer at them, he noticed that there was no settled dust on the mountings. Either Angel was awfully clean or the weapons were regularly taken down.
There was an armoire near the closed door with one door slightly ajar. Carefully, Booker tapped it open just enough to see inside. More weapons and a few old books.
An odd shiver came over him as he looked around the dark empty apartment. Maybe Ioki had been right. Maybe he was getting in too far over his head. Angel lived in a basement full of sharp medieval battle-axes. Something was very wrong with Angel Investigations.
Suddenly he was afraid. Rational or irrational, Booker didn’t care. All he wanted was to get back out into the sunlight and take his rental car back to the valley. He had one hand on the door when a voice behind him stopped him.
He spun around to see Angel standing in the doorway that had been closed. He had no choice but to stand his ground. “Hey Angel,” he said, flashing the grin that had gotten him grief from so many police captains. “Nice place you got here.”
Angel blinked, as if he had just woken up, and walked into the living room. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, you dropped by my apartment so I thought I’d return the favor.”
Angel had a very intense look. He kept his eyes trained on Booker as he slowly circled the living room. “What are you really after, Mr. Booker?” he asked.
Booker glanced nervously at the large scimitar just behind Angel’s left shoulder. “I’m just doing my job. You’re a private investigator, right? You know the drill.”
Angel nodded slowly. “I know the drill.” He idly ran a hand over the handle of a crossbow on the wall. “Kate hired you,” he said.
There was no use in denying it. “She thinks there’s something odd about you,” Booker told him. Then he laughed. “Can you blame her?”
That was not the best plan. Angel’s glare darkened. “Leave her alone,” he growled.
Something flickered in Angel’s eyes. “You don’t want to know or what.”
They stared at each other for a minute, then Booker shrugged. “She’s a big girl. She can decide who she wants to be friends with.”
Angel took a step toward him. “Do not hurt her.”
“Me hurt her?” Booker sneered. “I’m not the one who lives in a weapons museum.”
“I’m a collector,” Angel deadpanned.
Before Booker had the opportunity to throw another retort in Angel’s face, Angel had him against the wall with an arm across his throat. “You do not want to get involved here,” he hissed. “Trust me.”
Angel was surprisingly strong. “Try me,” Booker managed to say before balling up a fist and hitting Angel in the temple.
Angel released him and stumbled back, his head bent out of sight. Booker gasped for the welcome breath and massaged his throat. “Is this how you greet all of your houseguests?” he asked.
But Angel did not reply. Instead, he straightened up and his face was visible again. Booker felt his blood run cold. Angel’s eyes had turned yellow, his eyebrows grown into bony ridges, and his teeth elongated into fangs.