Disclaimer: I don't own Reaper or Angel. If I did, Reaper would still be on, and Angel would too. Enjoy the story.
Being a receptionist sucked. Really, totally sucked. Long stretches of boredom, little pay, especially when you work for a little four-person agency, and even worse, no dental. Actually, lack of dental wasn’t so bad. The real problem was the lack of pay, which led to a lack of fashion magazines. How could one stay up to date on the latest trends that you could not afford if you could not afford the magazines to sigh over said trends in the first place?
“And then, the demon ate Angel and turned me into a vampire. The end.”
“Huh? What?” Shaking her head, Cordelia banished thoughts about the new Italian haircut that was so popular this season from her head. The young lady found that doing so was not the greatest idea, especially when you are only a few inches from one of the many columns in the newly refurbished Hyperion Hotel.
“Owww…Gunn, did you have to do that?”
Her fellow co-worker smiled. Cordelia liked it when he did that. He was…new. Well, not really new; he had been working with them for
a few months already. But still. She had known Angel for three years now; and she had had a crush on Wesley since he first came from England. Thank God he was such a bad kisser; otherwise, she’d have never seen how much a …not good boyfriend material-person he was. But Gunn was different. He was ripped, and tall, and he had a bald head that you really really wanted to rub like a genie’s lamp and…
“You’re not paying attention to me again, are you?”
“I wish for a million dollars and a lifetime subscription to Fashion…I mean yes. I am totally paying attention to you.”
The raised eyebrow was Gunn’s only reply.
“Okay…look. I have thoughts. And they’re in my head, and I think I’m getting smarter because I’m thinking about more things all the time. It isn’t my fault I get distracted. It’s my thoughts. Now, what were you saying?”
It was a good thing that few people save the truly desperate came to the headquarters of Angel Investigations. The sheer amount of back-talk, and distractions and the complex relationships that had inevitably emerged when a former rich girl turned receptionist seeking to become and actress, a former Watcher turned rogue demon hunter, a man straight from the ghettos of LA, and a centuries old vampire with a guilty conscience tried to run a business together. The team’s surface of unprofessionalism would have scared away potential clients. Not that not having potential clients was in any way better, of course.
“I just was saying, that there was this comic that had this really good idea. I think we could use it somehow.”
“Sure. Regale me with the thrilling tales from Spider-Man, oh great glorious master.”
Gunn held out a hand in protest. “I’m serious. I think this is big. See, what you do, is summon a really powerful demon lord, and sell him your soul--”
“You have to be kidding me, right? Hello? It’s ‘We help the helpless’, not ‘demon lord soul hookers extraordinaire.”
“Let me finish. So then, you summon another powerful demon, who comes from another hell dimension, and sell him your soul as well. Then you repeat the process three times, and bingo. You can’t die, because if you die, they each have to claim your soul. And they can’t claim your soul because the other two want it as well. So they have to keep you alive, or there’ll be war between hell dimensions. Great, isn’t it?”
A set of approaching footsteps, and a British voice that reeked of Oxford put that theory to rest. “It would never work. Demons that powerful are able to tell if somebody has a claim to your soul. And besides…the three most powerful demons are already working together.”
The three in the lobby each paused for a moment at the mention of Wolfram and Hart. The law firm, which they had initially assumed to merely be an evil corporation, was actually run by three powerful demons. This information had only cost them their team harmony, and a brief firing by the missing member of their little group.
“So where is Angel, anyway?” Gunn spoke up. It wasn’t like the vampire to be this quiet. Or this…absent. Even if he technically worked for them, he was still their leader, in fact if not in name. The dead guy had the most experience out of any of them; aside from ego, that simple fact was the most important factor in determining who actually led their field missions.
“He’s asleep. It’s near sundown, now; he should be waking up soon.” Wesley Wyndam-Price frowned. He hadn’t really trusted Angel at first. As a new, inexperienced Watcher, puffed up full of pride and arrogance, the dark mysterious figure that had held such a strange relationship with his Slayer was definitely not to be trusted. Until, of course, he had gotten his life saved by the man. Over and over again. But even after he was fired from the Watcher’s council, and eventually came to work for Angel, he hadn’t quite trusted him. Some old prejudice, perhaps; taking orders from a vampire just didn’t seem natural. But now that he was (nominally) in charge, he saw things differently. How many times had they needed Angel’s help, looked to him for guidance when the chips were down? How often had he delegated his leadership to Angel, knowing in his heart that the older man was simply better for the job? Maybe his father was right. Maybe he wasn’t cut out to be a leader, or a Watcher, or anything really.
A sudden scream broke Wesley’s reverie. Cordelia had dropped to the floor, curled in the fetal position, hands clutching at her head, and writhing in pain. Gunn and Wesley immediately knelt down; there was little they could do about the pain the visions caused, but they could at least try to restrain her, keep her from hurting herself. Trying and doing, however, were entirely different.
She was in the Hyperion, standing, floating in the lobby. Angel was relaxing in one of the lounge chairs, laughing and sipping a cup filled with pig’s blood. Around him, Gunn was polishing his axe; Wesley had his head engrossed in a book. Behind the vampire loomed a man dressed in black robes; the cowl pulled over his head. The man’s hands reached towards the sky; a void swirled between his hands. The lobby began to smell of sulfur and brimstone; a scythe emerged and was grasped by the robed man’s hands. The man stared at Cordelia, and she though she could not see his face, the young lady got the impression he was smiling. The scythe slashed through Angel’s midsection; he gasped and writhed in pain. And then, putting to a finger to his lips, the man left. And something else was looking through Angel’s eyes…
*********Don’t Fear the Reaper*********
Sock stared at the closed bathroom door. The man, who could be described by others as “slightly overweight” but described himself as “a trophy with a built in cushion and love handles to match” slouched on the worn couch. His hair, which had been styled to vaguely resemble a either a Mohawk or fire, needed to get highlighted again. Blond at the edges, and brown at the roots. He was definitely going with dirty blonde next time.
“He’s been in there for half an hour.”
On the couch to his right, Ben was lying down on his stomach. His back hurt far too much for him to put any pressure on it. The perils of having a super-strong demonic girlfriend with a kind heart but clumsy fingers. The fact that she was used to the fires of Hell did not help either; her idea of “warm” and Ben’s idea of “scalding hot hot HOT” were far too similar. The man’s normally brown skin was marred with patches of healing pink. His signature black ponytail, which was loose due to his frizzy hair, had almost been melted off. At least his ‘stache and soul patch were intact. Nina didn’t need him to tell her that massaging one’s face was unnecessary. Or so he hoped.
“So? The man has to do his business. Where’s the aloe vera?”
“Is that what that green stuff was? I thought it was shaving cream. My bad, Benji. My bad. But we haven’t heard anything from him.
No grunts, no self-encouragement…not even a courtesy flush. I bet he’s seeing the Devil now. Lucky bastard.”
“Sock…can you stop thinking about that? I am in pain here. And Nina flew off crying after I started screaming.”
“Right.” Sock grabbed the bottle of kid’s pain medication(it was on sale) and held it out to Ben. “Drink this. All of it.”
A few minutes later, and Ben trusted himself enough to try to get to a sitting position. It didn’t work.
“I don’t know what you see in her, Benji. I mean, yeah, she’s hot, but still.”
“This is coming from the man who had sex with his stepsister.”
“Yeah…I know. It was great.”
“You are disgusting.”
“Then explain why I can burp the entire greek alphabet, and when I was born, the nurse slapped my parents.”
“I don’t need to. You just proved my point.”
Offended by the blasphemy against his person, Sock decided to prove Ben wrong. He wasn’t disgusting. Not at all. The Work Bench’s worst employee picked up the remote, and flicking through the DVR selections, picked the movie he had recorded last night.
“Alright, Benji. Explain this, then. See? British MILF Sluts 5. Classy. Hey; I think your ex-wife from your green-card marriage is in
“...I hate you.”
*********Don’t Fear the Reaper*********
The Devil smiled as he faced his son.
“It’s dad now? Feeling some fatherly affection for your old man? Trying to get into his good graces? Because you are on thin ice,
Sammy. Trying to break free from your contract…for shame. If you’re going to betray me, at least do it properly. At least then I’d be proud of you.”
Sam stared right back at his father. Glared would be more accurate, actually.
“Actually, I was hoping you’d be annoyed at it. Giving you a nickname, a common nickname…I was appealing to your massively inflated sense of ego.”
The smile turned into a beam. “Psychological warfare, Sammy? You make me really proud of you sometimes, you know that?”
“Now you’re just fighting dirty.”
The Devil washed away all protestations with a wave of his hand. “It’s what I do. Now, then. To business.”
The next instant, Sam found himself sitting down in the cheap folding chair across from the Devil’s desk. Said leather-bound desk was probably worth more than he made in a year.
“I have your next assignment, Sam. Another escaped soul; a repeat offender, no less! He’s a crafty one, too. You should feel honored that I’m trusting you with this opportunity.”
Normally, when Sam was assigned to send a soul back to Hell, he would receive a short file on said soul’s life. Pictures of the soul for reference, notes on his habits, his special abilities, his life on Earth…and most importantly, his general area of operation. Most escaped souls wreaked their destruction across a fairly small scale; two or three blocks in Seattle at most. In such a large city, that information was crucial to capturing the soul before too much damage was caused. Not the devil particularly cared about innocents, of course. Well, actually, Sam realized, in a twisted way, he did. Every innocent that died as a result of an escaped soul was a soul that probably hadn’t been tempted enough to go to Hell. It wasn’t merely the idea that a punished soul should remain in Perdition for all time (though that did indeed play a large role), but that the only human worth killing was one who was going to be going to Hell.
Instead of the short manila envelope, though, Sam was shocked to see the Devil reach under the desk to pull out a very thick briefcase, the sort that lawyers used to store legal documents and reference books. The Lord of Hell smiled at Sam’s look of shock. But it was a brief smile, and it soon vanished, to be replaced by an utterly inhumane expression. His eyes stared into Sam’s soul, judging it, exploring every crack and crevice of every cranny. Once, he was known as the Lightbringer, the most powerful of the angels. He still retained that power, if not his former function.
“I told you. I want this soul, Sam. I want it real bad.”
Sam swallowed, and his hand shook as he grasped the case.
“What…what’s his name?”
Sam found himself clutching the case with both hands as he was forcibly teleported back into his downstairs bathroom. Face pale, he stared at the mirror above the sink, only to find that it showed not his reflection, but that of his father. It whispered one word, before vanishing. Before Sam collapsed shaking onto the floor.