Dinza had answered all of Cole's questions. He now knew how this dimension worked, what Wolfram & Hart were doing here, what Angel's little group were trying to do. Dinza had even let him go afterwards, which, as far as he knew, was something that had never happened before except for the Source's occasional visits. She had said that his actions could result in either "many things being lost all at once, or for several important things to be lost, and then things to carry on as they are." Which Cole didn't understand but found understandably unnerving.
Cole couldn't shimmer back to his home dimension, although he tried several times. Different planes on the same dimension, sure, Cole could manage that easily enough, but shifting dimensions entirely was beyond his power. Which meant that the only way he was likely to be able to return to his own dimension would be to do what Cyvus and Lindsey wanted him to do.
Oddly, Cole found that he didn't want to go back, at least not right away. Dinza had explained to him that the rules of this dimension didn't exactly apply to him - apparently that was why he had brought here in the first place, because Drusilla-the-Seer couldn't see him - so that meant that Cole could do things that others couldn't.
Which was good, because Cole considered Wolfram & Hart's attempts to corrupt the population of the planet to be abhorrent. You just don't do
that. He believed that they should continue in the vein of the Wolf, Ram, and Hart that he knew, better known as the Triad, and try to eliminate all do-gooder witches and their ilk, leaving the planet unprotected and ignorant, so they can feed on it and use it for whatever the demonic rulers deemed it should be used for. Because what good was it if the population was evil? What did it get
On the other hand, Cole didn't really want to join the do-gooders of this dimension in trying to bring down the abominable institution, if only because he was evil and proud to be so. He hadn't spent his century of life killing and torturing to see it thrown away because the entirety of evil in this dimension were focusing their efforts on something that he considered pointless.
Basically, what it came down to was that Cole still didn't know what he was going to do. He was disinclined to work for either party, but he wasn't interested in staying on the fence. No, Cole had never been a neutral demon-man, he had always come firmly down on one side or other of the numerous power struggles that the history of the Underworld was riddled with. It had gotten him in trouble more often than not, but that was all part of the fun.
So Cole thought the best option would be to go and pay a visit to each of the concerned parties and give them a chance to convince him to work for them. Because, if he had understood Dinza correctly, the magic that was prevalent in this dimension didn't work on him, so the only way that they could do anything to him would be to do it physically, and it is nigh on impossible to catch someone who can shimmer if he doesn't want to be caught.
Cole thought he'd pay a visit to that slimy lawyer, Lindsey, first.
Lindsey was in the middle of talking to a demon who had taken to killing prostitutes, and trying to force him to stop - it had been hard enough to convince the world that Jack the Ripper had been human (it had involved several witnesses being... silenced.) without it happening again now - and thinking of how he would gloat to Lilah when he saw her next when what looked like a heat mirage appeared by the door - the only door in the room - and condensed into Cole.
Cole didn't revert to his demonic appearance. He just lent close to the heavily scaled, deceptively turtle-like demon and said, in a quiet, conversational voice "Get out." The demon did, without a second thought, much to Lindsey's surprise. He hadn't thought the demon was much on the intelligence front.
Lindsey sat back in his chair and gave Cole a nonchalant look over his steepled fingers. "What can I do for you?" he said, conversationally. He wasn't about to escalate the tone of the discussion with someone who could teleport in one the most secure buildings on the planet.
Cole didn't take a chair, but settled for sitting on Lindsey's desk instead, if only because it clearly annoyed Lindsey. There was also the added bonus that he was still covering the only exit from the room, and there wasn't a desk between the two. Of course, Cole was sure that Lindsey had to have some kind of secret alarm somewhere about the place, but he would be long gone by the time the cavalry arrived.
"Tell me why I should work for you." said Cole plainly.
Lindsey was surprised. Of all the things that he might have expected Cole to say, that certainly hadn't been one of them. "I did mention that it's the only way you're going to get back home, didn't I?" he answered.
"Yes, you did, but I didn't mean that. Tell me why I should work for Wolfram & Hart. Why I should do this thing for you. Why I should do this thing for an organization whose goal is, to me, both pointless and obscene." said Cole. Normally, he wasn't much for the philosophizing - although to decide which faction to back in the Underworld did involve some, to a small degree - but to back either side seemed to Cole to be against his values. Perhaps all this talk of souls has stirred up the one that he had almost forgotten he had.
Lindsey laughed. He couldn't help it, and couldn't stop even when Cole scowled at him menacingly. It was several minutes before he could get a hold of himself. "You - you
, an evil demon, want me, a lawyer for an evil law firm, to convince you that working with us is the right thing to do? You want me to talk to you about ethics
"Yes." said Cole. There was nothing else he felt it necessary to say.
To his great surprise, Lindsey was struck dumb. Why should Cole do this? He knew why he, Lindsey, was doing what he was doing. The wealth and power he got from his position were obvious incentives. But why should Cole do anything? All he'd get was sent back home, which, if he was even here asking this at all, obviously wasn't much of an enticement. "You want more for your work? Like what? Name your price." Lindsey said.
Cole shook his head. Lindsey didn't get it, he was too materialistic. Cole didn't want to be bribed to fight - he never had, he had gained a reputation in the Underworld as being unbribable. He only fought for factions when he believed in their ideology. Lindsey was the wrong man to talk to. He needed to talk to someone further up the food chain.
Cole shimmered, letting his magic take him where he needed to be.
Like Lindsey, Holland had been involved with a demon - a pair of them, actually - but unlike Lindsey, the pair that Holland were dealing with were important. They were emissaries of the Scourge, and the mere fact that these demon-supremacists were dealing with a human at all was a testament to the power of Wolfram & Hart.
Of course, this went way over Cole's head. He just thought the demon pair were another pair of insignificant demons, and sought to deal them in much the same manner as the one in Lindsey's office.
"No, you will be the one to leave, half-breed. Whether in pieces or by your own volition is your choice. Hurry, before I make it for you." said one, the spokesdemon to whom Holland had spent the past half an hour talking to. Holland wasn't entirely sure what the second demon was doing here, but judging by the insignia on his uniform he was a powerful member of the Scourge.
Cole didn't bother to make a return threat. He hadn't killed something for hours, and all of a sudden the need to do so grew inside of him, so Cole merely summoned an energy-ball and incinerated the offending demon on the spot. He summoned another and then said to the other demon "Now, I suggest that you get going, don't you?"
The demon looked at the ashes of its fallen comrade and said "Indeed. But don't think that this will go unpunished, half-breed. We will find you, and you will die." with that, the demon sauntered out.
Holland watched him go, and hoped that it would relay the information about the clan of Lister demons. Holland had hoped to make the Scourge into an ally of the firm, but alas that seemed unlikely now. At the very least if Wolfram & Hart needed to draw on their unique services again, they could mention this in the hope that it scored some goodwill points.
Then Holland turned his attention the interloper. He knew who he was, of course, a man of his position would be a fool not to monitor the office of a potential rival like Lindsey. The fact that he did it magically and that he could access 'footage' mentally was of no consequence.
"Tell me, Mr Turner, do you not have any problems with beings of good in your dimension?" Holland asked smoothly.
Cole wasn't impressed. He'd seen enough spying techniques - in fact, he had used his shadow as a spy often enough - not to be impressed by the speed at which Holland's worked. "Of course."
"Now, consider if they were all on your side. Consider that all the mighty Champions who slay your kind whenever and wherever they encounter them, and then consider all these Champion's aiding you instead. Can you imagine that?"
Now Cole was impressed. That seemed to strike at the core of the doubts and the disgust that he held for the primary evil institution in this dimension. But not all of them. "Then why do you make an effort to corrupt everyone? Why not concentrate your efforts specifically on those who oppose you?"
"Who knows where a Champion might spring up?" said Holland simply. He felt that he had made his point.
So did Cole, so he left.
There's a surprising amount of thinking that one can do while shimmering, given that it takes perhaps a second to arrive at one's destination. Perhaps one's cognitive functions sped up in such a case.
Cole used the time to mull over what Holland had told him. Apparently, what they were trying to do here was similar to what was happening in his home dimension, but instead of killing the opposition, they corrupted it instead.
It made sense. The enemies of today could be valuable allies tomorrow. But Cole knew that they would never integrate into demonic society, they would cause too many upsets, would never be trusted. But then, things were different here.
Nevertheless, Cole found himself hoping that Angel and his gang could come up with a good reason as to why he should work for them. He still found what Wolfram & Hart were doing distasteful, at the very least.
Angel was only mildly surprised when Cole turned up, and that was mainly because he had never seen anyone appear in quite the same way as Cole just had. Angel had expected that he would be seeing him again.
Cordelia and Doyle were out searching for the abandoned warehouse that Cordelia had seen in her vision, whilst Angel stayed in his office keeping an eye on Drusilla, who was currently staring at the ceiling with one hand over one eye and humming. Angel had long ago decided not to ask what she was doing. Anyway, it wasn't like he could do anything else while the sun was up.
"You ready to tell us who you are yet?" Angel said calmly. He was beginning to suspect that he wasn't with Wolfram & Hart, if only because he rather suspected that any of them would gladly admit to being lawyers, but also because he was pretty sure that none of them could teleport (except maybe the flaming assailant who had popped by earlier. Angel supposed it might have been sent by Wolfram & Hart) with the accustomed ease of the demon before him.
"No, not quite yet. I have a question to ask you first." said Cole.
Angel's eyes narrowed in suspicion. He noticed that Drusilla was staring at Cole with an exceptionally strange expression on her face. "Go ahead. I might not answer it though." he said.
"Why do you fight?" asked Cole, just as plainly as he had said the earlier similar question to Lindsey.
"What?" said Angel, just as surprised as Lindsey had been.
Cole elucidated. "Against overwhelming odds, against an enemy that you cannot hope to beat. Why fight? Why not join them, as they clearly want you to do?"
Angel hadn't a clue as to why Cole was asking him this question, but he never passed up a chance to sway a disillusioned Wolfram & Hart lawyer, even if he wasn't sure that Cole was one. "Do you believe in destiny?" Angel asked. Drusilla snorted for some reason, before resuming her ceiling-watch.
"Oh, yes, of course. I've met some of those that make it work." Cole answered, mildly bemused about the way this conversation was going.
Angel was just as bemused by Cole's statement - who made destiny work? - but he let it pass. "I knew a girl once, who according to prophecy was meant to die at the hands of a powerful vampire. She fought it, wanted to run away, but she realised that if she did that, then a lot more would die. So she followed the prophecy and went to her death."
Angel wasn't particularly sure where he was going with the tale of Buffy's death. He felt that he had to give more of an answer than the standard "because it's the right thing to do" that he might normally say.
Cole did understand, though. Or at least he understood it in his own way. "The result doesn't matter to you. Whether you live or die, it’s not important to you, is it? It's the fight, the making a difference."
Angel thought it over. "Sure that's as good a way as putting it as any."
Cole smiled, and made his decision. Wolfram & Hart be damned.
Author's note: I wanted to come up with a believable reason as to why Cole wouldn't work for Wolfram & Hart. Given that he does have a soul and thus some ethical sense, this seemed as good a way as any. I hope it was realistic enough.
Also, for the purposes of this story, Quor'toth and Pylea and any other dimensions mention in the Buffyverse are in fact other planes of existence.