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Exit Strategy

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Summary: What if Lindsey hadn't had his 'evil hand' moment at the revaluation? Without him leaving, he'd get the promotion, and Lilah...would be cut. Fortunately, Lilah Morgan has an Exit Strategy. One that Involves Angel Investigations, and a lot of stolen files.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralAlkeniFR151450,0981368,7015 Nov 1316 Dec 14No

Once More, Into the Dimensional Breach

Disclaimer: I do not own Angel the Series.

Thanks to Starway Man, my Beta

Author Notes: Yes, I am aware there is a lot of rehashing of scenes from the show, including ripping a lot of lines straight from the episode itself. I normally don't do that, but sometimes it's just the nature of the fic that it's not really avoidable.

Exit Strategy

By Alkeni

Chapter 6: Once More, Into the Dimensional Breach

Hyperion Hotel, Los Angeles
7:41 am, May 3rd, 2001

From her vantage point standing behind the circular couch in the center of the Hyperion's lobby, Lilah watched as Angel began is interrogation of 'Lorne', even as Wesley brought out yet another stack of books to continue his research.

There's no way the Host can be 'Deathwok Clan'. He sings! Lilah rolled her eyes as that thought crossed through her mind again, then she turned her attention back to the 'Angel Is Losing It' Show playing out right in front of her. Damnit. Even if I had popcorn, I wouldn't be able to eat it... Lilah's hands were still cuffed, which was getting more than a little bit annoying. Well, at least they were cuffed in front of her.

“Start talking.” Angel demanded, looking Lorne right in the eyes.

“About my home dimension?” Lorne nodded dramatically, gesturing with his hands as he went on. “Okay, sure. Let's see. I was there. I came here. I like here. I don't wanna go there. So is that all?” Lorne started to stand up from the couch. “Because I have to go clean up my club.”

Angel wasn't having any of that. “Sit.” Biting his tongue, Lorne dropped back down onto the couch, apparently not wanting to argue against Angel's glare. “Let's start simple. How did you get from your world to here?”

“Through a portal.” Lorne answered, shrugging as the vampire looked away in concern.

“And how did you open that portal?” Angel asked the obvious next question, looking back up from the desk at Lorne with...something feral, almost, in his eyes.

Lorne answered that one with deceptive simplicity. “I didn't.”

Of course, because that would make everything too easy. Lilah looked towards Wesley, ready to all but beg him to take the damn handcuffs off, but to no avail – the ex-Watcher was too busy with the latest book he was checking. Somebody get these things off of me, because I'm about to go postal here...

Looking over to Wesley for a moment, Angel looked back to Lorne, annoyance creeping into his tone as he said. “You're not helping me here.”

Lorne let out a soft sigh. “Look, it's no secret that I hate Pylea.”

Angel stood up straight at hearing that word, coming up around the desk. “Pylea.”

“My home dimension-” Lorne started to continue, but Lilah interrupted, curiosity getting the better of her. 

“How the hell are you from Pylea? I mean, you sing. Which is supposed to be impossible for someone like you, isn't it?” the female attorney wanted to know. 

Lorne looked over towards her, just as incredulous as the other two that she knew that bit of information. 

Wesley spoke first, setting down another book he'd started to check. “You know about Lorne's home dimension? And you choose now to say something about it?”

“Oh, give me a break, Wesley - I didn't know it was his world. I'm not an expert on the place, and besides - he sings.” Lilah gestured towards Lorne as best she could with her hands cuffed together. “So sue me, I didn't make the connection until after I heard the name 'Pylea' just now.”

“Lilah. What does singing have to do with anything?” Angel demanded.

“Well, gee, champ, funny thing. There's no music in Pylea.” Lilah explained, smirking in a way that would have sent Angel's blood pressure soaring if he'd had a functional heart.

“No music?” Wesley's full attention was the conversation playing out in front him, rather than the books, finally. Lilah took that as a positive sign. And now, hopefully, a chance to get these damn cuffs off.

No music.” Lorne confirmed, standing up from the couch again. “It doesn't exist. Well, not there it doesn't, anyway. Do you know what that's like?” Lorne looked over towards Angel, though the demon was as much looking past him, to the sunlit courtyard outside. “No lullabies, no love songs.” Angel all but rolled his eyes, exasperation clearly written across his features, but Lorne kept going. 

“All my life, I thought I was crazy. That I had ghosts in my head or something. Simply because I could hear music, and no one else could.” A slight wistfulness entered his tone as Lorne hasted to explain more fully. “Of course, back then I didn't know it was music. All I knew was that it was something beautiful and - and painful - and right. And I was the only one who could hear it. Then I wound up here and heard Aretha for the fist time...well...” 

Lorne let out a soft laugh, but then his tone and expression grew grave again. “Don't kid yourselves. Cordy's in a very bad place.” The anagogic demon sat back down on the couch, hands on his knees.

“Because they don't have music?” Angel, of course, didn't get it from Lorne's perspective.

Lilah rolled her eyes. “Could you at least try not to live down to my expectations of you, you undead moron? It's not just because of that. Pylea's a bad place for any human to be, and for more reasons than just the lack of music!”

“What do you know about that world?” Wesley asked her, even as he started going through the books again, one eye still on the proceedings before him.

Lilah held up her hands in front of her, rattling the handcuffs slightly. “Take these off and I'll tell you what I know.”

“We're not bargaining with you. Talk.” Angel all but snarled at her.

“Or what? You'll torture me into confessing everything I know?” Lilah smiled at Angel, who visibly struggled not to go into his game face. “Wow. When the chips are down, some Champion for the Powers you are...”

“Angel, calm down.” Wesley said in a tool of cool reproach, as the vampire glared at the prisoner. “Unlock her cuffs.” He tossed a key to Angel. The vampire caught it on instinct, then, glaring at Lilah, he walked over to the lawyer and released her. Lilah smirked and tossed the handcuffs onto the couch.

“Now. Talk.” Angel ordered, taking a step back from her, but he looked ready to go at her immediately if he needed to – or just felt like it.

Lilah rolled her eyes at the 'macho' display and began her explanation. “Pylea is a hell dimension the Senior Partners took over a few thousand years ago. Well, 'hell' being a relative term of course; the place is more woodsy than hellfire and brimstone, but that's the official designation, anyway. So the Senior Partners overthrew the reigning monarchy back then, and set up an elite priesthood to run the place in their name. They call themselves the Covenant of Trombli. Deathwok and Gathwok are the main species of demon there – as well as a whole host of human slaves.”

Wolfram and Hart are the ones behind the Covenant...?” Lorne looked at her in amazement, but then shook his head, almost amused. “Well. That explains a lot.”

“Anything else? Anything that we can use?” Angel demanded. “Like how to get there?”

“No.” Lilah replied. “Look, I'm no expert on the place; all I know, it's just information I came across while I was trawling through various files looking for the blackmail material I ended up using to get out of Wolfram and Hart. I didn't spend that much time reading the file. I mean, if you're that interested, we could always break into the building and get ourselves killed trying to find our way there...” 

“Not funny. You'll notice I'm not laughing.” Angel glared at her. “Damn it, Lilah, Cordelia's in trouble. Give me something I can use!

Lilah paused, thinking. After a minute, she added. “You'll want to go there armed. Bring a gun or two, or maybe even something with bigger firepower if you can get something. Like Lorne can tell you, the place is pretty medieval in terms of technology.”

Lorne shrugged, as all eyes turned to him. “Well, hey, when the lady's right, she's right. Swords, axes, crossbows, the most high-tech thing I can think of they have there is a catapult.”

Then Lilah looked thoughtful. “Hang on, I remember something about rebels. Human slaves that had escaped and were fighting – ineptly – against the Covenant. The Senior Partners were considering sending some troops to help the locals deal with it. If I'm remembering right, upper management had decided the rebels weren't enough of a threat yet.”

“See, now that's something useful.” Angel threw up a hand a moment, then turned back to face Lorne, walking a bit away from Lilah. “Okay, this portal that brought you from Pylea to here. What do you know about it? How did you find it?”

“I don't know nothing, pudding, and I didn't find it. It found me! I'm alone in the woods one day, five years ago, when suddenly, this...shimmering thing appears right in front of me. Of course, I have no idea what it is, but when I get closer to take a look – the forest goes all bendy, and whoosh,” Lorne snapped his fingers. “I'm in an abandoned building, in this dimension, which I love and adore and will never, never, never, never leave.”

“But then who,” Angel snapped, “opened the portal?”

Lorne held up a closed hand. “Gift horse.” He opened his hand and looked in the opposite direction. “Mouth.” He dropped his hand and looked back towards Angel.

“It's cold!” Wesley said in a strangely triumphant tone, looking up from one of his books.

“What?” Angel's brow furrowed in confusion. “So put on a sweater.”

Wesley just stared at him for a moment, his mind on a completely different wavelength. “No. No, no, no. The hotspot is cold.” Lilah openly cracked a smile at the confused looks on Lorne and Angel's faces, as Wesley came around from behind the desk and started to explain. “Certain geographical areas are rife with psychic energy. These areas tend to function as...” He groped at the air, as if searching for the right words. “dimensional hotspots, natural gateways between worlds. I'm guessing Caritas is one such spot. But the catch is..."

“Oh, gotta have one of those.” Angel drawled before Lilah could beat him to it.

“Creating a portal tends to deplete a hotspot of its psychic energy.” Wesley finished his explanation.

“And you already created one in that particular nightclub.” Lilah noted. “Which would explain why-”

“Why you couldn't open a second portal at Caritas, Angel. The hotspot was cold.” Wesley concluded, finishing off Lilah's sentence.

“See?” Angel said, sounding almost pleased. “I was right about the batteries.”

Trust Angel to simplify it down to that level. Lilah commented internally. And it looks like I'm going into another dimension with these people? Oh, God...

Well, it was either that or stay here and face all manner of unpleasant possibilities. Like starving to death. He might not kill her, but Lilah didn't doubt Wesley would make sure she didn't escape from the hotel if she refused to go to Pylea with him; worst case scenario, he'd order Angel to break both her legs so that she couldn't even crawl away. Crap. 

On the other hand, Pylea. Hostile demon dimension, run by that so-called Covenant. Going there with Angel's Avengers didn't exactly appeal, even if the two-way trip shouldn't take long. But Lilah really didn't want to find out what would happen, if something went wrong with the plan – or if they would just hand her off to someone or something else. Oh damn it, too much longer around these 'heroes' and I'm going to lose it.

“The same probably applies to the hotspot in the library.” Wesley thought aloud, pacing a little.

“Why not wait until the portal recharges, then?” Lorne asked, looking from Wesley to Angel.

“That could take days.” Lilah pointed out. “Or less, or more. Unless you have some way of knowing, Wesley?” She raised an eyebrow.

Wesley shook his head. “No. Besides, Cordelia may not have that long. We need a fresh hotspot, right now, but that's not our only problem.”

“Of course it's not.” Angel complained. 

Lilah curled her lip at him derisively. What did you think, Angel? Portals aren't the same thing as simply gassing up the car and driving off. Really, how had this guy ever beaten Wolfram and Hart on anything?

“When separate entities enter a dimensional portal they tend to – well – separate.” Wesley moved his hands farther apart, as if to illustrate a point that needed no illustration. “Assuming we find another hotspot, and manage to open another portal to Pylea, if we simply jump in...we could end up literally on opposite ends of the world.”

“That means Landok and Cordy...” Lorne started, following Wesley's logic. “They didn't arrive together.”

“She really is alone.” Angel said softly. 

Before Angel could say anything else, Gunn walked into the lobby. “Hey.”

“Gunn, where have you been – we spoke hours ago?” Wesley wanted to know.

“Sorry.” Gunn said as an answer. “I had things to deal with.”

“No, it's okay. It's fine.” Wesley gestured to Angel. “Would you bring him up to date?” Then he looked over to Lilah. “Since you're not handcuffed anymore – for the moment – you can help me with the research.”

Lilah looked at him pointedly, then to the stacks of books. 

“Unless you'd care to be handcuffed again, don't say it. Don't even think it; I'm seriously not in the mood for your issues!”

Sighing and glaring at the Englishman, Lilah followed him back over behind the desk, only half listening to the conversation between Gunn and Angel, then the latter’s conversation with Lorne. Way to show your loyalty, Charlie. And what's with that look on your face? You'd think somebody just died... 

Oh well, Lilah was fairly confident it wouldn't be a one-way trip. Assuming they lived through all the dangers, of course. The Senior Partners would have left the Covenant some way to travel to other dimensions, in case of emergency or if there was a need to contact them or their agents on other worlds. And if worse came to worst, she just needed to find out what that way was.

Hyperion Hotel, Los Angeles
11:48 am, May 3rd, 2001

Lilah was no stranger to research, of course, but she had no experience with the way Wesley did it. The man had a capacity to hop from one book to another, checking references and comparing details with an almost frantic speed, and still retaining a coherent train of thought with each tome he consulted. By now, she was pretty sure they'd opened just about every book in the hotel, all of them strewn about everywhere – on the desk, on the stairs leading to the upper levels of the hotel, on the couch, and especially on the floor.

Lilah had since given up on trying to keep up with Wesley's pace – or perhaps more accurately, his style – of research. She was still 'helping' him, checking over some of the books, but she wasn't exactly checking them all that hard. Fortunately, Wesley seemed too distracted to notice her minimal effort.

Both men were pacing, Wesley with a book in his hands, Angel just looking bored.

“I suppose,” Wesley started thinking out loud. “I could try a binding spell of some kind. Something that would fuse us together as we enter the portal.”

It took barely a second for Angel to latch onto that one. “Good, let's do that.”

Wesley looked over in Angel's direction. “However, we could emerge on the other side as...well, a single, freakishly hybridized, multi-headed creature.”

“Let's not go with that one then.” Lilah suggested.

Wesley started moving to another one of the puddles of open books. “You know, this is the third reference I've seen to iron or metal.” He crouched near the books and started to consult several. At once. “It could be a clue to as to how to prevent us from scattering.”

“What, we just handcuff ourselves together?” Angel asked, half-sarcastically, half-seriously. He looked over to the handcuffs that were lying on the floor. “Hey, Wes? Why do you have those cuffs, anyway? It's not like they'd be of much use against most of the demons we deal with.”

“Well-” Wesley started, then looked back at one of the books. “You never know when they'll come in useful, and not evil in this world is caused by demons.” Fortunately for Wesley, Angel wasn't looking at the former Watcher as he spoke just then.

Sure, Wesley. Sure... Lilah smirked just a little at that. She'd been wondering the same thing – even though she'd expected the more simple explanation that he'd gotten them after she'd moved in, in case they ever let her out of the hotel room they'd locked her into. This was more amusing, though.

“Besides, I'm not sure handcuffs would work.” Wesley added. “And I only have the one pair.”

“Then what will work, Wes?!” Angel demanded. “Damn it, it's been almost twelve hours!”

“A car.” Lilah cut into the conversation. I stand corrected. It really is that easy. “Get into a car and drive it through the portal.”

“Of course!” Wesley exclaimed. “She's right - if we're enclosed on all four sides by metal, there won't be any scattering effect.”

Angel seemed about to respond, but instead he looked past Wesley towards the door, and both Wesley and Lilah followed his gaze. She thought to herself. Gavin? Gavin Park? What the hell are you doing here​?

“What do you want?” Angel demanded, icily. He was able to tell from the clothing alone who the two new arrivals, that had entered the building without knocking, had to be.

“Angel.” Gavin Park said in a smooth, almost unassuming tone. “Good afternoon.”

“Lawyers.” Angel all but spat. He looked back towards Lilah, and then to the new arrivals. “Wasn't one in my hotel enough?”

Lilah held up her hands. “I'm not with them. I'm on your side now, remember?” Lilah didn't bother to keep a straight face while she said that, and laughing softly at Angel's expression of pure disbelief.

Gavin studiously ignored her. “I'm Gavin Park, and this is my associate Mr. Hayes.” He indicated the man standing next to him. “We represent Wolfram and-”

“Already bored.” Angel interrupted.

“We've come to appraise the hotel.” Gavin explained. At Angel's 'What?', Gavin continued. “Correct me if I'm wrong, but your lease expires in six months, and Wolfram and Hart is interested in purchasing this building.”

Lilah barely managed to stifle herself before she burst out laughing again. A fact that bothered her. She'd let her composure slip too much during the last week. Any slippage was too much. “That's your master plan, Gavin? Seriously? Annoying Angel into submission?”

Now Gavin looked to her. “Lilah, I'm not really sure what position you're in to have anything to say on the matter.”

“Maybe not.” Lilah countered with a smirk. “But I can say this: Lindsey is definitely going to eat you alive.” Hate the man or not, she'd always had respect for Lindsey's judgment and ability, though they had slipped some since he'd lost his hand and the...Darla episode. Gavin, though...he lacked imagination, to put it mildly. If they'd actually moved him to Special Projects to take her place...

Whoever's running the show there is obviously missing a whole lot of something. Or else, there's something happening behind the scenes that I'm not aware of, and I sure as hell don't like the sound of that.

Gavin went back to ignoring her and turned back to Angel. “We'd like to take a walk around the place, if you don't mind.” Gavin started towards the stairs leading up to the second floor, but drew up short as Angel snarled, wearing his vampiric face. 

“You think I mind?” The ensouled vampire rasped.

Gavin sighed, but didn't appear fazed. Unlike his associate Mr. Hayes. Park replied, “Very well. We'll contact your real estate company and notify them of your noncompliance. They should send you a notice of obligation. After that, if you still refuse to cooperate, well...” He let himself smirk a little. “I'm sure that somewhere in your lease agreement there must be one or two loopholes to be exploited.” Gavin turned and left the hotel along with the silent Mr. Hayes.

If Gavin's latest plan is the best they can come up with...Lilah rolled her eyes.

Out Front of a Movie Studio, Los Angeles
6:15 pm, May 3rd, 2001

This is an absolutely insane idea. Unfortunately, Lilah had no better ideas. Her options consisted of staying in L.A. while Angel and his merry band left to a hell dimension controlled by the Senior Partners...or going with them to said dimension. Both of which, as she very well knew, posed grave risks to her health and safety.

If I don't go, even if I don't get killed by Gavin or whatever idiot looking to build a career on my body... Well, the only chance she had at getting her mother out of Lindsey's hands lay in working with Angel Investigations, like it or not. Wherever Lindsey had her stashed, it wouldn't be anywhere she'd already known about. Lindsey would have abandoned any of his old safehouses following her defection. If she's even in L.A. Or in this dimension. Both were likely, but not certain.

“Here. Stop.” Lorne directed, and Angel pulled the car up short, hitting the brakes.

“Isn't this a movie studio?” The vampire looked around in confusion.

Lorne shrugged. “Makes a certain kind of sense, no? Anyway, this is where Aggie said it was, and she's never wrong when it comes to hotspots. She was doing sky bar way before-”

“We get the idea.” Lilah interrupted, already bored.

Lorne shot her a Look and then nodded to Wesley. “You got the book?” Wesley held it up. “Good. Hold that puppy tight, okay? It's bad enough I got to cross over. The last thing I wanna do is be stuck on the other side, waiting for a mystical locksmith.”

“Alright then.” Wesley nodded to Angel. “I suppose we should probably begin.”

“Should know, put the top up?” Angel suddenly asked.

Wesley shook his head. “Shouldn't be necessary. I'm almost positive this will work.”

“Almost?” Angel asked. How almost is almost? Lilah found herself agreeing with the vampire.

“Ninety-six percent.” At everyone's disbelieving expression, Wesley added defensively. “Well, it's not as if I've ever done this before! And given that we don't have enough time to properly-”

Lilah turned as a new voice interrupted Wesley. “Oh, suck it up English.” Gunn climbed over the door to get into the backseat, leaving all three of them with a whole lot less room. The former gang leader stared at Lilah. “You're coming? Why?” He looked over to Wesley. “Seriously, man, why's she coming?”

“Wesley didn't exactly give me any other desirable options. At least this way, I can die watching all of you die too – and know that I died annoying you all.” Lilah gave a 'winning smile'.

“Shut up, Lilah.” Angel cut in, looking annoyed with her. 

The Morgan woman tuned out the ensuing conversation, where the white hats enjoyed their little reunion – and where Lorne tried, one last time, to talk his way out of going on the journey with them. To no avail. Finally, Wesley read from the book, and the air before them started to warp and crackle, the entire area distorting as the interdimensional portal was activated.

“This is an insane idea.” Lilah muttered one last time, as the car drove into the portal. A blinding flash surrounded them, and then...

Forested Area, Pylea
A few moments later

Lilah listened as everyone else screamed with varying pitch and intensity, the car flying downwards to land with a bump and thump onto the ground.

The sun was shining, and there were trees all around. It seemed an almost idyllic day. Looking towards Angel, Lilah let out a soft laugh as the vampire finally noticed the sunlight.

“The sun. Daylight. Quick! Hand me a blanket. Hand me a blanket or I'm gonna catch on fire!” Wesley scrambled to grab the blanket stashed below the passenger seat, Angel almost pathetically trying to cover himself with his jacket. 

“Gimme that blanket!” Angel insisted, as he grabbed it out of Wesley's hands. “I'm gonna-”

“As much as I like watching you squirm, Angel, you're fine.” Lilah said. She looked up in the direction of the twin suns of Pylea and pointed. “If those suns were going to burn you, they would have turned you into ashes by now.”

“Suns?” Wesley looked up. “Hmm. Fascinating.” He looked over to Lorne. “Are the days longer here? Is it ever night?”

“Yes, and yes.” Lorne said, pressing his hands to his temples as if trying hold back a headache. “Oh, dear. Home sweet hell.”

“Did you guys see the street do that bendy thing?” Gunn asked, sounding totally amped.

“Why am I not burning?” Angel asked, looking at Wesley.

“I'd imagine the metaphysical laws must be different here. At least somewhat. Or perhaps the vampiric weakness to daylight is connected to some trait our own sun has, which these ones...” Wesley trailed off as he saw Angel jump out of the car, walking in the sunlight, smiling broadly.

“Someone's enjoying themselves.” Lilah muttered in disgust.

“Wonder if this is where Cordy came through?” Gunn thought aloud.

“Could be.” Wesley agreed.

“Probably somewhere around here, anyway.” Lilah semi-agreed. She looked over at Lorne. “How big is Pylea, anyway? I know the Senior Partners had most of the population exterminated when they took over. And they'd keep the remaining citizens clustered as close as possible to their seat of power. Easier to monitor them that way.”

Lorne sent a glare in her direction for Lilah's casual description of the slaughter of who knew how many Pyleans, even if was thousands of years ago. “Everyone lives within about a week's travel of the palace. I was only roughly a day's walking distance, maybe, when I went through that portal. And no one has ever traveled farther than a few weeks' walking or riding distance from the palace, that I know of. My people – not very curious.”

"Let's start gathering some branches,” Angel suggested. “some brush. Anything to cover up the car. Oh, hey, look.” He pointed. “There's some over in that patch of sun. I'll get them!" 

Lilah watched Angel frolic around in the sunlight, then turned away. Try not to give in to complete despair. The Senior Partners are obviously idiots, too, for wanting to bring this vampire over onto their side...

“Wes. I'll give it to you. Trip to an alternate universe? Pretty damn cool.” Gunn and Wesley performed an elaborate handshake. “But,” Gunn clarified. “I wanna find Cordy, quick.”

"Me too.” Lorne agreed. “Well, I-I mean for her sake of course. If I know Pylea, she could probably use a friend right about now." There was no joviality in his tone. Then he added, looking back to the car as Gunn and Wesley retrieved weapons. Including a handgun. “Look, much as I don't like fighting, it might be a good idea to have those weapons handy...since...well, since you're all human...but please, if you have to use them...try to minimize casualties? They're not all bad people here.” He shrugged. “They just don't know any better.”

Then Lorne realized something was wrong. “The book. Where's that darn book to get us home?”

Outside Throne Room, Palace, Pylea
Several Hours After Arrival

Try to minimize casualties. Lilah fumed silently at Lorne, as the Covenant guards marched her, Wes, Angel and Gunn towards the throne room to face judgment from the 'Princess'. And there was a novel concept. There wasn't supposed to be one of those around here. Oh, and I've got a brilliant idea Wesley! Bring a gun to a sword fight, but don't use it just because there was a baby demon in the way! She closed her eyes a moment. If this so-called Princess of Pylea doesn't kill these clowns, I will...

Finally, they reached the doorway to the throne room, large and at least attempting to be imposing. Lorne was standing there, waiting for them, his hands shackled together just as theirs were. He had stayed behind to search for the missing book, while Wesley had led everyone else off in the search for Cordelia; and he had obviously fared no better than they after arriving home.

Lorne let out a sigh of relief. “Oh, am I glad to see most of you.” He said, sparing a brief 'Look' for Lilah. “And so much less dead than I expected.”

“What did they do to you?” Lilah demanded.

“Oh, well, first there was the welcome home parade in my honor.” He held up his hands. “Ticker tape, streamers. Honestly, I'm so touched, I almost wept.” Angel, Gunn and Wesley didn't laugh. “What do you think? They locked me in a room, pushed me around, asked a bunch of questions. Your standard film noir.”

Angel leaned in towards Lorne, speaking softly. “I think we might have a lead on Cordelia.”

“You found her?”

Angel shook his head. “No.” He motioned for the rest of them to come in a bit closer. Lilah just listened from where she stood, as they talked about what they'd overheard in the prison cell – a girl with visions, cursed, the Covenant and tests, et cetera, et cetera, blah blah blah.

Finally, they were interrupted by Chairman Competence himself, Constable Narwek. “Silence, Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok Clan! You and these cow-trash are not to speak.” 

That's it. I've had it up to here with that 'cow' nonsense of his. When Angel initiated his inevitable escape attempt, Lilah resolved to make sure she got Narwek between the legs. She had no clue if it was actually going to accomplish anything, demon anatomy often being what it was; but it would be quite satisfying to do the deed, anyway.

“Ah, de-bunch your panties, Narwek.” Lorne shot back, disgruntled.

"You...” Narwek gestured at Lorne angrily, as if personally offended. “...are a traitor to your home. You abandoned your life-giver, betrayed your people and now you consort with these - animals. I will take great pleasure in watching them kill you slowly."

Angel leaned back in towards Lorne, as Narwek started talking to one of the 'Imperial Guard'. “They gonna take us in separately or together?”

“What?” Lorne didn't get the meaning of the question.

“Separately or together?” Angel repeated himself. “Quickly, we don't have much time.” He added insistently.

“I don't know!” Lorne countered indignantly. “I've never been sentenced to death before!” He guessed randomly with a shrug. “Together?”

“Listen up-” Angel started, but Narwek interrupted him as he turned to address all five of them. 

“Prisoners! Your day of judgment has arrived. Approach! The venerable monarch of Pylea, General of the Ravenous Legion, Eater of Our Enemy's Flesh, Prelate of the Sacrificial Blood Rites, and Sovereign Proconsul of Death,” Really? Lilah snarked in her mind. Narwek, of course, didn't notice that and continued. “is prepared to pass sentence on upon you.” 

“One.” Angel murmured as the double doors opened and they were led into the throne room. “Two...” 

Rather than waiting for a three, Angel immediately turned and slammed his fists, shackles and all, into one of the guards. As the other three started to attack their demon targets as well, Lilah acted on her previous mental promise, driving her foot in between Narwek's legs. With a yelp of pain, the constable staggered back, doubling over. Guess his anatomy isn't all that different after all...

It was only the sound of a throat clearing – one that sounded almost familiar – that stopped her from continuing to go after the demon. Lilah turned towards the source of the sound, and then just stared.

This is...I certainly didn't see this coming!

Cordelia Chase, clad in what was essentially a shiny metal bra and a skirt that was somewhat sheer – along with a crown, of all things – sat on a throne, looking suitably regal...even if she was dressed like some slutty actress in a low-quality porno movie.

"You're here?" Cordelia looked down her nose at Lilah, who just smirked back at the new Princess of Pylea.

“Hey guys.” Cordelia then said cheerily to her friends, all four men just staring at her. And of course, Lilah noticed exactly where they were staring.

Eyes up there, guys...
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