Rating: if you could read the comics or watch the show, you're fine.
Main character: Doyle, also Maddie (Madelyn Pryor)
Disclaimer: Doyle is the creation of Joss Whedon for the Angel: the Series. Maddie is the creation of Marvel X-men comics.
Distribution: Jinni, Luba if she wants it, Paula, Cat… anyone else ask.
Note: for Jinni’s 20 minutes challenge. I admit to mixing the timelines a bit – Doyle has not yet met Angel, nor turned completely into the near-perpetual drunk that later met Angel. The Inferno story-arc has not yet taken place for Marvel.
Doyle sighed, debating if he really needed to have another beer or if he should just give up and go home. He'd been hoping that he could find some sort of well, not quite inner peace, but a direction to go in. Something that he could do with his life now. Harriet was gone - divorced him and walked out of his life. Probably forever. And all because of something that he couldn't change, didn't even know anything about until just a few months ago.
He was half demon. Apparently, his father hadn't just been a merchant seaman like his mother had always maintained. He'd turned all green and spiny...
And his wife had freaked out about it. She'd left him, sent the divorce papers in by mail. She'd been afraid of him, as if learning something about someone that he'd never met would suddenly change who he was, would suddenly turn him into some sort of ravening fiend.
There was a slight noise as a person plopped onto the bar stool next to him. With a flicker of curiosity, he lifted his head to glance over, to see who was here. He hadn't expected the woman beside him. She should have been pretty, with red hair that tumbled past her shoulders, but it fell in tangles, not in sensual ripples. Her green eyes were haunted, nearly wild, and her skin was the pale of unhealthiness or shock.
"D'ya need someone to be calling a doctor for you?" He couldn't quite keep from asking her.
"No! No doctors, they might be... no. No more doctors." She looked alarmed, and frantic.
Clearly, she was hiding from someone, someone that frightened her very badly. Maybe even someone who could manipulate or buy doctors. Or else she was an escaped lunatic. He knew that the words about to emerge would change everything, but he couldn't stop them. "Do you need a place to stay?"
She looked at him, and it almost felt like she was looking through him. She almost seemed to sag, and nodded slowly. "I could use a place to stay."
"Right then." He stood from his stool, and offered her his arm. "Shall we go then? There's not much point in staying here."
She slipped her arm over his, and he could see the edge of a bruise, radiating from her elbow. The sort that comes from a badly inserted needle. Was she a drug user, or was it something more sinister? She almost whispered "I'm Maddie."
"Call me Doyle." He sighed, leading her out the door of the bar. It was only a couple blocks to his now empty apartment, which was now his alone. Harriet hadn't even left the dog with him. "My place is a bit empty just now, but you can stay."
Eventually, they were in his apartment, sitting awkwardly on the couch, which was almost the only bit of furniture in the room, a large, off-orange monstrosity that was hideous, but comfortable. "You don't quite sound local, Maddie."
"I... used to live near Anchorage. Then... Well, we stayed in Westchester for a while, went back to Anchorage... and... Well, he's back in New York. With her." Maddie practically spat the word 'her', her eyes filling with pain and rage.
"Who's we?" Doyle asked, rubbing at his temple. The whole thing sounded emotionally complicated.
"Scott and I. He was... my husband. Except... Well, it turns out that his old girlfriend that was supposed to be dead... isn't. Or not anymore, or however that works, so... He left me. To go back to her." Tears were falling down her cheeks, and her face was going blotchy red.
"Sorry t' hear that." Doyle sighed, shaking his head. "But still, LA's a long ways from Anchorage."
"That's when things got uglier. Apparently... well..." Maddie paused, tilting her head in thought. "Let's just stick to the very short version. There's a madman obsessed with my husband's DNA, and he had me kidnapped. Not for me, but so that he could..." Her hand slipped protectively over her mostly flat stomach. "He took my baby."
"Dear Lord in heaven." Doyle breathed, shocked and appalled that anyone would do such a thing. He had no doubts about her story, it felt right in the same way that he knew his visions were real.
Maddie's knees came up, and she almost seemed to curl up inside herself. "I want to get my baby back, but... They thought I was crazy. They said... they said they couldn't find any records of me existing, they thought that I was lying to them. Except that... They could tell that I'd been pregnant, that I'd been injured, and there were traces of drugs in my system."
"Is there..." The words almost seemed to pull themselves out of him. "Can I help?"
"Please?" Her eyes focused on him, shining with hope and desperation.
"I don't know how much I'll be able to do, but I can at least try. I can give you a place to stay... not much of a place, but a place. And I believe you."
"That's more than anyone else has been willing to do so far." She glanced down, the tears still streaming. "Thanks."
"You're welcome." Doyle knew that everything was going to change. He just had no idea how much.
end A Bit to Offer.