Title: All in a Night's Work
Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own these characters. The Angel Investigations crew belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Sydney and Alias belong to J.J. Abrams and ABC.
Distribution: Twisting the Hellmouth, Quickie Challenge, The Voice Inside... others, please ask
Author's Notes: For Alias, this takes place after "Truth Takes Time." For Angel, more generic timeline - late 3rd/early 4th season.
In a Los Angeles alleyway, Sydney Bristow paced. Her contact, a mercenary with possible information about where Arvin Sloane and her mother were hiding, was late.
She paused, glancing at her watch for the fiftieth time in the last half hour and mentally making excuses for the man. He may have had a flat tire or gotten caught in traffic...or he may have had his head blown off or his tongue cut out.
In this business, you never know.
"Where could he be?" she muttered, resuming her pacing. The CIA was out of leads. Her enemy -- the man who had had her fiancé killed, and her mother - the former KGB agent who was currently aiding and abetting Sloane in his murderous ways, had apparently disappeared off the face of the earth.
All that she was left with were the earrings that had been her mother's, earrings that had given her a Morse code message: "truth takes time."
Well, dammit, she didn't want it to take time. If there was a chance her mother might not be a traitor, she wanted to know now...and if she had truly betrayed them all, well, she had to know.
A noise from the end of the alley brought her to attention, but the man she saw standing there wasn't her contact. Instinctively, she reached for her gun, keeping one hand on the still-concealed weapon while trying to look as casual as possible. It was more than the simple suspicion he might be an enemy agent -- something about him made her blood run cold. He was danger, and every cell in her body was telling her to run.
"Lost?" he asked, smiling menacingly as he moved closer to Sydney.
"No," she replied, noting that he was now effectively blocking her way out of the alley. "Just waiting for someone."
"Well, you've found someone. Or was I not the someone you were hoping for?"
As he stepped into the light, Sydney gasped. His face...she'd never seen anything like it... it was almost like he wasn't human. His forehead had ridges, almost like a Klingon, and his teeth were sharply pointed.
Yep, she'd been right. He was definitely dangerous.
Sydney pulled out her gun, pointing it at the man. "Don't come any closer or I'll shoot."
He laughed. "Go ahead, little girl." He spread his arms wide open. "Shoot me."
She stood there, unsure of what to do. He would kill her, of that she was sure. But she couldn't gun a man down in cold blood, no matter how evil he seemed to be.
"No?" he asked, almost as if he were disappointed. "Then I guess I'll just have to kill you."
He lunged, and Sydney fired. Her gunshots echoed through the alley, hitting the man directly in the chest, but still he kept coming.
Finally, she was out of bullets, and he still stood in front of her. "That wasn't very nice."
Sydney's eyes widened. Who, no, what the hell was this guy? She'd shot him multiple times, in the heart, at close range, and he was still coming?
He grabbed her, holding her immobile in his vice-like grip. "I'll have to teach you some manners," he growled.
Then, a shadow dropped from the building above. It was a man, dressed in black, from his silk shirt down to his flowing leather duster. He casually strode towards the man holding Sydney captive. From his manner, she knew that he'd seen this kind of thing before, and he wasn't afraid of whatever that thing was.
"Now, now," the second man said. "Hasn't anyone ever told you not to play with your food?"
The man in the duster grabbed the bumpy-headed man and ripped him away from Sydney, sending him flying into a brick wall. The fall barely fazed him, however, and he was quickly on his feet, attacking her rescuer.
Sydney watched as they fought. Her captor had been strong, stronger than a normal human being, but her savior seemed to be more than a match to him. While the first man was strong, the second was more than that. He'd clearly been taught to fight at some point and knew moves Sydney had never seen before. Watching him spar was poetry in motion.
Suddenly, a pointy wooden stick came out of the sleeve of the duster, embedding itself in the bumpy-headed man's chest. She stared, unbelieving, as he burst into a cloud of dust.
She looked up at the man who had rescued her, with one thing on her mind. "What the hell is going on?"
Angel tucked his stake back into its spring-loaded holster before turning to look at the woman he'd just rescued.
"*That* is why people, even people who can take care of themselves under normal circumstances, shouldn't be out walking the streets of L.A. after dark," he warned.
The woman crossed her arms in front of her chest, and stood, unmoving, silently demanding more information.
"There are things in this city, in this world, that you don't know about. Things that lurk in the dark." He moved in until he was inches away from her face. "Things that you are not prepared to face."
He could see the frustration on her face at his cryptic comments. But she was far to practical to ever believe in the truth - for most people, vampires and demons were the stuff of myth and legend.
For him they were all in a night's work.
"Come on," Angel held out one arm, gesturing for her to go ahead of him. "I'll walk you to your car."
"After you," she said.
Good, he thought. After what she'd seen, it she should be suspicious, even of someone who had just rescued her from certain death.
Angel kept one eye on the woman, the other on his surroundings as they walked down the street.
"So, you do this kind of thing often?" she asked.
"Every night," he admitted with a rueful grin.
Shocked, she stopped and simply stared at him. "Every night? What was that thing? Were you hunting it? Why?"
He shrugged, ignoring the questions he didn't want to answer. "Somebody has to."
"That's my car," she pointed to a dark-colored SUV.
"Safe and sound," Angel said. He was a bit reluctant to leave her, and not just because he thought she'd head back to the alley the moment his back was turned. She had something special... an aura... something he couldn't describe. He could see through her façade to the pain in here eyes, but no matter how hurt she was, both emotionally and physically, she kept fighting. Like...
He shook his head, trying to block out the memories. She wasn't Buffy, and that part of his life was long over anyway. All he wanted to do is to make sure she got out of there safely.
"Thank you," she said, smiling. "For saving my life."
"All in a night's work." He pulled a card out of his pocket and handed it to him.
Sydney stared at the card. "Angel Investigations," she read aloud. But what was that on the card? A lobster? Maybe an owl? That didn't make any sense.
"You're a detective?" she asked, but when she looked up he was gone.
She shrugged. So much for her meet, she thought, getting into the car. She had to go. She was late for dinner with Will and Francie.
She drove off, unaware of the eyes that watched her from the shadows. Angel watched as she merged into traffic, then silently disappeared into the shadows.
It was still early. He had a lot of work to do.