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Author's Note: No B/A love scene in this one unusually, but this one didn't seem to require it. I have moved things a season again in the cannon, you'll see what and why, as it fitted more with the series. Some lines have been borrowed from Sleep Tight and Home. And Roisin, in case you've never seen Lynda La Plante Trial & Retribution, is pronounced Rosheen. Enjoy.


Latin for Goodbye.

"I fell so far - a light went out in my heart."

Buffy came downstairs just in time to hear the line of the song. It made her hand travel to her neck, and touch the necklace she had worn for seventeen days; a delicate platinum chain attached to a key and the letter D. The only memories she carried now were of that year she had fought Glory and the last day she had seen the 'girl' that the Powers That Be had made her sister. Yet she still felt the loss almost as deeply as if Dawn had been her sibling.

"You're gone - now I'm left alone in the dark."

She reached the ground floor of the Lobby and found Wesley behind the reception desk, sorting through watcher books. Giles had been sending them over ever since his decision to return to England became final.

He looked up as she came towards him. "Morning. Where's Angel?"

"In the shower," Buffy answered. "He'll be down in a minute." She turned to glance at the doors which led to the central courtyard. "Who is that singing?" She asked.

"Lorne is seeing a client in the garden," Wesley answered.

"She's good," Buffy remarked, before walking outside to join them.

"My soul is aching..." the woman with long blonde hair continued, before pausing as Buffy came to join them. "Who are you?"

"I'm Buffy Summers," the slayer replied. "One of Lorne's colleagues. Go on."

The singer turned to Lorne. "Do you see anything?"

"I see you're plenty scared," the Host answered. "It's alright. Keep going."

She returned to playing her guitar. "My heart is breaking..."

Inside Wesley closed the book he had been studying, put it away in the shelves behind him, and turned to another.

"Are you crazy? It's the best state in the Union!"

Wesley looked up to see Fred coming down the stairs, mobile by her ear.

"What's wrong with Texas?" She continued into the handset. "Texas doesn't hate the black man. Texas loves the black man. Well, most of Texas. Anyone with a brain. What's so great about California?"

To his surprise the head of Angel Investigations heard the response, as the entrance opened to reveal Gunn, talking to his cellphone.

"Everything," he replied. "It's got the climate, the ocean..."

"The earth that opens up and swallows you whole," Fred countered.

"The Lakers, the music," Gunn reminded her.

"The traffic, the smog," Fred pointed out as they walked towards each other across the Lobby floor.

"It's got you," Gunn said as they came face to face.

Fred closed her cell and smiled at him. "Okay. You win. Morning."

"Hi," Gunn returned the smile.

"Glad to see you're using the company phones for such important calls," Wesley remarked, breaking up the romantic moment.

"Did you want me to pay for that?" Gunn replied, holding up his mobile.

"Ah, guys?" Buffy said, popping herself briefly round the doors of the courtyard. "I think there's something you should... Ah, can you come here for a sec?"

The three caught the expression on her face and hurriedly joined her outside.

"Everybody, this is my friend, Kim," Lorne began. "It's alright," he added to the singer, "They're professionals. Just take it from the chorus, hmm?"

"My heart is breaking - in two. No love, no light left - no you..." her face suddenly morphed into that of a demon. "I'll hack your eyeballs out and rip your children in two!"

Kim stopped at this line and her face returned to normal. Lorne leapt from his seat to hug her as she burst into tears.

"It's okay. I got ya. It's all right. It's okay." He looked up at the shocked expressions of the team. "Catchy finish, huh?"


Angel had emerged from upstairs by the time Lorne and the group had managed to calm Kim down and lead her back inside. The Fang Gang crowded into Wesley's office, where the Englishman handed the singer a freshly brewed cup of tea.

"Kim is good, people," Lorne assured them. "She came to see me a couple of years ago."

"He put me on my true path," Kim informed them.

"She was throwing her life away in medical school, when she should have been a singer," Lorne added.

"Yeah," Gunn commented, mystified. "Who needs more doctors in the world when you can have singing demons?"

"Well, the demon part - is new," Kim added, before taking another sip of tea.

"She hooked up with this band a couple of weeks ago and..." Lorne turned to her, letting her finish the story.

"They were mellow - organic types. They never touched drugs or played a diminished chord."

"It's always the quiet ones," Buffy remarked.

"Um, then they started changing. Stevie, the lead guitar, grew a seventh finger like overnight."

"Seventh?" Gunn queried.

"Well, he already had six. I just thought..." Kim sighed. "I don't really know what I thought. And Raw, the drummer, suddenly sprouted that spiny thing on his back..... And they started playing this beyond industrial trash noise funk day and night. And then it happened to me. You saw it. Am I gonna turn into that?"

"No," Wesley remarked, looking up from the microscope, where he and Fred had been studying Kim's saliva. "You're human. They're not. What's happening to you isn't permanent. It's just an infection."

"Which you can get rid of by taking twenty milligrams of Cylenthium powder twice a day for a month," Fred added.

"Mystical antibiotic," Lorne explained. "I'll get you some."

Fred held up the slide sample. "I thought your saliva was suspect. Under the microscope it showed traces of Penloxia."

"Oh," Lorne uttered in understanding. "They're Wraith-ers."

"Wraith-ers?" Kim echoed.

"Demons that can make themselves look human - for a time," Wesley explained, as he flicked through one of the Demonology volumes on his desk.

"Here," he added, showing Kim and the team an illustration. "Ten days, two weeks, then they revert to what they really are."

"I wonder why they would wanna look like musicians?" Gunn queried.

"This is L.A." Buffy reminded him. "It's either that or actors."

"Where are they right now?" Angel asked her.

"In a rehearsal space," Kim informed them. "It's an old loading dock behind the Shop 'n' Go in Echo park."

The chosen warrior turned to his boss. "Wes?"

"You'll have to kill them. It's the only thing you can do with Wraith-ers," the head of A.I remarked, closing the volume on the entry which covered them.

"How many?" Angel asked her.

"Three," Kim replied.

Wesley turned to the team. "Buffy, Angel and Gunn, with one more to handle any groupies. I'll stay here, I still have a lot of books to sort through."

The slayer nodded and turned round, leading the team out of the office to collect weapons before heading out.


"I hate your zit-face smile, that's why I'll cut you it in two, and when I'm done with you, I'll throw your mother, brother, sister, uncle and your little dog, too."

The sound of glass shattering as a trash can torpedoed into the room, followed by the rapid entrance of the slayer, Angel, Gunn and Fred. Buffy and Gunn were carrying crossbows, while Angel held one of his board-swords. Fred hung back, looking about for any potential hostages.

"Dude!" One of the band members cried. "You're paying for that window."

"No, I'm not," Gunn replied.

"Wait, are you the 'A' and 'R' guys?" The drummer queried. "This isn't even the whole band. We got a killer chick who sings!" He caught sight of the slayer and Fred. "Hey, Girls! Hey, don't worry about the window, Holmes."

"We're not the 'A' and 'R' guys," Angel informed them. "We're just here to kill you."

"Ah, dude, they wanna kill us," the drummer remarked.

"Okay. But they're still paying for the window," the singer insisted.

The drummer stared at the slayer. "I got first ride on the hottie."

He leapt off the stage, heading straight for the slayer. But Buffy was ready for him. She land punch on his face, followed by a kick to abdomen, sending him flying backwards.

Gunn gestured to the groupies, who were screaming. "Get them out of here!" He asked his girlfriend before leaping into the fray.

"Be careful," Fred advised him before taking hold of the two girls and ushering them out.

Buffy and Gunn aimed their crossbows, while Angel held his sword at the ready. The Wraith-ers began to back away.

"Oh, come on! Take it like a demon," Gunn remarked, before shooting one of them in the throat.

"I think their Elvis has left the building," Buffy remarked before firing her crossbow.

"Its time for their swan song," Angel added before they launched into the fray.


"So, Sammy's at the Flamingo, and Frank, Dino, Peter, Joey, and Shirley are all front row centre," Lorne was saying to Kim and a faintly distracted Wesley as they as the quartet returned to Angel Investigations an hour or so later.

"Well, Sammy starts singing 'I Did It My Way' then he stops and says 'I can't sing this song in front of you, Frank.' The crowd loves it. They're laughing. Ha, ha, ha, ha. So, then Frank calls out 'hey, you're short, you're one-eyed, and I heard somewhere you're Jewish. Don't be intimidated!' The crowd goes wild!" He turned to glance at the four. "So, how'd it go?"

"The Wraith-ers are no more," Gunn announced as put the crossbows and sword back in the weapons cabinet.

"Anything happen while we were out?" Buffy asked Wesley, joining him at the reception desk.

"Nothing," the Englishman replied, putting another book on one of the shelves. "It's been oddly quiet."

The door opened just then, causing Gunn to turn to him. "You had to say it, didn't you?"

For once however, fate was being kind to them, as Giles stepped into the Lobby. "Hello everyone."

Buffy jumped down from the desk and walked over to hug him. "We didn't expect you so soon. How was the wedding?" She asked.

"A non-event event," Giles replied. "Instead of 'I do,' it was 'I don't.'"

"Anya said no?" Buffy sought to confirm.

Giles shook his head. "Xander. He received a visit from a Seer, who gave him a vision of an unhappy future if he and Anya married. However, it was really D'Hoffryn."

"D'Hoffryn?" Fred queried.

"Anya's old boss when she was a vengeance demon," Buffy explained before turning back to Giles. "So why did he trick Xander?"

"He wanted Anyanka back. By the time the charade was discovered, the damage was done. Xander refused to see that the future wasn't set in stone, and nothing Anya said could sway him otherwise. She disappeared after the service. I followed her and found out she had accepted D'Hoffryn's offer. She's demon again."

"Is she rampaging Sunnydale?" Buffy asked, shivering as she recalled what happened the last time she had encountered the patron demon of scorned women.

"No, oddly enough. She met up with one of her vengeance demon colleagues and left the hellmouth."

"How's Xander taking it?"

"He's hurting." Giles looked at her. "I think he finally understands what its like to lose someone you love."

Buffy nodded. "What about the others?"

"Willow and Tara are helping him as much as he will let them," Giles informed her. "We then discovered however that Warren, Andrew and Jonathon put the Magic Shop under surveillance, so finding them has managed to take their minds off everything else." He paused before adding, "I signed the lease over to them yesterday."

This piece of news caused the slayer to wrap her arms around him again. "I'm going to miss you," she uttered into his sweater.

Giles kissed her hair before returning the sentiment. "As will I you. You've been so much more than a slayer to me," he added, making her look up, to see his eyes glistening with tears. "You've been the daughter I always wanted."

"Make sure you come back in plenty of time for the wedding," Buffy managed to say through her own choked voice. "You've always been the father I yearned for."

Giles nodded as he reluctantly let go of her, and went to shake Angel's hand. To the warrior's surprise he briefly hugged him as well. "Take care of her," he said.

"I will," Angel promised, before letting him go.

Wesley was next, followed by Fred, Gunn and Lorne, who each exchanged a brief hug and handshake, before the ex-watcher returned to slayer once more for a final goodbye.

"Let me know when you fixed a date," he asked her before leaving the Hyperion.

Angel took his fiancee into his arms, silently offering her comfort. The rest of the team glanced at each other in silent confabulation.

"Why don't you two take the rest of the day off," Wesley suggested. "No one's called in and there's only the books to sort out."

Buffy looked up from Angel's shoulder and was about to answer, when the doors opened once more. She turned around in his arms, then abruptly parted from him to fall into her first attack position of choice; legs slightly apart, hands on hips.

"Lilah," Angel remarked in greeting, his tone of voice anything but a welcome.

"Angel," Lilah Morgan returned. "Wesley. Winifred. Charles. And Miss Summers. I don't believe we've had the pleasure. Although there was that time when you shot a piece of lead piping through the son of one of our most valued clients."

"What are you doing here, Lilah?" Angel asked her. "What's your game?"

"No game," Lilah shrugged and sat down on the oval sofa. "In fact, game over. Guess what? You win, which is why I'm here. I have been authorised to make you kids an offer."

"You can't possibly think there's anything we'd want from you," Wesley remarked.

Lilah merely leant back and crossed her legs. "I don't think you'll want it, but you'll take it, because this is the offer of a lifetime."


A few minutes later, and there was a less calm and collected group that stood before the lawyer from Los Angeles only demonic practice. Actually, the six were sitting down on chairs they had sought from their offices, after finding they needed the support of furniture in order to deal with this shock.

Glancing at one another uncomfortably, it was Gunn who decided to break the stunned silence first.

"You want to run that by us one more time?" He asked.

"What was unclear?" Lilah asked.

"I think the part where you offered us Wolfram & Hart," Fred replied.

"Not the entire company," Lilah corrected. "Just the L.A. Branch."

Lorne chuckled. "Just the L.A. Branch. Hi, from another dimension, what the hell does that mean?"

"Means we give. You win. We're moving out. The senior partners are ceding this territory to you, and to prove it, they want to give you controlling interest in our L.A. Office. You get the building, assets, personnel, letterhead, paper clips, all of it. It's yours to do with as you see fit."

"You want to give us your evil law firm?" Buffy sought to confirm.

"We ain't lawyers," Gunn added.

"Or evil," Fred answered. "Currently."

"What we're offering you is a turnkey, state-of-the-art, multitasking operation. What you do with it, well, that's up to you."

"Why?" Angel asked.

"Well, I thought that was obvious. You earned it. Think of it as a reward."

"Reward for what?" Buffy queried.

"Coming back from the dead. Becoming human. Sabotaging every one of our plans." Lilah rose up and walked towards the door. "Think about our proposal. If anyone's interested and wants the grand tour, there'll be a limo waiting outside just before dawn."


"She was serious, wasn't she?" Buffy wondered aloud as she stared at the swinging entrance doors.

"Seemed to be," Wesley replied, rising from his seat and returning to the pile of books behind the reception desk.

"We're not taking the offer though, are we?" Angel sought to clarify.

"Hell no," his fiancee uttered before walking up to the weapons cabinet. She took out one of the cross bolts and began walking in the direction of the basement. "I feel the need to do some training."

Angel took out a couple of swords and followed her. "Mind if I join you?"

"Not at all."

The four left glanced at each silently before the next member chose to depart.

"I'm gonna go and look over a few design plans for Caritas," Lorne said, heading to the stairs and his temporary accommodation while the club underwent repairs.

"I've gotta call a friend," Fred remarked before walking to her office.

Gunn glanced at Wesley, waiting for the Englishman to catch his eye. The Head of Angel Investigations closed the book he had been studying and rose up from his seat to file the tome away.

"What's wrong?" He asked Gunn.

"Can't help thinking it might be an idea to explore the a turnkey, state-of-the-art, multitasking operational corporation on offer," Gunn replied.

"You can't possibly think that's an option," Wesley remarked.

"Well, now I know it's an option, 'cause I was standing here when Lilah offered it to us." Gunn leaned on the desk.

"It's a trap. This has Faustian deal written all over it," Wes said grimly.

"I agree, it looks like that," Gunn said, "but I also think that if we refuse without checking out the merchandise first, we'll be making a mistake."


The rest of the day passed. At nightfall the team of Angel Investigations retired, unconsciously all choosing to spend the night at the Hyperion, so they did not have far to travel when they woke at dawn.

Fred believed herself to be the first to rise. As the she exited the Lobby however, she realised she was wrong.

"I don't know how long it's been here," Wesley remarked, after silently turning to acknowledge her presence. "Since before I arrived."

"I thought I'd be the only one," Fred admitted.

"I thought for sure I wouldn't be," Wesley confided, "although I wasn't expecting it to be you."

"I just figured... well, if they are up to something....."

"We should know what it is," Gunn finished as he walked out of the shadows.

"Well, we three," Wesley commented.

"Looks like," Gunn agreed.

"What are the odds the humans would be the most corruptible?" The Englishman asked rhetorically.

"Maybe we should just go back inside," Fred said, while her body began walking to the car. "What if this does turn out to be a trap?"

"Yeah, but what if it doesn't?" Gunn countered. "All we're gonna do is take the tour."

Wesley nodded. "We go into this with our eyes open and our wits about us. There shouldn't be any....."

"Surprises?" A voice finished, making them jump.

"Jesus, you two," Gunn said by way of greeting as the slayer and chosen warrior emerged from the shadow of the pillars by the car. "We were nowhere near prepared for that."

"You don't need to tell us," Buffy uttered before opening the door of the limousine. Then it was her turn to jump as the car revealed a passenger. "What the hell?"

"So it's an evil limo," Lorne was saying to the driver. "I get that, but does that mean we don't restock the cherries?" He laughed, noticed the draught and turned to the others. "Hi. I was just checking the vehicle for traps."

"Make room," Buffy remarked, smiling.


The car and driver dropped them off outside the entrance. After glancing at each other and silently voting for their boss to go first, the team walked up the steps and into the spacious lobby of Wolfram & Hart; Attorneys at Law.

Inside waiting for them by the front reception desk was five men and women in business suits, with Lilah at the head.

"Well, you've all made it," she said, smiling and stepping forward to greet them. "What a shock. We've got a lot of ground to cover, so best we get started. Let me introduce you to your guides."

"Guides?" Angel queried. "Separate guides?"

"Of course. There are six of you, all with specific interests, unique areas of expertise. Seemed the most efficient way of doing this. Prioritise and personalise."

Buffy folded her arms. "Divide and conquer, you mean," she said wryly.

"Oh, you're so cynical."

"We don't split up," Wesley remarked. "We came here together, we're gonna take the tour together. Right, guys?"

After a measured thoughtful pause, there was reluctant agreement from the others.

"Look, if we wanted to harm you, we'd have blown up the limo, right?" Lilah pointed out. Receiving silence in reply, she turned and beckoned forward a man pushing a metal cart full of guns. "If you prefer to be armed during your stay here, we'd have no objections," she explained. "Just because we've tried to kill or corrupt each and every one of you at one time or another doesn't mean we can't be trusted."

"She's right," Wesley conceded. "We've made deals with them before. They are honourable in their way. I doubt we'll be in any danger."

"She was right about the limo," Lorne added.

Fred picked up one of the large, semiautomatics. "I think we'll be okay."

Lilah gestured to one of the guides to come forward. "Lorne, Preston will show you around our entertainment division."

"Hi, big fan," the man, attired in a business suit with a vivid purple shirt began, coming forward to shake Lorne's hands. "Huge. Love your work." After the Host had accepted his shake, Preston brought out the pile of papers he had under his arm. "I had this prepared. Confidential list. Peepers only. Thought you might want to take a gander at our roster. Just a rundown of some of the talent we represent here."

"Uh, no, no, no, no," Lorne remarked. "I don't think you have to tell me what you represent here, young man. I know. Evil. Pure evil in the......"

Preston flipped the list open, allow him to see the names.

"Huh," Lorne added after a moment. "Which is also apparently everyone I've always wanted to meet."

"Follow me," Preston said.

Lilah waited for the two to exit before she brought the next guide forward. "Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Rutherford Sirk. I think you'll find you two have a lot in common."

"It's a pleasure," Rutherford uttered after shaking Wesley's hand. "Shall we?"

Wesley glanced at him for a moment, then followed him out of the lobby.

Lilah gestured for one of the women to come forward. "Charles Gunn, Lacey Shepard. I think you'll find you two have nothing in common."

Lacey, with looks and a figure to match her name, shook Gunn's hand. "This way, Chuck."

"You're not gonna try to corrupt me, are you?" Gunn asked her with a grin.

"Wouldn't dream of it," Lacey assured him in a tone that implied anything but what she had just said.

"Good, because my girl's a physicist and she could probably kill you very easily," Gunn said, before allowing the woman to lead him away.

"Knox," Lilah remarked, calling forward a man wearing a crisp white lab coat. "This is Fred Burkle."

"Hi," Knox said nervously to her.

"Knox is the star of our Science Division," Lilah added.

"Oh!" Fred uttered, immediately interested. "Nice to meet you."

"You, too," Knox replied nervously. "Well, this, um, should be... fun."

"Yeah," Fred agreed before following him out of the Lobby.

Lilah brought forward the final guide, another woman, roughly the same age as the slayer, only with dark brown hair. "Roisin Winter, Buffy Summers."

"Hi," Roisin remarked, holding out her hand. "I've heard many things about you."

"Have you?" Buffy queried, shaking it.

"Roisin is, you might say, a sister of sorts," Lilah revealed cryptically.

Buffy nodded before following the woman out of the Lobby.

Angel glanced at Lilah and saw there was nobody else. "How did I guess?" He remarked as she smiled at him.

"Yep, just you and me." Lilah gestured before her. "Come on, Charlie. Let me show you around the chocolate factory."


"Pretty slick," Gunn commented as he followed his guide over a walkway that commanded a view of the Lobby below.

"What is?" Lacey asked.

"You know, giving each of us our own little tour. It's a good way to isolate Angel."

"Is that what we're doing?" Lacey queried as they passed some office cubicles.

"Well, it'd be a big coup bringing Angel over to the dark side. Ex Vampire with a soul, champion. It's gonna look good on anyone's letterhead."

"Why do you assume Angel is our priority?" Lacey countered.

Gunn looked at her sceptically. "You telling me he isn't?"

"A priority," Lacey conceded. "Though you each possess gifts we feel would be useful."

"Well, I see what the others got, Buffy's the slayer, Fred's big brain, Cordelia's premonitions, Wes' training, Lorne's mind-reading thing. Guess I just don't know what you guys expect me to do around..." he trailed off as they passed a door marked Security. "Here. Though I think maybe I'm starting to figure it out. Yeah, bet I'd look real smart in one of them blazers."

Lacey smiled. "Oh, I'm sure you would, but we have much grander plans for you, Mr. Gunn."

"You do? Grander?" Gunn felt his interest level rising.

Lacey halted outside the elevators. "Let's go upstairs."


"So are you a lawyer?" Fred asked her guide as they walked down a hallway. "'Cause you don't look like a lawyer."

"No, I'm strictly R & D," Knox replied. "Although, occasionally, some D & D. Dungeons and dragons. We actually have a dungeon. I can show it to you later if....." he trailed off. "I manage the Science Division."

"You seem pretty young to be a head of a whole Science Division."

"Oh, I'm not the head. I just manage it for the department head, which, I guess, you know, would be you."

Fred's eyes widened in shock. "Wait. I, uh....."

She trailed off as Knox led her inside a large room. It was full of people conducting all manner of experiments.

Fred was impressed despite herself. "Wow."

"I know. Everything modern technology has to offer, right at your fingertips. Everything's state of the art, cutting edge."

Fred picked up a hand held computer off one of the desks.

Knox smiled proudly. "That's one of my creations."

"You might want to get out of the lab more. Personal organisers have been around for a while. Not that it's not a nice Palm Pilot."

Knox opened the lid of the device. "Yeah, I'll bet your buddy Matthew Partney at 6200 Crestwood Boulevard in Lubbock, Texas, would agree." He showed her the screen.

Fred read the telephone number and gasped. "Hey, how'd you know about Matt?"

"Hacks into any electronic device within 100 yards. I patched in to your cell phone's address book."

"You're like the MacGyver of Wolfram & Hart."

Knox chuckled. "You're not wrong. I can make practically anything out of a fully equipped, multi-million dollar lab."


In another part of the building, Wesley followed his guide into a large but fairly empty library. Every wall was lined with vacant bookshelves and in the centre of the room, a wide lectern stood, with a selection of leatherbound volumes upon it.

"Our ancient prophecies wing," Rutherford informed him.

"Looks as if your wing's been clipped," Wesley remarked.

"Appearances can be deceiving. It's actually the most comprehensive collection of prophecy archives to be found anywhere. Choose something to read. Go on, anything at all. Something rare."

Wesley looked at him for a moment, then shrugged, conceding to curiosity. "All right. The Devandire Sibylline Codex."

Rutherford did not become decomposed. "Translated or Sanskrit?"

"Surprise me."

"I'm sure I will." Rutherford picked up the book and whispered to it. "Devandire Codex, Sanskrit." He handed the book to Wesley.

Wes took it and opened it, silently gasping as the seemingly blank pages filled themselves with the appropriate text.

"The, template you're holding provides access to anything stored in the firm's locked archives relating to prophecies, omens, revelations and so on," Rutherford informed him.

Wesley closed the book and resumed his previous pokerfaced expression. "Impressive. And does the Watcher's Council know you stole the only known copy of the codex when you left them?"

"They were in chaos when Miss Summers died again," Rutherford replied. "I figured it was time to take a sabbatical."

"So you opted to, what, play for the other side? Cross the line?"

"These are complicated times. Lines become blurry. How did you know?"

"Something about Watchers and......" Wesley suddenly struck out, punching Rutherford in the face, rendering him unconscious. "Libraries."

Wesley checked no one was in sight outside the room, then raised his arm to the ceiling. Out of his sleeve shot a tripwire, strong enough to carry his weight. After waiting for it to anchor itself in the ceiling, he began to climb.


"In case Lilah wasn't clear, I'm a slayer," Roisin informed her companion.

"I gathered," Buffy said. "So, are you about to tell me that the Watcher's Council is really your legal firm?"

"No, its not like that at all," Roisin answered. "After you died, sacrificing yourself to protect the Key, I was called. When Mr Giles informed the Council that you were alive, they were in chaos. Mr Sirk, Mr Wyndam-Pryce's guide, was my watcher. He received a job offer from Wolfram & Hart, and asked me if I wanted to come with him. When Ms Morgan phoned me with an offer just for me, it seemed too good to refuse."

"Didn't you realise you were making a deal with the devil?" Buffy asked her.

"Not until I ran into one of their 'fanged' clients," Roisin admitted. "But when I confronted them, they backed off. Allowed me to set my own agenda for working here. I'd earned an law degree from Cambridge and passed the state bar. I figured this was the best offer I could get."

"Didn't fancy explaining the need for flexibility to other less corrupted legal firms?" Buffy guessed.

"Exactly," Roisin confirmed with a smile.

"So, what's the sell?" Buffy asked her. "Come and train the recruits? Steal other potential slayers over the dark side?"

"No, there's only me," Roisin smiled. "I could use your experience."

"Well, I may be no lawyer, but I certainly have plenty of that," Buffy said, smiling too.

"Perhaps we can teach you things as well," Roisin remarked. "Allow you the chance to choose and train for a career."

"Any vocation I want?" Buffy sought to confirm.

"Any vocation you want," Roisin affirmed as she stopped before an elevator. "Come upstairs and I'll show you what I mean."


"Money, clothes, women. Did I mention we have a juice bar?"

Angel looked at Lilah. "Is that why you brought us here? To play 'Let's Make an Evil Deal?'"

Lilah grinned. "'Show him what's behind door number one, Bob.'" She opened the door before them, revealing a very large office. "I know it's not much," she added, "but the Taj Mahal was a bit of a commute."

"What, am I supposed to swoon?" Angel queried. "It's an office."

"With your own private elevator," Lilah remarked, as she pressed a button on the wall and the doors slid back. "Care to take it for a spin?"

"What's it gonna do? Drop me in a vat of boiling water?"

"I was pushing for that, but they went with the motor pool. Figured you'd like to stay mobile, what with all that rushing out to save the day you're so fond of."

"Thanks, but I already have a car."

"Now you have 12."

"What am I gonna do with 12 cars?"

"Anything you want. That's the point, or haven't you been listening?"

Angel smiled. "I have, and, I'm done now." He turned and began to head out of the office.

"Wait, I forgot to show you the best part." she pressed another button. "You're gonna love this." The window blinds swished back to reveal the sunshine. "Necro-tempered glass. The whole building's fitted with it. Helps keep those uplifting, wholesome rays from deadly sunburn and 30% more energy efficient. Feels even better when you're naked. I could turn around."

Angel folded his arms. "Close it."

"Promise I won't peek. Well, maybe just a skosh."

"Close it, Lilah."

Lilah sighed and obliged. "Goodbye, Mr. Sunshine. Hello, gloomy avenger."

"Make that goodbye. On behalf of my boss, I'm not taking the job."

"If you accept this offer, you will be the boss. And it's not a job," Lilah insisted. "It's an opportunity."

"Ooh, an opportunity to be part of the problem."

"If that's what you choose."

"I Really don't."

"Again, your choice. Think of what you can do with the resources of Wolfram & Hart at your fingertips, the difference that would make. Nothing in this world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh, and it's cruel, but that's why there's you, Angel. You live as if the world were as it should be. With all this, you can make it that way. People don't need an unyielding champion. They need a man who knows the value of compromise and how to beat the system from inside the belly of the beast."

"The beast's belly?" Angel echoed. "Doesn't that usually mean you've been eaten?"

"Maybe." Lilah grinned. "While you've been namby-pambying around for the past 90 seconds, 6 innocent people have died. Oh, but don't worry. There's always 6,000 more just around the corner."

"Me and my friends will be leaving now."

"One time offer only, Angel. Walk out that door, deal's off. Stay, and it's all yours."

"People like you, this place, that's what's wrong with the world, Lilah. I will never be a part of this. Not the way you're hoping." He walked up to her. "Now, let me tell you what the deal's gonna be."


"This is the longest damn elevator ride I ever took," Gunn remarked. "How big is this place?"

Lacey made no response, other than glancing at him, then at her watch. "It's time," she uttered finally.

Gunn turned to her, as a feeling of dread overcame him. "Time for what?"

Lacey directed his gaze to the level panel, where another button, placed above all the rest, suddenly appeared. She pressed it.

"Where are we going?" Gunn asked her.

"The answers you seek lie within the room," Lacey replied.

"Only thing I seek is the lobby," Gunn informed, pressing the button in question to no avail. "And here I am thinking I was getting seduced. Well, I'm getting screwed all..." He trailed off as the elevators doors opened and bathed the shaft in a brilliant white light.

Gunn stepped forward, blinking until his eyes adjusted. He glanced nervously around the room. "Right. Come on, you got the wrong guy in here. This room's for the big....." he paused as he heard the sound of growling. "Cats."

A black panther came towards him. Gunn turned to Lacey, who was standing well back. "What is this?" He asked her.

"Your education," Lacey replied as the lift opened again.

"Buffy?" Gunn cried as he saw her and her guide in the elevator. "Get out of here, this is a trap."

The slayer smiled. "Don't worry, Gunn." She struck out, punching Lacey, sending her to the floor, then Roisin. "I've got it covered." She held out her hand.

Gunn grabbed it and leapt back into the elevator shaft. Buffy closed the doors and took a knife out of her jacket lining. She knelt down and cut through the floor, revealing the elevator tunnel.

"Wesley's meeting us on the next level," Buffy explained, before pointing her arm down through the hole.

Gunn smiled and followed suit. The trip wires shot out of their sleeves and down the tunnel, anchoring themselves to the wall just above the next entrance.

Carefully the two of them descended.


When they reached the doors leading to the floor below, Buffy knocked twice, signalling to Wesley who helped her to make them open. He reached out and pulled them into the empty corridor.

"So what was in your guide's closet?" He asked them.

"A slayer," Buffy answered. "Your guide's charge. Where is he, by the way?"

"Unconscious in the Ancient Prophecies Wing." Wesley showed them book he was carrying under his arm. "I'm hoping this will work outside the building."

"Any idea what was in that white room?" Gunn asked them.

"The white room? That's where they took you?" Wesley queried.

"Yeah," Buffy answered. "We had to escape from this panther, of all things."

"From what I heard about it, the last person who went in there, has been in an asylum ever since," Wesley informed them as they walked down the corridor. "What did they tell you it going to do?"

"They didn't," Gunn replied. "All they said was about finding us careers. Grander plans and all that."

"Heard from Angel yet?" Buffy asked Wesley.

"He sent me a text just after I got yours, asking us to meet him, Fred and Lorne in the Lobby. The plan succeeded, apparently."

The three turned the corner and reached the fire exit. Cautiously they descended the stairs until they reached the ground floor.

Outside Angel was waiting for them, with a annoyed Lilah standing behind him. Buffy hugged her fiancee, then stepped back and looked around.

"Fred and Lorne?" She queried.

"On their way," Lilah answered curtly.

"So, are we agreed?" Wesley asked Angel.

"Yes," Angel confirmed. "We get all the resources we choose; the books, prophecies and other archived information. We also get our pick of who we judge good employees. In return Wolfram and Hart move out of L.A. and never trouble us again."

"This was your plan all along, wasn't it?" Lilah asked Wesley, outraged.

"The moment you offered us the deal, we knew that we could not accept your terms," the Englishman confirmed. "So we discussed it and decided what we could take from you without being corrupted."

"I would have like to see you explain this to those Senior Partners," Buffy revealed, grinning at Lilah. "But we have a lot do."

"Yes," Angel agreed as Fred and Lorne came towards them. "We must be going now, Lilah. We will contact you and let you know exactly what we want."

"Been nice knowing you," Wesley added before they all walked out into the city.


Not until they had stepped inside the Lobby of the Hyperion did the team relax and noticeably breathe sighs of relief. None of them had been entirely sure that the plan they had agreed upon the night before would work, even when they put it into operation. Good had prevailed however, and they were back where they should be, victory achieved.

The slayer turned from her fiancee to her boss. "Who's calling Cordy and Groo?" She asked him.

"I'll do it," Wesley informed her. "Tomorrow. I think we all need to get some sleep."

"Do you think all our guides were corrupt?" Fred asked him.

"Not all, perhaps," Wesley replied. "But Lilah and Rutherford I wouldn't trust as far as Buffy or Angel could throw them."

"I liked Roisin," Buffy revealed. "I think we ought to ask her to join. That's if she'll forgive me for punching her."

"You can call her tomorrow," Angel said, wrapping his arm around her. "For now, let's go to bed."

"Let's," Buffy agreed, allowing him to lead her to the stairs. "Because I have a feeling that the end of Wolfram and Hart L.A Branch, means a lot of cleaning up for us."

The End.
To Be Continued In