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THE PRIZE


 

 

 

Author: Dark Star

 

DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon is the creator and owns everything

TIMELINE: Angel’s Season 1

 

*

 

Doyle approached the desk carrying two cups of hot coffee. He passed one to his boss and said, “So what are your plans for tonight?”

 

Angel looked up from his book. “I thought I might stay in,” he replied hopefully.

 

“What do you want to do that for? Come on out with me and we can have some fun!”

 

Angel studied him for a moment and then returned to his book.

 

“Well, you could show some….”

 

Without warning, Doyle’s face suddenly contorted in agony, his body going rigid before jerking convulsively.

 

“Doyle!” Angel jumped to his feet as his friend had another of his mind-blowing visions. “What did you see?”

 

When the vision had painfully passed, Doyle tried to speak, finally he managed to gasp “Bar.”

 

“A bar? Where?”

 

Doyle struggled to find his voice.

 

“Bar,” he repeated. “Place is full of vamps, man.”

 

“Do you know it?”

 

“Yeah, I know it.” Doyle replied, his voice stronger.

 

“Then let’s go.”

 

* * *

 

They reached the rather seedy bar in record time. Angel went in first; Doyle took a deep breath and followed him inside.

 

The place was a mess. It was obvious that there had been a struggle, tables overturned, chairs broken. There were no bodies and no vampires, either. The only occupant was an elderly man who sat at the bar.

 

Angel went over to him. “What happened?”

 

For some moments there was no reaction to the question and Angel was beginning to wonder if he had heard. Finally he looked up, but he was pale and his eyes looked dull.

 

“He’s in shock,” muttered Doyle.

 

Angel nodded and turned back to the man.

 

“Did you see any…creatures?” He asked, gently.

 

“They took them, took them all.” The man murmured.

 

“Do you know where?”

 

The man shrugged, and looked away.

 

“He’s not going to tell us anything more. We’d better get out of here, man. The cops will be here soon.”

 

Angel nodded and they left the bar. Returning to Angel’s car, Doyle said, “Now what?”

 

“Why would they want to kidnap people? It doesn’t make any sense.”

 

“To eat later?” Doyle suggested with a shudder.

 

“I don’t know,” Angel replied, starting the car. “But I intend to find out.”

 

Angel parked his car in a location that he knew was frequented by vampires. He got out, and told Doyle to stay put.

 

“Where are you going?”

 

“I’ve just seen a vampire go down the alley. I’m going to see if he knows anything about missing people.”

 

Doyle nodded, and watched as Angel followed the vampire into the alley. For long moments there was no sign of him. Finally he reappeared, brushing dust off his coat.

 

“Well?”

 

“They’re being held in a disused warehouse. Our friend didn’t know exactly where. It’s some kind of gambling establishment, using humans for their sport.”

 

“Yuck.” Doyle began to reach for the phone. “Gambling, huh? I think I might be able to help us, there.”

 

* * *

 

Doyle’s contact was able to provide them with an address for a vampire only gambling establishment. Angel went along to the next meeting and found the busy warehouse without any trouble.

 

He looked around, mixing easily with others of his kind. He found a couple of small games rings, one was empty, the other contained a young man of perhaps thirty, going hand to hand with a vampire; and not doing terribly well.

 

Several booths appeared to be taking bets, and as he approached a pair of huge doors, he could see a much larger arena inside.

 

He moved toward it, unnoticed by the vampires around him; he was just another of them after all. He felt conspicuous, though; expecting to be discovered at any moment. His senses were sharp, partly from being vigilant and partly from the overwhelming attack on them. Fear hung in the air around him, sheer terror, and the place reeked of blood.

 

He became aware of a gathering just beside the large doors. Curious, he went to investigate; he thought he heard the word ‘prize’.

 

Angel pushed his way through the group, wanting to find out what was causing so much interest. He had a vague sense of unease; as he neared the centre of the group, the feeling grew, and he was concerned.

 

“What’s going on?” He asked the nearest vampire.

 

“We’ve come to see the prize,” He replied, nodding his head forward.

 

Angel followed his gaze, and swallowed. A young girl stood there, defiantly arguing with her captors; a small blonde girl. Buffy.

 

“What’s so special about her?” Angel asked, his heart sinking as he recognised her.

 

“She’s The Slayer,” The other vamp said in awe.

 

“Doesn’t look so tough,” Angel commented.

 

“She’s tougher than she looks. They say a Slayers blood is special.”

 

“So I’ve heard,” Angel replied, already moving toward her. His thoughts were in turmoil, the last thing he expected to find here was Buffy. He had to get close enough so that she could sense him, let her know he was there. But he needed to get closer to her; the proximity of all the vampires, and her own fear would mask him.

 

Pushing his way toward her, he stopped close to the front.

 

Buffy was held in a small enclosure, surrounded by vampires. She was unarmed, but safe from danger in her pen. As Angel watched, her gaze began to scan the crowd; when she reached him, their eyes met for a fraction of a second, before she resumed her scan. She had not reacted to him in any way, but at least now she knew that she wasn’t alone.

 

Angel melted back into the crowd; Buffy was in no immediate danger. What to do, now? He decided that the best way of getting to her was to put himself up as a contestant, so he went in search of the organisers. As it turned out, they were only too happy to accept another entry into their games. The rules were very simple. Kill or be killed; if he survived he claimed his prize. Slayer’s blood.

 

* * *

 

Angel stood to the side of the large arena. Buffy stood inside it, stake in hand. The vampire who faced her was good. Angel watched as she kicked, punched, rolled. He wanted to help her, but held back, pretty certain she would be able to take him. He did, however, carefully calculate the quickest way of getting to her if she got into trouble. She suddenly ducked under the vamp’s arm and her stake found its heart. He exploded into a cloud of dust.

 

After the furore had died down the organisers began to arrange the next contestant. Angel was third choice, and he wanted to be next. Buffy evidently thought so too, because she came forward.

 

“I know you,” she accused Angel.

 

“Yeah,” he replied. “I used to live in your town.”

 

“Then you’ve been lucky to get this far. Think you can take me?”

 

“No problem, Slayer.”

 

The organisers looked with interest at the pair, deciding that it could be interesting. The Slayer had fought and killed, but she had only been doing her job. This was the first time that she had shown any emotion. A short delay ensued while the while the running orders was altered and bets changed.

 

All the while, Buffy and Angel had been hurling insults at each other, a plan slowly forming between them. They knew each other so well; so many hours exercising together, fighting together. They were on the same wavelength.

 

Finally, Angel was allowed into the ring where he and Buffy adopted suitable fighting stances. Buffy suddenly kicked out at him; he blocked it easily. They were fairly evenly matched, usually, but Buffy was a little tired from her earlier bouts. As they fought, she allowed Angel to move her backwards, ever so slowly, towards the large doors.

 

Eventually Buffy reached the rear barrier, nowhere left to run. Just as she arrived at the barrier, she slipped slightly. But it was enough for Angel to get inside her defences and pin her arms to her sides. The watching crowd, already on the edge of their seats, leapt to their feet with a huge roar as Angel lowered his head to sink his fangs into her neck. At the last second, he twisted away; Angel and Buffy moved into action at exactly the same time, vaulting the rear barrier, each staking the nearest vampire. All other vampires were disposed of in a display of synchronised slaying that stunned the watching audience and the place went deathly quiet.

 

They sprinted through the heavy double doors and slammed them shut behind them.

 

“Might slow them down,” Buffy commented. “What now?”

 

“It won’t hold them for long,” Angel replied “We’d better get the hostages out first, and worry about the rest later.”

 

“Sounds good to me,” Buffy said as they ran toward the holding cells. “By the way, it’s good to see you.”

 

Angel grinned at the slight understatement, and they skidded to a stop outside the hostages’ pens. They ushered the frightened people towards the exit, dusting vampires that were foolish enough to try and stop them.

 

Watching the people escaping into the night, the pair knew their work was just beginning. They turned back towards the arenas to finish off anything that hadn’t already got away.

 

“Ready, Angel?”

 

“Let’s do it.”

 

* * *

 

Much later at Angel’s apartment, Buffy rang Giles to tell him she was OK after her forcible removal from Sunnydale. She and Angel then found themselves on the couch, at a polite distance from each other.

 

Buffy looked across at Angel, she felt oddly awkward with him. She was hurt that he wouldn’t meet her gaze; normally his eye contact with her was intense, and she was disturbed by the lack of it.

 

“I miss you, Angel.” That got his attention, and Buffy swallowed as his brown eyes locked on hers.

 

“I miss you too,” he replied softly. “Every day.”

 

Buffy sighed. “Even when we try and stay away from each other, something pushes us together.”

 

“It makes it very hard,” Angel agreed.

 

“Yeah,” Buffy replied, yawning, “It’s been a very long day.”

 

“Do you want to go to bed?” Angel asked.

 

“What?”

 

“You look beat.” He inclined his head. “I’ll take the couch.”

 

“I could really do with a rest.” She hesitated, before adding, “It’s not that far though, is it? We shouldn’t really be this close.”

 

“I won’t disturb you,” he promised, and smiled. “Safe as houses, remember?”

 

“I remember,” She smiled, getting up. She looked at him for a moment, wondering whether to kiss him or not. She decided that might be pushing their luck a little too far.

 

“Goodnight, Angel.”

 

“Goodnight, Buffy.”

 

 

THE END

 

 

 


 

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