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Riley walked cautiously into the lobby of the Hyperion
hotel. Xander stood before him with a determined look on
his face and a battleaxe in his hand. After a moment of
undisguised tension between them, Angel walked into the
"Can I help you?" Angel asked, giving a disapproving
glance at Xander.
"I have some business to discuss, maybe we should talk
privately." Riley said with his own disapproving
"Anything you have to say, you can say in front of
Xander." Angel responded.
Angel cast a surreptitious glance at Xander who shifted
his eyes toward Riley and took an obvious inhale.
Taking the hint, Angel took a casual inhale of breath
through his nose and understood Xander's wariness. He
smelled the blood of at least a dozen demons. At this
revelation, he focused his preternatural hearing and
heard Riley's heartbeat racing at almost twice a normal
Oblivious to their realizations, Riley continued, "Fine,
I need to enlist the aid of Angel investigations to find
the home of a demon underground railroad of sorts. We've
been tracking them from South America and all signs lead
to Los Angeles."
Angel had been focused on Riley while he spoke, then he
glanced again at Xander. With another quick flick of his
eyes, Xander indicated the front doors. Angel took
another unneeded breath and picked up the scents of two
others outside the doors, both steeped in demon
"Thank you for wanting to include me Angel, but I have no
business in your business." Xander said and turned to
"Fine. Would you call Gunn and tell him we may have a
job?" Angel said casually.
Xander nodded as he went into the lounge to make the
* * * * *
"Gunn, this is Alexander. Angel wanted me to call you and
let you know that we may have a job." Alexander said,
trying to figure out how to tip Gunn off.
"Alright, do I need to come over?" Gunn asked.
"I don't think so, just be available. I was wanting to
take Willie for a walk and hoped you would join me. You
know where Angel likes to walk in the afternoon? Could
you meet me there in a few minutes? I just need to get
Willie's things together." Alexander said, trying to
There was a moment of silence on the phone before Gunn
replied, "Uh... yeah, I know the place. I know how much
Fred likes to go on walks with you, still, she should
probably stay home." Gunn said, hoping that he wasn't
being too obvious or too obscure with his question.
"I hate to think of Fred being at home all alone, she's
such a social creature. She really needs to be around
other people." Alexander nearly choked on the words, but
had to get the message across.
"Your right, it would be a shame for her to be boxed in
on a day like this. Go get your things together and I'll
see you in a few." Gunn said quickly.
"See you then." Alexander responded and hung up the
Alexander walked out of the lounge and noticed that Angel
and Riley had gone into Angel's office.
He made his way quickly upstairs and into his room where
he found Wesley watching Willie play in the shower
"Get his things together and meet me in the basement, I'm
going to get Cordelia and we're getting out of here.
Gunn's going to meet us in the tunnel." Alexander said
quickly before leaving again. He was glad that he and
Wesley had discussed some of Angel's adventures during
their visits or he might not have known about the
entrance to the tunnels in the basement.
Wesley quickly gathered the baby and went down the back
stairs to the kitchen. He went to the refrigerator and
put ten blood bags into the diaper bag, then from beside
the refrigerator he grabbed a handful each of plastic
bags and towels and some bottles of water. As quickly and
quietly as possible he made his way into the basement to
wait for Alexander.
* * * * *
Alexander gathered the comatose form of Cordelia close
then threw her over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. He
quickly made his way down the back stairs and into the
basement where he found Wesley and Willie waiting for
"What's this all about?" Wesley asked with worry.
"I'll tell you once we're in the sewer. Help me get this
open." Alexander said with strain in his voice.
Together they were able to open the heavy door that
blocked the sewer tunnel entrance from the basement. Once
through, they heard movement to their right.
"Nice day for a walk." Alexander said with tense
"Yeah, you wanna tell me what the hell's going on?" Gunn
asked with absolutely no patience.
"Sure, let's get moving and I'll tell you as we go. I
assume we're going to meet up with Fred?" Alexander
"Yeah, this way." Gunn said shortly.
"Upstairs, Angel is talking to Riley Finn, he used to be
a member of a top-secret government operation call 'the
Initiative'. They captured demons and performed medical
experiments on them. They are the ones who put a behavior
modification chip in Willie's father's head. They also
cut parts from living demons to make a frankenstein's
monster of human, demon and technology. This guy upstairs
just walked in, stinking of demon blood, and asked for
Angel to do a job for him. There were two of his people
guarding the front door, so they probably had guards on
the other entrances too. They are known to use wire taps,
so I have to assume that they were listening to us on the
phone. And I probably just told them all about Willie and
myself if they intercepted my email to the
"So what do you think they wanted with Angel?" Wesley
asked, as he tried to remember what he knew of the
"There's no way to be sure. I'll tell you what I know...
they modified Riley to make him some kind of super
soldier, save your Captain America jokes for the end,
please. A few years ago they figured out that the super
soldier thing was killing him by burning him out. So they
had to do an operation to reverse some of the super
soldier effects. One of those effects was a resting
heartbeat of around 150. Just now, Riley had that old
familiar heartbeat which says to me that, at the very
least the super soldier part of the initiative program is
still alive, I think that's enough reason to at least
consider that the rest of it has been revived as
Wesley thought for a moment and summarized, "So we have
enhanced human soldiers stinking of demon blood guarding
the front entrance of the hotel. Those seem to be the
facts, without speculation."
"Yes, I'd say that's fair. Guys, do you think I
overreacted?" Alexander asked timidly.
"Not at all Alexander, you acted in the best interest of
us all..." Wesley started.
"What about Angel?" Gunn interrupted.
"I don't think he's in any danger at the moment. If they
wanted to take him against his will, they would have
stormed the place. I'm guessing they are going to try to
get Angel to do a job for them. They'll probably tail
him, tap his phone and stuff to find his contacts. Once
they've learned what they want, they won't need him
anymore and then they'll either capture or kill him. And
if that happens, I pray they kill him." Alexander said
with a diminishing voice.
They continued on in silence until Gunn indicated an exit
from the sewer tunnel. Alexander had been so focused on
the events that he had forgotten he was carrying Cordelia
on his shoulder until he tried to climb the ladder.
They emerged from the sewer into a cluttered basement.
Gunn led the group up to the ground floor of an obviously
abandoned building and said, "I'm going to go get Fred,
she's nearby. I'm guessing you think that she's being
"I have to assume that she is. We also have to get a
message to Angel to let him know that we're safe. He'll
be free to do a lot more if he doesn't have to worry
about us." Alexander said thoughtfully.
"So, the cell phone is probably out of the question."
"Yeah, it's possible to track your location if you use
the cell. We need to call Angel from a public phone. A
short message so they don't have a chance to track us."
Alexander said while rocking his son in the stroller.
"What message?" Gunn asked impatiently.
"Tell Angel that we went for a walk and met up with
Cordelia. We're going to visit with her for a while so
don't worry, we are all fine." Xander said then turned
back to the baby.
"Yeah, that should do it. I'll call from the mall where
Fred is waiting." Gunn said, getting ready to leave.
"Watch out for tails. Stop in and visit with friends if
you need to. We'll be waiting here. If we have to move,
we'll need someplace to meet. Got any ideas?" Alexander
said to the group in general.
"Lorn's bar. It's been empty since it was nearly
destroyed." Wesley said giving Gunn a questioning
"Yeah, if I don't see you back here, I'll see you there."
Gunn said on the way out the door.
"Perhaps I should go with him?" Wesley asked,
"No, if we have to move, I'm depending on you to take
care of Willie. I can't carry Cordelia and Willie both."
Alexander said worriedly.
"Try not to worry Alexander. There is no way for them to
find us. And Angel will be able to take charge of the
situation once he knows that we're safe." Wesley said in
a comforting voice.
"Thank you Wesley. I really needed to hear that. When I
smelled that demon blood, I was so scared for Willie.
When I think of what people like that would do to him, I
want to kill them all." Alexander said with a trembling
"It's a father's duty to protect his child to the best of
his ability. It's natural that you would want to remove
all threats toward your child. Just remember, if you kill
them, this thing will follow you around for the rest of
your life. Think of William, do what's best for him and
you'll be fine." Wesley said quietly.
* * * * *
Angel had heard parts of Xander's conversation with Gunn
as he led the soldier into his office. He understood what
Xander was doing and approved. Although he didn't know
everything about Riley Finn, he knew enough. He knew that
Finn had been one of the soldiers that captured and
chipped Spike, that the smell of demon blood that this
man carried spoke of years of killing, and that this man
was trying to use him.
"So, I just want to be clear on what it is that you
expect me to do." Angel said, trying to stall to give
Xander time to get everyone out of the hotel. "I'm going
to have some coffee, can I get you anything?" He asked,
in the interest of wasting time.
"No, thank you." Riley said shortly. Angel slowly and
methodically prepared a cup of coffee with amounts of
sugar and cream measured with a scientists precision.
Angel took his seat behind the desk and took a slow drink
of coffee, then gave Riley a look that signaled for him
"Demons are making their way into this country from South
America. We have been trying to stop it from the other
end, but as soon as we get close to shutting them down,
they pack up their operation and move. The only constant
is wherever they set up the other end of the operation,
the demons are always sent to L.A. We want to find where
and how they are coming in and stop them." Riley said
with military efficiency.
Angel wasn't buying it for a minute. A person doesn't
live for 250+ years and not learn a few fundamental
truths along the way. If these people were part of a
government agency looking for demons entering the
country, they had the resources to accomplish the task
without his help. They were probably here to follow him,
find his contacts in the demon community, and once they
were confident that they knew where the demon population
were living, they would most likely carry out a mass
capture or extermination.
"There was one demon that I could have asked, but he died
about two weeks ago. With the recent upheaval in
Sunnydale, my contacts may not be as easy to reach as
usual. I'll have to ask around and see if I can turn
anything up." Angel said slowly with an aire of
Riley nodded as if he approved. Then Angel continued,
"You said 'We', I'd like to know who I'd be working
Without a flinch Riley said, "There are officials in the
Venezuelan and Brazilian governments who are aware of
demons and have hired my team to deal with the
"Why should they care? The demons are leaving, I would
think that they would hold the door open and wave 'bye'."
Angel said with forced humor.
"The demons are working as mules for the drug lords of
South America. The government officials are trying to
curtail those illegal activities." Riley said
Angel fought to keep a neutral look on his face. Angel
thought to himself, [Does this guy actually think I would
believe this? Oh well, I have to keep him talking.] Then
he said slowly, "Do you have any information that I can
start with, a name, location, anything I can use to help
me pry for information?"
"Certainly, here is a folder with the solid leads that
we've compiled, so do we have a deal?" Riley questioned
as the phone rang.
"Excuse me." Angel said as he answered the phone.
"Hey Angel, this is Charles. Xander wanted me to let you
know that we went for a walk and met up with Cordelia.
We're going to visit with her for a while so don't worry
about us, we're all fine." Gunn said from the
"That's good to know, I'm with a client right now, but if
I can get away later I was thinking of stopping by your
sister's place." Angel said in a casual tone.
"I might see you there when we've finished our visit with
Cordy, I've gotta go. Bye." Gunn said before he hung
"Bye." Angel said and hung up the phone before turning
his attention back to Riley.
"Sorry about that." Angel said carefully, picking up the
envelope as he got up and walked toward the door. "I
think I have everything I need to get started. I assume
that my standard fees won't be a problem."
"No problem. You can contact me at the number on the
envelope when you have some information." Riley said with
Angel shook Riley's hand as they approached the front
door and watched as Riley left the building.
He waited, concentrating his preternatural senses to
detect if the soldiers were going to leave. After a few
moments of conversation that was too quiet for Angel to
hear through the heavy doors, Riley left the other two
soldiers at the entrance where they were obviously going
Angel quickly gathered weapons, a few bloodbags, and a
change of clothes and made his way to the basement. He
found the door to the sewer tunnel closed but not locked.
He forced the door open and made his way as fast as
possible to the old abandoned factory where Gunn's sister
had met her final death.