Chapter 7 – We Meet Again
Lawson found himself walking through the sewers of all places, something he hadn’t done in years. Normally he would have made sure he was back home long before the sun rose, but this time home was the one place he knew he should stay far from. Far from home and far from her. Destiny. The girl who with a few simple words had twisted his life all around.
Angel, Angelus, whatever you wanted to call him was in L.A., he was here. The man who had ruined his life, turning him into neither a man nor a monster. The man who had turned him into nothing.
When he had asked Destiny about her brother, he had never in his wildest dreams thought that he would hear that the boy was here trying to kill the man he had hated for a little over half a century now.
“His name is Steven, and he’s just so focused on his mission that he’s been blinded to everything else around him. He has tunnel vision and my refusal to help him no questions asked makes him think that I’m against him or siding with his enemy.”
“Who’s this enemy?” Was her brother one of those conspiracy nuts who thought that everyone was after him? Or was his opponent more supernatural in origin?
“His name is Angelus, though I hear he goes by Angel now, and now that Steven has found him he’s obsessed…”
He hadn’t heard much after that shocking revelation, though he did hear the name of the place where he could find him. Where he could finally have the confrontation he’d been longing for, for so many years now.
After his turning, once he was no longer of use to him, Angel had sent him on his way. Actually making him swim for it, racing the dawn to dry land. The fact that he wasn’t the only vampire in danger of having his backside scorched off wasn’t nearly as comforting as one might believe it to be. After that he had spent years trying to understand what it was that he had become, what it was that he’d been turned into.
He had known he was a vampire from the start, but without someone there to guide him he floundered for years. He did all the things that he’d believed he should, all the things that he’d read about in horror novels and heard about in back alleys. He’d tortured and killed, trying not to feel anything like he heard so many others claim, but once again he fell short of the mark. He felt everything, if anything his feelings had only amplified since his re-awakening.
So eventually he had fallen back on his navy training and decided that what he needed was direction, a mission. So he’d assigned himself one, to find the man responsible for his situation and gain his answers. It had sounded simple enough, he’d even come up with a plan to help him achieve it, but enacting it was far harder. Finding a centuries old vampire with multiple names that never seemed to stay in one place for more than a year was grueling and truly a lesson in frustration.
Every time he thought he’d found something or someone to help him one of two things would happen. Either they hadn’t seen Angelus in decades or in some cases centuries or they feared his rep so much that even the thought of selling out his location was enough to have them quaking in fear. After over two decades of false leads and failure he’d finally given up on the idea of finding him and had instead settled down here in Los Angeles to wait out his eternity in a place that never really changed.
Now though his luck had changed, now his mission was completed when he wasn’t even trying. Glancing up at the shaft that would lead him into the basement of the Hyperion Hotel he smiled for the first time in what felt like years. Creeping into the main room he found the man he had been searching for, standing not ten feet from him.
“Hey boss, you got a sec?” Seeing the surprise on his face was the best payout a guy could dream of.
Hey boss, those words washed over him and sent Angel back to a small submarine on the bottom of the ocean. Those words filled his veins with ice. Those words filled him with shame.
“Lawson, what brings you by?” Mentally he took stock of his people, and was grateful to realize that they were all otherwise occupied at the moment, outside of the building. Lorne and Fred had gone to some rare book dealer who had several volumes from another dimension for sale. Gunn was reconnection with some of his old contacts for the tenth time this month alone. With Cordelia going out to round up all the food before everyone got back he had about twenty minutes to take care of this and make the hotel safe for his people to return to.
“Well, boss, I heard a rumor that you were in town and since I’ve been looking for you for about five decades now, I thought I’d drop by. I think it’s past time you and I had ourselves a little chat, don’t you?”
At the other mans words guilt began to flood his mind. He was ashamed to realize that he hadn’t truly thought about Lawson nor his actions on that submarine in years. He had been so focused on the present and all the new and at times terrifying problems he had to deal with that thoughts of his past sins had begun to abate more and more of late. He would hear him out, he owed him that much, then he would dust him as he should have done years ago.
“I agree, what did you want to chat about?” He took a deep unnecessary breathe and mentally braced himself, preparing to listen to a long litany of grievances and pontifications. Most fledglings, once they came into their own, had long lists of their sires failings on the tips of their tongues. Lawson he was sure, had more than his fair share.
“Let’s start with, what the hell did you do to me?”
“What are you talking about?” It wasn’t like the boy didn’t know that he was a vampire, he’d been made painfully aware of that at his turning. What the hell was he asking?
“I mean what the hell did you turn me into, cause it sure as hell ain’t a vampire. I did everything I was supposed to, I hunted and killed indiscriminately for years, but it did nothing for me. The blood tasted of ash in my mouth, I felt nothing! I even felt bad a few times, like I wasn’t supposed to be hurting people, like I wasn’t supposed to be here. So you tell me boss, what am I supposed to do now? Hmmm? How am I supposed to feel? TELL ME!”
He watched as true tears began to track down the man’s face, he could see the pain and anger swirling in his still all too human eyes. He was right, he wasn’t a vampire, at least not a normal one. A vampire wouldn’t give a damn about any of this, he would have been enraged at his sire for leaving him to fend for himself but he would have attacked physically not verbally.
“I’m sorry.” That was it, the only thing he could say, the only thing he could offer. He knew what was wrong with him and it was his fault, he’d done this, by turning a man while he had his soul he’d damned him to live in the same in-between that he did only without an explanation why.
“You’re sorry? Sorry!” With a final yell the fight was on, and there was only one way it could end now. In a cloud of dust.
As fists began to fly Angel knew that he should end this, just dust him and be done with it, but he couldn’t. A part of him hoped that once he was given a chance to vent his anger Lawson would calm down enough to listen to reason, to let him help him as he should have fifty years ago.
“What the hell is going on here?”
The intrusion of the distinctly feminine voice had him turning towards the door to face Destiny and Cordelia just as Lawsons blow landed on his face sending him skidding across the lobby floor. Not good.
Cordelia stood in the doorway of the hotel warring with herself. Did she get Destiny to safety of stay and help Angel with whoever the hell was pounding on his face? As Destiny stepped farther into the lobby it seemed the decision was made for her.
So this was Mr. Love ‘em and Leave ‘em. Not bad looking at least, the girl had taste, but that didn’t stop her from hoping that Angel kicked his tight little ass. What he’d done to Destiny deserved a beating if not a dusting! You didn’t just walk out on a girl after taking her virginity and not expect a beat down from her relatives.
“He’s Lawson? The Lawson?” She needed to make sure before she said anything. At the younger girls slow nod she knew she had the right jackass, but what was he doing here?
“You know Lawson?” Glancing over at Angel she saw so much confusion covering his expression she felt bad for him. There he was kicking a random vamps ass and in walks his daughter with his name tripping off her tongue, he must be so twisted around. Well she could fix that.
“We all know who Lawson is and he’s not bleeding nearly enough, punch him in the face.” She watched as he thought about asking questions but the look on her face must have said enough because he just shrugged and walked intently towards the other man content to do as asked. Good boy.
As pulled his fist back Destiny started to back out towards the door. Not good.
“I don’t even want to know what’s going on here, I’m out.” Without another word the girl was gone, not even sticking around long enough to see Lawson hit the ground. She supposed she’d handle this then, it wasn’t like the girl didn’t have enough to deal with as it is.
Destiny stood outside of another club that she found, this place seemed to be filled with them. This one was flashier than the last one she went to, but that could work in her favor. If everyone was busy watching the lights, then no one would notice when someone went missing. She was just starting to zero in on her mark, a young man drifting farther and farther from the entrance as he tried his luck with anything in a skirt, when an older woman in a business suit stepping into her path. Who the hell?
“Hello Destiny, my name is Lilah I’m an old acquaintance of your fathers. Could we maybe step step to the side and talk for a minute?” Looking the woman up and down she knew she could take her if it came to that, so she shrugged trying to hide her curiosity.
“Sure.” Turning away from the doors she hadn’t made it through she took a deep breath and tried to focus, if this turned into a fight it wouldn’t do her any favors to be distracted by things that weren’t relevant to the situation. As it stood she was trying to figure out which father this woman was talking about Angelus or Holtz.
Holtz stood in the shadows watching the abomination stride into the darkness with who was likely to be her next victim and sighed in frustration. Steven had failed to subdue the demonic spawn, he wasn’t motivated enough to beat her, maybe if he showed him the danger she posed to those around her he would be more inclined to give it his all. Showing the boy the body of one of her victims should help to clear his mind of thoughts of a touching reunion, and if the girl did not kill the woman he was sure another victim could be found or even created for his purposes.
“Follow them Justine, tell me everything.”
“Of course.” At least she was still faithful to him, to his cause. Hopefully by nights end Steven would be faithful once more, released from the grip of that hell spawn he called a sister. Hopefully.