The club was dark. Dark, hot and crowded. As the young man walked through the club, he passed a dark haired girl talking to two tough looking guys. He passed an elderly gentleman obviously staring at the attractive blonde next to him, and a very drunk red haired girl making out with a foreign looking guy. He ignored all the people he passed, as he made his way to his target, a wiry man in the corner of the club. The man was strange and very creepy but the man only wanted one thing. Juice. The figure handed him a vial of bright green liquid, and without a word, left. The man raised the vial to his lips, and the world went red…
“You have a good night out last night Faith?”
Angel walked over to the dark haired slayer.
“You and Laura have had it hard these past few weeks, especially with her getting the plague...”
“It was interesting, to say the least.” said Faith.
“Are we talking interesting fun, or interesting the world’s going to end?”
“Well, I was talking to these two guys in the club, and suddenly this skinny dude went insane and started trashing the place. The bouncers went to stop him, and he put one of their heads through a wall. I stepped in to try to get him. The guy was wicked strong, nearly as strong as me. I managed to knock him back, but he ran.”
“What was Laura doing when this kicked off?” said Angel.
“Well, uh, she had gotten really drunk. I didn’t see any point in dragging her into...”
“Faith, what was she doing?” Angel interrupted.
“Some foreign guy, in the toilets I...”
Faith saw Oz standing there.
“Oh god, Oz, I’m sorry.”
“It didn’t mean anything, I’m sure. She was really drunk…”
“Faith, leave it. It’s her business, not mine.”
With that, the werewolf walked out upstairs.
Spike walked down a short time after.
“What’s wrong with dog boy?” the blonde vampire said. “Him and Red have a tiff? Wish those two would hurry up and get it on, it’s making me sick.”
“Shut up Spike.” muttered Angel.
Angel turned back to Faith.
“We should start looking into this guy at the club. I want to know if he is a demon, if not, where he got these powers from, and I want to know how to take him down.”
“On it boss. Before that though, I had better do a bit of damage control.”
Faith turned around and headed towards Laura’s room.
An hour later, Laura walked into Oz’s room. He was setting up his meditation area.
“Oz, I’m sorry.”
“What for?” Oz said.
“Faith told me you heard her talking about last night.”
“Yeah.” He said. “I did.”
“It didn’t mean anything. I was very drunk.”
“I don’t want to talk about it. It’s your business who or what you do, not mine.”
“Oz, please, just talk to me.”
“What do you want me to say Laura?” Oz said. “That it hurt? That I felt sick? ‘Cause it did. I don’t want to talk about it because it just makes me feel worse.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“You said that already.”
Oz unrolled his meditation mat.
“I’m going to meditate now.”
“Can I join you?” Laura said.
“No. I need to be alone.”
Laura stood up slowly, and left the room.
“I got some news on our fruit loop Angel.” said Faith.
“Well, I have hit a lot of the demon bars in the area of the club. It turns out the guy’s name is Jimmy Crash. He is a runner for one of the local gangs, the Hellions.”
“So how did he get all supercharged?” said Spike.
“It looks like there is a new drug hitting the streets. The junkies call it Juice. It’s a part mystical drug that is supposed to turbo charge a user’s strength, speed and toughness for a couple of hours, and gives them one hell of a buzz. It seems that the local gangs have picked up on the benefits of using it, and have been buying it in bulk.”
“Crap,” said Angel. “Mystical drugs are never good news.”
“Tell me about it,” said Faith. “Last time I took a trip with one, I went for a ride down Angel memory lane with Angelus.”
“Bet that was a barrel of laughs…” said Spike.
“Right,” said Angel, “We need to find who’s pushing this junk, and we need to put a stop to it now, before these doped up gang boys cause some serious damage.”
Meanwhile, in a darkened warehouse, a robed figure stood over a mystical altar, silently praying to the gods of chaos. Another man entered the room holding a brown package.
“I think I have a delivery for you sir.” The man said warily.
The figure motioned for the man to leave it on the side.
“I-I just need you to confirm your name sir.”
The figure turned around and drew back his hood.
“Very well. The name is Rayne. Ethan Rayne.”
“We need to find who this drug dealer is.” said Angel to the assembled group. The vampire could sense the atmosphere in the group. Things must not have gone well between Oz and Laura.
“We need to split up, hit the streets and bars. Find out if anyone knows anything about this junk.”
“I know where I'm heading then.” said Spike, grabbing his coat.”I'll be back at closing time..”
As Spike left the hotel, Angel turned to the rest of the group.
“Oz, Laura, I want you two to patrol the streets, see if you can find anything. Faith, we will head down the docks.”
Oz walked out of the door without uttering a word, Laura following after him.
“Was that a good idea?” said Faith.
“Give them time.”
Spike sat at the bar of The Bloodwyrm, a small demon bar that had become very popular with humans looking for danger in recent years. Humans would arrive, drink too much, insult the wrong Chaos demon and end up skinned. There was the occasional tough human that was welcome though, ones who could hold their own against some of the demons. Spike looked at the time. He had only been there an hour, and already had to stake two vampires looking for trouble. He was about to leave when a young kid, couldn't have been more than seventeen stumbled through the door, obviously high. A demon instantly made for the kid, meaning the kid to be his midnight snack, but before Spike had gotten off his stool, the kid had thrown the demon through a wall.
Woah, Spike thought. Looks like I got something here...
Meanwhile, Oz and Laura made their way down to the more dangerous parts of L.A. The had not said a word to each other the entire time. They made their way into an area filled with large warehouses and other empty buildings.
The werewolf turned and looked at Laura.
“What? Did you see something?”
“No. But we need to talk. I'm not letting one drunken moment spoil what could still be.”
“Yeah. Good luck with that.”
“Oz, I'm serious.”
“Look Laura, I told you before. I was hurt. I care about you, and hearing Faith say that it really stung. I think...” Oz trailed off.
“What? What do you think?”
“I think you should get out of my way..” Oz said, crouching.
“What?” Laura said, turning around to see the group of gang thugs standing behind her.
Back at the bar, Spike managed to knock down the little punk with a kick to the face. The brat was strong. He had already managed to put Spike through the bar. The kid may be strong, Spike thought, but he wasn't much of a fighter. The vampire ducked under the kid's punch and rose to drive his elbow into the boys face. He slammed the kid into a wall and held him there.
“Talk punk. Where did you get the junk from?”
“Man... its so good.. I feel like I am flying..”
“You will if you don't tell me who sold you this crap.” Spike slammed the kid into the wall again.
“Dude, chill... I can set you up man. Guy's name is Rayne. Chill man..”
Spike knocked the punk out.
“Lets go see if that name rings a bell with anyone else..”
Oz shifted into wolf form. Laura could hear the scrape of bone and the horrible ripping sound his skin made as the wolf burst free of Oz's body. They started to fight the super thugs, who seemed to be getting stronger by the minute. Laura drew her axes, and began to fend of the clubbing blows from the thug's makeshift weapons. Oz lashed out with his claws, knocking the thugs to the ground.
Suddenly they started to back off, edging away from the werewolf.
“Yeah thats it!” Laura yelled, “You better run!”
“Uh, Lau, ” Oz said as he shifted back to human form. “I don't think they are running..”
They looked at the thugs as they started to change. Laura heard that familiar ripping noise that Oz made, as the thugs' skin started to stretch and warp. Their hands changed to claws, and a horn burst from their foreheads.
Laura looked at Oz.
“You know, this is why they say drugs are bad....”
Angel and Faith were back at the hotel. They hadn't managed to turn up anything of any use, and so were researching on the Council database to see if they could find any information on Juice. Suddenly Spike burst through the door, dragging a scrawny looking thug behind him.
“I found us a little weasel who wants to sing..”
Spike chucked the kid to the floor, who immediately tried to run. Faith grabbed him by the throat and threw him into a seat.
“What's this about Spike” said Angel.
“This little rat attacked me in a bar. Was a tough little bugger as well, until i knocked him out for a while. Said he knows who's dealing Juice.” He looked at the kid.
“Tell the nice man with the forehead, you little runt.”
The kid said nothing, so Angel leaned towards the kid's face.
“Talk, or I make my scary face.”
The kid started to shake.
“Uh-uh, it was some guy. He meets us in bars and clubs to give us the hit. Really cheap stuff as well.”
“A name.” Angel said quietly.
“I-It was some British guy. Something Rayne I think. Yeah, Rayne.”
“Crap.” said Angel. He turned to look at Faith. “Get Giles on the phone. Now. We have a big problem.”
“Angel, who is this guy?” said Faith.
“A sorcerer by the name of Ethan Rayne. Old college buddy of Giles. Bad news.”
“Ethan?” said Spike. “I think I have heard of this guy, he turned Giles into a Fyarl demon a few years back for a laugh. He was dragged off by the same G.I. Joes that put that damn chip in my head. He must have escaped when Buffy killed that Frankenstein freak, Adam. .”
“If he's back it's got to be to cause havoc again. Thats what he does best.” said Angel.
Meanwhile, Oz and Laura stared at the four snarling demons where the thugs once stood. The skins they had shed lay on the floor, stinking. The red haired slayer lunged at the first demon, narrowly avoiding the vicious claws of the monster, before driving a quick snap kick into it's face. The demon stumbled back, giving Laura the chance to follow up with a roundhouse kick. Meanwhile Oz had shifted back into wolf form, and threw himself at the demons, his claws tearing into the monsters. One of the demons sidestepped his claws and struck Oz with a double handed blow across his back, knocking him to the floor. The demon loomed over Oz, ready to land the killing blow on the prone werewolf. As the monster's claws descended, the creature paused, with a stunned look on it's bestial face, as it fell forward, with one of Laura's axes embedded into it's twisted spine.
“Now do you forgive me?” shouted Laura, as they beat back the rest of the demons.
Back at the hotel, Angel had not been able to get hold of Giles yet. There had been no answers at the Council Headquarters for the last three hours, and the team was starting to get agitated. The had got the kid to arrange a meeting with Ethan, after Spike had persuaded him. With a baseball bat.
Suddenly, Laura and Oz burst through the door.
“Angel!” shouted Laura. “We found something out about the drug. You ain't going to believe this!”
Angel, Spike and the rest of the team looked at Laura. But she was looking past them, and so was Oz.
“Well, I guess you might..”
With a roar the demon that used to be the kid ripped free of his bonds and lunged at Faith. The slayer was too quick for the demon though, and dropped to her knees, before bringing a dagger round into the monster's gut, killing it.
“How about we go find that Ethan guy, Angel?” said Faith.
The group made their way to the bar they had arranged to meet Ethan. A dank hole of a demon bar called The Gutted Baby. Angel looked around the place. A vampire in the corner was feeding from a young girl. The girl was already dead, probably was before the vamp got to her. The bartender was a fat, sweaty demon with grey floppy skin and a single cyclopean eye.
“Still nicer than Willy's Place..” muttered Angel, as he made his way to the bar. Spike tucked himself away in the corner of the bar, while Oz, Faith and Laura waited outside, just in case.
Angel waited for a couple of hours. He was just about to give up when the bar door creaked open and in stepped the weaselly form of Ethan Rayne. With two of the drug demons as bodyguards. He sat down in the corner opposite from Spike, produced a small book and began to read. Angel walked over to the table.
“So, you made it then kid.” said Ethan, not looking up from his book.
“The boy had to change.” said Angel. “He sent me instead.”
“Oh, well.. look at the time.” muttered Ethan, looking up at Angel. “Gotta run!”
The demons charged at Angel, while Rayne made for the door. Spike tackled Ethan to the floor, as Angel struck out at the closest demon with a quick punch.
Hearing the commotion, Faith, Oz and Laura ran inside.
Faith launched herself across the tables and delivered a vicious kick to one of the demons, knocking it into the wall, and Laura pinned the monster's head to the wall with an arrow.
“Nice shooting.” said Oz, smiling at her.
Meanwhile, Angel lashed out with his sword, beheading the demon he fought.
Angel turned to look at Spike, who had Ethan pinned to the floor in one of the most painful positions he had ever seen. Angel walked over, and motioned for Spike to stand him up.
“Get that jackass to the hotel. Tie him up, and gag him. The only sound I want to hear from him is his troubled breathing.”
“I don't have trouble bre... uurgh!”
Angel pulled his hand away from Ethan's throat.
“You do now.”
Spike walked through the door to the Hyperion.
“You burnt the place to the ground?” said Angel.
“Yeah. All of Harry Potter's magic mumbo jumbo is dust. Watched the place burn, and called the Fire Department in to be safe. You get hold of Super Librarian finally?”
“He's sending one of his agents over with a team to collect Rayne.”
“I really hope it's not Andrew again.” said Spike. “I hate that little runt.”
“We should know fairly soon. The team is being teleported over in the next few minutes.”
Suddenly there was a ripping sound, as winds began to pick up around them, and a portal tore open in the middle of the hotel. From the portal stepped two watchers council operatives, both armed with shotguns. Behind them stood a very familiar face. Familiar, yet much different. The young man was much more muscular than the last time any of the group had seen him. He wore a black vest and combat trousers. On his left shoulder was a tattoo of a demonic skull. His face had become scored with lines and scars, and in his left eye was nothing but a burning intensity. His right eye was covered by a black eye patch.
“Xander.” said Angel. “It's been a long time.”
“Angel.” said Xander. “You send for the trash collectors?”
“Yeah, we got Ethan bound and gagged downstairs. He's all yours. Any idea what's going to be done with him?”
“You don't need to know dead boy.”
Xander brushed past Angel and walked over to Oz.
“Long time no see.”
“Too long.” said Oz, shaking Xander's hand.
“Still a werewolf?”
“Yeah, you don't actually get better from that..” said Oz. “Although I can control it now.”
“Good to know.” Xander turned to his team. “Go fetch the package. Giles wants him in the holding room by morning.”
The two operatives made their way downstairs. A few minutes later they returned dragging the unconscious sorcerer behind them.
“Thank you for this Angel. You have made Giles very happy grabbing this piece of crap.”
“Yeah,” shouted Spike, “Thats why we did it, we like to make the librarian happy..”
Xander shot Spike a withering glance before motioning for the operatives to enter the portal. He followed closely behind them, and the portal sealed up after him.
“I guess Anya's death must have hit him a lot harder than anyone thought.” said Faith.
“Anya died?” said Spike.
“Yeah. A Bringer killed her just after you went all pillar of fire.”
“Why doesn't anyone tell me these things?” said Spike.
A few hours later, Oz was in his room, when there was a knock at the door.
Laura walked in, a serious look on her face.
“Oz, we need to talk. I know I hurt you but you need to know how sorry I am.”
The werewolf looked deep into the slayer's eyes.
“It hurt because I care about you. More than I have for anyone in a long while. You are the only girl since Willow that has made me feel happy, and content. And all I can think about right now is kissing you.”
“Oz, wow. I didn't realize. I mean I thought there might be something, but..”
Laura's ramble was cut off as Oz stood up and kissed her. The two stood in the doorway for a few seconds in each others arms, and Oz reached past Laura to lock the door.
Two days later, in an undisclosed Council location...
Ethan woke up from the small amount of sleep he had. He had been tied to this chair for what felt like days. The rope was beginning to burn his wrists. The room had been pitch black all the time he had been awake. He had not been fed the entire time he had been there, and the only source of water was a steady drip that flowed onto his head. Suddenly a door creaked open.
A bright light flooded the room, blinding Ethan. He heard footsteps, but dazzled as he was he could only make a vague outline of the person.
“Who are you?” Ethan shouted.
“Is that any way to speak to an old friend Ethan?”
“Ripper? Is that you?”
“Of course it is Ethan. Did you think I would let anyone else deal with you?”
“Rupert, if this is about me turning you into that demon a few years back, I'm sorry. It was a joke! Surprise! April Fool!” Ethan stared intently at the figure slowly coming into focus. “That's not helping, is it?”
“This is the end of the line Ethan. This is where your spells, tricks, and games have brought you.”
Ethan's came back into focus, and he immediately wished they hadn't. Giles stood before him holding a small silenced handgun.
“Ripper, you wouldn't.. you couldn't. What about the Slayer? Does she know about this?”
Giles flicked the safety catch on the gun.
“What Buffy doesn't know, can't hurt her...”
Giles took aim with the gun.
“Good bye, old friend.”
Ethan's body slumped forward.
To be continued in Angel6X05: Freak Show...