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The Reacher laughed as recognition spread across Angel's face. It had been a long time. Too long. He'd spent the early years keeping out of the Aurelius clan's way, but as time went on, he had become more and more bitter and vengeful. When he had eventually tracked Angelus down to LA, the Reacher had followed and settled, getting his name and abilities out there. Angelus had a reputation and a history that had left him with many enemies. Most wouldn't dream of fighting back while the vampire was unsouled, of course, but with his soul, Angel was a much easier, much softer target.


Angel knew he sounded ridiculous. He couldn't quite grasp that, after all these years, nearly 150 of them, the Reacher was still around. The Reacher rolled his eyes and dropped his gaze from Angel's, peering down at Spike and squinting as he tried to scan the unconscious vampire's mind. The Garchen's knife had done considerable damage. Spike's body was thick in blood, which had oozed from unhealed cuts and slipped across his paling skin.

"The vampire is underfed." The Reacher stated the obvious and Angel glared at him. Spike looked painfully thin and pallid. He was very obviously near his limit of blood loss, especially given that he had been captured for at least a day, and Angel doubted that his captors had bothered to feed him. He felt his demon rise angrily, wanting retribution for Spike's suffering. Angel closed his eyes and forced it down. It wouldn't help to lash out right now.

"Where have Marcus and Avery got to?" Jeff mumbled to himself, not really expecting a response. He had expected his friends to follow Angel into the warehouse on his arrival and, as the minutes ticked by, their absence was unsettling. Jeff hadn't expected it to be just him and the Reacher against the vampire. He was neither ready for or happy with that combination.

Angel opened his eyes again, glaring directly at Jeff as he spoke and deliberately not hiding the smug look that crept across his face.

"I see." Jeff nodded. This was how it was going to be then. He approached the Reacher and, without taking his eyes off Angel, whispered into the demon's ear. The Reacher nodded. Jeff handed the Reacher the Garchen's knife and Angel's stomach lurched when he saw it.

Jeff moved back towards the door, slamming it closed, and the Reacher stood a few paces back from Spike.

This was plan B. It had been discussed. There was always a plan B and now seemed to be the time to put it into action.


The corridor, where Andrew and Xander were standing, plunged suddenly into darkness.

"Shit!" Andrew cursed, scrabbling in his bag for the flashlights. He handed one to Xander and both men clicked on their own. They had hoped not to use them, fearing they would be spotted in the darkness of the warehouse, but now they had little choice. They were not far from the doorway, and with the door closed, at least they were less likely to be noticed.

The two men crept the remaining 15 metres and stopped outside the doorway. It opened away from them, into the room, which could help their surprise attack, if it came to that.

"What now?" Xander asked. Really, there hadn't been any great master plan. They had been prepared to head to the warehouse and provide Angel with backup, if he needed it but, right there right then, they suddenly felt woefully unprepared for a fight.

"As far as we know, we have them outnumbered." Andrew replied, keeping his voice low and hushed in the dark quiet of their surroundings. "There's the Reacher and one man inside. Plus Angel and Spike. So, we're 3 against 2, even if Spike is..." he paused and took a deep breath before he could continue, "... even if Spike is still incapacitated."

Xander nodded. It was likely that Spike was still out of action. They couldn't hear much sound from the room. There had been muffled voices on their approach but, now that the door had been closed, it was difficult to make out any noises at all.

"Is the Reacher a danger to us?" Xander asked hesitantly, wondering if they should have tried to find something that might protect them against the demon's reach.

Andrew shrugged in the dim light.

"It's possible. He might be less of a danger to Spike or Angel but a Reacher's power can be quite strong against humans. For that reason, I think we need to concentrate our attack against the Reacher first. Let Angel deal with the human."

"Makes sense." Xander replied, reaching around and pulling the knife from his jacket pocket.

"OK then." he finally said, taking a deep breath himself and straightening up, armed and as ready as he could be for action. "Let's do this."


"This isn't exactly what we had originally planned." The Reacher stepped around the large stone table, where Spike was lying, and slowly approached Angel, concentrating hard as he tried to feel for Angel's mind

"You can't completely block me out, vampire." he spat. He might not have the same effect on vampires as he did on humans, but he knew that he could reach them, with effort. "I'll reach you somehow."

Angel shook his head. It felt woolly and thick. As though a cloud of smoke had settled in his mind and was weaving through his thoughts. He failed to suppress his demon as it rose, roaring loudly.

"There you are." the Reacher smiled, extending his hand and cocking his head slightly as the demon quietened in confusion.

Angel looked down at the hand the Reacher was holding out to him. In it sat the Garchen's knife. Angel ridged face furrowed in further confusion. He wanted to take the knife. He wanted to take it, but he didn't know why.

The Reacher nodded. It was working. He inched closer to Angel, waiting for him to reach out.

"Take it." he said, reaching into the mind to give one last instruction as Angel's hand quickly lifted the knife from the outstretched hand.

"Take it..." he repeated, giving a quick glance to Jeff who responded with a brief nod, "... and kill your childe."