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"Lie back down, will you?!" Andrew approached Angel, grabbing his arm and attempting to steer him back to the sofa again. "You're not healing, Angel. You shouldn't be walking around."

"I'm NOT an invalid, BOY." Angel shucked off Andrew's touch, turning and scowling at him, keeping the demon at bay but just barely.

Andrew rolled his eyes and let out a long sigh.

"Angel." he said calmly, pretending to ignore the irritated vampire who was now following him into the kitchen and had reached for a blood bag from the fridge. "Let me warm it for you. Please?"

Angel dropped himself onto one of the kitchen chairs with a groan.

Andrew was fed up of not feeling useful. Xander and Spike had gone off on their road trip to find Melandra and save Angel, and Andrew was left back at base playing nurse maid. He was tired, he was bored, and Angel was a nightmare of a patient.

"Don't even think about it." Andrew warned, noticing Angel about to stand when the microwave dinged. Angel sank back down into the chair again, not taking his eyes off Andrew as he opened the warmed bag and emptied it into a mug.

"You don't have to do this, you know." The vampire turned away and drained the mug, only turning back to his friend when his face had slipped back into its human guise.

Andrew poured himself a lukewarm coffee from the pot and lowered himself into the chair opposite.

"I know." he replied quietly. "But I need to do something here, Angel. I'm going crazy."

Angel hmmed, leaning across the table towards Andrew.

"We need to call staff... tell them not to come in tomorrow. We'll have to keep the building closed for a few days, just tell them... tell them anything. Carmen is back from vacation. She'll understand."

Angel was suddenly thankful that Grace, the temp who had been working the previous week, would no longer be there. Carmen had been with him since they'd moved into the current offices, and she was unfazed by the comings and goings of the strange folk that tended to wander in and out of AI on a daily basis. Grace, however, hadn't been so unaffected, and it'd have been far more difficult to explain away the current situation to her than to Carmen.

"I'll do that." Andrew replied, replacing his now empty coffee mug on the table. "I'll call Carmen and ask her to let Greg on reception know too."

He looked closely at Angel. The vampire looked pale and tired.

"You really should rest, you know. Let me heat you another, and I'll go make some calls."

Andrew stood up and, after heating and decanting a second bag of blood, turned and headed out of the kitchen. Maybe he'd give Xander a call while he was in the office. He hadn't heard from him since the brief "We've arrived" message he'd gotten when the pair had checked into the motel.

He quickly called Carmen and gave a quick explanation of events. She agreed to call Greg and that neither would come in until Andrew called them again to let them know all was OK.

The current arrangements at AI were basic. After the Fall, the Powers That Be, or what was left of them, had set Angel and Spike up in their backup location. When Andrew had arrived not long after, he remembered being slight freaked out at the similarities between the new, much smaller building, and the old Wolfram & Hart place. Angel said that all of their buildings were deliberately designed to look and feel the same to make it easier to transition between locations, for both employees and clients. It wasn't identical, of course, having a much smaller business area and also containing the living quarters in close proximity. It was all about maintaining a presence. It was a much smaller presence, however, with only Angel and Andrew (and occasionally, when he felt like it, Spike) working cases, Carmen acting as PA and secretary and Greg being first line of defence on reception.

Business had been slow but steady since Andrew had arrived, with cases being more akin to the earlier days of Angel Investigations and "We help the helpless" to the big names and cases of Wolfram and Hart. The PTB had passed on the building to AI but little else. No one contacted them, no one imposed any conditions and they'd been free to do their own thing. It was an uncomfortable position to be in, but they'd had little choice in the matter. It was this or nothing, and Angel had already lost enough.

He picked up his cellphone and brought up the number for Xander.

"Hmmm?" Xander's phone manner was lacking, and Andrew could hear a considerable amount of background noise.

"Xander? Where on earth are you?"

"Mojo's." Xander replied. "Ummm, a bar."

"You're supposed to be finding Melandra." Andrew felt his impatience grow. Angel's life, or his unlife, was in imminent danger, and Spike and Xander were out at a bar?

"Jees, 'drew." Xander slurred a little, clearly suffering more from the alcohol than he'd realised, "Chill out. We just came in to eat and do some asking around."

"And?" Andrew bit back his instinct to complain that getting drunk wasn't helpful, instead encouraging Xander to continue.

"D'know." Xander mumbled. "Spike's already seen another vamp... 'n' smthing else... 'n' did you know there's some convention going on here? Somethin' to do with the supernatural. There's folk dressed up as all sorts in this town."

"Right, well let us know how you get on, yeah. Keep us posted." Andrew sighed and hung up the call with a harder-than-necessary press on the end button.

Great. That's all they needed. They were hunting for a vampire amongst other vampires and wannabe vampires.
Could things really get any worse?

Andrew turned and exited the office, heading past the living space, through the open hall and back towards the kitchen.
As he opened the kitchen door to find Angel lying on the floor and somebody standing over him, he discovered that things could indeed get worse.

Much, much worse.