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  • #16
    Angel: After the Fall, Issue #15

    Start of Chapter 15

    The opening image is of Angel standing on the rubble of Hell-A’s downtown, holding a wound on his arm. Wesley watches from beside him. Around them, humans flee in terror. In the distances, Illyria stands in her true form, blocking out the sun as she tears through the city.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Wolfram & Hart made me human the very same moment they sent my city to hell. They punished me, they punished my friends.

    From behind, we see Angel and Wes look out at the ruins of the city that Illyria is leaving behind. Not all the people are running, many are dead or injured.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: They punished everyone. It’s all part of turning me into the downfall of *all that is good*.

    We see Gunn and his henchmen gather around George, as if to protect him.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: And just when I think they’ve sunk as low as they can go, they turn one friend into a vampire bent on killing me and saving the world.

    We see Illyria in full view as she roams downtown.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: And push another into killing the world altogether.

    The next image shows more humans, and demons, fleeing from Illyria’s attack. She speaks, but she speaks through George’s thoughts.

    ILLYRIA/GEORGE: *There is nothing but hate* we can’t go back we can only move forward to when there is no pain

    From above, we see Wolfram & Hart’s dragons and dragon/fighter hybrids flying around Illyria.

    ILLYRIA/GEORGE: No one hurts

    On the ground, Gunn looks back over his head at George to complain at him. George looks overwhelmed by Illyria.

    GUNN: Shut it off, George! I don’t want to hear it!

    GEORGE: You forced communications with Illyria! Well, I got her talking and now she doesn’t wanna stop! She wants

    We see an image of only white space.

    We see Illyria use her tentacles to rip through W&H’s dragons and fighter hybrids.

    GEORGE: (from out of the view) asdfa – it gone. She wants it all gone!

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Illyria is finding just the right moment of time. Where there is absolutely nothing left. But if need be –

    The view shifts, and we see Groo on the back of his Pegasus, his flaming sword pointed forward to rally the female warriors he leads as they climb out on wrecked buildings to attack Illyria.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: asdfa – She’ll take it apart piece by piece.

    GROO: Ignore the whiny head revelations! ‘Tis but a distraction! Fight on! Fight hard! Slay the beast!

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Groo and Illyria’s former grotto-mates do their best to keep peace –

    We see Spider on the ground, her extra legs fanned out behind her, carrying a citizen to safety. Groo charges toward Illyria.

    GROO: Save the masses! Win the day!

    We see Groo flying forward as Illyria’s tentacles begin to swing near him. He raises his sword and shouts.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: – until Illyria spots them. Brutal. She’s brutal with them. She has a grudge.

    In a close-up, we see that Groo has come much too close. Illyria’s jaw is open in front of him as he tries to draw back.

    GROO: Oh. This looks insurmountable.

    In extreme close-up, Groo frowns throw the shadow as he stares into Illyria’s mouth.

    GROO: This death is hardly glorious enough.

    In close-up, Groo drops his flaming sword.

    From the ground, Angel watches Illyria as he helps one of the Slayers back to her feet. Wes faces him as he answers Angel’s question. In the distance, we see a spray of blood from Illyria’s mouth as she consumes the Groosalugg and his Pegasus. The flaming sword can be seen falling to the ground.

    ANGEL: Is Fred in there at all?

    WES: Illyria desperately wants there to be. There are fleeting moments, in timeslips, mostly, where it can force an appearance, but look around –

    In close-up, we see Groo’s flaming sword hit the ground, stabbing into a pile of debris.

    In a wide shot, Wes answers as we see humans and demons helping each other, we see Nina holding a child, either human or demon, and directing survivors, human and demon alike, toward the Hyperion as Hell-A burns behind them.

    WES: “– look at what it’s doing.”

    NINA: Come on, it’s okay, it’s alright, get in here…

    Elsewhere, we see Lorne and his two female companions from earlier staring into the sky as a vortex of some kind forms.

    WES: (voiceover) “If there was a glimmer of Fred inside, she’d stop it.”

    We see Spike in close-up, out cold, half-buried in Gunn’s collapsed building.

    WES: (voiceover) “That’s not her.”

    We see Wes in close-up, his eyes closed, sad.

    WES: Fred’s gone.

    Angel and Wes walk side by side toward Illyria. Behind them, we see the silhouette of Gunn’s henchmen with weapons drawn.

    WES: Though it… it thinks it’s doing what Fred would do. It’s trying to end the suffering by ending *everything*. Do you want to discuss our options? Maybe together we can, you know, workshop?

    ANGEL: Okay, best way to stop a ten-story godlike monster from destroying existence? I’m gonna go with hitting, you have anything?

    WES: You took mine.

    Angel is quickly surrounded by Gunn’s henchmen. They seem to be as angry with their boss as with Angel, but still look ready for a fight.

    HENCHMAN #1: Gunn *FORWHATEVERREASON* – wants you to leave her alone.

    ANGEL: Have you talked to him lately? Gunn wants some seriously whacky things.

    HENCHMAN #2: I know, right? But we went this far.

    Angel goes into action even while the henchmen talk. He punches one out and grabs the axe from another.

    HENCHMAN: Gonna see it through to the end –

    From behind, we see Angel quickly cut the vampire’s head off while the others draw back from him.

    ANGEL: Got that right.

    Behind Angel, the three Slayers leap into the fight. The vampires aren’t ready for their training subjects to come at them.

    SLAYER #1: Take ‘em!

    SLAYER #2: Got some aggression to work out!

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Gunn’s Slayers prisoners. They were trapped in a loop, used for training.

    The Slayers join Angel and they cut through Gunn’s henchmen.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: They must have died a thousand times in the last couple of months. For all they know, it’s only five minutes after they were kidnapped. Since then, they’ve had a building dropped on them and are face to face with Illyria, but they’re hardly fazed.

    Gunn’s minions are gone, and Angel walks toward Illyria alone, an axe in either hand.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: *She’s* trained them well, they can handle the lackeys. Leaving me free to go kill what’s left of one friend.

    We see Angel in close-up. Behind him, Gunn and one of his other henchmen bring George forward. The Slayers finish off their old captors in silhouette behind them.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Before killing what’s left of another.

    Before Angel can go further, the voice of the Senior Partners calls out from around him.

    SENIOR PARTNERS: [i]you stay there! You will not die, angel. not today. quite frankly, we don’t have the resources to reach into your timeline and pull out another body.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Don’t see any other –

    As Angel thinks, he timeslips, and we see him at the Shanshu prophecy, standing amidst hundreds and thousands of slaughtered humans and demons.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: – choice?

    We see Angel’s hands in close-up, covered in blood.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Another timeslip. Appears to be personal. Final battle between good and evil. And the only one left –

    In close-up, Angel is in vamp face. He grins through blood-streaked lips. A voice fills his mind… possibly Illyria’s.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: – is the MVP.

    VOICE: Angel Angel

    Angel strides proudly through the bodies and ruins.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: The stench of blood is overwhelming. It’s everywhere. Making me euphoric. This is… this is thrilling. Perfect.

    We see his view as Angel looks down. He’s walking on human bones.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: She wants me to see. This is my future. This is what I’m fighting for.

    The view shifts and we see a red sun setting over the horizon of the ruined land.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: I did this. Not Wolfram & Hart. Not Angelus. All me. But she can make it go away. She’s trying to make it so it never happens.

    We see Angel snarling in close-up as lightning strikes behind him.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: All this time, I did what I did because of the Shanshu prophecy.

    Angel looks around through the haze.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Well.

    The next image shows the timeslip has ended. Angel is human again, holding both axes, and screaming Illyria’s name.

    ANGEL: *ILLYRIA*!

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Time to start doing what I do despite it.

    The view widens, and Angel looks around as Wes answers his scream. Connor and Spike have emerged from the collapsed building and met up with them.

    WES: Um, yes, Illyria’s still there. Welcome back.

    ANGEL: Did everyone… see that?

    SPIKE: Hey hey, some of what’s left of the gang is hereish. Ghost Wesley, check. Fall of man, check.

    From behind Angel, we see Spike and Connor slouching, both injured. Connor’s shirt is stained with blood on his stomach.

    ANGEL: Are you okay?

    CONNOR: I’m good.

    ANGEL: You’re bleeding.

    CONNOR: Everyone’s bleeding. What’s the plan?

    Angel points behind him with one of his axes towards Illyria.

    ANGEL: Illyria wants to bring it all down. I would very much like to try and delay that for as long as possible.

    We see the four of them from above as they make a circle. Angel offers one of his axes to Spike or Connor. Spike crouches, looking completely exhausted.

    SPIKE: I’m fine, too. Thanks for asking. Alright then, let’s do this.

    ANGEL: Wait –

    SPIKE: You’re aware that I like Fred more than you and you’re afraid I’m gonna stab you instead of her.

    ANGEL: In a nutshell, yes. Kinda absolutely that.

    We see a close-up of Spike as he looks away from Angel. He looks resigned.

    SPIKE: I’ve seen it act up before. Not to this scale, mind you. But I figured, even if Fred’s gone and only the monster is left… well, we all know that just because it’s a monster doesn’t mean we should ready the pitchforks and torches… but after this, all these people…

    In extreme close-up, Spike squeezes his eyes as he lowers his head.

    The view widens, and Wes walks up behind Spike. Spike holds up a hand as Wes tries to comfort him.

    WES: It’s hard, I know –

    SPIKE: I didn’t say it was hard. I’m dealing with it. We’re all clear, that’s not Fred. Fred’s not homicidal, Fred’s shorter. Blood hell, do you have to whine about *everything* to be part of this club? Let’s make with the brawling.

    Angel and Connor join the two of them as Spike turns to face his old friend and rival.

    ANGEL: I want Wesley in plain view. Fred or not, Illyria might hesitate if it’s him, give us some time.

    SPIKE: I want to be on the front line.

    ANGEL: No. Wesley can’t be hurt, you can. We need you in this fight for as long as possible.

    In a closer-view, Angel hands Connor an axe. Angel meets his son’s eyes as he gives his orders.

    ANGEL: I take the lead. We’re going to have back-up in the form of whatever’s left of Wolfram & Hart’s army and they’re not going to let anything happen to me. Killing’s out of the question. Not a question of morals, just being realistic. Hack at what you can, tentacles, mouth, whatever the hell passes for eyes. Is the dragon anywhere nearby, because we could –

    CONNOR: He’s dead.

    Angel’s face hardens as he looks away in a close-up. Connor watches him, trying to reassure him.

    CONNOR: He, uh… he died saving me. You would have been proud.

    We see Angel turn from the others, adjusting his plan.

    ANGEL: Okay, then, we do it without the dragon, same plan let’s go –

    The next image shows the team ready for battle. Seven walking in line, the three Slayers, Wesley, Angel in the lead, and Connor and Spike to his left. All are wearing determined expressions. Above them and behind them, Wolfram & Hart’s army is rallying to them.

    ANGEL: – cue the music.

    They haven’t gotten far before Gunn is in their path. He is blocking their path to Illyria. In the foreground, we see Groo’s flaming sword sticking out of the ground.

    GUNN: No. You’re going to let her do what she’s *supposed to do*! Even after I built that, that shrine to restore her to original form and you, like always, went and made it about you, she *did it on her own*. She did what I planned all along because *it’s fate*. It’s been building to this, I made it happen, it’s the right thing –

    The view reverses, and Gunn steps over to rip Groo’s flaming sword out of the ground.

    GUNN: – *it has to be*.

    Angel steps right into Gunn’s face, leaning over him and gripping his sweater. Gunn stares back at him in vamp face.

    ANGEL: We don’t have time for this. You fancy yourself a hero, you say you haven’t changed, you help us. And then, if the smoke clears, you can air your grievances with knives, swords, lasers, your pick. But not now, Gunn. *Not now*.

    From behind, Gunn moves to quickly for Angel to react. He shoves Angel away with his left hand, knocking him into Spike and the Slayers. Connor is taken off guard, and before he can even move, Gunn runs him through with Groo’s flaming sword.

    ANGEL: *Ooph*!

    GUNN: No, Angel. Now would be good.

    CONNOR: *Ukk* –

    From above, Gunn rips the sword from Connor’s chest as he falls. Spike dives toward Connor, the others stand stunned.

    GUNN: *You* don’t tell me how it’s going to go! You’re weak! You’re nothing! And that’s for the window, kiddo.

    We see a wide view of Gunn holding the sword, ready to fight, but Angel loses interest, turning to Connor. Spike is already with him, cradling Connor’s head as he lays on the ground. Wes and the Slayers watch with sympathy. Gunn’s only remaining henchman, Tank, stands near with George.

    WES: (to Angel) You can’t do this. Not now.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Yes, I can. Priorities just changed, Wesley.

    GUNN: Damn right, he can’t. Thing of it is, he’s the human now. I’m the vamp.

    From over Gunn’s shoulder, we see Angel turn back to look at him with total fury.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: World’s going to end. World *has just* ended.

    GUNN: Oh, man, things are *not* looking good for team Angel.

    Gunn’s taunting is cut off by a vicious right from Angel, spinning Gunn on his heels.

    GUNN: Let’s go then, let’s *Ooooph*

    The view reverses, and Angel picks up an axe as Gunn charges him with Groo’s sword.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Can’t tell if things are going hazy because of Illyria or because of what just happened. Don’t care.

    Angel dives at Gunn, tackling him, knocking the flaming sword from his hand. Tank, his henchman, charges to Gunn’s aid, with George still under his arm.

    GUNN: *Gaaaaa*

    TANK: I’m on it, Gunn –

    We see a close-up of Tank, reaching out to attack Angel.

    TANK: Been wanting to go one-on-one with this one anyway –

    The view reverses, and Tank is knocked backwards before he can reach Angel. Spike has jumped in, throwing a punch that knocks the vampire off his feet.

    SPIKE: Word of advice, “Tank,” don’t go saying that kinda thing out loud, people will twist your words all sorts of ways. Get it over with, Angel, we have work to do.

    In close-up, Angel hasn’t heard Spike – he can’t hear anything. With his axe in one hand and rage on his face, he drives his fist across Gunn’s face. Spike sees him, trying to get his attention.

    SPIKE: *Angel*.

    The next image is of Angel standing over Gunn, staring down. His shirt is ripped open, and his expression has turned empty and cold. He has the axe in his right hand.

    ANGEL: You could have beat me when you were human, Charles.

    We see a close-up of Angel’s hands, raising his axe over his head. The blade is covered in blood.

    ANGEL: *You just had to be angry enough*.

    Gunn looks up at Angel, his face human again.

    GUNN: (quietly) Do it then. Do it.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: You heard him, do it. Not because it will save the day. Not because it’s right. Do it because he just mortally wounded your son. So help me…

    As Angel’s narration goes on, we see Wolfram & Hart’s demonic air forces attacking Illyria.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: … they were right. I could become what they need. It’s in me. Kill Gunn, kill Illyria.

    From the ground, we see Angel still holding the axe over his head. Above him, Illyria wages war on Hell-A. Wes calls out to Angel for his attention.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: It’s not even Gunn. *Clearly*. No matter how much he wants it to be.

    WES: (from out of the view) Illyria has found their moment.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: Not her, Wes. Just like Gunn, it was never Fred –

    In close-up, Angel finishes his thought aloud as he realizes what he has to do.

    ANGEL: – *no matter how much Illyria wants it to be*.

    As Gunn lays on the ground looking up, Angel’s axe falls between his legs.

    The view shifts, and Angel whirls around to face Connor. George hovers nearby while Spike is back to tending Connor.

    ANGEL: Connor, I –

    CONNOR: (weakly) You have an idea. Good, go, save the world.

    We see from over Angel’s shoulder as calls out to George.

    ANGEL: Okay. You, the fish.

    GEORGE: What do you want me from me? I’m a prisoner! I stabbed no one!

    SPIKE: (from out of the view) His name is George.

    From above, we see Spike move in to the circle of Angel, George, Wes, and the Slayers.

    SPIKE: Betta George, actually. We go way back. What, just because you’re not there doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I’m mates with a telepathic fish, you practically dated a dragon, let’s move on.

    GEORGE: What do you need?

    In a closer view, Angel turns to George with the plan.

    ANGEL: Go back into Illyria’s head.

    GEORGE: Are you kidding?! She won’t let me out.

    ANGEL: That’s good. How powerful are you? What are you capable of –

    GEORGE: More than I thought. A wise man taught me that. A wise, psychopathic, troubled, super-creepy man.

    Angel faces George up close. Above them, Illyria continues destroying the city.

    ANGEL: I need you to inundate Illyria with memories of Fred.

    GEORGE: It’s already overflowing with them. We’re talking serious identity crisis

    ANGEL: I’m not talking about Illyria’s memories of Fred.

    We see a close-up of Angel’s arm as he points at Wesley.

    ANGEL: I want you to hit her with Wesley’s. Every single one of them. Let’s give Illyria a crash course.

    We see Wes and George turn to look at Illyria. The monster’s face is near street level, and her giant blue eye appears to have noticed them.

    WES: It’s… it’s a solid plan.

    The view shifts, and Wes turns to Spike, who looks back over his shoulder at him. George watches them both. In the background, Illyria’s tentacles come into view as the Slayers turn to fend them off.

    WES: But… you should use Spike’s memories of Fred as well. Root around, find every thought remotely related to Fred. Even the more questionable ones.

    GEORGE: Ha. Give me something difficult. Fred’s front and center within both of you. Okay, lost love care bear stare in 3

    As George counts down, his, Wesley’s, and Spike’s eyes all glow a bright yellow. The Slayers are thrown around by Illyria’s tentacles as she comes closer.

    GEORGE: 2

    Illyria looks down with her mouth open at Angel, Wes, Spike, and George. Angel stares up while the other three continue to stand in a trance with their eyes glowing.

    GEORGE: Contact

    The view shifts, and from above, Illyria reacts to the contact. She throws her head up as if in pain.

    ILLYRIA: *Stop STOP I order you to stop this*.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: A physical battle would have only delayed the inevitable. But filling Illyria’s mind with thoughts of Fred, true memories, from those that loved her, that hurts it where it counts.

    The next image is of Illyria standing in the downtown, suddenly docile.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: We show Illyria who Fred was.

    We see Fred and Wesley kissing.

    We see Fred and Wes sitting together, researching.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: What she meant to us.

    The view of Illyria moves in closer. The monster is still not moving at all.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: What was taken away.

    We see a near close-up of Illyria, still motionless.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: And Illyria learns what it’s trying to do…

    We see Fred smiling at Spike as the two share a joke together.

    We see Fred studying her clipboard with a worried look in her lab while Spike watches.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: … is the furthest thing from who it was trying to be.

    In close-up, Illyria’s one eye appears to be sad.

    The next image shows Wolfram & Hart taking advantage. Their dragons and the dragon/fighter jet hybrids attack it full force. It clings to nearby buildings with its tentacles, but Illyria is driven down.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: A moment of weakness… and that’s all Wolfram & Hart needs to bring it down.

    On the ground, dust and smoke fill the air as Illyria falls. The silhouettes of Spike, Wes, and the Slayers look at it. Angel, though, has gone to Connor. He pulls his son up, holding his head.

    (NARRATION) ANGEL: I don’t see Illyria fall.

    CONNOR: (weakly) You did it. With limited bloodshed. Go team dad.

    In close-up, we see Connor as Angel cradles him. His eyes are half-closed.

    ANGEL: You’re not –

    CONNOR: (weakly) Yeah. Yes, sir, I am.

    The view reverses, looking up at Angel from behind Connor’s head. Angel’s face is already breaking.

    ANGEL: You saved me so many times, Connor. Even before everything went to hell. You have no idea what you mean to me.

    CONNOR: I have an idea.

    From above, Connor lays back a little as Angel kneels beside him. Spike is standing over Angel’s shoulder, there for both of them. Connor whispers to his father with what strength he has.

    CONNOR: I need you to promise me something.

    In extreme close-up, we see Connor staring up at Angel. Angel leans down to hear his son’s words.

    CONNOR: And you gotta do it, because it’s like, a last request. No matter what happens, Angel, don’t let them win. You’re a good man.

    From over Angel’s shoulder, we see Connor looking his father in the eye, his expression sincere and even serene. Connor’s voice is very small.

    CONNOR: Vampire or not – you’re a good man.

    The view is the same, but Connor’s eyes shut. He dies quietly in his father’s arms.

    The last image is a full page as Connor’s head drops back against the ground. Angel is gripping his shoulders in disbelief, unable to look away from his face. Spike’s face falls as he touches Angel’s shoulder. Wesley stands nearby, watching his friend with pity. The Slayers and George look on from behind, silent and respectful.

    End of Chapter 15
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    • #17
      Angel: After the Fall, Issue #16

      Start of Chapter 16

      The opening image is of Angel cradling the newborn Connor in his coat, shielding the baby from the rain in the alley behind Caritas. We can see Fred’s legs where she was standing that night, covering the baby with her coat as best she could. Connor cries his way into life.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: We spend most of our lives trying to find our one true love. I found mine. It was impossible, *it wasn’t supposed to happen*, but I found mine.

      The image stays almost the same, but we see Angel as he is now. Instead of the baby, it’s the young man that he holds in his arms. Instead of coming to life, Connor lays dead and bleeding in his father’s lap. Behind them, we see Spike’s and Wes’ legs as they look down on Angel and Connor.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Now he’s gone. My son is dead.

      In a wider view, we see Betta George and the three Slayers all attending Angel and Connor as well, quietly. They are all surrounded in a wide circle by the demon army of Wolfram & Hart. One of the demon/jet fighter hybrids swoops down to land in the circle near them.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Bullets, swords through the chest, losing my soul – I thought I knew pain. I’m so sorry, Connor.

      The view shifts and we see people standing around nearby. On the ground in front of them, Gunn is starting to get back to his feet. We see the flaming sword beside him.

      CITIZEN #1: Angel?

      CITIZEN #2: Angel – ?

      GUNN: Who the hell do you think you are?! Give him room to breathe, the man is mourning.

      Angel hugs Connor closer to him. Spike and Wes both watch, but Spike glares as he defends Angel’s privacy.

      WES: Angel, we have to –

      SPIKE: *Not now*. Let them be.

      The view reverses, and Angel is lowering Connor slightly. As he does, the snout of the fighter/jet fighter hybrid leans in to them. It speaks to Angel as the voice of the Senior Partners.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: alright. then. not what we were expecting. but it was going to happen eventully. kinda has to. no?

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: They’ve won.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: anyway, point made? point made.

      From ground level, we see Angel’s hand as it reaches out slowly to pick up his sword. He gently lets Connor down to the street. The monster looks down at him as the Partners continue to give their instructions to Angel.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: here’s what happens now. you go home.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: I want to end them all, every single one. But it will just make things worse.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: the hotel is standing. somewhat. we’re fine with that being your base of operations.

      In a close-up, Angel looks long and hard at the blood on the blade of his sword. He holds the weapon up, almost thoughtful.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: don’t worry about the offspring. we will send the carcass over asap. do you want it spruced up? cleaned? we can find a nice suit.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Killing them won’t bring my son back. Won’t make Gunn whole. Won’t help Illyria. It won’t save Los Angeles.

      The next image is of Angel leaping to his feet, and with a roar he shoves his sword through the jaw of the demon/jet fighter hybrid.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: But I want a bloodbat. I want them to suffer.

      Angel rips the sword free and slashes through the throat of one of the demon soldiers nearby. His allies argue amongst themselves as he attacks.

      WES: He has to stop.

      SPIKE: Why? Let ‘im work out some aggression. They can’t kill him. They’d get docked pay or some nonsense.

      In close-up, blood sprays past Angel’s angry face as Wes turns back to look at Spike, realizing the problem.

      WES: You’re right, they can’t –

      Angel looks back over his shoulder as Wes calls out to get his attention.

      WES: – they can’t kill you.

      The view shifts, and Wes turns and points at the demon army. They stand passively as he shouts at them. They answer with the unison voice of the Senior Partners.

      WES: *You won’t let him go. He dies, this is all for nothing*. You can kill everyone important to him, you can slaughter every living being in the city, but Angel has to stick around.

      DEMON ARMY: well, sure. angel won’t die. the minute he has so much as sniffles we’ll simply pull a better him out of the timeline. but seriously, angel, if this makes you feel better, chop away at the minions. we’ll make more.

      From behind Wes, we see Angel turn back to look at him, his eyes gleaming. The two of them realize the same thing together. Spike watches, confused, but certainly willing to fight.

      WES: Are you hearing this, Angel? They’ll reach into your timeline.

      ANGEL: Gotcha.

      SPIKE: What? What are you thinking?

      ANGEL: And if we’re wrong, then it’s over anyway, no? Going to have to be fast.

      SPIKE: That’s for sure. What… what is?

      Angel holds his sword up in front of him, turning away from Wesley. Wes reaches up with his noncorporeal hand and affects putting his hand on Angel’s shoulder.

      WES: The Slayers?

      ANGEL: I’m thinking Gunn. Either way, if it works or if it doesn’t, you’re –

      WES: Angel.

      In a close-up, Wes looks at Angel with a calmed and resolute expression.

      WES: Being your friend and fighting by your side has been an honor.

      Angel watches as Wesley turns and walks away.

      WES: Now go.

      ANGEL: Thank you, rogue demon hunter.

      We see Angel turn and march through the demon army. They break ranks to let him through. Behind him, Spike and the Slayers and Betta George follow.

      SPIKE: What’s all that about? If he wasn’t see-through, you would have kissed, wouldn’t you? I got that vibe.

      ANGEL: Spike, I need you to keep the army back.

      SPIKE: Why?

      In a closer view, Angel punches a demon soldier out of his way as he leads the others.

      ANGEL: Can’t say it out loud. You’re going to have to trust me.

      SPIKE: That’s hilarious.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: what is he doing? *angel*, that is *not* the direction of the hyperion.

      We see Spike and the Slayers turn around and form a line in front of the demon army. Betta George hovers over them.

      SPIKE: Man wants me to hold an army back, I can do that. Slayers, George, gonna need back-up! Line the sand, unstoppable army. Cross it *if you dare*.

      From ground level, we see the silhouette of Angel’s legs as he stands over Gunn. The vampire is still trying to get back to a kneeling position.

      Angel reaches down and pulls Gunn up by the front of his sweatshirt.

      ANGEL: *Get up*.

      From the ground, we see Gunn grab the flaming sword as Angel pulls him to his feet.

      ANGEL: Your plan didn’t work. The visions lied. Connor is dead.

      GUNN: Because of you. But I’ll make it right.

      We see a close-up of Angel’s sword as he finishes a vicious swing that cuts Gunn in the chest.

      ANGEL: *I know you will*.

      GUNN: Nnnn

      SENIOR PARTNERS: *stop it*

      We see Spike and the three Slayers holding back the demon army. George’s eyes glow red as he works to hold the line as well.

      SPIKE: Angel –

      SENIOR PARTNERS: *stop him*

      The view shifts and Angel punches Gunn off his feet. The flaming sword glows in front of them. Behind them, the demon army begins to break through the line. Spike turns and calls out to Angel.

      SPIKE: – *they dare! Many if not all of them are bloody well daring*! The men upstairs really don’t want you to do what you’re doing –

      Angel doesn’t pay any attention, standing over Gunn with his sword in his hand. The ground around them begins to glow with flame or magma.

      GUNN: I’m not going to do it, Angel. There’s a reason it’s all about you. You’re cause and effect all rolled into one.

      As Angel and Gunn fight, we see fire begin to rain from the sky, sending the people on the street running for cover.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Bringing the sky down on top of us. They know what I’m doing.

      ANGEL: *All hope is lost, is that it?! All signs point to you being a failure so you’re packing it in*?

      From behind, we see Angel lean over to taunt Gunn as the vampire tries to get back to his feet again.

      ANGEL: *You were lied to! Your world ended! You’re beaten and you’re tired and your future is hopeless*!

      SENIOR PARTNERS: stop it you know what this will cost you

      ANGEL: *That’s when you stand up*.

      We see Spike fend off demons as they surround him.

      We see Wes walk toward Illyria’s fallen body, walking right through the tentacles.

      The next image shows Angel and Gunn on top of a jutting pile of concrete from the ground. Fire burns the street around them as the rain of fire continues. Angel jams stabs his sword through Gunn’s chest.

      ANGEL: *Rise up, Charles*.

      In close-up, we see Angel viciously punch Gunn across the face, pummeling him. The demon army looks on, unable to act against him.

      ANGEL: Do what you have to do.

      We see a close-up of Spike, turning to watch.

      In extreme close-up, Gunn’s face shifts and reveals the demon. He nearly roars as he repeats his words from the first chapter.

      GUNN: *”Two seconds after Angel figures it out… Angel dies.”*

      We see a close-up of Wes staring intensely.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: There we go.

      We see Angel raise his sword over his head as if he means to attack again.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: It took the death of my son to get us to this point. I love Connor.

      The view widens, and Gunn is back on his feet, screaming as he pulls back the flaming sword. Angel stands still, his sword behind his head.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: I love my friends and I love this city.

      In close-up, we see a calm look on Angel’s face as he closes his eyes and lets his sword fall to the ground.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: I’d die a thousand deaths to save any of them.

      In close-up, we see demon soldiers snarl, standing by watching.

      The next image show Gunn from behind as he swings his sword out and cuts Angel’s head off. The trail of flame makes a full circle around him. Angel’s hands go out in front of him reflexively. His narration tails off as he dies.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: But I think I’m only going to have to die onc…

      We see Gunn drop the flaming sword as he watches Angel’s body fall. The demons gather behind him.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: you

      GUNN: I know.

      SENIOR PARTNERS: you ruined it

      GUNN: *I did it*!

      The view shifts and Spike throws his sword aside and runs toward Angel’s body. Wes joins him, walking calmly as he explains. Behind them, the Slayer look on, confused.

      SPIKE: What the hell is *that*? What the hell is *that*?

      WES: We’re trapped between moments as part of a plan to manipulate Angel. He’s about to die, they heal him. They need to pull him out of his timeline.

      We see Spike and Wes in close-up, looking almost smug as Spike realizes what Angel did. A bright light fills the air around them.

      SPIKE: Angel ended his timeline. So if they want him for his horribly ever after –

      The view shifts to Wes as he finishes Spike’s thought. Behind him, we see Illyria’s giant body on the ground.

      WES: – they need to return to the very last moment before all of this started. Exactly how it was. Exactly as we were.

      Wes walks away again as the light continues to brighten. It’s almost like snowflakes of light, cracking the sky. Spike reaches a hand out toward Wesley to protest, realizing what it means. Wes walks back to Illyria.

      SPIKE: But you were –

      WES: Yes. But so was she.

      We see Spike in close-up, amazed and moved.

      WES: (from out of the view) I’d tell you to keep an eye on our mutual friend. Make sure she stays on the straight and narrow.

      The view moves in closer and Spike’s eyes widen, and his mouth opens in surprise.

      WES: (from out of the view) But I have a hunch you will. We both will, in a matter of speaking. Whether she likes it or not.

      In extreme close-up, Spike stares ahead through the now blinding white light.

      SPIKE: Where the hell are you –

      The scene shifts instantly, and we see Spike in vampire face standing in the pouring rain. A large knife is sticking through his arm. He’s back in the alley behind the Hyperion. It’s the night they took out the Circle of the Black Thorn.

      SPIKE: – going?

      The view widens and Spike looks down, ripping the dagger from his arm, adjusting. In the foreground, one of Wolfram & Hart’s demons turns toward him, growling.

      SPIKE: It’s like that, then.

      We see Spike get back into the fight, punching out one of the demons. Behind him, the giant from the army pulls its fist up to bash Spike from behind.

      SPIKE: It all happened in a damn moment? We were there for months. I *remember it all*.

      Before the giant can attack, Illyria leaps out and punches it in the face. She’s in Fred’s body again.

      ILLYRIA: *So do I*.

      The view reverses and we see Illyria standing over the giant, holding it’s shoulderstrap up. As Spike fights more demons, we see the dragon flying overhead.

      SPIKE: Illyria. Have you lost weight? See, because –

      In a closer view, Illyria turns to find a new enemy.

      ILLYRIA: *Because I was a massive creature. I understand. It was a marginally successful attempt at humor*.

      SPIKE: Thank you?

      We see Spike in close-up as he turns and sees a mob of demons fighting someone else.

      SPIKE: Did Illyria just get a joke? Did she *finally* appreciate a pithy comment? Whole world’s gone to hell. (quietly, to himself) Or back from hell, as the case may be. (shouting out to the fight) What about you, then? Hanging in there?

      The next image shows Angel bursting free of the mob around him. His shirt is torn, he is soaked with rain, and he is a vampire again, in game face. The bodies of demons are piled around him. Behind him, Illyria holds another demon over her head effortlessly.

      ANGEL: I’ll live.

      Angel is quickly surrounded by other demons again. Angel looks almost eager to fight again, though.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: He was right. Wesley was right. Kill me, game over. They lose their key chess piece.

      We see Angel and Spike fighting beside each other, pushing back the demons that are attacking them.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: I die in the hell, they can never return me to the normal timeline and fulfill what they consider my destiny. No choice but to return to the last moment I was in one piece. Wesley, as usual, helped me to win the day. And all I had to do –

      From the side, we see Illyria join in, punching her fist through the chest of one of the demons.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: – was find a way to return to a world without him. Welsey’s gone. He’s not coming back.

      We see Illyria in close-up, her blue eyes gleaming as she turns to face Angel and Spike.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: But despite the physical reboot, it happened. It all happened. I remember everything. *We* remember everything.

      ILLYRIA: I can’t get him out. He’s in my head, what she was to him, what she meant to him. She… she was his reason for being. She was his light.

      We see from behind as Illyria charges forward, blasting demons aside like leaves. Angel watches as she attacks.

      ILLYRIA: *And I ended it*.

      The view shifts and Angel and Spike turn to find enemies of their own as Illyria throws demons around.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: She’s never been like this. Never this passionate. Almost –

      SPIKE: Human. She’s acting bloody human.

      ANGEL: She’s… working through some issues. I almost feel sorry for Wolfram & Hart’s army. Illyria could end this brawl all by herself.

      The view shifts, and we see two large demons turn and look back at a *SNURT* sound from behind them. Their faces looks suddenly scared. Behind them, Angel greets his new ally.

      ANGEL: That said –

      From above, we see the Dragon, Cordelia, has arrived in the alley, its jaws open and a blast of fire blowing through the alley, burning the demons. Spike, Angel, and Illyria watch from the side.

      ANGEL: – she won’t have to.

      The next image shows Angel in close-up as he turns away from the fight, where Illyria, Spike, and the Dragon are taking control. He looks back into the alley.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: They can handle this. Gotta find the scent before it’s too late.

      SPIKE: Hey, another one of your girlfriends is resurrected.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Ignore the rain, sweat, and burning demon.

      From over Angel’s shoulder, we see fire filling most of the alleyway.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Find the only human in the alleyway.

      Angel sprints down the alley, calling out to Spike. In the flames ahead, there are several people walking in silhouette.

      ANGEL: Spike –

      SPIKE: Got these, go!

      We see Angel leaping over the flames. His spring stakes pop out of his coat sleeves and into his hands.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Still human. Scent is so strong –

      As Angel arrives, we see Gunn being dragged by the vampires that took him before. He calls out weakly.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: – his blood is everywhere.

      GUNN: Angel

      The view reverses, and the leader of the vampire group, Gunn’s would-be sire, turns to charge Angel.

      VAMPIRE: Back away, brother! We’re going to do it right this time. We have another chance! I won’t make the same mistakes!

      ANGEL: What are you talking about?

      The vampire turns to dust as Angel stakes him.

      ANGEL: Actually, you know what? Never mind. Don’t care.

      As Angel turns to look down on Gunn, the Dragon appears and burns the other vampires.

      GUNN: No. Leave me be. Please, let me die.

      In close-up, we see Angel’s face shift back to human. He looks down at Gunn for a long moment.

      Then he’s reaching down and pulling Gunn up to him. Gunn’s face is bleeding, his right eye is destroyed.

      ANGEL: Sorry, Charles. It’s not that easy.

      Angel carries Gunn in his arms through the flooded alley. Illyria and the Dragon are overwhelming the demons, reducing Spike to mostly just watching.

      ANGEL: I’ve got to get him help.

      ILLYRIA: *Go*. This pathetic gaggle is almost slain. Gunn must not fall.

      The view shifts, and Illyria turns to look at Angel as she holds a demon in her grip.

      ILLYRIA: Do you need transportation? I could strong-arm the dragon into doing my bidding.

      ANGEL: I think he’ll do it on his own accord. Although –

      We see Spike in close-up, with Illyria and Angel talking behind him.

      ANGEL: – Wolfram & Hart’s building is jam-packed with all sorts of healing potions. If we’re back to pre-hell conditions, they’re still there, in the basement.

      SPIKE: Let’s go then. International house of evil is just a hop skip and a dragon ride away.

      The scene shifts, and we see the silhouettes of Angel and Gunn, Spike, and Illyria in front of a large construction site. There is a sign advertising a Doublemeat Palace that will be opening at that location. There is no sign that a skyscraper has ever been there.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: But when we get there…

      SPIKE: So. Hmm. We *are* at the correct address, yes?

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: There is no basement. No basement, no penthouse, no shiny metal desks. *The west coast HQ of Wolfram & Hart is gone*.

      In a closer-view, Illyria turns to Spike, confused even for her. Behind them, Angel is already putting Gunn back on the Dragon’s neck.

      ILLYRIA: Buildings do not just disappear as if they have never existed.

      SPIKE: Right, because that would be the weirdest thing we’ve seen all month. Or in the last couple hours. Or at this very moment.

      Moments later, we see the Dragon flying through the sky. The city below is whole, though – it’s Los Angeles as it was. Angel holds Gunn up as they fly.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: It’s all back to normal. Myself included. Whenever I flew on the Dragon, each and every time, I could feel my heart race. I missed that feeling the moment we took off.

      On the ground, we see the Dragon land in the parking lot near the emergency room entrance of Cedars-Sinai hospital. The rain has mostly blown through.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Luckily the hospital is only a few blocks away. On a normal night, at this hour, the emergency room would be quiet.

      We see a wide view of Angel carrying Gunn into the emergency room. It’s crowded with patients waiting for help, all talking about what they just went through and came back from.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: On a normal night.

      PATIENT #1: We were in hell, right? Am I crazy?

      PATIENT #2: I was there, too.

      PATIENT #3: Just called my mom in San Diego, she said I was nuts.

      PATIENT #4: I made friends in hell, and now I have no idea where they are –

      PATIENT #5: (seeing Angel) Hey, look.

      ANGEL: *Somebody help, please* –

      The view moves in and we see Angel put Gunn on a gurney. A female doctor with glasses comes up behind him. Other patients watch.

      DOCTOR: What happened?

      ANGEL: He was attacked… by an animal. Many large animals.

      DOCTOR: Did some of them have swords?

      ANGEL: Not sure, it was dark.

      From above, we see Gunn on his gurney. His clothes are soaked with blood. Two more doctors, a man and a woman, join the first doctor in treating him.

      DOCTOR #2: We need to move him to the line front of the line, get him into surgery.

      ANGEL: (to the third doctor) Is he going to be okay?

      DOCTOR #3: We’ll do our best –

      The first two doctors take Gunn back through the doors on their way to surgery. The third doctor, a woman with a dark ponytail, stays and talks to Angel.

      DOCTOR: – is there anything we should know? Was it a demon? Vampire, what?

      ANGEL: I’m sorry?

      DOCTOR: It *seems* like all the nasties stayed wherever the hell we were, and it *seems* like everything’s back to normal, but you never know what could slip through the cracks, you know what I mean? Well, of course, *you* do –

      Angel turns, running his hand through his hair as he sees the waiting room watching him.

      ANGEL: I’m not sure I, uh… I really need some air.

      Angel steps outside. We see the bright city skyline in the distance. A bright street light shines in the distance, almost like the sun.

      In close-up, Angel places his hand on his face – everything has caught up with him now, everything he’s lost.

      Before he can truly break down, though, he turns and sees someone approaching him.

      The view reverses, and we see from behind Angel as Connor walks up to his father. He is alive.

      CONNOR: So, hey. Saw the Dragon. Not dead anymore, that rules.

      In close-up, Angel weeps helplessly as he stares at his son.

      CONNOR: (from out of the view) Speaking of… I’m also considerably less dead, and Los Angeles is saved, was that you? Look who I’m talking to, of course it was.

      Connor flinches in surprise as Angel grabs him into a tight hug.

      We see Connor smiling as he accepts the hug, patting his father’s shoulder.

      CONNOR: It’s okay, dad. It’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of a happy ending, isn’t it?

      We see Angel wrap his arms tighter around Connor, putting his hand on the back of his son’s head. He is still crying.

      ANGEL: I’m not sure… I’ve never had one before.

      We see the two in profile as Angel let’s Connor out of the hug. He still keeps his hands on Connor’s shoulders. Connor looks very young for a moment.

      ANGEL: Sorry, don’t mean to smother you, I’m just…

      CONNOR: I know.

      The view shifts, and we see a young man with spiked blond hair call out to Angel as he walks out of the waiting room.

      MAN: Angel!

      ANGEL: Uh-huh.

      MAN: Don’t mean to interrupt whatever this is… but when am I going to have this chance again, you know? Wanted to say thank you.

      The view reverses and Angel wipes his tears on the back of his jacket sleeve as he answers.

      ANGEL: Do I know you?

      MAN: I saw you in action, back… a while ago. I was a slave. For Burge, he’s the one with the lobster claws. Anyway, Burge made us go to the battle with the dinosaur and the exploding and the what-have-you. You, uh, you freed me. Heh, you freed everyone.

      We see Angel in close-up, looking very confused at being recognized.

      ANGEL: I think you have me confused with –

      MAN: (from out of the view) Aw, it’s you, I’m sure. You never forget the guy who saved your life. Wanna hear something nuts?

      ANGEL: Do I?

      We see the three of them from above. Connor listens with his hands on his hips as the man gestures to the whole city. Angel stands listening, looking dumbfounded.

      MAN: Since the day of that rumble, most everyone I met, they claim to have seen you in action, but there was no way *everyone* could have seen that fight, there were only a few thousand there. *Everyone* wants to say they know Angel, you know?

      ANGEL: “Everyone wants to say” – ?

      The view shifts, and Angel turns to see everyone in the waiting room has come out and is staring at him. Connor looks out into the parking lot, seeing something similar.

      ANGEL: Oh. This is not good.

      CONNOR: This is big.

      ANGEL: This is not good.

      CONNOR: Nah, it’s fine you just just moved on up.

      In close-up, Angel looks around to see that people are crowding him from all around now. They aren’t angry, though, more like they are seeing a movie star. Connor smiles behind him.

      CONNOR: From urban legend –

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: Remember when I said Los Angeles was back to normal?

      The last image is of Angel, his shoulders slumped, looking dazed, as the man who spoke to him puts an arm around his shoulder and poses for a picture on his cellphone. The Dragon lets children rub its snout. Connor looks around as he finishes his thought.

      CONNOR: – to just plain *legend*. (quietly, to Angel) You totally deserve it, too. Good for you, dad.

      (NARRATION) ANGEL: I was wrong. I was *very, very* wrong.

      MAN: (to Angel) Do you mind a quick picture? Nobody’s gonna believe me otherwise.

      To Be Continued.

      End of Chapter 16
      Last edited by KingofCretins; 22-01-09, 03:54 PM.
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      • #18
        Angel: After the Fall, Issue #17

        Start of Chapter 17

        TIME CARD: One month later.

        The opening image shows Angel from behind, looking out on the bright, gleaming LA skyline. In the foreground, there are cranes and construction equipment, where the Wolfram & Hart office had been.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Wolfram & Hart has been the bane of my existence since I moved to Los Angeles. But times change. Their Los Angeles branch has disappeared.

        The scene shifts, and we see Angel standing in what seems to be the City Planner’s office, at the front of a long line of citizens.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: And stranger still –

        CLERK: According to records, that lot has been city-owned for decades. There was a rehab center on that location until the earthquake of ’94 decimated it. It’s been empty ever since.

        ANGEL: There was a building *on that spot* a month ago.

        The view shifts, and the clerk leans up intently.

        ANGEL: I worked there. I lived there.

        CLERK: Oh, I’m not doubting you, Angel. Do you suspect – (whispering) demon foul play?

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Oh, good. She knows me.

        Angel turns and leaves, thanking the clerk as he walks past a long line of grateful, waving people.

        ANGEL: Alright then, thank you –

        CLERK: Do you want to team up and solve the case of the missing building? Or maybe just get something to eat? Do you eat? I can do whatever, I’m flexible.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Like I said, times change.

        TIME CARD: Later that night, across town.

        In a new scene, we see a black convertible parked outside an LA library. Angel is talking inside.

        ANGEL: Spill your guts and give a heartfelt speech in front of *one little* mob, and then fight a T-Rex with your dragon in front of said mob, and suddenly you’re a minor celebrity.

        Inside the library, Angel is carrying a pile of books. Beside him, Nina carries another book. She is standing upright and fully human again.

        ANGEL: Thank you for helping me with research, Nina. I know it’s not as exciting as –

        NINA: T-Rex/Dragon battles? True. But now that I can’t be she-wolf 24/7, libraries are slightly more my speed. You know what I miss? Not the super sense of smell, really, but the claws. They were cool, admit it.

        ANGEL: Enjoy your humanity.

        The view shifts, and Nina looks at Angel while indicating a crowd of people in the library just watching the two of them.

        NINA: Do they always just… stare?

        In close-up, Angel glances over at the people watching them.

        ANGEL: Nah, some say hello. Some hand me wads of cash. I’m not bragging. I’m not happy about it. The last thing I want is more attention.

        The scene shifts, and we see Angel standing outside in an isolated area. He is rubbing the snout of Cordelia, the Dragon. Behind him, Groo and Cordelia, the Pegasus look on.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Which, unfortunately, led to some serious lifestyle changes

        ANGEL: You’ll like Groosalugg. He fred you during the battle with the lord’s champions, remember? That was nice of him. And, um, you both recently died and got resurrected so you have that in common.

        Groo graciously steps between Angel and the dragon. Behind them, the dragon and the Pegasus inspect each other.

        ANGEL: It’s what’s best for everyone, right? I can’t be incognito on the back of a giant dragon. Besides, everyone staring at me, eventually, someone’s gotta wonder about the giant dragon standing behind me. That could only lead to, you know, government intervention or dissection or worse. But Groo, don’t… he’s not a pet. He’s a partner, okay? Don’t talk down to him, he’s smart.

        GROO: Of course. Does he have a name?

        Angel leans over to Groo to tell him. Behind them, the dragon and the pegasus fly around together.

        ANGEL: Yes, it’s – (whispers) Cordelia.

        GROO: (whispers) My. Groosalugg has two Cordys.

        Back in the library, Nina leans over Angel’s shoulder as they research together.

        ANGEL: Sorry, strayed off-topic for a moment. Let’s look at the possibilities: Wolfram & Hart could have exhausted their power *or* their cashflow. Maybe both. The trip to hell *did* tap them, they said so before we left.

        NINA: Well, if the only thing that’s different with LA is Wolfram & Hart is gone, I say it might have been worth the trip to heck.

        Nina gently begins rubbing Angel’s shoulders as he researches.

        ANGEL: I don’t think that’s the only difference in the town. People’s eyes have been opened.

        NINA: I get it, superstar, you’re a celebrity.

        ANGEL: No, not that. The entire city took up residence in hell.

        As Angel continues, we see images of people we know, both immediately after and in the time since returning from Hell-A.

        A woman opens a door and sees a diamond ring being held out.

        ANGEL: Most people want to resume the life they had, and forget what they saw…

        Gwen and her date from the night of the battle are sitting on the beach, but Gwen stares down, inconsolable.

        ANGEL: There is no going back.

        Spike’s friend Jeremy kneels down to propose to his girlfriend.

        ANGEL: … But that’s impossible. We remember everyone moment. Every decision, every action.

        We see the Loan Shark, Broos, who betrayed the demon lords, has been tortured to death and is being hanged from a fishing scale by the other demon lords.

        We see Gwen holding her hand out, keeping her date from touching her.

        GWEN: Please don’t touch me. (quietly) Nobody can touch me.

        We see Illyria and Spike standing in the alleyway, surrounded by dead demons. Spike lights up a cigarette.

        ANGEL: We’re all changed.

        Spike looks at Illyria with concern, but she just looks down.

        We see her turning and walking away from Spike, who looks like he wants to say something to her but can’t figure out what.

        ANGEL: Each and every one of us.

        In the library, Angel turns to look over his shoulder as Nina continues to massage him.

        ANGEL: No matter how much we want it.

        Neither moves or says anything for a moment.

        Nina lowers her hands from Angels’ back as he begins to stand up.

        NINA: Sooo what did that have to do with –

        ANGEL: Not a thing, it’s late and I’m rambling. Maybe we should wrap up for the night.

        Outside the library, Nina strolls away up the street. Angel watches her leave.

        NINA: Good night, Angel. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. Never was that great at research.

        ANGEL: Hey, it’s not my strong suit either.

        The next image shows Angel shutting the library door behind him. A sign on the door reveals it’s the “Burkle Wyndam-Price wing” of the LA Public Library.

        ANGEL: It’s just something I have to do now. Goonight, Fred. Goodnight, Wes.

        Angel walks toward his car, his head low.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: My ghost is gone. It was the price we paid for returning things to normal. Wouldn’t be surprised if that was exactly what Wolfram & Hart had in mind. So even if we won, it felt like a defeat.

        The next image is of Wesley and Fred, smiling beside each other in better days.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: I miss them. Every day, I miss them.

        He opens the door to his car, but pauses, still lost in lonely thought.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Every time I think of them, I hope for the same thing. *Let them be together*. Wherever they are, they’ve earned it. They deserve it. And then the doubt sets in. They can’t be together. It defies logic. It would go against what we were told.

        In a closer view, we see Angel from behind.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: But then.

        Angel looks up as leaves from the trees nearby blow off their branches and float past him.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Warm breeze. Each and every time. She hates when I’m pessimistic.

        We see Angel adjust the rearview mirror.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Wonderful. I think the wind is talking to me. That’s amazing. Problem at hand, stick to the problem at hand. Wolfram & Hart is gone and I don’t know why. Spike said he was going to look into it, I should check in.

        As Angel continues, the scene shifts, and we see a skeletal fist wrapped in blue goo punch Spike in the face, knocking his cigarette away. The fist belongs to Kr’ph, the original demon lord that captured Betta George.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: For all I know, he’s solved the case already and I’m wasting my time.

        SPIKE: Ooooph –

        KR’PH: Learn the situation, blood-addict mongrel!

        The view shifts and Spike crouches, turning to face Kr’ph.

        KR’PH: I was a lord in the hell moment! Lords have slaves! It’s elementary lording, consult a manual!

        SPIKE: You enslaved a mate of mine, mate.

        The view reverses and we see Betta George is with Spike, telepathically calling out a warning as other demons try to attack Spike from behind.

        GEORGE: Spike! Watch your back!

        SPIKE: Cheers, George.

        In close-up, Spike reaches into a weapon bag for a broadsword, with George next to him. Kr’ph is behind them, and recognizes George.

        SPIKE: You’re sure this is the git that chained you up –

        GEORGE: Kr’ph was the *first* whatever-you-said that chained me up, yeah.

        KR’PH: Eyeball the Splenden beast for a moment! He’s a *flying fish* what *brain-yells*! Who wouldn’t want to own one?

        From above, we see Spike dispatch Kr’ph’s servants.

        SPIKE: Jell-O’s got a point, George. The proper advertising and you could be next year’s number one Christmas boutique item.

        GEORGE: Hilarious, but maybe a little respect is in order. This handsome fish did save Los Angeles. Or does someone *not* remember when I brought down Ill

        Spike stabs Kr’ph in the chest with his sword even as he turns back to warn George.

        SPIKE: Don’t. Say. Its. Name.

        As Spike holds Kr’ph pinned with his sword, his cellphone begins to ring – playing “The Girl from Ipanema”.

        GEORGE: Sorry, man, wasn’t thinking.

        SPIKE: One second, fellas.

        In close-up, we see Spike talking into his cellphone.

        SPIKE: What? Drinking tea, listening to records, why? I suppose.

        Spike turns to leave, putting his phone away and leaving Kr’ph pinned to a wall.

        SPIKE: We have to go.

        KR’PH: Angel calls, yes?

        The view reverses, and Kr’ph grins as Spike and George look back, frowning at him.

        KR’PH: Enjoy him while he lasts. His finale, it’s coming.

        SPIKE: What are you babbling about?

        The scene changes, and Angel is standing beside his car in front of the Hyperion.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: It’s strange. Ever since hell, Spike and I have ceased with the big brother/little brother, “I saw her first” bickering. There’s a newfound unspoken acceptance of mutual respect.

        Spike pulls up in a red sports car, with George in the passenger seat.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Gotta admit, it’s nice.

        SPIKE: There he is! Captain Big Bore, re-vamped! How’s the future fall of civilization doing on this fine evening?

        ANGEL: Look at your great big car, little guy. How many phone books are you sitting on?

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: It’s very well hidden but it’s nice.

        Spike leads Angel to the trunk of his car while they talk.

        ANGEL: So you got a…

        SPIKE: Free car for helping save the city, indeed. We were dragged through hell – enjoy the fruits of your beheading now and then.

        ANGEL: I was fine with the library dedication.

        In close-up, Spike frowns as he tries to open his trunk.

        SPIKE: Yeah, gotta admit, that tugged at the heartstrings. Think I could get a street named after me?

        ANGEL: (from out of the view) In a terrible part of town, maybe. Have you heard from Connor?

        Angel and George look on as Spike puts a boot on his trunk, trying to open it.

        SPIKE: Five seconds before mentioning the kid, you’re getting better. No, I haven’t seen him. Lad’s got a lot to sort out. But don’t worry, we’ve raised him well. *George, did you mess with the trunk lock*?

        GEORGE: I don’t have hands. This car is crap. You saved the town and you got free crap.

        In a closer view, Spike begins prying at the trunk with a broadsword.

        ANGEL: So, Mutt, Jeff… any leads on Wolfram & Hart?

        SPIKE: Oh, a big one. They’re not here anymore, Angel. Obvious what happened. Evil invested its resources trying to break you, evil failed. You won, crack a damned smile. Even emo albums have a few peppy songs.

        As Spike gets the trunk open, we look up at him, Angel, and George from inside it.

        SPIKE: Besides, you have other fish to fry.

        GEORGE: Racist. So racist.

        Kr’ph has been stuffed in the trunk, tied up. He looks angry.

        SPIKE: There we go.

        KR’PH: I am unable to breathe! Untrunk me!

        SPIKE: You don’t have to breathe, jelly bean. That’s the beauty of being whatever the hell you are.

        Spike pulls Kr’ph part of the way out of the trunk.

        SPIKE: But, I promise I’ll untrunk you as soon as you tell Angel what you told me.

        KR’PH: Indeed, yes, bloodsucker. Angel broke the other lords! But then ppof, hell’s over, lords gunning even steven!

        In close-up, Angel looks over to George, confused.

        ANGEL: Wow, that is… um, what?

        GEORGE: I’ll break it down. You exploded a half-dozen of the most powerful demons in Los Angeles. But since everything got a physical reboot, they’re up and about and looking to return the favor, vengeful lord style.

        From above, we see Spike shoving Kr’ph back down into the trunk.

        ANGEL: I figured, sure. Well, Kr’ph, you tell the lords my door is always open –

        KR’PH: Bah! Everyone knows, hitting you, that’s nothing. You hurt yourself more than anyone else ever could. To make Angel really ache, you strike the ones he loves and they’re starting with the easiest kill! *Now untrunk me*, a deal is literally a deal!

        Spike slams the trunk down, causing a splash of blue goo from Kr’ph.

        SPIKE: He didn’t tell me that last part.

        ANGEL: “Starting with the easiest kill.” I think we need –

        SPIKE: – we need to go, right on, I’ll drive.

        Angel ignores Spike’s insistence on driving – the three climb into Angel’s convertible, with George in the backseat.

        SPIKE: Who should we call first? Lorne? Is the electric lady still one of us, even though she sold us out? Not exactly a reason to kick someone out of this band.

        GEORGE: Put the phone away. I’ve sent a warning out to everyone. Save for a certain goddess who shall remain nameless, no way I’m stepping foot in her head again.

        ANGEL: It’s not Illyria. You heard Kr’ph –

        The scene shifts, and we see Gunn – still comatose, heavily bandaged, in a hospital.

        ANGEL: (continued) “– they’re going for the easiest target.”

        We see a wide view of their car driving through LA.

        SPIKE: Should have taken my car. It’s faster.

        GEORGE: Plus, the car dealer says if Spike gets you to take a picture in it, he’ll throw in a new sound system.

        ANGEL: Cops see this car, they let me pass. Sometimes they give me an escort.

        Inside the car, Angel concentrates on the road while Spike lights a cigarette.

        SPIKE: Good for you. You’re officially “the man”.

        ANGEL: Until I cause the downfall *of* man, yes.

        SPIKE: Yes, well, there’s that.

        Spike leans back in his seat. As he speaks, Angel glances over at him.

        SPIKE: While we’re on the subject, and you brought it up, why do *you* get the handsome reward?

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Here it comes.

        SPIKE: Think about it. Wolfram & Hart is *certain* your destiny is to be their golden boy in the battle between good and evil. You’re gonna sell out the side of good and get Shanshued for your troubles and everyone else, probably including me, will be dust or, at the very least, hurt and annoyed.

        We see Angel in close-up as he listens. He frowns.

        ANGEL: Probably dust, sure.

        SPIKE: (from out of the view) So W&H cash their chips, send an entire city to Hades *with me in it*, they twist time and create a glamour that drops a curtain over the whole ordeal *so no one can help me*. To top it all off, they create a temporary Shanshu to make you human. You can eat and breathe and get fat while the rest of us run around and get beaten and heartbroken and have sex with spiders.

        Angel’s face looks more curious after that, but he still listens.

        SPIKE: So if its’ going to happen anyway, why put *me* through all that bloody trouble? And to a lesser extent, if it’s going to happen anyway, why put *you* through all that bloody trouble?

        Spike turns to look at Angel as he gets to his point. His afterthought question belies the fact that he’s been smoking the entire time.

        SPIKE: Maybe your destiny is slightly less than certain. Is it alright to smoke in here?

        ANGEL: Yeah.

        The view shifts and we see Spike looking out the window.

        SPIKE: Could be me, you know. I could be the Shanshu. I know I’m not technically in the history books or visions but maybe that’s because I wanted it that way. Maybe future-me doesn’t want the fame and the hassle of the paparazzi.

        ANGEL: Funny thing about going unnoticed by history books, or visions – whatever you do, whatever path you take, good, bad -- *nobody’s going to see you coming*.

        In extreme close-up, we see Spike turn back to contemplate this.

        The next image shows Angel and Spike both smiling slightly.

        From behind them, George turns and calls them out for what he just heard.

        GEORGE: You just thanked each other in your heads! Simultaneously!

        SPIKE: Heh, what? Whatever.

        ANGEL: The fish is thinking all crazy.

        Outside, we see them drive past a sign into Silver Lake – the sign announces “we even stayed pleasant in hell”.

        GEORGE: Boys boys boys. Babysteps, I guess.

        We see Angel, Spike, and George arrive at the hospital. They are greeted by Lorne’s two female companions.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: I moved Gunn to Silverlake so Lorne’s friends could keep an eye on him. Haven’t seen him in a while. It’s not easy. I don’t know how I’ll react. When I see him, will I be able to think about anything other than –

        Angel’s narration is interrupted by the voice of Burge, saying the same thing Angel might have been thinking. In a close-up, Angel, Spike, and the women turn to face Burge.

        BURGE: (from out of the view) *There’s the man who killed my son*.

        The view reverses, and we see the former demon lord, his son beside him, striding toward Angel across the parking lot.

        BURGE: And then killed me! My son I can see, he’s weak and a dolt, but me?!

        SON OF BURGE: Father, we were supposed to bide our time until it was clear to strike down Gunn, not

        BURGE: You’ve been timid ever since you died, son. You’re back, move on.

        Angel steps forward to meet the demons, with Spike behind him.

        ANGEL: You don’t want to do this, Burge. Your son is back from the dead and he wants to hang out with you, get out of here and enjoy the moment. Play some baseball. Go fishing. Talk about girls.

        BURGE: Watch your tongue. The spell protecting Silverlake is broken. Hurting can happen.

        In close-up, Angel slips into game face – seeming almost happy to face Burge under these circumstances, unlike in Hell-A.

        ANGEL: That’s absolutely right. Leave while you can.

        From between Burge and his son, we see Angel, Spike, George, and Lorne’s friends ready for a fight.

        BURGE: *Wolfram & Hart can’t protect you now, boy*!

        SON OF BURGE: I finally get my spawning cloak!

        Before they can fight, a voice roars out from above them, causing Angel, Spike, Burge, and his son all to look.

        VOICE: *NOBODY KILLS CHARLES GUNN*!

        The view shifts, and we see Illyria. She has a bandolier of knives around her armor. She holds a long pike with one of the demon lords’ heads on it.

        ILLYRIA: He was important to her. He was important to everyone around her. Though if he ever wakes, I may challenge him to armed combat for striking me down in hell. At which point, he will surely faill. Until then, you let him rest and rebuild his strength. Heed my words. The last lord who ventured into Silverlake did not.

        In close-up, we see Illyria turn and walk back from the roof ledge. She drops the demon lord’s head. In the parking lot, Burge and his son decide to withdraw. Angel stares up at Illyria as she walks away.

        ANGEL: That’s where she’s been. Wow. She is…

        SPIKE: … confused, yeah. I’m not ready to see her. A lot of emotions that neither of us are comfortable with. Great for writing poetry, bloody horrible for my well-being.

        In the parking lot, we see from beside Spike as Angel turns to speak to him.

        ANGEL: No, thanks. But Spike –

        SPIKE: Yes, don’t worry, *if and when* the time comes that you *do* try to tip the balance between good and evil in the favor of whatever side I’m not on, I will absolutely kill you, no problem.

        With that, Spike and George leave Angel to it, walking away across the parking lot.

        ANGEL: Um. I was going to, you know, thank you. For everything, for helping me and for looking after Connor and… what the hell were you talking about?

        SPIKE: Nothing, you’re welcome, cheers mate.

        In close-up, we see Angel turn back to look at the hospital. The mini-blinds of one room are pulled apart by someone looking out.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Okay, Angel. Learn from the primordial demon. Stop being selfish and help your friend.

        In Gunn’s hospital room, we see Lorne looking out the window.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: This isn’t going to be easy. I’m not, not great with verbalizing my feelings. I’m not even sure if he could hear me. He’s in a coma, has been for a month. Gunn could be lost.

        The view reverses and we see Angel standing in the doorway.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: But if he’s even the least bit aware… he’s thinking about what happened. About what he did.

        We see Angel from behind looking down at Gunn on the bed.

        In close-up, Lorne watches, studying his face but saying nothing.

        The view shifts to a close-up of Angel as he decides what to say.

        ANGEL: It wasn’t you.

        We look down at Gunn as Angel takes his hand.

        ANGEL: I’ve been there, trust me. And I know it wasn’t you. I’m not talking about the vampire thing. I… I’ve made mistakes. Big ones. But, and it took me a trip to hell to realize this…

        The view shifts to Angel as he reaches into his jacket.

        ANGEL: … a man isn’t measured by the mistakes he’s made.

        Angel places something down on a table near Gunn. Lorne watches, saying nothing.

        ANGEL: He’s measured by what he does about them.

        We see Angel in close-up as he leaves the room. Lorne watches from Gunn’s bedside.

        ANGEL: Take care of yourself.

        Angel wanders through the hospital on his way out.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: See? Not good with words. It was babble is what it was. I should have just brought flowers. I just… I can help him.

        In the hospital room, we see Lorne reach out to pick up what Angel left on the table.

        In extreme close-up, we see it’s an Angel Investigations business card. The phone number has been scratched out and replaced with one written by hand.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: If he wakes up and he’s hurting, I can help him make things right.

        In the room, Lorne smiles as he looks at the card.

        We see Angel walk out the automatic doors of the hospital.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: Like I said, I’ve been there. I know my way around atonement. It’s what I do.

        The last image is of Angel walking alone down the city sidewalk. Ahead of him are the bright lights of city traffic and the people he has saved and will keep saving.

        (NARRATION) ANGEL: My name is Angel. I’ve done very bad things. I’ve been told I’m destined to do worse. But for now… I’m here to help.

        End of Chapter 17

        End of Angel: After the Fall
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