By: Anne Olsen and Michele Bumbarger

Chapter Four

"So, if the lass says there's nothing wrong, why are you all worked up?" Doyle called out his words from behind Angel, from where he sat perched on the arm of Angel's leather sofa.

Angel stepped back, pivoted and delivered a hard, sharp kick to the workout bag hanging suspended from the ceiling. As the bag swung back towards him, he pivoted again, coming up low and hitting the bag from beneath. In bare feet, he bounced on the toes and balls of his feet, never missing a hit or punch or kick. "Just a feeling I have. Call it a hunch."

"Call it obsessive," Cordelia muttered from where she stood in the kitchen, a water bottle held in one hand. "At least Ami's not blonde. Like the name we can't say and wacky cop lady."

Her words caused Angel to pause, almost caused him to lose rhythm, but he managed to deliver another round of punches to the bag before it hit him instead. "I can't help it. I just have this feeling that I can't shake. There's something going on."

"Yeah. Your guilt trip." The brunette waltzed past him, scooping her purse up from the sofa. "As much as I enjoy listening to you whine about the horrors you've inflicted upon Ami, I do have a more pressing engagement. So," the purse strap slid onto her shoulder, as her hazel gaze swept over both the vampire and the half-demon, "with any luck, this will be my big break and I won't be here tomorrow.

"You'll take a phone call in lieu of two weeks notice right?"

Angel responded with a roundhouse kick to the bag.

"Right." Turning on her heel, she disappeared up the stairs, waving her hand negligently over her shoulder, muttering the entire time about how under-appreciated she was.

"You know," Doyle shifted onto the sofa, propping his feet up onto the coffee table, "I wouldn't say this while my princess - "

The vampire caught the bag and held it with both hands, tilting his head to gaze around it and at his assistant and seer. He said nothing, but raised his eyebrows in response to the half-demon's words.

"While Cordelia was here," Doyle corrected himself, "but, she may have a point. You've got some real guilt issues with the whole Ami situation, Angel, and maybe these dreams are just a by-product. You know, a symptom of the illness."

"And maybe," the vampire reached for his discarded tank top, and pulled it over his head, "it's because the dreams are real."

"Angel, man, you're dreaming that Ami's throwing herself off the top of buildings. Now, from where I'm sitting, that doesn't seem very realistic, especially since we both know that she's still alive."

"I know how it sounds, Doyle. But I .. I just can't let this go."

"And maybe you should. There's a lot of evil out there, a lot of souls waiting to be saved. Wallowing in your guilt won't help any of them."

"This isn't about my guilt, Doyle."

The half-demon leaned back thoughtfully, "Isn't it?"

The only answer that Doyle received was a view of Angel's back before the bedroom door slammed loudly closed in the vampire's retreating wake.


[Back to Chapter Three]

[On to Chapter Five]

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