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The Bar

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TMBTC spoiler

The two men sat at the bar, both dressed in black and radiating 'leave me alone' from every pore. One looked to be in his 20's, the other his 30's. This was the third time in the last month they had met in this dingy little bar. The first time was purely accidental.

********

They had both been quietly sipping their beers a stool apart when they heard a commotion from the front of the bar. Three men had entered, armed robbery on their minds. The older looking of the two had whipped out a gun and shot the three men before they did little more than open their mouths to state their intentions and muttered, "Merde, can't even have a drink in peace."

The younger looking of the two then got up swiftly, walked over to the three bodies and stabbed them in the heart with a wooden stake, watching as they turned to dust. Brushing himself off, he walked back to the bar muttering, "S**t, can't even have a drink in peace."

The grateful bartender told both men that the drinks were on him as was the next round. After the barkeep said his thanks and deposited the second round in front of them, the younger looking of the two men in black turned to the other, "Thanks, made my job a lot easier."

"No problem." Returned the other man in black.

********

"So how was your week?"

"Slow. Just prevented a geek from freezing time." Angel replied. "How about yours?"

"Slow, too." Michael answered. "Just prevented an old girlfriend and her parent from taking over the world."

"Been there, done that." Angel, the 200 and-then-some-year old vampire replied. "You're behind."

"You're older." Michael pointed out.

"That's true. Besides, technically the old girlfriend was also my mother and her parent was also my child."

*******************************************

My two cents about LFN's confirmed usage of recycled footage in TMBTC.

LATER THAT SAME WEEK

"Hey." Angel sat down on the stool next to Michael who simply nodded in return as a greeting.

"Anything new?" Michael asked after the bartender brought Angel his drink.

The bartender/owner of the establishment had promised free drinks in exchange for their appearance in his bar twice a week. These now biweekly meetings had significantly decreased the trouble quotient in his place. With these two brooding, deadly men in black there, no one was willing to cause any trouble lest they feel the two men's ire, of which there was plenty.

"Cops coming back from the dead. Resurrected from the grave." Angel replied. "One of 'em even shot a guy I know."

"Your friend alright?"

"Friend? Don't know about *that* anymore, but yeah, he will be."

"Vampire cops? That's unusual." Michael continued the conversation, glad to be talking to someone other than a terrorist.

"Not vampires. Uglier." Angel corrected. "Zombies."

"Zombies?" Michael echoed, thoughtfully. "Ah. That must be it."

"What?" Angel asked curiously.

"I knew those collective soldiers looked familiar."

"Collective?" Angel asked confused. "When did Star Trek enter the picture?"

"No, no. A different collective." Michael explained. "Left over terrorists."

"Oh." Angel nodded in understanding. "So, what about them?"

"A bunch of soldiers were killed a couple of years ago when Section One was at WAR with Red Cell. The Collective must have resurrected them. No wonder they're so incompetent."

******************************************

post TETMD

"Another bad weekend?"

"How'd you guess?" Michael asked sardonically.

"What now?" Angel asked.

"Terrorists aren't what they used to be."

"Tell me about it." Angel concurred. "None of the bad guys are. Special Projects? What would possess a law firm to think that they could control two vampires, one evil beyond belief, the other insane beyond belief?"

"Lawyers and terrorists, they're all the same." Michael agreed. "Suits instead of fatigues."

"Don't forget the demons, though. Bad taste in clothing, otherwise pretty much the same as the others."

"If you say so." Michael returned. "You're the expert on demons."

"So what happened?" Angel asked, nursing his beer. "With the terrorists, I mean."

"I think perhaps, this Collective *are* Borg, after all. Drones only, though. No queen."

"Huh?" Angel asked confused.

"You'd think they'd be able to do *something* on their own. They *are* supposed to be the biggest threat my former employers have ever faced."

"They're not, huh?"

"Please." Michael replied, disgusted. "They can't even shoot down a plane without help. Two hits and the passenger still escaped."

"Well, maybe they didn't have enough target practice."

"There's more." Michael paused. "Two dozen of them couldn't take out one Section operative. They keep talking about Section One like it's the only thing in their way."

"It's not?" Angel asked, not completely aware of the dynamics of anti-terrorism.

"There's at least five other Sections, not to mention Oversight and Center itself."

"So, if the Collective is the be-all, end-all of terrorism, why don't they go after the bigger fish?"

"That was my question." Michael replied then returned to his previous train of thought. "Actually, come to think of it, I don't think Section's governing body has any 'queens' left either."

"How come?"

"They were stupid enough to rely on the Collective to do their dirty work by shooting down the plane." Michael took a sip of his beer. "And, would *you* rely on a computer to save the world or predict the future?"

"A computer?" Angel asked incredulously. "Geez, didn't they learn anything from all those James Bond flicks or WARGAMES?"

"Apparently not." Michael answered. "It predicted that the old girlfriend was the savior, too."

"The one whose ass you pulled out of the fire a couple of dozen times when daddy didn't want to interfere so she could stand on her own?"

"That's the one."

"Talk about tough love." Angel muttered.

*Author's note: WARGAMES was a movie about a supercomputer that was supposed to be infallible. It wasn't. Also, just wanted to add that I never thought I'd see a more uhm, ?twisted? father-daughter relationship than the Parkers on PRETENDER, but in a few short eps, the Jones' are sure giving 'em a run for their money. I wonder if Michelle turns out to be a psychopath with a missing thumb? But I digress and will shut up now.

********************************************

pre LNMPA and post Reprise (Angel)

"What happened to you? You look as bad as I did last week." Michael noted as Angel sat down at the bar.

"What didn't happen." Angel mumbled before taking a swallow of his beer.

"That bad?"

"Oh, yeah." Angel confirmed. "Got a good cop fired for things *I* did, abandoned my friends to the mercy of demons they're not ready to fight."

"This is why I don't have any friends." Michael interrupted. "Who wants the responsibility? Had enough problems with the old girlfriend and *her* friends."

"There's more." Angel sighed.

"Oh, sorry."

"Also found out that hell's home office is earth. And last, but not least, had sex with the old girlfriend."

"But you're not…"

"Nope. Still me. No moment of pure happiness last night." Angel explained. "She was actually quite pissed off that I was still me afterwards."

"Typical." Michael consoled. "They try to change you then screw around with your head."

"Actually, it was the other way around. Screwed with my head, then tried to change me."

"That old girlfriend." Michael had a sudden thought. "She wouldn't happen to be a blonde, would she?

********************************************

Admittedly, this (LNMPA) wasn't a good ep to poke fun at. But two things stand out. The Collective broke in and found Adam way too easily and Operations only took two ops with him?

post LNMPA

"Hey." Angel greeted. "Why so glum?"

"Glum?" Michael echoed. "How can you tell?"

"Well, admittedly with you it's hard to tell, but I've had practice." Angel replied. "The Host has been giving me pointers on reading auras."

"With or without singing?"

"He's been trying without. Says he can't stand to see Barry Manilow butchered so bad."

"Manilow?"

"Don't ask." Angel warned. "So, what's going on?"

"Section screwed up."

"So, what else is new? What now?"

"They left my son in foster care, with no protection."

"I thought they promised…" Angel started then stopped at Michael's look. "Never mind."

"The Collective was looking for him too and found him first."

"The Collective found him in what, a couple of days? And you couldn't find him in all that time?"

"They 'invaded Section's systems.'"

"And you couldn't do that?" Angel asked skeptically.

"When Section figured out they weren't the only ones looking the boss went after him." Michael pointedly ignored Angel's question.

"Himself?"

"No, he took two operatives with him. The other guys had a dozen."

"Guess your old boss never heard of the Chicago way and the Collective did."

"Chicago way?"

"Yeah. He brings a knife, you bring a gun. He puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue. *That's* the Chicago way."

Author's note: The "Chicago Way" is from a conversation between Sean Connery and Kevin Costner in 'The Untouchables.'

***************************************

Pre ATFEP and post Epiphany (Angel)

"You're looking better." Michael commented as Angel took his customary seat.

"I got over the blonde." Angel actually smiled.

**************************************

post ATFEP

"Hey." Angel greeted. This time it was him who'd gotten there first. "Why so late?"

"Couldn't find a baby-sitter with proper qualifications." Michael replied.

"Baby-sitter? You got your kid back?"

"Yes." Michael sighed. "Long story."

"Hey I got time." Angel countered then added at the other man in black's dubious expression. "Hey, I said I was back to my old self, and I meant it."

"Short version is that with all my experience and skill, Section and Center's resources, we couldn't come up with anything to counter the Collective so we had to trade Nikita's father, the big boss, for Adam."

"How come?" Angel asked, confused. "They knew what the guy looked like?"

"No. They only heard rumors that he even existed."

"So, why…?"

"My take on it was that he was ill and dying anyway. He traded himself and made Nikita promise to stay in the organization upon his death." Michael replied.

"Ouch. Death. Ultimate guilt trip." Angel grimaced.

"It's the only logical thing I could come up with."

"Sounds good to me." Angel agreed. "So, you're out for good?"

"Yes. Until Adam is old enough to take care of himself." Michael replied. "Now, if only I could find a baby-sitter with the proper qualifications."

"Like what?" Angel asked.

"Good with kids and able to fend off terrorists."

"That's a tough one." Angel conceded. "So, what are you gonna do now?"

"Not many job opportunities for an ex-antiterrorist with a kid to protect."

"You know," Angel began. "You've got some pretty good skills. Could definitely use some more help at Angel Investigations. LA's a great town. Cordy, Wes and Gunn would be happy to take turns baby-sitting, too."

"Really?" Michael asked skeptically, not having met the three, but having heard much about them from his vampire friend.

"Well, no, not really." Angel admitted. "But they'll get over it, they've gotten over worse things."

"You're sure?" Michael asked.

"Yeah. Besides if they can fend off demons, they can certainly fend off some terrorists who can't even keep their own leaders from back-stabbing each other for power." Angel paused. "Hey, come to think of it, wasn't that *your* organization's problem, too?"