Disclaimer: "ANGEL" is a trademark of Twentieth Television © 1999.

Destiny Calls
by Calandra

Doyle closed his eyes and groaned.

He was in any sort of pain, far from it. He couldn't remember the last time that had happened. Two strong hands massaged the back of his neck expertly drawing various sounds from him. He closed his eyes and pressed himself closer to the hands instinctively.

The woman standing behind him purred and increased the pressure. He was intensely aware of her body leaning against his, it was all he could do to continue thinking clearly. Who was he fooling, he had stopped thinking as soon as her fingers touched his skin.

Some part of his mind yelled that this was stupid; Sh'Etura was no ordinary woman... she wasn't exactly a woman all things considered. 'Woman' implied a human and the humanoid She-cat didn't exactly conform to that definition. But as he felt her warm breath raising the hairs on the back of his neck, he didn't really care.

"We've been friends a long time, Doyle." She purred, bringing her lips very close to his ear never stopping the message. He barely heard what she was saying; their relationship had never really been about conversation. She got his attention by squeezing his throat hard. "Friends don't steal from each other, Doyle."

He gasped for breath and tried to pry off her hand but her grip was like iron. Her only response to his struggles was to release her nails and get a better grip. He released the last of his breath by gasping at the pain caused by the sharp pain she caused.

"I always thought myself a patient demon but I am a business woman." She continued in the same pleasant tone. She seemed completely unaware of the pain she was causing. "I lent you a substantial amount of money, no questions asked. I have yet to see a cent of it and that... irritates me."

He suddenly stiffened in her grasp. He trembled and opened his mouth in a scream that he could not express. His sudden seizure was making it very hard for Sh'Etura to maintain her grip. She let out a surprised meow when sharp spikes covered his entire body. She jumped back with feline grace.

Without her strong hands holding him up, Doyle collapsed to the ground. Gasping and moaning, he writhed on the ground. The She-cat took another step back, her large green eyes widening. She had seen a lot of things in her lifetime but never anything like this.

As quickly as it had started, the attack stopped. He lay motionless on the ground, not moving, not even seeming to breathe. After a moment, Sh'Etura took a tentative step forward. She never took her eyes off his form even as she carefully extended a clawed paw towards him.

She moved away again quickly when he drew in a shuddering breath. Her heart was beating a fanfare and she sneered to hide her startled expression. She passes her rough tough over her fangs and hissed. "If you think you'll get out of your debts that easily Doyle, you're sorely mistaken. I know creatures that could bring you back over and over again until you pay me my due."

He just groaned and rubbed his head. He propped himself on his elbows and rubbed his eyes. "Gods 'Tura, I need a drink."

She looked at him suspiciously but reached behind her bar without ever taking her eyes off the half-demon. She handed him a beer bottle and stepped back. "I'm adding that to your tab." She hissed but after a brief pause, added more softly. "What was that, lover? I barely touched you."

He touched his neck; blood flowed from the scratches her claws had left there but it was nothing compared to the pounding in his head. "I'm inclined to argue."

She just glared but he wasn't paying attention to her anymore. He tore a piece of paper from something, he didn't see what it was, he didn't care. He scribbled some names, times and places onto it. The way his head felt at the moment, he didn't trust it to retain any memory.

He took another deep breath and a long drink from the beer bottle. He glanced up at the feline. She was leaning against the bar, the image of nonchalance. He knew that was just an illusion however; it would take her a fraction of a second to pounce on him again. With that in mind, he thought carefully before speaking again.

He watched her carefully. Muscles rippled with every movement of her fur covered limbs. Her pointed ears and bright eyes were focused on him, noting his every movement. She was so unlike a human woman, so unlike . Harry. Maybe that's why he had been so attracted to her; thinking of his wife still hurt after all these years. He didn't deserve anything better than a demon.

He sighed. "I'll have your money, 'Tura, I swear." She just narrowed her eyes at him, a single nail escaped her finger. He accelerated his speech, watching her pick at her fangs. "I had a, a vision... Remember I told you about them, luv? Well, this one was about a vampire; a nasty bastard, let me tell you but he was cursed with a soul, if you can call it that..." he glanced at her again. "I guess you would. Anyway, I'm to help out this bloke and I figure that he'll be very grateful if ya get my meaning."

She seemed to think about this for a moment, her tail flickering pensively. This worried him, he wasn't ashamed to admit it; even if he'd consider himself brave he'd be daunted by the idea of his occasional lover considering the options. Sh'Etura was renowned in these parts and it wasn't for her stable temperament.

"Alright Doyle, but only because I like you. You have three months and you better take it, I know a lot of demons who wouldn't be so kind."

He couldn't hold back a sigh of relief. He pulled on his shirt and jacket and was about to stuff the paper in his pocket when she spoke again. "Was there a woman in this vision of yours?"

He didn't answer right away. The images in visions rarely stuck in his mind for very long; the only thing that he could figure was that he was too focused on the pain so that he missed some of it. But one image had stuck with him. A woman. What a woman. Dark hair and eyes with such a fiery passion. Such wonderfully kissable lips and... He blinked and brought himself back to reality. Slowly he nodded.

"Good," she hissed. "Because you're not setting foot in my bar again until I have my money." With that he was promptly tossed out into the filthy alley.

He stood, trying to regain what was left at his dignity. It was kind of hard with the slimy demon who was watching him with what passed for a grin among his kind. "Is The Cat's Eye open already? It usually takes you longer than that. 'Tura wearing you down?"

"Hey, I'll have you know that..." But the demon wasn't listening, he was already settling in the bar.

Doyle straightened his shirt again and hurried away. He walked down the streets of L.A. These dark alleys, unfriendly neighbourhoods were uncomfortably familiar. Not for the first time he wondered at the turn that his life had taken. Allen Francis Doyle would never have been caught dead in a place like this. But Doyle was ripped from his thoughts when he say the building from his dream.

When he let himself in, taking the stairs rather than the elevator to give himself the element of surprise, he half-hoped to see the woman from his vision. But he'd never been so lucky, the vampire was alone. He sighed and tried to push her out of his mind with more or less success.

He never thought he'd be relieved to see a vampire but after his evening, he was just glad it wasn't a cat. Not that Angel didn't look threatening; he was a very fit example of a vampire but he knew that he wasn't in any danger.

He watched Angel for a moment, leaning against the entrance. He couldn't help but smile. It might be fun to hang out with someone who wasn't out to get him for once. Well, enough waiting, destiny called.

"Well, I like the place. Not much with the view, but it's got a nice Batcave sort of an air to it."