Subtlety >> Shakedown

C/A spice: Mild/Medium

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"Security consultant," Angel said. "It wouldnít be full-time; Iíd still work here... Iíd just live there."

"So youíre actually considering this?" Cordelia asked.

"I didnít say that. Iím just telling you what the offer was -"

"I think you should take it," Cordelia said.

"- what?"

"Seriously," Cordelia said. "Think about it. I mean, after all, they are your kind."

"Just because theyíre demons doesnít mean -"

"I meant young and good looking," Cordelia said. "Who knows, they might even convince you there are other colors besides black."

* * *

After Doyle had left, Cordelia asked, "Is it hard? The torture, I mean."

"Itís - emotionally draining."

"Is that because you find it difficult to hurt another living being, or just that youíre out of practice?"

"Actually, youíd be surprised how easily it all comes back. Like riding a bike, I guess."

"Or dragging someone behind one... did you find anything else out?"

"Like what?"

"I donít now - like his name?"

"Rule of torture number one: never personalize your victim. If you start thinking of them as a person, you can be objective about what you need to do."

Cordelia looked at Angel and arched her eyebrows. She waited.

Angel sighed. "His name is Maarl."

"I knew you couldnít pass up a chance to get some high-quality angst."

* * *

" collects all the souls of the people who are killed by the quake. Then it basically... compresses them. It takes a thousand human souls to make one new Tremblor, apparently because their bodies are so dense."

"Tell me about it. My chair is toast." Cordelia put the last book on the shelf and straightened a mace that was hung next to the door. "So instead of sex, they have to kill a bunch of people and use this ritual to squish their souls into a new demon. Sounds like the Play-Doh factory I used to have."

"Sounds like my sex life..."

Cordelia laughed, then covered her mouth. "Sorry, I keep forgetting you actually have a sense of humor."

"Itís a common mistake."

* * *

There was a woman with long, dark hair standing in front of a wall of pumps. She turned at their approach.

"Hi, Angel!" Cordelia said brightly.

"Cordelia? What are you doing here?"

"You tell me - itís your subconscious." She looked down at herself, then up again. "Oh, and thanks for not imagining me naked. Or covered in blood."

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