Gunn thought it was Fred who screamed, but he saw her running into the Hyperion. Alarmed at the thought of her facing whatever it was inside alone, Gunn speeded up, and ended up being the first through the door.
He burst into the lobby, prepared for Gurnak demons, vampires, zombies, whatever. He certainly wasn't prepared for the sight of Anne hitting a green skinned demon with her handbag.
"Honey! I'm telling you I'm a friend of the family's!" the green-skinned demon protested.
Meanwhile, J-Bob and Lisle, waving their big bats, were yelling madly at Anne to get away so that they could skewer the demon.
Gunn was just plain happy.
"Lorne, you're back!" Fred yelled, taking the words right out his mouth.
"Anne!" Gunn yelled, sprinting towards the pair. "It's okay. He's a friend!" he pulled a stunned Anne away from Lorne.
"Well, gee whiz. That's what I've been telling blondie here for the past two minutes!" Lorne protested, finally free of the handbag. He straightened his yellow coat indignantly. "I mean, you would think a demon would get a better welcome home party." He gave Anne a miffed look.
Anne only stared at Lorne in shock. "But he's a demon," she told Gunn as he steered her to a couch.
"Yeah, he is."
"He has green skin, pointy horns and red eyes."
"Hey! I'm proud of them, thanks!" Lorne protested from his spot.
"Yeah," Gunn answered Anne, giving Lorne a broad grin as he did so. "It's nice to have our green-skinned friend at our side again."
Lisle and J-Bob walked to his side, looking at him with confused expressions.
"What happened to you, man? I mean, how come you friends with a demon?" J-Bob complained.
"It's a long story, J-Bob. Really."
"Man, you really changed," Lisle said. "Don't you kill them anymore?"
"You see, this is what I mean by demon discrimination," Lorne piped up, walking towards them. "I mean, a decent demon like me can't get a break with all this misrepresentation going on."
"You telling me that there are good demons?" J-Bob asked Lorne, but he backed away just in case.
"Well. Good is such a subjective word-" Lorne was cut off when Fred flung her arms around him, hugging him tightly.
"Easy sweetcheeks. I need to breathe once in a while," he said, smiling. "Yeah, I missed you too," he said, patting Fred on the back.
"Gosh. I miss the smell of..." Lorne looked around the Hyperion's darkened courtyard, "...mold in summer?" he gave Fred and Gunn a puzzled look. "Haven't you guys done any upkeep? I mean, the pond is like a mess! What happened to the little fishies?" he peered into the murky fountain basin. "We had little fishies didn't we?"
"Lorne," Fred began.
"And where's everybody? Is Connor out with Angel cakes?"
"Lorne," Gunn interrupted.
"I mean, yeah, it is Saturday night..." he looked at his watch. "...sorry, Sunday morning after all. What's a hunky souled-up vampire to do with his just-back-from-a-hell-dimension son?"
"Lorne, will you listen already?" Gunn said.
Lorne blinked his red eyes. "You know, your aura said bad news. All greyish and everything. I already knew you were going to say something bad. Just didn't want to hear it."
Fred took his hand and squeezed it. "We're glad you're back. You don't know how much, but you have to hear this," she said.
They told him everything. And it took them nearly half an hour for them to get to the part where they met Wesley at the alley in Avarice. Lorne's expression changed to one of disdain when they told him how Wesley had walked away.
"Huh. He still owes me one for scratching my face. It took weeks to heal. And now you're telling me he moved house," he complained.
"What do you think he's usin'?" Gunn asked.
"Wesley? Black magic, most likely. Black magic I've not seen before, that's for sure. Oh, I mean, fire starting, throwing people around -- pretty much standard witchcraft stuff. But glowing green eyes? That smells weird. I know Kovarkian demons manifest that trait when they teleport, but humans? I don't know -- I'm not much of a whiz in the wizardry department. Wesley was," Lorne shrugged, looking sad.
"Why is he using black magic? Why is he hunting vampires?" Fred wondered out loud, her voice heavy with anxiety.
"Why did he take Connor? Why didn't he tell us? Sorry, sweetie. That guy is hard to figure out. The last time I saw him, he was a mess. Then he hit me. Can you imagine what he'll do to me this time?"
"He looked like hell, Lorne. Please tell me that you at least care," she demanded, her voice flat.
"Care? For Wes?" Lorne met her conflicted gaze. "Honey, he was my friend. Yeah, I care. Despite what he did. But he is-"
"A traitor," Fred finished for him tiredly, leaning her chin on her palm.
"No. More like angry. He's angry at us, we're angry at him, Angel wants to kill him. Messy, much?"
"Look, Fred. Now is not the time to talk about this. We have to figure out a way to deal with these Gurnak demons," Gunn interrupted.
Lorne got up, looking into the hall where Anne sat with J-Bob and Lisle. "Yeah, we should soon," Lorne said, his voice dropping.
Fred suddenly felt cold. "Lorne, what is it?" she whispered.
"Gurnak demons ... they're not exactly very, how shall I put it ... hygienic. Thanks to my demon senses, I can smell them a mile away," he said, still looking at Anne.
Gunn tensed up, looking around. "You smell them nearby?"
"Uh-huh," Lorne nodded.
"Are they like a mile away?" Fred asked.
"Nope. They're like a few yards away."
Just then, Anne screamed.
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