By Max Fauth and Rob Rutherford
[Note: This story takes place immediately before Dark Secrets, Apparent Lies and takes place before the DITL sequence for Turn 16]

Gem shot up in place, howling out a sharp scream of terror. She stopped chort, arching her back in pain, then collapsed back into place, sobbing slightly. Through teary eyes, she took scope of her surroundings. She was lying on a couch in a small, but comfortable apartment, a sheet draped over her. Her whole body ached with pain.

She saw someone running towards the couch. She was a tall woman with her hair wrapped up in a towel, clad only in a silk dressing gown that showed off her long, muscular legs. As her vision cleared, Gem made out more details of the woman standing before her, and found her face familiar. "A... Angel?" she croaked from her parched throat.

Angel put a finger on Gem's lips "Shhhhh, let me get you something to drink." Gem nodded and watched as the tall woman headed to the kitchen. She quickly came back with a glass of Japanese green tea. "Here drink this," she said, handing it to Gem.

Gem greatfully took the glass. She tried to sit up, but grimaced in pain half way. Angel sat on the couch next to her and gently helped her up. Gem sipped her tea, then turned to face Angel again. "I remember you..." she croaked out.

"Really? How's that?" Angel asked in a soft and friendly voice.

"You were Kami's teacher," Gem muttered. She glaced around the and asked "Where am I?

"You're in my apartment," Angel simply replied. The apartment only seemed to have one bedroom and a bathroom, but the living room itself was larger than Kami's two-bedroom apartment in the Zone. Gem then noticed the couch she had been sleeping on, and realized that her sheets didn't reach the other end of the leather monstrosity.

Gem ran her hand down her forehead and discovered it was bandaged. "What happened?" she asked, as she glanced down at her body. To her relief, she found herself wearing an oversized cotton nightshirt.

"I found you crawling out of a pile of rubble."

"And you took me in?" she muttered? She looked at Angel again. The woman actually looked softer than she remembered, but she realised her memories may have been coloured by Angel's treatment of Kami. "You're not quite how I remember," she added.

Angel laughed, "You didn't see me all the time either". Then sitting back on the couch, she added "Funny, I don't rember you from the dojo."

Gem glanced away. "Nope, I was there," she muttered. She tried to hide her reddening face, while inwardly she chastised herself for slipping up.

"What were you going by back then?" Angel's voice was soft. "You don't have to hide anything from me, you're in the DF Production's Arcology and I'm not going to hand you over to anybody. Especailly if it has anything to do with what you were doing in that rubble."

Gem shook her head hurriedly. "It's nothing to do with that." A thought suddenly struck her, and she turned back to Angel, a desperate look on her face. "Did you take me to a hospital? Was I examined?" she asked, and placed a hand on Angel's shoulder.

"I just had you bandaged up." Angel neglected to tell her that part of bandaging her up was checking for internal injuries.
Gem breathed a deep sigh of relief, but winced again as she sank back into the couch. "By the way, what were you doing there anyway?" Angel quizzed.

"Uhm... My work. I'm a bodyguard, you see, and my employer was there. It's a bit complicated."

"Do you have any idea who you were involved with?"

Gem nodded gravely. "I gave her srict instructions to get out of there, while I held them off. I hope she's alright."

Angel nodded in approval "Were they after her?"

Gem nodded. "They have been for a while. She's a PK, so I'm pretty sure she teleported out."

"I'm certain she did. And you're lucky to be here right now." She added. Gem let out another huge sigh, but didn't answer. "It's okay." Angel put her hand on Gem's

"So why'd you save me?" she asked, half-heartedly looking off into the distance.

"I can give you several reasons, why I did it. Most importantly why wouldn't I?"

"Well..." Gem looked sheepish for a second. "Well from what I remember, and what Kami said, you're not exactly a pleasant or merciful person."

"Here's a question for you?" Angel replied. "How would you deal a teenage girl who, straight out of the arcology and with no training, was willing to look and man in the eye and pull the trigger?"

"Was that her?" Gem asked. "Skip that, of course it's her." Gem scratched the back of her head, and suddenly let out a short snigger.

"What's so funny?" Angel seemed compeltely lost on the humor.

"Sorry," Gem said. "Sounds a bit like me too, except for the arcology bit."

"Really?" Angel managed to force a little smirk. "How so?"

"Oh, I used to be a real problem," Gem said with a smile.

"Really?" Angel seemed a bit bemused by this remark and turned to sit sideways on the couch. "What kind of trouble?"

Gem shrugged. "Everything. If I wasn't meant to do it, I would. Drink, fighting, men, you name it." She let out a short laugh. "I drove my-" she suddenly cut off. "Um, my friends nuts."

Angel relaxed into the side of the couch. "Sounds much like Kami, before she went into the zone."

"Did you know her before then?" Gem asked quickly, hoping to change the topic.

"I've heard stories of her from before then." Angel replied, "She could go from the nicest person in the world to dangerously violent and back again in the space of a few breaths."

Gem nodded. "That's me alright," she muttered under her breath.

Angel reached her hand out to Gem's shoulder. "In the zone, she was worse."

"Didn't have to worry about other people then, I guess."

Angel thought for a moment, "I'd guess more like opportunity and consequences."

"It's a wonder she survived, really," Gem said.

"She nearly didn't, and not because of her temprament." Angel replied.

Gem turned to look at Angel. "You do of course know what she's doing now."

Angel nodded, "You seem a bit stressed about it."

"Oh, she carries on like it's some kind of dream job," Gem said, in a haughty tone of voice. "Like nothing could possibly go wrong with unruly men perving on you." She shook her head in dismay.

Angel shook her head in momentary surprise. "Oh that!" Angel laughed a little. "Personally I think the sex industry and what not is considerably less amoral than than my choice of industries." Looking Gem in the eye, "The idea being that nobody gets hurt."

Gem shook her head. "I didn't expect you to side with her. I thought the two of you were at war or something."

"Its nothing like that." Angel replied. "We have siginifant personal differences, then there's business issues. But its not related to her stripping. In fact in someways I think it helps her."

Gem sighed. "It don't help anyone."

"But in her case its a bit different from most." Angel's voice was anything but arguementative. "She's very protective of the other girls there and she needs that to mitigate the otherside of her personality"

Gem shook her head. "I think that side of her gets out more than enough already."

Angel snickered, "Have you seen her dark side?"

Gem nodded. "That I can deal with."

"Personally, I find it terrifying." Angel remarked. "Just the fact that I saw a 15 year old girl with no training, who willing to look an unarmed man in the eye and pull the trigger."

Gem nonchalantly raised her hand and lowered it again. "So what?" she asked. "It's a good survival trait."

"Whether or not its a good survival trait is irrevalant. Its certainly not characteristic of kids who don't grow up in violent surroundings." Angel responded.

"Hell, maybe they're teaching them real stuff in school these days," Gem said flippantly.

Angel smirked, "If you don't mind me asking what were you like there?"

Gem narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean by that?"

"Please don't take this wrong," Angel replied "Okay?" She was venturing into dangerous territory and she knew it. Gem just leaned back, waiting for Angel's next question. "I can tell you've had some extensive training, but before that did you ever even think that you could take a pistol, point it at an unarmed man and pull the trigger?" Angel quickly added, "We aren't talking self-defence either."

"Yep," Gem answered in a flash.

Angel looked at Gem, "You're forgetting that I know Master Gen. Was he that poor an instructor?"

Gem covered her eyes with her hand. "No, it's not like that. It was just my attitude."

"Was it just the attitude that you could do anything?"

"Basically, yep." Gem shrugged. "I mean, who's to care if something happens to me?"

"Ahhh," Angel replied. "There's where we get the circle with Kami. Working with the other girls at 93U she does care what happens to them. And like I said, it protects her from her darkside, which I'm not sure that you've actually seen the depth of."

Gem sat in silence, seemingly contemplating something. Angel watched her, wondering what she was thinking. "But I'm a different person now," Gem muttered to herself.

Angel smiled. "That's good. So is Kami, to some extent. I taught her some valuble lessons, that I hope she's stuck to." Gem remained silent, so Angel continued in a calm voice. "I'm not saying one of you is better or worse than the other. But I do know that growing up in the zone is harsh, and kinds from the zone have different attitudes twards life and death than kids growing up in an arcology." Angel took a breath, and continued. "You're attitudes and Kami's attitudes are fairly similar, inspite of growing up in completely different surroundings."

Gem shook her head. "It's not like that. I... I need some rest." Angel put her arm around Gem, who pulled back, and lay down on the couch, all the while keeping her eyes turned away from Angel.

Angel could easily tell that there was something wrong here, and easily see that things weren't adding up. And dealing with Kami who was relatively maliable, if a little sociopathic, seemed little easier than dealing with seeming more normal the teenage angst that Gem was obviously having.


Gem moaned loudly as her eyes flickered open. She found herself looking out on Angel's apartment. Angel was sitting nearby, sipping a cup of tea, and watching her. "Morning Gem," Angel said, seeming rather cheerful.

Gem nodded to her and stood from the couch, wincing in pain as she did so. Angel walked over to her and offered her hand. "You okay?"

Gem ignored her offer, and took an uneasy step. "I'll be fine," she said.

"'kay," Angel replied, "You want to take a shower?" Gem nodded her reply. "Its right through here." Angel motioned towards one of the doors. "And dont worry about the towels or anything I'll have everything ready when you get out."

Gem nodded her thanks, and limped to the bathroom. She emerged several minutes later with a towel wrapped around her body. Angel was waiting for her with a rather large first-aid kit stiiing on the coffee table.

"I'm not that badly hurt," Gem replied, warily eyeing the equipment Angel had ready.

"They're just to redress your existing wounds, and get rid of the wet bandages."

"I'll be fine," Gem said. She took a step forwards, and stumbled, nearly falling. Angel was easily prepared to catch Gem. Even with her enhanced reflexes, Gem barely saw her move. "Maybe I won't be fine," Gem muttered.

Angel took Gem's hand and helped her gently to the couch. "Its okay," she said.

"You can let go of me now," Gem deadpanned.

"Alright," Angel laughed.

Gem sat back on the couch, rubbing her sore back. "So just how badly was I hurt?" she asked.

"Not that bad, surprisingly enough," Angel replied, while tending several small cuts. "Your ribs are bruised, and your leg will be sore for a while, but it'll all be better in time."

Gem sighed. "How long do you reckon that'll take," she said, leaning back on the couch.

"The ribs will be a couple of weeks at best." Angel smiled, "As for your leg is only a bruise, but its actually the muscle, so it will be a few days before you'll be steady."

"Great," was all Gem replied.

"I know it doesn't feel that way, but all things considered, I'd say you got off pretty lucky."

"Tell me about it. I've heard enough about the BC to appreciate my luck." She sighed again, then leaned forwards to look at Angel. "You wouldn't mind if I shacked up here until my leg heals?"

"You're more than welcome to stay here for awhile." Angel seemed almost a bit surprised at the question.

"It just doesn't do my image to much good to be hobbling around the zone," Gem said with a sheepish grin. "I can repay you."

Angel smirked a little, "We can discuss that later".

"Uh-oh," Gem said, her expression carefully neutral.

"Don't worry too much about it." Angel looked rather bemused.

"I can't help but wonder what kind of price you'll extract," Gem said cautiously, a small smile playing on her face. Angel just sniggered in response. "Oh, come on," Gem teased. "I know about you and Kami. I thought you might have an ultierior motive."

"Were you hoping I had an unterior motive?" Angel stiffled her sniger with a small grin.

"Let's just say it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest," Gem said, grinning broadly. "However, I can guarantee if that's what you expected, you'd be disappointed."

"You were just dying to turn me down weren't you?" Angel looked rather amused.

Gem couldn't help but snigger. "Well... Yeah."

"And here I was hoping to play with you some more." Angel sill choking down a laugh.

"You can try all you like," Gem replied, "But it won't do you no good." Angel just sat there being rather amused. Gem sniggered to herself. "Well, we have plenty of time to kill."

"That's true." With that Angel picked up a large sack from the other side of the couch and handed it to Gem.

"So what do we have here?" Gem asked. She rummaged through the sack and pulled out a mini-top with a triumphant "Oh-ho!"

"Some stuff that well let you fit in here." Angel smirked. "And if you're asking I didn't pick it out either." Gem raised an eyebrow at Angel's comment, but remained silent. She continued to pull clothes from the sack, until she reached a short skirt. She held it up with a lopsided smile. "I'm sure that's its not quite as sleazy as you expected," Angel remarked, "But it's cute".

"So just who picked these out anyway?"

"A friend of mine. Nobody you'd know."

"She has good taste," Gem said, distractedly examining the skirt. She then turned back to Angel, grinning. "And you want to watch me dress, right?"

Angel laughed. "No big deal. I'll go get changed, then we can start your therapy."

"Oh, therapy too! This is a five star treatment." Gem stood, letting the towel fall to the ground, and began pulling on her clothes.

Angel carefully ignored her, and headed to the bedroom. She returned a few minutes later, very casually dressed in jeans and a tight red satin top.

"Now why do I have this feeling of dread and foreboding?" Gem asked playfully.

"Very observant," Angel acknowledged. "Your therapy is about to begin."

Gem started pulling on her clothes. "So just what is expected of me?"

"We're going to get out and exercise that bum leg of yours."

Gem frowned in dissapointment, then shrugged. "I guess my expectations were too high," she muttered.

"What were you expecting? Something like what I put Kami through?" Angel mused.

"Forget it," she muttered.

"That's okay." Angel took no notice. "Rember when you said, that you had money and could affort to pay me rent?" Gem nodded in reply. "You can pay for you're rehab program." Angel seemed to almost be snickering.

"Will that be charged extra?" Gem asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Only as much as you want to be." She had a small smile.

"I think you'll find that I said I'd repay you," Gem replied. "I didn't mention anything about money."

"This has nothing to do with paying me," Angel remarked.

"Now you've got me interested," Gem said.

"Very good." Angel pulled a denim jacket on over her top. The outfit look much better with the jacket. "Ready?" she asked.

"Of course. But I have to wonder what kind of therapy involves this sort of uniform." Gem looked her clothes up and down. The mini-top and skirt were both in a light blue colour, and while a touch too big, still fit her. The skirt was just long enough to cover her bruises, but short enough to show off her legs.

"You'll see." Angel handed Gem her visitor's ID. "Shall we?" she headed over to the door.

"Outside?" Gem asked, then shrugged. She followed Angel quietly.

"I wouldn't call it exactly outside," Angel replied.

"Then lead the way."


The elevator doors whisked open onto the expansive mall level of the DF Productions arcology. Angel stepped out, leading the way for Gem. The duo walked out into the wide floor, gaping at the broad variety of shops surrounding them. "Time to start your rehab," Angel said, sniggering.

"Rehab?" Gem smirked looking around. "What exactly where you looking for here?"

"Nothing in particular."

Gem smirked, as she pushed ahead of Angel. "So let's get some Rehab."

Angel nodded. "Now you've got the idea." Gem was already ignoring her, heading straight to the fashion stores. Angel smiled to herself, and followed her. The younger girl had made a beeline for a fancy lingerie store, and was already browsing their wares.

As Angel entered, Gem picked out a teddy that looked an awful lot like Angel's top. She held it up to Angel, her face fixed in a cocky, lopsided grin. Angel smiled in reply, almost laughing. "Saucy," Gem said, and put it back on the rack, before turning back to her own browsing.

"And your point is?" Angel asked.

"Nothing," Gem remarked as she browsed through some of the bras. Angel couldn't help but notice that Gem was browsing for a bigger size than her own, about Kami's size. Gem moved further down the rack, glanced at a few items her own size, then quickly walked away from them.

"See anything?" Angel asked. Gem quickly shook her head, as she browsed a rack of various panties.

Angel pointed out a pair of black ones, not completely unlike Gem's own. "Here ya go."

"Already got some," she replied. "I'm looking for... Racier."

"Gotcha." With that Angel picked up a pair of lacy white crotchless ones. "Like this?" Gem instantly snatched them away from her and put them back on the rack. Angel laughed in response, asking "Not that racy I guess."

Gem shook her head. "Sorry... I never wear white."

"White would look good on you. Any reason in particular?"

"Personal reasons," Gem spat back, her face sharp and harsh.

"No problem." Angel ignored Gem's flare-up. "How about these?" holding up a pair of red ones that were almost identical to the white pair she had rejected.

Gem stretched her arms up, her mean expression vanished. "Those I like."

"You should get them and change into them." Angel had a sly grin.

"I'll certainly get them... But I might wear them a bit later."

"Don't want to wear somethign like that with a mini-skirt?" Angel teased.

"I could wear less, if it was the right kind of skirt," Gem said in a hushed tone.

Angel nodded. "We can get a skirt later. Something like a leather mini?"

"That's my next stop." Gem grabbed a store attendant and asked for a bra to match her new panties. The woman nodded, and fetched her a red half-cup bra. She took the scrap of material, headed for the counter then immediately paid and left the store, calling to Angel to keep up.

Gem was already heading towards a more conventional boutique, a wicked look on her face, Angel trailing right behind her. As they walked away from the store, Gem stopped dead, then spun around to face Angel, hands on hips. "So what did you have in mind next?"

"Me? Nothing in particular." Angel asked, "You looking for anything in particular?"

"Something better to wear. No offence, but this mallrat crap isn't me."

"I kinda figured, why do you think I had it picked up for you?"

Gem nodded. "So what's the best fashion store around here?"

"That would depend on you're preferences."

"Can you take a guess what I'm looking for?" Gem asked, her lopsided grin returning.

Angel rolled her eyes, "I know." She headed down the corridor. Gem was content to follow her to a shop front in an odd corner of the mall, named "Uncle Albert's Emporium."

"Uncle Albert's..." Gem read. She turned back to Angel. "And what kind of place is this?"

"They sell designer street sam attire."

Gem waved her hand, clearly dissapointed. "I've got enough of that rubbish."

"Oops," Angel looked a little emparrased. "How about Armani Exchange?"

"Too upmarket. I'm looking at something in the middle. Although..." She said, glancing back at Uncle Albert's.

"Let's go in and check it out," Angel remarked, nodding towards the store.

As Angel turned towards Uncle Albert's, Gem whispered in her ear, "I bet you'd like to see me in one of those bodysuits."

Angel blushed briefly, replying "Cute, aren't they?"

"That's a yes," Gem said, and strode purposefully towards the store, Angel close behind her. "Tell you what," Gem said over her shoulder as they entered the store. "I'll let you buy me one."

"You're gonna have to try one on first," Angel replied.

"Naturally," Gem said.

"Well, pick one out," Angel replied.

Gem wandered in and looked around. She fingered a few bodysuits, noting the differences in style and design. She then turned back to Angel, asking "Should it open at the front or back?"

"I prefer front."

"Front for 'wearing out?'"

"Front for my personal ease of access." Angel replied.

Gem nodded. "Front it is. I'll trust your sense of style." Angel eyed a particular sleeveless one with a matching jacket next to it. "I like your taste," Gem said, eyeing the same one. "Shall I try it on?"

"Go for it," Angel replied with a smile.

Gem stepped into the change room and wandered out, minutes later, wearing the bodysuit. It clung tightly to her legs, enhancing her waist, but was loose around her top - mostly because Gem had discarded her bra and had left it unzipped past her navel.

Angel smiled and nodded. "Looks good."

"Feels good too," Gem said. "You'll take it."

Angel laughed. "All right I'll get this, then where exacty do you want to go?"

"I'll find somewhere," Gem said as she stepped into the change room.

"Just give me the tags, that's much more fitting for you than the mall rat outfit."

"Naw, really?" Gem replied and stepped out of the change room, gathering up her clothes. Angel had the bill taken care of by the time Gem was finished.

"Let's go," Gem said, stepping out of Uncle Albert's. Her front was still unzipped, and Angel couldn't help but notice an extra swagger in her hips.

"Okay," Angel aknowledged. "What are you looking for now? Designer, or leather and latex?"

"I was kind of enticed by your talk of short skirts."

"No problem, I know of a couple of places. Looking for anything in particluar?"

"Leather. Short and tight. I'll bet you know exactly where to find it."

"But of course." Angel headed for the stairs. Gem kept pace this time, walking alongside her as they headed for a 'Lady Chatterly's,' one of the innumerable themed stores in the mall.

"Perfect," Gem said, and pushed on ahead of her as she laughed silently. Gem surged inside and headed straight for the skirts. Angel mused around behind her taking her time. She seemed quite pleased with Gem's energy.

Gem quickly picked out an appropriate skirt as well as a grey blouse, and headed for the change rooms. Angel followed her to the change rooms, and waited until she emerged. This time her hips were encircled by a strip of tight black leather. A grey blouse hung loose from her shoulders, once again open wide at the front, and not tucked into the skirt. She held her hair back in a small tuft of a ponytail. "What do you think?" she asked.

Angel nodded, replying "I like." Her eyes were tracking the details of Gem's figure.

Gem smiled her lopsided grin as she watched Angel's eyes. "That should do me for now," she said. "I get the feeling your tongue couldn't handle any more."

Angel laughed, "I'm think you're rather enjoying this."

Gem smiled a full smile. "You too."

"Hey, I'm having fun." Angel's eyes wandered away from Gem's exposed figure to a number of other items near her; the sort of 'leather and straps' outfits that were definitely not meant to be worn in public. Gem followed her eyes. "For you or for me?" she asked in a low voice.

"This is you're shopping trip isn't it?" Angel replied.

"If you're buying..." Gem said, eyeing the items again. Angel watched Gem in silence as she had a look at it, then left it on the rack and stepped up to the counter. "Of course, if you're not interested..."

"I never said that." Angel picked it up.

"Then you're paying," Gem said. She paid for her skirt and blouse, and waited by the door. Angel caught up with her in a minute, bringing the garment with her. "Now it's your trip," Gem said as Angel stepped out of the store. She looked Angel in the eye and said "What do you want?"

Angel headed for another designer store named "Asayima's." Gem kept pace with her, asking "So what's this one?" as they approached.

"Just a place that has all sorts of neat designer stuff." Gem nodded and followed her in, examining the wares.

They stood in silence, glancing around the store. The clothing was rather ornate, but definitely sexy women's wear. "Good taste," Gem muttered.

"Thanks." Angel turned her attention to the racks. "See anything?" she asked over her shoulder.

"Nothing that suits me," Gem replied. "I'm not that classy." Gem glanced around, and spotted something up the back of the store. "Then again..." Gem mused, and headed for that section. Angel followed her, and watched as she browsed through their outfits. Gem then suddenly turned to Angel, asking "So what would you like me in?"

"I picked out the last outfit, rember? Your turn."

Gem wagged her finger at Angel. "Now we're shopping for you," she said, and turned back to examining the racks.

"Okay, so what do you want to see me in?"

"They don't do cuffs here," Gem remarked.

Angel smirked as she answered. "Nope, that was the last store."

"I think you'd look wonderful in a pair."

Angel laughed a little. "So are you wanting to go back?"

Gem shook her head. "I suspect you've already got some," she said, with her lopsided grin.

"Perhaps," Angel said innocently. "You see anything here?"

Gem shook her head. "You're probably more than well equipped by now."

"True, but there's always an element of fun when somebody else is choosing."

"So then why don't you choose for us?" Gem asked, winking.

"I'm just curious what you think I'd look good in other than a pair of cuffs," Angel replied.

"That and nothing else," Gem smirked. "Are we done then?"

Angel grinned in response. "Perhaps for now." Angel thought for a moment. "Did you get around to changing underwear?" she asked. Gem simply handed her the panties Angel had given her at the start of the day. "Perhaps we should pick up something for you to wear tomorrow too."

"Such fun," Gem replied.

"Alright," Angel replied, "Let's get something to eat."

"Lead the way," Gem said.

The pair left the store and headed along the balcony. Angel lead Gem to one of the many 'sidewalk' cafes that overlooked the 'ground' floor of the mall. "Itallian?" she asked.

"Good as any."

Angel had a seat at a table, taking her jacket off to eat, revealing her red sphagetti-strap top. "So Gem, what do you think of the our little mall?

Gem sat opposite her, leaning back into her chair with her legs crossed. "I like it. I wish I had more of a reason to shop here."

"Really? isn't shopping reason enough?"

"Well, it's not like I live here or anything," she mused.

"True, but at least you won't get bored of it as easily as the natives."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Half the kids here are nothing but trouble makers, our friend being one of the most notable."

"Our friend?" Gem asked, one eyebrow raised.


Gem rolled her eyes. "Well, her fault."

Angel laughed. "I'm not assigning blame, just making an observation."

"Maybe you should. I mean, if she can't deal with having such a comfortable life, why should we feel sorry for her?"

"She could deal with the comfortable life," Angel replied, "I just don't think she could or wanted to deal with the accompanying BS."

"Her problem." Gem stared out at the passers by, clearly bored.

"Stick aroud here for a little while longer and you'll probably figure out her point of view," Angel replied.

"I doubt it. It's so much better than where I come from."

"I understand." Angel's voice was low and sincere.

Gem gave Angel a coy smile. She carefully slid down in her chair, sliding one leg down the other, spreading them slightly at the hips. Angel observed Gem's lack of undergarmets, and judging by the some of the pedestrians reactions, they noticed as well. Angel was easily able to stiffle her surprise, but she wondered what brought about Gem's change in attitude from earlier.

Gem simply maintained her coy smile, and raised an eyebrow at Angel. "Cute," Angel sniggered. She glanced over at the mall-cop who was wide eyed and tugging at his suddenly too tight collar. Gem stifled a laugh. She glanced at the cop and batted her eyelids. He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came forth. Gem watched his reaction, and tilted her head back in silent laughter. He suddenly thought it was probably best to be elsewhere, and left quickly. Watching the exchange, Angel simply rested her head in her hand and joined Gem in silent laughter.

Not too far away, a group of girls eyed the duo having just observed the brief exchange between Gem and the guard. Certainly they had flashed the nazis before, but never had they gotten that kind of reaction. It took little for them to deduce what Gem had actually gone so far as to do. It was obvious the this new girl was interfering with their fun. They just had to meet her. Felicity led the charge, and flounced up to the pair with a loud "Hiya."

Gem glanced up at the group. "Who do we have here?" she asked?

"I'm Felicity." The other girls simply stood back and watched Felicity at work. "And your name is?"

"Gem," She replied. She turned to Angel, and raised an eyebrow inquisitively.

"I'm Angel. Is there something I can help you with?" Angel was didn't seem to be very impressed with the mall rats. Gem just turned back to Felicity, and regarded her with a small smile.

"It's nice to meet you, Angel and Gem," Felicity replied, seeming to ignore Angel's question. "I couldn't help but to notice you're little display earlier." Felicity continued.

"Did you want another show?" Gem casually asked.

"Who me? Oh no but you see there's a party tonight and I was woundering if you'ld like to put on you're little show there?" Felicity grinnned.

"I think they'll find you entertaining enough," Gem replied, maintaining her little smile.

"Why thank you." Felicity replied, "I was just thinking that you would be a nice surprise. But if you're more comfortable flashing fat security guards...."

"The show was for my friend here," Gem nodded to Angel. "I didn't know you were so interested in me. I'm flattered." Gem's smile took on an edgier, more predatory look.

"I'm interested in anybody who looks like they obviously don't belong here."

"Well, I believe the lower class cafes are a few floors down. Maybe you'll fit in better there."

Felicity feigned shock. "Really? I didn't know we had any lower class cafes here." Then looking over at the other girls, "Do we actually have lower class cafes here?" The flock began looking at each other in feigned confusion. Felicity turned back to Gem, "Perhaps you could show us to some of these these lower class cafes you are so familar with?"

"I avoid them like the plague, along with the kind of *trash* that inhabits them."

"Judging by your appearant inability to button your shirt, you look like you should be working either as a stripper or something," Felicity said snidily.

"Or something?" Gem snorted in derision. "Can't you at least finish your own insults?"

A voice rang out behind them. "Felicity stop being a snob and go away." The speaker, a young woman came into sight. She had short blonde hair and wore acid washed jeans and baby-doll t-shirt.

Felicity scowled at the girl, then looked over at her friends, saying "Let's go." She stormed off with her flock in tow.

Gem glanced at Angel. "Do you know her?" she whispered, watching the new girl cautiously.

Angel nodded. "Hello Michelle."

"Hi Angel." Michelle replied.

"Michelle, this is Gem, Gem this is Michelle." Angel introduced the pair.

Gem nodded at her benefactor. "Thanks for clearing the air," she said casually.

"Oh you're welcome." Michelle replied. "Angel, why did you put up with that?" Michelle asked, rather peeved.

"I just wanted to watch for a few minutes, that's all," Angel replied in a calm voice.

"Oh, so I'm a spectator sport now?" Gem's face immediately darkened, and her voice took on an angry edge.

"Actually, I would say Felicity is more of a spectator sport," Angel replied. "Some of us are anticipating that she's gonna end up in porn, just so she can be an actress." Taking a breath, she continued. "As for the current situation, I thought you were handling youself quite well, perhaps even having a little fun with Felicity and my help wasn't needed."

Gem leaned back. "Fair enough," she said with a smile. "So how do you two know each other?" she asked, glancing between Michelle and Angel. She then winked at Angel, adding "I didn't think she was your type." Michelle just blushed.

"Well, she's the boss's daughter so it really doesn't matter whether or not she is my type." Angel sipped her drink.

"Come on, you seem to know each other better than that."

Angel sniggered. "We're both friends of Eve." Michelle blushed again, much worse this time.

Gem cocked an eyebrow, her expression frozen in place. "Friends," she finally said, almost daring Angel to continue.

Michelle glowered at Angel for her outburst. She looked up at Michelle and said, "This is the competition."

"What exactly do you mean by that?" Gem asked, casually buttonning up her blouse.

"Meaning that I heard that you and Eve were very close." Angel replied.

"And by that, you also mean that Michelle and Eve..." Michelle looked horified.

Angel looked over at very angry Michelle, "If I didn't tell her now, she would have found out later from Eve." Michelle still didn't look to happy with the situation, so Angel continued. "Best to not hide things from people who have a clue or an inside source; it will only cause more damage."

"Why doesn't that make me feel better," Michelle muttered.

"So..." Gem began counting off on her fingers. "There's April, Michelle and *then* me?"

"I'm not woried too much about April..." Michelle muttered.

"I have a feeling somebody's gonna be in trouble." Angel muttered.

"To say the least." Gem took a deep breath, and locked an icy-cold stare on Michelle. She then almost instantly brightened up. "But until then, we can at least enjoy ourselves."

Michelle took a step back, "If you're friends with Eve, that means that you're straight out of the zone." Michelle looked really nervous.

Gem waved her hand dismissively. "Oh, don't worry," she began, "We're not all sociopathic strippers over there."

"Go on, have a seat." Angel said to Michelle. She then leaned over and whispered to Gem. "She saw Kami kill several men when she was in the zone. It was messy."

Gem nodded, and a small smile grew on her face. She turned to Michelle as she sat, asking "So what impression did you get of her over there?"

"She's the same person that she was when she was here, just more extreme." Michelle muttered.

"Well you see, I didn't know her before she was in the zone." Gem fiddled with her cutlery, lost in thought. "But she hasn't changed much, you'd say?"

"I dunno, I see everything there that used to be there, but she just goes from one extreme to another. She really doesn't seem that balanced, if you know what I mean."

Gem nodded sagely. "You don't have to worry," she said, placing a hand on Michelle's. "I'm not like that." Angel remained quiet and sipped her drink, trying not to gag.

Michelle looked over at Gem. Her expression was no longer one of shock or anger, but more of confusion. "Really?"

"Eve, you see..." Gem paused, looking away from Michelle. "I'm afraid to say she's become a little unhinged."

"Really?" Michelle asked. "How so?"

"What you said is the basis of it," Gem said. "She simply flies off the rails at times. Angel herself told me how she'd kill someone without batting an eyelid. And for no reason, either."

"That's partially my fault." Angel admitted. "First lesson I taught her was, 'Allways kill in cold blood. Never out of anger. That way you never do something you regret later.'" Angel sighed. "Then when she had calmed down I saw her pick up a pistol and use it. From what I could tell her pulse and blood pressure remained constant."

Gem nodded in agreement. "Michelle, she's dangerous and unpredictable."

Michelle put her head in her hand. "Damn, I can't believe it." Then looking over at Gem, she added, "All those times we used to get into trouble, at my instigation, and Eve usually took all the blame for it just to keep me out of trouble."

Gem nodded, sadly. "Look... This is going to sound bad, but it's probably best you stay away from her for a while. I doubt she'll turn on you, but she's more than likely to get you into trouble she can't protect you from."

Angel looked at Gem. Something didn't seem quite right to her. Gem was behaving exactly how she would expect Kami to behave.

Michelle looked at Gem. "I know, I've spent a lot of time talking to Angel about what happened in the zone, and wondering what was with her. I think she needs to get out of the zone for awhile."

"It's probably for the best," Gem said, nodding. "I'll take care of her while I'm there." Michelle simply nodded. "Stick with Angel," Gem continued, nodding to her companion. "I'll keep in touch with her."

"Thanks." Michelle kicked back in her chair and thought back to her time with Eve.

"But like I said, let's enjoy ourselves in the meantime." Michelle glanced up at Gem smiled and gave her a nod. "So," Gem clapped her hands and rubbed them in anticipation, before turning back to Angel. "What's next on the agenda?"

"Well, you only have one change of clothes; I think we need to do more shopping," Angel replied with a smile.

"Why not?" Gem said. She turned back to Michelle, her lopsided grin returning. "Care to join us?"

"Sure." Michelle replied. Gem smiled broadly, looking forward to this afternoon. 'Why do things allways get complicated when Eve or her friends are involved,' Angel thought to herself.

"So where do the experts reccomend?" Gem asked.

"Anything that's not in this mall actually," Michelle replied with a snerk. "But what kind of stuff are you looking for?"

Gem thought for a second, and replied "I'll know when I see it. What do you two think I'd look good in?" She asked.

"Handcuffs and nothing else," Angel replied.

Gem couldn't help but snigger. "And you, Michelle?" Michelle, didn't say anything, she simply stared wide eyed at Angel. "Alright then..." Gem licked her lips. "What would you like to take me out of?"

"How about we start looking around and play with the cuffs later." Angel replied. She looked at her dazxed friend, and waved herhand in front of the girl's face. "Michelle?"

"I can't believe you said that," Michelle finally answered in a hushed tone.

Gem looked at her quizzically. "Aren't you with us, Michelle?"

"Sure." Michelle seemed back to herself. "Let's get going." The trio left their table, and headed into the throng of people wandering the mall. "I still can't believe you said that," She muttered under her breath to Angel.

"Can't you take a joke?" Angel replied.

"Why do I think that wasn't completely a joke?" Michelle muttered.

"Because she's plagiarising material," Gem said, winking to Angel.

"I was thinking turnabout is fair play," Angel replied. Michelle looked at them both and wondered what she had jumped in the middle of.

"All she's saying is that I come up with the best lines."

"Perhaps," Angel replied, just now realizing that Michelle said SHE was the one who got herself and Eve into trouble as kids.

"Now I want something... Formal," Gem suddenly said.

"Suit or Dress?" Michelle answered quickly.

"Both," Gem answered. "I'm flexible."

"I know!" Michelle said eagerly. She took Gem by the hand and started leading her through the mall. Gem shrugged to Angel, and kept up with her newfound partner. Angel only laughed to herself.

Michelle led Gem to an asian botique. "Here we are," she said cheerfully.

Gem glanced in the window, then at Michelle. "Perfect," was all she said before heading inside.

Michelle headed straight to the back and picked up a black chinese dress with an ornate gold dragon embroidered across the front. "How about this?"

Gem grinned broadly. "You have immaculate taste," she said, and took the dress from Michelle. "Now, is it my size..."

"Go try it on and see" Michelle said. Gem departed for the change room, and emerged a few minutes later, wearing the elaborate dress. She did an experimental twirl in front of Angel and Michelle, looking for their opinions.

Angel looked the dress up and down. It was a tight fit on Gem, and emphasised her shapely hips. She also couldn't help but notice it was slit at the side all the way up to the waist. "Looks good" Angel replied.

Michelle nodded. "Now you need some heelsto go with it."

"Now that's what I've been missing," Gem replied. "Footwear." She handed Angel the tag, and returned to the change room.

Angel mentioned through the door "Would you like your panties so you can try on some shoes?"

"Who needs 'em?" Gem asked as she got changed.

"No problem." Angel replied.

Gem emerged in her blouse and miniskirt, once again unbuttoned. "Let's get going."

"Uhmmm" Michelle cleared her throat.

"Hmmm?" Gem asked, batting her eyelids at Angel. "Is something the matter?"

"I'm thinking she wants you to button your shirt." Angel replied.

"Silly me," Gem replied, giggling. She did up a single button over her breasts, and spread out the lower end, baring her navel.

"I got to spend two years in a boarding school for my indescetions," Michelle replied. "I would really prefer to not go back."

Gem pulled a face and slowly did up the rest of her buttons. She left the blouse untucked, hanging loosely around her skirt.

"Sorry," Michelle replied.

"That's okay. You can have your fun later," Angel added.

"Shall we?" Gem handed April the dress and headed out of the shop.

"Ahem," Angel motioned to the register. "You're still in rehab."

Gem pulled another face at Angel. She took the dress back and paid herself. "Happy?" she said, as she lead the others out.

Angel grinned, and gave Gem a quick tickle on the side as she left.

"Hey!" Gem yelled as she surged away from Angel. "I'll get you for that, you know."

Angel sniggered. "This is gonna be fun."

Gem stopped by a shop briefly, staring at a dummy in the window. The others stopped next to her, and followed her gaze. Inside, a store dummy was dressed in black designer jeans and a grey T-shirt. The T-shirt had the workds "Do It!" emblazoned across the chest.

"Its you." Angel said bluntly. Michelle looked over the store. It sold fairly generic street clothes. She was rather surprised that her new friend would be drawn to it. Gem smiled, and pushed past them into the store. ANgel shrugged to Michelle and followed her in, Michelle trailing behind.

Gem found up the jeans and t-shirt, and immediately headed for the counter. Having paid, she turned to Angel and asked "Do you have a knife on you?" Angel reached into her boot, pulled out her tanto and handed it to Gem. She siezed it from her, and immediately walked into the change room. Within seconds, the sounds of ripping and tearing cloth could be heard. Michelle blinked in surprise, and looked questioningly at Angel, who just laughed in response.

Gem emerged soon enough. The jeans were carefully torn around the knees, and shins and backside, and hung loosely from her hips. The t-shirt was cut in half down the front, and tied in the middle across her breasts. Her jacket hung over it. Gem had pulled her hair back into a small tuft of a ponytail, and tied it with a scrap of cloth. Angel nodded in approval.

"Yum." Michelle muttered under her breath.

Gem smiled her lopsided smile. "All of a sudden, I feel a whole lot better," she said.

"The last out fit was nice." Angel said, "But you look much more comfortable now."

Gem nodded. "I feel... Natural now," she said. "C'mon, let's go."

"Alrighty," Angel acknowledged. Angel and Michelle both followed Gem.

Michelle joind Gem in the lead. "Shoe store's that way," she said, pointing out the store. Gem made a beeline for it.
She pushed her way straight in through the door. As the others watched, she grabbed a few select items off the displays. Michelle was close behind her grabbing a few things as well. Angel tapped Michelle on the shoulder and whispered "nothing white". Michelle simply nodded in response and continued following Gem.

Gem selected a pair of high heels, a pair of rough-looking work boots and, after a moment's consideration, a pair of thigh-high lether boots; all in black. Michelle observed what Gem picked out. "Now all you need are socks, stockings and whatnot."

Upon seeing the thigh-high boots Angel simply muttered to herself. "And I thought the world was dangerous enough with only one Kami," she mused.

"She's got nothing on me when I get going," Gem commented.

"This I gotta see." Angel wasn't sure if her reply was fear, shock, or simply morbid curiosity.

"Oh really?" Michelle asked. She had a wicked smile on her face.

Gem walked over and patted Angel on the shoulder. "Now you're getting into the swing of things," she said, and moved off to select some stockings.

Angel pointed to one particular shelf, saying "The fishnets are over there." Angel seemed to daze off for a moment thinking; 'I could have some serious fun here.' She shook her head, clearing her mind. 'Michelle is the bosses daughter, no, no, no.'

Gem collected a pair of fishnets, but noticed Angel. "Something the matter?" she asked. "Don't tell me you're backing out on us."

"No problem, just keep going," Angel replied. She hadden't thought about the consequences about Michelle tagging along.

"Good to hear," Gem relplied, and returned to the racks.

Michelle noted the lack or acessories for the stockings. "We are going to have to go someplace else to complete these outfits."

Gem turned to her, grinning as before. "Now here's someone worth sticking to." She brushed past Angel to join Michelle. "What say you point some out to me?"

"Let's get these and go." Michelle replied. Angel laughed to herself as she followed the girls.

"So what's so funny?" Gem asked her.

"Not funny, just cute," Angel replied with a smile.

"Cute?" Gem stopped in place, hands on hips, head tilted and with an annoyed look on her face. "What's so 'cute' about it?"

"I think its cute that you two are having so much fun."

Gem smiled in response. "Aren't you then?"

"Yes, I am." Angel replied. "Now get going," she added in a unmistakably authoritive voice.

"Yes, mam!" Gem said, rolling her eyes. She turned back to Michelle, shrugging. "So, where were we?" With that Michelle took Gem by the hand and headed down the mall. "Somehow I get the feeling you've been waiting ages to do this," Gem remarked to Michelle as they walked through the mall.

Michelle turned to look at Gem. "Maybe," she replied.

"That's a yes you don't want to admit to."

"We haven't even gotten started yet," Michelle replied. Gem smiled braodly in response, then continued on her way.

They soon arrived at a store that looked very familar. Gem recognised it as the lingerie store they'd visited at the start of their trip. "Oh, I've come to like this place," Gem remarked.

"Really?' Michelle replied. "They're the most interesting place here that doesn't check IDs. All the really good stores are off limits to anybody under 18."

"Then take me to an interesting one," Gem said.

"Um... sure," Michelle replied nervously. With that she began leading the way to a store just a couple of floors down. It was named "Sex and the City;" yet another theme store. Gem glanced at the store ahead and cracked her knuckles as she approached. Michelle stopped dead in front of it.

"Come on, you're not chickening out now, are you?" Gem said, one hand on Michelle's shoulder.

"I've been tossed out of most of these stores before," Michelle eeked out.

"Would they know your face by now?" She asked.

"The manager does," She muttered.

"So much for that," Gem muttered her reply. She turned to see Angel standing a few feet behind the girls. "You are going to take me in there," Gem stated, matter-of-factly.

"Allright," Angel replied. She proceeded to head into the store. Gem shrugged at Michelle, and followed Angel in.

Gem was amazed. The lingerie store was halfway tasteful; this place was just the opposite. Gem found herself a nice of restraints. She eyed Angel up and down, then carefully selected a larger size. She stepped up to Angel and held them up for her to see.

Angel smiled and walked over to Gem, "What about the handcuffs only?"

"Oh, I think this suits you better."

"Ahh, I see." Angel replied. Angel began looking else where and picked up a black one piece with shorts and a halter top and held it for Gem. "What do you think?"

"I like," she replied. "In fact, I love the outfit."

"Definately you." Angel nodded. "And that one?" Motioning to something far more interesting.

"Hold on for five, will ya?" Gem said.

"Right." Angel continued to browse around the store.

Gem quickly headed out the front. She glanced around to find Michelle, stitting at one of the many cafes sipping on a milkey white carbonated drink. With a grin on her face, Gem crept up behind Michelle, and suddenly asked "What can we get you?"

"Surprise me," Michelle replied with a smile.

"I'll make you regret that," Gem said. She left Michelle and returned to the store.

I'm counting on it," Michelle said to herself after Gem left.

Back in the store, Gem walked up behind Angel, and leaned on her shoulders. "Now, you were saying..."

"just looking at this outfit." Angel pointed at a very low cut synthleather top and mathching g-string and stirrups.

"Mine," was all Gem said.

"But ofcourse," Angel replied. She glanced over her shoulder at Gem, and noticed she was looking out the window, sniggering. "Wacha thinking about?"

"Michelle," Gem replied. "It's just so funny."

"What's funny?"

"How easily we played that little DF Kiddie." She resumed her snigger, then looked around for something to get Michelle.

"Really?" Angel replied.

"She's so out of her depth with us," Gem added. She turned to Angel and flashed her a lopsided grin, before returning to the shelves.

"You want to know why she's so easy?"

"Go for it," Gem replied.

"You're acting almost exactly like Eve." Angel sniggered, "She might even think that she's playing us."

Gem's only response was a hollow laugh.


The trio had eventually wound up back at Angel's apartment. A few drinks later, they ahd decided it was time to 'get down to business. Gem had scooped up one of her many bags and nipped into the bathroom, telling the others to wait for her. They sat together, mostly in silence, waiting for Gem to return. The minues dragged on, but they hadn't heard a peep from within the bathroom.

Angel glanced at the bathroom door, her expression clearly one of concern. She quietly stood from the table, and approached the door. She couldn't hear anything from withing. Angel cautiously knocked on the door, saying "Gem? You okay?"

"I hate it," Gem muttered quietly from inside.

"What's that?" Angel asked. When no reply was forthcoming, she added "Come on out, I'll bet you look absolutely delicous!"

"I hate it," Gem repeated in a low murmur, as if she didn't even hear Angel.

Angel went back to Michelle, adn shrugged. "I don't think she's happy with the outfit," she simply stated.

"Perhaps if she had more reason come out here," Michelle replied. "I could change into the outfit she picked up for me," she added. Her voice betrayed her eagerness.

"Why don't you go the the door and ask her," Angel suggested.

"Sure!" Michelle hopped up and walked over to the bathroom door. "Gem, Mind if I change into that outfit you picked up for me?" Michelle waited, but recieved no response. "Gem? You okay?" Michelle rapped on the door. Once again, there was no reply.

Angel walked over to her, and called out, "Gem! Are you okay? If you don't answer I'm coming in." When no reply was forthcoming, Angel used her emergency key and opened the door to the bathroom.

Gem stood within, facing the mirror, her shirt and jacket already stripped off. She held her breast in one had; the other was stroking her face as she looked intently into the mirror. As Angel entered, she could hear Gem murmur "I hate it," once more. Angel slumped against the door frame in relief.

Gem seemed frozen in place. Her jacket and shirt were sprawled on the floor, and the outfit Angel had bought her was still in its bag, untouched. Angel stood up straight. She could see Gem was distracted, and was prepared for a potentially violent reaction if she was surprise. "Looks great to me," she said.

Gem turned in shock, noticing Angel for the first time. "A... Angel?" She stammered, suddenly covering her breasts in shame.

Angel steped within arm's reach of Gem and reached out to put her hands on Gem's shoulders. "No need to be embarrased, you look great." Behind them, Michelle began moving back from the doorway.

Gem surged back, pulling herself from Angel's grip. "Don't touch me! she suddenly yelled. Angel raised her hands so Gem could see she wasn't reaching out to her anymore. Michelle shirked back into the living room. She was starting to think that leaving was a very good idea.

Gem cautiously leaned down and took up her jacket, then held it over her chest, all the time warily eyeing Angel. Angel stepped back into the doorway so as to be less threatening. "I don't want to be looked at," Gem said in a low mutter.

Angel stepped out of the doorway and almost closed the door, leaving a crack too small to see through. Michelle looked over at Angel, "This is getting too dramatic for me. I'm outa here." She picked up her bag.

Angel was silent in acknowledgement and simply walked Michelle to the door. "I'll be in touch."

Michelle nodded to Angel, "Alright, bye bye and take care." Angel quietly closed and locked the door behind her. She then sighed.

Angel returned to the bathroom, and satdown just outside the door to think. From within, she heard Gem mutter 'I don't want to be noticed like this.

After a short wait, Angel knocked on the bathroom door, saying "I'm coming in." After hearing no response she stood up, opened the door, and walked into the bathroom. Gem was curled up into a ball in the shower recess, seemingly asleep. Angel carefully picked Gem up and carried her into her bedrom.


Angel suddenly shot awake. Next to her in bed, Gem was screaming out loud in panic. Within seconds she was silent, and simply lay in bed, shaking with fear. Angel put her arm around her and pulled her in close, holding Gem as she curled up into a ball again.

She glanced over at her clock. It was two in the morning. She waited in silence, pondering what had happened to this girl, until Gem quietly drifted back to sleep.


Gem emerged quietly from Angel's bedroom. She was in the torn jeans she'd fallen asleep in last night, and had pulled her jacket around her. She saw Angel sitting at her table, sipping tea. Angel glanced up at her. Gem looked away from her and made her way to the kitchen.

"Are you okay?" Angel asked in a calm and friendly voice. Gem stopped dead in place, and quietly shook her head. "Mind talking about it?"

Gem sighed, and sat at the table. She looked straight down, seemingly unable to face Angel. "I made a twit of myslef last night," she finally said.

"Its okay," Angel replied.

Gem shook her head. "I just don't know what came over me."

"I'm not sure what I can do to help other than listen." Angel gave Gem a small smile.

"I don't really want to talk about it," she said.

"That's fine too, but I'll have you know that I can be a very good listener when I need to."

Gem was not in the mood for games. "What exactly do you mean by that," she asked, glaring at Angel.

"Meaning that I can be patient and care to understand what people are saying without trying to make my own point."

"Even if they don't want to talk?"

"I can't make anybody who doesn't want to talk do so," Angel replied. "But sometimes people want to talk, they're just looking for the right person to talk to, or someone who's really interested in listening. Perhaps because they're afraid of the consequences or embarrased or something."

Gem looked away from Angel, hiding her expression. "I just couldn't bear to look at myself."

"Forgive me, but I don't understand why." Angel seemed rather perplexed.

"I didn't... I don't want to be beautiful like this," Gem muttered, half to herself. "I never wanted to be noticed, or to stand out. And there I was, getting it all wrong."

"I kind of understand the bit about not wanting to be noticed, but not wanting to be beautiful and getting it all wrong?"

"I've got a job to do," Gem replied. "And until it was done, I was meant to look..." she vaguely indicated up and down her body. "Well, plain."

"Ahh now I'm starting to understand." Angel nodded.

"Only it didn't quite work," she added. "Well, I really wasn't meant to carry on like I did yesterday."

"Is being attractive so bad?"

"It is when you're trying not to be noticed."

"Good point," Angel replied.

"So... I just got carried away and forgot myself yesterday. That's all."

"I see." Angel paused, thinking. "Are you felling better now?"

"Yeah." Gem pondered for a second. "I'm back to myself."

Angel smiled. "Great!" she replied.

"Don't be too happy." Gem smiled a sad smile. "I'm not that much of a fun person."

"You seemed like you were wanting to have plenty of fun yesterday."

"That's not really me," Gem replied.

"Oh really." Angel didn't seem very surprised.

"I can't explain," she replied.

"Then don't worry about it."

"I'll try not to bother you with it."

"Don't worry about bothing me with things," Angel replied. "Like I said, I'm willing to listen about anything you want to talk about. It doesn't have to be anything bad."

Gem slowly shook her head. "I'm done talking,"

Angel nodded her head. She was happy with Gem's decision, and didn't want to push the girl any further. "Okay, so is there anything you were wanting to do today?" Angel seemed to be confortable with Gem's decision.

Before Gem could reply, Angel's phone rang out loudly. She rolled her eyes and took it up. She listened for a few seconds, and held out the phone to Gem. "It's Korey," she said. "For you."

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