The staff of the 24-hour diner leave him alone, for the most part. The coffee's nearly cold when he finally comes to his decision.
He's known for a long time that this
was coming, he reasons. He found out it could happen from the kid by the lake
that night. He even had a conversation with Aziraphael
about it, more than a year ago. Both exchanges had touched on the impossibility of stopping the creature he would become.
They'd assumed, of course, that the Angel of Vengeance would be unavailable.
He waves away another fresh top-off, standing at last and listening to the creaking of his bad knee. Glancing around, he notices the wait staff looking at him oddly. He can't really blame them; he's been there for over 20 hours and all he's ordered is coffee. Guiltily, he adds a ridiculously large tip to the crumpled bills on the table, and flees. He takes a bus heading west.
Back in Los Angeles the haze has vanished. He walks back to his apartment slowly, like a visitor taking in the glorious sights of the chain drugstores, the gas stations, the last-chance-discount signs.
He gets partway up the stairs in his building before coming to a sudden halt. Something isn't quite right. Another few cautious steps confirm that the source of the uneasiness is centered on his own room. It's - it's demonic
, is what it is - a few weeks old, maybe, but definitely there. He takes the stairs more quickly, mind racing, wondering what demon would be stupid enough to turn up here, of all places.
He pushes the door open, knowing it's empty, still standing out of easy sight from inside, and when deranged imps fail to jump out at him he peers around the frame.
There are spirals and clouds and abstract shapes traced through the dust on the windows, and he doesn't need to take fingerprints to know who was waiting for him
here. There's a sudden pang of guilt as he realizes that, occupied as he was, he took off without so much as a note at the bar. And Mal might know he left, but he wouldn't know for where.
There's a paperback novel on the bed, looking a little the worse for wear, and he picks it up without thinking. It's your standard whodunit murder mystery, and he flips through for a couple of minutes, absorbed.
"It was the doctor," he concludes, tossing the book down again. "I hope Aziraphael didn't give you this crap."
He should hurry, he thinks suddenly, if only because it would be so easy to wait, to be distracted, to allow someone to talk him out of it. And in all honesty, the fewer people that know about this, the better. He can talk to Crowley when he gets back.
He gives the place another visual once-over, and heads for the door.