Summary: Buffy comes to Angel with a plan.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters--they belong to their
creators and/or owners.
Rating: PG-13, for themes.
Time Frame: Just after "Chosen." (spoilers for seventh season "Buffy" and
fourth season "Angel")
Archiving: Be my guest, but e-mail me (email@example.com) to let me
know. . .I like to know where stuff I write ends up and I might want to see
what else you've got.
Angel's eyes snapped open, and he turned his head to check the clock. 6:30--
he had been asleep for eight hours. He had left orders to awaken him at the
first sign of trouble from Sunnydale, and he was unsure of whether the lack
of interruptions was a good sign or an ominous one. He glanced at the
windowshade--the sun had dropped low enough for him to peek outside. He
pulled back the shade and looked out. All seemed normal--the sky was clear,
there were no signs of imminent demonic invasion, and he noticed
pedestrians walking by the school bus parked in the alley.
Angel blinked, and looked at the bus more carefully, and raised an eyebrow
when he saw the words "Sunnydale High School" on its side. Clearly,
something had happened. He dressed quickly and headed downstairs. He was
annoyed, and his tone reflected it as he called out, "You know, it would be
nice if someone would keep me posted on what's happening--we've got a
potential apocalypse here--" The main staircase and lobby of the hotel came
into view, and Angel quickly spotted Willow and Faith--they looked tired
and a bit worse for wear. It was the other new arrivals that caused Angel
to stop in his tracks and stare, heedless of manners.
There were about thirty young women in the lobby, also looking rather tired
and bruised, sitting on the furniture, leaning against the walls, and lying
on makeshift bedrolls. Having seen the school bus and read the report on
recent events in Sunnydale, Angel was pretty certain that the young women
were the potential Slayers who Buffy, Faith, and the others had been
protecting. It was the way the young women were moving that caught his eye--
the slender brunette who was hefting a two-handed axe like a toy. . .the
redhead who was doing standing backflips that would have made any acrobat
turn green with envy. . .the good-natured sparring match between two of
them that would have made a heavyweight champion turn white in fear. He
consciously attempted to disbelieve what he was seeing, but his own
instincts--which were screaming at him to flee--forced him to abandon the
attempt. There were thirty-odd slayers in the lobby of the Hyperion, and it
was with a growing sense of unease that he realized that Buffy was not
visible among them. He dashed down the stairs with a speed that had half
the Slayers tensing against an incoming attack and ran over to Faith,
demanding, "Faith, where's Buffy? Is she all right?"
"Just great. Had to make a run to the bathroom--getting stabbed doesn't do
much for the personal hygiene thing. Don't be mad at them--I told them to
let you sleep."
Angel turned and saw Buffy. She was bruised in several places, and a large
cut was faintly visible under a bandage on her forehead. She wore a grey
sweatsuit that was two sizes too large her, and she was visibly exhausted.
Angel had never seen anything so beautiful in his life. Mindful of her
injury, he walked over to her and stared at her with a vacant smile on his
face for a moment before saying quietly: "Hey."
Buffy snorted at Angel in irritation. "Who are you--Oz? Give me a hug, damn
Angel complied, carefully avoiding the area that Buffy's body language
indicated was the location of the injury. He held her for long moments in
silence before releasing her and stepping back. Buffy had teared up a bit,
but her voice was calm as she commented, "That's better. I called from the
road six hours back--we're done in Sunnydale, Angel. The Hellmouth's not an
issue any more."
Angel blinked. "You sealed it?"
Buffy looked vaguely embarrassed, and she hesitated momentarily before
replying, "We kind of blew it up, along with the rest of Sunnydale. There's
a ten mile wide crater where the town used to be--good thing most everyone
had already cleared out." She looked up at Angel and added, "The amulet was
the real deal--thanks for bringing it."
"Always glad to be of service." Angel smirked just a little, and was
rewarded with a dirty look from Buffy before he leaned down and whispered,
"Buffy. . .mind telling me why there are thirty Slayers in my lobby? Or,
more to the point--how?"
"Thirty-five, including me and Faith. We lost two of them in the fight."
Buffy blinked, and a tear fell free before she composed herself and
continued, "Take all of the potentials that Giles was able to track down to
protect them from the First, add that nifty axe you saw me with, stir with
the most powerful Wicca in the Western Hemisphere, and serve warm." Angel
glanced over at Willow--who smiled at him--and turned back to Buffy, who
was nodding as she added, "They're just the tip of the iceberg, Angel.
Willow's spell went worldwide. . .we think that it activated every
potential out there between puberty and menopause, including ones that
neither the Council nor the First had a clue about. Willow can feel them
out there, and she says there's at least a thousand of them scattered all
over the place--maybe more. We need to find them, Angel. Every one of
them's a weirdness magnet and doesn't know it."
"True, but there's only so much weirdness to go around--that should keep
the pressure off until we can track them down." Angel's head was spinning
at the concept of a thousand Slayers being loose in the world, but another
thought occurred to him: "Did you lose anyone else, Buffy?"
Buffy looked down, and the sadness was visible in her eyes as she replied,
"Anya died saving Andrew from the Bringers--we didn't have time to get her
body." She hesitated, and Angel waited quietly as she looked up at him and
whispered, "Spike wore the amulet, Angel. It vaporized all of the vampires
left in the cavern and brought everything tumbling down--we got out just in
time. He didn't."
Angel felt a pang of guilt, and thought for a moment before placing his
hands on her shoulders and saying quietly, "It's never a good day when you
lose four friends, Buffy. I'm sorry."
Buffy smiled softly at him, and changed the subject slightly: "Principal
Wood suffered a nasty gut wound--we dropped him off at a hospital in
Glendale. I'll introduce you when he's feeling better--you'll like him
better than Snyder." Angel chuckled, but sobered as Buffy added, "Most of
the girls got banged up pretty good, but they're Slayers now, and they're
all healing nicely--including yours truly, though I don't recommend getting
impaled as an everyday thing." She glanced around and asked, "That reminds
me: where's Cordelia? The others have been great at helping us out, but I
haven't seen her yet."
Angel closed his eyes: the tension of the past few days had almost driven
recent events from his mind, and the sudden reminder was like a slap in the
face. When he opened his eyes, Buffy was watching him anxiously, and he
sighed before replying, "We should really have a meeting, Buffy. We've got
a lot to discuss."
Buffy frowned, but chose not to press. She walked back to Faith and Willow
and whispered to them momentarily before running up the stairs. Willow
walked over to Angel and explained, "She's getting Xander and Giles--what's
happening with Cordelia?"
Angel shook his head, "I'll go over it at the meeting, Willow. Excuse me, I
need to speak with Wesley." He slipped off, and Willow exchanged puzzled
looks with Faith before she reached into her shoulder bag, looking for some
notes she had taken on the trip to Los Angeles.
* * * * *
Angel stopped speaking, and looked at Buffy with concern: "Are you all
Buffy looked up at him and managed a reassuring smile before replying, "You
know, the last few years I've been pretty sure that whenever I saw you I'd
have weirder stories to tell you than vice versa, and this time I was *
really * sure--but this has me pretty well beat." She paused, visibly
gathered her thoughts, and continued: "Cordelia is in a coma after an evil
pregnancy with no apparent source, which unleashed the incarnation of an
extra-dimensional goddess who wanted all people to live together in peace--
so she could eat them. You stop the goddess--and I know from experience
that is * not * easy and fun--and your old playmates at Wolfram and Hart
are so grateful that they've given you the keys to a multi-million dollar
law firm with information sources that make the late great Council of
Watchers' libraries look like a newspaper rack, and a lab that would make Q
sell his soul to Beelzebub to get his hands on it. That about sum things
up?" Angel began to speak, and Buffy held up her hand and added, "Willow
already briefed me on the Angelus stuff--don't go there again."
Angel nodded, and Xander called out, "I thought it was my job to boil down
all this terribly significant stuff into the Readers' Digest version, Buffy-
-just because I look like a pirate doesn't mean I'm going to sit in the
corner going 'Arrrr!' for the whole meeting."
A few chuckles were heard, and Buffy turned to direct a fondly annoyed look
at Xander: "I'll let you take the next one--I just had to say it." She
frowned and turned back to Angel: "Angel, you know these evil lawyer guys
better than any of us do, and I don't want to second-guess your move--but
I'd be lying if I said that I thought this was the greatest idea since
sliced bread. They've got to be playing you somehow, don't they?"
"You're so cynical, Buffy--it must be all of those years living in
Sunnydale." Angel maintained a deadpan expression as he replied, and was
rewarded with a grin as he continued, "I've got good people on the job--
they'll be keeping an eye on things while they get up to speed on the
departments they're in charge of." He turned to Wesley, Gunn, and Fred and
added quietly: "I'd trust any one of them with my life, and they'll be
looking out for each other, too." Buffy nodded, satisfied, and Angel looked
over to where Giles was quietly listening and commented, "There's a lot of
research material at W & H that needs inspecting, Giles. Wesley could
finish it all, given time, but I'm sure he'd be grateful for another pair
of eyes--if you're willing."
"Of course." Giles nodded thoughtfully, and looked over to Wesley--who
nodded without hesitation. Giles frowned and commented, "The resources and
personnel of the Council of Watchers were decimated by the Bringers--I
intend to try to contact the survivors in the field to help it regroup, but
it will be quite a task. Having a complete library to refer to will greatly
facilitate the task of reconstructing the Council's libraries."
Angel turned to Willow and changed topics: "Willow, Fred's better than
anyone I could imagine at evaluating all of the scientific elements of W &
H's labs--but you're the most talented computer expert I've ever met, and
there are mystical elements to deal with that Fred isn't exactly rated for--
dabbling with portals notwithstanding." He didn't see Fred turn pale at his
last few words, as his attention was completely focused on Willow. He
grinned at her and asked, "Could you give the place a once-over and let me
know if you think they're sneaking an evil computer virus or death curse
"Not a problem." Willow replied calmly, before turning to Fred--who had
recovered from her discomfort--and commenting, "Fred and I make a good
team, and we can take Kennedy along to provide a bit of muscle." The
comment provoked a loud swat delivered between her shoulder blades, and she
turned back to see a visibly annoyed Kennedy. She paused a moment, then
amended her comment: "--to provide a bit of clever, resourceful, and
disturbingly sexy muscle." Kennedy's frown vanished, and Willow sighed in
relief as she turned back to Angel. "Looks like we have a plan."
"Good. The evaluation shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks--I don't
want to interfere with whatever plans Buffy and Giles have for all of you."
Angel was relieved to receive the assistance, and didn't notice the worried
expression on Buffy's face for a few seconds. When he did, he frowned in
concern and asked, "Did I say something wrong, Buffy?"
Buffy looked embarrassed, and Angel waited patiently for Buffy to tell him
what was on her mind. After a few moments, she coughed and began, "Angel,
we've been housing the girls at my house and at Xander's apartment since
the end of last year--we didn't have any other place to put them, and there
was just enough room for us to put them. It wasn't easy, but we managed it.
"Now your house and Xander's apartment building are at the bottom of a mile
deep crater, and there's nowhere for you to stay." Angel commented quietly,
smiling reassuringly at Buffy. Buffy hesitated, then nodded once. The
vampire sighed, then asked, "Buffy, do you really think you have to ask if
you can stay here? You did hear Willow say that Angelus had been sent
packing, right? My home is your home, for as long as I own it, and wherever
it may be."
Buffy beamed, and Xander noticed that several of the Slayers in the room
were casting interested looks in Angel's direction. He leaned over to Giles
and whispered, "You might want to make sure that the Slayers all read your
"Bookmarked and readied for photocopying." Giles replied without changing
Xander smirked, then turned back to Angel and called out, "So, this place
is going to be Slayer Central? I hope your insurance is paid up."
"We've trained here for three years now--I think we can handle a few more
people." Angel replied confidently, before nodding to Wesley and Gunn. They
distributed champagne glasses to the occupants of the office, and Fred
pulled out several bottles of Dom Perignon from the refrigerator in the
corner. Corks popped, champagne poured, and at length Angel was standing in
front of his desk with a full glass. He raised it and intoned solemnly: "To
the heroes of Sunnydale, living and dead--may their future deeds and their
legacy shine as worthy examples to those who follow them."
As one, the occupants of the room raised their glasses and drank the toast.
Angel turned to Buffy and saw she was watching him with genuine joy, though
it was not untouched by worry. * This won't be easy, but we've been handed
an opportunity here, and I'm not going to waste it * He called out, "Let's
adjourn to the lobby and let everyone else know what's going on." He walked
to the office door and opened it, allowing the others to file out. When
they had all exited, Angel looked back to the office once more before
turning to leave. For no good reason that he could discern, he felt uneasy,
but he refused to succumb to doubts. He closed the door, leaving the office
dark and silent.
As always, comments are welcomed and desired.