DISCLAIMER: All Buffy and Angel characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the WB and UPN, et al. No copyright infringement is meant and no profit is gained from their use. Anni, Hopie, and Leo, as well as the other original characters we will be seeing in this fic, are mine.
Author's Note: I wasn't going to start this until I got back to school, but I'm in a really good mood today, and my brother has commandeered the big screen for him and a friend, so I'm exiled to my room, just me and my laptop. So, this is the next installment in the Only Hope, Le Bella Series. If you haven't read those, let me catch you up to speed. If you plan on reading them, I'd recommend skipping these spoilers.
Hopie (Hope Chase Angel; introduced in Only Hope) is Angel and Cordy's adopted daughter. She's four, almost five and inhabited by an ancient magic called Shanshu Itzca that effectively makes her an intergalactic Xerox machine. Long story short, she embodies the essences of Cordelia, Angel, Connor, and Buffy, and she has many of their powers as well as some of her own.
Anni (Annabella Suzette Wyndham-Price; introduced in Le Bella) is Wes's twelve year old sister. She now is a "non-slayer," a girl with the powers of a slayer but called by a different force. She's also something of a witch. Wes and Anni live in Sunnydale.
Leo (from A Very Hopie Christmas) is a magical, healing bunny.
Faith and Lindsey are engaged.
Angel and Cordelia are one step away from being engaged. She wears his ring around her neck (AVHC)
The couples go like this: Angel/Cordy; Wes/Willow; Buffy/Spike; Dawn/Connor; Faith/Lindsey; Anya/Xander; Fred/Gunn
If you have any questions or are confused, let me know. I also honor most requests in the way of plot. I am addicted to reviews, so if you enjoy and have a heart, you will review.
AND NOW… the story
Things Unseen: Chapter One
Hopie Chase Angel hummed to herself happily. Today, she decided, was a good day. It had been sunny outside all day, she'd had peanut butter and jelly for lunch AND dinner, and she and Momma had both just had a vision that meant that she would get to play battle very, very soon. She stopped humming and addressed her audience.
"I know you want to come, Claude, but I think it would be better if I took Crossbow with me. You can come to the park with me tomorrow, Claude. I promise." Hopie said sweetly.
Angel choked a bit on the blood he was drinking. "Um, Hopie, I don't think taking Claude to the park tomorrow is a very good idea."
Hopie batted her eyelashes at her daddy. "But I promised him, Daddy. You don't want him to be sad, do you?"
Angel mutely shook his head, as usual, vulnerable to his little girl's puppy dog eyes. He'd leave that particular battle to Cordelia. He sighed and looked at the flame thrower Hopie had christened "Claude." Like many things in life, this was entirely Spike's fault. If he hadn't introduced Hopie to Buffy's flame thrower, whom his daughter had immediately christened "Bob," then Connor would have never bought Claude for the little girl as a Christmas present.
"Is it time to go yet?" the little girl asked, wriggling with excitement. "The purple and black demon guy looked really mean. It will be fun to shoot him with Crossbow." Hopie hugged the aforementioned crossbow to her chest. Angel didn't know whether to be grateful that the visions didn't scare Hopie, or worried that his four year old daughter's idea of fun involved shooting arrows at a Khitoran demon.
Angel looked at his watch. "We better head out," he said. "Connor! Gunn!" he bellowed up the stairs.
"Momma says to walk up and tell them, not to yell up the stairs," Hopie informed her papa. Angel picked her up and tickled her.
"She does, does she?"
The little girl's laughter rang through the hotel.
"Okay, now try to move it just a bit to the left," Willow instructed, all business. Anni rolled her eyes but did as she was instructed, mentally moving the glass of water to her left.
"Deep breaths," Willow reminded the girl. Anni tucked a piece of her long, brown hair behind her ears.
"Willow, can I talk to you about something?" the girl asked.
"That depends," Willow replied. "Is this an I-want-to-distract-you-so-I-don't-have-to-do-anymore-concentration-exercises something or an I-need-someone-to-talk-to-because-my-brother-is-British something?"
"A little bit of both. And it's more of an I-want-to-talk-to-you-because-my-brother-is-a-guy something." Anni peered closely at Willow to see if she was at all upset by the direction the conversation was heading.
Willow squealed. "Is it a boy? I bet it's a boy. Oooo, Anni has a boy."
"Shhh," Anni hushed her. "You know how Wes is. If he knew about Jordy…"
"His name's Jordy!" Willow squealed. Anni hushed her again. She blushed.
"Yes," she said. "His name is Jordy." She played with the charm bracelet she always wore around her wrist. It had been a Christmas present from Connor, her first major crush. Her ongoing crush.
"What's going on?" Buffy asked, entering Willow's room and seeing the two girls sitting on the bed and a glass of water floating midair between them. She figured Anni's magic lessons were just about over for the day, and she wanted to see if the younger girl was almost ready to patrol. They'd all gotten used to this schedule over the last few months.
"Anni has a Jordy," Willow informed Buffy. Anni groaned.
"What's a Jordy?" Buffy asked, sitting down on the bed next to them.
"Just this guy," Anni said. Buffy squealed.
Anni groaned audibly, but deep down, she knew that she was loving this. She loved having a family, belonging. She loved being more than a translator, a prisoner in a house without love, or worse yet, a slave to the Watcher's Council. A chill passed through her as it always did when she thought of the one day she'd spent under their care, going through their tests. She'd wanted to fail those tests, but she hadn't. The pain of it all was still raw.
"So, this Jordy you speak of," Buffy said, a note of teasing in her voice. It was nice to see Anni smile.
Faith and Lindsey were going through a trial that all soon to be married couples had to go through. They were playing mini golf. Granted it wasn't a Cruciamentum, but it was a bonding experience none the less.
Faith sighed as she lost her fourth ball to that evil miniature pond. For some reason, she was the world's worst mini golfer.
"Tell me why we're here again," Faith grumbled.
"Because I refuse to marry a woman who's never played mini golf. And because it was the only way to think of to get out of playing tea party with you, Hopie, Crossbow, and Claude." Lindsey sat his ball down in front of Faith. He placed his hands over hers and felt the engagement ring he had given her warm beneath his hand. The center diamond glowed brilliantly in the artificial lighting even as the sun was setting. Two of the stones were a little brighter than the others.
"Anni's doing better," he commented, looking at the glowing yellow stone. "And looks like Hopie might have a battle on her hands." Each of the stones in the ring signified one of their loved ones. Hopie was the sapphire, and she wore the matching necklace around her neck. Faith, glad for an excuse to be rid of mini golf once and for all, switched into Champion mode.
"We'd better make our way to them," she said. "Just to be on the safe side."
"And this has nothing to do with the fact that if you go up and ask for another ball, the manager will start yelling at you again?" Lindsey asked teasingly. Faith shook her head.
"Absolutely nothing," she guaranteed. "Come on, let's go find the little terror wreaker."
Evil had a way of disguising itself under many veils, some diamond or silk, some tar black and suffocating.
The magics they were summoning was old, older than anything they knew. Older than anything anyone knew.
"Tai canon itsio pad. Canhto jutsie itsio a-ped. Tai canon…" the chanting voices built to a crescendo, and the five girls standing at the points of the pentagon did as they were instructed and simultaneously took the knives and cut gashes in their sides, allowing their blood to drop to the floor.
The blood of five Chosen
The words of another
The ceremony was almost complete.
Lilah Morgan groaned and placed her hand in the arch of her back. She was pregnant, damnit, and that entitled a woman to something. Moreover, she was an asset to the company, even more an asset now that she carried the former Watcher's child. She was ruthless. She was heartless. She would have the baby, and that man who had left her for some pathetic excuse for a witch wouldn't even know it until the child had fulfilled her promise to Wolfram and Hart.
"Is everyone here completely incompetent?" she raged at the minions, better known as law clerks, who were staring at her. "I asked for that brief five minutes ago." A pain shot through her body, and she fell to the floor.
Hopie stood, frozen to the ground, amid a nest of demons. Her arm dropped to her side, and Crossbow slowly slid out from her careful grip. Angel fought, making his way to his daughter. Hopie's eyes had glazed over. She started screaming.
"NO!" the word was screamed with an anguish of a thousand years by a four year old child.
"…itsio pad conna tai!" The chant finished, and the men stared on in victory when their bounty appeared in the center of the pentagon. The girls, knowing better than to look at what their blood had done, exited the room, holding their injured sides. They knew better to complain, or to ask what their blood had accomplished. They learned their lessons well. Do what you were told, and you were rewarded. Otherwise…
Lilah fell to the floor. She finally opened her eyes. Something wasn't right. Her hand flew to her stomach. It was completely flat. The baby was gone.
Faith launched herself at the demon who was eyeing Hopie like a midnight snack. She made short work of him and then ran to the screaming child.
"Hopie, baby, what's wrong?" she asked. Hopie didn't hear her.
"NO!" she screamed again, throwing her arms in front of her face. Her voice slowly settled down to a whimper. "No, no, no," she cried into Faith's chest.
Faith, Connor, Gunn, Angel, and Lindsey looked at each other, mystified about the little girl's behavior.
"No," Lilah said. "No dammit. I'm five months pregnant. This is impossible No!"
"Excellent," Quentin Travers said, eyeing the carefully preserved, still perfectly alive embryo before him. "Absolutely excellent." He turned to the men who had called the baby forth from the womb. "You men do fine work," he said.
"Oh, Anni, I can't believe you have a guy," Willow said happily.
"Wait a minute," Buffy said. "He's not a vampire, is he? Because you're all together too young to be dating vampires."
"No, he's not a vampire," Anni said.
"Who's not a vampire?" Wes asked, entering the room.
"The, uh, non vampiry guy," Willow said quickly.
Not buying it, Wes told her mentally. Willow received the message loud and clear.
Anni did the only sane thing she could think of to do in order to distract her brother. She sent the glass of water sailing across the room, flinging the liquid in his face.
"Oh, how terribly clumsy of me, Wesley," she said. "I do believe Willow is right. My concentration does need work. If you'll excuse me, I have homework. Good day." And with that, the very proper British Miss walked out of the room, leaving her drenched brother staring at Willow and Buffy.
Faith felt her shirt soaked with the little girl's tears, and when she looked down, she was shocked to see her shirt soaked with blood as well. Cuts had sprung up all over Hopie's little body. The little girl shivered. Angel's eyes widened in horror.
"Leo," he said.
"Leo," Hopie murmured. "I want Leo." As was often the case with Hopie's power, the sheer force of her will brought the entire group to the place she wanted to be. Back at the hotel, Angel rushed towards the bunny's cage. He set the rabbit, still a baby, down on the little girl, and was relieved to see the familiar purple light coming from his eyes.
He looked down. His baby was healed, but what had hurt her?
No one noticed the tears that Leo shed as Hopie clung to him, the two of them sharing a grief they could not express at the terrible crime against humanity the Watcher's Council had committed.
TBC… Okay, I know this was a bit confusing, and more than a bit if you haven't read the other installments. What exactly happened, what Hopie saw, why she saw it, and all that jazz will be revealed in time. If you have any other questions, email me at email@example.com, but you better review too. If you guys are really good with the reviews, I might manage another chapter before I go back to school, so PLEASE REVIEW!