FIGHTING FOR GOOD

Dana Bell



Peter whirled and kicked the new vamp. The creature stumbled backward and came at him again. A body flew through the air and plowed into Peter's opponent. The two got to their feet started at each and then lunged at Peter and Angel. A few more minutes of fighting followed before Angel staked his and dust splattered. Peter kicked his once more and plunged the pointed instrument of death into the vamp. It exploded into a small dust pile.

"I like your fighting style," Angel complimented, his dark clothes untouched.

"My father taught me," Peter replied with a pang of regret.

"Nice show," Buffy called clapping at them both. She jumped off the tombstone and joined them. She flashed a sunny smile at Angel and gave Peter a more cordial one.

Peter had a feeling Buffy really liked Angel. Couldn't blame her. Angel was handsome, dark haired and eyed. He couldn't tell from the older vampire's reaction whether he liked the attractive slayer or not.

"Thanks," Angel breathed.

"Yeah," Peter chimed in. "We take pride in our work."

"It shows," Buffy teased back. "Really. Two macho men duking it out with two newly raised vamps." Her blue eyes danced.

Peter openly laughed, running a hand through his slightly mused dark brown hair. He had some mud spots on his fashionable clothes. He hoped this town had an all night laundry.

"I'm going to call it a night. Got school tomorrow."

Angel nodded his agreement. "I don't think you need to patrol anymore tonight. We can handle it."

"You two make a good team. I feel sooo safe."

"Go home, Buffy," Peter urged. "Angel and I have it covered."

Buffy gave him an odd look. "I keep forgetting. You were a cop."

"Yeah. Now scat home before I arrest you for breaking curfew."

She smiled at his tone and jumped over a close tombstone on her way home. She turned and gave them both a wave.

They waved back watching until she was out of sight.

"Good kid," Peter commented.

"Yes, she is," Angel agreed. "Shall we go see if any other vamps or demons need to be killed."

"Don't you ever take a break?"

"I spent too many years being idle doing nothing. A little action feels good."

Peter had to agree. It felt good to kick some bad asses.

"Hey, it looks like someone bought the old drugstore," Willow exclaimed as she paused before the storefront trying to peek in.

"We're going be late, Willow," Xander needlessly reminded her. He shifted impatiently from one foot to the other. His clothes were not ironed his dark brown hair wasn't combed.

Buffy joined Willow at the window peering in. The spunky redhead had wiped dust off and made a good-sized clean spot. The inside had been meticulously cleaned and several orange mats had been scattered on the dull white floor. The only light was from the huge store window. Many shadows hung around the large room.

"We have plenty of time, Xander. Relax. I wonder what those are for?" Willow mused.

"Don't know," Buffy answered, very curious. She shifted her books and tried the door. It was open.

"Buffy, don't," Xander warned.

She pushed the door open and stuck her head in. "Hello?" No one answered. "Come on, guys, let's check this out."

"Buffy," Xander continued, "this is called breaking and entering."

"Can't be," Willow bounced, "it has to be forced entry. This door is open."

"We're going to get in so much trouble," Xander babbled.

Buffy stepped into the room and was immediately assaulted by a deep sense of peace. Incense, sandalwood she identified, floated in the air. "I like it here."

Someone stepped out of the shadows. The threesome started and backed away. It bowed at them. "Welcome," it greeted.

"There you see," Xander panicked, "now he's going to call the cops and."

"Why would I wish to do that? My door was open. Anyone is welcome here." The deep voice was reassuring. The man stepped into the dim light. He was dressed in odd loose brown clothing with a dragon on the large collar of his shirt. His hair was a wispy gray and his brown eyes issued welcome. "I am Caine."

"Hi," Buffy replied, wondering if, by some remote chance, he was related to her current vampire rescue.

"Hello," Willow greeted stepping forward and extending her hand. "I'm Willow. Its nice to meet you." He shook her hand with a smile.

"I'm Buffy. Our nervous friend here is Xander." Xander gave him a wimpy wave. "We didn't mean to intrude, " she started.

"You did not."

"What are all those mats for?" Willow wanted to know.

"I teach Kung Fu." He cocked his head at them. "Would any of you like to learn?"

Like to learn? Was he for real? After watching Peter fight, Buffy could see such training would be very good for her. Granted, Giles was her teacher and watcher, but.the skill the young cop had was far beyond anything the librarian knew.

"I'd love to," Buffy heard herself say. Xander and Willow threw her startled glances. "When do you classes start?"

"Tomorrow night. Around seven."

"I'll see you then. Come on guys, we're gonna be late."

The three young people darted out the door and raced to school.

A blondish-brown haired head starting to streak with grey and laughing blue eyes poked around the door edge. Paul tried to ignore it. He was still trying to get the hang of his new job and this computer refused to do what he wanted.

"Hi," the head greeted, "I'm Steve Austin. Oscar told me to stick my head in and say 'Hello'."

Paul groaned. He turned from his computer to the man who was now in his office and before his large oak desk. "Oscar has mentioned you."

"My wife too, I'll bet. Jamie Sommers."

The two most expensive humans alive, Paul recalled. Both injured in serious accidents years ago, repaired by the OSI with new bionic technology. They both worked for Oscar still. Jamie was a psychologist rehabilitating agents and Steve worked as a part-time consultant, when he wasn't riding horses.

"Yes," Paul confirmed. He rose and around his desk and shook hands with the ex-agent.

"Oscar also sent me to remind you about the meeting with Pete Thorton in about an hour."

Paul nodded absently. His secretary had reminded him when he came in that morning.

"You'll like working for Oscar. I always do."

Oscar had mentioned Steve and Jamie were like family to him. The head of the OSI even spent holidays with them at their ranch home in Ojai. "Oscar and I go way back, " Blaisdell partially explained. "Its nice to work for someone you know."

"I agree. Look, I don't want to take up a lot of your time. Just wanted to introduce myself. Its very nice to meet you Paul Blaisdell."

"Thank you for stopping by, Steve. I'm sure we'll have a chance to get to know each better."

Steve nodded. "Oh, before I forget. Next time Jamie is in town she'd like to take your wife, Annie, out to lunch."

"I'll tell my wife."

"I'll let Jamie know its okay. Bye." Austin left.

Paul sat back behind his desk. He glared at the computer. Vaguely he wished Kermit were here to explain the mysteries of this maddening device. Maybe he should say something to Goldman. Kermit Griffin would be a good addition to their staff. He made a mental note to mention it and plunged into the growing stack of files on his desk.

Peter Thorton and Oscar Goldman were already seated on two of the comfortable dark green armchairs. Paul entered the room and took a seat on a third. Goldman insisted one of the conference rooms resemble a living room. There was another man in military uniform who rose as Blaisdell entered.

"Sorry, I'm late," Paul apologized. He didn't go into the problems Annie was having settling into their new home and how much she missed her daughters. He'd just gotten off the phone with her.

Oscar smiled his understanding. He'd given Blaisdell some extra days off during the first few weeks to help with the adjustment and settle in.

"I'm General Hammond," the military man introduced himself. Paul noticed the heavy set man, with a bald head and yet a kind face. Sort of reminded him of Thorton in a way. Oscar is contrast was thin, dark eyed with dark hair touched with gray.

"Paul Blaisdell. I'm the new deputy director here."

"Nice to meet you."

Paul sat and so did the general. There were files on the glass- topped coffee table. Pete handed him the one the head of the Phoenix Foundation had been reading.

"We support a lot of different projects," Oscar explained. "Our newest one is the Stargate Project. General Hammond, if you'd fill Paul in."

"Certainly." The general spent the next several minutes explaining about an ancient device they'd found, about an alien threat from the stars and how the stargate would revolutionize travel between planets.

"The Phoenix Foundation, " Thorton picked up the tail, "has utilized our think tank to study, analyze, and find uses for the many artifacts and technology the various SG teams have brought back."

"Stopping the Gao'uld is our first priority," Oscar stated, "but after the threat is gone, well, we're only now starting to realize the potential advantages to humanity."

Paul wondered what kind of mad house he had committed himself to.

Blaisdell sat at his desk, elbows on the smooth top and his head resting in his hands. The afternoon was a blur of meetings. After the Stargate Project they had met with Dr. Samuel Becket on the budding time travel experiment, Quantum Leap and how to cover MacGyver's latest escapades and keep them from exploding into a major international incident.

With a deep heavy sigh, Paul realized he should have researched more about the OSI before he had agreed to take the job. There was so much involved he felt like his head was going to explode.

His phone buzzed insistently at his elbow. Paul raised is head and with a groan answered it. "Hello,"

"Good evening," a cultured voice warmly spoke. "I wonder if you'd join us in Goldman's office for a moment."

"I'll be right there." He hung up and wondered why Oscar's secretary hadn't placed the call.

"Kung Fu is more than a fighting form," Caine's soft voice lectured. "It is also a discipline and a life style."

A half dozen students sat on the mats listening to the Kung Fu master. All were dressed in loose fitting clothes and barefoot. Buffy and Willow followed the talk. Xander, had opted to stay home and not be in the class.

"I will teach you the basic moves for defense. But fighting, is never a solution."

"Good thing he never patrols with us," Willow whispered to her friend.

Buffy smiled back. "I would like to see how he'd handle a vamp."

"Wouldn't that be something."



The two returned their attention to Caine. He motioned for the class to rise and demonstrated a basic move. He indicated they should do the same. He walked around them correcting postures or repositioning hands. The class lasted about an hour and then he dismissed them.

As Willow prepared to leave, Buffy shyly approached the Shaolin. "Master Caine."

"Yes, Buffy."

'Okay, you've got his attention, now what?' she asked herself. "This," she motioned around the room, "is all new. When did you move here."

"Several weeks ago. I lived with a very nice family until the father's job transferred them to Seattle. I had noticed this shop. I inquired about it and rented it for my classes."

"Do you live on the street?" He didn't really seem like a street person.

He smiled. "No. There is an apartment above the store. I live there."

"Oh." No family then. Had he ever had one? "Can I ask you something?"

He nodded waiting patiently. She wondered how he managed to seem so peaceful and serene all the time. Her life was a jumble of activity and wild emotions. "Have you ever been married? Any kids?" She just hoped he didn't sense why she was asking.

His lined face took on a sad look. "Yes," he replied softly. "My wife, Laura died many years ago. My son.recently. In the line of duty. His name was Peter."

The night breeze tickled Peter's nose. He felt complete and at peace for the first time since, well, since Janette had brought him across. He marveled at the lack of sadness her demise, by the slayer's hand he knew, brought him. He was actually glad the seductive French woman was gone. He sipped the mug of warmed blood, glad Giles and Angel were patrolling tonight and he had a rare evening to himself.

He glanced around Angel's sparse apartment. Two twin beds, a small kitchenette, a couch, a chair and a coffee table. In the corner stood a TV and a VCR. Curious what had been going on in the world, Peter picked up the remote sitting on the coffee table and sat down. He flipped through several channels seeing nothing of interest.

He was about to turn it off when a familiar face flashed on the screen. It seemed to be some kind of news conference. He turned up the sound. A very pretty woman in a professional suit was talking. Something about a breakthrough in HIV research. He wasn't really listening. He was concentrating on the figures behind her. One of them he swore, was Paul Blaisdell.

Paul shifted uneasily as the camera's rolled. After years of being an unknown entity influencing events behind the official scenes, he felt very uncomfortable having his face plastered all over the news media. Granted the new breakthrough was wonderful. Still, he had to wonder what the American Public would do if they knew the basis for the research.

Thirty minutes ago, he had gone to Oscar's office as requested. Oscar and Peter were there, along with the PR person, Brenda Campbell. Also present were four men. All were in fashionable suits, impeccably groomed, and obviously wealthy.

"You've heard me talk about the Board who runs the Foundation," Pete said without preamble.

Paul nodded. They ran the financing, paid the employees and approved all projects, including government contracts, for the Phoenix Foundation. They had recently rehired MacGyver, after a personal absence. Pete had mentioned the package had been very generous.

Pete introduced the men. "This is Alexander Lucard." He indicated a tall, blonde man. Lucard inclined his head, an almost mocking look in his blue eyes. Pete pointed to a second man. "I think you'll know his name. He's the newly elected senator for Maine, Barnabas Collins." Paul did. The campaign had been widely publicized by the media. The idea of a member of a founding family running for a political office had captured the imagination of the news people and the nation. Collins had dark brown hair and eyes. He smiled at Blaisdell. Peter introduced the third man. "This is Julian Luna."

The dark haired man with even darker eyes extended his hand. "I'm glad to finally meet you."

Paul shook his hand. His was the voice on the phone.

"And," Pete stopped when the last man shook his head. Pete acknowledged the command. "The alternate. Who has chosen not to be introduced."

Paul frowned. Odd.

Pete and Oscar exchanged a look. Oscar spoke, "These men are also called the Triumvirate. They are the chosen," Oscar seemed to search for a word, 'rulers, of their world."

'Oh, no,' Paul thought. 'Don't tell me. More aliens.'

"They're all very old vampires."

Paul's legs wobbled. His world tipped and felt like the floor opened up and swallowed him. This couldn't be real.

Barnabas Collins talked then. Paul noticed a slight British accent. "We care about humanity. That's why the Phoenix Foundation was formed. Our caring has brought about many miraculous discoveries and treatments for human diseases."

"Like the discovery that will be announced tonight," Julian added. "We've found certain elements in our blood help Aids Patients."

Paul didn't want to recall the rest of the details of the meeting. He stood with Goldman and Thorton, listening to Brenda proudly proclaim the latest scientific marvel. It was almost like humanity had sold their soul to the proverbial devil.

Paul's phone was ringing as he got back to his office. He'd have to call the person back in the morning. Annie might wait dinner for him, although he doubted it. She had spent too many years as a policeman's wife. His dinner was probably wrapped on a plate in the fridge, ready to put in the microwave.

The phone wouldn't stop ringing. With a weary sigh he picked it up. "Blaisdell." The other end was silent. Maybe the caller had already hung up.

"Paul," a tremulous voice asked.

Paul sat down. It couldn't be. "Peter? Son. Where are you?"

"California. Town called Sunnydale."

Tears welled in Blaisdell's eyes. He sat back in his chair, settling in for what he hoped, would be a long talk. He had a million questions. "How did you get there? Caine said you were dead."





Peter had just hung up the phone when Angel, Buffy and Giles came in. Buffy was chattering excitedly about some new instructor in town.

"I'm perfectly capable of teaching you what you need to know. You don't need to learn Kung Fu from a perfect stranger," Giles complained.

"It doesn't hurt to have more than one teacher," Angel said, supporting Buffy's decision. "The guy sounds like he's a master."

"Besides," Buffy pressed, "Willow is taking classes too and you've seen the fancy footwork Peter does. Its very effective against vamps."

"But I'm you're watcher,"

"And you're duty is to teach me. Not my friends. I think it will be nice if at least one of them can hold their own in a battle." She flopped down in a chair. " I get kind of tired of having to rescue them all the time." Buffy flashed Peter a smile. "Hi."

"Hi." Curious conversation. Peter darted brown eyes from Giles to Angel to Buffy.

"I doubt the Council will approve."

"I don't give a rat's ass what the Council thinks," Buffy retorted. "They don't like the idea Angel is helping me. They don't like the idea my friends help me. They really don't like the idea of a second vampire helping me."

"She's right, Giles," Angel agreed, smiling.

Giles humpfed. "You are the most unconventional slayer we've ever encountered."

"I love it when he resorts to big words," Buffy said. "It means he's lost the argument."

"I have not."

"Yes, you have."

"So," Peter queried, trying not to let his curiosity be too obvious. "Who's this new teacher you two are arguing about?"

Buffy shifted and looked uneasy.

"Just some wanderer," Angel replied.

Buffy glared at him. "If Peter is going to help us, we need to be honest with him." She fixed his eyes with hers. "It's your father, Peter."

Paul had called Annie and told her he needed to be out of town for a few days. When she'd asked why, he'd just told her it was company business. He wasn't certain if she believed him or not. He grabbed the packed suitcase he kept at work, for those emergency trips Oscar had warned him about, or just for a clean change of clothes in case they pulled an overnighter. A nice feature of his job was a private bath with a shower.

He piled into the elevator and punched the garage button. He'd also left a voicemail for Goldman. Oscar wouldn't ask too many questions. The head of the OSI had a deep respect for family crisis. He just hoped Goldman didn't call the house and talk to Annie. Otherwise, he would have too many questions to answer when he got back, and right now, he had no idea how he would reply.

His new BMW sat in its designated spot. He and Goldman both had reserved parking spaces. He tossed his bag in, started the car, and pulled out. The drive out seemed to take forever, spiraling like the tumbling thoughts in head. LA traffic was stifling and once he hit the ocean highway, he opened the windows to allow the brisk, clean, and damp air to wash away the pollution of the city.

Peter had answered most of his questions. His version was about the same as the Shaolin's. He filled in the missing parts about being trapped in the temple ruins with the woman who had made him a vampire. She'd been killed by the slayer and he too, had been hunted and almost killed. Again. Paul wasn't exactly certain what or even who, the slayer was. All he knew was that his son, Peter, was in Sunnydale. Alive. Paul vowed to find him and bring him home.

The highway miles hummed by in silence.

Noises below alerted Caine to the presence of an intruder. On silent feet he traversed the rickety stairs. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dark. On one of the mats a figure stood, hands moving slowly in what the priest recognized as practice patterns.

He frowned. Why would one of his students return in secret, with no lights, to practice? His fingers found the light switch at the bottom of the stairs. The blaring light temporarily blinded him. His eye refocused. Standing on the bright mat was a man. A wraith actually. A creature.

"Pop?" it said.

"No." He wanted to deny the witness of his eyes. "You are dead. Buried. Go away."

Two arms reached for him beseechingly. "Pop. Dad. Please,"

"No!" Caine shouted.

Its shoulders slumped in defeat and collapsed in a huddle. The figure shook with sobs. Caine resisted the desire to comfort it. He returned upstairs. Several minutes later he heard the door open and close. Good. The thing was gone. He settled into the lotus position and meditated.

"You can't go back," Angel told him.

"So I discovered," Peter sulked. The two of them sat talking while the TV droned on in the background. "I'd just hoped his love for me would outweigh his.his.I don't even know the word I'm looking for."

"At least your father loved you. Mine didn't. I don't even want to tell you what I did to my family after I was made a vampire."

Peter had never thought to ask Angel about his past. He had just accepted the act his new, dare he call him a friend, either didn't want to talk about his family, or didn't trust Peter enough to do so. Peter on the other hand had freely talked about the Blaisdells, his father, and his ex- coworkers.

"The best you can do, Peter, is go on. Make a new life. Find a new purpose. It won't be easy. But you seem to have a strong sense of justice, I suggest using it to find you're new destiny."

"Destiny? What destiny? What possible good can a vampire do?"

Angel smiled tolerantly. "You already have. How many vamps have you killed, huh? How many lives have you saved because they never got a chance to feed on a human being?"

Peter shrugged. "I don't know."

"Exactly." Angel leaned forward earnestly trying to reach him. "Its all for a common good. Humans will never know what you did for them. They can never thank you. But you know."

"I miss my family," Peter said in a small voice.

"Then make me, Buffy, Giles, Willow and Xander, your new family. Battle with us for good here, at the Hellmouth. We need people like you."

"What about my father?"

"He's already moved on in his life, Peter. Let him go."

"I don't know if I can."

"He hasn't given you a choice."

Blaisdell checked into the first hotel he found. He inquired about the usual best spots to eat and then asked if any new people were in town. The clerk had laughed and replied, "There always are." He could only conclude it was just one those transient populations.

He slept for a few hours. When he awoke he showered, dressed and went in search of food. He ate at an open-air eatery. The coffee was good and so were the danish. He noticed all the young people milling around, talking, flirting. It hadn't been that long ago Peter had been that age. The gangly shy teen had grown into an impulsive warm-hearted man. He wondered if being a vampire had changed his foster son.

Dusk finally fell. He wandered the streets noticing how quickly people deserted the shops and food places. It was almost like, no night life existed. Very strange. Paul returned to his hotel. He laid out the complimentary map of the town. Where best to start looking for his son?

He really had no idea. He got in his car and drove slowly around the dark streets. Dogs barked and the wind swished in the trees. He was about to give up when a scream rent the air. Years of police instinct kicked in. He pealed out and headed in the direction of the cry.

He arrived at the graveyard. A very young and scared couple dashed out the entrance and down the sidewalk. Something staggered after them. A young girl appeared. She wore jeans with a matching jacket and her blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail.

"Nice night for a walk," she observed.

The creature lunged at her. She ducked and whacked it in the back. It howled. It whirled and went after her again.

"Whoops," she said looking all innocent. "Did I make you mad?"

Paul was out of the car, gun drawn. Someone grabbed him from behind. "She can handle it. Get back in your car and drive away." He tried to struggle free. Whoever held him was incredibly strong.

The creature knocked her down. She pushed it away with both feet and sprang back up. Someone else joined the fight. Paul immediately recognized the fighting style of is son.

"Peter!"

The figure paused and got plowed over. The girl pulled a pointed bit of wood and plunged it into the back of the thing. Dust fell on Peter.

"Sorry," the girl said helping him to his feet.

"Not your fault, I got distracted."

The two walked over to the car. The person behind Paul had released him. He came around and gave Buffy a hug and spared Blaisdell a questioning look. "Hello, Paul." Peter said, not really looking very pleased to see him.

Paul wanted to hug his son. But something in the eyes, the manner in which the younger man carried himself, both was, and was not, the man he knew. "You called me," Paul reminded him.

Peter ducked his head. "That was a,,,mistake. I should have just left matters as they were. Go home, Paul."

"No."

"Peter," the man interjected, "who is this?"

"My foster father, Paul Blaisdell. These are my friends, Angel and Buffy."

"Peter, can we go somewhere and talk?" Peter's 'friends' made Paul uneasy.

"We were headed back to Gile's place. You can talk there," Buffy informed him. They headed down the street. Paul followed slowly in his car.

Caine looked around his new home with a sense of regret. He was at home here. There had been no place he could call that since his temple had been destroyed all those years ago. He would miss Sunnydale very much.

He walked down the stairs. He had canceled classes tonight so he could think. Peter's intrusion in his life had rattled his normal calm and assured self. His foot hit the floor and he looked up in surprise to find Willow waiting for him.

"Master Caine."

"There are no classes tonight."

"I know. I just came to ask something of you."

"I can grant nothing. I am leaving."

"That's what I came to ask you about. Please, don't."

"I can not stay."

"Sure you can. It's easy. Just stay."

"It is not that simple." He could not tell this girl why he must leave.

"Look," she pleaded. "I know why you think you have to go,"

"No. You do not." He needed to silence this girl and send her home.

"Yes, I do. You see, Peter is a friend of mine, and we help the slayer, and Sunnydale sits on a hellmouth, and Peter said you'd understand, and we fight demons and vampires all the time and,"

Caine was amazed she said all that in one breath. She said she was Peter's friend? They helped the slayer? He thought Kermit had told him the slayer would kill Peter. And what was a hellmouth?

".and please, Master Caine, don't leave. We need people who can fight evil and Peter says you have some wonderful Shaolin powers as a Shambala Master."

He held up a hand. "Willow,"

"Huh?"

"Would you like a cup of tea. I would like to hear your story from the beginning and much more slowly."

She gave him a goofy grin as hope radiated from her face. "Does that mean you'll stay?"

"It means," he said as they walked up the stairs, "there is more of a truth here than I knew. I need all the facts before I make a decision."

"Yippeee!" Willow whooped.

Giles lived in a basement flat in an apartment complex. Buffy barged right in without knocking and Angel and Peter followed her. So did Paul.

'I really wish you'd learn to knock," Giles protested. He sumed up the group with a glance. "And just who are you?"

"My foster father, Paul Blaisdell," Peter supplied.

"I didn't know you had a foster father, Peter," a teen aged male voice said, entering the room eating a sandwich.

"Long story," Peter replied, finding a seat on the couch.

'Please, do make yourself at home," Giles said whipping his glasses.

The group sat, sprawled or stood around the room. The girl Buffy looked around the room. "Where's Willow?"

"She went to see Caine," Xander told them. "Something about him wanting to leave and she had to stop him."

"Once my father decides to leave, there isn't anything anyone can say to stop him."

Paul winced. How many times had Caine walked out of Peter's life, once they had found each other again. Each time, he hurt his son and Paul had been left to pick up pieces. Of course, the last time, Caine had had that honor, when he had had to leave to put his ghosts to rest.

"Willow might. She's good at talking people into things." Xander finished the last of his snack.

"You wanted to talk to Peter," Buffy prompted.

"Not in front of all of you."

"We're his family how," she huffed at him. "We understand things about him you don't."

"I know my son is a vampire. I met four."

'What four?" Giles demanded.

"They call themselves the Triumvirate."

"Dear, god."

"You know them Giles?" Buffy asked.

"Oh, yes. They are the leaders of the vampire kingdom. Very rich. Very powerful. I've heard rumors they influence elections, votes, that sort of thing."

"And why don't I know about them? Better yet, who are they and I'll go stake them."

"It isn't that simple."

"Sure it is. Stake in heart. Poof. They're dust."

"Giles is right," Angel agreed. "The Triumvirate are very old and hold strong positions of power. You'd never be allowed to get that close to them. Besides, they're all different vampire species."

"Vampires have different species?!" Her voice was raised. "Why didn't you tell me, Giles? You're my watcher. I thought you were suppose to teach me!"

"I am. The Council didn't want you to know. They wanted the slayer simply to kill all vampires."

"And what if I had killed Peter before realizing he had a soul? Would that have been justice?"

"I'm not going to apologize for the Council's edict," Giles snapped back.

"Hi, everybody," Willow's bright voice interrupted the building tension. "Look who I found."

Caine followed her into the room. Blaisdell rose slowly to his feet, fighting the urge to strangle the man who had killed their son and put in place the series of events leading to this. He noticed Angel watching him. He had no doubt the man, or was he a vampire?, could stop him before he reached the priest.

"What are you doing here, Pop?"

"Do not call me pop."

Paul overheard Willow tell Buffy, "I did it. He's staying." Buffy smiled proudly at her friend. Willow was obviously very pleased. "Good job, Willow." Xander put his two cents in.

"Willow explained everything to me, my son. I am sorry I turned you away."

Peter squirmed. "I kind of thought you'd moved on. When I realized that, I kind of did to."

"Perhaps, we can try again."

"It'll be different, Pop. Dad," he amended.

"I came to bring you home, Peter." Paul didn't like what he was seeing.

Peter shook his head. "We can stay in contact, Paul. But its better for everyone I knew before to think I'm dead. I doubt anyone, except maybe Kermit, could accept me as I now am."

Paul felt like his heart was breaking. He reached for his son and folded him into his arms. Peter returned the embrace.

When Paul released Peter he extended his hand to renew and hopefully repair, the relationship he had with Caine.

The priest took his hand and smiled. "You understand now."

Blaisdell nodded. "I accept the apology you tried to give me in Toronto."

"I am glad. Peter will be, well, safer here than anywhere else. He has found purpose and focus in his life."

"And a whole new family," Willow added. She took Peter's and Caine's arms. "We think they're great."

"They are." Paul smiled fondly at them both. He had many good memories of them. "Stay in touch, Peter. You know where I am."

"Yeah," Peter gave Paul another hug. "do you hafta leave?"

"Yes, son. I took a position with the OSI. Annie and I live in LA now."

"How is mom?"

"She's fine, son." Paul released Peter and drove back to LA.

After Blaisdell left, Buffy turned to Giles. "Now. I want to know all about these different vampire species and why, exactly, I can't kill this Triumvirate."

The watcher looked flustered. "That will take awhile."

"Fine." She sat down in a chair. "Start talking." Willow and Xander also sat, and Angel just smiled. Caine and Peter left them. They had their own catching up to do.

A week later, Blaisdell called Kermit. "Hello, Kermit."

"Paul, long time no hear from. How do you like LA? How's Annie?"

"Annie's fine. LA isn't home, but I like the tradeoffs. The girls are planning to join us for Christmas."

"This really isn't a social call is it?"

Kermit knew him too well. "No. I wanted you to know I made my peace with Caine. I understand now, he didn't murder Peter."

He heard Kermit's sigh of relief. "I'm glad you finally know."

"Oh, and the slayer," Paul could almost hear the shocked silence, "didn't stake Peter. He's helping her and her friends against other vampires and demons."

Kermit chuckled. "Still battling for good."

"Yes," Paul paused. "I've talked with Goldman. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff that's going on now. Makes the things we did before really tame."

"Really?"

"Kermit, how would you like a new job?"

Author's note. Yes, the alternate in the Triumvirate has a name. Out of respect for the author, he was not named. She's not on the list of writer's who requested not to have stories posted on this site, but I do know she does not like her characters used in fanfiction.