Date written: Mon 27 Nov 2000
Author: Starway Man
E-mail: theop at hotkey dot net dot au
Fandom: Angel, the series
Disclaimer: The Angel characters are the property of Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Fox and WB Network; no copyright infringement is intended, and no money is being made from this story, people.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Psyche's transcript pages for much needed references.
Rating: PG-13 to R-ish (some violence)
Continuity: Set initially in Season 2, between 'The Shroud of Rahmon' and 'The Trial'.
Classification: Action-Adventure, Alternate Universe, Crossover.
Spoilers: There are spoilers present for both seasons of Angel, and the episode 'Consequences' for Buffy the vampire Slayer.
Summary: When almost everyone associated with Angel Investigations dies, Wesley gets the chance to create an alternate universe.
Title: A Second Chance
The Tempus demon was not having a good millennium.
But it took comfort in the fact, that that wouldn't last much longer.
Finally, a thousand years of waiting were over. The demon's anticipation was almost unbearable - but after 4000 years, impatience was the least of its problems.
The demon had a name, but it wasn't one that any human throat could pronounce. All in all, it preferred things that way; over the millennia, it had learned that the less power its enemies had against it, the better.
Now that the time had come, it couldn't help thinking back on its past failures, its previous mistakes. It hated to even admit that it was capable of failure, but, well, the facts were the facts.
The last time, success in its project had seemed certain.
But somehow, the vampire Slayer of that generation and her Watcher had triumphed on the day, after tricking a never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Wish demon into helping them.
The Tempus demon shook away the bad memories. It was the last of its kind - but all knowledge of Tempus demons and their designs had been suppressed from the minds of its adversaries now, and all known writings of them destroyed as well.
At last, there was nothing to stand in its way. Secure as it was in its anonymity.
All it needed now was the current Slayer and a Watcher, for the ritual to cleanse the world of the human pestilence, and bring back the Old Ones to claim purchase on this reality.
It would happen. Soon.
Los Angeles, November 2000
At the Hyperion hotel in downtown LA, which also served as the current offices of the Angel Investigations detective agency, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was examining the scroll of Aberjian in great detail.
Angel, the vampire cursed with a human soul who was his boss and friend, had stolen it from the vault of the evil law firm Wolfram and Hart. And ever since, the prophecies of the sacred text had been a source of absolute fascination for the dark-haired Englishman.
To someone with his background, it could be no other way. In his time as a member of the ancient Council of Watchers for the vampire Slayer, Wesley had not had that much experience with prophecy; but now, he was enthusiastically making up for it.
All of a sudden his co-worker Cordelia Chase entered, wearing an evening cocktail dress. "Hi, Wesley!" she said in a very cheerful voice.
The ex-Watcher looked up, and he was very impressed with what he saw. Removing his spectacles, he said, "Oh, uh, hello Cordelia. What's up?"
"I thought you'd never ask!" the brunette girl said, doing a short twirl around. "So, get this. You remember David Nabbit, the billionaire, right?"
Wesley just nodded.
Cordelia continued excitedly, "Well, he asked me and a date to accompany him, and this girl he's fallen in lust with, to this major soiree tonight. I mean, like I'm gonna be getting the chance to rub shoulders with some majorly important people! Finally!"
Wesley frowned. "I'm sorry, Cordelia, but I'm afraid tonight I'm a little..."
"I didn't mean you!" Cordelia interrupted him quickly. "No offense Wes, but you're a dropper - and I can't afford to keep sending my clothes to the dry-cleaners, with stains like the ones you caused last week!"
Wesley had painfully learned, after nearly two years of knowing Cordelia, to take whatever she said in stride as best he could. "Then may I ask, who is going to be escorting you tonight?"
Just then Charles Gunn, a casual employee of Angel Investigations, walked in. He was wearing an expensive black suit with a white shirt and black bow tie, and he was also looking very uncomfortable.
The black man looked around, to see Wesley grinning at him. "Don't say a word," Gunn warned the Englishman. "And if you ever mention this to anybody, I swear I'm gonna..."
Cordelia interrupted him, "Hey Wes, why don't you phone up Virginia Bryce and accompany us? As long as you don't act like a klutz again!"
Wesley shrugged, thinking of his new girlfriend - the daughter of a dangerous tycoon of magic. "Actually, Virginia is busy tonight. But, uh, I'm sure we'll be with you in spirit." He then started to concentrate on the scroll again.
Cordelia hesitated, then asked, "Have you seen Angel? Or should I say, Mr. I'm-A-Broody-Vamp-And-Loving-It?"
Wesley replied without looking up, "No, I haven't seen him."
Gunn's interest was piqued, as he noticed Wesley's contemplations of the scroll. "What exactly are you looking at, anyway?" he asked the Englishman, wandering over to the table.
Cordelia nearly groaned. "Oh God, don't get him started, we'll be here all night!"
Wesley said, "Oh, actually, I-I'm looking at one of the earliest parts of the prophecies of Aberjian. Ever since we got our hands on the scroll, you see, I've been puzzling over this section - it's, it's written in an almost incomprehensible language. It's, er, been rather a hobby of mine, to be honest."
"You couldn't take up knitting?" asked Cordelia acidly.
"What's it about?" asked Gunn, ignoring her.
"Loosely translated, i-it's something called the prophecy of the lower powers," Wesley replied. "Not exactly a demon language, it's at least 4000 years old and..."
Cordelia interrupted him, "Blah blah blah, probably a big Apocalypse-y type warning in there too - and before I get my next raise!"
A car horn tooted from outside, and Cordelia started dragging Gunn out of there. As they did so, she told her date, "You know what, Gunn? Just as it's my duty to watch out for you, it's also your duty to do everything possible tonight to make sure my inevitable stardom hurries up, and starts arriving at my doorstep..."
Wesley shook his head as they left, and started concentrating on the scroll again. He started muttering to himself as he tried to translate the words, looking up various reference books.
"Hmm...sok can tah, lia'ne chrono nikta, mo cah tak - Tak!" he exclaimed.
Just then Angel walked in, a brooding expression on his 247-year-old face. "Hello, Wes," the tall, dark-haired vampire with a human soul said briefly.
Wesley jumped up. "Angel! Good, you're here, I - I think we may have a problem."
Angel asked, "Is it about Darla?"
Wesley audibly groaned. Ever since Wolfram and Hart had brought back Angel's sire from the realms of nonexistence in an ancient and dangerous ritual, and as a human after he had dusted the blonde female vampire over 3 years before, Darla had become an obsession for Angel.
"No," Wesley said in exasperation, "Believe it or not, there are other problems in the world besides her!"
Angel looked at him closely. "What's going on?"
Wesley then started talking about the ancient scroll, and his researches. "So you see, this section I've just translated talks about how a Tempus demon-"
"Tempus demon?" Angel interrupted him. "Never heard of them."
"Yes," admitted Wesley, "Neither have I. But that's, uh, neither here nor there. Look, the point is it that this thing will herald an uprising of some sort, and soon I gather. Death and destruction will be, and I quote, 'rife and rampant'!"
Angel pressed for details. "How? Where will it happen? And when, exactly?"
Wesley looked sheepish. "Er, well, I-I don't...exactly have the details yet - you see, uh, the language is so bloody difficult to translate..."
Angel patted him on the shoulder. "Keep working on it, I'm sure you'll come up with the answers." As he left, Wesley determinedly went back to work on the scroll.
The human was working at his desk, mumbling to himself again, when the Tempus demon came in. And the ex-Watcher was so absorbed in his work, that he didn't even notice.
In fact, he didn't even have time to scream like a woman, when the demon knocked him out and dragged him away.
When Wesley came to, he found himself in some sort of abandoned warehouse. Then he noticed the demon was staring at him, with what he rather thought was contempt. In addition Wesley saw a large medallion of some sort, hanging around its neck.
"You're the Tempus demon?" Wesley said, with a flash of insight.
"And you're a Watcher?" the demon sneered.
Wesley looked back at it. "I'm no longer with the Council..." he started to say.
The Tempus demon cut him off. "You were that murdering maniac Faith's Watcher. Or you were supposed to be, anyway. Good enough."
Wesley looked around, and started to say, "What's going o...?" when he saw the dead body of LAPD Detective Kate Lockley, lying on the floor with her blonde head twisted at an impossible angle. "Oh, dear God!"
The Tempus demon laughed sincerely at that. "Take a look around there," it pointed and commanded the Englishman.
Wesley did so, and to his further horror he saw the girl known only as Faith not far away. She was supposed to be in jail for murder. The renegade Slayer was here instead in chains, but what freaked Wesley out was the big red stain on her chest.
The ex-Watcher knew instantly that she was either dead, or dying.
Wesley dragged himself over to her. She was still alive, but just barely. Even though he was no great fan of Faith (and for good reason), he cursed the Tempus demon for what it had done.
In a number of dialects, including Latin and some obscure demon languages.
The Tempus demon just kept on laughing. "Your Latin truly sucks," it said, chortling. "Did anyone ever tell you that?"
Just then Faith gurgled, and afterwards lay still. Wesley didn't need to examine her, to know she was gone.
The ex-Watcher closed her eyes, leaning her dark-haired head back, and gave the demon a murderous glare. It brought out a crossbow, and aimed it at him.
"Don't try to be a hero," it warned him.
Wesley asked, "How did you - why did you do this to them?"
Again, the demon looked at him in contempt. "I'd have thought you'd have figured it all out by now," it gave a theatrical sigh. "Well, if I educate you on certain things, I suppose it can't do any harm at this stage."
It twirled the medallion around on its chest. "Hypnosis is a wonderful thing, Watcher. Your friend the detective was useful, for signing the Slayer out of that jail for 48 hours. Now that I have her blood, and will soon have yours, nothing can stop me!"
Wesley thought furiously. He was no match for the demon physically, so he knew he had to delay its plans somehow, distract it and wait for Angel to rescue him.
So, he did the first thing that popped into his head - he started quoting the passage from the scroll he had translated that evening, "Sok can tah, lia'ne chrono nikta, mo cah tak..."
The demon cut him off with a roar. "Where did you learn that?"
Wesley replied softly, "The scroll of Aberjian."
The Tempus demon was now absolutely pissed. Which although that had not been Wesley's exact intention...
It roared, "Damn you for finding that rag! I thought it was lost forever - I knew I should have destroyed it myself, centuries ago!"
Without warning, it shot the ex-Watcher in the arm, and the wooden crossbow bolt pierced his flesh. Wesley screamed in pain, but the demon came up and backhanded him across the face to shut him up.
The demon then collected the blood that was pouring out from the wound in a goblet, which was already partly full with someone else's blood.
Faith's, most likely. The demon purred, "At last..."
Then it looked over at the injured human. "You're wondering why you're not dead yet? Because I want you to witness this. All the times I've been defeated by your forefathers and their damned girls, I think it's fitting your kind learn what it's like. Once I drink this, it'll give me power you can't even imagine!"
It laughed even more wildly. "And soon, the plague of humanity will be wiped off the face of the earth!"
All of a sudden Angel burst into the warehouse, with his game face on, followed by Cordelia and Gunn. But it was too late; the Tempus demon drank the blood.
There was a loud rumble of thunder, then the demon somehow triggered the fire alarm. Water sprayed down from the ceiling, and all of them became drenched.
Angel screamed in agony though, and immediately looked like he had third-degree burns; it was holy water, and there was enough to almost set the vampire on fire.
Wesley instantly yelled, "Cordelia! Gunn! Get Angel out, now!"
But as the two dragged the souled vampire to the door, Cordelia got hit in the back with a crossbow bolt as the demon aimed at her, and fired.
She let out a soft grunt of surprise, and fell down; Wesley couldn't tell if she was alive or dead. But since she wasn't moving, he knew it wasn't likely to be good.
Just as Gunn shoved Angel out, he suffered the same fate as her at the doorway.
Wesley knew that the vampire would survive, given another prophecy in the scroll of Aberjian that he would shanshu (become human) one day. But right now, he was in no shape to help anybody, so Wesley knew it was up to him to stop the demon somehow.
The only problem was, he had absolutely no idea how to do that.
All he could think of was to try to attack it, any way he could.
He knew it was stupid and suicidal - in fact, he could almost hear Cordelia saying so, in her own special tactless way. But there was nothing else he could do, other than to just sit there and die.
Wesley never knew how he did it, but he ripped out the crossbow bolt with a scream of pain, and launched himself at the demon.
Somehow, he grabbed hold of its medallion as the demon casually swatted him away, and managed to tear it off the creature's neck. He held onto it as he flew backwards, mostly out of pure luck.
The Tempus demon then realized what had happened, and bellowed in fury.
Just before everything went dark, Wesley saw Faith's body, abandoned and forgotten like so much garbage, and he wished he could have prevented all this.
Los Angeles, February 1999
Wesley woke up cold and alone, in the warehouse. "What the devil-?" he muttered to himself.
It was a miracle that he was still alive.
He examined himself, and saw that he was still soaking wet. But looking around, he saw that everything else in the warehouse was bone-dry - dusty, even, like no one had been there for a long time.
And there was no sign of the demon, or the bodies, or anything else.
He had no idea what was going on.
Wesley cursed in pain as he looked at his bleeding arm, wondering what had happened. Ripping off a piece of his shirt, he bandaged the wound as best he could.
Deciding that discretion was indeed the better part of valor, he quickly headed out of the warehouse into the city of LA.
As he started walking the streets, ignoring the stares of the other pedestrians, Wesley had the feeling something wasn't quite right. It wasn't anything he could put his finger on - other than the fact he was now safe and free, when he shouldn't have been.
As he finally arrived at the Hyperion hotel to check in with Angel, the feeling of 'not-quite-rightness' got stronger.
The lobby was completely deserted, just like it had been when he and Cordelia had first entered the place. There was dust everywhere, and he couldn't understand how its appearance had changed back like this.
Suddenly, Wesley heard a voice whispering in his head. "It's all your fault."
He shook his head, as if to clear it. "What?" he said aloud, looking around.
"You feel hopeless," the whispering voice continued. "Worthless. Paranoid."
Wesley frowned. "I am not paranoid! No one's even accused me of that since-" then he broke off.
Suddenly he yelled, "I know you! You're the Thesulac demon! But how - we killed you...!"
The whispering stopped, as if in confusion. Wesley didn't wait around for it to start up again; he had no desire to let the paranoia demon convince him to commit suicide, or something like that.
He ran out the door at once, yelling Angel's name. But there was no reply.
Outside the hotel, Wesley stopped, panting. He had no idea what to do, but his arm had definitely started bothering him again. Looking at it, he decided to visit St. Matthew's hospital to get it taken care of, before trying to find Angel and figure out what was going on.
The ER nurse there clucked at him as she changed the dressing, and he dried himself off. "You mind telling me what happened?" she asked him.
Wesley hesitated less than a moment. "Uh, gang-related violence," he said in his most bewildered British accent, hoping the nurse would buy it. It wasn't as if he could tell her about the Tempus demon, after all.
She shook her head, apparently believing it. "They're gonna kill our tourist trade," she said, before gathering her things and going off to the next patient.
Wesley just got ready to leave, when he got one of the worst shocks of his life. He bumped into Detective Kate Lockley in the corridor, along with her father Officer Trevor Lockley, who was in his policeman's uniform.
Wesley couldn't believe it, and screamed like a girl.
The two cops were not impressed.
Wesley started babbling to himself, "This is just a dream, th-they're both dead, come on, come on, wake up!" Then he slapped himself on the cheek.
Kate looked at her father and said, "Daddy, you think we should get the Psychiatric unit?"
Trevor Lockley dismissed her concerns. "Katie, I'm retiring next year. The last thing I need is for someone to start making some stupid jokes at my retirement party, about how I had to make a visit to the loony bin at this late stage!"
Wesley looked at both of them, in confusion. "Wait a - uh, Detective Lockley - Mr. Lockley - retirement party? I mean - what, what's the date today?"
"How did you know our names?" Kate asked in confusion.
"I-I..." Wesley could only shrug helplessly.
"It's Tuesday, February 16th," Kate's father said impatiently. Wesley just stared at him blankly. "1999!" the aging police officer shouted.
Wesley stared at them and said to himself, "Twenty-one months ago?"
Kate and Trevor looked at each other, and then grabbed him. "Wait!" Wesley shouted.
He looked at Kate first. "I-I know you, Detective Lockley. Kate. Uh, and I know your father here, but not very well. You - wouldn't know me? Right. But, but I promise I know you. And I can prove it!"
"How?" asked Kate patronizingly.
Wesley thought fast, thinking of all he knew of her, and all that Angel had told him. Then he looked at her father, and knew what to say.
"Your father here? You think that he forgot how to be anything but a cop, a long time ago. A-and, you also think, maybe that's why you became a policewoman yourself. You believe that he closed his heart after your mother died, and that's why you two never really talk," he told her.
Kate looked shocked, and let Wesley go. Her father did the same, briefly looking at her, then he looked back at the Englishman. He was obviously angry. "Why, you-!"
Wesley didn't stop. "Mr. Lockley, after your wife died, you-you said something like...gone's gone, and there is no use in wallowing. And - oh yes, I know what measures you've taken to ensure Kate's future, sir."
The ex-Watcher stared hard at him. "But let me tell you now, if you work for the...people at Kel's Exotic Auto after you retire, those criminals will kill you to make sure you don't talk to a private investigator friend of mine!"
The uniformed old cop was now shocked as well, as he noticed his daughter staring at him in horror. "Dad?" she whispered.
Wesley looked at them both, decided he didn't want to wait around for them to recover their wits, and ran out of the hospital.
Wesley quickly found a corner stand on the streets, and checked the date in one of the newspapers. Sure enough, the date was indeed what Trevor Lockley had told him it was.
More than ever, he didn't know what to do. Finding a bench, he sat down and tried to think.
If - and that was a big if - all this was not a dream, he was now living in the past.
He didn't know how it had happened, but it was the only possible explanation that seemed to fit all of the facts. Why he couldn't find Angel, and why the Thesulac demon and the Lockleys were still alive...
Frowning, he tried to remember what he had been doing at this point in his life. If memory served, he had barely been in the country for a month - in the town of Sunnydale, California, a two-hour drive from where he was now.
Assuming the duties of Watcher for the Slayer.
Faith...suddenly, he remembered. It was around this time that his assigned charge had gone bad, had killed a man and begun her slow but inevitable slide into mayhem and evil.
Then Wesley remembered what had happened in the warehouse, just before everything had stopped making sense; he'd grabbed the demon's medallion, and made that semi-incoherent wish...
He checked his pockets, and sure enough, there it was. The medallion sparkled, as he held it in the sunlight.
This wasn't a dream, then.
Wesley tried to think what he should do. Who could he contact. The Watcher's Council? No, that was impossible.
If they found out who and what he was, he suspected they'd either kill him to prevent future knowledge being given to their enemies, or lock him up in England and pick his brains for said knowledge, at their leisure.
Ultimately, he decided that he had to get to Sunnydale. People he knew and could trust, such as Angel and Cordelia, were there. But there remained the little problem of having no money, and no transport.
Then it hit him, who he could contact here and now.
After arming himself with a crude stake and a cross, Wesley went in search for his very formidable acquaintance, Charles Gunn.
It took a few hours, but he finally tracked the man down. After getting the bright idea of contacting Gunn's cousin Lester, Wesley found the rundown neighborhood where the black man's gang was currently staying.
As he entered the building, the Englishman felt a gun being placed to his head. "Uh..." he stammered.
"Who are you, and what do ya want?" a voice asked from behind him.
"Er, I'm Wesley Wyndam-Pryce," he stammered in his British accent, "and I'm here to see Gunn. It-it's most urgent that I talk to him, please..."
"How'd you find us?" the voice persisted.
"His cousin Lester..." Wesley started to say. Then he felt the gun striking him on the back of his head, and everything went dark again.
Wesley soon woke up, and this time he had a terrible headache and big bump on the head, as well as an arm that had been skewered.
Blinking, he looked up and saw Gunn's dark features staring down at him. "Gunn?" he asked dazedly.
"That's me," the man said, frowning at the ex-Watcher. "Who the hell are you?"
"It's me, Wesley!" the Englishman said in shock. Then he remembered. "Uh, wait - today is February 16th, 1999, and not November 19th, 2000, I-I take it?"
Gunn looked at him as if he was insane, then turned to look at the rest of his people. "What is this idiot doing here?" he asked to no one in particular.
Wesley looked around, and answered his own question. He saw people alive here and now, that he'd heard died from vampire attacks months ago. "Never mind," Wesley said.
Gunn looked at Wesley again. "What do you want, whitebread? In case you ain't noticed, I'm kinda busy."
"Vampires?" asked Wesley.
Gunn's eyes widened, but before he could say anything his sister Alonna showed up. "Gunn, we gotta talk," she said firmly.
"Not now, Alonna," her brother replied, not taking his eyes off Wesley.
"Yes, NOW! Big brother, you can't keep putting me off like this!" she said firmly.
Wesley looked at her, and he couldn't help being startled to see the girl alive and human. Even though he had never met her, he knew that Gunn had staked and dusted the girl, after she had been turned into a soulless vampire in the future.
Gunn noticed Wesley's reaction, and abruptly grabbed him and hauled him up. "Everybody stay here," he ordered the rest of his friends.
Then he hustled Wesley into a private room. "Alright, talk," Gunn ordered the older man.
Wesley started to say, "I don't..."
Gunn exploded, "I saw you staring at my sister just now! You know something? I don't think I like you, mister middle-class white guy from some foreign country!"
Wesley couldn't help it - he grinned. Finally, something normal in his day. "Gunn, you have no idea how glad I am to hear that," he told him in a cheerful tone.
"What?" the black man looked confused.
"I need a car, or a motorbike," Wesley said abruptly. "I'll return it, but I-I need to leave town immediately. Normally I'd rent something or other, but you see, right now...I-I don't have any money."
Gunn looked at him for a moment, then burst out laughing. "That's a good one, Willie..."
"It's Wesley, actually."
"Whatever," Gunn continued in merriment. "Now why should I help you?"
Wesley thought fast, like he had with the Lockleys. "Gunn, I don't have time to explain it all. But I know and trust you, even though...you don't know me. Your cousin Lester sent me here-"
"What? Why, that-" Gunn exploded in anger.
"-after I told him it wouldn't be a smart idea to get involved with...certain people," Wesley continued. "Look, I-I also know that you and your sister once lived at a-a shelter, over on Plummer Street, and that you saved her life when she fell off the top-"
"WHAT?" Gunn repeated himself in amazement. He grabbed Wesley. "How did you know that? Who the hell are you?"
Wesley hesitated. "I...well, you probably wouldn't believe me, even if I told you. I just - for once in your life, please Gunn, I need you to trust me."
Gunn let him go, and started pacing around. "You answer me this, and I'll think about it. Why did you freak when you saw Alonna?"
Wesley hesitated. Then he decided that the truth was the best policy, and he knew Gunn would be able to spot any lies. "She-she's going to die. I mean, if she stays here with you in Los Angeles, the vampires..."
Gunn just stared at him. Wesley said softly, "Gunn...I, I'm sorry. Uh, it happens a little over a year from now, but maybe you..."
Gunn stormed out. Wesley just stayed there, uncertain what to do. Five minutes later, Gunn came in, grabbed him again and took him outside the building.
There was a car there waiting, its engine idling. Gunn looked at him and said, "Take it. Now get out of LA before I change my mind," before disappearing back inside.
Wesley could only hope that Gunn had believed him about his sister, as he quickly got in and drove off.
Sunnydale, February 1999
It was nightfall by the time he arrived in town, and Wesley knew that he should get indoors at once.
The demons and vampires, which called this suburb north of LA home, were quite numerous here - due to the presence of the Hellmouth, a convergence of mystical energies, which attracted supernatural creatures like moths to a flame.
He drove to his old apartment, and let himself in with the spare key he kept hidden outside the door. As he went inside, he heard a voice.
That voice was his own.
He saw himself on the phone saying, "Yes, hello. Mr. Travers, please. Quentin Travers. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce calling."
The younger Wesley listened to the other end of the line, somewhat confused. "The code word? Monkey."
The Watcher again listened to what the other person had to say, looking exasperated. "M-o-n-k...just put him on, will you? This is an emergency."
His other self, the older ex-Watcher, watched in a funny sort of silence. It was so weird seeing himself do these things, things he remembered now only out of memory.
The future Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was then suddenly reminded of a conversation he'd once had with Angel, about what he had done - was doing - this night.
Which was trying to take Faith back to England, for investigation into whether she had committed murder.
The souled vampire had said, "Last year, I had a shot at saving her. I was pulling her back from the brink, when some British guy kidnapped her and made damn sure she'd never trust a living soul."
Before he knew what he was doing, Wesley grabbed an empty vase and tapped his younger self on the shoulder. After the man on the phone turned around, he had about one second to register that someone with his face was standing there, who then knocked him out cold.
The older ex-Watcher then grabbed the phone, when he heard a voice at the other end. "Hello? Hello?"
Wesley froze - he didn't know what to say. He couldn't just hang up - it might generate too many complications, for himself and others.
Then the words came out, almost independently of his brain. "Yes, this is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. I need for you to transfer here to Sunnydale all known material on the demon Olvikan, and everything the Council has on the rituals of Ascensions. Thank you."
Before the other person could say a word, Wesley slammed down the phone with a smile. He hadn't planned it this way, but hopefully the upcoming battles with the forces of evil would now involve less loss of life on their side.
Or maybe, he had just made an incredibly stupid and irreparable mistake.
He sighed, because he just wasn't sure about anything right now. He simply tied up his younger self, gagged him and placed him on the bed. Hopefully, he would remain out of the way until all of this was over.
Wesley then made his way to the Sunnydale High School library, which was the Batcave-like headquarters for Slayers and their Watchers.
He hoped not to see anybody, and his wish was granted; the library was empty. Making his way to the weapons cabinet, he armed himself with the tranquilizer gun, a stake and some holy water.
Turning around, he then saw Cordelia Chase entering the library.
Forgetting where he was, he shrieked, "CORDELIA!" then he ran up to her and embraced the girl. "Thank God you're alright!"
She looked at him in amazement, as she pushed him off herself. "Excuse you! What is your trauma damage?"
Then she recovered herself, and tried to turn on the seductive charm. "You know, Wesley, I think you're gonna have to make this up to me. At dinner, tonight."
Wesley was stunned, until he remembered again where and when he was. He recalled that he and Cordelia had had a...a thing, as he suspected the American teenage girl would have called it.
They had eventually worked through it though, and were only friends, in his time.
But from the expression on Cordelia's face, she wasn't thinking of him as a friend right now.
Wesley looked at her closely, realizing how much younger she looked. So he just quickly stepped back and said nervously, "Cordelia. You're one of the most wonderful people I know, but I can't. We can't. Uh, I'm sorry, but I've got to go."
He then rushed out, grabbing the tranq gun on the way. Cordelia was stunned, and decided to follow him, to find out what was going on with the British Watcher.
Later at Angel's mansion - what was his mansion in 1999, anyway - Wesley waited outside, listening to Angel and Faith's conversation.
He heard Angel's calm voice, and Faith's angry demands to be let go. He was wondering whether or not to go in, when he heard what he thought was a breakthrough by the souled vampire, to the Slayer.
Angel said, "Going down this path will ruin you. You can't imagine the price for true evil."
Faith replied in what sounded like a sneer, "Yeah? I hope evil takes MasterCard."
Angel replied, "You and me, Faith, we're a lot alike. Time was, I thought humans existed just to hurt each other."
There was a pause, then Angel continued, "But then, I came here. And I found out that there are other types of people. People who genuinely wanted to do right. And they make mistakes. And they fall down. You know, but they keep caring. Keep trying. If you can trust us, Faith, this can all change. You don't have to disappear into the darkness."
All of a sudden, Cordelia came up and said loudly into Wesley's ear, "What do you think you're doing?"
Wesley couldn't help it; he yelped loudly in fright. Loud enough, for those inside the mansion to hear.
Cordelia continued, "You going stalker-boy on me now? God, you've been hanging around the losers here in Sunnydale too long!"
Some moments later, Angel came out frowning. He saw Wesley and Cordelia and asked, "What are you two doing here?"
"Angel!" Wesley impulsively shook his hand with his best English good manners, and the vampire started in surprise. "it's so very good to see you again."
Angel looked at Cordelia, who just shrugged. "Don't look at me," she said to him, "maybe he's rediscovering his inner child or something."
"We'd best go inside," Wesley said, ignoring that, "there's no point staying out here."
"Uh..." Angel started to say.
"I know all about Faith," the Englishman quickly told him. "I'm just here to help, Angel, I promise. Come on, we..."
Angel frowned. "Hold up. Who told you about this?"
It wasn't so much the question but the tone, which got Wesley's attention. Then, he understood the situation.
Just as his relationship with Cordelia was different here, so was his relationship was Angel; the souled vampire didn't exactly like or trust him right now.
Wesley sighed. "I-I'm not without...certain talents, to have learned what's happened," he finally said.
He continued, "And in case you're wondering, no, I haven't informed the Council about Faith's killing of the deputy mayor. I think you can help her, so I just came over to assist you in whatever way I can. I did NOT come to take her back to England to face the discipline committee - I swear, that's the last thing I want!"
Cordelia stared at them, open-mouthed. "Faith killed somebody? Where have I been?"
Both men ignored her. Angel finally said, "Come on then," the frown still in place.
The mansion was just as Wesley remembered it; dark and gloomy, and containing Faith chained to the fireplace mantle.
When Faith saw them, her eyes lit up and she immediately said, "Wes! About time you got here. Let me out of these things, will you? Just tell Angel..."
Wesley shook his head. "I don't think so, Faith."
The Slayer looked furious. "Why the hell not? You're supposed to be my Watcher, you wimp!"
Angel calmly walked over. "Faith, they know," he said.
She just glared at him. "You telling everyone lies about me?" she said stubbornly.
Wesley came over closer to her. "Faith. I know you don't like me, trust me or respect me. But I hope you believe me, when I say I think Angel can help you. Please, for once in your life, just listen to somebody else's opinion on something."
But Faith just started glaring at him. "Yeah, sure, Wesley. Why don't you try growing a pair?"
Wesley tried to keep his temper. "Why did you try to kill yet another man tonight?"
There was a silence, till Cordelia said with a shocked look on her face, "I'm outta here. Wes, I'll see you tomorrow." With that, she walked out, and the sound of her car roaring away was soon heard.
In the meantime Angel was staring at Wesley, and had dragged him away a short distance. "What's wrong?" asked the Englishman eventually.
The Irish-born vampire's eyes were like slits. "The thing with the deputy mayor, maybe you were able to put two and two together. But how did you know about what Faith did in her hotel room, a short time ago?"
Wesley was starting to panic. "Uh, er, I-I heard about it."
Suddenly, Wesley lost his temper. "One that you don't know about!" he shouted. "May I suggest we concentrate on Faith, please?"
The undead creature with a human soul was still studying him. "There's something different about you," Angel said at last. "You look different. Older, maybe."
Wesley tried to cover himself and babbled, "You must be imagining it. I mean, I-I am the same Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, I promise! Well, I still smell the same, don't I? Uh, I mean, I take it you're used to my scent by now."
Angel reluctantly agreed, "Yeah." He frowned. "Yeah, I am, and yes you do. But still..."
Wesley cut him off, "I'm probably just, er, stressed about everything Faith's done. We should get back to her now, don't you think?"
Angel still wasn't happy, but he agreed. The two men then turned back to the vampire Slayer, who was trying to get loose.
The next few hours weren't pretty. All throughout, Faith kept up an unending stream of verbal abuse at Wesley. She constantly called him "Wussley", and taunted him about 'hiding behind some vamp's skirts like this instead of dealing with her himself.'
Every man has his breaking point; and eventually, Wesley just lost it.
The memories of the time she had tortured him, that she invoked with her words, were just too intense. And eventually, he had to do something. Or else go insane.
"Like I once said, I do not believe in coddling murderers," he said to her. He then stalked up to Faith, and aimed the tranq gun at her head.
Angel said worriedly, "Wesley. Calm down..."
Wesley just looked at him and said, "1952. The Hyperion hotel. You left that Thesulac demon there to do its worst on the guests, so don't tell me to calm down!"
Angel was shocked and backed off, looking stunned. Faith was looking confused. But then, Wesley put the gun barrel against her forehead.
"I happen to be an excellent shot, Faith. And at this range," he said, "the needle will pierce your brain, and kill you instantly."
Faith was starting to get scared, but kept up a believable front. "You don't have the guts to do it. I know you, remember?"
Wesley looked downright evil, remembering what she had done to him that night in LA. "Take a good look at my face, Faith. Do you think, perchance, that I happen to be bluffing?"
Faith the vampire Slayer then really looked at her Watcher, for the first time that night. And what she saw there truly shocked her.
This wasn't the arrogant, self-centered, weasel-like Englishman that she had met a few weeks before.
This was someone who was willing and able to kill her.
Just as she had killed a man.
She had fought enough vampires to know the signs. This was a guy who right now could not only shoot her in cold blood, but would probably also take great pleasure in the act.
That was when she knew that, no matter what he looked like, the gunman in front of her was a complete stranger.
And when she looked at him, despite Angel's presence, she felt fear.
Wesley calmed down, and said looking into her eyes, "You killed a man, Faith. And why? You lost control, that's why. I take it you don't care? You think you're somehow special? Oh silly me, of course you are, you're the Slayer. But are you...irreplaceable? Tell me, Faith, what'll happen if I pulled this trigger right now?"
He paused, their stares still locked. "The bottom line is that another girl will be called, to be the new Slayer. That's it. That's all. Just like someone else...will become the new deputy mayor."
He continued with controlled anger, "Let me guess, I wager you're thinking if I do this, I'll get into trouble with the Council? Come now. When I make my report, given your actions, you'll be lucky if the most I get is a reprimand for not clearing this with them first!"
Faith stared at him, and Angel came close to her. He didn't like Wesley's methods, but he wasn't going to argue with the results.
Because as the Watcher backed off, the girl had tears in her eyes, and Angel knew this was the best possible moment for him to bring her back into the light.
To fetch her out of that darkness which she had fallen into, after killing a human being.
"I'm a mass murderer, Faith," he said quietly. She looked at him, without her usual belligerence. "And I suspect that no matter what I do to try and make up for it, there's always gonna be an express elevator to Hell, just waiting for me to get on."
He continued softly, "But it doesn't have to be like that for you. None of us want you to be on that elevator with me. Just let it all go, let it out and trust us."
Faith lowered her head and surrendered, finally starting to cry softly. "I didn't mean to do it," she hiccuped. "He just came out of nowhere..."
Angel embraced her, and she kept crying. "It's OK..."
She didn't hear him. "He just showed up there. And I didn't even think twice about staking him. And I blamed it on B, and I tried to kill Xander...I..."
No longer in denial, the Slayer just slumped down and cried and cried. Angel slowly unlocked her manacles, and let her sit there and recover.
Then Angel dragged Wesley away and asked him, "Who are you? Because I know you're not Wesley. That guy doesn't have it in him to do what you did tonight."
Wesley just stared at him, and briefly released a small smile. "I'm mostly what you've made of me, Angel. Others -" he looked briefly at Faith "- have contributed into what I've become, but mostly I'd say it's been your faith in me, that's let me accomplish what I have here."
Angel looked at him in confusion, but didn't get a chance to respond before the front door was smashed down, and the Tempus demon came crashing through.
"Tempus demon!" Wesley shouted to Angel as they split up. "He likes to use holy water, so watch out!"
The demon roared incoherently, and headed straight for Wesley. Angel went to fight it, vamping out, while Wesley yelled to the Slayer, "Faith! Go - don't let it get your blood!"
Grabbing one of Angel's weapons, the Englishman went to help his vampire friend. But Angel was knocked aside, and then Wesley found himself being thrown into a nearby wall by the demon's inhuman strength.
The Englishman slid down in a heap, feeling like he was dying. The Tempus demon was then momentarily undecided, whether to go after him or Angel.
Unfortunately for the demon, it had ignored Faith at its own peril.
Faith yelled, "NO!" and hit the creature with a crossbow bolt, straight through the heart. Angel then finished the demon off, by beheading it with an axe.
Faith and Angel then headed for Wesley, and examined his injuries. The ex-Watcher's situation did not look good.
Angel told him hopelessly, "Wesley, try to hold on..."
The Englishman said weakly, "No time." He looked at Faith. "I'm sorry...I failed you...before. This time...stay on the path...of the angels...y'hear me?"
Not waiting for a reply, his voice weakening more, Wesley spluttered, "Angel...poison...Killer of the Dead. You need...4 or 5 pints...Slayer blood...recover."
Angel tried to shush him, but Wesley stubbornly went on, the life leaking out of him. "You...the Gem...of Amarra...keep for...two months..."
Suddenly the medallion in his pocket seemed to glow with a golden light, and then both Wesley and the Tempus demon's corpse dissolved away, in a rainbow sea of color.
Los Angeles, November 2000
Wesley woke up in a daze. He was very confused, because he suspected that right now, he should be dead. Again.
He blinked, and looked around. He was in Angel's residence at the Hyperion hotel, and everything looked like it was back to normal.
Had the whole thing been a dream, after all?
Then some people came up to see him. Looking up at their faces, he asked in his British accent, "Uh, am I in Heaven?"
Everyone chuckled or giggled, as they helped him off the desk. Faith said, "Like they'd ever let me up there wearing this? Come on Wes, get a clue."
Wesley looked at the Slayer; she was wearing a black tank-top and skin-tight leather pants, and he had to admit she had a point.
"Faith, what are you doing out of jail?" the Englishman asked, puzzled.
Faith looked at him in confusion. "Huh?" she replied.
Then she looked at her companions - Angel, Gunn and another man who seemed familiar, but Wesley couldn't quite place.
"You think he's got a concussion?" asked Gunn hopefully.
Wesley ignored him. Looking at the stranger, he started to say, "Excuse me, but may I ask who you-" Then it hit him, from the photos he'd seen made from Cordelia's videotape footage. "DOYLE?"
"Wes, man, are ye alright now?" Allen Francis Doyle, a half-demon and Angel's deceased messenger from the Powers-That-Be, said in his Irish accent. "Don't ye recognize me?"
Wesley asked, "Yes, but...why aren't you dead - anymore? And how come I'm not dead? And where's Cordelia?"
The others looked at each other in concern. "You think he's not getting any from Virginia anymore, that's why he's acting like this?" asked the Slayer.
"Faith," Angel said warningly. Then he continued, "Wesley...Cordelia's off making her movie," tackling the only question that made sense to him.
"Movie?" Wesley said in astonishment. Then he looked at Doyle. "Doyle, how did you - could someone please tell me what's going on?"
"Why don't you tell us," said Gunn nervously.
"Gunn, I -" Wesley started. "I guess I had a dream, I think..."
"A dream?" they all asked.
Wesley said to the black man, frowning, "Well, Gunn, you were there - uh, you see, I tried to tell you about your sister, the vampires that killed her -"
"Gunn has a sister? Who died?" Angel said in surprise.
Charles Gunn came closer to Wesley, and looked at him hard. "That WAS you nearly two years ago!" he said grimly. "You were that freak who borrowed my car, and never brought it back!"
"Er, sorry..." Wesley mumbled. Then he looked at Gunn again. "Alonna, is she..."
"Yeah!" Gunn exclaimed. "I sent her to San Francisco last year, 'cause you seriously spooked me, man. She's fine."
Angel was looking back and forth at them, as was Faith and Doyle. "What is this? What are you guys talking about?" the vampire asked.
Wesley stammered, "I guess...it's a long story. Uh, what about Detective Kate Lockley - and her father?"
"They're both alive 'n well, buddy boy," Doyle replied. "Cop lady surely took a while to get over Angel's bein'...well, what he is. But like Faith says, she's five-by-five now."
Wesley looked at him and guessed slowly, "Angel - he was the one who deactivated the Scourge bomb instead of you, I-I take it? He still had the Gem of Amarra with him?"
Faith exclaimed in confusion, "Wesley, are you brain-damaged or what? If Doyle or me or Princess Cordy had tried to dismantle that thing, we'd be dead right now!"
Angel had been looking thoughtfully at the ex-Watcher for some moments. He said, "Wesley. That Tempus demon - it was raving when Gunn, Doyle and I killed it, after it tried to kidnap you and Faith..."
He continued slowly, "It was like, yelling and screaming crazy stuff. Something about how it wasn't supposed to be like this, that everything had changed, and it was cursing us all the time..."
Angel paused, before continuing again. "I remember that night before Faith and I came here to LA, and you started that...rogue demon hunter thing. The night when that shapeshifter demon, the one that looked like you, died helping me kill that other Tempus demon."
He looked sideways at the Slayer. "I bet Faith does too, don't you?"
She nodded fervently, "Hell yeah, I do! Man, I bet my life would have seriously gone down the toilet if it hadn't been for that..."
Angel interrupted her. "But now, I can't help but wonder - you wanna tell us anything about that, Wes?"
Wesley looked at them all, and sighed. "It seems I have a very long, and very strange story to tell you," he said.
Finally, he realized what had happened. Tempus demon. Which, from the Latinate, meant demon of time.
He had changed history using its medallion, and was now a stranger in a strange world.
But looking at Faith, Doyle and the rest, he couldn't help feeling...it was worth it. "A story about a second chance, actually, for me to...make up for past mistakes."
Wesley then grinned. "But at least with this story, the ending is a happy one..."