Old Enemies, New Friends

By Eleri McCleod

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Disclaimer: I own nothing, I have no money and I'm just borrowing them anyway.

Summary: A mysterious being sends Buffy and, accidentally, Angel into the Wish Dimension to correct a few mistakes.

Season: Third

Author's notes: A special thanks to Wanaslay for unintentionally giving me the idea for this story. You can find the original story at the SlayerFanFic Archive. It's titled "The Wish Dimension: After the Fall."

I've also got to thank Ivy for her wonderful encouragement, her shared interests and most of all for cleaning this up for me. You are a gem.

Finally, and definitely not least, thanks go out to everyone who wrote to tell me they wanted more. Part 2 is in the works, guys, I promise.

(c) November 1999, Eleri McCleod

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The shadow watched silently as the blond-haired young man shoved his stake through the heart of a vampire. Not even waiting to see it explode into dust, the teen turned to his companion, a stocky dark-haired lad, with a small grin. "Not bad for two wanna-bes."

The dark one nodded back, exhaustion evident in the simple gesture. "Yeah, who needs a Slayer anyway? We're doing fine without her." Tucking his stake into a pocket, he started moving toward the mouth of the alley. "You know, ever since she killed Xander and Willow the Master has been even more determined to get rid of us. The only thing she did was cause us more trouble." The stocky human sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Could we get back to the library now? I'm beat."

Unnoticed by the two speakers, the shadow separated from the sidewall of the alley, coalescing slightly to reveal a Hooded Figure, eyes glowing crimson. It sensed the wearied souls of the humans and cocked its head as if listening to something.

The smaller teen stared into space for a moment, not moving to join his friend. "Larry, do you think Giles was right?" Larry stopped walking, still facing the street. "I mean about that better world. It sounds totally crazy, I know, but I want to believe in it. I want to believe that all of our struggles aren't for nothing."

"Oz, all I know is that we're still here, doing the same things we were a week ago before that Slayer came and died." Finally he faced his friend, hands hanging limply at his sides. "Believe that if you can. I'm just trying to make it through each night."

The Hooded Figure glided closer, arm extended. Its eyes brightened, the glow reaching far ahead to bathe the two in a red haze. And still the teens took no notice of the other alley occupant as it circled them, the red light playing off their faces.

Oz nodded sympathetically. "That's what I'm trying to do, too. Larry, you can't-" His sharp eyes caught a hint of motion where street met alley behind the other teen, twenty feet away. "Run!"

Without bothering to ask why, Larry took off after his friend, knowing it had to be more vampires. "Haven't they got anything else to do?" he threw out bitterly as they rounded the other end of the alley and disappeared from sight.

Four vampires sprinted after them, running through the Hooded Figure's insubstantial form. In fact, paying as much attention to it as the humans had. It gazed after the demons for a moment before sighing and gliding smoothly out of the alley. "It is not fair." Although it spoke aloud, no ear, human or demon, could have ever heard it. It waited, slightly impatient for the other members of its collective consciousness to respond.

"No, it is not." The voices sounded as a multitude of noise in its head, but the Hooded Figure understood each voice distinctly. "Is there a thing we would wish to do for the mortals?"

"I can think of only one possibility. We will need all for this task. The aura of Anyanka permeates this world." It actually managed to sound angered as it continued its slow glide out of the alley after Oz, Larry and the demons. "Anyanka has gone too far this turn. Do we have agreement?"

"We do. Fair well."

The Hooded Figure acknowledged the parting of its others and gestured slightly with its hand. A red, glowing doorway opened a few steps to the front. It glided through the vortex out of Sunnydale.

And back into Sunnydale. The door closed automatically, allowing the Hooded Figure to concentrate on its target. It paused, detecting the presence of a Slayer nearby. Perfect, it thought. Moving in the direction of that unique aura, the Hooded Figure gathered the loaned power of its others. Hands moved in intricate patterns, creating another doorway in the street. The door showed only a crimson haze, wavering slightly in the breeze. The Hooded Figure froze, statue-still, eyes glowing fiercely. "Come," it called into the night air. "Come to the Gateway."

Suddenly, a vampire thundered onto the street closely followed by the Slayer and... Another vampire, it thought incredulously, almost losing focus on the door. But by then the first demon had reached the Hooded Figure, running through the undetected Gateway. The Slayer stumbled a step, unused to her prey vanishing in mid-stride, and fell headfirst through the portal. As did the second vampire, shouting, "Buffy!"

The Hooded Figure studied the auras lingering in the Gateway, unsurprised by the roiling mass of black that was the first vampire. The Slayer's was a shimmering, swirling rainbow of colors and also expected. Yet the third, that of the other vampire, was almost as bright as the Slayer's. It focused on that unusual third, pulling it to the forefront of its vision. The Hooded Figure couldn't understand at first. The creature was a demon, nothing but the kill mattered to it. Only this exceptional aura seemed to prove otherwise. Then it saw why. "A souled vampire?" it asked its others, needed additional confirmation.

"Agreed," the cacophonous voices replied. "We have done well. Return for rest. This action will take much time to complete. We will retrieve the beings when the task is finished."

The Hooded Figure took one final, long look at the aura, fascinated by the dichotomy. Then it let go of the Gateway. The scarlet door faded, taking the auras with it. The Hooded Figure straightened its robe, pleased with its work. Gesturing negligently, it slid through yet another Gateway, leaving no trace of its presence on the quiet Sunnydale street.