Title: No Fate (6/?)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to and through Chosen.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: Angel comes back in time to save the hope of the future.

Author's Note: This is sort of a fusion with The Terminator. The idea just sort of hit me.

* * *

Five people hurried to the hotel room. Two of them were men with dark hair, and the other three were women: one blonde, one redhead, and a third who hurried between them, dressed in an all-concealing abaya.

When they were finally secure in the room, Kennedy doffed the abaya and hurled it on the bed in frustration.

"This is driving me _insane_!" she hissed.

"Oh, it's not that bad," Willow said, trying to cheer her up.

"Easy for you to say!" Kennedy snapped "_You're_ not the one with her face plastered all over the news for wiping out a police precinct!"

Xander shook his head, "Listen, Angel and I'll head out, get some supplies. The rest of you stay here."

"No," Buffy said. "That thing's after _you_, Xander. I'll go with Angel."

* * *

"What happened to us, Angel?" Buffy asked timidly as Angel drove.

Startled by the question, he hesitated, trying to figure out what to say.

Finally, he replied, "You tried to kill me."

"What?" Buffy sputtered.

"You've been a Slayer too long, Buffy," Angel explained. "It's why the Watchers did the Cruciamentum. You've been a Slayer so long that the Slayer's demon roots are taking hold. When the revolution came, both you and Faith... you were too far gone."

"We sided with them," Buffy murmured, stunned, slumping back in her seat.

"Yeah. You did."

They lapsed into silence.

* * *

The hotel door opened, and Buffy stepped inside, her arms wrapped around some grocery bags. Angel backed in behind her, one hand in his pocket and the other holding another bag. He closed the door and put the bag down on the table.

"Listen, I got some other stuff. Should be able to make some explosives out of them."

"Angel," Xander said.

"Enough for five, six, maybe seven bombs."

"Angel!"

He whirled and saluted, "Sir!"

Xander let out a sigh and said, "We've got an idea."

"I-I can reverse the spell," Willow said. "I did it, so I should be able to undo it, right?"

Angel shook his head, "That's what you thought, when things started going wrong. You died trying, about four years from now."

"Oh," Willow said, her shoulders sinking. "Well, there goes that idea."

* * *

"Mmm... wha-?" Willow murmured as she was shaken from her sleep.

"Willow, wake up," Xander said.

The witch blinked her eyes open and sat up, "What is it, Xander?"

"Okay," Buffy groused from across the room. "So we're all up. Mind telling us what's going on now, Xander?"

"Okay, okay," Xander said. "Just bear with me, okay? It's just, I couldn't sleep, y'know, and I got to thinking. I-it just sorta hit me."

"What hit you, Xander?" Willow asked curious.

"Well, here it is. They sent that Kennedy-thing back to kill me, right?" Xander said. "To change things. And they made sure we couldn't just stop the mass Calling. What Angel's told us has already changed things. Willow won't die trying to reverse the Calling, right?"

"So?" Buffy asked.

"So? Don't you get it?" he looked around. "The future _is_ _not_ _set_. The fact that all this happened is proof enough of that. There _is_ no fate. No fate but what we make. We're not up against prophecy here, with all the vagueness that keeps us from changing it. We've got detailed, first-hand accounts of everything." He looked at Angel, "We can stop this. Kill the leaders of this thing before it takes off."

Buffy stared, "Xander, you're talking about murder."

"I'm talking about saving the human race," Xander snapped. He looked at Willow, "'The needs of the many...'"

"'...outweigh the needs of the few,'" Willow finished the quote softly, nodding slowly in dawning understanding.

"Won't work," Angel shook his head slowly. "You'll have to stop Asmodeus first, and I don't know how we can do that."

Xander blinked, "Who's Asmodeus?"

"Asmodeus, the Destroyer," Angel explained. "He's a demon. Somehow, he got into the internet, hacked his way into the military computers, and triggered a nuclear war." He shook his head, "Xander, you had a theory as to how he did it, but you never told me what it was."

"Moloch," Buffy, Xander, and Willow said simultaneously.

"Uh, who's Moloch?" Kennedy asked.

"Willow's first boyfriend," Xander said flippantly.

Kennedy looked at her, "_What_?"

"Well, how was _I_ was supposed to know he was an evil demon scanned from a book onto the internet?" Willow said defensively.

"You met him on the internet, Will," Xander said. "That should have set off at least a few alarm bells. You only knew him for a few days, for crying out loud!"

Willow pouted, and Buffy and Xander chuckled, but Xander's mirth died as something occurred to him.

"Wait, wait, wait," Xander said, "if he launched the nukes, that must mean he got scanned into a military computer. That stuff's not physically connected to the civvie 'net. If he were scanned in on a civilian computer, he wouldn't be able to get to the nukes."

"How do you know that?" Willow asked, frowning.

Xander blinked, then shrugged, "I guess it's the soldier boy memories coming back."

"But who would scan a demon book into a military computer?" Kennedy asked, frowning.

There was a long pause, and Buffy, Xander, and Willow once again spoke simultaneously.

"The Initiative."

* * *

Author's Postscript:

^_^

I've had that last (long) scene written for some time, actually. Hopefully, we'll have some big explosions in the next part. ;-)