A/N: I've been kicking this idea around for a while, namely since I had my Angel: Season Two fest directly after it came out.  (I've consequentially had a few theories centering on the Wolfram and Hart v. Angel debate, and why they simply didn't remove his soul the hard way if that was their motive…which led to the birth of this story) This is the first true BtVS/AtS crossover series that I've done, and I won't lie—it's been a blast so far.

The story is definitely Spuffy centered; I have not, by any means, had my share of the 'ship.  But I'm experimenting now with different ideas based on relatively the same premise, if that makes any sense.  On that note, the first of the Angel-centric chapters do have dialogue/segments stolen from the episodes that coincide with the area of the season I decided to focus on. 

I owe a big, big thanks to my good friend, Kimmie, for both nagging me to write this and serving as my beta. 

Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After discovering Riley's nightly excursions to a vampire brothel, he and Buffy engage in a heated argument that results in his leaving Sunnydale.  Willow and Anya come to terms with their disagreements after an encounter with Olaf the Troll, and Spike goes to even further extremes to highlight his inner humanitarian.

Previously on Angel the Series: After Angel refuses to sire a dying Darla, Wolfram and Hart contract Drusilla to do the job for them.  Holland Manners, Division Head of Special Projects, mistakenly offers Darla a massacre as he and the rest of team celebrate having their true project distracted for the time being.

Harbingers of Beatrice

Author: Holly (hangingavarice@hotmail.com)

Rating: R (For language, violence, and adult content)

Distribution: Sure.  Just tell me where.

Timeline: Season 5 of BtVS: AU after Triangle.  Season 2 of AtS: AU after Reunion.

Summary:  Wolfram and Hart, host of the greatest evil acknowledged on Earth, attempts to restructure the Order of Aurelius, one vampire at a time.  A soul hampers one, a chip harbors another, and a Slayer stands between them.  The pawns are in place; it is simply a matter of who will move first.

Disclaimer:  The characters herein are the property of Joss Whedon.  They are being used for entertainment purposes and not for the sake of profit.  No copyright infringement is intended. 

Prologue

Dream A Little Dream

Angel dreamed.

A vast array of images, shapes, and colors blurred into one distorted picture of fragmented reality.  Tastes of things he could almost see, the feel of what he could nearly reach.  And all through it, she was there.  There to laugh and mock.  There to remind him of what he wanted, even if it was not within his hindsight.  There as a consistency in his inconsistent world.  It was a place he could not fathom—a place he needed to be but dreaded beyond all compare.  A place within his psyche that he feared more than any truth he had ever thought to explore.

And she was there.  Coaxing him, coddling him, whispering little nasties boding to how good it would feel if he gave in.

He wanted to give in.  He wanted to so badly.

But he wouldn't, because he was just.  And that was the way things were.

Angel dreamed. 

*~*~*

Buffy dreamed.

There was nothing distinct or particularly memorable about what she saw; no lingering difference between every other monstrous thing that had haunted her nightly excursions.  Dreams could never be taken lightly—always poised, dissected, and translated to interpret a possible coming of apocalyptic proportion. 

She saw monsters, blood, and fangs.  She saw herself turning a second time only to find another endless hallway.  She saw a great grandfather clock that amounted its hours with ethereal chimes and a ticking that would never end.  She saw her sister—a sister?  She didn't have one of those.  Wasn't supposed to.  It wasn't right. 

Dawn.  Not real.  She wasn't real.  She never had been.

Only she was. And she was the Key.  She was human.  She was real.  She was the Key.  She was what stood between now and eternity.  Her survival, her protection, was what the world—what the universe—depended on for continued existence.  She was real.  She was her sister.  She was Dawn.

The ticking would not end.

Beating the clock.  That was what life had amounted to.  Beating the clock.  Racing endless hallways, knowing despite how fast she ran, she would always be too late.  There was no absolution that could change that.  There was nothing.

The ticking would not end.

Buffy dreamed.

*~*~*

William the Bloody dreamed.

Spike dreamed. 

Aspirations.  That was all his existence had amounted to.  Aspirations of what he wanted, what he craved, what he saw with every blink, what he yearned for with every breath he didn't breathe.   Wanting, desiring, craving the enemy.  The vision of what would always be just out of his reach. 

It wasn't supposed to be this way.  Not for him.  No substitution for technology could change that.  He felt it with every drive.  With every surge that empowered his body.  The thrill, the taste of what he was.  What he always had been, in some regard or another, what always would be.  The monster.  A thing that craved—anticipated—church collapses like no creature before him.  He had killed.  He wished he still could.  He had torn the still-beating heart of many a virgin.  He had stalked the shadows until the dark shriveled its cowardice.  For over a century, he had torn the world apart, and enjoyed every minute of it.

And here he was.  Negating his own nature.  Everything he had always believed himself to be.  A Slayer of Slayers.  A vampire of his own creation.  Of his coveted reputation.  A demon.  A monster.  A creature of the night.

He was a being of evil, and yet with every minute he suffered, he wanted her.  Saw her.  Bloody well needed her.

Needed the Slayer.

Perversion in the worst form of the word.

Knowing that despite he would never have what he wanted.  Because of what he was.  Because of what she was.

Because it was wrong. 

But that didn't mean the dreams would stop.  It didn't mean he would ever reach what he desired.  It didn't mean he would reach his much-needed rest.

Because of her.

The Slayer.

Buffy.

Spike dreamed.

To be continued in Chapter One: The City That Slept…