Wesley poured over one of the ancient texts stacked on and around his desk. He'd been at it for hours with only a pageful of notes to show for it. As he re-read a particular passage in Sumerian his eyes widened in surprise. Of course! How could he have missed this before? It was the final puzzle piece in the jumble of notes he'd taken. He furiously scribbled some more, pausing to chew on the end of his pen and then tossed his glasses onto the desk.
"Eureka!" He exclaimed as he stood up and rushed out of the office. He made it as far as the door before he thought to turn back and retrieve the book that had been such a source of eureka. He gathered up the old text, along with a couple of others before walking out the door again.
The offices of Wolfram and Hart were in their usual Monday morning chaos. The cacophony of voices and phones seemed to all blend into one sound. Wesley took the elevator up to Angel's penthouse on the top floor of the building.
Angel had taken to spending more time up there lately, brooding no doubt. "As if he needed more practice." Wes could almost hear Cordelia saying. He winced inwardly, chiding himself. He promised to go see Cordy in her special medical wing once he'd told Angel his findings. He hadn't been as faithful about his visits as of late. There had just been so much to do since taking over Wolfram and Hart.
Wes knocked softly on the door. There was no answer. He pushed against the door lightly and it opened. Angel was sitting near the window deep in brood mode. Somehow it was made slightly less effective by the bright sunny day the necro tempered glass allowed Angel to sit in.
"Angel," Wes said in his soft voice.
Angel turned, somehow managing to look surprised even though Wes knew his vampiric hearing had given him ample warning of his approach, unless he was really in deep brood mode. "What's happened?"
"Nothing, nothing. Rather I've got some information I believe, at least something I think will interest you." Wes paused and seemed to consult his notes. He was actually gathering his words. Angel didn't know about this particular branch of his research. "I've been doing some extra research on the shanshu prophecy since the incident with Spike and the cup."
Angel winced and unconsciously touched the cut above his eye. He knew he still looked like hell. He could see it in the faces of his friends when they looked at him. The only satisfaction he got was that he knew Spike looked just as bad.
"I've found some information that refers to a text. It's called The Book of the Guardian. I believe it might give us some more insight into the shanshu prophecy." Wes said.
Angel looked up at Wes. Hope lit his eyes for a moment and then it burned low again, like the dusky embers of a fire. When he spoke his voice was flat and noncommittal, "Do you know where the book is?"
"Actually, yes. It took a bit of research. I had to cross reference a book written in ancient Latin with one written in the Kartoth language and finally there was this one in Sumerian." Wes begin to rifle through the short stack of books he'd brought.
"Wes, something today would be nice." Angel interrupted him.
"Oh-yes. Well, it's in Galway, Ireland, or it was in the mid 18th century."

Buffy sunk into the bed gratefully. She wanted to sleep for a week. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand and struggled to sit upright. Giles would be called in a few minutes. He was like clockwork.
At first Buffy had attempted making the nightly calls that had become a ritual. She had been horrid at the time conversions and tended to call at 3am Romanian time when she had intended to call at 7pm. Giles had taken over calling her now at an accustomed time. It was a time that was late for a normal person but just before bedtime for the slayer.
Outside the moon silvered the green lush grass. Buffy could hear the ocean lapping at the coastline. She sighed. She thought she could stay here for a while. It was peaceful. It drove away the thoughts of ubervamps and hellmouths and vampires on fire.
The phone rang, jangling her out of her reverie. She picked it up knowing it would be Dawn on the other end. Giles always let her call and talk to Buffy first. She was always bubbling over with things she'd researched that day or something Giles and she had discovered, perhaps something Willow had done or a place they had all gone and seen. Buffy missed having her nearby but she and Giles and Willow were doing important work and Dawn was Giles' first official watcher in training.
"Ok here's Will. I don't think she has anything new to tell you but she wants to talk anyway."
Buffy smiled as her best friend came over the crackling international line. "How's it go, Will?"
"Oh, you know, its going I guess. I'm learning Romanian. I don't know if Giles' lessons are finally kickin in or it's just from reading so much of it. Nothing new yet, but I'm sure I'll make some progress."
"Thank you, Will. You know how much this means to me. I appreciate the time your spending there. I know it's not easy. How's Kennedy?" Buffy asked.
There was a silence for a moment before Willow spoke. "Oh, well. She went to stay at the house with Faith and the other girls."
"Will, I'm sorry." Buffy said, somehow feeling guilty.
"No. Really, it's okay. I mean, we talked and it's what's best. It's what we both wanted. Besides she's getting to be pretty good and I think Faith and Wood could use her for a student teacher or something."
Willow and Buffy talked for a few more moments before the phone was handed over to Giles.
"How is Willow, really?" Buffy asked the watcher.
"She's holding up well. She's doing a phenomenal job here. I work with her a bit everyday focusing her magic and to be frank she's far outclassed any help I can give her, but I think she likes to humor me."
"I miss you all. How much longer do you think it will be?" Buffy asked, anxiety tinged her voice.
"I'm not sure really. We've got excellent resources here, but as Willow mentioned a lot of it is in Romanian and mine is rather rusty. We're muddling through though and I hope to have something soon. How are things on your end?"
Buffy smiled. She relaxed back into the pillows. "Maureen is the best I've seen so far. She's a natural. I don't tell her that of course because she's got the attitude to go with it but she's going to be really good. I'm anxious for you to see her. I think you'll agree."
"Perhaps soon I'll be able to make a trip out there. If not I'll see you at the school in San Bernardino. Willow has found something she wishes me to examine. I'll talk to you again tomorrow."
"Alright, goodnight Giles."
Once the connection was broken the loneliness seemed to flood the room again, like the fog rolling off the ocean. It was cold and damp here. Buffy snuggled into the bed and snuck a well worn, much loved leather jacket from beneath her pillow. It was one of the very few possessions she'd brought from Sunnydale, or rather the crater formerly known as Sunnydale.
She inhaled deeply. It was silly she knew, but after all these years she imagined it still smelled like him, cool, clean soap and cinnamon and something else uniquely his.
-"I mean you look cold." "Keep it. It looks better on you."-
Outside it begin to rain softly and Buffy fell asleep, her face buried in the jacket.

Angel went over his itinerary one last time. He glanced up as someone came for his luggage. There wasn't much really. If he decided to stay longer then intended, or if things didn't go as planned, he could always purchase what he needed. There were a few special considerations, like the large cooler filled with dry ice and blood bags. Harmony had assured him several times that the small villa he was staying in would also be stocked with blood. He wasn't sure he wanted to leave his food arrangements with Harmony but there was too much to be done before he left to do it himself.
Wes knocked and walked in. "Are you certain you wish to do this yourself? We have extraction teams that retrieve artifacts for us all the time."
"I'm sure, Wes. I've never flown before. It was too dangerous. Having a personal jet circumvents many of those dangers, especially one with necrotempered windows. Besides I haven't seen Ireland in a long time. It will be nice to go.home." The last word was barely a whisper.
Wes nodded. "You'll give us a call then if anything untoward happens."
Angel nodded, engrossed in his last minute details.
"Very well then. I'll accompany you to the airport and fill you in on the last minute details I've discovered about the book."

Angel sat nervous in the plane. It seemed more like a well appointed penthouse then a jet. Everything was black leather and silver gray carpet. There was good sized bathroom with a shower and a small bedroom. There was a TV with a DVD player in the main cabin. He had a myriad of objects spread out in the seat beside him.
There were packs of gum Fred had insisted he chew during take off and landing. It was to keep his ears from popping she said. Then she had launched into an explanation of how that happened and had lost him somewhere.
There was dramine and books from Wesley and a Game boy from Gunn with something called Tetris.
He was surprised by the takeoff even though the pilot warned him over the intercom. He found himself giddy as he watched the ground, through necrotempered glass, fall away beneath him.
Angel howled in delight as his ears begin to "pop" and he vigorously chewed on a stick of cinnamon gum. Once they were in the air a woman came through offering a drink or some blood. For nostalgia's sake he chose Irish whiskey, a glass of Midleton one of the finest Irish whiskeys made.
The remainder of the trip was pleasant. Angel slept some of the way, flipped through Wes' books and unsuccessfully tried to turn on Gunn's game boy. He'd eventually leaned back with his own book of 18th century poets.

The pilot let him know as they were preparing to descend. He popped a stick of cinnamon gum in his mouth and watched with trepidation as the ground rushed toward him.
At the airport a limo drew as close to the jet as possible. Angel waited until his luggage had been taken to the car. He tucked his hands into the sleeves of his long leather duster and pulled it over his head before making a mad rush to for the car. Once inside he got a chance to observe how Galway had changed since his last visit and was delighted that in many ways it had not.

The villa was small. That suited Angel's purposes. As per instructions, heavy black velvet drapes had been drawn over each window and outside door. There was no staff. He could do his own housekeeping. He checked the refrigerator. It was stocked with more then enough blood. He opened a bag and poured it into a mug. He placed the mug into the microwave and paced the kitchen.
There were still a few more hours before sunset. Once night had fallen Angel would go to work contacting people and finding out what he could about The Book of the Guardian.

Buffy watched the young girl from her perch on the mausoleum. She clutched a stake in her hand, prepared to jump in if needed. She really didn't think it would be necessary though.
The girl was having fun. A look of pure glee crossed her freckled face as she threw a roundhouse punch and the fledging vampire stumbled back.
"Don't get to cocky Maureen, I know he's young but he's still strong." Buffy yelled advice.
Maureen just laughed and tossed her copper curls out of her eyes. She launched a sidekick that caught the vamp in the solar plexus and threw him backwards, shattering a gravestone as he fell.
Maureen was instantly upon him, shoving a stake through the dead thing's heart before it could gasp.
"Where's the next? That was fun now, wasn't it?' Maureen said.
Buffy jumped nimbly from her perch. "Very nice but you took to long. You were playing with him."
-"Stake and plunge, stake and plunge"-
Buffy smiled as a very English Giles' words came back to her. "He was just a fledgling. Vampires grow more powerful with age. They also pick up more fighting skills. They become quicker, stronger, and more cunning. You have to be on guard. His Sire could be waiting around here somewhere, waiting for him to rise."
Maureen's green eyes lit up. "Ye want me to patrol the north end, o'er there by the hedge then?"
Buffy tried to conceal her smile. She appreciated the girl's enthusiasm. "No I think that's enough for tonight. Let's head back and get you in bed. Xander wants you up early in the morning."
Once Buffy had seen that Maureen was in bed she slipped out of her own room and down to some ruins near the ocean she'd found. She hadn't seen any vamps around but she liked the place. It seemed peaceful somehow, and familiar.