Title: Darkening Of The Light

Author: Restive Nature

Disclaimer: The characters and fictional placings of either of these shows do not belong to me. They belong to Cameron/ Eglee (Dark Angel), Joss Whedon (BtVS) and Whedon/ Greenwalt (AtS). Only the story belongs to me.

Rating: 15 (for a little language)

Genre: Crossover of DA/ BtVS

Type: WiP

Time line/ Spoilers: Post Season 5 for Buffy. Up to LAtR for DA. Story set in DA time.

Summary: BtVS/ DA crossover. Life brings about so many changes. Especially when one has just risen from the dead.

Distribution: Is under the discretion of the author, so just ask instead of taking please.

Reviews: While I may not always respond to reviews, they are always welcome!

Darkening Of The Light

Chapter Twenty-eight

June 1st, 2021

6:18 p.m.

Seattle, WA

Fogle Apartments

"Did I tell you that I picked a new birthday," Buffy offered quietly. Her cousin, who, despite being taught that it was bad manners to do so, had brought the newspaper to the table with him, quickly glanced up at her announcment. Buffy had not minded his behavior. At least that way he was too busy reading, instead of trying to engage her in uncomfortable conversation. Especially over why she still only picked at her food.

It wasn't that the food wasn't delicious. She was sure that it was. But it was still difficult to work up any enthusiasm about anything. And it seemed the more she tried to bolster herself, the harder it was, the further away that goal seemed. Until it got to the point where she could barely be bothered to try.

"Uh, no," Logan replied hesitantly, looking a little lost as he lowered the paper slightly. He seemed to realize that he was staring and quickly dropped his glance to his plate. He had made a linguine with white sauce and more mushrooms, since there seemed to be an abundance of them in the market lately. "I don't think you said anything about that."

"Okay," Buffy sighed, toying with her own food, then picking out a slice of mushroom that was well coated with sauce. It went down easier that way. "When we were talking about that whole new identity thing. Obviously having the same name as myself and the same birthday would be pretty fishy, don't you think?"

"It would be in some quarters," Logan agreed mildly, interest in the article that he had been reading, suspended for the moment.

"Well, Tara and I discussed a few dates," Buffy explained, leaning forward to place her arms on the table, dropping the pretense of eating for the moment. "I mean, obviously, the day I... well, she said there were some other things that made it a bad day. A day that wasn't all that great. But I still wanted something... familiar."

"Did you find a day you'd be comfortable with?" Logan asked kindly, with a small smile.

"Um, June fifth," Buffy replied and saw that her cousin realized the connection immediately.

"Aunt Joyce's birthday," he nodded. And then turned his head to look at the calendar that he had hanging in the kitchen. "Okay, that's completely workable."

They were quiet for a few minutes until Buffy for some reason, felt the urge to fill the silence. "I'm surprised you remember Mom's birthday," she began, but didn't go further when she saw Logan give a shake of his head.

"I only remembered it because...," he tossed the newspaper aside completely and pushed his own dinner away from himself. "To be honest, when we got to Sunnydale?" he waited for her to nod and adjusted his glasses before looking to her again. "The first thing I did was go to her grave."

"You did?" Buffy was surprised, though perhaps she shouldn't have been. Her brow furrowed slightly. "Was it...?" she began to ask and then quieted. Logan gave her a sympathetic smile.

"It was... strange, being back there," he mused, curling his fingers slightly as he rested his jaw against the palm of his hand. "I hadn't been since Aunt Joyce's funeral. The grave stone has held up surprisingly well for it having been there so many years."

"I suppose it was covered with weeds," Buffy sighed, grieving still over her loss, bowing her shoulders under its considerable weight.

"Actually," Logan sounded almost annoyed, "it wasn't." He paused and when Buffy glanced up at him, startled, he tilted his head and regarded her with a look that told her he had thought of something of importance. "There weren't any weeds on or around Aunt Joyce's grave."

"So..." Buffy tried to follow, but her mind was still feeling foggy.

"There were on the others," Logan gesticulated pointedly, excitedly. "But Aunt Joyce's grave, it was completely cleared! Buffy, someone had to be taking care of it."

Dawn! Her mind cried in response, but she was able to keep herself from yelling it out. It was the most logical explanation there was. The words were stuck in her throat as Logan went on. "Do you think it's possible that one of your old friends hired someone to take care of the graves?"

"Graves?" she asked, slightly startled at his plural form of the word and at that prompting, Logan looked sheepish.

"Um, yeah," he sighed. "I mean, your grave, um... burial spot, it wasn't exactly over run with weeds either."

"That's... odd," Buffy agreed. She pressed her lips together and then glanced up at her cousin once more. "Tara didn't say anything about it. But she might have. I mean, known, or was taking care of it," she declared. "She wouldn't have brought it up though, I don't think. At least not yet. Or it's possible that A-angel could have arranged for that."

"And since you haven't talked to him yet..." Logan finished for her. Buffy nodded slowly. Maybe, she was pondering, she could use that as an excuse. She mulled the sudden thought over in her mind. Everyone seemed to sense that the confrontation between them was going to be explosive. And she wasn't too sure about that herself. But as she had with Tara, the need to have some privacy to discuss things between them was a motivator for the others to back off and let it be. And Angel, well, if she wasn't up to talking to him, which she was pretty sure she wasn't, at least he would understand her need to get out and patrol the cemeteries and streets od Seattle. Letting her go to do so thought was in Buffy's mind, the thing he would balk at. And his refusal that she was sure would come? It was something Buffy could under no circumstances, allow.

After all, Angel was human now. She had no idea exactly when that had happened, or how. She wasn't sure that she wanted to know. It took Angel most definitely out of her world of Slayers and Vampires and demons to kill. And the other... that wedding band on his most auspicious finger. It took him further away than actually being human alone had. She realized then that she hadn't even noticed if Cordy wore one as well.

And as much as she loved and had loved Angel, she could not be the other woman. Not at all. And not because of any specific reason that related to the world around them. But because it was already hard enough to be in this world without deliberately adding more pain to it. But still... the urge to do some pummeling was there and needed to be addressed.

"Maybe I can ask him tonight," she managed to get out and noted the surprised look on her cousin's face. Logan definitely did not have a winning poker face. At least not when it came to his recently resurrected cousin who was now a decade his junior instead of being his elder. Buffy had a momentary urge that resembled something like a muscle twitch around her mouth, as she thought how Dawn would enjoy lording that over her, that now technically speaking, Dawn was big sis. Or, if Tara got her paperwork through, Buffy's aunt.

"You're going to see Angel tonight?" Logan tried to clarify. Buffy, sighing, returned her attention to her plate, picking up her fork and twisting it aimlessly through the noodles.

"I was thinking that I could try," she murmured. "I think... there's a lot of old issues there. As well as some new ones. And... he needs to see that I'm going to... be okay. Or at least as okay as possible." It was a total line of BS, but her cousin was nodding along, eating it all up.

"Did you want to invite him here?" Logan asked immediately, looking not too sure about the idea. Buffy immediately shook her head.

"I was thinking that maybe he and I," she winced a little, "maybe we could find somewhere else to talk. I don't think he felt very welcome, last time." She didn't bother to voice that it had been she that had made him unwelcome. But then, he had done exactly as she had accused him of and barged his way in when it had been made clear to him that it wasn't the time yet.

"That's understandable," Logan nodded.

"And well, I guess I relate better to him if we can actually do something, rather than sitting around talking," she winced again as another lie rolled off her tongue. But maybe it wasn't such a lie. She had the feeling that whatever she and Angel did end up talking about, she'd need something to take it out on afterwards. Patrol immediately after was starting to look like a better option all the time. "Is it possible for us to find an area to walk around in? A park or something?" she asked carefully.

"There is a park a few blocks away that you could meet Angel at," Logan decided, rising swiftly from the table. "Since it's getting on to summer and kids are out of school, the Seattle PD are more lax with kids gathering there. You probably wouldn't draw too much attention to yourself there, if you want to talk in public like that."

"Okay," Buffy felt herself sagging with some relief. She ate a few more bites of dinner as she watched Logan rummaging around in the credenza. She was glad when he returned to the table and laid a city map between them at the corner of the table. She hadn't been sure how to address that need and was glad that he had thought of it himself.

"Here's where we are," he offered, circling a small city block with a pencil he had grabbed, lightly marking it. He ran his finger down a little ways, to a green block that was marked with a legend key sign, that signified parks and recreation. And then, looking over the map, he found another area that was quite a distance away. He circled that and then wrote something out on a spare bit of paper that he had grabbed as well. He pushed the scrap paper over to Buffy. "That's the approximate address of the park. If Angel can drive over, he shouldn't have too much trouble." Buffy nodded and gestured for the map.

Logan slid it closer to her and she scanned over the immediate area, recognizing the block of the neighborhood Logan had circled, to include Fogle Towers, where they were residing. Her eyes dropped down to the square that housed the Legend key and noted the familiar sign of a Christian cross used to denote cemeteries. There were only a few within the city limits and one not to far off the beaten path by the park he had indicated. It worked out well. Now, to just get Angel to agree to meet her.

"Is there a curfew in effect that I should know about?" she wondered as she set the map down. She was quickly committing the neighborhood street names where her real destination was, in her mind.

"Nine o'clock for school kids and teenagers," Logan answered immediately, "until school let's out for summer, in a few days. And then it'll be pushed back until ten for teens. Regular curfew for everyone else is two-thirty. Mostly because of the bar crowds."

"Okay, I can work with that," she decided. She didn't explain further, but Logan didn't ask. It wasn't like she was going to go hang out at a bar. But she could always use the excuse that she and Angel got to talking and perhaps went for a coffee. They still served coffee at bars right? At least she was pretty sure that Angel would cover for her, should her cousin ask. But now came the tough part of the evening, so far. "I guess, uh, I should call then."

"Okay," Logan smiled kindly and gestured to her plate. "If you're done with that, then I'll just start clearing up." It went unspoken that he was doing so to give her some privacy while she made the call. She thanked him quietly and rose from the table, folding the map up as well as she could. One phone call to make and one very sharp knife to find. Because there was no way that she was heading out into the city without some sort of weapon, aside from her own body, in her stash.

Cordelia Chase- O'Connor couldn't have been more surprised when the telephone that she was sitting next to in the dinky little motel, rang and when she answered immediately, was told by a surprisingly perky sounding Buffy that she was exactly the person that Buffy had been hoping to talk to.

"Me?" she demanded, her eyes shooting to her husband and then to Tara, both of whom were looking at her questioningly. She sat up straight, tossing the magazine that she had paid an insane price for, to the side. She turned her face away slightly and rolled her eyes upwards, towards the ceiling. "Seriously?" It wasn't a disbelieving gesture, but more, to avoid the silent gestures and grimaces she knew her husband would be making at her until he knew who she was talking to.

"Yeah, you. Seriously, Cordy," Buffy sounded a little offended. But it wasn't like they'd been besties in high school, or after.

"Okay," she managed to regain her equanimity rather quickly, but gave no indication yet as to who was on the phone, to the others. "Well, shoot then."

"Well, I was talking with Tara earlier, as I'm sure you know," Buffy began.

"Uh huh," Cordy sighed, already bored with the chit chat.

"And I was thinking that I do actually need to talk to Angel about some things," Buffy echoed her sigh. "But, I just didn't want to be... I don't know." The other woman paused for a moment and then seemed to gird herself. "I thought it was better for you to know what your husband is doing and who he's doing it with. Oh! That sounded wrong. There won't be doing. No doing, just talking. About the past, I mean. You know-!"

Cordy, who had understood perfectly, had to smile at the memories of Buffy and how her mouth sometimes ran away with the words. "So you called to ask my permission?" she prompted.

"Sort of, I guess," came Buffy's reluctant reply. Cordy ducked her chin for a moment, hiding the amusement and fondness that surprised even her.

"Well, thank you," she got out softly and then turned her eyes to her husband. His head was tilted, like he was trying to recapture his old super senses that he had had as a Vampire to eavesdrop on the conversation. "I appreciate that," she murmured. She could hear Buffy's relief like it was a palpable thing over the line. "Would you like to talk to Angel then?"

"Uh, not really," came her prompt reply and Cordy couldn't help the chuckle that escaped from her mouth. She quickly raised one hand to cover her face as Angel took on a slightly hurt look, as if he had guessed at the conversation turn. "But if I'm going to talk to him, I guess there are worse ways, right?"

"Right," Cordy agreed swiftly. "Let me get him." There was a murmur of agreement and she lowered the telephone, covering the mouthpiece with her hand. "It's Buffy," she announced and did not miss the way her husband straightened up immediately, the hopefulness on his face transmuting the usual broodiness. "She wants to talk to you," she directed towards her husband only, not missing the look of concern marring Tara's face. The blond witch had been busily working on something that had come from her and Buffy's discussion that afternoon. Angel and Cordy had gone to get dinner and when they had returned with the take away, she had explained what it was they two women were after. Angel had been in full agreement to help arrange for new identification papers for his old lover.

Angel came forward to sit at the edge of the bed that Cordy had been reclining on, his hand resting on her thigh as he reached for the phone with his other. He gave her an appreciative smile before pulling the phone up to his ear. "Buffy?" he asked.

"A-angel... hi," her voice was quiet. He waited, but there was nothing forthcoming as yet.

"Cordy said you wanted to talk," he prompted. He could hear her breathing, a little heavier than he recalled it as usually being and recognized that she was feeling stressed out. He felt bad about that, of course he did, but she had called him. He tried to remember what the females had been drilling into his head since they had first discovered that Buffy was back from the dead. Patience, patience and more patience. And as Tara had added, he needed to sit back and let Buffy come to him. Well he had, and now it was paying off. Or at least he hoped it would.

"I was actually thinking," she finally responded, "well, I wanted to get out for a bit. So I was wondering if you'd be able to... meet me at the park a few blocks over from here. I have the address."

Angel smiled, memories welling up that he only made minor effort to tamp back down. "Of course I can meet you. What's the address?"

She recited it to him and he nodded. "Logan said you would probably have to drive from the motel you're staying at," she added.

"That won't be a problem," he assured her. He was about to hang up so he could get going, to meet her, to see her again, to tell her what he could, to share with her his triumphs, to comfort her... and he bit at his lip, trying to remember that this wasn't about him, but what she needed. He could tell that she had more to say and waited.

"I-I don't know how I feel about this," she admitted, her honesty tearing at him. He refrained from trying to assure her that everything would be all right. Because honestly, how could it be? "I mean, I just... I don't want you to expect too much," she offered and then after a pause, "from me."

"I understand," he told her at once and felt his wife's hand covering his own. He threw her a grateful look, searching her placid smile. "Whatever you're comfortable with."

"Okay," Buffy breathed out. "See you in an hour?"

"An hour," Angel confirmed and then the line went dead. He reached over to replace the telephone on the stand and then turned to include Tara in the conversation. "We're meeting at a park not too far from her cousin's apartment. She wants to talk, but I don't know."

"Well, if she wants to talk, great," Cordy enthused and Angel detected just a note of dispirit, but at least she wasn't howling at the idea. "Let's get you changed into something unbroody and non threatening."

"Cordy!" he protested instantly. "I don't look broody and threatening!"

"Uh, have you looked in the mirror today?" she scoffed as she nudged at his shoulder. "I mean, I know I broke you of the habit of carrying that pocket mirror around just after you got your reflection back, but I know you Mister Hair Gel, monochromatic wardrobe-!"

"Cordy!" he protested again, though with a laugh that was echoed by Tara. He moved so that she could clamber off the bed, muttering about the navy blue pullover that she had thrown into his suitcase. At least, if not everything, this relationship, truly the most important he had at the moment in his life, was still okay.

June 1st, 2021

8:20 p.m.

Seattle, WA

The Crash Bar

"Max!" Sketch cried as soon as he spied the lithe brunette climbing the few steps up to the gang's table. "You made it." The cry was enough to garner attention from around the bar, to where a few of the gang had spread out in pursuit of various activities. Biggs and Alec, having noticed Max's entrance the moment the door had opened, like the good little transgenics they were, didn't comment or look too long, just to note where she was. One's eyes lingering a little longer than the other, because the other was busy watching his friend.

Cindy, at the bar, refilling their pitcher with another round, motioned to the bartender for another glass to go along with that. She knew what her friend had been up to between getting off of work and now and in her opinion, Max looked like she could use a drink. The others, Skye at the pool table and predictably, Druid and his date had shown up and the trio were at the pool table that Alec and Biggs had just abandoned.

Max smiled widely for her friend, though she was feeling a little worn out and just a smidgen more stressed. But then, that was pretty usual these days. She took the seat Sketch pushed out for her and unzipped her light jacket to shed. She glanced around, noting where people were and waved at a few. Catching Cindy's eye, she gave her friend and room mate a tight grin. Cindy was on her way back up in just a moment, settling the empty glass before Max before pouring her a generous measure, and then herself before placing the pitcher in Sketch's reach.

"So how's our boy?" she asked, not naming Joshua, because it was just yet another secret that Sketch was not in the know about.

"He's good," Max nodded. "I could barely tear him away from his painting to eat dinner."

Cindy nodded, well aware of the large dog mix transhuman's newest hobby. "He feelin' any betta about things."

Max shrugged. She wasn't sure because Joshua had been getting pretty secretive and not talking as much with her. At least not about anything deep. "He was pretty quiet, but that could have been because he was thinking about how to accomplish something. He wasn't happy about a shade of blue or something."

"Ah," Cindy replied delicately. "And did you get that otha thing done?" she asked, referring to little mini journal that Max had decided to write about her trip down to Sunnydale, California. She had explained briefly to Cindy that Tara was interested in hearing their impressions of what went on the night they got Buffy back.

"Um, not really," Max hedged before grabbing up her glass to take a long swallow. Truth be told, she was still having difficulty writing it. That was something that was not a strong suit of hers. She could describe a situation, from a by-standers point of view, or in a militaristic report style, but neither had been right. She hadn't found the correct frame of mind to convey the things that had happened. Either in person or on paper. Mostly because she had been front and center for part of it. And when she thought back on what she did remember of it, it made no sense to her. At least not the more esoteric parts of it. And that was what she needed to understand before she could share, she was sure. But she couldn't make sense of it without help.

She had thought that perhaps she could just write out the salient points and give that to Tara, but she was quite sure that even a practicing witch would have concern over 'so I was sitting there and then I heard this voice in my head say...' It didn't sit well with her at any point.

"What's the problem Boo?" Cindy asked kindly, leaning forward on the table before giving Sketchy a warning glance to not interrupt. He continued to divide his attention around at all the honey's in the bar and what the two females at the table were saying.

"I don't know," Max shrugged, glancing at Sketch as well. "I mean, I'm trying to write out what happened, but it just doesn't... flow. Doesn't feel right, you know?"

"Not particularly Boo," Cindy chuckled. "But den, I ain't writing shit like that since I was in school."

"What are you writing for?" Sketchy asked suddenly. Max sighed, deflating a little, but then shrugged one shoulder.

"My trip to Cali," she offered tightly. "Kind of a journal of what happened. It was pretty..."

"Monumental?" Sketch offered softly, his face kind and Max smiled. Sketch as well as the rest of the Jam Pony crew had totally bought into their excuse that Max needed specific, life saving medical intervention because of her "heart condition". She nodded and was only slightly startled when he reached out to grip her shoulder with a comforting rub. "You shouldn't worry too much. Unless your doctor asked you to...?" When Max realized that she now had an excuse to discuss it with others. She nodded quickly.

"There's the official documentation," she hastily made up as Sketch leaned back. "So no worries there, but he wants to hear my impressions of what was happening. And since neither he or I have time to sit for several hours to talk it over, I told him I'd just write it down for him to look at later." It was an extremely lame cover story, in her opinion, but Sketch seemed to toally buy it, so she ran with it. "Plus, I just wanted to remember some of the details, you know, in case something like this..." she winced because while journaling events of a trip or dealing with a medical crisis sounded plausible to her, there was no way in hell she wanted to ever experience what they had, ever again.

"Cool," Sketch enthused quietly. "So what's the problem?"

"Well," Max harrumphed, crossing her arms over her chest. "A lot of stuff was happening and some of it..." she paused and threw a glance at her room mate who shrugged back, "I was kind of out of it."

"Is that all?" Sketch asked with a laugh. Max threw her hands up helplessly.

"Well it sounds stupid in my head and then I can't write that!" she protested. Sketch continued to laugh. But then he held up a hand.

"Can I give you a piece of advice that I got when I was younger?" he asked with a smile. Max gestured for him to continue. He nodded once, picking up the pitcher to refill his glass. "Let go of your inner editor." The noise that emanated from the back of Cindy's throat made Max throw her a mild glare and Sketch's smile widen. "Seriously," he continued, drawing Max's attention back to himself. "We're our own worst critics. Just write down what you know about what was happening, what you think was happening and how you felt about it. You can always go back and edit later."

"That's true," Max hummed a little. "Maybe. Thanks Sketch," she gave him an appreciative smile as the lanky wanna be photographer sat back in his chair, content with his world.

"You wanna show me appreciation?" he hinted broadly. "You could tell me that Buffy's comin' tonight."

"Sorry Sketch," Max immediately shook her head. "Not tonight." She turned then to her friend. "I told you that I did speak to her this morning?"

"You did," Cindy confirmed. "Didn't get a chance to discuss the details."

"There aren't any," Max shook her head. "I extended the offer and she's thinking about takin' us up on it."

"A'ight then," Cindy smiled. "Wheneva da girl wants. Now, whose up for some foosball?"

"Ya got me," Max accepted immediately, feeling much better with that smallish large detail pushed to the back of her mind. "Let's play!"