Title: New Beginnings
Author: babies stole my dingo (agilebrit)
Length: Short-short (less than 1000 words).
Disclaimer: Joss and Terry Pratchett are the genius behind these characters; I am but a lowly follower. I make no money from any of this, so please don't sue me.
Written for: Illmantrim the Wanderer. Way back when, I asked for fic suggestions. This was "Wesley: Death is only the beginning." Also, Wesfan1234 asked for a longer Wes fic awhile back. This may or may not be continued in the future; for now, it's a one-shot.
Notes: Takes place directly following the Angel series finale, "Not Fade Away." And, yeah, this is sort of based around some things I heard about the now-nonexistent Season Six and what they were going to do with Fred, and I like Wes/Lilah better than Wes/Fred, so...thump me. And I couldn't resist having one of my favorite Discworld characters appear in a cameo.
"WESLEY WYNDAM-PRYCE. FOLLOW ME."
I shouldn't have been surprised by the emissary that greeted me in Cyvus Vail's house, but for some reason I was. I would have laughed at the cliche of the cowl, the skeletal hand, and the scythe, but he looked distinctly humorless, so I refrained. A pale horse snorted and tossed its head behind him, and a kitten purred on its withers. "Where are we going?"
"THE POWERS THAT BE HAVE REQUESTED AN AUDIENCE WITH YOU."
"Am I in trouble?"
"THAT IS NOT FOR ME TO SAY. COME."
I grasped the bony fingers, and our surroundings dissolved into, of all things, a boardroom, paneled with dark cherry and carpeted in ankle-deep burgundy plush. Seven men and women sat in leather chairs around a large wooden table, dressed in severely tailored business suits. They looked human enough. "Are these the Powers That Be or the Senior Partners?" I asked my guide...but he was gone.
At the head of the table, a tall gray-haired man with a mustache and goatee stood as I appeared. "Mr. Wyndam-Pryce. Welcome." He indicated an empty chair. "Please, have a seat." His accent was somewhat European, although I couldn't identify it. "In answer to your question, we are the Powers That Be. Did you expect robes and wild beards and flashes of lightning?"
"Yes, actually." They smiled a little at that. "I'd prefer to stand," I said carefully, "until I know what this is about."
He inclined his head. "Very well." With a wave of his hand, a screen behind him activated, and I was treated to a ferocious battle scene. Amazingly, the small cadre made up of Angel, Spike, Gunn, and Illyria seemed to be winning, against impossible odds. Wounded and battered, they nevertheless managed to beat back the hordes of demons that the Senior Partners sent to assail them, and in the end, with the sun rising over the city, they stood triumphant. The last thing I saw before the vision faded was the four of them retreating into the Hyperion before the sun could illuminate the alley fully.
"You have all served us well. Worthier Champions we could not have asked for. However, you, Mr. Wyndam-Pryce, are the only one to have paid the ultimate price in this particular battle. We owe you much, and are prepared to grant you anything that is within our power to give."
Wild hope leaped within me. "Fred--"
He cut me off. "Miss Burkle's journey is not yet complete."
"Is still within the body of the God-King Illyria. Dr. Sparrow lied to you."
I felt like a fool. Why had we believed him? The destruction of a soul was obviously a much more difficult thing to achieve than that. Fred would still be denied to me, apparently. All right, then. "Lilah Morgan."
He tented his fingers and gazed at me, his expression inscrutable. "The Senior Partners have bound her, by her own choosing. We cannot lightly interfere."
"But you can interfere?"
"This is your request? Of all the things you could have--including your life back, on Earth--you choose Miss Morgan? You realize that you will not be allowed to return to that plane with her?"
Taking a deep breath, I recalled many things. Mainly that she'd died because of a plan that I had set in motion. The memory of her head rolling off the table still sickened me. I nodded once. "Yes." A flurry of movement around the table greeted my simple declaration, and I noticed some interesting baubles changing hands. "You were taking bets?" I was incredulous.
"Humans are entertaining. It may seem...capricious, to you, but subtle shifts in power around this table occur when one of us proves that they know human nature better than the rest." He smiled. "I myself have just gained a sizeable increase in my own status. Miss Morgan is yours." He clapped his hands, and she appeared next to me, confused and lovely.
"Wes?" she asked.
"Lilah Morgan," the gray-haired man intoned. "You have been released from your contract with Wolfram and Hart, and you now belong to this man, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. You will do as he bids you."
The implications of that hit me a half-second after he said it, and Lilah looked alarmed. "What? Wait, no! That's not how I wanted her," I said.
His eyebrow went up. "You realize that if she has her free agency, she can leave you at any time. And probably will. Miss Morgan is not known for her--" He coughed. "--loyalty."
"I don't care," I said fiercely. "If you take away her choices, you might as well give her back to the Senior Partners. I didn't want to liberate her from her contract to make her my personal slave."
"Very well. It's your funeral, as it were." He switched tracks. "Your time on the Earth plane is done with. However, other dimensions can benefit from your unique talents...as well as those of Miss Morgan, who has a formidable mind. If, naturally, she chooses to stay with you." His subtle emphasis on the word let me know that he still disapproved of my viewpoint.
Lilah stepped over to me and took my hand. "I'm staying with him. Jerks," she muttered in my ear, making me smile.
Arrangements were made to move us to another dimension, where we would continue the fight against evil. After they plopped us into an apartment at our destination, Lilah grabbed me and kissed me passionately. "I knew you'd come through for me, lover." Her voice was husky. "And you know what?" She seemed embarrassed as she lowered her eyes. "I still have that dollar bill." Looking at me a little sideways, she quirked up one side of her mouth. "Who says you can't take it with you?"