A/N This is the series finale' with a new character added. Hey, even a vampire slayer needs help from time to time.
Let no one be unworthy of the Angel that watches over them.
Standard disclaimers apply, I only wish I owned all of these characters
THE SERAPH I
It felt odd just walking up to a door and knocking. My usual way of doing things was to remain in the shadows, to avoid direct interaction, to help from a distance. Coming right out and announcing myself was definitely out of character. As the bell rang, I could feel a number of presences in the house. Suddenly the door was jerked open and I was facing a rather slender brunet. She was smiling when she opened the door, I suppose she was expecting someone else; the smile evaporated quickly when she got a good look at me.
"Can I help you", she asked.
"No", I replied, "I'm here to help you.
"What makes you think that I need help", she asked.
"All of you need help, heck, the whole world needs help."
I felt awkward, just standing on the doorstep talking to this girl; casual conversation was not one of my strong suits. "Could you take this to the Watcher" I asked, handing over a rather ancient sigul.
Her eyes got wider than they already were, "you know about watchers, how?"
I just stood silently and exuded confidence and calm. She disappeared into the house, but did not close the door. I could see a number of young women in the house. They were all young and I could tell that they were all scared to one degree or another. Suddenly my view was blocked by an older man with glasses.
He looked at me for a second, and waiving my sigul, exclaimed "I cannot accept this as real".
"Never the less", I replied; "It is real and you know it".
"There has never been anything but the wildest conjecture about the existence of you."
"Yet here I stand." I looked past him at the brunet and asked "may I please come in?"
She looked at the man and looked at the two sheathed swords on my back and said "wait a minute". I nodded and stood looking at the man while he polished his glasses. She said "come in" from somewhere in the interior. When I walked in, I found myself in a ring of armed girls.
A petite blond was facing me and said "no funny business, right?" It was as much a threat as a question.
"No" I assured her, "not in the way that you mean. I am here to help, and to repay a debt".
"What debt is that?"
"It is the debt that I owe the other slayer." I removed my weapons slowly and asked the blond to take me to the other slayer. Most of the girls dispersed and a nod from the blond, however, the first brunet, a red-headed witch (I could feel her connection to the earth's energy) and another brunet came upstairs with us. I knew where she was, I could feel her presence. I could also feel the pain that was coursing through her.
The blond stopped me at the door, "if you hurt her, you're not going to have a chance to cash your insurance policy".
Again, I simply stood and radiated calm and assurance. She nodded once and opened the door.
There was a pale brunet on the bed, she looked older than she did in my memory. She felt me come in, her head tracked me even with her eyes closed. I moved an object of power from her side and quietly asked, "do you want help?" Her brow creased for a moment, then she nodded. Once permission had been given, I extended my hands over her. I could see the discordant energy in her and did all that I could to clear the flow. A part of me could hear the gasps from the others in the room, but my focus was on the injured girl in the bed. Slowly her body relaxed and she fell into as restful a sleep as I could manage. I rose from the bed, gave her forehead a kiss and turned to the people in the room. "There are others in this house who are hurt, do you want me to help them?"
The witch finally broke the silence "what are you?"
"I will answer all that I can, however; if others need healing, that is what I should do first."
"Dawn, take him to the others, downstairs", the slayer gave me a searching look, "then we'll talk".
I followed the girl Dawn down the stairs. I really saw here for the first time, and realized that she was a lot more than human. She caught me staring and blushed a little. "What's your name?" she asked.
"Ian" I replied.
She mused for a second and said "that's nice."
I probably should have said something else, but as I told you before, casual conversation is just not me. Then I saw all of the other injured girls and all thought of conversation went out the window. I spent the next hour doing what I could to heal their injuries. Healing has always been one of the priorities of my kind. Finally, all that could be done, had been. I stood and stretched, wishing that there was more room in the house, ah well. I looked and the blond that I had heard referred to as Buffy, was looking at me.
"So Ian, the question still stands, what are you?" She was surprised when the watcher answered, in a somewhat awed voice "He's an Angel".
THE SERAPH, CHAPTER II
"He's a WHAT!" came from all that heard the watchers answer.
I was surprised at the volume generated, but that response is not unusual when I work openly. He handed my sigul back to me and went on; "if this is real, then he is one of the Seraph. You know how the demons that walk the earth are hybrids part human, part demon. It was always assumed that only the forces of darkness worked in this way. But there have always been persistent rumors, all through recorded history, of similar beings that were forces for good. The few records that do exist are sketchy at best, but the one constant is the symbol on the sigul that he handed me. From his actions, I must conclude that he is one of these beings."
I smiled and gave an inward sigh of relief, it was comforting to be with someone who immediately understood what I was.
I faced my audience and began: "The Watcher is correct, I am what is known as a Seraph. There are three of us in the world at any time. In general we influence from the shadows and take indirect action, we heal and guard. It is rare that we intervene directly; however, the current situation demands that I do so. I was not always as I am now. Originally I was simply a human being. Like slayers there are always potentials, and when one Seraph is killed, another is called".
Buffy looked a bit skeptical, "you can kill angels?"
"Yes, like any vampire the human portion can be killed, when that occurs the entire being dies. I became a Seraph five years ago, since that time I have been learning and helping where I could. The only real restriction that I have is that my help must be requested, I cannot simply provide it".
The witch's eyes got sharp "So that is why you asked Faith if she wanted help, you were powerless until she asked?"
"Pretty much," I answered. "I have been sent here to help you in this time of need. I will fight by you and, if necessary, die for or with you."
Dawn looked at me "why just you, there are three of you after all, why not all of you?"
"Because", I answered; "there is still other evil in the world, all must be cared for".
Just then, another voice spoke out "I remember you."
I looked up and smiled at Faith, "And I certainly remember you."
The watcher looked at Faith "you have met him before?" "Yeah, remember when I first came out here, I told you all that story about the three vamps and the busload of Baptists. He was on the bus."
I gave a little nod, "that was back when I was a human".
Faith looked confused "but your back was broken, and you were bleeding out, how did you survive?"
"They got me to the hospital alive, but as you say, I was quickly dying. That was when the true Seraphim came and asked me if I would become that which I am. I agreed, and I lived. When this assignment came up, I begged for it, I wished to repay my debt to you for saving me, and several relatives".
Faith looked a bit embarrassed "I was just slaying, you know, I didn't do it for a price."
"I know, but you made quite an impression; especially on an 11 year old boy".
Remembering her state of total undress during that encounter, Faith looked even more embarrassed than she had before. Several snickers rose up from the people listening, and Faith proceeded to turn a very bright red.
The witch, however, was not laughing, nor even smiling. She glared a bit and said "listen, all you have shown us is that you know ancient history, and you can heal, I need a bit more proof".
Several of the others looked abashed, but no one contradicted her. I did not care for this part. There was one thing more that I could do, but it was flashy and draining. I try to avoid both things whenever possible. I heaved a sigh and said "come with me". We walked into the back yard, where I removed my shirt. All of them could see me, and could see the frown of concentration on my face. It hurt a little, but slowly my wings sprouted and grew from my back. When I have my wings out, I am more Seraphim than human, so I also glow a bit. It looks impressive, but I don't care for it. I simply stood as the witch checked for illusions and other tricks. Again, I didn't care for it, but knew that it was necessary.
Finally, Buffy looked at the witch and asked "so Will, are you convinced?"
"For now" she huffed, but didn't look happy about it. From the tone, I understood her dilemma. She was born Jewish and then became Wicca, dealing with an obviously Christian being was not to her taste.
I gave a little grin and said "we can work together, that is all that matters."
An older girl in the back raised her hand, "how are you about working with demons?"
"Anya, you're not a demon anymore", she was reminded.
"Well duh" she snapped at the man with the eye-patch, "but what about Spike?"
A rather loud silence dropped over the gathering, and all eyes turned to me.
Feeling a bit confused, I asked "who or what is Spike?" Just then, the roar of a motorcycle began to answer my question.
THE SERAPH, CHAPTER III
I could feel him, like the blaze of a fire. A demon, and a powerful one; for a vampire, was approaching. I was feeling foolish for abandoning my weapons, but knew that I was not powerless in this contest.
He came through the house and said "what the bloody hell is that?"
My senses were screaming at me to attack and destroy this minion of evil, but I withheld, realizing that he might be helping the same cause.
He turned to Buffy and said "what the devil is golden boy doing here, tell him to bugger off."
She looked at the both of us, then at the others. "We can't afford to lose either of you" she replied. Then glaring at both me and the demon asked "can you two co-exist?"
We stared at each other, and everyone could feel that each wanted to destroy the other. I broke the stalemate by saying "I'm the new one here, I can find somewhere close to stay."
The demon smirked, "what a surprise, you being holier-than-thou."
I did not reply, I just radiated a bit, and had the satisfaction of watching him cringe. I turned to Dawn and asked "is there a church near here?" "Sure she replied, just down the street." I collected my weapons, and we left through the front door. I stopped and turned back to Buffy, "don't worry, once we find a place for me, I'll see that she gets back safely". Again I radiated both confidence and calm. She looked a little unsure, but just nodded and closed the door.
I was feeling very uncomfortable at the moment. In addition to being a very powerful creature, I'm also a sixteen year old boy. Right now I was walking with a rather pretty girl, my own age, and I was totally at a loss as to what to say. Needless to say I started off with a really stupid question. "So, how long have you been a human?"
She jerked around and grabbed my arms, her face inches from my own, "what do you mean by that"?
I looked a bit stunned, but replied, "well, I can tell that you are mostly human, but that you have not always been this way. I can also tell that the non-human part of you is ancient, almost as old as me."
She turned away with a disgusted snort, "why does everyone think that I am some sort of freak-show attraction."
I stopped her, and turned her to face me. I could see a glint of tears in her eyes, so I chose my words very carefully. "I don't think you're a freak, any more than I think that I am a freak. We are what we are. I believe that if you both face, and embrace the part of you that is not human, you can become a very powerful force. I would hope that you could become another force for good. The world needs all of those that it can get."
"But how can I do that", she wailed "I was this evil doorway between dimensions, the earth almost became Hell because of me." She was openly crying now, and I could see. She was afraid of what she had been, and of what she could become. She had only encountered powerful forces for evil, and so she believed that the powerful being that she had been must be evil. I stepped back and slowly removed one of my swords. She flinched a bit but stood her ground.
I handed it to her and asked "this is a powerful object, is it good or evil?" She looked a bit confused, but answered "of course it's good."
"But if you choose to kill me with it, is that good?" She looked more confused, so I continued. "You were the Key, right." She nodded. "You were a tool, like this weapon. You were neither good nor evil, you simply were. Trust me as someone who can see all of you, you are not evil. Maybe a bit unsure of yourself, but not evil; and not even especially naughty."
She laughed at that and I was relieved. I do not know if my words had any special effect, but she seemed happier, and surprisingly that was important to me. She returned my sword and we continued on. Stopping at the First Church of Sunnydale (Disciples of Christ), she went through the front door. She turned when she realized that I had not followed.
"Is the pastor here", I asked. She frowned but looked inside. Looking back at me she said, "everyone seems to have left."
I was looking troubled, but she brightened and said "please come in."
"Thanks", I said, "sometimes the rules can really be a pain." The church was still consecrated, and close enough for me to feel if the slayers were in distress. "Looks like we have a winner", I said. I dropped my modest pack and turned to accompany her home. She told me that it was not necessary, but I reminded her that I had promised.
She looked thoughtful for a moment and said "you can't lie, can you?"
"No" I replied "I would loose all of my power if I did."
"And I'm really not evil?"
"No Dawn, you're really not evil, just a very pretty young woman." She looked pleased and blushed a bit. I was shocked at what I had said. Here I was flirting in the middle of a potential apocalypse. Well, I am partially a teenage boy, I cannot be expected to focus all the time. Fortunately I was focused enough to feel the beings that attacked us as we neared Dawn's home. There were three of them, I handed Dawn a knife and told her to guard herself and do what I told her. She looked scared, but nodded as they came in a rush. I heard the clash of metal as Dawn blocked her attacker, but my concentration was on the two in front of me. My swords were out as they came at me. I blocked the one to the left and pushed him off balance. I could then concentrate on the being on my right. With my right sword, I blocked his attack, and with my left, I gutted him. The opponent on my left recovered faster than I had expected. I lost a bit of hair as I ducked, spun and ran both blades through his chest. I could hear Dawn yell as her attacker forced her down and raised his blade. With a flick of my wrist, I removed the blade and his arm, and soon, his head. Kicking the body out of the way, I looked down to see if Dawn was OK. She was scared, and had a cut or two that I healed quickly. I felt bad that she had been hurt. "I'm sorry" I said, "I have not used weapons in a very long time; I'm a bit rusty."
"That's alright" she answered with a twitch of a grin, "I guess even Angels aren't perfect". She laughed when she got a look at me, and running her hand through my blond hair said "you are going to need a new cut to hide that trim they just gave you." I laughed with her as we finished our trip to her house without further event.
THE SERAPH IV
I rested and meditated in the church, gathering my strength for what was to come. I stretched my awareness out, into the town. I knew where the evil was concentrated; and I could feel the pockets of good, and I found the isolated pockets of humanity. I knew someone was approaching the church, and with a little effort, I realized who it was. She snuck in, so I waited until she was about ten feet behind me. Bracing my hands on the floor, I swept her legs, and in the same motion, flipped so that I had both arms and her abdomen pinned, and my knife in my left hand at her throat. "Hello Faith".
"Not bad kid" she replied, "Dawnee said that you were feeling a bit rusty, thought you might want a workout".
I helped her to her feet and putting my knife away asked "practice blades, blades or mano-a-mano"?
"Practice blades to start and we'll go from there." So I got out the practice blades, and we went at it. With all the swinging and cracking of the wooden blades, it sounded like the soundtrack from a Jackie Chan flick. I had started out slow, but after an hour, the movements started to flow and I could feel my body reacting instantly to the desires of my will. Faith attacked relentlessly for 20 minutes, but she never got through. We were both dripping with sweat and panting for breath.
"So, we both seem to be five by five", she said. I just nodded, I was too short of breath. "Wanna keep goin she asked or are you throwin in the towel?"
For an answer, I threw a spinning reverse kick at her chin. Of course, she was not there to be hit; and we were back at it again. Another 20 minutes later, and we looked absolutely wasted. Heaving for breath, and several pounds lighter from all of the sweat, I looked over at her.
"You look a bit more at peace with yourself now."
"I am" she replied, "I stopped being evil."
I gave a little chuckle, "you were never evil Faith, a bit lost and confused, but never evil." She just shook her head in denial; so I stepped over and with my fingers under her chin, raised her swirling chocolate eyes to meet mine. "I know everything that has happened to you, and every time a crucial decision was made, you made it for good." "You saved those people in that church, you saved Wes, you helped Buffy defeat the Mayor even though you saw him as the father you never really had." Tears were swimming in her eyes; there are times when the gaze of my kind is not easy to bear.
"How did you know?"
I laughed softly, "remember what I am" I replied. "You don't think I'd ignore the life of the person who saved me, do you?" She just shook her head again, but her eyes never left mine. I focused a bit more, and liked what I saw. "This Wood is a good person, and you care for each other." "I do not believe that he is your ultimate destiny, but he can help you to forgive yourself and let you start looking toward the future."
She broke the contact then, and turning said "assuming that we live past the next week."
I sighed, "yes, assuming that". There was a bit of an awkward moment, I'm sure she was thinking about what I had told her. I spoke up "any chance I could get a shower, this church is a bit short on amenities".
"Sure" she smirked, "If you don't mind fighting through a couple of slayers, a dozen or so potentials and assorted others".
I just laughed, I always envied Faith her gift of humor. As we walked towards the Summer's house I asked Faith what she knew of Buffy and her sister, and the others. I got a pretty descent idea of who these people were and how things had been.
I also got a smirk and a glance from Faith "does Dawn know that you dig her?"
THE SERAPH V
I had heard the phrase, 'you could have knocked me over with a feather' before, but I never really understood it until that moment.
Faith did not help matters by nearly howling with laughter at my expense. "You should see your face Ian" she gasped out, "you look like someone just shoved a cactus up your ass". Then it was off into more laughter.
I grimaced, "sorry, I'm used to being on the giving rather than the receiving end of insight."
"That's cool" she said, "does she?" "I haven't said anything, if that's what you mean, but she's not stupid".
"Do I stand any chance at all?" She looked me over for a second and shrugged; "as good a shot as anyone, and better than most". "But if you hurt her…." She didn't have to finish the statement; I knew perfectly well who would be out for me if I hurt Dawn. I just nodded, and we went into the house.
Fortunately the house was relatively deserted, so, after Faith was done, the shower was mine. I was in the middle of soaping down when the door burst open and in one motion the curtain was thrown wide.
"Hey Faith, don't use up all the hot wat….."
I looked into Dawn's eyes and said "I'm not Faith." She just stood there, like a deer in the headlights. I turned my back on her and she quickly closed the curtains and ran out of the room. For whatever reason, I was more amused than embarrassed. I dried off and changed, and went looking for Faith. So, of course, I ran into Dawn instead.
"I'm sorry" she said, while looking at the floor.
"That's alright" I replied, "why would you expect me to be the one in the shower." She could hear the grin in my voice and looked up.
A curious light was in her eyes "do they hurt you"? She waved her hand at my back, and I understood. I have some bones that protrude where my wings appear.
"No" I smiled, "I just can' sleep on my back." Wow, I was actually carrying on a conversation with a cute girl. Unfortunately, Spike chose this time to make an appearance.
I had felt him, of course, but I was trying to ignore his presence; I just wish that he could have done the same. "Hey flyboy, you're clean so bugger off."
I felt myself stiffen, and Dawn looked a bit dismayed. "Come on you sexless poof, hit the bricks."
I started to turn and answer, but just then Dawn blurted out "he is so NOT sexless".
And the house got very quiet. It always amazes me how you can hear silence. I could feel a lot of angry eyes on me, and knew that an explanation was in order. Unfortunately, Dawn kept talking; "we were in the shower". If I could curse, I would have been doing it right then. "I mean he was in the shower and I was standing there". "I mean, nothing happened". Her explanations just sort of died away, and the silence just got louder.
Buffy came toward me, eyes blazing, and a weapon of power in her hand "what the hell happened"?
I looked her right in the eyes and said "nothing; I was taking a shower, and Dawn came in, thinking I someone else".
I could see her hands flex on the handle "why should I believe you"?
I just looked at the watcher. She turned and he answered; "remember what he is, if he lies, he becomes mortal". Fortunately, she just paused and relaxed; OK Giles, if you say so. She gave me one last glare and turned to everyone "I need to see someone about an axe".