This is an Alternate Reality that has spoilers up to the end of Season Two. All characters belong to Joss Whedon. There are characters from Angel the TV Series but this will take place during BTVS during Season Three.
Guess Who's Coming With Me?
By Marie Nomad
Lighting flashed across the night sky as Buffy tossed and turned. "No…" She whispered as she saw Angel's surprised face at the mansion before she thrust her sword into his stomach. "Please…" He vanished before her and she sat up. "ANGEL!"
"Angel again?" A black man said as he sat up beside her. "He must have been special to keep you up like this." He reached up and massaged her shoulders.
Buffy sighed as she let herself relax. "I'm sorry, Gunn, I shouldn't have woken you up but…"
"I have nightmares too; just make sure you don't kick so hard." Gunn said as he rubbed his ribs. "For a tiny thing, you pack a punch."
"Isn't that one of the things you like about me?" Buffy leaned over for a kiss.
"Oh yeah." The two kissed and finally Gunn let go. "Just go back to sleep. We have sightings of more vamps that we have to take care of. Even super slayers need their beauty sleep."
"Right." Buffy turned over and gazed up at the night sky. She could not believe that this was where she ended up after running away three months ago.
She was cold and tired. Actually, she was cold, tired, and lost. Her time in Sunnydale made her forget how huge and confusing LA was. The streets were like a maze of alleys which had all sorts of demons and creatures of the night. As usual, she was carrying a stake and a knife just in case someone decided to attack her. Unfortunately, she forgot a map and now she had to worry about getting home.
The back of her neck tingled and she heard some crashes. Curiously, she walked up to an abandoned building and peeked into one of the windows to see a group of black teenagers fighting vampires. The black kids were armed with stakes, weapons, and other things while the vampires were attacking with their teeth. Buffy ran into the building and joined into the fray. She just snuck in and started dusting vampires left and right. After the battle was done, Buffy brushed herself off. It had been a while since she was in a fight like that and enjoyed it.
"Damn, girl, what are you?" One of the gang members said in awe. Something told Buffy that he was the leader by the way the others gave him room.
"I was just… passing through." Buffy said as she picked up her stake. "You really shouldn't fight all those vamps by yourself."
"We could take care of ourselves." The black man said as he looked up and down the petite girl. "But, you're strong. You look human."
"I am human. I'm just as human as the rest of you guys." Buffy waved away. "It's just…" She paused. Should she tell them her secret? These people obviously dealt with vampires before, would they believe her? She was lonely and maybe they can understand her. "I'm a vampire slayer. Actually, the Slayer, you know the Chosen One."
The gang stared at her. "You mean, The Slayer?" The leader said in amazement. "I thought you're like the Boogyman for vampires."
"Oh no, we're very real." Buffy said as she crossed her arms.
"Cool." Gunn reached up and grabbed Buffy's hand with all of his strength. Buffy retaliated by clutching his hand.
"Yeow!" Gunn let go and flexed his hand. "You're strong for such a tiny thing, Slayer."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "I have a name and it's B- Anne. What's yours?"
"Gun." Buffy repeated, "Your name is Gun?"
"G-U-N-N. Yeah, that's my real name." Gunn said as he studied her again. "So, what's a bad ass slayer like you doing here? Did you get a demotion or something."
"I was passing through. I was lost." Buffy said embarrassed, "I heard fighting so I looked in and saw you need help so I help." There was more silence and she inched away. "Okay, I did my deed and so I'll go and leave you alone now." Buffy started to walk away and then was stopped a hand on the shoulder.
"Hey, wait. Look, we're sorry about the weird treatment. It's just… it's not just the fact that you're The Slayer bothered us it's just… we never expected a white girl like you to come and help us. Most people just avoid these things, even the cops don't look at us." Gunn explained as he looked away. "It's hard for us to even accept help because no one wants to help."
"I know what you mean." Buffy sighed.
The two stared at each other. "Say, you wanna come home with us? Maybe you can help us with our vampire slaying techniques." Gunn offered, "You know, you're the expert in the undead and all. What do you say?"
Buffy thought about it. She had never really knew people like Gunn and his gang. There was her friends but they don't slay vampires with her. They don't know what it was like for her right now and she really don't have any place to go to. Maybe, it was her desperate need for someone to understand her, for someone to talk to her about vampires without thinking of Angel. "All right."
It had been months since she first met Gunn. At first, it was a professional relationship, she and he fight vampires together and gradually, they warmed up. She had grown close to his little sister Alonna, she was young and sharp. She became like the little sister Buffy never had. Gunn's friends also accepted her and even called her 'The Tiny Titan'. She didn't know whether to be proud or insulted by that nickname. She still had her waitress job but she chipped in as much as possible. Gunn's gang often recycle old cans and bottles, work odd jobs, and even steal from the vampires who fall before them. Oddly enough, they never deal with drugs or anything like that. A couple of Gunn's friends steal cars but Buffy learned to just let it go as long as she never had to take part in that. For all their strange quirks, Buffy felt almost at peace with them. Now, she had a home and what feels like a family but her heart aches. She wanted to get closer to Gunn but she couldn't. The idea of her getting intimate again after Angel was too much for her to stand.
"Another day, another vamp." Gunn said as he and Buffy walked down to the warehouse with their weapons in their hands. "You were kicking ass."
"Thanks." Buffy winced at the term.
Gunn sighed. While he only knew her for three months, she showed peculiar habits. One thing was that she can't stand the word 'ass'. It wasn't like she was sensitive to the foul language, she heard far worse and not blink an eye but the word 'ass' bothered her to some weird degree. "Hey, sorry, forgot you hate that word."
"It's just a word." Buffy tried to excuse.
"Does it have to do with this Angel?"
"Sort of. It's complicated. No worries. I'm fine." Buffy smiled falsely.
Gunn crossed his arms. "Yeah right. Look, Anne, I knew you for three months and I barely know anything about you, except that you killed vampires. I don't know who this Angel chick is, where you're from, or even your real name."
"Okay, Angel was my ex-boyfriend, I'm from Sunnydale and Buffy."
"My real first name."
"Yeah. Buffy the vampire slayer, that's me. Just don't tell the others, it's embarrassing."
"Gotcha." Gunn paused, "So, Angel's a guy. What happened between the two of you?"
Buffy looked down. "That's the complicated part. Let me say that he's dead and I don't want to talk about it."
The black man put his hands on her shoulders. "I get it. He was a vampire wasn't he?"
At that moment, Buffy's heart froze in her chest. How could he have guessed? Just a second ago, Gunn thought Angel was a girl. How would he stand her, knowing that her ex-boyfriend wasn't even human. "Errr… ah…"
"Hey, it's cool. I've staked friends who were turned. No girlfriends, thank God. I don't know how I would feel if I had to stake Alona. I understand, really."
Buffy let out a sigh of relief. Of course, Gunn thought that Angel was alive and was turned. That was true about Two Hundred and so years ago. There was no way that he would believe that a slayer would fall for a vampire, even with a soul. That part about her life will remain a secret. "Thanks."
It was the same nightmare as she suffered throughout the months. Her stabbing a clueless Angel in the stomach and his fall into Hell. His look of confusion hurts her the most. He didn't know why she did what she had to do.
"Cartias." A faint whisper echoed throughout the air.
"Eh?" Buffy stood in the mansion. That was not part of her dream.
"Okay, who or what is Cartias?" Buffy demanded. "You are so ripping off of 'Field of Dreams'."
Buffy sat up in her bed and looked around. "Well, that was one weird dream."
"What was?" Gunn asked as he opened his eyes. "You didn't scream Angel's name."
"No, just… a weird word. Do you know what a Cartias is?"
"Cartias? Was it that new car that's coming out?"
"I don't think so." Buffy rubbed her head. "Whenever I get a weird prophesy dream like that, I have to listen."
"Okay, so we just have to find out what Cartias is. I'll ask around, someone should know."
"Hey, I have to take care of my girl." Gunn wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
Buffy sat at the computer at the local library rubbing her head. "Okay, so caritas is Latin for mercy. Great, mercy to who? Why can't you guys be a bit more clear?" Buffy called out as she looked at the ceiling.
She closed her mouth and then got up to her stack of supernatural books. Oddly enough, the LA library has their own section of supernatural books that would make even Giles crave to come here. She sighed as she thought of her watcher. She missed him and her friends. "Giles, Willow, Xander…" She sat down again. More than once, she wanted to be with Giles when he was looking over old dusty books or Willow for her great computer skills, she longed to hear Xander's quick wit and she even missed Cordelia's bluntness. She had to wonder how they are coping right now. Are the vampires still bothering them or was the newest slayer taking care of them?
Buffy sighed. "What could this new slayer like? I bet she moved in on my friends, took everything from me and that's fine. I don't belong there any more." She nodded firmly. After a moment of resolution, she laid her head on the table.
"Hey, you okay?" Alona asked as she came up with some more books. Alona volunteered to come with Buffy. Gunn came as well but focused on the local books. He admitted that he was less of a research guy than Buffy.
"I'm fine." Buffy sighed, "It's just… I had never been such a research girl. My watcher, Giles, often do this sort of thing for me."
"Why don't you just go and call him?"
"I can't. It's complicated."
Alonna snorted. "Everything about this is complicated with you. You're not thinking about leaving us right? I mean, ever since he met you, big bro had been better. He wasn't taking as many risks. He was focusing on you and…" She smiled at her. "It's nice having a big sister."
"Thanks but I don't know where I'm supposed to be." Buffy confessed as she put her hand over her cross.
"You'll find it but you have to stay with us in the meantime. G needs you."
"Maybe but right now, let's find out what Cartias means."
"I think I found it." Gunn said as he flipped opened the phone book. "It's right here."
Buffy stared at the place. Gunn found it in a phone book of all places. She refused to believe that the answer was here. The sign lit up against the night 'Cartias'. "We better go in." Buffy said as she, Alonna, and Gunn walked in.
Her eyes widened as she, Gunn, and Alonna saw a vast array of demons, zombies, vampires, and humans gathered together in various tables. A tall four armed creature was singing some Elvis song. "What is this place, a karaoke bar? My dream is about going to a karaoke bar?" She didn't want to believe it. She was expecting some kind of epic quest to find something about this mercy. She had looked up gods and goddesses and other things related to mercy and her answer was a karaoke bar.
"Sounds about right." Gunn said as he held his sister close.
"That's crazy." Buffy looked at a couple of vamps who were picking out songs. They didn't even seem to care. If it weren't for their vamped out faces, they would have been normal people.
The green demon came up and said, "Welcome to Cartias, I'm The Host and you look lost."
"It's my first time here." Buffy confessed as she felt her knife in her coat pocket. She was outnumbered and surrounded by demons. She didn't know what kind was talking to her but she can't take any chances.
"I mean, lost in life. You don't know where you could go or what you should do." The Host said as he stared at her intensely. "No problem, I can help you out but first are you legal age? You slayers tend to be on the young side."
"No. I-, you can tell?"
"Oh yes but no worried. Here at Cartias, no fighting on the grounds. There's special sanctuary spells here so kick back, relax, and have your soul read." Lorne said as he held up a drink.
"My soul read?"
"That's right, my duty on this beautiful planet of ours is to guide people back to their right paths." Lorne said as he glanced at her. "And judging by that aura of yours, you really need guidance."
"Okay, so read my soul. Tell me what to do." Buffy said as she held out her arms.
"Doesn't work like that. I can't read souls like a book unless you show me your soul. There's only one way for me to see your soul, your destiny." The Host hinted as he pointed to the stage.
Buffy stared at the stage for a moment and shook her head. "You want me to sing? No. No way. Forget it. I can't sing. I won't."
"I can fly higher than an eagle, for you are the wind beneath my wings." Buffy sang nervously as she looked out. That song by Bette Midler felt right and she wasn't in the mood for anything too long. Gunn looked at the Host who was staring intensely at the slayer. His face became filled with confusion and then horror. Then, he looked at the demons who were watching as well.
"I've lived here all my life and I never even heard of this place." Gunn muttered under his breath.
"LA is a big place." Alonna confessed.
"Yeah. Bigger than I thought."
Buffy finished her song and bowed to the applause. "Bravo, that's the Slayer, make sure you stay on her good side." The Host said as he applauded and then helped Buffy off of the stage.
"Okay, spill, what's my destiny?" Buffy asked as she got off the stage.
"Direct aren't we?" The Host said amused, "Okay, well, I can see that for one thing, your love lines are messed up and that your heart still belongs to your precious Angel. You want to be with a nice normal man but you can't. That's not in your cards."
Buffy looked down guilty. "What can I do?"
"First off, you have to be honest with the ones closest to you." The Host looked at Gunn, "Tell him everything that's bugging you. You need people to hold you. Slayers were normally trained to carry the weight alone. That's why Slayers don't live past twenty."
Buffy, Gunn, and Alonna stared at the Host. "Twenty?" Buffy repeated.
"Yup. I've heard how these slayers fall, demons, misunderstanding humans, and even committed suicide. But, you are different, that's obvious. The second thing that you must do is go to Hell and save your Angel."
"Say what? You mean she has to go down into Hell? She can't do that. No way. You're lying." Gunn refused.
"He's not." Buffy said, "How can I go to Hell and how can I save Angel?"
"Well, you need a portal and some supplies. Most Hells can support humans but they aren't that hospitable to them. The Hell you're going to has the basic nine levels of Hell and your Angel is at the center." The Host got out a note pad and started writing an address. "This website has all of the basic Hell portal spells that you can use."
"Okay." Buffy stared at the address. Angelus could've looked up what he needed over the Internet and end the world way before she could save it. "Who would post Hell portal spells on the Internet?"
"The same people who would post bomb information there. Just hurry because time works different in Hell." The Host suggested.
Buffy smiled slightly. For the first time, in a long time, she felt hope for her dead lover. Maybe, she can make up for what she did. Then, she saw Gunn looking mad, confused, and more confused. "Gunn, Alonna, there's something I have to tell you. Please, you have to keep an open mind."
"Well, it all began about a hundred years ago…" Buffy trailed off.
Gunn's jaw was still on the floor as the bar was starting to empty out. He couldn't believe it. "So, this Angel, who had been a vampire since before the Constitution was even written out, was your boyfriend but he's different because he had a soul? He lost his soul when he had sex with you and that you had to send him to Hell because his evil alter ego tried to destroy the world?"
"Pretty much." Buffy nodded slowly.
"That's sounds like something out of a bad horror show." Gunn stood up and paced. "I… you want me to help you go into Hell to rescue your ex-boyfriend who happens to be a white man who happens to be undead!"
"If you don't want to, that's fine. I know how much you hate vampires and I can't force you to do anything. I just… if I make it, don't hurt Angel. He's not like the other vampires." Buffy pleaded.
"I… don't know." Gunn muttered as he rubbed his bald head. "This… this is this is insane." He marched out of bar with Alonna behind him.
"I knew he would react like this." Buffy fingered her drink of orange juice.
"He'll come around." The Host said as he sat beside her.
"How do you know? He hates vampires, he has been fighting them longer than me. Well, this is what I expect. Who cares about a vampire with a soul anyway?" She muttered as she got up. "Thanks for the help, Host. Is that your real name or you have some weird name that no human can pronounce."
The Host shrugged. "Just a flair. I am the Host of the bar."
"I have to go." Buffy looked at the paper.
"Good luck, you'll need it." The Host said as he watched the slayer ran out of the building.
Buffy looked at the printout of the necessary items for the spell. It cost her money but she managed to get what she needed. She sat on the floor of an abandoned hotel that was supposed to be cursed. "Okay, evil stuff." She inventoried. "One candle of darkness, check. The knife of eternal torment. Check. Heart of a lawyer. Check."
"Lawyers, the ultimate evil, besides vampires." Gunn said as he came in with his ax and a duffle bag.
"What are you doing here?" Buffy asked.
"What does it look like? I'm going with you." Gunn said as he put his ax over his shoulder.
"Why?" Buffy was confused. Gunn didn't want anything to do with Angel.
The black man shrugged, "I did a lot of thinking and well, I can't let my girl go into Hell alone. That's not my thing. I won't like this Angel and if he so much as touches you in the wrong way, he's dust."
"What about Alonna and your crew?"
"Alonna is with them and she understands. I told the crew that I'm going out of town to help you. They don't know about the Hell thing yet." Gunn said calmly. "I've been told to go to Hell a few times, might as well see what it's like."
Buffy came up and hugged him. "Thanks."
"Don't thank me yet. I'm not going to be friends with a vampire. The day that happens, is the day I start wearing a suit."
Buffy nodded. She didn't expect Gunn to accept Angel right away. He never knew him but he was willing to help her. That's all that mattered to her. "Let's go."
Buffy drew out the pentagram as shivers came down her spine. She could almost hear the whispers of doubt plague her. She heard that this was an evil place and she believed it. "Hey, do you mind?" She called out, "We're going to Hell and unless you're joining us, quit it!"
The whispers stopped and Buffy continued to draw the pentagram. After the preparations are made, Buffy took a deep breath. The last thing she wanted to do was keep the portal opened and bring Hell to Earth. There was no return spell but according to the book, there are ways to get out. She had to chance it.
"This is it." Buffy said as she picked up her duffle bag. "Now, I just say this chant and we'll go to Hell. Gunn, are you ready?"
"Wait a sec." Gunn heaved his hubcap ax and put on his bandana. "All right, now, I'm ready."
Buffy held up the spell and read out, "Lucifer, fallen Angel of God, send us to Hell to find what we are searching for. May we look high, may we look low, send us now to where we need to go." Buffy put the candle of darkness down and lit the heart. Flames burned the pentagram and surrounded the two. "I'm coming." She said as she closed her eyes.
The air became heavy, like in LA on the worse days of Summer. She opened them to find herself in a middle of a vast wasteland filled with fire and brimstone. "Wow… this is exactly what I expected. I thought that Hell would be a little more original."
"This is Hell all right." Gunn nodded as he glanced around. "Real Hell?"
"I guess, I never been here before but it feels helly."
The two stood there. "So, how do we find your vampire?"
"Well, That Host said that Angel will be in the middle of the nine levels of Hell. We just have to go through the nine levels and he should be there."
"This sounds like a stupid video game. I don't suppose a mystical guide is too much to ask for right?"
"I don't know about that."
The two looked to see a red head girl sitting on a rock. She was dressed in a brown dress and seemed very normal. "Who the Hell are you?" Gunn said as he held up his ax.
"The name is Eve and I heard you are looking for a certain vampire with a soul."
"Eve? As in Adam and Eve?" Gunn said stunned.
"I'm not that old." Eve's lips quirked into a smile. She jumped down and circled them. "I can help you get to Angel."
"Why? If you're here, then you're evil." Buffy said as she held up her crossbow. "For all we know, you're not even human."
"I am human, at least, I'm as human as you." Eve replied, "I was just born here, waiting to be assigned. Anyway, I'm here to help you. I will guide you." She reached into her bag and tossed a couple of apples towards the two warriors. "I brought some food. You might be hungry."
Buffy and Gunn just stared at the apples. "You're not the first woman, you're a snake." Buffy figured as she put away her apple.
You would not believe where I am. Yes, I am literally in Hell. I thought you might want some record of my journey since well, I'm where no living person has been before. Hell is hot and dry and very dark. It's just like in those cartoons with the brimstone and the darkness. Only, more real.
It's crazy, it felt like we've been traveling for hours when it's really weeks. Gunn started growing hair and a beard while my hair is growing out and well, you get the picture. Also, I never felt hungry or thirsty. I mean, Gunn was always hunting for food and water but not me. Was it because that I'm a slayer that I'm not affected so much? Makes me wonder how much being a slayer changes a girl.
Anyway, the demons fought us and we killed them and they come and we kill some more. Finally, they got it through their heads that if they fight us, they die. So, they left us alone, mostly.
Still, it was painful to go through the levels of Hell. Everywhere I see, I saw humans being tortured in ways that makes what you went though in the hands of Angelus like a piece of cake. I want to save them but I can't. There are barriers and Eve said that I can only save one person from this Hell. I might as well make it Angel.
Funny how being in Hell can make a person think. I mean, really think about what's important. I really miss you guys and I want to come home but I don't know if I can. Gunn has been supportive of me even though that he knew that I was with a vampire. I wonder if you and the others want Angel to be around?
I have to go and save my Angel. I'll try to tell you what I saw, if, I come back.
Buffy closed her book and held it close to her. Gunn sat beside her and said, "You know, after we come back to the living world, why don't you just go home? You miss them and I'm sure that they miss you too."
"What about Angel?" Buffy asked, "I can't leave him behind."
"I'm not saying that." Gunn looked down. "I don't like him because he's a vamp but… if he's close to you then I will help him, if not for him then for you. Sunnydale needs you and maybe Angel."
"Will you come with me? I need some support and Giles could help you after all, you are a vampire hunter."
"I… I don't know." Gunn said as he ran his hand over his bald head. "I've lived in LA my whole life. I haven't even left the city until I came to this place. Give me some time to think about this, will ya?"
"Sure. Sorry, I forgot about your 'crew' and your sister." She paused and asked Eve, "Are we there yet?"
"Just about." Eve said as she pointed to a huge barrier covered with thorns. "This is the where all the major sinners go, I mean, the ones that aren't human and had nearly destroyed the world."
"So, how do we get in?" Buffy stared at the barrier. The thorns were as huge as her head and sharp. There were skulls and bones littering the barrier giving it a more menacing feel to it.
Out of nowhere, a demon flew down and hovered before them. He looked like the Grim Reaper but with wings made out of bones and a long scythe. "I am the Guardian of the Center of Hell. Tell me why you are here, trespassers."
"I'm here to save a man from this place. He shouldn't be here, he's an innocent soul." Buffy explained, "His name is Angel or maybe goes by Angelus? We don't want to cause any trouble so we'll just get our vampire and leave."
The Guardian narrowed his 'eyes' at her. "The vampire had been sent here as punishment. Vampires do not have souls."
"This one does. He had a soul just before I sent him here. Can't you use some of your special Guardiany powers to sense his soul?"
The Guardian stared at her. In his many eons of existence no one had dare to say that he was wrong. "You are a peculiar human. Very well, you and your friend shall pass this barrier and I will confirm your story. Do not touch anything." The Guardian waved his scythe and the barrier pulled apart.
"We better go in." Buffy said as the still stunned Gunn gawked.
"Er… right." He paused and looked to find Eve was gone. "Looks like she left."
The two walked in and gasped at the sight. It was a huge white room with giant slabs of ice all over like pieces of a museum. Buffy saw the familiar form of the Master in one of them and in another Darla. "Whoa…"
"This… isn't what I expected." Gunn said, "Ice in this heat?"
"The ultimate punishment. He is aware of everything but cannot touch anything." The Guardian said as he floated to a block of ice. "Here is the one you seek."
"Angel." Buffy whispered as she came up and gazed at the figure. She could see the look of sorrow and confusion over his face. "Angel, I'm so sorry." She reached out to touch the ice and the Guardian swung his blade between her and the ice.
"No touching. Now, I shall show you that you are mistaken." The Guardian said as his eyes glowed red and he stared at the ice with intensity as bright as the sun. He gasped and lowered his weapon. "He… he has a soul."
"Duh!" Buffy yelled.
"Oh no. What am I going to do?" The Guardian moaned, "I had a perfect service record since the beginning of time. I had an evaluation scheduled in just a thousand years. What should I do? My brother Grim is going to tease me for this." The entity said as he paced back and forth.
"Well, you can let him go and let us go back to Earth." Buffy offered, "I'm sorry about what happened."
"No… not at all." The Guardian shook his head. "I'm grateful that you had shown me this error before anyone else knows. This is really embarrassing. Touch the ice."
"The touch of a human hand will melt the ice. Go ahead."
Buffy put her hands on the ice and felt the ice melt before her. Slowly, the ice fell apart and Angel fell into her arms. She felt herself sob in relief. For the first time in forever, she felt peace. Her Angel was safe and in her arms again. "I'm sorry, Angel. I… I never wanted you to be in here."
Angel just stared at her.
"Your boyfriend has been in that ice longer than you believed. With his soul, he will need time to recover. However, I sense a great love from you, that love will help him heal." The Guardian said as he put his skeletal hand over his heart. "It warms me to feel this love. I haven't felt this kind of love since I was assigned in Hell. I will help you go where you need to be."
He waved his scythe and a portal appeared before them. "Here, go through here and you will be home."
"Thank you so much… Mr. Guardian." Buffy said as she smiled at him.
"Thanks!" Gunn said as he watched Buffy help Angel to his feet. First, he let Buffy and Angel through. It wasn't that he was a gentleman but he didn't want any vampire behind him. After a second, he jumped through.
Darkness swum over them as they flew through space and time. Finally, he fell into an old building that he was sure wasn't the hotel. "Where are we now?" Gunn asked as he sat up.
Buffy gasped as she gazed around. "Oh my god, this is the mansion. We're back in Sunnydale."
To Be Continued…