Rating: R (may go up to NC-17)
Pairing: C/A (not at first), F/G, B/S, D/C, and major C/S friendship
Summary: The Fang Gang goes to Sunnyhell to help with the first, the Scoobies are losing, Cordy's back and she isn't happy, and the apocalypse is a comin'. Can they save the world, or even stay in the same room? Tune in to find out.
Spoilers: All of AtS season 4, and BtVS season 7 (read AN)
Disclaimer: Angel: The series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon. David Greenwalt and Co. Fox, Mutant Enemy and whomever else Joss says it belongs to. I'm just taking the characters out of the box to plat with for a little while, will put them back as I found them, promise. No infringement or breaking of any laws intended.
Distribution: (FSB), AO, anywhere else just email me first and it's yours.
Feedback: Would be greatly appreciated, will try and make this fic as interactive as readers want.
A/N1: AtS: Whilst 'evil' Cordy was reigning havoc on the FG, real Cordy was a Power, working in an alternate dimension on the side of good as the PTB asked her, once this task was completed she would be able to return to Earth (with some conditions), hence she has no idea what happened to the FG (read prologue). 'Evil' Cordy rejected Connor's overtures as a SON therefore he retreated from her and went to Angel and they have a better relationship, but still not perfect. 'Evil' Cordy got pregnant by the beast not Connor! Fred and Gunn worked through their issues, though Gunn still slept with Gwen and Fred and Wesley sorted out their chemistry (all occurred during Fred and Gunn's brief separation). Wesley is NOT in love with Fred, he was however in love with Lilah but didn't realise till too late, she still died at the hand of 'evil' Cordy'. Connor was upset because Jasmine made him feel at peace (that's why he took her side), but it was false and so he is trying to deal with killing her. Angel is worried about Connor, and angry at Cordy for indirectly causing it and himself for not noticing that it was never her. (Skip wasn't evil; he was a fake Skip, real Skip was with real Cordy.
A/N2: BtVS: still leading up to the finale, Faith has just arrived, Spike has soul, Buffy has yet to forgive him, but they work together for the greater good. Dawn has come into her own and is generally an apprentice to Giles and Willow, learning minor magics and translating, however Buffy does not recognise this. Xander and Anya have worked they're way back to barely civil friendship. Willow is able to do magic, but still has a fear of the major works, looks to Giles for guidance. This is during mid-season 7, so the scoobies don't really know much except it's the First and it's big. I know it doesn't mesh, but pretend that everything on AtS happened faster.
A/N3: Sorry about the lengthy AN's just needed to set the scene, now on to the story.
The Higher Realms
'You may enter', Cordy looked up, "bout time" she mumbled to herself, she had been waiting for an eternity or 5 minutes you can never tell in the Higher Realms. She had been waiting for the Power's to grant her an audience since she returned from her mission in the Jianxing Dimension. A comforting touch on her shoulder brought her out of her thoughts, and to the reality she resided in. She turned to Skip and gave him a small smile and regally entered the chamber, she had been granted this audience alone. Inside the chamber sat on a dais were 7 powers', Cordy stood at the centre and waited god she hated waiting and she hoped that no one was looking into her mind. There was a profound silence, which was broken by the middle power, "welcome child", to which Cordelia raised a single eyebrow, she hated when they talked to her like this. "We have been pleased with your work in the Jianxing; your dedication has not gone unnoticed. We have another crisis developing on Earth"
"Earth, what's wrong? Is everyone ok? What about my family? Angel? Connor? Gunn? Fred? Lorne? Wes? Please tell me there ok. What could happen in a week?" Cordy interrupted breathlessly.
"Child" replied another power; "it has been almost a solar cycle on Earth."
"A Year, I've been gone an entire year, you promised I would only be gone a week, that my mission would last a week here," Cordy yelled her friends must be so worried about her, they might think that she had gone for good.
"Child…" began a power.
"And stop with the child crap, I'm a higher being now as well remember." Cordy added furiously they had royally ticked her off. They had promised her only a week and look at what had happened.
"Cordelia it has been a week in the higher realms but as you know from your study time moves differently between realms."
"Enough" stated the Power on the end of the dais. "Just show her what she missed we need her to understand."
"Very well" added another power they're voices continuing from one another seamlessly.
The next thing Cordelia knew her mind was bombarded with images. As the images finally finished a pair of betrayed hazel eyes looked at the dais, "why would you do this, allow that bitch of a power to take my body and cause so much pain. Why?" She asked softly her voice filled with pain after everything that she had done, everything she had sacrificed and then they did this.
"It was necessary…"
"Necessary how can allow a rogue power, wreak so much havoc, on your warriors" she broke off confused. What had happened had cause pain to her family that just wasn't acceptable to her no matter what the reason.
"We expected your champion to notice faster, his incompetence almost destroyed free will, however he rectified the situation in time."
Then it hit her with the force slayer punch to the gut, they never noticed. He never noticed it wasn't her, her family, best friend, champion couldn't tell the difference between her and an evil power. She felt sick, after everything she did for her family. Then it was gone, the anger and fury were still there buried deep, but she was a higher being, a power she had a calling more important than her insecurities and hurt feelings. "You mentioned a crisis" she stately calmly to powers on high even though deep within her the heart that she had handed to her friends was now crushed under their feet but she was still Cordelia Chase and she had a mission to complete.
"The First Evil was able to break free. Due to a shift in the balance of powers. It has begun its campaign on the hellmouth. Your presence is required. Due to recent events none of the champions are ready, mentally for the fight that lies ahead."
Simultaneous to this speech Cordy's mind was once again filled with images but of the Scoobies this time. Cordy looked at the powers once again, "in what capacity am I required seer, consultant, general? What is my mission?"
"You are required as always to protect the greater good, the slayer has been lax in her duties, the key was placed in her care as a reward for her dedication to the fight, however she has failed to educate the key to her full potential. The watcher and witch have their own battles to fight they cannot focus on the key as well. That is your mission. The one known, as 'the Destroyer' is also vulnerable, he needs to be taught about human emotion, he is also in need of guidance. Cordelia your task is to ensure that these prodigies are able to continue the fight in future generations. Their continued survival is key." The power's speech left Cordelia confused surely there were more qualified higher beings, why her?
"I'm supposed to keep Dawn and Connor alive and train them, is that it, and stop the first evil from taking over, anything else?" Replied Cordelia, she knew she was missing something, "child we realise that we have made errors in the past, especially when human emotions are involved you must ensure that the Destroyer and the Key are ready for the future, physically and emotionally, they cannot however be allowed to produce a child at this time." The powers response was enlightening as the bigger picture snapped together in front of Cordy. Dawn and Connor's child would allow the first evil to become corporeal, the shift in the balance would be all that was necessary, but the powers did not understand emotions, the risk was too great. Enter Cordy chaperone extraordinaire, and Cordelia Chase finally had a bargaining chip against the powers that screwed her.
"I'll do it," stated Cordy firmly "but with a few conditions…"
"We need to talk" Faith whispered to the passing wicca as she dragged the witch into one of the many unused rooms in the mansion.
"Huh?" was the red head's confused reply.
"You haven't told B!"
"Haven't told Buffy what exactly?"
"About what really happened in LA, and about a certain miracle child and that Angel-"
"I know, but we're kind of in the middle of an apocalypse here its not really the best time-" Willow interrupted defensively
"Exactly" Faith started "we're in the middle of the biggest apocalypse we've ever had to face and we need help!"
"But Buffy says…"
"Damn it Willow, Buffy's wrong, Jesus I've only been here a week and I can see how screwed we are, look I know I'm the last person to give anyone advice but if there is one thing prison, life, hell if Angel taught me anything it was to know when to ask for help and believe me Willow we need help" Faith pleaded.
"I know, and I agree, we could use the help, but its hard for Buffy, bringing up Angel brings up a lot of old issues for her" Willow tried to defend her best friend.
"I understand that but we don't have the luxury of dealing with Buffy's issues, we're at war and we're nowhere near ready, so I did it, B always pissed at me at least this way we can get the extra help we need."
"Goddess Faith what did you do?" Willow asked breathlessly
"I called Wesley, they're on their way right now, actually we had better get some rooms ready"
"Faith! How could you!" Willow began, "You know what, you're right it needed to be done. Did you tell them to come here to the mansion instead of the house"
"Damn I knew I forgot something, never mind Angel'll probably come here first anyway t settle in. We best get started on those rooms" Faith replied.
"Shouldn't we tell someone that they're coming?" Willow apprehensively asked.
"Nah, why give B more chances to be pissed"
"Speaking of pissed, do you think Angel will be angry that were staying in his mansion"
"Pissed no way, Angel's gonna be furious, that vamp is one possessive bastard, the shit is gonna hit the fan when he finds out. I tried to warn B-"
"So did Spike" Willow added
"But B was all Angel won't mind were soulmates we share everything blah blah" Faith continued privately she thought Buffy was in for a rude awakening once the original ensouled vampire arrives. Her brief sojourn into Angelus' mind gave her an insight into the vampire heart and mind, and it wasn't filled with Buffy anymore.
"We'd better sort those rooms out and pick up some food and blood, we've got over 20 girls, plus the fang gang and us we have nearly 40 people here"
"I know prison was more peaceful" Faith replied as the slayer and witch went off to prepare for their surprise guests.
Somewhere between LA and Sunnydale:
The Fang Gang had split into two cars for their road trip, out of sheer necessity 6 adults, Gunn's flamethrower and Wesley's library wouldn't fit in Angel's Plymouth let alone Lorne's extensive wardrobe. Angel, Connor and Wesley were in travelling in the Plymouth with Gunn, Fred and Lorne were following in the truck. There was a tense silence in the Plymouth both Angel and Wesley were overcome by their past in Sunnydale and the changes they had been through. Their return to the hellmouth only served to highlight the absence of the missing member of their Sunnydale rejects trio. She hadn't been mentioned since the revelation that Cordelia wasn't even there that something had been masquerading as her was to painful to comprehend. None of them could bare the thought so they didn't mention it, they didn't mention her until Connor unable to bear the painful silence asked "so what's so bad about the hellmouth? I've never seen the two of you so worried before, is it the apocalypse?"
Both men exchanged silent glances, It was understandable that Connor was confused they had just told him to pack and then just threw everything into the car's and took off for the infamous hellmouth. To tell the truth LA was painful for the Fang Gang they all jumped at the opportunity to get away from the bad memories for a wile even if it meant fighting another apocalypse within 24 hours of defeating the previous one. Seeing Angel focusing intently on the road (they left as soon as the sun had set) Wesley attempted to answer Connor's query "No Connor, it's not the apocalypse God knows we've had enough practice at those, Sunnydale just has bad memories for the three of us" he said not noticing his slip.
"Three of you?" Connor asked.
"What? Oh!" He glanced quickly at Angel took a deep breath "Sunnydale is where your father and first met Cordelia, she grew up there".
"Mo-Cordy grew up on a hellmouth" Connor asked excitedly, he didn't know that much about the woman he still privately thought of as his mother. He didn't mention her especially recently her name was taboo especially in front of Angel. Connor gathered small bits of information from listening to the others. He spent the rest of the journey asking questions about the past and their life in Sunnydale, picking up more information, eventually Both his father and Wesley seemed to be loosening up however talking about the Hellmouth led to the topic of Buffy.
After about 10 minutes of silence "so do you love Buffy?" Connor asked Angel in his direct manner. For some reason the expression on Wesley's face and the fact that Fred referred to Buffy as the B-word made Connor apprehensive.
"Son that was a long time ago, we've both moved on" Angel replied with his jaw clenched.
"That wasn't an answer, dad" Connor replied shortly.
"Direct much" Angel questioned "God I forgot how much you take after your mother."
It was only after Wesley burst out laughing that Angel realised what he had let slip, Angel's expression turned horrified. He never meant to say that out loud, it was only recently that he began to notice similarities between Connor and Cordy the simultaneous pain and pleasure that one thought could bring Angel awed him.
"Cordy- was direct then? I don't remember much as it wasn't even her this past year" Connor asked hesitantly yet with a pleased expression on his face.
Wesley seeing the tenseness in Angel's body decided to turn the conversation to happier times "Cordy-direct? Well that's the polite way of putting it" he said with a small smile "she…"
"…had no tact" finished Angel a small smile graced his face as well.
"She was always honest" added Wesley. "Painfully so at times it seemed" he added in afterthought.
"Except when it concerned her health" Angel mumbled luckily only Wesley heard and he acknowledged the comment with a slight nod of his head. Connor was just happy that they were starting to talk about Cordy, it was a start.
Seeing the 'Welcome To Sunnydale' sign Wes asked Angel "shall we go Buffy's first or the mansion".
After a moment "the mansion" was Angel's reply "Buffy's house is probably full, we may as well settle our stuff at the mansion first".
"It's been four years, is it still empty?" Wes asked as Angel started up Crawford Street. Angel abruptly stopped the car, even at this distance you could see the lights on. Angel's face was an impressive display of fury. The truck pulled in behind them and Fred, Lorne and Gunn got out and approached Angel.
"Hey I thought your place is supposed to be empty?" but seeing the expression on Angel's face he backed off, it was rare that Angel got vampiric or possessive over things usually Cordy related. Although this seemed to be one of the rare non Cordy moments.
"Load up! Weapons everybody! I want to see who dares to trespass on my property!" Angel snarled with his game face rippling as an angry undercurrent to his words. The rest of the gang looked shocked at his orders, his anger seemed a little out of proportion.
"Angel" Wes tried to calm the irrational vampire "we don't need a jihad to get rid of squatters".
"Yeah man, crib this nice, your gonna get squatters, we'll run em out in no time, what the big deal?" Gunn also attempted to calm the vampire who had lost his game face at Wes' words.
"The deal is that the mansion is the property of the Master of the Order of Aurelis, and everybody knows it! That's me! It's about respect damn it! I am SICK of people taking what's MINE without PERMISSION!" Angel shouted whilst getting his favourite broadsword from the trunk of the car and throwing the rest of the gang their weapons.
And Wesley understood the vampire's anger, Connor and more recently Cordelia both had been taken from him, the mansion was probably the last straw. Angel and the gang had reached the front door and Angel without stopping kicked in the door.
Inside the mansion:
The scoobies were all around a large oak table trying to pinpoint where the first was based when the front door slammed against the wall.
And there stood a furious Angel he could be confused as Angelus with that expression. He took the room in a glance and saw Giles, Willow, Anya and Dawn conferring over a pile of books and scrolls, ten or so girls were around the room relaxing and training, he could hear the heartbeats of another dozen in other parts of HIS mansion he eyes then went to Buffy, Xander, Kennedy, Faith and Spike huddled over a map. He strode straight to Spike who had turned even paler if possible at the rather sudden appearance of his grandsire.
"Explain yourself" Angel growled out whilst holding Spike in a choke hold against the wall. The attack was so sudden everybody was caught unaware. The entire room was watching the spectacle as Buffy made her way over to the vampires.
"Err-slayer-infestation-house-tried to tell-didn't listen" Spike tried to explain.
"Angel, what are you doing here? Put Spike down!" Buffy exclaimed by his arm.
Dropping Spike to the ground Angel turned to Buffy incredulously. "What am I doing here? This is MY DAMN HOUSE!" He roared "I can be here anytime I damn please!"
Buffy shocked by his outburst stepped back, she then thought she understood "Oh you're wondering what we're doing here?" at which the fang gang collectively scoffed. "well we had an infestation of something at my place, and I thought could stay here cause there's loads of space for all the potentials that are still arriving. And I knew you wouldn't mind" she added with a little pout that had always worked on the vampire before.
Angel couldn't believe it, what did he ever see in her, she was still acting like a teenager! If she had just asked, he would've said yes. It was the presumption that rankled him the most that and her ignorance. She was the slayer for crying out loud she should understand how territorial vampires are. Angel moved his gaze to Spike who just shrugged and looked at Giles who looked slightly embarrassed and yet Buffy was still prattling on. He had enough he came to stop an apocalypse and to stop thinking about C- Damn it he did it again.
Frustrated and pissed off Angel couldn't take anymore. "Buffy, shut up!" angel snapped "I'm here to stop an apocalypse, and fight the first evil not listen to prattle on about yourself" and with that harsh statement he walked to Giles and said quietly "you need to control your slayer, I'm not her whipping boy any more" and he took a seat at the table next to a now seated Wesley and said to himself "I don't take any orders, not anymore". At this Wesley glanced at his sometime friend, boss, brother Angel was worrying him his anger at Buffy was only superficial he knew Angel's real problem was the Power's. The PTB had messed Angel too many times, this time they had done the unforgivable they took away Cordy. Wes wasn't sure how long Angel could keep his façade of control up. Ironically the one person who could bring him back was the reason for his breakdown. They were all so tired, none of the fang gang has had a break since Connor was born. They have had 18 long months and now they had to go against the first evil without their heart, without their strength. Wesley didn't know how his family could survive another crisis.
"So, lets get on with the introductions" Willow's attempt at an ice breaker broke Wesley's private musings and brought him back to the present. After a quick round of who's who Giles began explaining in detail the situation in Sunnydale. He had just got to where potential slayers were being targeted globally when Wes cut in. "What is the council proposing? They must have a plan of action by now" Wesley's question stopped Giles short.
"Y-you don't know?" He asked with an expression of pain on his face. For the first time Giles looked and felt old.
"don't know what?" Wesley asked confused, he glanced at the scoobies who all avoided his gaze. He looked back at Giles who was now at the side board fixing himself a glass of single malt and proceeded to drink it in one shot neat. He then poured another glass and refilled his own. He set a glass in front of Wesley.
"6 weeks ago Council Headquarters was blown up" Giles said with sympathy.
Wesley paled in shock "but…?" He looked at Giles and understood. "Oh God" Wesley downed his shot, and refilled it with the bottle that Giles had left in front of him. Only he and Giles could truly understand the scope and depth of loss they had suffered.
Giles continued "Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, New Delhi, Mumbai, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Cairo, Cape Town, Rio and all European branches wiped out." Wesley couldn't believe it, the sheer amount devastation and death that had occurred. He threw his now empty glass against the bare wall behind him where it made a satisfying crash. Everybody else at the table gave Wesley some time to adjust and the fang gang kept an eye on Wesley, until Buffy broke the silence.
"Look, Wes I know it's a shock, but lets be realistic" she looked at the rest of the table "but how much did the council really help anyway- I mean we're the ones fighting-"
"Buffy!" Willow and Dawn both shouted at the slayer. Everybody else just stared at the blonde slayer with expressions varying from shock to outright disgust. Even those that disagreed with the council, now was obviously not the time, her audacity shocked them all even he potentials who were watching the entire meeting from the edges showed shock. Elizabeth one of the English potentials looked angry.
Wesley ignored Buffy, and asked Giles "what did you manage to salvage?"
Giles had never been so angry or disappointed in his slayer, he knew he was partly to blame but he had hoped that she had grown up in the past year. Obviously not. He was about to reply to Wesley but decided to correct Buffy, after all he was 7 years late. "Buffy- the loss of the council is a massive blow, one I might add has never happened on this scale before. We have lost the world's largest collection of mystical books, scrolls and prophecies, as well as the councils collection of occult artefacts and the council's numerous projects. Knowledge is the most important weapon in any fight I thought I had at least managed to teach you that." At Buffy's chagrined expression he turned back to Wesley. "I could only salvage a dozen or so texts, so we'll have to use whatever we can get access to on this continent, but Wesley…" he broke off as Wesley interrupted him.
"How many dead?" Wesley just asked quietly.
Giles expression once again turned grave. "In Britain we lost just under 4000. Globally including potentials somewhere between 30,000 – 35,000." The entire room froze. So many dead, people that fought the same fight as they did. Even Buffy was in shock. She had never thought to ask.
"Wesley, the London explosion went off during the High Adept Closed Session" Wesley took a large draft from the bottle in front of him he knew what was coming. "The entire board was killed, all the major players including…"
"My parents." Wesley finished off for him. Fred gasped and went to hug him. As the Fang Gang closed around Wes, supporting him. The scoobies hadn't given much thought to the council and it's destruction it seemed too far away and they had enough problems of their own. At that moment the devastation seemed a lot closer. Once everyone was seated again Wesley asked about the rest of his family, he had descended on both sides from old families that had devoted themselves to the good fight.
Giles sympathetically answered, it was hard for him losing colleagues and lifelong friends but Wesley had grown up in the council, his family was the oldest and most powerful, his loss was too big to comprehend. "I spoke to Olivia Reid this morning, she's dealing with the London situation. I'm sorry to say that the bringers were quite specific in some of their kills. Your entire line was targeted, both sided from Council members and team members to spouses and even the children. I'm sorry to say but they were all slaughtered." Wesley paled, never in his worst nightmares could he imagine the innocents in his family would be so brutally killed.
"I managed to save Molly, I was training her in the Cotswolds when the attacks occurred." Giles finally having some good news to give.
"Molly?" Fred asked as she had silent tears running down her face.
"My niece" replied Wes. "Where Is she?" Wesley asked looking around. "What training?"
"She's a potential, she's upstairs in bed, I told this afternoon about your family, she's was in shock, she only fell asleep a couple of hours ago." Giles answered.
Wes just nodded.