Disclaimer: I don't own BtVS, AtS, Lost, Castaway, Swiss Family Robinson, Gilligan's Island, Robinson Crusoe or any other franchise involving people trapped on (desert) islands.
Author's Note: Unfortunately, once I get a fic idea into my head I have to go with it, which means other fics get neglected. This particular idea – of getting the BtVS/AtS characters on an island in a not-quite-alternate universe – has been pecking at the back of my head for a while now, so I had to at least write a first chapter. As usual, feedback is uberly welcome.
1. Waiting For A Boat
It was mercilessly, torturously, unspeakably hot. The marketplace near the bay was fairly empty; all the natives having sought the comfort of their own homes in order to escape the despicable heat and leaving the tourists and the more experienced out-of-towners to deal with the sun's intensity on their own. The market stall owners were too eager to make a sale to worry much about the heat; and besides, it was a matter of pride to prove that if a bunch of white American tourists could survive in the heat-wave, then they certainly could.
For Buffy Summers, the heat was the least of her worries. She had spent the past half an hour wandering happily among the stalls displaying everything from fruit piled high in pyramids of bright color, to myriads of hand-made bead necklaces, to heaps of clothing in wonderfully light fabrics. It was only when she checked her watch and turned around to tell her mother that they might be running late that she had realized that her mother wasn't standing anywhere near her. Neither was her younger sister, or her fiancé.
She sighed in frustration and checked her watch again. Now she was definitely running late. There was no choice but to make her way to the harbor and hope that they were waiting for her there.
"Dad, check this out." Connor O'Sullivan held up what looked alarmingly like a dagger in a stitched leather sheath. "The guy in the stall sold it to me for like a dollar and a half."
Angel raised his eyebrows at his only son. "And what exactly were you planning to do with it?"
"Well, we are going to a fairly uninhabited island in the middle of Caribbean nowhere. A little protection couldn't hurt."
"Connor, we're going to a four-star island resort in the middle of Caribbean nowhere," Angel said patiently. "It's hardly a desert island. What could you possibly need protection from?"
Connor shrugged. "You know. Wild animals and stuff."
"'And stuff'?" Angel couldn't hide his amusement. "I don't get it. For someone with your scarily high IQ, you talk a lot like – well, any other teenager."
Connor unsheathed the dagger and stared absently at the glimmering blade. "Maybe that's the point," he said quietly. When he looked up to see his father's reaction, he realized that Angel hadn't even heard him. Instead, he was staring fixedly at a point past Connor's shoulder. "Um, Dad?" Connor waved a hand in front of Angel's dark eyes. "Hello?"
Recognition smacked into Angel like a sandbag across the head, and all he could do was stare at her. She wore a sarong and matching tank-top over her slender frame, leaving her arms and lower legs – nicely tanned from exposure to the broiling sun – deliciously bare. Her heavy, wavy mass of honey-colored blonde hair was caught loosely in a hairgrip at the back of her head, so that stray tendrils of it escaped and clung to her cheek and neck.
Everything about her was so achingly familiar to him that he literally couldn't breathe for a long moment, during which he became certain that his heart had stopped beating for good. It's her. It was only after he realized that he couldn't remember her name that his pulse returned to something like its normal rate.
"Dad? You okay?" Connor was peering closely at his face and seemed relieved when Angel's eyes focused on him. "I was starting to think you were maybe having some kind of seizure."
Angel forced out a half-hearted laugh. "No, I was just… looking at something." As soon as he said it, his eyes sought her again, only to find that she was gone. An almost physical pain followed the realization that she had slipped out of his sight. But at the same time, he knew on a conscious level that he had never met her before in his life. He had absolutely no memory of ever having known her, and yet she was as familiar as the skin on his own body. Oh, God. So this is what it feels like to go crazy.
"Yeah, I know," Connor said teasingly. "Your eyes were about to pop out of your head, you were staring so hard."
Angel took a playful swipe at his son. "Hey. My eyes were not popping."
"No," Connor agreed solemnly. "You're right. They were more bulging than popping. It was gross."
Angel took a second swipe at Connor's head, and then his expression became more serious. "You're not going to … mention this to your mom, are you?"
Connor shrugged, grinning. "Not if you make it worth my while."
Angel crossed his arms and eyed his son in a mock-business-like manner. "Name your price."
"Next time you see her, ask if she's got any younger sisters." Connor thought about this for a moment and then added, "And if she does, get me their numbers."
Angel laughed. "It's a deal. Now let's go find your mother before she sends out a search party."
"There you are." Riley Finn smiled and welcomed Buffy with a brief hug. "We were starting to worry about you."
Buffy kept her arms wrapped around his waist even after the hug was over. "And what were you going to do if I didn't show up?"
"Leave without you," Dawn Summers said bluntly. She had refused to wear a sarong and had opted for a pair of denim mini-shorts instead, which her mother eyed disapprovingly but didn't comment on. Several bead necklaces were layered around her neck and a newly-purchased woven handbag was slung over her shoulder. Even in the most exotic locations, the Summers family shopping instincts remained intact.
"Of course we weren't going to leave without you, honey," Joyce Summers said, giving Buffy a comforting pat on the shoulder. "We could always have taken the next ferry out to the island."
"Which would've been next week, according to the guide-book," Dawn pointed out.
"I wouldn't mind staying here an extra week." Riley looked down into his fiancé's eyes and brushed a few stray hairs from her face, grinning. "It could've been fun."
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Please, your only idea of 'fun' is to lock yourselves in a room and have a lot of s–"
"Finish that sentence and I swear, you'll be grounded until graduation," Joyce interrupted threateningly.
Buffy decided that a change of subject was in order. "So, where's the ferry?"
"I think that might be it." Joyce shaded her eyes to get a better look at the white boat steadily approaching the harbor. "But I could be wrong. There was another boat pulling in here earlier."
"Yeah, Mom got all the way to that little bridge they put out so people can cross over the water before realizing it was just a fishing boat."
"I only worked it out after I noticed the smell," Joyce admitted ruefully, as Buffy laughed.
"See? I told you the boat hadn't left yet!" Harmony Kendall placed both hands on her hips and pouted at her boyfriend. "You totally pulled me away from my awesome Caipirinha for no reason."
"Better to be here too soon than too late," Spike Williams replied patiently. "Besides, it's a little too early in the day to be drinking, even for you."
"Oh, that's nice." Harmony looked momentarily hurt. "So now I'm an alcoholic? Last night I was your 'golden-haired goddess'! Remember that?" she asked, her voice rising so that the other people assembled on the harbor turned around to stare at her. "You said you loved me!"
"And I do," Spike assured her quickly. "I do, pet. It's just been a long day, is all. I'm sorry. Okay?" He smiled at her, and after a moment's hesitation she smiled back.
She leaned in to plant a kiss on his mouth. "It's all right, Spikey-boo," she whispered. "I know you didn't mean it." As he returned her kiss almost automatically, Spike reflected that at least he'd managed to get her to lower her voice.
"Ew. Somebody should tell those two to get a room." Cordelia Chase grimaced at the sight of the blonde couple kissing with their arms wrapped around each other.
"Oh, I don't know." Willow Rosenberg smiled and squeezed her girlfriend's hand lightly. Tara Maclay responded with an even sunnier smile and a quick kiss on the cheek. "I think it's kind of sweet."
"Besides, Cordy, most of the people going to this place are couples, so there's probably going to be a lot of PDA-ing going on." Xander Harris grinned and slung his arm around her shoulder playfully. "And I say bring on the kissage."
Cordelia shrugged his arm off. "In your dreams, Harris. I'm only here because that jerk Anton backed out of our plan to take a summer tour of Europe."
"I thought he said he was busy," Tara reminded her mildly.
Cordelia snorted. "Yeah, 'busy' doing his secretary. As soon as he buys me that pearl necklace he's been promising me as an anniversary gift, his ass is getting dumped faster than he can say 'I'm a lying bastard with bad taste in secretaries'." She adjusted the strap on her to-die-for Prada purse. "That is, if he can even manage a sentence with so many multiple-syllable words in it."
"'Hell hath no fury' indeed," Xander muttered under his breath, grinning.
Cordelia glared at him. "Bite me, Harris."
"You did remember to bring the sunscreen, right?" Winifred Burkle's sweet Southern-accented voice sounded only faintly worried as she double-checked the supplies in her travel bag.
"Fred, this is supposed to be an adventure. All we should be bringing with us is a water bottle and a Swiss army knife," Wesley Wyndham-Pryce told her, his smile belying his solemn tone. "Sunscreen is for the weak."
"Are you callin' me weak?" Fred crossed her arms playfully and pretended to be in a huff. "'Cause if you are, I might just change my mind about this whole thing."
"And leave me out there all on my own, sad and sunscreen-less?" Wesley put a puppy-dog frown on his face. "I couldn't let you do that to me. I'd be eaten by something hairy for sure."
Fred laughed and wound her arms around his neck. "Oh, all right. I guess I gotta go to make sure you're well-protected, or else who knows what could happen?"
Author's Note: Not much action in this chapter, since it's meant to be mainly introductory. I chose the surname O'Sullivan for Angel and Connor because a) it's Irish and b) according to it means "dark-eyed", which seems suitable for them. Also, besides the characters included in this chapter, Giles, Faith and Gunn are probably going to make an appearance.
I won't try to focus on all the characters in each chapter (that would be tiring, not to mention confusing); they'll be featured according to how the plotline develops, although the Summers women and the O'Sullivans will probably take centre-stage.