Chapter 10: A Proposition
A/N: It's kinda short, but this chapter sorta stands alone.
Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #1530 'Transferring Inspectors Andy Trudeau / Darryl Morris or a scooby Challenge' by InvisibleA.
Thanks to my betas: thought I'd skip it this time; sorry for any errors I didn't catch.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Charmed characters belong to WB. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
"Good evening, Miss Summers," a man's voice greeted. "I have something to discuss with you."
Turning to find a portly gentleman with grey hair and matching beard and moustache, Buffy arched an eyebrow and said, "Uh-huh…and is this going to be friendly talk, or does it involve fists?" He didn't look like trouble, but anyone finding her in a cemetery and knew her name? Kinda made her feel wiggy.
The man tried to appear non-threatening as he answered with a smile, "I would prefer that it remain non-violent."
"What the hay…you have a grandfatherly vibe to you. Discuss away," Buffy invited, deciding to throw caution to the wind. "And don't make me regret this," she added with a warning growl.
"As you no doubt have already been told, Slayers do not have very long…careers," he stated diplomatically. "Their destinies generally end with a certain opponent, but unfortunately, so do their lives."
Buffy rolled her eyes at his egg-shell walking. "Yeah? What's your point?" she demanded impatiently.
"My point is that rarely do I get a chance to talk with a Slayer about rewarding her for achieving her destiny. The reason it took so long for me to talk to you was that I had to go around your higher realm handlers; you would know them as the Powers That Be," he explained. If the Elders were a pain in the neck, the PTBs were a pain in the ass. Both had goofy ideas on how to 'guide' their Champions, but at least the Elders occasionally let their whitelighters actually help when it was necessary.
Seeing the frustration in the strange man's eyes, Buffy nodded. "Yeah, don't like them very much. They should have warned Angel or me about the loophole in his curse," she complained.
"They are paying in their own way for it," he assured her. "They have lost a valuable champion in Angel and may lose you to another group as well. That is assuming that you don't take me up on my offer, that is."
"And what offer is that, and why are you making it?" Buffy asked, both her curiosity and suspicion were aroused by whatever it was.
"I am the Angel of Destiny," he introduced himself, "…and since you have fulfilled yours by killing the Master, I can make it so you do not have to be the Slayer anymore," he offered enticingly.
Her answer was immediate and definite, "No."
A bit shocked at the vehemence of her response, the Angel of Destiny checked again, "Are you quite certain that you would not like time to think it over?"
"Yes on the sureness. No on the taking away of my Slayerness," she repeated in her own special Buffy way. "Even assuming that you are a good guy and this is a genuine offer, I have finally accepted it and am starting to learn how to have a life regardless. And even if I couldn't have both, I couldn't stop being the Slayer; it would mean that Faith would have to fight all the baddies herself."
"While there are no other Slayers, you are not the only champions of good," he remarked, coming close to crossing a line he shouldn't.
Buffy shook her head again. "That's nice to hear, but it doesn't change my answer."
He smiled even more warmly, which surprised her because she thought maybe he was a demon trying to trick her into giving up her powers. "Very well. I rather thought you would turn me down, so I have a second offer to make: Is there something that you want or somebody you would like to have back in your life?" the Angel inquired.
Narrowing her eyes, Buffy asked, "Are you talking a wish?"
Again, his answer surprised her, "No."
"Are you sure?" Buffy shot back, paraphrasing his earlier question to her.
That made the Angel chuckle, "Yes. Wishes in both our areas of expertise are a combination of good and bad. For example, you wish for a million dollars; either the million dollars comes from families who are left destitute because of it or the money itself carries a contagion which can kill anyone who touches it. I've seen both happen, that's why I used that example. What I'm offering you is as close to ramification-free as possible."
Buffy caught the CYA disclaimer at the end and shrewdly commented, "But you can't guarantee that there aren't negative side effects."
He nodded, pleased she wasn't as ditzy as she appeared to be at times. "True. Say you want your best friend back – and I can only bring one person back from the dead, by the way – then they might feel guilty about being the one brought back or resent you for not bringing somebody else back instead."
"Sounds as dangerous as a wish," she said. "You still haven't convinced me that you're a good guy either."
"Just mention 'Angel of Destiny' to your Watcher; he should be able to find something about me in one of his books," he suggested, torn between pleased that she was cautious and annoyed at almost being called evil.
Leaning back against a headstone, Buffy sighed. After thinking about it, she asked, "How much time do I get to think about this?"
"I can give you…let's say 48 hours," he replied.
"And you can bring somebody back from the dead?" she double-checked, an idea already starting to form in her mind.
"Yes, but it is best to ask in general terms, not specific ones. The magick will determine the best fit for your request. You may ask for Angel to return, thinking that he's the love of your life, but if he isn't, then you may have brought him back only to see him fall in love with somebody else," the Angel warned.
She shook her head, already knowing that wasn't the person she would ask for. "I'm not sure Angel would want to come back – not the way he was before. Assuming his soul went to heaven after…that night, he's probably happier there." That comment made her stop in her tracks mentally. Could she be responsible for tearing somebody away from their rest by doing this? That wasn't a pleasant thought. "Is there a way to be sure that if I ask for somebody to come back that they could say no if they were happier where they are?" she requested.
"I could do that. I can't tell them why they would be returning or if anyone else was returning with them, but some people feel like they died before they accomplished something they wanted to. Actually, that is a common attitude. Most get past it fairly soon, but others don't seem able to let go. Do you have somebody in mind?" he asked.
"Maybe," Buffy hedged, not wanting to give him any specific clues just yet, "…but I want to have Giles check you out first. After all, it affects him too."
"Then I'll see you in 48 hours, Miss Summers," the Angel said with a nod of his head, disappearing into the night air.
A/N: Next…Not quite sure, maybe a chat between Buffy and her friends?