Chapter 11: Romance in the Air
A/N: You'll probably hate me for the cliffhanger.
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.
Sorry to my betas: until I can get back to writing on a regular basis, I'll post unbeta'd.
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.
Buffy walked back to the house, her mind racing with the possibilities she was just offered.
A selfish part of her thought she could have Angel back…despite what she told the guy earlier.
That idea almost stopped in her tracks; he could come back, but at what cost? Could he live with what Angelus did to her friends? Could she look at him without seeing their lifeless bodies? And then there was her budding relationship with Andy to consider – assuming he still wanted to see her after learning the truth.
For that matter, could she ask for one of her friends to be returned, knowing that the others would remain dead? If she was the one who was brought back, she might feel overwhelmed at the responsibility of being the one picked. If she didn't live up to the expectations of the person who bought her back, would it cause resentment between them?
Whoever she brought back – if she brought anyone back – she'd have to be careful not to have expectations of them.
But first things first, Giles would have to do his research thing and make sure the guy was legit.
Giles decided to take a personal day from the museum so he could research some more, but Buffy had a major test she had to deal with at school. When she left the house, she found Andy waiting for her on the porch with two cups of coffee. He held out one of them and said questioningly, "Mocha, right?"
"Yeah…" she drawled cautiously as she sniffed the heavenly brew. After taking a sip, she asked, "So what rates the early morning delivery? Is this supposed to be a consolation prize or something 'cause you're breaking up with me?"
Clearly agitated, Andy confessed, "I gotta admit that this Slayer deal has thrown me. I mean…the monsters I deal with at work give me enough nightmares, but to find out there's something even worse out there?"
"Not necessarily worse…exactly." At his look of disbelief, Buffy explained, "Your monsters are humans who supposedly have souls and consciences that don't manage to stop them from doing horrible things. Mine are more like predator animals in nature. You wouldn't be surprised if a shark attacked a seal, would you? Well, in this case we're the seals and the vamps and dangerous demons are the sharks."
Andy couldn't stop himself from laughing a little hysterically. Seriously, she just called him a seal? That'd be cool if she were referring to the Navy version, but not like this. "There's a non-dangerous kind?"
"The term 'demon' basically refers to any non-human being that has near-human intelligence…or something like that. Giles might be able to explain it better. For the ones that just want to live in peace – and don't hurt humans – I consider them basically non-dangerous. It's the other kind that I have to take care of so they can't hurt anyone. But still, they are just following their nature. Is it possible they could learn a different way to behave? Maybe, but if they tried, I'm guessing the other demons would kill them for being 'weak' because they don't attack humans. Does that make any sense?" she asked, feeling a bit lost in her own curvy logic.
"In a sick sort of way, I suppose," he agreed. "My problem is this: I want that nice quiet home to go to when work is over; someplace free of the craziness I face every day."
Buffy nodded sadly, thinking that she knew what was coming next. "I understand-"
"But you don't!" Andy nearly shouted at her. "Yes, my head is screaming that I should run the other way, but when I try to imagine walking away from you…I can't. It's selfish of me, I know, but even though I can't promise you forever, I want to promise you one day at a time, starting with today," he finished earnestly, his eyes pleading with her to understand what he was offering.
Buffy thought about what he just admitted. She already knew that she was relieved he wasn't excited by her life like Owen had been. As for his concerns… If he were a different kind of guy, she would think he was trying to use the 'live in the moment' line to get in her pants, then move onto his next conquest, but her gut said that wasn't true with Andy. It wasn't the big, romantic declaration that girls swooned over in the movies; however it was an honest reaction.
She might regret it later, but at that moment, 'one day at a time' sounded pretty darn good to her. "I'd like that," Buffy replied, feeling shyer than she had in a long time. The squooshy feeling that his kiss caused made her believe that any heartache she might face in the future was worth the happiness she had now.
A few more minutes of tingly kissing and Andy offered to drive Buffy to campus so they could talk about some of the stories he read the night before. Any of the emotionally-charged ones she said they should wait until they had more time to deal with them, but she did give more details about the funnier ones like the puppet/demon hunter. Okay, so 'funnier' was a strange way to put it, but it was funnier than her death or having to kill Angelus.
By the end of the day, Buffy knew what she was going to ask for if Giles said the Destiny guy was for real. Her initial choice from the night before seemed even more right to her now that her own love life was looking up.
As she gave him a description of the man in the cemetery for a sketch for his journal, Giles told her what he came across, "I assure you that both my own research into the matter and what the Council's archivists could find agree that this Angel of Destiny is a real being. Whether this man claiming to be one is telling the truth, that's another matter. If you decide to ask for something that might indebt you to him, make sure that you put in something about magick judging the veracity of his claim first." He handed over a piece of paper with some magical oaths that should protect her.
"Thanks." She studied the different vows before deciding on the one that seemed to fit her situation best.
"So you do plan to ask him for something?" Giles inquired, curious about what she might want.
"Yup, but it's a surprise," she answered cryptically. "I'll let you know if he's able to give it to me!" Chuckling, Buffy added, "I almost expected him to sing the song 'Friend Like Me' from Disney's Aladdin – except for he said he could bring somebody back from the dead and Genie couldn't. Weird. Then again, it was sort of a kids' movie and that probably would be a little too creepy for them. And he's only giving me one 'request' – or whatever it was he called it. I know it wasn't a wish, though."
"Just be careful," Giles warned. As much as he wanted to ask her not to request to have Angel back, he knew that if she was going to do it, she'd do it. And if she wasn't going to, he didn't want to give her any ideas.
Deciding that it was time for a change in conversation, Buffy asked, "Now, what exactly did you tell Andy and the others last night? He had some really specific questions for me this morning."
He looked carefully at her expression to see how much – if any – trouble he was in, but she was being surprisingly enigmatic. "I gave them a brief overview of Slayers and Watchers, then handed them fictionalized versions of my Watcher's Journals."
"Watchers have been told that if there are any interesting conflicts in their Slayers' careers, they should try to write a fiction book based on them. Some of the great monster stories in history are actually Slayers' accomplishments written for entertainment. It helps fund the Council…as well as serves as a litmus test for whether the public is ready to embrace the truth about the supernatural," he explained.
"So are any of my stories on bookshelves?" Buffy asked, wondering if she'd get any money if they were.
Giles shook his head. "No. Council protocol states that the stories are not to be released until at least thirty years after the Slayer's death. It keeps the risk of retaliation by the demons down."
"Do I want to read them?" she wondered aloud.
"I have copies if you do."
She went back to the cemetery she was at the night before and studied the wording of her request to make sure that she wouldn't owe Destiny guy, and that it would fit his recommendations of how to make a request.
"Mr. Angel of Destiny? Are you here?" Buffy yelled once she was finished. "I know it hasn't been 48 hours yet, but I want to do this before I lose my nerve…or wise up," she added under her breath.
"Good evening, Miss Summers," the Angel greeted after he froze the surrounding area. "So you've made a decision?"
"Yes, but first I need a vow from you that you are the Angel of Destiny. Giles found out that there really is such a being…or beings, but I need to know that you are him."
He quirked an eyebrow at that; he couldn't remember the last time somebody didn't accept his claim at face value. "What did you have in mind?"
Handing over the paper she worked on, Buffy said, "This is the wording I'm going to use. In the past, Giles has told me that a vow like this for somebody who is even remotely magical would have serious consequences if they were lying or failed to live up to their end of the bargain."
"Very well," he replied. It was a bit impressive that the Watcher knew that and would pass it along to his Slayer. Their relationship really was more that of equals than the usual dynamic he saw.
Buffy started her request with the disclaimer, then finished by saying, "I would like to ask for the person who could give Rupert Edward Giles his 'happily ever after' in a romantic sense; the person who understands his life and can love him anyway."
The Angel stared at her as he used his power to 'look' into the other realm to see the answer to her request. It was interesting that she would choose this over anything else. She obviously felt tremendous guilt over the teacher's death. Would it get worse when she found out that the person returning wasn't going to be Jenny Calendar?
A/N: Next…I know who's returning, but I have to figure out how to incorporate them into the story without giving too much away.