A/N: I am sooo sorry for the lateeeeeeeeeeeeee update. I've had soooo much going on, like alot. My mom is better but I've been having a lot of problems at home and a funeral I had to attend for my best friend's brother in law who died in afghanistan earlier this month so its been a very hectic month. I know this is probably ridled with mistakes but I wanted to give you an update. (I'll probably go back and edit it eventually, fixing the grammar and everything) This is the last chapter before I start the sequel but I must warn you it is SUPER angsty. Like I think some of you may want to hurt me but I promise things will be resolved in the sequel. More motivation for you all to keep up with it. Anyway, enjoy and look out for the sequel. Hopefully I'll be posting it within the next month. Until then, stay cool.
Weakly, Angel and Buffy stumble in through the front door. The rest of the gang is in the office waiting impatiently for them when they hear the two come in. Cordelia is the first to look up and see Angel and Buffy walk through the door and a relieved smile breaks across her face as she squeezes Xander's hand in hers.
"Angel." Fred breathes from beside Wesley and Angel's eyes widen as he takes in the sight of every single one of his friends, alive.
"Oh, my God." he chokes out in disbelief. "You're alive."
"Buffy!" Dawn suddenly shouts, breaking the reverent moment and launching herself into Buffy.
"Buffy!" Willow and Xander shout it unison, joining Dawn in almost smothering Buffy. She smiles weakly and lays her head on Xander's shoulder as she holds Willow tight and strokes Dawn's hair.
"Angel." Wesley acknowledges cautiously and Angel turns to him and nods about to tell him everything when Buffy breaks off from her group hug and meanders out to the garden by herself. Angel watches helplessly as she goes before ducking his head down, sighing and looking back up at the others.
"Jasmine's dead. I brought back her name and her powers were destroyed." Angel tells them, plopping down on the couch in the lobby. " Buffy killed her." he explains.
"Um Angel there's something—" Willow starts to say but Angel's attention is elsewhere as he begins to ramble.
"I've never seen her like this. She wasn't hurt or angry, she just... Walked away. And her face, it—it was just blank, like we had nothing left." Angel says shutting his eyes tightly and lowering his head into his hands.
"Angel, you really—" Wesley tries to interrupt but Angel continues.
"I've got a bad feeling. She's just...given up on us. I think she might—"
"End world peace?" a voice sounds, with a lilt he knows well. Angel turns to see Lilah standing in the doorway, a smirk on her face. "Well, you already took care of that. Congratulations."
"Lilah." Angel says his voice guarded as he slowly stands.
"Angel. What's the matter, ace? Didn't think you were the only one that ever got to come back from hell around here, did ya?" Lilah questions before clearing her throat. "Speaking of which, could I possibly get some ice water?"
"What are you doing here, Lilah?" Angel asks, his eyes narrowing to slits.
"She's not here. It's not her. It can't be." Wesley mutters, his brows furrowed as he shakes his head. Its impossible. She was dead. He was the one who made it official.
"There's a signed dollar in your wallet that says different." she counters and he frowns, before walking to the other side of the room.
"It's a lie." he insists and Lilah smirks.
"Lah. It's a Lilah." she tells them in amusement. Her smile quickly fades when she see's Fred move to Wesley side and she sighs before turning to Angel. "You're the one with the preternatural senses. You tell him."
"It's true, Wes. It's her." Angel confirms.
"But how?" Fred questions, a bit of jealousy and curiosity in her tone. "She was dead."
"She's still dead." Willow says as she observes Lilah and Gunn scratches the back of his neck.
"Vampire?" he prompts and Lilah cringes.
"Eww, please. Angelus drank from me, it's true, but like with most men, it was a one-way street. I was dead already. Besides, my Wesley made sure I'd be spared," Lilah says, pulling down her purple scarf to reveal the scar marked across her neck. Wesley looks away. "just in case. It's OK, lover. I never felt a thing."
"I'm sure that's true." Wesley replies curtly as Lilah covers up her scar again.
"I don't get this. If she ain't alive, and she ain't a vampire, what in the hell is she?" Faith asks with frustration and Gunn almost smiles, thinking about how in sync the both of them are.
"I'm just a messenger. That's all. They'll be sending me straight back to hell once I'm finished here." Lilah explains, shrugging.
"Who's 'they'?" Xander wonders and Angel clenches his jaw tightly.
"Wolfram & Hart. The contract she signed with them extends beyond her death." he tells the group.
"Standard perpetuity clause, I'm afraid. Always read the fine print." Lilah replies, pursing her lips.
"Wow, that sounds like it really sucks." Cordelia says and Lilah rolls her eyes at the brunette.
"Not all of us have supernatural freaks to help us get out of tight situations." Lilah counters and Cordelia straightens up a bit, feeling a renewed gratefulness for her friends.
"What's your game, Lilah?" Angel suddenly prods and Lilah shifts her gaze to Angel's.
"No game." she says innocently before shrugging. "In fact, game over. Guess what? You win, which is why I'm here. I have been authorized to make you kids an offer." she tells them.
"You can't possibly think there's anything we'd want from you." Fred scoffs, crossing her arms and smirking at the thought.
"I don't think you'll want it, but you'll take it, because this is the offer of a lifetime." she tells them cockily, before pausing and frowning. "Just not, you know...mine."
As Lilah sits on the couch, the remaining members of the fang and Scooby gang stare at her. They all seem uncomfortable, each rearranging and shifting as they ponder whatever it is Lilah told them. They look at her, at each other, at no one. Finally, Gunn breaks the ice.
"You want to run that by us one more time?" Gunn prompts, his brows furrowed as he tries to let everything Lilah just told them sink in.
"What was unclear?" Lilah wonders and Fred purses her lips.
"I think the part where you offered us Wolfram & Hart." Fred replies, still slightly shell shocked.
"Just the L.A. Branch.: Lilah corrects and Lorne chuckles, shaking his head.
"'Just the L.A. Branch.'" Lorne says, standing up and irritation seeping into his tone. "Hi, from another dimension, what the hell does that mean?"
"Means we give. You win. We're moving out. The senior partners are ceding this territory to you, and to prove it, they want to give you controlling interest in our L.A. Office. You get the building, assets, personnel, letterhead, paper clips, all of it. It's yours to do with as you see fit." Lilah explains, smirking at the looks of disbelief, horror, curiosity and suspicion on their faces.
"But there is no Los Angeles office of Wolfram & Hart. The beast destroyed it, right?" Willow questions, looking over to Angel and the rest of the fang gang, who all start to nod when Lilah interrupts them.
"Oh, it'll be back, restaffed and zombie-free. We'll be bigger, better, and shinier than ever, and we want to give it to you once we've finished." she tells them and Cordelia shakes her head, trying to wrap her head around the whole thing but failing miserably.
"You want to give us your evil law firm?" Cordelia wonders, the strangeness of Lilah's offer settling over her.
"We ain't lawyers." Gunn decides to point out and Fred waves a hand to get everyone's attention.
"Or evil." she says meekly, before eyeing Cordelia and Faith and adding, "Currently."
"What we're offering you is a turnkey, state-of-the-art, multi-tasking operation. What you do with it, well, that's up to you." Lilah says, standing up and crossing her arms.
"Why?" Angel suddenly prods, speaking for the first time in a good while. He just knows it in his gut that Wolfram & Hart have an agenda and they need them at the firm for whatever that agenda is.
"Well, I thought that was obvious. You earned it. Think of it as a reward." Lilah replies pleasantly and Dawn frowns, not catching on to what Lilah's implying.
"Reward for what?" she asks and Lilah turns to her.
"Ending world peace." Lilah tells her as if it should be obvious.
"That's not what happened." Conner insists and Lilah raises a brow.
"Jasmine was creating a slave state." Wesley supplies and Lilah nods at him sarcastically.
"Right, where the slaves are full of giggly joy and love. Ugh, what a nightmare." she replies sardonically and Angel shakes his head. Jasmine was evil, she had to be stopped.
"She was eating people." he says, justifying the whole thing and Lilah quickly rebuts.
"They knew what they were getting into." she tells them and Xander furrows his brows.
"Her stomach?" he retorts and Willow purses her lips in thought.
"World peace comes at a price. Jasmine understood that. She consumed, what? Couple dozen souls a day? Now weigh that against ending the suffering of millions, but you fixed that." Lilah grins, reveling in the medley of expressions and outrage passing over their faces.
"No, we didn't. I—I mean, we did, we—we fixed it, but not in the way that you're trying to make it sound." Willow babbles, shaking her head as she tries to explain but the more she thinks about the entire thing the more nervous she gets.
"Jeez, it's not like it was a criticism. Anyway, I'm dead and running late." she says, walking toward the door and leaning on the frame. "Think about our proposal. If anyone's interested when everything is rebuilt and we have the city back on track we'll call and hey... good job." she smiles before turning and walking out.
"We ended a nefarious global domination scheme, not world peace…" Fred says with conviction and annoyance in her voice, before exchanging glances with Angel, Xander, Willow, Wesley, Dawn, Conner, Gunn, Faith and Cordelia. "…right?"
Buffy closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, attempting to drown out the chaos she hears unfolding beyond the walls of the Hyperion and it's garden. She figures if she can just close it all off, if not just for a minute or two, it'd be easier for her to cope with the situation and calm herself down. Her and Angel are over. And not the kind over they have been but a different kind of over. She can't keep waiting or expecting him to see their situation any differently than it already is. All this time she's been waiting and she just can't do it anymore.
"Hey Buffy, you.. are you okay?" Xander suddenly asks and Buffy eyes tear up at the sight of her two best friends.
"No… I'm really not." she cries and Willow immediately goes over to Buffy and wraps her arms around her. Xander tilts his head before finding his way over to the two of them and holding them close.
"It's gonna be okay, Buff." Xander promises and Buffy nods her head against his shoulder.
"I know, it will be." she replies with a watery smile and Xander kisses her and Willow's head before leaving the two of them to talk at Willow's command.
The two of them aren't talking long when suddenly Willow grips the railing of the garden door.
"Will?" Buffy asks, scrunching up her nose in confusion before Willow falls to her knees.
"Willow!" Buffy shouts, dropping down beside Willow and holds her best friend up as Willow pushes her palm against her forehead.
"I can see it." Willow grunts. "Coming from underneath."
"What do you see, Will?" Buffy questions calmly.
"The hell mouth." Willow says, panting as she looks up at Buffy. "It's going to open."
"You know, can't help thinking it might cut down on the work load some if we got a little help, a few extra employees, or a turnkey, state-of-the-art, multi-tasking operation." Gunn says pursing his lips as he makes the suggestion in the office him and Wesley are seated in.
"You can't possibly think that's an option." Wesley prompts as he leans back in his chair.
"Well, now I know it's an option, 'cause I was standing there when the dead lady offered it to us. Come on, Wes, how long are you gonna be satisfied, sitting there sticking pins in maps and blowing dust off your books?" Gunn questions before sighing. "Sorry, man. I shouldn't have said it like that."
"No, no, no. They are rather dusty." Wesley agrees, looking away.
"That's not what I meant. Couldn't have been easy for you seeing Lilah again like that." Gunn replies weakly.
"Oh, yes. That was awkward, wasn't it? You decapitate a loved one, you don't expect them to come visiting." Wesley shrugs, picking up a nearby pen and focusing his attention on his map.
"Loved one?" Gunn wonders, brow raised.
"Figure of speech." Wesley replies quickly, keeping his eyes trained in the map set out in front of him.
Lorne shakes off his coat as he walks in through the front door. Angel looks up from changing his shirt while Fred and Xander sit quietly on one of the sofa's in the lobby, Buffy standing behind them.
"You're back. How is it?" Angel questions cautiously. Conner and Dawn emerge from upstairs while Wesley and Gunn come out from the back office at the sound of Lorne's entrance.
"I'm not saying we ended world peace or anything, kids, but, uh, it's a mess out there, and considering the banner year we've had, that's up against some pretty stiff competition." Lorne tells them, helplessly falling into the sofa besides Fred and Xander.
"Ok, well, don't you think maybe we should consider—" Gunn starts to say but Angel's expression darkens.
"Consider what, Gunn? What should we consider?" he snaps and Gunn scowls a bit, crossing his arms.
"Nothing." he mutters, leaning back into his chair.
"You want to go with them when they resurface? That's up to you."
"It's not a decision I can make for you, for any of you, but know this: before your first day is even over, before you even cross through their doors, you'll be corrupted."
Gunn swallows thickly, looking down at his feet before Buffy takes a deep breath and lets her gaze roam the room.
"It looks like you all have a lot to discuss. Dawn. Faith. Come on. Lets go."
"Wait what?" Faith replies, complete shock in her tone and Buffy meets her gaze,
"You're coming with us back to Sunnydale." Buffy tells her. Faith nods vigorously.
"Alright, B. Whatever you say. I'll just go grab my stuff." she says, turning toward the staircase and into her temporary bedroom at the Hyperion. Buffy watches Faith go before looking to Dawn.
"Dawn, we're leaving. Get your things and lets go."
"Wait, Buffy, no." Dawn insists and Buffy shakes her head, immediately shutting down Dawn's pleas.
"I don't want to hear it, Dawn. Get your stuff." Buffy tells her fiercely, making it clear that it isn't up for discussion. Dawn's lower lip trembles as she looks past Buffy at Conner before she starts upstairs to get her things.
"So we're going?" Xander questions simply and Buffy nods.
"Yep." she answers curtly. Xander looks at Buffy, her arms crossed and her back straight and then to Angel who's eyes are closed as he faces the opposite way.
"Just like that?" Xander prompts and Buffy nods again.
Xander looks to Willow, seeing if maybe she can explain what's going on, but Willow just nods at him.
"Alright then." Xander sighs, getting up and nodding at Buffy before he and Willow go upstairs to gather their things.
"Guess this is it, then." Buffy says, a little sadness in her voice as she faces the fang gang.
"Keep in touch." Fred tells her, getting up from her place on the couch and hugging Buffy close.
"If you need anything… we're here. And I'll contact all my resources and try my best to try and locate any information on Giles' whereabouts." Wesley offers, a soft smile on his lips.
"Thank you." Buffy replies quietly as Fred pulls away and walks over to Wesley's side.
"Its been nice meeting you, in a totally rushed and apocalyptic way. We should try hanging sometime without the impending doom and stuff." Gunn says with a grin and Buffy chuckles as Gunn leans in and hugs her.
"Agreed." she says as she comes face to face with Conner.
"Promise you wont stay away forever." Conner says, narrowing his eyes before grabbing her in a big bear hug.
"I promise. And don't be afraid to come and visit. You can stay at my house, anytime." she replies, pulling away and gripping his shoulders. "I mean that."
"Okay." Conner tells her, nodding and making way for Cordelia to say goodbye.
"Be careful, don't die again okay?" Cordy asks and Buffy shakes her head in amusement.
"Okay Cordy, I'll do that just for you if you do it too." Buffy laughs and Cordelia nods vigorously.
"Done." Cordelia says putting her hands up to signify a deal before walking over to Angel and Gunn as Lorne steps up to Buffy.
"Oh sweet cheeks, you never did get to sing that song for me."
"Maybe next time." she says with a smile, leaning in and embracing him. When Lorne lets go, Buffy turns to Angel.
"Buffy…" Angel says reverently and pleading.
"Angel. I guess I'll uh see you when the next apocalypse comes around." Buffy tells him, nodding to herself.
"Buffy wait…" Angel starts to say but Buffy turns away, taking a deep breath and moving toward Wesley.
"Can you tell the others I'll be out by the car?" she asks, her eyes filled with desperation.
"Yeah, we will." he assures her.
"And if you hear from Giles?" she prompts.
"We'll call." Wesley replies and Buffy nods before taking one last longing look at the Hyperion before stepping outside. As soon as the door swings shut, Angel races to the door and follows her outside. Conner watches him go and takes the opportunity to make his way upstairs passing Willow and Xander as he makes his ascent.
Xander shrugs his small duffle bag off his shoulder and comes to a stop in front of Cordelia.
"So guess this is it then." Xander says and Cordelia looks up at him.
"Guess so." she shrugs, putting her hands behind her back absently.
"I'm uh glad you're not dead or in a coma or anything." he tells her seriously and Cordelia nods, barely containing her frustration.
Xander's hand twitches to reach up and touch her face but he beats it back out of nervousness and tries to swallow the lump of emotion sitting in his throat.
"Could you stay that way?" he asks her, the concern flooding his eyes.
"Yeah, I think I can manage." she tells him, looking down in disappointment.
"Good." Xander nods nervously, picking up his bag and staring at Cordelia for one last minute before turning to Faith.
"You okay dude?" she wonders genuinely and Xander shakes his head before walking over to stand and wait for Willow to come out of the back office.
Fred comes out of the office with Willow in the midst of handing a book to her.
"I think that volume's outdated. You'd know better than me, but there's some interesting stuff about hellmouth. Might help. "
"This is great." Willow smiles in thanks.
"I have to say, someday I'd love to bend your ear about the Pergamum Codex. I—I think some of the really obscure passages are actually Latin translated from a demonic tongue, and they're kind of a hoot. All this stuff about Bacchanals and spells and—actually, I think it's probably funnier in Latin. You know how that is sometimes." Fred shrugs before giggling.
"Time goes by, Will."
"Okay, right. Well guys it was good to see you, aside from the huge apocalypse and everything. But of the good nonetheless.
"Yeah it is always nice seeing you." Fred replies.
"That I have to agree with." Wesley nods as Fred smiles wide.
"Don't be a stranger." Willow tells Wesley and he nods.
"Oh trust me, if things continue going the way they have we may all see each other sooner then you think." Gunn laughs while all the others nod in absolute agreement.
"Buffy wait up!" Angel calls out and Buffy spins around to face him.
"So you're going back to Sunnydale. Is something up?"
"I think. Maybe. I don't know." Buffy sighs. "Willow said she saw something going on with the hellmouth, not to mention the fact we've probably left Anya and Clem on their own for way too long. Something's coming Angel and its planning on staying."
"Please, don't do this." Angel begs.
"Do what?" Buffy asks.
"You were the one who left me, not the other way around. I'm just keeping it strictly business from now on." Buffy says sternly.
"I only left you because I love you so much. I want you to have a normal life." Angel tells her, pain seeping through every word.
"I'm the slayer. I'm never going to have a normal life. If that hasn't become obvious enough." she says bitingly.
"But you could." Angel counters. He knows he did the right thing. She's supposed to be with someone who can give her the world, who can walk with her in the sunlight.
"No I never can, Angel. Why cant you understand that? I'm never going to have that nice house with the white picket fence and two point five kids running around while my husband grills out in the backyard. I'm never going to be able to leave Sunnydale. None of that is evergoing to happen."
"But kids. You'll want kids and other things that I can't give you." Angel frowns, looking down.
"Well what I want doesn't seem to matter, does it?" Buffy says bitterly, shaking her head and looking up into Angel's eyes. "I didn't want to be the slayer. I didn't want my first watcher to get killed. I didn't want to be expelled from school, twice. I didn't want my parents to split up. I didn't want to move to a hellmouth. I didn't want to die at sixteen. I didn't want my dad to leave. I didn't want you to leave. I didn't want my mom to go. I didn't want to die for a second time. I didn't want to come back. I didn't want to let Spike do those things to me..."
"Buffy.." Angel breathes.
"These are the things that stick with me, Angel. They're never going away. I can forget about college and the nightmares even Spike sometimes. But you're one of the things I can never forget. You're in everything I do. Everywhere I look. I'm never going to be normal. As much as I wish I can sometimes, I can't forget. I'll never forget." Buffy pauses abruptly and something washes over her. She furrows her brows for a moment trying to hold on to the strange feeling but as quickly as it came, it goes and she's left standing in front of Angel just like she was. "We can't start over."
"We can. I mean, we don't have to start over. We can change things." Angel tells her firmly, reaching over and cradling her head. She shakes off his tender hand and tears up.
"There's only one thing that ever changes anything... and that's death." she says fiercely and Angel's brows furrow as tears begin to fall. "Everything else is just a lie. You can't be saved by a lie."
"I really do love you, Buffy." Angel replies, trying so hard to hold on to her.
"So what are you gonna do about it? Tell me what is going to change." she counters in a low whisper. She turns to walk away when Angel reaches out and touches her arm.
"Buffy?" Angel says softly his brow creased as he looks down at her bowed head. When she lifts her chin up, her hazel eyes meet his. She says nothing as she stares up at him tearfully but the emotion in her eyes is enough to throw Angel off balance.
"I have to go." Buffy says, before turning and practically running to the car. She doesn't understand the images she just saw but its all too much right now.
Buffy sighs as she and the others walk through the front door. Home sweet home. Right. Everyone splits up, Xander to go see Anya, Faith heading for the kitchen, Willow for her bedroom and Dawn for hers, while Buffy gets some clothes and takes the longest shower she's ever taken in her life. After she finishes up in the shower and is dressed she makes her way to the couch and sits down. She still processing it all. The whole thing with Angel. The fact that Faith is with them in Sunnydale. Dawn and Conner's relationship. Everything.
Faith plops down beside Buffy as she stares blankly at the wall. Faith peels her banana slowly and shoves it in her mouth with incomprehensible speed causing Buffy to break from her listless staring and let out a chuckle.
"God you're still as obnoxious as ever." Buffy says, rolling her eyes in mock annoyance.
"Yeah, but you love it." Faith says with a mouthful and Buffy just scoffs playfully. "So is there a reason you're annoying me to no end?"
"Not particularly." Faith shrugs, taking a good look at Buffy for what seems like the first time since arriving. She can see the changes in her, there aren't many, but little things are prevalent. Like the sadness that seems to linger in her eyes and the way she caves in on herself when she's alone. Its something she's familiar with. Buffy's expression goes from amused to dark in a mere few seconds and she sighs.
"Seriously Faith, what do you want?"
"Nothing I just…" Buffy gives her a questioning look and Faith shakes her head. "OK. B, I'm worried. All of us are. I mean first that stunt with the psycho drugs and now the brooding. You're starting to look like Angel."
"Its just…" Buffy pauses and sighs. She doesn't want to talk about it, about any of it. She just wants to forget.
"Look I'm tired Faith, help yourself to whatever we have. I'm going to take a long well deserved nap. Wake me up when the worlds ending."
"You got it, B."
Buffy slouches out of sight, padding up the stairs and to her bedroom tiredly. She strips down and changes into a pair of comfortable pajamas before doing the Nestea plunge into her mattress. Being in L.A. completely wore her out, she feels drained: physically and emotionally. So much has happened in the past few weeks she's completely out of sorts. It's like she's on sensory overload with all the emotions she's juggling, like some kind of clown, the same ones that freak Xander out and give her the wiggins. Her heart is heavy, coming back to Sunnydale and leaving things the way they are with Angel is really taking a toll on her.
Trying to distance herself from him is grueling process all on its own, especially after a long period of time, seeing him everyday… almost, knowing he's close by. Not to mention the fact that they left on semi bad terms, not knowing where the other stands doesn't make it any less difficult. She wishes things were less complicated and that she could be with Angel, no strings, no responsibilities to worry about, no Powers that Be looking over her shoulder, but every time they see each other the cold reality becomes clearer and clearer and a possible future together becomes farther and farther away.
She loves Angel, with her whole heart, just as much as she did when he was in Sunnydale, but she's starting to wonder if that's enough. Her eyes finally start to drift close and she allows Angel's image to dance behind her lids. His brown eyes, the curve of his rare smile, the feel of his arms and softness of his lips. It isn't long before she's asleep and in la la land, a place where her and Angel have no bounds keeping them apart. A place where they can be together, in every sense of the word and there's no one else in the world but them. Things shift and she can feel her dream start to gain actual form. Again she feels the haziness surrounding her dream but also a clearness she can't describe.
She's with Angel in his office around the time she went there after thanksgiving. Everything is just as she remembers it but something changes. The mohra demon Angel killed the moment it came through the window struggles with the two of them before managing to escape.
Buffy tries to shake the feeling of familiarity that comes with the events that play out, ones that never happened but feel all too real to be a dream. Searching the sewers with Angel, splitting up and then seeing him under the sun's rays. Beautiful as ever, basking in the sun as he makes his way over and kisses her. He tangles his fingers in her hair and she never wants the moment to end. Then they're back at the office together and down in his apartment and trying to act like mature adults after finding out Angel's human but before she knows it clothes hit the floor and they're wrapping up in one another, never planning on resurfacing.
The dream cuts off and she wakes up, wishing for that dream, wishing for that other life that had and wishing to know the ending. One she doesn't get. Buffy hears voices drifting from downstairs and steels herself for the inevitable. She gets up stretches her legs and makes her way downstairs. Time to get back to reality.
"I guess love just isn't a good look on us." Cordelia sighs putting her head on Angel's shoulder sadly. She thought she was ready, she thought her and Xander could just fall back into what they used to have but everything is so different now and they live so far away. She should have known it wouldn't work.
Suddenly Conner cries out, hunching over and grabbing at his head as the vision he's receiving fills his mind. Angel goes to his side and helps Wesley hold Conner up and he gasps as he comes to again. He looks to Angel, nearly gaping at him while his brows furrow.
"What is it, Con?"
"I … I had a vision."
"Are you sure?" Gunn asks uneasily and Conner frowns at him.
"Yes I'm sure." he replies, rolling his eyes.
"How?" Fred wonders, her eyes wide and Cordelia looks at them all sheepishly.
"I must have passed them on when we.. um.. you know." Cordelia mutters, trailing off awkwardly.
"What did you see?"
"Your… your soul." Conner says with reverence as his vision comes swimming back. The picture of clarity.
It's Buffy. She's beaten and bleeding, like he's never seen before. She staggers away from an unseen attacker, barely able to hold herself upright.
Then he is greeted with the images of girls, teenage girls everywhere, as they fight to their deaths, Dawn among them.
Suddenly Angel and Buffy touching. His father running a hand across her shoulder blade.
And then Angel glowing in an alleyway, putting a hand on his chest. His eyes flash as Angelus' dust rolls through the wind.
"I swear if you lose your soul again I'm gonna…" Gunn starts to trail off and Angel looks to Wesley, Gunn, Cordy and Fred with worry. That can't happen. He can't lose his soul, not again.
"What about it?" Angel wonders earnestly and Conner looks up at his father, his head shaking slightly. He's the one who saw it and he's still trying to grasp its meaning.
"Its… Its bound." Conner breathes and Cordelia's hand covers her mouth in shock. Angel's jaw drops as well as the rest of the gang's too as he lets her words sink in. Bound.
"Are you sure?" Angel asks seriously and cynically but Conner nods enthusiastically as he realizes it's the truth.
"What could have done this? How long has it been this way?" Wesley questions.
"Well there was a flash of when Angel woke up from that coma with Buffy..." Conner trails off.
"Did anything happen while you were with Buffy in your flashbacks?" Wesley wonders, turning to Angel to find out answers and confirm what Conner has seen.
"Um, I fought with Angelus. Buffy was dying so I wasn't really paying attention to much else. Then she left and I…" his eyes go wide in recognition and Conner is reminded of the beginning of his vision.
"You what?" Wesley asks, pressing Angel for more.
"I killed Angelus." Angel tells them, mouth agape as he recalls the fight.
Angelus sighs in disappointment as he turns on Angel right after Buffy disappeared, a look of boredom on his cocky features.
"Damn it. I always love getting in the thick of things with that girl. She's so fun to break." Angelus cackles, leveling the pipe in his hand. If Buffy's gone then his only alternative is… "Oh well, I've still got you to beat on." Angelus smiles, bringing up the pipe and swinging it. It sails through the air but before it can strike him, Angel catches it with his hand and snarls, pulling Angelus into his grip. He wraps his hands around Angelus' neck and growls.
"Wow, soul boy, I didn't think you had it in you." Angelus chokes out just before Angel snaps his head off, leaving nothing but dust behind. Angelus' ashes scatter across the alleyway and Angel starts to glow. His eyes widen and the next thing he knows he's on the floor of the basement in the Hyperion watching the two most important people in his world fighting one another. So Angelus' death is nothing but a fading memory as he jumps up and grabs Conner.
"Conner. Its over. Its me. Really."
"You what?" Gunn shouts at him and Angel nods his head in confirmation, the memory coming back clearer with every passing second.
"I killed him. We were fighting and right before I got back I killed him."
"And you didn't think to tell us this before because…?" Cordelia trails off.
"I didn't remember until just now." Angel explains with excitement, hope infused in his tone as his vision is clouded with visions of Buffy. He smiles despite himself as Wesley and Fred exchange possible theories, but Conner interrupts their rambling and Angel's fantasies with a hard, grim expression.
"Earth to vampire dad, that's not all I saw." Conner says ominously and Fred, Lorne, Gunn, Cordelia and Angel look to him for answers they're not sure they want. "This is it, guys. It's the end of days."