Title: Afterglow of an Angel
Pairings: Willow/Angel, Wesley/Fred, Gunn/Anne
Summary: When the A.I. team are in need of help, an old friend from Sunnydale comes to the rescue, with secrets that she can't hide forever and a certain vampire with a soul who has a secret of his own will find out with his friends and things will be different.
Timeline: Angel Season Five
Disclaimer: All characters including from BtVs, Angel, and Resident Evil do not belong to me and the song 'Afterglow' belongs to the band, INXS.
Comments: Are love, please be nice. And if there are words miss spelled or mistakes, I'm sorry and don't be afraid to tell me.
Note: This story is for Sparky and Avis Adler, two of the ones who were in my life taken away by Cancer too soon but they are no longer in pain. I miss you both so much, it hurts. :(
I had never really known true love. There were times where I thought I did and convinced myself that nothing could change my mind, but it happened. First with Darla, Buffy, and then with Nina. Until I saw her again, just seeing those beautiful emerald eyes of hers, always so bright and filled with hope, while behind those eyes, kept something hidden she was too afraid to tell me. To tell all of us.
Flashback: Last Year…
It was a nice and peaceful evening in the city of angels where no demons seemed to be running around or signs of any apocalypses, which was a good thing for the A.I. team. Things had changed more for them when they came to Wolfram and Hart and demons seemed to be more afraid of them now that they were the owners of Wolfram and Hart.
But tonight was especially a good night for the two who were sitting in their own private spot on the lovely evening. They had been seeing each other for three weeks and they agreed on keeping it between them until they were ready to let everyone know, even though Spike and Gunn knew about their relationship. Tonight, they had been through a day of only research and no demons to take out, so instead of going through a whole night of it, they decided to call it a night by getting Harmony to tell Angel they weren't feeling well and going home to rest.
Instead, they went to a nice little diner far from the law firm and headed their were they shared a chocolate milkshake and started holding hands. That was when a look of guilt crossed Fred's face.
"What's the matter?" Wesley asked.
"I feel kinda guilty." Fred answered.
"Why is that?" He asked.
"Well, I kinda feel like I'm a married woman having a very scandalous affair with someone who's not my Husband and I'm the one who's throwing it all away, except there's no Husband and I'm not married. But this may still be a scandalous affair. I feel like we might be cheating on our friends, not telling them about us, even though Charles and Spike know about us. Maybe even Harmony." She answered.
"Would you have it any other way, though?" He asked, gently stroking her hand.
"No." She answered. He smiled at that before they kissed and then paid the bill once the waitress came back so they could head for the door hand in hand away from the diner.
"So, what should we do now?" Fred asked.
"Would you like me to walk you home?" Wesley asked.
"Did you do that the last few times?" She asked
"Unless you have something else in mind." He replied as they stopped and turned to face each other and she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Your place is closer, isn't it?" She asked.
"As a matter of fact, it is. Would you like to go there?" He asked.
"I might." She said as she moved in for a kiss until…
"Ms. Burkle? Mr. Wesley?" Someone interrupted.
The former Watcher and the bookworm looked to see who it was Knox from her lab that had been working with her since they got to Wolfram and Hart. Wesley did his best when he was around him to not make it obvious that he didn't want him around Fred, where he would get a weird feeling about him when they would work alone together.
"Knox, hi!" Fred greeted.
"Hi, Ms. Burkle." Knox greeted back.
"You know you can just call me Fred. No ms." She corrected him.
"Of course, Fred. Hi, Mr. Pryce." Knox greeted.
"Hello, Knox." He greeted.
"I came by the lab earlier to show you a report I had on a project I was working on, but they said you went home sick. Is everything okay?" He asked.
"She's fine." Wesley answered before Fred could.
"Oh, I'm sorry. What was it that you wanted to show me?" Fred asked.
"It's just a little something of a project I'm working on. It's at the lab, so whenever you'd like to see it, I'd be happy to show you whenever you like." Knox answered.
"Well, I'll be able to come in tomorrow. Does that work?" She asked.
"Actually, it'll be delivered in three weeks, so as soon as it comes in, you'll be the first to know." He answered.
"I'm sure Angel would like to see it as well." Wesley added.
"Oh, he will. But Fred first, just for inspection and to make sure everything goes smoothly." Knox replied.
Wesley looked at Fred's assistant and there was something about what he was telling them that didn't sound right and it sounded like something farther than a crush that he imagined he still had on her, but something else. What was it he was so eager to show her?
"Well, you guys have a good night and maybe get well soon might not be the best thing to say." Knox said.
"I will. See you tomorrow?" Fred asked.
"You bet. Have a good night." Knox said as he nodded goodnight to Wesley and walked past them as they continued on the path they were going before they ran into Knox.
Wesley wrapped a protective arm around Fred as they headed to his place which they had decided on since she was right and that it was closer than hers. He didn't seem worried if Knox was going to say anything to anybody, but maybe Fred would and he would ask her later. He didn't want her panicky about them or if anyone other than Spike or Gunn knew about them.
But while the two were in a world of their own happiness, little did they know someone would attempt to take that happiness away from them.
At Wolfram and Hart, Angel had never been so annoyed unless it came down to facing demons trying to end the world or sorting through files, and looking through the desk made it to the list. Since they'd arrived, he'd been given files and documents from every case they had, even from past cases they had dealt with when they were still against Wolfram and Hart. They had been so rushed to move everything that they didn't really have enough time to take a quick look at what they were bringing with them. He requested the boxes to be brought up to him.
While he was still digging and looking for the right case file, he moved to the next box and opened it to just dig around until he noticed lying on the top of files was an old framed picture that only he knew about; the Scooby gang the week before Graduation. He smiled down at the picture, looking at only the redhead, who was in the picture and not the others in the picture with her. When he first arrived in Sunnydale, he noticed she was most shy when he was around and she was the first one he'd met, even though she didn't see him yet. She'd always been so sweet, caring, and protective of them all. Even after his time as Angelus, especially after the horrible things Angelus had done to them.
There were several times after the Billy Ford Situation that he tried to tell her that he wanted the two of them to be more than friends and there was something about her that made it worth going to her house whether if she was aware of it or not, but then he doubted himself that she could ever love something that walked and talked like a human, but was a monster, he believed that it couldn't make her love him. When he'd returned, he saw her with the Wolf and felt that it was better for her, to have the happy life he could not give her.
Angel shook his head from those memories and put the picture away somewhere he knew he would find it if he wanted to look at it again and turned back to the files in front of him to try and stay focused. He was the CEO of Wolfram and Hart, the demon law firm he'd been trying to bring down since he arrived in L.A. a couple years ago, now he owned it. He really wished he knew the other reason why he agreed to it or if the Senior Partners were setting him up for a trap. He knew that Buffy wasn't on his side anymore now that he was here after she'd sent Andrew to take the new slayer away. He'd tried calling to explain his side, but she wasn't taking his calls and he wondered how the others felt about him, aside from Giles and Buffy.
Flashback: Earlier that day…
"I wish I had better news like I said the last time, but unfortunately, I don't. It's still bad, but somewhat of a miracle that you still look this healthy." The Doctor said as he looked at his patient with sympathy in his eyes.
"I suppose so." Willow said lowly as he faced her.
"From your results, you still have better chances. Maybe a year or two until the disease runs its course, unless you have another miracle coming your way…" Dr. Stevens started.
"Isn't' this the part where you tell me how much worse it is?" She asked gruffly. She nodded apolitically before he nodded in acceptance and continued.
"Not as much, but like I said, within a year or two, your body may begin to fail, the medicine may not be as good as it is now. I've never seen results with cancer patients like yourself." He answered.
"But until then, when it starts getting bad…" She started.
"At this point, I'd say count your blessings and do what you can to beat this. You're a strong woman, Ms. Rosenberg." He said.
"I used to be." She muttered to herself.
"Just don't give up hope yet. We can still fight this if we just keep trying."
"I'm sorry, Doctor, but I'm tired of fighting."
Willow kept her focus on the rode while driving, wanting so much to be in her bed and to sleep. She knew that this Doctor's appointment would be the same thing, more bad news just like she'd always heard, the story of her life.
She'd been sick since she was Twelve, in the Hospital when it was bad and then back home when she was better, until it was time to go back. Each time they were there, she would be with the other sick kids while she could see her Mother crying in her Father's arms while they would be talking to the Doctor. She didn't need to ask to know that this tore them up inside. Before she started magic, it went in between her either being at home and feeling fine or in the hospital where she would see her Parents in more pain than she was. When she became a witch, she found a few spells that would keep her alive and keep her strong so her disease wouldn't get the best of her, one of the things she had to do every now and then.
But over the last few years, when she was alone, after all the things that had happened in her life, she couldn't bring herself to care enough anymore when she wasn't around her friends or if there wasn't something that could end the world. Friends, she scoffed at that. When Sunnydale, she would've thought things changed for the better, but unfortunately, for the worst. After everything they'd been through, they all turned on her and forced her out of the circle, so she made it easier for them by leaving South America and moving to Washington to start over, somewhere where no one knew who she was and a house of her own thanks to the lottery money and Bar mitzvah money as well. It was a nice small house with only a few neighbors down the block and she was fine with that. The first day she arrived in Washington, she thought about moving to the city until
As soon as she realized she was home, she pulled up in her driveway and stepped out of the car as soon as she shut the engine off with her house key in her hand. She unlocked the door and locked it again once she was inside before pressing play on her answering machine.
"No new messages." The automated system voice said.
Willow didn't care whether if she got any calls or not, she just went up the stairs to the bathroom and pulled out a syringe as she lifted the side of her skirt by her thigh and injected it into her system like she always did before. The she only needed to use that or take the chemo pills every 3 to six months and she didn't mind using the syringe. She wasn't as afraid of needles as she used to be, she was fine with either one.
As soon as she was finished, she threw it away in the trash before going to bed, not really bothering to change her clothes either and just pulled the covers over her head when she heard thunder rumbling in the sky and groaned. Of all the nights that she hoped she could sleep without a thunderstorm, tonight was not one of them.
Later that night…
She managed to fall asleep despite the rain pouring during the time she was trying to sleep and was still pouring, but now she was too deep of sleep to be disturbed. Or at least she thought so.
She found herself laying in a field of while flowers, the sky in the prettiest shades of blue and purple she'd ever seen with the stars shining brightly and then looked down to see she was wearing an ivory silk gown before she stood up.
Was this heaven or a fantasy dream she had as a child?
Before she could ask, she could hear someone heading toward her and looked to see a person strolling toward her in a white hood and she couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman. She just stood there as they continued to head toward her until they stopped.
"Your work is not done, Witch. There are others who will need. I can give you what you need to help them."
If they were talking about the Slayer and her former friends, then they must've called on the wrong witch and she was about to tell the mysterious figure no until she felt a cool hand touch her forehead and then something flowing through her with their touch. She looked down at herself to find herself glowing while their hand remained there…
A few weeks later…
It was a typical start of the day at Wolfram and Hart where there were no demons wandering the streets yet until Angel found out about the package being sent to Fred's lab. Wesley had told him about what Knox had told Fred and he didn't need to ask to know that he didn't like Knox at all, whether if he was around her or not and that the Assistant made him uneasy.
Angel did do checks on the guy and there wasn't anything that could be found to show that he wasn't the honest guy that, but Angel could see his point. There was something that they didn't know and he'd find out soon enough.
His train of thoughts were stopped when…
"SOMEONE GET MEDICAL NOW!" Wesley cried and Angel rose from his seat the moment he heard him to see the former Watcher holding an unconscious Fred in his arms.
Willow was at the park, feeding birds pieces of bread she broke into small pieces one at a time and glanced at the other resident visiting with their families, their friends, and even if some like her on this day were alone.
From the time she woke to when she arrived at the park, she'd been thinking about her life, from where she was the shy hacker, to the witch dating a werewolf, to being a lesbian dating another witch, to being addicted to dark magics, and to killing Warren Mears. But on top of that, protecting her former friends, no matter what it took. Even though they grew apart, she didn't regret doing what she had to when it came to helping them. But now she was glad she was here, the only one she could look out for now was herself and felt that she was doing a pretty good job. She had no other family left, not that they remained close the older she got. Whether if it sounded selfish or not, she couldn't bring herself to care.
She was pulled out of her train of thought when she could sense two little girls heading in her direction and looked up.
"Hi." One said.
"Hello, there." Willow greeted.
"My sister wants to know why your so sad and sitting all by yourself." The first one said.
"Oh, I'm not. I was just thinking about old memories when I was little." She lied.
"From what?" The second one asked.
"My life, when I was probably about your age." Willow answered.
"I like your necklace. It's pretty." The second one said.
"Thank you. It's been a long time since I've worn it and it used to be my favorite because I used to wear it all the time. It belonged to someone who used to be my friend." Willow answered.
"What happened?" The second one asked.
"They weren't very nice to me." She answered.
It was a Sterling silver oval chain with Swarovski crystal necklace that she'd gotten from Buffy as a gift for her birthday one year when they were still high school kids. Willow reached around her neck and unhooked the necklace before holding it out in the palm of her hand. One less reminder of them that she didn't need in her life.
"But I don't need it anymore. I think it be better for you to have it. Something to share with your sister." Willow said.
"You want me to have it?" She asked. Willow nodded.
The girl looked at Willow's held out hand with the necklace in it and picked it up before the girls' Mother called their names for them to return to her.
"Thank you. Bye." The girls said before leaving and Willow nodded goodbye to them.
Once the girls left, Willow looked up into the grey sky when she heard rumbling. Not feeling like being soaked in the rain, she headed to her car as soon as she stood and hoped she would beat the rain before the down pour would begin. She made it when the rain started coming down lightly and then came down heavily on the drive home.
The night she had that strange dream, she thought that it wasn't real, but when she woke up the next morning, she felt very far from ill. The first sign was when the injection hold where she used the syringes, they were gone, as if she never really used them. She had gone to the Doctor to find out what happened and she didn't believe it. She still didn't, but that didn't mean she wasn't happy.
Not much longer of a drive, she made it home and was about to run inside the house until she sensed another presence there, ignoring the car that was parked across the street and went inside, before closing the door behind her.
"Giles." She greeted before turning to face on of her former friends and mentor.
"It's been too long. Months since I've seen or heard from you. Of all places, I assumed you would be somewhere more peaceful, than here." The Ex-Watcher stated.
"What's wrong with Washington? It's peaceful enough for me, where no one knows who I am or the people who knew me. Or at least I thought knew me." Willow replied.
"What're you doing here?" She asked.
"We've been looking for you, Willow. I wanted to make sure you were still safe." Giles answered.
From what he said, she didn't believe what he was telling her. After months of not seeing him or the others, if he was really concerned about her well being, he would've sounded more sincere.
"Try again and this time, make it truthful and I might believe you. What're you really doing here?" She asked.
She noticed how his face reacted and closed her eyes when she realized he was still lying even when he was going to answer her. The images were at first too fast to follow until she saw Fred pressing a seal on a strange sarcophagus and then an undead blue haired woman that looked to be Fred, but no longer was and gasped as her eyes flew open.
"Fred's in trouble." She studied his face. "You were going to just let her die, weren't you?" Willow asked.
"Willow, what is happening in Los Angeles in no concern of ours. Angel now controls a place he claimed to bring down. Now he's been corrupted." Giles answered.
"Your right. It's not our concern. It's mine. But you're wrong about Angel being corrupt. After all he's done with or without us, corrupt is the last thing he is, whether you like it or not." Willow stated.
"Willow, I am asking you not to interfere. This problem is their own and it involves only them." Giles said. Willow started walking past him until he continued to speak with her back to him.
"If you go there to Wolfram and Hart to help them, then you will be alone for the rest of your days." Giles threatened.
"Like this is any different? I'm already alone." Willow stated.
"If you walk out that door-" He started again, but she cut him off.
Her back was still to him.
"The last time you said that, you didn't have a problem turning your back on me like the others did. I won't either. You, out of all of them, I thought would be on my side, but your just like them." She said, tears forming in her eyes.
She turned back around to face him and pointed to her front door.
"Get out of my house." She said firmly.
With those words said between them, Giles took one last look at the redheaded witch before doing as she told him to and she slammed the door behind him with a wave of her hand before she went up the stairs to pick up the phone and dialed the number for the airport.
"Hi, can you tell me what the earliest plane is to Los Angeles, please? 5:45 flight, please. Thank you."
As soon as that was taken care of, she packed a few clothes along with her magic necessities before concentrating.