A Mother's Last Gift
Pairings: B/A implied
Feedback: Please. Constructive criticism is always welcomed and appreciated.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with BtVS and no infringement is intended.
Distribution: Please ask and let me know where it's going.
Summary: Buffy goes to New York looking for help in fighting the First Evil. She finds more than she expected.
A/N1: AU fic where BtVS happened up through 'Showtime' in season 7 except that Whistler never brought Angel to California.
A/N2: Thoughts are in single quotes (' ')
After a brutal fight, Buffy finally defeated the First Evil's uber vamp, the Turok-Han. Though she was bruised and battered from the fight, her victory provided a much needed boost of morale for the potential slayers and they returned to Buffy's house more confident than they have been since the ancient vampire first appeared in Sunnydale. Instead of returning home with the others after the fight, Buffy went looking for Spike. She found him in a cave chained and badly beaten by the First Evil's Turok-Han; she freed him and took him home with her.
The next evening Buffy, Giles and the Scoobies gathered in her living room to discuss strategies when Buffy announced that she needed to leave for a while. Her announcement was met with surprise and a lot of questions from everyone and she calmly reminded them that their current resources were not enough if they were to take on the First Evil's army; they needed reinforcements.
"You should be safe for a couple of days because the First will be off licking its wounds due to the loss of one of its favorite pets," she told them.
When she refused to tell them where she was going, everyone assumed that she was going to LA to find her friend, Charles Gunn, who Buffy had told them was still fighting the undead in his section of the city and occasionally working with Wesley Wyndham-Price, her former watcher. Buffy told them that Wesley and Gunn had a crisis of their own to deal with and that she was going to search out a resource that was the last gift she received from her mother, Joyce. With that she left and headed for LAX.
It was nighttime when Buffy arrived at her hotel room in New York City. She worried about how she was going to approach a man that was her mother's friend and someone she had never met. All she knew about this man was what was in the package of information from her mother's attorney; she would follow Joyce's instruction that she was to contact this person only in case of dire slayer emergency. Buffy couldn't think of a more dire emergency than the one that she and her friends were facing back in Sunnydale.
When she awoke the next morning, Buffy couldn't remember the last time she slept for eight straight hours. Fifteen minutes after taking a shower and eating a big breakfast she was riding in the back of a taxi on her way to...what...she was not sure, because she didn't know what to expect. Her destination turned out to be a huge mansion in a secluded section of a residential neighborhood. She thought to herself, 'Whoever this person is, he is obviously loaded.'
At the front door Buffy was greeted by a fully dressed formal butler who escorted her into a huge library when she identified herself and told him why she was there.
Buffy got an uneasy feeling the moment she stepped into the house; she felt a vampire in the dwelling. She removed the stake that she carried in the back waistband of her skirt, pushed it under her jacket sleeve and pulled the sleeve down leaving the stake covered.
Five minutes later a man who looked to be about fifty years old entered the room; the man was gorgeous, tall with broad shoulders, medium build and dark brown hair that was graying at the temples; somehow he seemed a little sad to Buffy.
At this point she didn't know whether or not she could trust this man. There was a vampire in his house and she did not know if he was aware of it. While she was deciding on what to say, the man spoke.
"You wanted to see me, Miss Summers?"
"I do if you're Edmond Spencer."
"I'm looking for the Edmond Spencer who was friends with Joyce Summers."
Mr. Spencer look puzzled for a moment. "I don't believe I know a Joyce Summers...unless..."
Mr. Spencer appeared shaken as he asked Buffy, "Is Summers her married name?"
"Yes. Her maiden name was Wilkins."
"Oh, gods." Mr. Spencer carefully eased himself down into the nearest chair and hesitantly asked, "How is Joyce?"
"She died nearly two years ago."
"Noo. Joyce..." He bowed his head and Buffy could see that he was struggling to control his emotions.
After a few minutes Buffy took something out of her purse.
"Joyce Summers was my mother. In a letter that she wrote to me before she died she said that if I ever needed help, I should come to you. She said that I should give you this."
She gave him a small silver jewelry box.
At the sight of the jewelry box Mr. Spencer broke down and wept. Buffy didn't know how to react as he gave in to grief. She was so moved by the emotions displayed by Mr. Spencer that she found herself grieving for her mother all over again.
Hearing the sobbing the vampire rushed into the room and Buffy immediately grabbed her stake; she recognized the vampire right away.
"Angelus?...what're you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing, slayer," the vampire growled as he faced off against Buffy.
"Now just a minute," Mr. Spencer demanded; "who are you, Miss Summers?"
"I told you, "I'm Joyce Summers' daughter." Shouldn't you be asking this vampire who he is?"
"I know who he is, Miss Summers. The question is, how do you know who he is?"
"I would recognize the Scourge of Europe anywhere," Buffy said as she glared at Angelus.
Mr. Spencer slumped back in his chair and opened the jewelry box; he removed a beautiful diamond ring. Buffy recognized the ring as one she had often seen her mother wearing. He returned the ring to its position in the jewelry box, closed it and looked up at Buffy.
"How can I help you Miss Summers?" He motioned for her to sit at the table opposite himself and Angelus took a seat next to him.
"Before I say any more, perhaps you could tell me why the Scourge of Europe is in your house."
"Actually, this is his house."
"Like he said, Miss Summers, this is my house. It has been for more than three quarters of a century."
"You've been off the Watchers' Council's radar for about a century. Is this where you've been all this time?"
"Is this really the reason you're here, Miss Summers?"
"No. No, you're right; this isn't the reason I'm here."
She turned to Mr. Spencer. "Do you know what a slayer is?"
"How do you know?"
"My father was a watcher; he was killed by vampires when I was thirteen years old. He was defending me and my mother who was also killed. Angel...er...that is, Angelus saved me and brought me here. Since I had no other family, he became my family. I grew up knowing who and what he was and I know for a fact that he is no longer the person that your Watchers' Council refers to as the Scourge of Europe."
"How did you know my mother?"
"I met and fell in love with Joyce when I was twenty-three and she was eighteen and a recent high school graduate. She and some friends of hers were visiting New York City before going off to college. I had to let her go. Before we parted, I asked her to marry me and I gave her this ring. I promised her that she would hear from me when she turned twenty-one and she could give me her answer then. Three years later I contacted her on her twenty-first birthday. I learned that she had gotten pregnant and had recently married her baby's father. The last thing I said to her was that I loved her and if she or her child ever needed me, all they had to do was come to me."
"I never knew about you while I was growing up, but my mother told me many times that she married the wrong man and that she didn't want me to make the same mistake that she did. She didn't say anything else.
"The package that she left for me with her will included that ring. It also said that if I was ever in trouble or needed slayer related help, I should come to you."
"How did Joyce know about slayers and why did she expect you to know?"
Buffy hesitated before answering. In her head she could hear Giles' voice reminding her to always keep her slayer identity secret, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 'I wonder where I heard that expression before,' she thought.
"I was called when I was fifteen. I tried telling my parents about it in the beginning, but they didn't believe me; after that I didn't say anything else to them about it. They divorced when I was sixteen and I managed to keep it a secret from Mom for two more years."
"And you live in Sunnydale?"
"Yes. How did you know that?"
"Angel and I continued my father's work after he was killed. I know that the current slayer is assigned to the hellmouth in Sunnydale and I know that the Watchers' Council in London was destroyed. I'm not associated with Quentin Travers and that bunch, but I assure you, I have a group of well trained fighters who protect the Northeast. Angel is one of them.
"He kept an eye on Sunnydale and Cleveland before the Watchers' Council decided that California needed a slayer."
"Why do you call him Angel?"
"Because that is what he prefers to be called since his soul was restored."
Finding it hard to believe what she had just heard, Buffy turned to Angelus. "I don't believe it; you have a soul?"
"You'd be dead if I didn't." The sneer on his face and the low growl coming from him told Buffy that he wasn't joking.
"You're pretty sure of yourself, aren't you, Angelus? Well I'm pretty damned sure of myself, too, and from where I sit, they'd be sweeping you up off the carpet right about now."
As Mr. Spencer observed the two others in the room, he thought, 'Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing? I've never seen Angel react to anyone like this before. I'd better break this up before things get out of hand.'
"Miss Summers why don't you tell me what your problem is and how you think I can help."
Buffy welcomed the interruption and with a warning glare at Angel, she turned her attention to Mr. Spencer. They continued to update each other on current activities related to slaying and the situation that she was facing at home. She was surprised to hear about the size of the army of fighters that Mr. Spencer and Angel trained. She told them about Caleb and the uber vamps and the First Evil's current plans to eliminate the slayer line so that it can become corporeal.
Mr. Spencer volunteered to send his army to Sunnydale to help with the understanding that she could tell her watcher about the additional help that she obtained, but no more details than that. Just as the slayer's existence must be kept secret, so must the existence of the Northeast Army of Fighters or NAF as they called themselves.
After finally being able to relax in Angel's presence, Buffy spent the rest of the day and the next morning with him and Mr. Spencer, during which time she toured their training facility and promised to spar with some of the fighters on her second day there. She was impressed as they gave her an unexpected good workout. They may not be as strong as a slayer, but they more than make up for it with their martial arts and skills with various weapons, including the stake.
Buffy and Angel fought well together and when they sparred against each other, they found that they were pretty evenly matched.
The evening before she left New York, Mr. Spencer assured Buffy that because they had their own jets and air strip, he could have hundreds of men in Sunnydale within an eight-hour window and he recommended that Angel and his partner, Doyle, should accompany her back to Sunnydale. Angel could report back to Mr. Spencer and recommend the number of men to send after he and Doyle had done a little recon. Buffy agreed not to tell the rest of her team about the NAF and only that Angel and Doyle were part of the crew that would assist them.
Even though Buffy's return flight from New York to LA was non-stop and Mr. Spencer had insisted that she fly first-class, she could not sleep; she was too excited about the news that she had for Giles, but more than that she was excited about the vampire who sat across the aisle from her.
Angel wasn't faring much better. From the first moment he laid eyes on her, he knew that this particular slayer would forever haunt his dreams.
He caught himself staring at her. 'Get a grip on your emotions before she catches you staring at her,' he warned himself. Angel realized it was too late for that when he looked up to find her staring at him; then when he saw her smile at him, he knew that he had already lost his heart.