A/N: This is my official head-canon of how the two shows of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel would have continued. I have been spinning it out in my head since forever and I actually wrote the first bunch of chapters a whole while ago, but never thought about publishing until now.
I know that the comics are supposed to be the official sequel for the shows, but I simply do not like them. This story will of course be my interpretation for a lot of things on the show, so I am sorry if it does not appeal to everyone, however I will try to keep it as true to Joss Whedon's verse as possible, or at least my view of it. ;)
Since my usual beta is not really up to date on the Buffyverse, this fic will remain unedited for the time being, though I will try to do my best in evening out any errors myself.
So I think that's all for now haha, enjoy and let me know what you think! :)
. . .
There was no escape. They were everywhere.
As the seemingly endless army of demons swept down the dark street it, became clear that nothing would be able to stand in its way. Nothing but the four dark figures facing them in the middle of the street, weapons at the ready, faces determined.
Even though they were facing certain death, there was no sign of fear in their eyes. They were ready to resist until the end. The horde of demons came closer as the four companions waited quietly. They would not last for long.
"In terms of a plan?" asked one of them and looked up to the leader, his platinum blonde hair glistening in the rain.
"We fight," the man answered as he slowly stepped forward.
And with an almost joyful expression toward his oncoming enemies he raised his sword.
"Let's go to work."
. . .
With a gasp of horror Buffy Summers woke from her dream. It took her a moment to return to reality. Everything seemed so real – the rain, the cold, the beastly cries of attacking demons. All things she was more than familiar with. Although she hadn't been in such a huge battle since the Hellmouth had been closed, she still remembered what it had been like. She had seen enough apocalypses to last her a lifetime after all.
Through the open window the sounds of Rome's buzzing street life drifted into her bedroom. Buffy rubbed her aching forehead and gazed at the alarm clock next to her bed. Six thirty.
"Damn," she moaned. Time to get up.
By the time Buffy had finished taking a shower, Dawn had got up as well, her wonderful morning mood serving once again as a source of annoyance for her older sister. "Morning!" she called out cheerfull as Buffy arrived in the kitchen.
"Hm," Buffy grumbled moodily.
"Wow, you're in a good mood!" Dawn rolled her eyes and turned back to her cereal.
"I'm sorry, didn't sleep well," Buffy mumbled and sat down at the table, "Weird dreams, that's all." It wasn't like this was the first time it ever happened to her.
"Ooh, were they Slayer-type dreams?" her younger sister instantly piped up, a look of glowing interest settling into her eyes. Buffy had to smile at Dawn's excited expression. Her enthusiasm at anything Slayer-related had been hard to control ever since Tara had let her do research for the very first time.
"Sorry, no," she answered still smiling, "Just normal dream-type dreams really. Nothing special."
"Pf, that's boring," Dawn chuckled, shoving the last bit of cereal into her mouth and continuing to speak despite the food. "Well at least you have something to look forward to. I can't tell you how excited I am!"
Buffy felt her spirits rise immediately. The stupid dream had even made her forget that Willow was arriving this afternoon. She hadn't seen the bubbly redhead for so long that it seemed like her birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas had all been wrapped up together in one day.
"Yeah, me too," she responded with a happy smile. "I haven't seen her in ages, it's gonna be so great to see her again."
"Totally!" Dawn agreed, "We'll have so much catching up to do." As she got up to put her bowl in the sink, she continued speaking to her sister. "When are you picking her up again?"
"Right after work," Buffy informed her. "I think her plane's gonna land around five…" She would have to verify that from her calendar. "Do you wanna come?" she suggested to her little sister.
"Gosh, I'd love to," Dawn replied, looking disappointed. "But I promised Vittoria that we'd study together. Wait up for me please!"
"No worries," Buffy laughed, "We'll probably be up all night talking anyway."
The two sisters left the house together and took off in different directions, Dawn heading toward the subway that would take her to school, Buffy toward the nearby grocery store. While working off her weekly shopping list she felt her suppressed worries about the dreams resurface. It was not the first time she was having that dream, in fact she had gotten used to it over the past two years. Sure they had not all been the same, there had been some variations here and there, but it still always ended the same way.
At first these dreams had made sense to her. She had thought that she was just processing her grief through them, even Giles had told her that it was normal. But what she didn't understand, was why – almost two years later – she was still having them all the time. The reason she had stopped telling Dawn about them, was because she didn't even like to admit to herself that they were in fact still agitating her. It was just too much to think about. Supporting her sister while trying to focus on her own life, working for the council by rounding up Slayers, dusting the occasional vamp or even following Giles' distress calls once in a while, if he had once again deciphered an old prophecy about some terrible occasion… those were things she could more or less deal with. She didn't want to think about her two former boyfriends on top of everything else.
Good thing Willow was going to be there soon, Buffy thought on her way home. She longed for the support that only her best friend could provide.
. . .
"Stupid plane!" Buffy muttered to herself in frustration after another crowd of passengers had left the terminal.
She had been waiting at the airport for a half an hour now and dozens of people had already arrived, only none of them came from London Heathrow. Not that delayed flights were an unusual thing, but Buffy was too excited to be patient.
She had not seen Willow in a long time. They had talked on the phone a couple of times but that just wasn't the same thing. The miles between her and her best friend sometimes ached unbearably, but it had been difficult to keep in touch ever since they had left Sunnydale three years ago.
Everyone had taken off in different directions. Xander had needed time alone to recover from Anya's death, so he had travelled to a lot of different places including Africa, Australia and Japan, where he still was now. No one except Willow, who had flown there once, had seen him since. Although Buffy understood his pain only too well, she still wished he would call more often, for she really missed him.
Willow and her girlfriend Kennedy had lived in Brazil for a while, until moving back to California where they settled down in Palo Alto in order for Willow to go to Stanford University. From what Buffy had heard on their last phone call, she really liked it there. As for Giles and everyone else, most of them had now settled down in England and were in the process of bringing the Watcher's council back to life. Most of the Slayers had been working with them since then; like Buffy they were searching for all the other Slayers who had awakened all over the world.
In these past years all of them had done a lot of work. Giles and Andrew had managed to locate a few remaining Watchers who hadn't been killed by Caleb's explosion, including Mr. Wyndam-Pryce, her former watcher Wesley's father. A lot of their allies, including Buffy were now stationed in different parts of the world, each of them gathering up and training their own squads of Slayers. The one closest to Buffy was Shannon who was living near Valencia, Spain. Faith had been in Cleveland guarding the remaining Hellmouth together with Robin Wood, although she was in England at the time discussing strategies about Los Angeles with the council.
A new danger had been rising there in the last two years and none of them were sure how to react to this. A new danger ever since…
Suddenly Buffy's train of thought was interrupted, when in the midst of the next crowd coming through the terminal, she spotted a young woman with flowing red hair.
"Willow!" she shouted cheerfully, unaware of all the people turning at the sound of her loud voice.
"Hey, Buffy!" Willow responded with equal enthusiasm and the two hurried toward each other, happily throwing out their arms to meet in a crashing hug.
"Oh God, it's been like forever!" Buffy almost sobbed over the waves of emotion that were flooding over her at the feel of her best friend in her arms.
"I know," Willow responded, holding onto her as if she were afraid they'd be ripped apart again any moment. "Oh, I've missed you so much!"
After what seemed like forever, they finally broke apart and smiled at each other.
"Wow, looking good Will", Buffy stated while examining her friend's tanned skin. "Get a lot of sun in Stanford?"
Willow giggled, gesturing in her usual jumpy manner. "Well if you've got a girlfriend who keeps forcing you outside, sure!"
Both of them laughed while Buffy picked up Willow's suitcase and they headed toward the exit, chatting. "So Stanford's really working for you, huh?" Buffy wanted to know as they headed through the huge airport.
"Oh yeah, I love it!" Willow told her. "I managed to pick up most of the courses I had in Sunnydale and there are some really great professors! Professor Steele from psychology is amazing!"
"Ooh, so no evil government scientists?" Buffy threw in playfully.
Willow laughed at that. "Oh God, I hope not! She seems normal enough." She then frowned and went on. "Although I can't really say that I suspected Walsh."
"Yeah, me neither," Buffy agreed, remembering her first year in College that now seemed so long ago. "Be careful if she wants to send you on a mission," she said casually adding a slight shrug. "Cause that probably means she's trying to kill you."
"I'll be careful, promise," Willow said laughing. "I don't think there's anything to worry about anyway. Demons – not really that active in Palo Alto!"
"Really?" This surprised Buffy. "And Kennedy isn't bored? I was sort of under the impression that she couldn't get enough of her Slayer powers." Kennedy had always proven to be one of the most eager Potentials back in Sunnydale.
After making their way across the airport, the two of them finally reached the subway and came to a stop on the platform to wait for the train.
"She can't," Willow replied smiling. "But she still has more than enough to do, I mean there are always some vampires on campus now and again…"
"Uh, Will," Buffy interrupted in slight alarm, quickly glancing around at the people around them. "Low voice on vampire during rush-hour!"
"Oh, right, sorry," Willow chuckled nervously. "Palo Alto's a small city, not really used to that."
After they had forced their way into the train with all the other passengers, Willow finished telling Buffy what Kennedy had been up to. Apparently her squad was doing really well. Right now it consisted of 38 Slayers that she was training. Buffy could easily imagine Kennedy as a leader since she had always been very keen on expressing her opinion back in Sunnydale. What surprised her more was that Kennedy had also managed to enrol at Stanford.
"I hope it won't sound offending when I say huh?" Buffy put on her most incredouls expression. "How did she get into Stanford?" she chuckled in amusement. "Did she like bribe or something?"
"Well," Willow frowned. "You know her family's got quite a bit of money, so…"
"Oh," Buffy said, embarrassed at her slip. "Well… that's good, r-right?" She tripped over herself while hastily trying to fix it. "I, I mean, um… a-a lot of people pay for college, it, it's… not a bribe-thing, and, uh…"
Willow laughed. "It's ok, Buffy, calm down!" The redhead was more than aware of her best friend's tendency to put her foot in her mouth.
Buffy smiled awkwardly as Willow went on. "She just figured why not go to the same college, you know?" she explained, a happy smile forming on her face while she talked about her girlfriend. "She's not taking as many courses as I am cause of the Slayer-training, but still, it's nice."
The train came to a squeaking stop as they arrived at the station near Buffy and Dawn's apartment. While they were walking down the cobbled street, Buffy told Willow what she was doing at the time. After all the tables she had waited in cafes and cheap restaurants during their first few months, she had finally managed to find a secretarial job at an employment agency, mostly due to the fact that her Italian had greatly improved through all the courses she had been taking. Her salary was better there, so she had been able to loosen the belt a bit the last couple of weeks especially with Dawn baby-sitting once in a while.
Back in the apartment Buffy made them both some coffee and they sat down at the kitchen table to continue on their conversation.
"And how are your junior Slayers doing?" Willow wanted to know. "Eager to learn from the Slayer extraordinaire?"
When Buffy frowned disapprovingly, she got flustered. "Sorry," she muttered apologetically. "Andrew-speak."
"Yeah, I sort of figured," Buffy chuckled. "I think they're doing pretty good. I haven't got any newbies right now, so I only see them once a week and the rest of the time they train with each other or patrol the cemeteries." She hesitated for a moment, feeling quite pleased with herself. "I kinda think it's good for them if they're on their own after a while, you know? Makes them more independent."
"And of course to relieve you of having to patrol yourself every night," Willow said grinning and Buffy smiled cheekily in response. It was rather nice having a whole squad of Slayers to send on duty so she could just relax for an evening if she felt like it.
"Lot of undead action in Rome?" Willow then wanted to know.
"Oh yeah," Buffy sighed. "Like vultures! You'd kind of think they'd grow tired of the same game." She shook her head while for the umpteenth time wondering about the never-ending reliability of the bloodsuckers. "You know attacking women in dark alleyways with the ever so popular previous stalking before…" she continued casually. "Shouldn't they be trying something new after a few centuries? But no they're there every night!"
"Big cities I guess," Willow shrugged. "Always interesting for vampires."
"Yeah, I guess," Buffy said sipping her coffee. "So how's witchcraft?"
Willow's face lit up with enthusiasm at once. "Oh yeah, it's going great! I work on my spells every day and I just made a quick visit to the coven in England, you know before I came here and I got to work with them again," she recounted in excitement. "And after what happened in Sunnydale they weren't even that afraid of me than last time!"
"That's… good… right?" Buffy responded confused.
"I know that sounds strange," Willow laughed. "But it meant a lot to me. It means I've really come a long way since the last time I was there."
"Oh you did, trust me," Buffy instantly concurred. "We've got the Slayers to prove it!"
Willow was staring happily into the distance, clearly reliving that extraordinary moment. Not for the first time a little part of Buffy wished that she could've been there with her friend to experience it, because from what she had heard it had been more than amazing.
"You also saw Giles and everyone, right?" she broke the silence after a while. "How are they, anything new?"
She was confused to see the joy on Willow's face slowly shift into worry. "Well they're all right, I guess…" she started slowly. "They're all, you know… kind of … tense." She gave a strained smile, evidently trying to loosen the mood. "But they told me to say hi!" And she waved her hand in salutation.
"Tense… Cause of L.A.?" Buffy asked, ignoring Willow's effort to change the subject.
Willow nodded carefully, examining her face. "Are you ok with talking about this?" she said quietly, as if she were trying to subdue an upset animal.
"Will, come on," Buffy said, rolling her eyes in annoyance. "I've known for months now. I have to be able to talk about it someday."
"Well yeah, that's true but… it's not really that easy," Willow explained softly. "Believe me, I know. I still don't know if I'm really over Tara." She smiled sadly and there was still that ever-lasting hint of pain visible on her face. "I mean… I've moved on to the happy place, where you, you know… can let go and start remembering the good times instead of being sad the whole time, but still…" She gave a small sigh, apparently not wanting to say more about the subject of Tara.
"Yeah, I get it…" Buffy mumbled, hiding from Willow's gaze by staring down at her cup. "But still, you'd think I'd be used to this by now, they've both died on me once already!"
"I don't think you're entitled to get upset about that," Willow murmured with a slight shrug. "Dying twice and all."
This made Buffy smile for a moment. "What did Giles say?" she then asked. "You know, about L.A.?"
"Well, we already know it's fallen into a demon war zone…" Willow said carefully.
"Right," Buffy remembered. "Cause the Seniors or whatever they're called created an inter-dimensional portal by setting loose that army."
"Senior Partners," Willow corrected her and continued. "Right, so because of that portal, they've had massive amounts of demons of all kinds and dimensions overrunning L.A. Giles…" – she hesitated for a moment – "he's scared."
"Scared…" Buffy repeated, feeling uneasy. When her former Watcher got worried, it was usually a very bad sign. "What do you mean? And why wouldn't I know about this?"
"Well…" Willow stammered sheepishly. "I wasn't really s-supposed to tell you." At the sight of Buffy's incredulous face she continued hastily. "He… you know he just didn't want you to worry 'til he's absolutely sure what's going on."
"So he can tell Faith but he can't tell me?" Buffy responded angrily. She couldn't help but feel betrayed at the thought of Giles trusting Faith more than her.
"Buffy, I… please don't be too upset at him," Willow tried to explain helplessly. "He just knows how difficult it is for you…"
"Gee, who am I, Bella Swan?" Buffy complained. "Will, do I look like I'm gonna throw myself off a cliff here?"
Willow smiled weakly.
"Ok," Buffy frowned, reconsidering her words. "Not the best way to convince you, huh."
"Ya think?" Willow chuckled.
"Ok, let's just forget about it, tell me!" Buffy insisted, determined to find out what was going on.
"There's not that much to tell really," Willow said. "Giles is just worried cause the portal didn't close after it… you know… after they were killed." There was a moment of very tense silence as both of them realized what Willow had almost spoken aloud. The two vampires' names were hanging between them like a thick, depressingly black cloud.
"I mean, that was the only reason it was there, right?" she continued, pretending to not have noticed the moment. "But the demons just keep on coming. And when I say war zone… I mean war zone. They're fighting each other and killing people" – she chuckled humorlessly – "Well, obviously. The government's talking about gang violence… probably they've already got some secret ops thing going, but we know how reliable they are. But that's all stuff you more or less know."
"What about the people?" Buffy asked. "Can't they leave the city?"
"Well, I'm sure the ones with possibilities have already left," Willow responded with a nod. "But, you know, most of them… they have nowhere else to go. As long as the situation's still bearable, I'm guessing they'll stay."
Buffy thought about this for a while, then she suddenly remembered what Willow had said before. "You said I know all this stuff. What don't I know yet?"
Again Willow hesitated, but decided to go on. "Something I know from the coven," she said. "Althenea, you know, the seer? She's been sensing something. Her power sort of works through energy, she picks up waves of magical energy and it allows her to follow these waves in her mind, it's a fascinating sort of magic, I've been trying to get her to teach me…"
"Um, Will," Buffy interrupted, as she sensed Willow's fascination was starting to lead her off topic. "L.A.?"
"Oh, right, sorry, got carried away," she muttered with an insecure chuckle and carried on. "She says she's sensing inter-dimensional activity around the city, which probably is the reason why the portal won't close… The problem is we have no idea what it is." She sighed in defeat. "And as long as we don't know what's going on, we can't do anything about it… that's probably why Giles is scared," she added. "You know he gets cranky when he doesn't know something."
"Oh yeah," Buffy said with an affectionate smile. "Doesn't really happen a lot, him not knowing something."
With nostalgic fondness she thought of her Watcher. She also hadn't seen him in months, it made her so sad to remember that there had been a time when all of them had seen each other every day. Now life had managed to pull them all apart and there was nothing she could do about it.
"I miss him," she said softly and immediately felt the need to do something against his worries. "Is there really nothing we can do?"
"I know," Willow answered understandingly and there was a nostalgic smile appearing on her face that made Buffy realize she was thinking the same thing. "He misses you too. But… honestly? I don't think so," she shrugged. "He'll call us as soon as he knows more. Until then, what would we do?"
Both of them were quiet for a while. Willow swayed her cup back and forth a couple times and watched the remaining coffee slosh around. Buffy absent-mindedly played with her hair, while trying to think of the best way to tell her friend about her dreams without freaking her out again. She had to talk about it with someone or she would go crazy. And whom would she talk to if not Willow?
"Will?" she started slowly, as Willow looked up from her cup. "If I talked to you about something, that's… you know, bothering me… would you promise not to freak out?"
"Buffy, you're my best friend," Willow responded immediately, her expression growing worried and sympathetic. "You can tell me anything!"
"And you won't freak?" Buffy insisted, wondering whether or not this was a good idea.
"Promise." She nodded encouragingly. "Tell me."
Buffy hesitated as the images of a thousand wildly roaring demons crept back into her mind. "You… you remember those dreams?" she started cautiously. "You know, the ones I was having right after it happened?"
Willow nodded. "Well," Buffy went on. "They sort of… they haven't stopped. I still have them almost every night."
The extreme compassion that now spread on Willow's face was exactly the reaction she had been afraid of. She did not want to be coddled or believed to be weak in any way; that would only make her believed-to-be allies shut her out again from anything they thought she couldn't handle.
"I'm fine, really!" she harshly insisted. "Will, please don't look at me like that…"
"Oh… no, I'm sorry…" Willow shook her head as if to get rid of her compassionate expression. "It's just… Buffy, why didn't you tell me about this?"
"I don't know…" Buffy responded. "There wasn't really much to tell until now. I just don't get why they won't stop, you know, I can't get rid of them!" She was surprised to hear her own voice grow louder, sounding more and more upset. Now that she was saying it out loud, it felt like it was bothering her much more than she had realized. "I don't even know if they're real, it probably didn't even happen the way I'm imagining it, so… so why do I keep having them?"
Willow looked at her knowingly. "Buffy… do you feel guilty?" she asked quietly.
"What?" she said baffled. "Why would I feel guilty? I wasn't even there when it happened."
"Exactly," Willow nodded.
Buffy frowned in confusion, for she wasn't exactly sure where Willow was going with this.
"Buffy…" she started slowly. "After you died to save Dawn, I went to L.A. to tell Angel"-
"Will," Buffy immediately interrupted her. "I don't know if I wanna hear this story"-
"Wait, wait, I'm not telling it," Willow tried to calm her down. "I just wanna explain something!" Buffy looked at her warily, but said nothing further, allowing her to continue. "My point is," she went on. "After his breakdown all he kept saying was I should have been there. And he kept… rambling it over and over again. What I'm trying to say is… he couldn't stand the fact that he didn't have the chance to save you."
Buffy sighed and wanted to say something, but Willow beat her to it. "Look, Buffy… I know it's not exactly what you wanna hear, I'm just trying to help you. You have to deal with these things!" she said imploringly. "Last time you suppressed them… you ended up taking off."
Buffy looked down at her hands and thought about what Willow had said. "Do you know, what was the last thing Angel heard from me?" she whispered reluctantly. She shook her head in remorse still staring at her hands. "My order of taking the deranged Slayer away from him because… I didn't trust him anymore."
Willow's face was once again flooded with waves of sympathy. "But Buffy, you didn't know"-
"Didn't I?" she asked and continued sarcastically. "No, of course I didn't. I mean it's not like I knew him. Not like I dated him for more than a year and spent every moment with him." The anger in her voice was not directed at her friend, but at herself. "No, of course, I couldn't have known!"
Unable to sit still any longer, Buffy got up and started pacing around the room. Willow opened her mouth desperately trying to find the right thing to say.
"And Spike…" Buffy's voice broke as she thought about him. "I didn't even know he was alive, Will," she whispered. "Not until Andrew finally told me, but it was already too late then, wasn't it?"
She stood still in front of the window and looked out onto the street, where the last stragglers of the day were now hurrying home in the twilight. Everything seemed so peaceful, so content. Why couldn't she be a part of it?
"Story of my life," she murmured to herself.
"Buffy..." she heard Willow's voice from behind her. "It's not your fault. I-I know it's… hard, it's terrible… but please, don't blame yourself."
"I don't…" Buffy sighed softly and turned around to face her. "I know it's not my fault. It's just… you can't help but wonder what if… you know?"
"Yeah," Willow said with a sad smile. "I know."
A moment later they heard the front door loudly slam open and Dawn's voice rang out through the apartment. "Buffy?"
"In here," Buffy called back.
Dawn came running into the kitchen and squealed delightedly. "Willow!"
"Dawnie, hi!" Willow exclaimed and got up to hug her. The two women embraced, laughing cheerfully while Buffy looked over at the clock that hung next to the fridge.
"You're home early," she noted. "Be honest, did you really study?"
"Gee, welcome home Dawn, how was your day?" Dawn imitated her sister's voice with a sly grin."It was great, Buffy, thank you for asking!"
"Ok, ok, I get it, I'm sorry!" Buffy laughed and kissed her playfully on the cheek as she got up to put away the coffee cups.
"And it's nine thirty," Dawn went on. "I'm not really home early."
"Guess we just forgot the time," Willow said cheerfully, her eyes affectionately clinging to Buffy's little sister. "So Dawnie, how are you? I wanna know everything!"
"Ok first of all you have to stop calling me that," Dawn protested, her disapproval eased by a note of amusement. "I'm almost nineteen!"
Buffy watched smiling as the two of them sat down at the table again and Dawn happily started telling Willow about everything that was new, starting with her boyfriend Danny. She felt much better now that she had talked about her dreams. Willow was right, it wasn't something that would leave right away but she knew it would get better with time.
As she joined them both in their conversation, she realized just how happy she was that Willow was finally here.