Disclaimer: Y'all know I don't own it or I'd be living on a beach far, far away from Kentucky.
...I know. It's been a LONG time since I've updated any of my Buffy fan fiction and I've even taken a few of them down. I'm still a huge Buffy fan, and I still obviously ship B/A, but I've also gotten a little bit obsessed with The Vampire Diaries and spent almost a year writing a fic with Taaroko that is now published on Kindle worlds. It's a D/E titled "All This Time" (YES! Fan Fic authors can legally publish their stories now, and I will probably only ever do it twice) by Mara A. Miller.
Anyway, Taaroko talked me into doing an IWRY fic amongst all of my D/E writing and working on some original stories that I'm going to publish on Amazon, but I still have a super big soft spot in my heart for Buffy and Angel, so here you go.
In truth, Buffy was something I shared with my ex-husband, so it's been a little hard to keep being as invested in it as I was, but I still do love it.
"Spike," Angel said, "do you think this is a joke?"
Spike barely spared Angel a glance over his shoulder. "Only if you're the punch line."
"Look," Angel said as he followed Spike into the hallway, "we're the last two people who should be confronting her." Angel figured Spike probably wouldn't listen to him about Dana, but that didn't mean he couldn't try to get him to listen. "She's a Slayer, and she has every reason to hate us, and she's unstable. In her mind there probably aren't any 'good' vampyres."
Spike gave him a look, as if to ask if he were serious.
"Vampires," Angel quickly corrected. "She exists for one reason—to destroy creatures like us."
"Well," Angel and Spike quickly turned to the sound of a female voice, "I hope that's not the only reason I exist."
"Buffy," Angel breathed.
"I thought you weren't coming—OW BLOODY HELL WHAT WAS THAT FOR?" Spike stumbled back, clutching his broken nose.
"You didn't let me know you were alive," Buffy said, flexing her hand. "And you—" She rounded on Angel, who backed away from her.
"Me? I didn't do anything."
"You took over an evil law firm and didn't tell me Spike is alive!"
"How am I responsible for conveying information about him?" he said crossly.
"You're not, which is why you're not the one I decked. But if you knew he wasn't telling, you could've told me anyway. But that doesn't touch the evil law firm issue."
Earlier that day, Angel had realized they were probably in over their heads withWolfram and Hart, but now they were so far deeply embedded into the whole mess he wasn't sure which way was up anymore.
"You broke my nose!" said Spike. "Can't you just be happy I'm alive? And why doesn't he get a broken nose? He's CEO of Evil, Inc. now!"
"I'm willing to give Angel the benefit of the doubt," Buffy said as she crossed her arms and fixed her gaze on him. "So where's my Slayer?"
"God, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact Willow really activated every potential Slayer on Earth," Angel said.
Buffy looked around, her blue cotton skirt swishing around her ankles as she observed the hallway outside of the conference room. Her hair seemed a bit longer than the last time he'd seen her, pulled back into a simple pony tail. She wore a canvas cross-body bag and had on a pair of flats. "This place is insane, Angel. Please tell me there's a good reason for this."
He was about to answer when Andrew's voice interrupted.
"Buffy!" The three of them turned to look at him. He looked shocked and fidgety—he clearly hadn't been expecting Buffy to show up. "You're supposed to be in Italy with Dawn while she experiences all the wonders of—"
"If you finish that sentence being tied up in my living room recliner back in Sunnydale is going to feel like a five-star hotel treatment after what I let Xander and Willow do to you when we're back in England."
Andrew quickly shut his mouth. Just then, they were joined by Fred, Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne.
"Blondie Bear!" Angel whipped his head around to see a frantic Harmony running up to Spike. "What happened?" she cooed over his broken nose, causing revolted expressions all around, even from Spike.
"You left her alive, too?" Buffy hissed out. "My god, I leave California for six months and everything spirals completely out of control."
"Buffy, maybe we can take this into my office," Angel suggested.
"I still don't see you punching him in the nose!" Spike protested.
"I don't have time for this," Buffy said. "Dana is starting to attract attention to herself in the press and I have to find her before she hurts anyone else or gets herself killed."
"I'll come with you, then," Andrew said.
What was it with this guy, Angel thought.
"You aren't going anywhere," Buffy said. "I can't believe you took ten girls out of England in the middle of a very important training session when I could've just come alone."
"Buffy, perhaps we should brief you on the situation," Wesley said. "There are a few things you need to know about her."
"Sod the lot of you and your paperwork," Spike said, swatting Harmony's hands away. "I'm going after this girl whether you want me to or not."
"Fine, take Andrew," said Buffy, "And if either of you get yourselves killed, I'm not going to get upset."
Angel was pretty sure that wasn't true—at least in Spike's case. He had a vague idea of what happened between Spike and Buffy and he didn't want to think about it as he looked at her. Her eyes flared in anger as she glared Spike down. Spike only looked between the two of them, scoffed, and turned away, his leather coat billowing around him as he motioned for Andrew to follow him.
"Buffy, if you want to—"
"No, Wesley, I'll fill her in," Angel said. "It shouldn't be too hard."
"I need to get out of this place," Buffy said. "Too many demons. It's driving me crazy. Why the hell did you ever decide to take over?"
"We figured we could use their resources to do some good," Angel said with a shrug.
"It's an evil law firm that has an option to press four for a goat for sacrifice," Buffy deadpanned.
"Still?" Angel rounded on Fred, Wesley, Lorne, Gunn, and Harmony. "Someone has to get that changed!"
"What the hell were you thinking when you became a freaking CEO?" Buffy asked in disbelief.
Angel couldn't think of a satisfactory answer to give. While the intention had been to be the Trojan Horse in Wolfram & Hart, now they seemed to be so mired in the actual business of it that it was difficult to maneuver. Things had been so much simpler at Angel Investigations.
"This isn't Sunnydale, Buffy," he finally said to her, hoping she would catch on to what he was trying to tell her. He could feel some of other lawyers watching the scene with curious, prying eyes and he had to be careful with this because he hadn't figured out who exactly reported to the Senior Partners yet, apart from Eve.
"No, it's not," Buffy said, watching him carefully. Angel stared at her for a few moments, then jerked his head in the direction of one of the older lawyers who had stopped to watch them. "It's actually worse."
With that, she spun on her heels and headed in the opposite direction.
"Oh come on Buffy! It's not like when you were eighteen and fighting a mayor who wanted to eat your entire graduation class! I'm actually doing things here, important things-"
Buffy spun back around on her heels as Angel grabbed her arm. "What? Like sitting on your ass all day making settlements over goat sacrifice disputes?"
Yes, Angel thought. He had her attention now, and she knew what he meant.
"Wolfram and Heart does have a large number of demon clientele," Angel admitted. "But I've been slowly trying to work things out, for good—"
"I have a Slayer I need to help," Buffy breathed. "We can hash these things out later."
"There are some things you need to know about her," Angel said. "Information that was pulled up on her and it isn't pretty, Buffy."
"I know she's scared, and out of her mind because of what was done to her when she was a little girl," Buffy said. "That's all I need to know about her. Spike is really going to mess it up if I don't get to her first. You forget I have people who I can rely on too, and I don't have to have a big fancy building with a bunch of crooked lawyers to do it in."
Buffy walked down the street at a furious pace. It occurred to her that she probably should have asked Angel to come with her because she wasn't sure where she should go to look for this Dana girl. She could have found Spike, but she'd seen him peel out of the Wolfram and Hart garage in a fancy looking bright red Mercedes.
Buffy stopped walking and took a deep breath as she closed her eyes and reached for her bag. Giles had given her something that would help her track the Slayer as well as a hefty dose of muscle relaxant, the same concoction he had used on Buffy on her eighteenth birthday. The thought of using that particular drug cocktail felt dirty and wrong, but Dana had already killed a few people, and she had to take care of this as soon as possible.
Three blocks away from the law firm, she knew it when he landed behind her.
"You know, maybe I should knock you flat on your back for old times' sake," Buffy joked as Angel's steps fell in line with hers.
"I wouldn't stop you if you tried because I probably deserve it," Angel said. "I feel like I should explain exactly what I'm doing—"
"I don't even know if it's safe to talk here," Buffy said, looking up at him as she stopped walking and took his hand. "I have the feeling we're being watched a lot in this town."
Angel's thumb grazed the soft, fleshy part between her thumb and index finger as he wrapped his fingers in hers. "All right. I am, but not as much as you might think."
Angel had leaned down to place a soft, quick kiss on her lips, causing her to gasp slightly.
"I'm still cookie dough," Buffy blurted out as she jumped away from him. She couldn't do this right now. She had to keep her head in the game, and she couldn't get distracted by Angel kisses no matter how much she wished she could.
Angel laughed and smoothed back some of her hair. "I know. I'm glad you came to help us with Dana."
Buffy heaved a sigh and then started walking again. "Okay, fill me in on everything. How Spike is still alive, and what this Dana girl has been through. And let's not wait to do this back in at the evil law firm. Surveillance aside, it seriously almost made me sick," she said with a shudder.
"How about the Hyperion? You never actually saw it."
"What about Spike and Andrew?"
"Are you really going to worry about Spike? Well, I guess you would, considering you had feelings—"
"Nevermind," Buffy said. "At this point I'm angry enough at him that I kind of hope Dana beats him up for me anyway. A vampire going after a crazy Slayer? Really? That can only end well."
"This place is huge, Angel," Buffy said as she walked into the dark lobby of the hotel as he switched on a few lights. "I knew Willow said it was enormous but I never imagined this."
Angel grinned at her slightly. "I miss it. It was simpler."
"Then why don't you back out?"
"All of us signed a contract," Angel said, obviously feeling much more comfortable. "They're trying to work this whole 'power corrupts' angle on us. I need them to think it's working if I'm going to get deep enough to find the weak spots. I'd understand if you can't trust me anymore."
"No, no," Buffy said, walking over to him quickly and taking his hand. "Of course I trust you. I've seen you in undercover mode before. They won't know what hit them. I'm just worried about you. These guys are a lot scarier than Mayor Wilkins."
Angel frowned as he tugged her a little closer to him and wrapped an arm around her waist. "I've got this."
"Old saying keep your friends close, your enemies closer huh?"
"Yeah," Angel said. "Except that after we're done with Dana, I want you gone."
Buffy nodded and gave a bittersweet chuckle. "Be your backup plan like you were mine in May?"
He smiled. "Something like that."
"Okay," she said. "Just be careful."
"Of course I will be," Angel said.
Buffy reached up to give him a quick kiss on the lips, unable to stop herself. "Now tell me about Dana."
"Doesn't matter! Head and heart! Keep cutting until you see dust!"
As soon as Angel saw Spike without his hands he quickly picked Dana up by the back of her shirt and threw her across the dark basement.
"Dana… look, I'm here to help you—"
"You're not helping anyone," Buffy said as she rushed in behind him just as Dana stood back up with a saw.
Dana cocked her head to the side. "You died twice."
"Trust me," Buffy said. "You don't want that for anyone. It sucks."
Buffy's eyes widened as she took a step back and Dana hit her chest. "Dana strong."
"Why am I having a sudden flash back to drinking too much in college?" Buffy asked as she sent a side look to Angel. She suddenly shook her head. "You are strong."
"I can't be hurt anymore."
"Why don't you put that saw down, sweetie?" Buffy said. Angel stepped back so he could quickly start unchaining Spike while Buffy continued to distract Dana.
"Hey," Buffy said, snapping her hands together in a loud clap. Angel quickly looked at them. "Leave Angel and Spike out of them."
"Demons need dust," Dana said.
"Those vampires are different." As Angel focused on unchaining Spike—Dana did a really good job of it—he heard a sudden crash and the sound of something slamming into a wall. He looked quickly in the direction of the girls. Buffy had Dana disarmed.
"They have souls," Buffy said as she ducked a wild punch from Dana.
"They're bad men!"
"Oh this is ridiculous," Buffy said as she caught Dana's leg and flipped her onto the ground. She reached into her jeans and pulled out a long needle as she stabbed it into Dana's neck.
Spike was conscious, but wished he wasn't, as he was wheeled out of Dana's torture chamber. They were surrounded by half a dozen Wolfram and Hart employees.
"Where exactly do you think you're taking her?" Buffy asked Angel angrily.
"Where do you think, Buffy?"
Buffy grabbed quickly stepped in the way of one of the men pulling Dana's gurney. "The hell you are."
Andrew stepped from behind an ambulance in front of Angel.
"Get out of the way, Andrew."
"She's a Slayer. That means she's ours," Andrew said.
"Yeah, sorry," Angel said to the both of them. "Not how it works. Load her up—"
"I don't think you heard us," Buffy said as she walked up to Angel, getting right in his face, as she pushed him back slightly. "We're taking her."
A group of girls walked behind Andrew.
"I can't trust you, Angel," Buffy said. "Not anymore. You're working for Wolfram and Hart, of all places. I used to be proud of you when you had Angel Investigations because you were actually doing something, fighting for the good guys. So no, you're not taking Dana, because I am, and because she's one of us."
Angel and Buffy shared some kind of secret, hidden look. Spike didn't have long enough to think about why he felt a pit in his stomach as everything faded to black.
Buffy watched Dana closely as she trained with Kennedy, then looked down at her blank sheet of paper. She tapped a pen against the floor, trying to think what to write. It was a few months after the incident in LA when she found out the brunette was damaged and crazy and on a war path to hurt the man who hurt her.
Dana has made so much progress, Angel, she wrote. She could never actually send the letter, of course. No one on her team trusted him. She'd put on a pretty convincing act. Andrew had gushed stupidly about how cool it was that she stood up to him in front of his entire team of evil lawyer minions and told him she no longer trusted him. Buffy did nothing to correct Andrew because she needed everyone to believe she thought he was on the wrong side now. She couldn't call him, or e-mail him, and so she wrote him these letters so she could feel closer to him and have a way to talk to him, even if he couldn't actually read them.
She's slowly starting to come into her own. I don't think she'll ever be right mentally, but being around a group of other Slayers has somehow balanced her out. I saw it the night we found her when she hit her hand against her chest and called herself strong. She is strong, she's incredibly strong to have survived such a traumatizing event. She still sorta freaks newcomers out whenever she channels one of the Slayers from the past, but most of us have gotten used to it now. She's incredibly handy because it's like she has access to almost any language you could think of—its limited, but she actually strangely comforted a new Chinese Slayer we found two weeks ago. Crazy, but functional, I can't help but feel a little more attached to this girl.
Kennedy groaned as she looked up at Dana, who actually sort of giggled.
"You didn't have to flip me on my back so hard," she chided the younger girl.
"Can't go easy, because if you go easy, you get dead," Dana said.
I'm so sorry I couldn't be there to help you with Fred. I nearly crushed the phone when Giles told me what happened to her. I can't believe she's dead and the demon Illyria is walking in her skin now. Sometimes I hate that I had to put on a show in front of everyone… That I couldn't stay there with you. These Slayers need me, though. I know there are some we haven't found yet. I have to admit, it was kind of a spur of the moment decision on our part to activate every single potential vampire Slayer in the world and we didn't exactly think about how many girls there might be when Willow did the spell.
It makes it easier for me, though. I have a couple girls who parade around as me and I'm so glad you realized I wasn't in Italy last month. I think the whole thing about me running around with the Immortal is ridiculous, actually, almost as ridiculous as the time Dracula came to town. I guessed you probably didn't really believe I was there when Andrew told me.
I know you've got your plans, and I've got mine too. I know you're moving against Wolfram and Heart more and more and something in my gut tells me you're going to do something pretty major soon.
I love you… I'm starting to feel more like—
"You're writing an awful lot lately," Willow said as she leaned against the wall and slid to the ground next to her.
Buffy quickly snapped the notebook shut. "I'm just sort of rambling."
"It's okay, you don't have to lie to me," Willow said as Kennedy jumped high in the air as Dana swung her leg around in a roundhouse kick.
"I know," Buffy said, "but then everyone would grill me about my plan."
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