The Waning Twilight

An Angel: The Series Fanfiction Story

Author: Jason W Thompson <jwt6577[at]>

February 20, 2003

Disclaimer: Once upon a time there was a guy he wrote a story with characters and settings he didn't own, but he put a disclaimer on his story and that made it a little less illegal. BTVS and Angel are owned by Joss, Fox, Mutant Enemy, the UPN and the WB. I don't own anything except the situation characters are in.

Category: AU Cordelia/Xander, Faith/Xander, Angel/Cordelia, Angel/Xander with a touch of Buffy/Angel and Wesley/Sarina (Cordelia's friend from Expecting)

Spoilers: Buffy Seasons 1 through 3; primarily, Prophecy Girl, The Fluke Arc, and The Zeppo. Angel Season 1 through Hero also minor for Sanctuary, Somnambulist and Blind Date


Summary: As Wesley tries to decipher the Prophecies of Aberjian, Wolfram and Hart conspire to take Angel out for good.

Rating: PG-13

Distribution: Ask First.

Notes: This is the follow-up to Dysfunction and In the Family Way, it may be necessary to read those stories first.

Dedication: Dedicated to the usual suspects; Bri, Mary, Duchess, Dale, Blaire, Stone Cold, Ice Wing, Arashi, Aslan, Vega, Tony D, Jen Zimmer, Louise, Sairs, and Queen Angel who have allowed me to bounce my ideas off them, and Krac, cause she has the evil bunny slippers.

Part 1

Previously on Angel:

Kate locked eyes with Angel while he stood outside her threshold, "Angelus, A particularly brutal bastard by all accounts."


Buffy watched Xander lead Faith down into Angel's apartment with a blanket over her shoulders, she turned to Angel; "I have someone in my life now... That I love... I trust him. I know him."

Angel spun on her with anger flaring in his eyes; "That's great. It's nice. You moved on, I can't. You found someone new. I'm not allowed to, remember? I see you again it cuts me up inside and the person I share that with is me! You don't know me anymore. So don't come down here with your great new life and expect me to do things your way. Go home!"


Cordelia pulled away, grasped his hands in hers and placed them atop her breasts, "Xander. Take your pants off!" He could offer no further protest.


Faith screwed her eyes shut and ground her teeth for a moment, "What do you want me to say Wes? Do you want me to say that I dig Xander? Fine!"


Wesley removed the metal tube from Angel's briefcase; "Angel, what's this?"

Angel looked at it carefully; "I'm not sure."


Wesley spoke as Angel looked at the scrolls, "The prophecies of Aberjian." He leaned forward; "There is an entire passage... about you."


And Now...

Angel frowned when Wesley bumped him, nearly knocking his feet off the desk and distracting him from "The Old Man and the Sea." Wesley at least had the decency to look embarrassed when the vampire scowled at him in an annoyed fashion. He picked up a magnifying glass and inspected the scroll and the book he had pulled off the shelf. As he scanned the scroll, he began to mumble to himself; "Shanshu... Shanshu... Or maybe it's 'shushan?'" He looked at the book in his hand once more, then picked up a pencil and made a notation on a legal pad next to the scrolls.

Faith looked up from the apple she was sectioning to watch Wesley's mumbling, "You're still on that word? C'mon English. I thought you were smarter than that."

Wesley turned to the young woman with a scowl; "Faith. First, stop calling me that. Second, couldn't you annoy someone else?"

Faith smiled, "Wesley, I'm hurt. I annoy you?"

"Not nearly as much as Xander but far more then your average marching band playing the best of Duran-Duran." He ignored Angel's snort and Faith's smirk. "As for the scrolls, they've been written piece by piece over the last four thousands years in over twenty languages, the majority of languages aren't human. These things take time."

Faith nodded, "Fair enough."

Wesley rolled his eyes, "I mean after all these prophecies are pivotal to the vampire with a..." He paused and turned to her, "I'm sorry?"

Angel raised an eyebrow at the pair as Faith continued, "If this is tough, okay. After all, I wouldn't want to shake my place as second most annoying person in Wesley Wyndam-Pryce's life. That just means I can't go for the kill." Faith grinned as she popped a slice of apple into her mouth.

Wesley nodded, "Fair enough."

Just as Wesley was about to return to the scroll a ringing sounded from the back of his chair, more specifically, from his coat pocket. He reached into his pocket and produced a flip-up cellular phone. He opened the phone and put it to his ear, "Hello?" The Englishman's eyes lit up happily, "Sarina. How are you? No, no I'm doing well. I've been researching a case for Angel..."

Faith leaned towards Angel, "Sarina? Cordelia's friend?"

Angel nodded, "They've been out quite a bit since that night she came by. I think it's serious too, she got him a phone."

"The fact that his boss brutally assaulted one of her fancy-boys three months ago didn't deter her?"

"Apparently it did not."

"Alright. I'll see you tonight. Good-bye." Wesley closed the phone then slipped it into the front pocket of his pants. He returned to the scrolls, "Sarina and I are going to spend an evening together." He picked up the magnifying glass, "At my apartment."

Vampire and Slayer traded raised eyebrows, Angel turned back to his reading, "Our little man is all grown-up, Faith."

Xander entered the office, dropping a newspaper into Angel's lap. He pointed to an article next to a familiar face, "It seems Lindsey has worked through his crisis of faith."

Angel picked up the paper, "'Lindsey McDonald Named Junior Partner at Wolfram and Hart.' I'll be damned..."

Wesley sighed, "After all you did for him. He sells his soul for thirty pieces of silver."

Xander crossed the office and plopped down on the couch next to Faith, "Thirty pieces of silver in the form of a six-figure salary and benefits package." Faith offered him a slice of apple; he smiled and held out his hand "Please." Faith did him one better by using the slice of apple to gently pry his lips and slip it into his mouth.

With a wink, Faith said in a stage whisper "Remember the body shots on your birthday?"

Xander nearly choked on the fruit, before swallowing "How could I forget, you licked salt off a stripper's stomach before sucking a slice of lime out of my mouth."

Wesley had continued talking to Angel, "It's a shame, he had an opportunity to change..." Wesley turned to them incredulously, "Do you mean to tell me that while Angel and I endured the horror of Cordelia's play, you were participating in erotic drinking games with Xander and an exotic dancer?"

Faith smirked, "I told you and Angel you should've blown Cordy off to come with us." Her smirk grew into a full blown evil grin, "Though to be fair Wes, you would have to find another partner for body shots, but considering who you've been spending time with, that shouldn't be too much of a problem."

Angel closed his book and stood, "Shh." The group quickly fell into silence, "It's a little late for a visitor." He crept out of his office through the front office. The others followed him, grabbing weapons along the way.

Angel found someone lurking in the shadows outside his office. He could see the figure's face was obscured by a purple cape. He crossed the hall while Faith brought her axe up and Wesley and Xander took aim with their crossbows, waiting to see if the intruder was hostile.

Wesley watched warily as the vampire reached out and touched the intruder's shoulder. Wesley's first reaction to his response was perhaps some sort of high-pitched War-cry like the Shrieking Kel'Hari Demons native to the Mountains of Northeastern Afghanistan, however, the way the intruder cringed away quickly squelched that theory. Angel stepped back, "Mr. Nabbit?"

Xander lowered his crossbow, "David?"

The intruder who'd been revealed as Computer Billionaire and former Angel Investigations client, David Nabbit was clutching his chest; "Heart... Heart, in my throat!"

Angel looked at his co-workers in an embarrassed fashion before turning to the businessman; "I'm sorry. I-I didn't..."

David stood up removing the hood of his cape, "No, that was so cool! Can we do it again?"

Faith looked around suspiciously, "Are you in trouble?"

David smiled and nervously toyed with the edge of his cape, "No... No-no, I just popped by to y'know... hang!" Faith smirked when his voice cracked, he continued, "Xander and Wesley said it was cool the other night when we were playing D and D." He smiled, "I blew off my Board of Directors' meeting, it's my night to be Dungeon Master a little later tonight." He held up the edge of his cape, "What do you think of my cape?"

Faith choked on laughter while Xander scowled at her, Wesley nodded; "It's nice." He coughed, "Shiny."

"You guys wanna hang?" David looked past the group into the office, "Oh wow!" He stepped into the office and looked around with awe comparable to a fan-boy seeing the X-Mansion come to life. "Oh wow. Wow! This is where it all happens!" The others followed him in as he checked out Cordelia's desk. "They're alone, helpless, in agony. No one to turn to... They come to you," He waved at the coffee machine, "Drink that coffee," He walked over to the couch then sat down, "Sit on this couch, unspeakable fiends hot on their tails." He sighed and kicked at the edge of the rug at his feet. "What did I do today? Spun off my digital pager and wireless phone network and made a few..." He shrugged, "Okay, several million. Big Whoop! What does that mean?"

Xander shrugged, "A lifetime VIP membership at 'City of Angels' Topless Bar?"

Faith raised an eyebrow at Xander before nodding, while David seemed to ponder that for a moment; "You guys though, you fight demons! Why any second, some beast from Hell could walk through that door."

"Hello all!" Xander and Wesley jumped and yelled out in terror, while Faith and Angel raised their weapons. Cordelia looked at all of them in confusion, she then touched a hand to her skirt, "What? Is there a stain on my new skirt?"

The members of Angel Investigations, save their receptionist slash head of payroll gave David a withering glare, which he answered with a blush; "Have you guys seen any cool demons lately?"


Lindsey, Lilah and Hammond all watched as their monks completed the circle and chant on Wolfram and Hart's consecrated ground. The circle burst into flames which reached high into the darkness. The monks backed away as a black robed figure emerged from the flames. His features were partially obscured by the cowl of his black cape, but Lindsey could see his white skin, red eyes and Gold mask. He was one of the most gruesome sights the young lawyer had ever seen, and considering his clientele that was saying something.

Holland stepped forward and bowed his head slightly, "Welcome to Wolfram and Hart, I hope you had a pleasant journey." Their summoned warrior didn't even pause as he passed them for the office. Holland smiled, "I see Vocah is as unpleasant as his reputation suggests."

Part 2

Angel offered David a cup of coffee, "Not that we mind the company Mr. Nabbit, but is there another reason you came by?"

David took the coffee and smiled, "Actually, I was talking to Xander about this last week when we were playing Magic, and I would like to make a business proposal."

Xander's eyes widened, "David, I was just kidding about that."

"I know Xander, but it's a good idea." They all watched as David's entire being seemed to transform. It seemed that while in social situations David Nabbit was your average awkward late-twenty/early-thirties geek. But when business was discussed; he sat up straighter, his chin tilted upwards with confidence and he seemed very much comfortable in his own skin. "I want to buy an interest in Angel Investigations; a silent partnership if you will."

David's news may as well have been a nuclear bomb detonating in the office for all the chaos it caused. Wesley fumbled his crossbow before dropping it causing the weapon to fire accidentally nearly slicing his nose off as the bolt embedded in the ceiling. Faith's axe clattered on the floor, and Angel raised an eyebrow. Meanwhile, Cordelia's eyes lit with proverbial dollar signs. "Really? Please, Mr. Nabbit, continue."

Angel's head shook, "Cordelia-"

Cordelia leveled him with a glare the others previously thought only Buffy was capable of earning, "Shh! Business-people are talking!" She turned back to David with her smile re-appearing, "You were saying?"

David smiled, "Well, I guess what it comes down to is this. I want to make a difference in the world, and as much money as I've made in software, at the end of the day, besides flooding the market with enough wireless toys to choke a rhino, I don't think I am." He smiled, "But you guys are. Every day you're out there turning back the Forces of Darkness and saving the unsuspecting World-" At the amused looks he received, David blushed, "Sorry, like I said, D and D tonight, I get a little dramatic; but the point is I can't fight, I don't have superpowers, or visions, and outside of writing lines of programming or rolling twenty-sided dice to make Orcs disappear, I'm not a terribly smart man. However, I can do my part by making sure you can do yours more easily.

"Basically, I'd put you guys on the payroll, a lot of companies keep investigators on the staff, I have a corporate one, so I'll have my accountant bury you guys so deep in the records that no one in NabTech will even know you exist," He blushed slightly, "Well, unless they need your help, of course." He laughed a little uncomfortably at his joke then cleared his throat. "What do you think?"

Cordelia smiled and helped David to his feet, "We love the idea, why don't you and I hammer out the details at the Starbucks down the street?"

The internet tycoon reddened considerably and when he replied his voice cracked like a fifteen year old, "Okay."

As Cordelia led him out of the office she said, "Why don't we talk salary now, and then 401-ks and stock-plans later?"

The others watched them depart before Xander spoke up, "You gotta love her attitude, she'll have us in company cars with six figure salaries by morning."

After a brief moment of contemplation, Wesley returned to the inner office. He picked up a book and began flipping through it, "I think I know what it means..."

Xander followed him, with Angel and Faith trailing; "C'mon Wes, I know the Brits aren't fond of our use of their language, but you should be able to figure I meant a salary between one hundred and one million dollars a-"

Wesley leveled a glare at the Seer which rivaled the best another ex-Watcher had set aside for the young man, "The translation, you git." He began to go over his notes again, "If it isn't Phygian but instead descends from the ancient Magyar's then its root is proto-Ugaric. In which case it would mean..." Angel sat down and got back to his book, he didn't notice the color bleed from his friend's face as he realized what the translation meant.

Faith and Xander did notice however, the Slayer stepped forward, "Wes, what does it mean?"

Wesley looked up, "Death."

As one they turned to Angel, who hadn't pulled his nose out of his book. Faith looked between him and the scrolls, "Angel's going to die?"

Angel paused from his reading to glance up, "Oh. Is that all?"

Xander's eyebrow rose at Angel's non-reaction, "Don't get all emotional on us Boss-man."

Wesley however began to stammer out an explanation, "Apocalyptic prophecies have never been an exact science. It could be way off, well after the coming battles, there's a chance I'm not even translating this correctly," The vampire merely grunted and Wesley sighed, "So it's good you're not even remotely worried by this."

Xander sighed and walked out into the lobby; he opened the fridge and retrieved a juice box. As he punctured the top with the straw he said; "Okay, Mr. Spock's lack of reaction aside, what can we do to-" He clenched his eyes shut, staggered and squeezed the juice box in his hand, spraying its contents on the floor before collapsing out into the lobby as a vision bombarded his senses. He saw a bag lady being attack by some sort of slime demon. As his vision faded he found himself looking up at the concerned faces of his friends. He groaned as he sat up, "It's like they wait for me to be in a position to embarrass myself." The vampire looked at him in annoyance; "Slime demon's attacking some bag lady near the waste treatment plant in El Segundo."

Faith turned to Angel who had already crossed the office grabbing an axe and one of his coats as he did "Angel, do you-"

He entered the elevator, "I've got it." He closed the elevator door behind him before turning, "Stay here, and Xander?"

Xander got to his feet, "Yeah?"

Angel started the elevator and smirked at the young man; "Clean up that mess."

Xander sighed as Angel disappeared from sight, "Look at him, six months ago when I came here he hardly ever made pithy remarks," He wiped at a false tear, "I'm so proud."


Vocah stalked Holland's office angrily, "You lost the scrolls."

Lilah stepped forward, "Not lost, they were stolen."

Holland stepped pasted her and placed his hand on her forearm to quiet her, "The scrolls were stolen from our vault a few weeks ago."

Vocah turned back to Holland, "The raising cannot be performed without the scrolls. You are jeopardizing events which have been carefully guided for centuries. Who has the scrolls now?"

Lindsey snorted and said, "Angel has them."

The dark warrior turned to the mortals before him and fought the urge to kill all three for their stupidity; "Angel? I am summoned for the raising; to bring the very thing which will sever his ties to the Powers That Be and bring him down to us. Now he has the scrolls?" Lilah was about to reply, she was silenced with a dark glare; "He has the scrolls, his connection to the Powers is complete."

Lilah shook her head, "Our best people took a year to translate the scrolls, and there is no way-"

Lindsey stepped forward interrupting her; "What can we do to help?"

Vocah gave them one more withering look; "Nothing, I will sever his links to the powers and the scrolls will be returned to us." He turned to the door and made his exit with the monks following behind.

After the doors closed, Holland smiled and turned to the bar, "That's settled then. Scotch anyone?"


With a swing of the sword, Angel had decapitated the slime demon which attacked the insane woman just as he was arriving. He turned to her with his sword down, the woman looked at the corpse with shock; "He attacked me!"

Angel nodded, "He did, but you're safe now."

"They never let me have a moment's peace."

"It's okay." Angel led her out of the alley.

She spat on the corpse as they passed it, "See what they do? They attack you when you aren't looking."

Angel nodded in a placating fashion, "You're safe now." They rounded the corner to leave the alley; he found the very unfriendly face of Kate Lockley approaching.

The woman continued, "Yeah, but you sliced him up real good." He noticed a flash of movement from Kate as her hand left her sidearm, but he could see her tense posture remained, she was still on the defensive. The woman turned to Kate, "He saved me from one of their spies. And by the way, I don't appreciate the dental association watching me like that." She then made her way towards the street.

Angel suddenly felt a chill as he locked eyes with her, "Hi."

Kate seemed to be trying to will his head to explode with her thoughts; "What was it?"

Angel smiled and waved at the back alley, "Don't worry it's dead now."

He didn't think it was possible but her face hardened even more; "What was it?"

Angel sighed and rubbed his temple, "Slime demon. Look, I know this has been hard for you, most people can't take what's really out there-"

Kate interrupted, "Listen, I don't need some *thing* telling me about 'most people.' I'll find all I need to know to make sure I rid the streets of your kind."

Angel felt his anger come roaring to the surface, "My kind?"

"Yeah, the kind that killed my father. You think I'd just forget?" She spun on her heel and walked away, throwing one last remark over her shoulder, "I don't forget anything."

Angel suppressed the urge to run her through; he took an unneeded breath then turned and walked down the alley in the opposite direction.

Part 3

Cordelia entered the lobby of Angel's building and found a man from UPS at their office door, "You need something signed for?"

The man turned and smiled when he noticed Cordelia's chest, "Anything you want."

Cordelia scowled at him as he handed her the package. She noticed the return address was from NabTech's Personnel Offices. She signed his clipboard and glowered at the guy one last time before entering the office. The only person she found in the office was Wesley. Which was to be expected, Angel would be downstairs asleep, and Faith had said something about taking Xander to help her pick out a piercing before she left on her morning run.

Wesley looked like he hadn't slept last night and heard all the horrible secrets he didn't already know. He closed the book in front of him and mumbled something about death. She entered Angel's office, "What is it Wesley? Angel's destiny is to finally put his leather pants to good work and take over as a Backstreet Boy?" She paused and blinked, "Do you think he can sing?"

"Depends Cordelia, do you honestly think *they* can sing?" He sighed and closed the book he was reading, "Angel's been prophesied to die."

Cordelia shrugged, "So?" At Wesley's sour expression Cordelia laughed. "Wes, just because it's prophecy, doesn't mean it came from on high."

"Actually Cordelia, that's precisely what prophecy is."

"Whatever. Besides, we beat a ton of prophecies in Sunnydale, just ask Buffy."

The former Watcher removed his glasses and pressed his thumb against the bridge of his nose in a futile attempt to quell the headache Cordelia was giving him; "First, Xander did not avert that prophecy in a technical sense, Buffy died, the existence of Faith as an active Slayer is proof. The prophecy merely neglected to say that Buffy's friend would follow her into the Master's lair and resurrect her." He replaced his glasses and looked briefly to the elevator shaft, "The point is not that Angel is prophesied to die; which is by no means, a good thing. It's Angel's reaction that worries me. We tell him he is fated to die and he doesn't care."

Cordelia rolled her eyes, "So he didn't run screaming from the room Wes, he's not you or Xander. He faces death every day like, well like lunch. I'm hungry." She got to her feet and went over to the donuts.

Wesley waited for her to return, "It's not a matter of Angel being unafraid of death. He doesn't care if he dies, he's cut off. Death has no power over him because there is nothing in life he wants. It is our desires that make us human."

Cordelia pulled a piece of her glazed donuts loose, "Angel's kind of human." As she popped the piece of donut into her mouth, Wesley yanked the donut from her hand. "Hey!"

Wesley held up the pastry as an example, "What ties us to life?"

"Right now I'm going to say donuts." She reached out and yanked the donut back.

"What connects us to life is what we want. Angel, like all vampires has no ties to the world. He is in the world, but not a part of it."

"Angel's different, he has a soul."

"A soul is not enough Cordelia; a soul is just a conscience. He needs an anchor, a connection. You and I are connected because we change and grow and learn..."

"But Angel will never have any of that. What are you saying Wes? That Angel has nothing to look forward to? That he's going to go on forever, the same, in the world, but always cut off from it?"


Cordelia jumped up and began to pace, "We have to do something!"

"I'm not sure we can."

She squawked and turned towards him, "What is with you? You just drop this bombshell from your musty old prophecy then tell me there's nothing we can do?"

Wesley sighed tiredly, "He is what he is."

She crossed the room and crashed her fists down on the desk, her anger bled away to a more pleading expression; "Angel's good, he has a soul, and he's our friend. He helps the hopeless and now he is one of them." They turned at the sound of the elevator coming to life, "Well, he's going to start wanting things whether he wants to or not!" She turned and walked into Angel's office, "Good morning Angel. Coffee?"

Angel grabbed a book from his desk, "No thank you."



Cordelia stepped forward and blocked his return to the elevator, "Angel, is there anything you want?"

He seemed to ponder her question for a moment before stepping around her, "No." When Cordelia whimpered and turned to Wesley, Angel sighed in annoyance. "What's going on here?" He narrowed his eyes at her, "Did you wreck the Plymouth?"

Wesley stepped forward, "Angel, Cordelia's worried that you don't seem to want anything."

She nodded and took Angel's hand, "You're cut off from the world, but that's okay, we're going to help you."

The vampire looked at his friend like she'd lost her mind, "Oh. Good."

She beamed at him, "We'll start small. How would you like a puppy?" A roll of his eyes was her answer, "Okay, ficas? They're low maintenance." He looked at her in growing annoyance, "Ant farm?"

Wesley turned towards the door, "Well, I'm off."

Angel tried to pull his hand away from Cordelia, but was surprised at the iron tightness of her grip. "Where are you going?"

"To the rare book store, I suppose it would be a bad idea to take the scroll with me."

He turned to the current owner of his hand, "Cordelia?" She let go and blushed, "I'll lock it up in the weapon's cabinet."

"It might be a good time to consult the Oracles."

He scowled at the Englishman, "I don't need to see them about this."

He nodded, "I see, well think about it." He then left Angel alone with Cordelia.

She smiled at the vampire, "Oracle. It'll get you out of the house." She rocked on her heels. Angel snorted and stepped into the elevator. As he started down into his apartment he heard Cordelia say, "I'm only trying to connect you Angel!"

She groaned and turned to leave, as she exited Angel's office she heard the voices of Faith and Xander, "All I'm sayin' Tiger is there's nothing like a piercing; the rush of pain, some of them even help in the sack." They entered the office and Cordelia immediately noticed the other woman's new jewelry. Faith's midriff top showed her navel ring and a flash of light brought attention to the piercing in her left eyebrow.

Xander smiled and shook his head, "I don't know Faith."

She stopped Xander in the door, using the cramped confines to her advantage; she ran a finger over his ear. "C'mon, your ear?" He shook his head and she her finger slid down the side of his throat until it casually traveled over his chest, "Eyebrow? Tongue? Nipple?" Xander shook his head at each suggestion, the slayer's eyes darkened, she bit her lip and smiled wickedly; "Prince Albert?"

The Seer tilted his head, "I don't know that one."

Faith's hand began to drift southward "Well, y'see they pierce the underside of," she stopped her exploration just south of his belt buckle and raised her newly pierced eyebrow, "Captain Happy." The color left Xander's face as quickly as the light grew in her eyes. "Don't go all vanilla on me Tiger."

"I'm not-" Xander coughed when his voice cracked, "I'm not really a piercing type of guy Faith."

"How about a lil' ink?" She smirked, "I know, we'll get 'Slayer Tested, Quality Guaranteed' on your a-"

Cordelia picked up her purse, "That's enough!" She growled and pushed them out the door, "We need to find something for Angel to connect to the world with, and no skanky flirting Faith, I just had a donut."


Xander and Faith followed Cordelia as she made her way through the promenade. She was looking at the different displays, trying to find for Angel. She stopped at a display of some surfing apparel and equipment, Faith rolled her eyes; "Gee Queen C, I seriously doubt the boss would be one for Hangin' Ten."

Xander nodded, "Gotta go with Faith here, I don't think I've ever heard him say 'Dude' or 'Totally Brah!' It's just not his style."

She blistered them with a glare, "You guys could try to help. Angel's in trouble, we need to help him connect to the world."

Thee young man snorted, "Oh Jesus, he's fine Cordelia. He's always been detached, even with Buffy."

Her eyes narrowed at him, "He's depressed and moody and fated to die and we have to stop that. We need to connect him to the world, before something awful happens."

"Y'know what connects me to the world? Spicy Buffalo Wings, I've been thinking about them all day."

Cordelia turned away after rolling her eyes, "God Xander, there are more important things then food." She walked off to the next display.

Faith nudged him, "Thinking about chicken wings all day?" Xander turned and smirked at the twinkle in her eyes, "Even when you were looking at C's ass on the walk over?"

Xander winked, "I'm a guy, I can think of food and sex at the same time. Sometimes I can even think of food and sex together."

The slayer grinned wickedly, "I respect your imagination Tiger, but let's leave the spicy food out of sex, it tends to burn." She nudged him forward and the pair followed Miss Chase once again.

Cordelia stopped in front of a booth with a sign reading "Art Attack." As she looked over the paints and pads, the woman who ran the booth approached, "Do you paint?"

Cordelia smiled, "No, we're looking for something for our friend." She picked up a box of colored pencils, "I was telling them that he needs a hobby, he's been a little detached."

The young woman smiled, "Well, they say art is the best therapy for that."

Faith stopped inspecting some water colors and looked at the sales woman, "Are you serious?"

She smiled, "Sure. They use painting and clay in mental institutions all the time. It helps them get back in touch."

Cordelia laughed uncomfortably while Xander turned away from the comic's booth across the sidewalk, "Oh no, Angel isn't crazy, he's um..." He waved his hands while he looked for an appropriate word, "He's distant."


Cordelia shrugged, "Well, he wears a lot of black I guess."

As the woman showed Faith and Cordelia a set of paints, pads, pencils even an easel, Xander returned to the comic's booth to check out the latest issue of Vampirella. "How does that costume stay on?" He felt a brush on the wrist, but when he turned no one was there. Faith and Cordelia joined him a few seconds later, Cordelia holding two armfuls of art supplies. "So is that it? Do you have everything you need to save the Boss-man's soul?" Cordelia narrowed her eyes and was about to make a biting remark but Xander staggered as he was hit with a vision. It didn't last long but the images were familiar, they were in the first vision the Powers ever gave him, he knew what they meant. "Cor, cell phone! Faith, Wes is in trouble. Find him, don't let him open Angel's weapon's cabinet."

"Xand I-"

"Go!" Xander heard Faith's footsteps as she ran off. He felt Cordelia's phone drop into his hand and he was dialing Angel's number when he was hit by another vision. The most intense and painful one he'd ever felt. He dropped her phone and stumbled backwards knocking over a booth as thousands upon thousands of faces and cries overwhelmed him. He cried out at the combination of the pain he felt and the terror and sadness of the people he was seeing. "God! Please someone make it stop!" He began to sob then curled into a ball on the ground while Cordelia hovered over him and the art girl screamed for someone to call 911. He fell deeper and deeper into his visions; so far gone the world fell away and the pain was all that was left.


Angel jerked awake on his couch in the office. He sat up and ran a hand over his jaw. He looked out the window in the lobby and noticed it was dark out. He stood up then grabbed the scrolls off the desk; he placed them into the tube and descended the staircase into his apartment. When he reached the bottom of the steps he made his way to the weapon's cabinet and locked up the scroll. As he turned away from the cabinet he saw a flash of movement from the corner of his eye, when he turned it was gone.

He shook it off and walked into the kitchen, as he passed the dining room table he noticed his phone flashing. He picked it up and opened it to read that he had eleven missed calls. Just as he was about to check the numbers and voice mails it rang again. He turned it on, "Hello?"


Angel's eyes widened at the frantic tone of Cordelia's voice. She sounded like she'd been crying. "Cordelia?"

/Where have you been? Never mind, you need to get to LA County like two hours ago!\

Angel's stomach turned and a horrible feeling swept over him, "Cordelia, what happened?"

/It's Xander.\

Angel closed his phone and sprinted to his car, stopping only long enough to grab a coat.

As he exited, Vocah emerged from the shadows towards the weapon's cabinet.


Cordelia looked up when the doors crashed open and saw a swirl of black cloth tear in. She intercepted Angel before he got to the information desk; the vampire looked at her with barely restrained fury. "What happened? Who was it? I'll tear them apart!"

Cordelia squeezed his hands, "He's had a vision that's gone crazy-" Xander's wild howling interrupted her and Angel barged past the nurse with Cordelia in tow.

They found Xander wildly writhing against the restraints; a redheaded woman seemed to be in charge of the situation; "Another five c.c.s of Ativan!"

A nurse was preparing a shot as Angel approached, "What happened?"

The doctor turned to him just as an orderly grabbed him, "Who are you?"

Angel pushed the orderly away angrily, "I'm his brother, what happened?"

The doctor desperately tried to keep Xander from breaking loose from his restraints, "They brought him in a couple of hours ago, his fiancé didn't know what happened she said he just collapsed in the promenade!" Two orderlies grabbed Xander's arm and held it still while a nurse pushed a needle into his arm. "Does your brother have a history of mental illness?"

Angel shook his head, "No."

"Is he a drug user; psychedelics, LSD, Ecstasy?"


"He's having a psychotic episode, we've done a CAT scan, there's no sign of injury or brain damage, but we can't sedate him." To reinforce the Doctor's words, Xander yanked an arm loose of the restraint and in his trashing punched a nurse.

Angel leapt forward and grabbed Xander's arm and held him down, "Xander! Can you hear me? XANDER!" As he held Xander down, he noticed a mark on Xander's wrist, a mark that was new.

The Doctor took no time to be impressed by Angel's strength, "Does he have any drug allergies? We need to know."

Cordelia stepped further into the room, "He's allergic to Sulfa-antibiotics."

Angel shook his head, "Drugs won't help."

The Doctor ordered another tranquilizer, "I have to warn you, if we can't find a way to stop this..."

Angel nodded and pushed Cordelia out of the room. He closed the door. "Xander's your fiancé now?"

Cordelia scowled and slapped him on the chest, "Not now!" She dissolved into tears.

He gathered her into his arms and cooed at her, "I'll stop this. I promise." He looked back towards the room, "Does he have a tattoo on his wrist?"

She stepped back and wiped her eyes, "No. He's too chicken to get a tattoo or piercing. Why?"

The vampire walked over to the information desk where he grabbed a pencil and pad, he made a sketch of the mark and stuffed it in his pocket. "Cordelia, stay here, I've got to show this to Wes, Faith and I will track this guy down and stop this." He grin pulled at his lips for a moment, "I promise Xander will be back to annoying the Hell out of us by morning."

Cordelia nodded and in a blink of an eye the vampire was gone.


Wesley descended into Angel's apartment with an armful of books. He pushed the gate open and walked across the apartment. He dropped his books on the dining table then turned towards the weapon's cabinet, as he was about to open the door he noticed the doors had been forced and heard some sort of noise coming from inside.

He approached the cabinet cautiously, and reached slowly for the door. Just as he touched the door and began to pull it open a hand clamped down on his shoulder, "Wes! Don't!" Wesley jerked at the sound of Faith's voice and her touch; as a result the door came open, they saw what was in the cabinet and Faith yanked him away, "Run!"


Angel put the Plymouth in park and killed the engine across the street from his building. He got out and tried to find a sign of Wesley or Faith. He began to cross the street when the building exploded and flames erupted from within. He hit the ground covered in brick and glass; his ears were ringing so badly that he could barely hear every car alarm on the block going off at once. To be safe he rolled around to smother any flames on him then staggered to his feet.

He sprinted into the blown out remains of his building. "Wesley! Faith! Wes!" He maneuvered down the steps, avoiding the wreckage and flames as he did. He found Faith lying on top of Wesley; both of them were unconscious and looked pretty bad. As he pulled Faith off of Wesley he stirred and coughed, "Wes?" Wesley tried to move, "Don't move Wes, you're bleeding." His eyes rolled back into his head and he was out again. Hearing the building stress increasing, Angel slung both of his friends over his shoulders and carried them out of the building.


"That's right, Pryce, her name is Elizabeth Pryce." Angel knew he couldn't risk the police knowing Faith's name in case she was still a fugitive so he lied and said she was Wesley's sister. She was unconscious; she had two broken ribs, a separated shoulder and several bruises and cuts. Wesley wasn't as badly hurt, but he was still in and out of consciousness.

The medics loaded them into the Ambulance and Angel tried to fight down his growing rage. He knew that Wolfram and Hart were behind this, and if he had his way they'd be lucky if he didn't burn the building down. "Never a dull moment with you, is there?"

He growled as he turned towards Kate, she gave him a stony expression. He decided he didn't have time for her, he started to walk past her and he said "I have to go."

Kate stepped into his path, "You are the only witness to a major crime scene, and you're going nowhere. Who the Hell do you think you are?"

Angel suppressed the urge to snap her neck, "I don't have time for you."

Kate pushed him back and placed a hand on her sidearm, "I'm glad we're not playing friends anymore, and I am really sick and tired of your attitude! We are talking about a thing called the law here-"

"No, we're talking about a little thing called life. Now I am sorry about your father, but I am getting sick of you blaming me for everything you can't handle! Now if you want to play enemies, try me." He shouldered past her and walked to his car.

Part 4

"I come before the Oracles for guidance and direction. I beseech access to the knowing ones." Before he could finish the incant, Angel was blinded by the flash of the gateway opening. He stepped into the hall of the Oracles and was shocked to see the carnage before. The Oracles had both been slain. The female Oracle still had some sort of scythe in her back.

"It is unfortunate." Angel looked up in shock to see a ghostly form of the female Oracle standing over her own body, "Things are unraveling. The dark ones broach our temples now."

Angel stepped forward holding out the sketch he made of the mark on Xander's wrist, "Can you help me?"

The oracle frowned, "I can't stay long. I've been dead for some time." Her expression soured further, "So far, I don't like it." She looked at the sketch, "Your Seer, he's in trouble; that is the mark of Vocah. He is a Dark Warrior. He wants you weak and cut off from the Powers That Be." She looked back down to her body, "He has opened your friend's mind to all those who are crying out in need and pain. He doesn't have much longer either."

"How do I stop it?"

"The words of Anatole, you will need the scrolls, Vocah has them."

"Where do I find him?"

"The raising." She faded for a moment before continuing, "Like so many of his kind, he hides behind Man's law. You will find him there. You must stop the Raising."

Angel pulled the scythe out of her body, "I will." He turned and left to find Vocah.


Faith rolled her wheelchair into Xander's room. She found Xander restrained to the bed and tranquilized. She could see the pain still etched on his face and tears in his medically glazed eyes, every few seconds a stray tear slipped down his cheek. Cordelia held his right hand tightly between hers with her forehead resting against their joined hands. She brought her chair to a stop and took his free hand with her unbandaged one. She looked up into his face for a long moment before whispering, "Okay Boy-Toy, time to wake up now."

Cordelia mumbled from her seat, "I tried that. The retard is just as stubborn when he's drugged all to Hell as when he's awake." She looked over at the Slayer and scowled, "Somehow I'm sure this is your fault."

"Wanna run this by me one more time Cor?"

The older woman sniffled, "I'm sure if you had been able to stop Wesley from opening the cabinet, he'd already have found a way to wake Xander up."

Faith scowled, "You are a real bitch, you know that right? This isn't about me not being able to save Wes; this is about me poaching on territory you'd been laying claim to."

"Yeah? You come into town and Angel and Xander both fall all over each other to coddle you even though you tried to kill them both at least twice each. 'Faith needs trust.' 'She's never been welcomed in her life.' 'You don't understand what her life was like, Cor.' Blah, blah, blah. The truth is, you're just another controlling calculating, Slayer-bitch. I've watched this show before in Sunnydale."

Faith scowled angrily, "You want to know what I think? I think you were trying to get Xander back, 'cause you figure he's some reward for you fighting the good fight."

The former Prom-Queen squawked, "Projecting much, I'm not the one trying to redeem myself by getting into his pants."

"What the Hell is the matter with you two?" Both women turned at the new voice. They were stunned to see who was there.


Five vampires struggled against the chains connecting them to a large wooden cage in the center of the tomb. The doors opened and two monks swung lamps spreading incense. Vocah followed them into the tomb with the scroll. The monks circled the vampires and began to chant, "We have prepared a holy place in the darkness and anointed it with oil. We have taken of the blood of the living and gathered together the living dead."

Vocah began to read from the scrolls, "As it was written they shall prepare the way and the very gates of Hell shall open. That which is above shall tremble," As he spoke the words the tomb began to shake rattling the windows and wobbling the chandelier. Vocah continued without notice, "For that which is below shall arise; and the world shall know the beast shall know the world."


Cordelia and Faith found Buffy standing in the door with Willow and Giles flanking her. "Xander's dying in a Hospital bed and you're having a cat-fight?" She turned to Willow and Giles, "The nurse said Wesley's down the hall, check on him, I need to have a talk with these two."

The pair nodded and reluctantly left the room, while the elder slayer entered. She bit back a tear as she watched Xander suffer an endless nightmare of pain and suffering. She reached over Cordelia and smoothed Xander's soaked hair away from his forehead. "Angel called, said some evil lawyers took you all down. I've never seen Willow drive so fast. She's a wreck right now, all of us are. I'm going to give you two the benefit of a doubt and say the stress of seeing Xander comatose, Wesley in the ICU, and Angel going after some demon trying to end the World by himself has got you two lashing out."

Faith scowled, "It's all so easy for you, isn't it B? Back in Sunnydale, everyone trips over themselves to kiss your ring-"

Buffy silenced the younger slayer with a glare, "You need to shut up before I put you back in the ICU Faith. Don't think I've forgotten. The only reason I didn't skin you when I came in is because of Angel and Xander." Before Cordelia could comment, Buffy turned the same glare on her. "The fact is, that if you two are both chasing Xander, it's his choice not yours, it's not who deserves him, not who needs him more their own redemption, it's about who Xander chooses to give his heart to. I'd suggest you two grow up. I'm going to find Willow and send her in. You two feel like fighting with someone, you come see me." She turned and left the room.

Cordelia stood up, "The doctor said Wes would wake up soon, I'm going to call Sarina and check in on him." She leaned over and kissed Xander's forehead.

Faith squeezed Xander's hand and kissed it, "Just wake up Xander. That's all, just wake up. I need you, we all need you." She closed her eyes and rested against his hand.

"I've never seen him like this before."

Faith's eyes snapped open at Willow's voice. She looked up and saw Willow's tear-streaked face looking down at Xander, "All these years, I've never had to visit Xander in the hospital, even after we started helping Buffy, he moves to LA, here less then a year and he's nearly had his eyes gouged out, impregnated with a succubus by Cordelia and now, he's gone insane and may be dying." She sighed, "Way to treat him guys." As Faith was about to protest Willow continued, "It's okay Faith. He's helping you and Angel. He's proud of himself; I haven't seen him proud of himself in a long time. He calls every week and tells me how much he's proud of you and Cordelia and Wesley, even Angel." The red-head smiled, "I'm so proud of him, he's always been such a good person, and now he's doing something he loves, headaches and near-death aside. He'd follow any one of you into Hell. Don't take that for granted, believe us, you don't miss Xander Harris until he's not there."

"Red, I-"

"Don't Faith. Making peace is for after something horrible happens, don't you dare condemn him by making peace with me." Willow gave Xander's hand one more squeeze before she left the room.

Part 5

Angel watched from behind some shrubs as Holland, Lindsey and Lilah exited the building chatting idly about the Raising. He fought the urge to kill them all; he needed them to lead him to Vocah. The lawyers met up with some men in mover's uniforms they walked towards a stretch limo and a moving van. Angel smirked as a breeze lofted the scent of Lilah's perfume to his nose, he'd be able to track the scent easily.

As they entered Angel got back into the Plymouth and started the engine. He waited for the vehicles to pass by before he pulled out and turned on his head lights. He followed them to a near-by cemetery where the limo and van pulled in. Angel found a parking spot and shut off the engine. He grabbed the scythe and exited the car then trotted across the street.

He caught and followed Lilah's scent through the cemetery. After a few hundred yards, he saw the moving van in the distance. He moved through the shadows being careful to avoid detection. He found a window around the corner of the tomb, he could hear chanting inside. He listened more closely, "-Yet they live."

Vocah responded, "Five are without soul." It was too late to prevent the ritual; he'd have to stop it. He backed away from the window for room to get a running start. He charged forward and crashed through the window and the metal frame inside. His entrance had surprised everyone long enough for him to take the first swing at Vocah.

Vocah met Angel's swing with a new scythe, and then countered Angel with an attack of his own. Their weapons locked up Vocah swung theirs scythes, bringing the vampire off balance. The demon warrior then threw Angel into the wall.

In the background, Angel could hear Lindsey trying to continue the ritual. He was speaking in Latin, and from the sound of it, he was sacrificing the vampires for something else to come into the world. Angel had little time to react as Vocah swung at his head, the Champion blocked the attack then kicked Vocah's knee, stumbling him. He brought the scythe over his head to try for a killing blow, but was met with a boot which launched the vampire across the room. He landed in a heap on top of the monks.

He jumped to his feet and charged Vocah, behind him the wind picked up and the vampires were caught up in a vortex, they dusted and the vortex closed in on the box, before a shockwave erupted from the box, throwing Lindsey to the ground. Angel and Vocah didn't even pause, in their fight. He struck Vocah with the blunt end of his weapon, which sent the demon out into the hall. Vocah charged forward, and Angel met him with the blade in the stomach. He yanked his weapon out of the warrior's stomach then quickly buried it in the top of Vocah's skull. The demon was dead before he even started to fall over.

Angel yanked his weapon out of the corpse and turned around. The lawyers had already cleared out. The box and its contents were gone as well. However, Lindsey remained behind. He saw Angel and grabbed a cross. Angel started towards him, "Lindsey, give me the scroll."

Lindsey smirked at the vampire and stepped towards a near-by torch, "Not gonna happen. It belongs with us."

Angel took answered Lindsey's step, he kept the scythe loosely in his hand, "Us. You put your faith into Wolfram and Hart."

Lindsey took another step, "You said I had to make a choice."

Angel answered, "And you did."

Lindsey smiled, "I had a crisis, and I want to thank you for your help." A step, "I'm seeing things much more clearly now." He gestured with the scrolls, "I see tonight was foretold, and it doesn't bode well for you."

Angel moved forward, "You see what I'm going to do to you if you don't give me that scroll?"

"I see that you need the Words of Anatole to save Harris. I see you're either the one with the power, or you're powerless. Now, since it was foretold that Wolfram and Hart would cut all your ties to the Powers That Be..." He held the scrolls out towards the fire.

As the young held the scroll out, Angel swung the scythe, it swung through the air, slicing Lindsey's outstretched right hand off at the wrist. The scroll fell safely to the ground, the loose hand skidding away from it. The Lawyer cried out in pain, before collapsing to the floor. He gripped his forearm to try and slow the blood-flow.

The vampire casually crossed the room, he picked up the scroll and his scythe then bent over the fallen lawyer, "Don't believe everything you're foretold, Lindsey." He turned and left the tomb to get the scroll back to the others.


Everyone in the room watched Xander's tormented look as he stared straight ahead, his head was shaking in the negative and he mumbled incoherently. Angel wrapped his arm over Cordelia's shoulders as they stood in the corner of the room. Buffy and Willow were on the far side of the room with Wesley who was in a wheelchair. Faith sat at Xander's side holding his hand.

Giles stood at the foot of the bed reading from the scroll, "-And if the beast shalt find thee, and touch thee, thou shalt be wounded in thy soul and thou shalt know madness. The beast shalt attack and cripple thee and thou shalt know neither friend nor family. But thou shalt undo the beast. Thou shalt find the sacred words of Anatole and thou shalt be restored. Three times shalt thou say these words: unbind, unbind, unbind."

There was a flash of blinding light; when Angel's vision cleared he found Xander blinking. He and Cordelia were across the room in an instant, he squeezed the Seer's shoulder, "Hey, welcome back."

Faith smiled and squeezed his hand, "Hey Tiger."

Xander looked around, seemingly trying to figure out if the vision was over, "Angel? Faith?"


Xander grinned and turned towards one perturbed brunette, "And I missed you most of all Scarecrow."

Cordelia smiled and pressed her lips against his forehead, "God help me, because I even missed your crappy humor, Dorkus!"

Xander's grin dissolved almost instantly, "God Angel. There are so many people hurting, we have to help them."

The vampire nodded, "We will Xand. We will." He waved the others over, "Right now, you've got some visitors."

"Hey Xander."

Xander's smile returned instantly, "Wills!" Willow wrapped herself around Xander in a crushing hug. Xander tried to hug back only to notice the restraints, "Kinda trapped here."

Angel stepped backwards, "I'll get a doctor."

Buffy smiled, "You almost made me have to cash in on our agreement Xander."

"Gee Buffy, here in LA talking to me almost ten seconds and mentioned physical violence, that's gotta be a personal best."

Buffy sighed, "God help me, 'cause I missed your crappy humor too."

The seer waggled his eyebrows, "It grows on people."


The next evening found the Scooby Gang guests in the temporary offices of Angel Investigations a.k.a. the Silverlake apartment of Cordelia Chase. Wesley and Giles were going over the scroll and Wesley's books, while Willow researched on the laptop that had been salvaged by Angel and Faith from the office. The younger Englishman pointed to a page of his book, "It could be the beast of Amalfie, a razor toothed six-eyed harbinger of death."

Willow entered the name into a database, "It says here, that the Amalfie won't arise until 2003 in Reseda."

Angel and Xander entered the dining room with Faith in tow, the vampire spoke, "Really, I would have guessed Tarzana."

The elder Ex-Watcher looked up from his book, "Really? How so?"

The seer smirked, "He's joking G-Man."

Giles frowned, "And here I thought I would never have to endure that horrible name again."

Xander smiled, "Come on Giles, you missed me."

Giles smirked in a very non-Giles fashion, "Only with every bullet so far." Faith grabbed the comics section from the paper on the table and returned to the couch.

Cordelia led Buffy out of the kitchen, the blonde stopped and asked, "So you're telling me that you guys saved some Internet Billionaire from a black-mail artist, and now he's putting you on the payroll?"

Cordelia smirked, "Yep, Wesley and I are taking classes to get our investigator's licenses to make it all legit too."

Buffy growled and turned to Giles, "Giles! Why aren't we getting paid?"

Giles looked up at her and sighed, "Because Buffy, we don't have Cordelia to negotiate contracts for us."

The blonde sighed, "Typical." She grabbed a jacket, "I'm going to get some air."

Before she got to the door Angel walked over to her, "Can I join you?"

She stared at him for a long moment before she said, "Fine, 'cause I like having awkwardly uncomfortable moments." Angel grabbed his coat and followed her out the door.

Xander grabbed his jacket, when Faith raised an eyebrow at him he smiled, "Well, I can't let her haul off and stake my boss, now can I?"

He paused at the door when Giles said, "Hello. What's this?"

Wesley turned back to Giles, "What?"

"The use of this word 'Shanshu' in the sentence referring to Angel."

Wesley stood up and limped around the table, he looked at the scroll of Giles shoulder "Yes?"

The elder gentleman removed his glasses and cleaned them quickly, "This sentence appears to be in a Proto-Bantu structure."

Wesley's eyes widened, "Dear God. That would mean that I completely misinterpreted the passage."

Cordelia walked over, "Are you saying that Angel isn't going to die?"

Wesley shrugged, "Well yes and no. See the Proto-Bantu consider life a cycle, so they use the same word for both. But if something is not alive it can never die."

Xander's eyes narrowed, "But you said Angel would die?"

Wesley felt a grin pull at his lips, "Yes he will die, more specifically; he will live until he dies. He becomes human."

Giles continued, "It's his reward."

There was silence in the room until Xander opened the front door, "That is huge. I have to talk to him, I'll tell him." The Seer then left the apartment.

Cordelia grabbed Wes' forearm, "Can I talk to you in private?"


Cordelia led him into her bedroom and closed the door; she paced for a moment then turned back to the Ex-Watcher, "I want you to teach me about demons."

Wesley raised an eyebrow, "Pardon?"

Cordelia sighed, "I want you to teach me what you know about demons, so I can help out more."

He shook his head, "But Cordelia, you do-"

"No Wes. I don't help out. God it occurred to me this morning when I saw Xander Buffy and Willow talking, I'm him now."

"'Him?' I don't understand."

She sighed angrily, "I'm Xander. I'm the Xander of the group. The Zeppo. I'm useless. That's why I want you to teach me about researching and demon nesting habits and all that magic mumbo-jumbo so I can help out."


She cut him off, "No Wes. Angel's a vampire, Xander's a seer, Faith's a slayer, and you're demon-expert guy, what am I?"

Wesley smiled, "Alright. I'll teach you, I'll bring some beginner's texts over tomorrow and I'll teach you about identifying demons and types of magics."

Cordelia smiled and pulled the battered Englishman into a hug, "Thank you!" She let go when he groaned in pain, she stepped towards the doors, "Thanks again, Wes."

"My pleasure Cordelia, you're a bright young woman, and you surprised me just now."


"Well, it takes a lot of maturity to say, 'I don't know, but I want to learn.' You've taken a first step towards growing up." The young girl blushed slightly before she left.

Part 6

Buffy and Angel sat in the courtyard outside Cordelia's apartment in silence. Finally the blonde turned to the vampire she once considered the love of her life. "So you've built yourself a little family haven't you?"

The vampire grinned slightly, "I guess."

Buffy smiled for a moment before she ran her hand through her hair, "It's so hard Angel. I feel like I barely know you anymore. It's so strange here, like an Alternate Universe; a place where Wesley competent, and Faith is trying to do good and Cordelia's helping because it's the right thing to do, and strangest of all, you and Xander can actually get along." Angel laughed, "That's another point, you can laugh and smile, could things in Sunnydale have been so bad for you that you were just this one dimensional shell of yourself? Was I that bad for you?" She wiped angrily at tears threatening to fall down her cheeks.

Angel pulled her into a hug, "Buffy, I swear, the way things were in Sunnydale, it was never you, it was knowing that I was never good enough for you, because of the things I've done. Here though, I'm not trying to run from my past and pretend to not be what I am. I'm a vampire with a soul on a mission from the Powers That Be to save the world." Buffy smirked and tried not to laugh, "Corny as it sounds, and it does sound corny, that's who I am."

"God, that's almost as bad as the 'One Girl in All the World' routine Giles does." She stood, "I have to go back home tomorrow, move out of the dorm for the summer. I should probably get some sleep." She looked up at the sky, "Sometimes I wish we could have had one last night together..."

Angel sighed, "Buffy, there's something I need to tell you. When you came to LA back during Thanksgiving... I altered time."

She turned to him in confusion, "I'll take 'Huh' for a thousand Alex. What do you mean?"

"The demon I killed in the office, it didn't originally happen that way."

She sat down in confusion, "How did it originally happen?"

He clenched his eyes shut for a moment, "Originally, we tracked the demon through the sewers, he and I fought and we were both cut, my blood mixed with his and I was turned mortal. I lived a day with you as a mortal man, but the demons still came and almost killed me, I realized I couldn't protect you as a mortal man, so I went to the PTB and ask them to take the day back."

She jumped up angrily, "So what? You just took a whole 24 hours to weigh the ups and downs of being a regular Joe and decided it was more fun being a superhero?"

Angel was struck by a sense of deja-vu at her words, "It wasn't that. I realized that I was a liability that would only get you killed. You are too important to-"

She snapped out, "I don't care how important I might be to the world Angel!"

The vampire sighed, "I was going to say me. If you died and I knew I could do something about it, I could never forgive myself, but I also couldn't keep it to myself. If I did, eventually the happiest day of my life would have begun to feel like rape."

She looked at him angrily for a long time, when she actually spoke, it was a cold almost deadly voice, "I don't think I'll ever forgive you. We had this beautiful day, and you stole it from me, then because you felt guilty you wave my dreams around and rub them in my face. Damn you Angel!" She stormed off, and Angel felt his heart break.

When he looked up, Xander was standing in front of him, "I'm guessing you told her about the day that never was."

The vampire sighed, "Yeah. She took it in her typical fashion."

The young man nodded, "Yeah."

"Think she'll ever forgive me?"

Xander smiled and sat down on the opposite end of the bench, "Of course, you're Angel, and people always forgive you, even when you don't deserve it. Eventually after yelling at Willow and Giles and crying and killing vamps, she'll see what you did and why you told her for what it was, and then a few months after that, she'll decide it wasn't that evil a thing to do."

Angel turned to Xander, "And then?"

He smirked at the vampire, "Then a couple of years after that, she'll consider forgiving you." The paired shared a laugh, then a friendly silence, "Wesley found out what the prophecy in the scrolls was really about."


"It seems that you've got a lot in common with Pinocchio. Wesley says that once you've done all the PTB ask of you, they're going to make you human again."

"You've got to be kidding me."

"No, Wesley and Giles figured it out, you're going to be human."

Angel looked to the skies, after a while a grin tugged at his lips, "Human. I kind of like the sound of that."

"I thought you would." Xander stood up, "There's something else."

"What is that?"

The seer took a deep breath, "When I came to LA, my eyes were opened to a whole new part of the whole good and evil thing. I've learned a lot since coming here." The vampire was shocked at the look in the young man's eyes; he wasn't the boy he was when he showed up in Angel's office months ago, now he was a man who was prepared to fight to the end. "Angel, now that I know what we're up against, all the evil we're going to face, I need you to teach me the rest."


Lindsey followed Lilah into the vault. His now handless right arm was bandaged and in a sling. He already had his first taste of phantom limb syndrome this morning when he got out of bed. He had tried to scratch his knuckles only to destroy his bathroom in a fit of rage. He'd made a vow then and there to see Angel dead if it was the last thing he did.

Holland met them at the door, "Lilah, Lindsey thank you for coming." Holland looks at Lindsey's arm and smiled, "The senior partners were very impressed with your sacrifice." He scowled at the older man whose smile didn't waver, "Trust me, we'll even the score with them."

Lindsey smiled cruelly as visions of Angel disintegrating into a dust pile danced through his head, "Yes. We will."

Holland nodded and turned towards the box. "Starting with what's in that box."

Lilah approached the box slowly, she reached slowly towards the lock, "We're all very pleased you're here. I know it's a bit confusing but it's going to be better soon, a lot better, Darla." She opened the cage and Lindsey say a named blonde woman huddled in the corner, if Angel only know what they raised, he'd beg Lindsey to stake him, as it stood, Lindsey was going to make him suffer. Nothing would be the same for the ensouled vampire again.