A Buffy et al, visits LA story, with no direction what so ever, written before I even saw the premiere for Angel.

It's been a while since we've talked.

A few months, maybe a year. Or three. Not since Willow was found. Not since Faith reappeared.

We should have talked more often. I know he sends Giles reports and information. No talking, just typed, impersonal notices, that Cordelia no doubt takes about three years doing, so who knows how out of date they are.

They're doing good work.

It's been a while.

But, now we'll talk. Not just talk either. Face to face conversations. I'll get to look him in the eye and speak to him. I'm looking forward to it. I'm dreading it. I love him. I hate him. I can't get him out of my head.

I can sometimes. When I fight. When I'm with Riley. I do forget. But then it all comes flooding back with the smallest thing. Patrolling in a graveyard, sitting on a gravestone. Wind through trees. A look on a vampire's face, a look on anyone's face. The wind threw my open window. Looking in a mirror and seeing no one behind me. A moment of silence. A moment of sadness. Blood. But I do forget, from time to time, more often as the years go by.

I wonder if it's the same for him?

I wonder what reminds him of me?

L.A. It's a big place, I remember, and after Sunnydale, it seems enormous. Giles gets lost on the way to 'Angel Investigations, Hope For The Hopeless.' When we find it, it's a four storey appartment block that's been transformered into both a living and working environment. It's a plain building. It looks empty, bt it's morning, daylight. He won't be up.

Riley puts his arm around my waist as we step out of the car. More, I suspect for his benefit, than mine. He's unsure what will happen. He's heard the stories, the poetic tale of a Slayer in love with a tortured vampire. You can't blame him for feeling a little hesitant to meet Angel.

But, this is business. Death, destruction, end of the world. Just business as usual, for us. I wonder what business as usual means for them, our old friends.

The steps are too many and too few, and then I am at the door. I knock. No one answers. I knock again and Xander shrugs at me. I turn the handle and the door creaks open. One cautious step takes me into a silent building. I walk forward, boldly, and the others follow. Giles, Xander, Riley, Anya, Amy.

The corridor's dark, too dark. It leads to a openish space with an elevator, a rather pathetic potted plant, and a closed door. Riley smiles at me and again I think I love him. He's putting aside his own doubts to focus on mine. Everyone here has doubts. Xander's seeing both his ex and his oldest friend and greatest love. Anya has the same doubts. Giles is seeing his protege, or proteges, for Willow was like a daughter to him at times. Even Amy is meeting an old friend.

And then there is Angel.


He means so many things to all of us. Lover, tratior, friend, competition, shadowy ghost. So many emotions.

But a job. Business. It's just business. It would have been, if not for *her.*

- - -

Someone's laughing. I know it's him. I've never heard him laugh like that, but I know it is him.

They're all there, all of them. They are laughing, he is laughing. A full, happy laugh, full of freedom and a child-like joy I never saw in him before. It's strange. He never laughed in Sunnydale.

He's on the sofa with some woman. Soem strange woman. She's pretty, slight, yet strong looking, mousy brown hair and a low laugh. She's lying across the sofa, her head in his lap.

Cordelia's in a chair with a strange man I've never seen. I feel for Xander as I look at them. Faith and Wesley share the second sofa, both of them smiling, happier than I've seen them before. I didn't know Faith stayed with them.

In the corner a rocking chair holds my oldest friend. Her hair's longer, her clothes are. . . different. She looks more tired, but somehow content. The chair rocks on it's own, and she is the one who first sees me.

"Buffy." There is no suprise in her voice. It's wishful. Like she knew we were coming. The other look up, except him. He looks down, his back still towards me. I want to see his face. Happy, sad, angry, afraid, uncaring, I want to know his face the second he heard my name.

But he's facing away from me, so I can't know. I never will.