"Immortal Beloved XXX..."

A shortie

PG-13

Spoilers for Angel to "The Girl in Question..." However everything here except the reference to the episode's enemy is my own playin' round...

Disclaimer: Everything but the 'Soames Walthrop' and I don't use it here is Joss' and ME's

Summary: Ok, last one...Thirty being a nice, round number...I swear...Yet another retelling of events during or after the Angel episode "Girl in Question..."

***

London...A small bookstore...2014...

The thirty-something blonde had been nervously poking through the shelves on History, Religion, the Occult, Cooking (God, how he'd hated having to put that in, but it drew the trade), and Poetry for over an hour before he finally gave up, sighed, rose from his desk, and went to her...

"Hello Buffy..." he eyed her...She smiling at him...William...

"How'd you know it was me?...I figured I'd changed a bit since..."

"You never change, girl..." he said it without a hint of a smile...She stared at him...Her smile freezing a bit...

"But you do..." she nodded, looking away a bit...Then back at him...In his suit, brown-blonde hair, glasses...Spike still in him somewhere, but...

I suppose...he eyed her coolly...

"I wanted to write...Call..." she began...Hmm-hmmn...he nodded, waving her to a small table with chairs on the left side of the store...

"Before or after...?"

She tensed visibly...

"I didn't know about the thing in LA..." she hissed... "Before that I thought you didn't want to..."

"I was afraid...Probably stupid...But you know me, I wanted to hang on to my dreams..." he sighed a bit... "Running over to see you, hearing you make some kind dodge...I couldn't bear it..."

I see...she reddened a bit...

"Well...I was stupid as I said...I should've called...We should've had a nice lil' chat and wished each other well...But you know me..."

Hey!...That's a first-edition, mate!...he called to a customer mishandling an ancient-looking volume...And waving a young clerk over to deal...God, some people...he turned back to her...No consideration...No respect for...

"Why are you angry with me?..." she looked at him directly...Biting a lip...

"Sorry...I can't be polite about it, girl...I lost too much blood over you...And while we're unfortunately stuck on the subject...Why didn't you call or write?...And why are you here?..."

"I told you..." she frowned... "I thought you didn't want me..." she paused... "To try and start things up again, I mean..."

Ah...Well, probably a wise decision on your part...he nodded...But the rest of the question?...

"I wanted to see you...I've wanted to...A long time...But after LA...And poor Angel...I..."

Figured you must hate me...she eyed him...Oh?...he regarded her, arms folded...Pushing up his glasses to see her more clearly...

"Cause I wasn't there..."

"We didn't call you...We didn't expect you...No problem..." he waved a hand...

So...You do hate me...she stared...

"No..." he gave an irritated look... "You've no cause to be hated...But I am angry about a lot of things...Not all to do with you or us directly..."

I'd like to kill your dear ole Giles for example...he smiled...For the way he treated Angel when we needed help for poor ole Winifred...

"But I don't hate you..."

"I'm sorry about Ms. Burkle...And I'm sorry about Angel..."

"He fought the good fight...He's at peace...I like to think he's back with ole Darla's soul and his boy's...Safe in Heaven..."

Course I'd guess he and Darla still do the knock-down, drag-out enough...But he's bout as happy as a Brooding One could ever be...

"I'm glad you became friends..."

"We were...For most of our existences...Just a few rough patches after he got the soul and we met you..." he smiled a bit now...

She returning the smile, clearly relieved, as he thawed a bit...

"So...Why here?...Why now?..." he eyed her...

"I wanted to see you...Isn't that a good enough reason?..."

Not after ten plus years, girl...he shook his brown-haired head...

"I didn't have the nerve before...And I don't think I'd quite..."

Baked?...he grinned...Yeah, Angel used to repeat that speech to me constantly...He thought of it as rather profound...Oh?...she beamed...

"But then he thought 'Star Wars' was profound..."

She stared at him a long moment...He at her...

"I...Am I looking a lot older?..." she asked...

I told you, Buffy...You don't change...At least not for me...

She looked away...Trying to come to a rough spot, he realized...And, as she so often had with emotional situations...Backing away...

The girl who could face down the First and ten thousand demons...And who couldn't face one little emotional scene...Or the little man behind it...

"Humanity suits you, Will..." she tried a new subject...

"I won only by default...And it has its drawbacks...By the way, if you're here looking for Spike the soldier vamp to help out on a big one...Way too late..."

Though as always William would be at your...

"I know..." she nodded... "And I know you never married...Not even a serious relationship?..."

I shag occasionally...he grinned...But no, no one really...How could there be?...

"I never married either...Or stuck with any one..."

Poor Immortal...he grinned... I did enjoy reading about that break-up...

Read?...she blinked...

Sure...There was a side bar in "People"...After all, The Immortal was world-famous...As you would've been if it had been safe for you...he gallantly and hastily added...

"He was a liar and a perv...Not like us in the crypt fun perv, either..." she smiled wanly at him... But as he never killed anyone while I knew him, I let him off easy...A look towards some books on Religion...Her eyes moved to Poetry...Is your stuff here?...she asked...

Please...he smiled again...I have a business to keep afloat...My stuff would sink us in ten minutes...

"Though there was this one time in LA...I read my stuff...And they didn't hoot me out of the place...It was just before..."

Yeah...she nodded...

"I read them...Your poem, Cicely..." he eyed her...She stared at him...

"Willow called..." he nodded... "Told me what you'd found in the Council archives...She was sure you were coming..."

A few years too late but...

"Of course, I think I'd always known it was you...Too many coincidences in our relations..."

"I didn't know til then...I swear William..." she put a hand out to him...Which he stared at coolly a moment...She pulling it back with a sigh...

"You were Slayer then too, right?...And I was right, the memories I mean...You and I did have more going on then than that one bad poetry session..."

"I...I've only started to piece it together...Willow helped me...I think we were lovers then..."

"And then that night you broke me and sent me away...Why?...To save little me from the baddies...?"

I don't know...Something like that I think...she looked at her watch, then a row of books...

But I know...We were in love then...I was in love then...And...

"Star-crossed..." he grinned... "Well, it was a long time ago, Cics..."

"You don't think I meant it...?"

"1880?...Or 2004?...You gotta be more specific, girl..."

"Both..."

"I want to believe you did...For the moment..."

"It was more than a moment...Both times..."

Hmmn...Well...Great...he nodded...Thanks...

"You don't believe..."

"I just said I wanted to...But if you want me to say...I forgive you....Fine..."

It's all past and done...Water under the bridge...Your books are clear...

"Your kick in the ass got me the soul back, you saved me from the First...We're ok..."

No apologies required...

"You said you were angry..."

Yeah...Well...I would've liked to have seen your face staring at me when I reappeared in Angel's office...Big improvement over what I did see...

"And to see you at the last round-up...Probably would've made Angel's day too..."

I wanted to come and see you...she tried...But...

I understand...he nodded...

"Don't say I like it...But I understand...And I didn't take my move..."

And if...she paused... If I had meant it...

Enough...he put a hand... "Don't..."

Will?...she stared at him...

"I can bear many things, even as a weak little human boy again...But not that...Don't Buffy..."

"You don't want to believe me..."

"I don't want to go through this again...I'm a good man, Ms. Summers...I don't have to suffer like this...I don't deserve it..."

It took a long time for me to realize that...I don't deserve to suffer like that...he eyed her coldly...Whatever my demon did...

And I won't...

"Even if..."

"You come here, now...What happened, girl, bad break-up with your latest?...Oh, right...The Cicely thing...Well, can the guilts...I said you were free and clear..."

"I should have come...I know I should have...But Spike, you could have...I..."

"My name is William...Spike is in Hell...Both the place where the demons dwell and within my own subconscious...If you want him...As I said, you're way..." he paused, seeing the tears...

"Don't do this to yourself...and me, Buf...Leave it be, let it rest..."

"I love you..."

"Fine, your usual refusal to listen to a word I say...Ok, you started it...Why?..."

She blinked... "Because I had to come and..." No...he shook his head...

Why do you love me?...If you do...

"I dunno..." she eyed him...He grinning in spite of himself...As she smiled...Well...The right answer, he nodded... "I would say the same thing..."

"If you still loved me..." she finished... "But..."

No...He looked her in the eye... "I will always love you...I can't help that...But..." he paused...

"I can make it better..." she tried... "I can..."

"Really?...Well, Buffy...You were always the tough love type...In 1880, you cut me to pieces to 'save' me...In 2003 and 4 it was... 'show me you have a soul'...And leaving me to find my way alone...Without ..."

I needed your love Buf...I didn't get it...Not that I deserved it...But...Who deserves the love they get?...And then, when I returned...

"I...I had to get through things...I thought you were better off...But later I did...I did, William..."

Yes...he nodded...You did save me from the First and gave me a chance to be a hero...And...

"If you'd only believed me..."

"I said I did...But it didn't bring us together...And you can't deny part of why you kept away, after you knew about me...Was because you weren't anxious to have me remind you of it..."

"It was the other way round..." she looked at him... "I thought, back then and just after, when I said it...That it was a kind lie...Or rather, that I felt it but not what you really wanted..."

It wasn't till later...As time went on...I realized...she rubbed her forehead...

"I wasn't being kind..."

He sighed...Then frowned...

"Well...fine...You say you love me...Prove it..."

She blinked at him...

"You made me prove it...Angel and poor ole Riley too...So now's your turn, girl...I've chased you a century...Now, if you really care, you chase me...You prove it to me..."

Then...We'll talk...He eyed her firmly...

"How..." she stared... "What do I hafta do?..."

You'll find a way...You always do, right?...he noted...

***

He didn't believe it...At Sunnydale...Or the other day...she noted...The dark, handsome man next to her at the bar listening carefully, scanning her face cautiously...

But then...she nodded... I'd done nothing to prove it...To earn it...As he did...

"Less you count reincarnation...But that could be coincidence...At least to his way of thinkin'..."

But, now...

"If you'll help me..." she eyed the man...

"How do I know this is on the level, Slayer...You want me to transform you?...How will that..."

He'll come after me...Save me...He will, I know him...

"If it takes him all his life, he'll find my demon, and save me..."

"If he's a mere human now...And you're already the greatest Slayer...He might not be up to the job..." the vampire beside her noted...

Clearly too sensible a fellow to jump at the first offer made to him...

"Don't matter...If he fails...If my demon kills him...We'll be together in Heaven...And our demons together on Earth...And he'll know, at last..."

"Well, much as I'd like to help you, of course, Slayer...I find your offer hard to accept...You do know you'd probably kill everyone you cared about..."

If my friends can't defend themselves by now...she noted...Then whenever I do die, they're dead anyhow...And being willing to put them all at risk...For his sake...Is part of how I prove it to him...

"Either help me...And win bragging rights for the rest of your existence as the vamp who took Buffy Summers down...Or dust right now...And let me try the next guy..." she eyed him...

Well, I am a fool for love...the vamp noted...Offering an arm as he rose...

***