"Immortal Beloved...III..."



A bit longer this time...

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: Yet another view of the upcoming Wednesday rendezvous...



Obviously, I'm havin' fun with this...

***

Rome...May 5th, 2004...

Non dimenticar...
Play
Non dimenticar means don`t forget you are my darling
Don`t forget to be
All you mean to me
Non dimenticar my love is like a star, my darling
Shining bright and clear
Just because you`re here
Please do not forget that our lips have met
And I`ve held you tight, dear
Was it dreams ago my heart felt this glow?
Or only just tonight, dear?
Non dimenticar although you travel far, my darling
It`s my heart you own, so I`ll wait alone
Non dimenticar
Se ci separ, se ci allontan
L`ala del destino
Non ne ho colpa, no, e mi sentiro sempre a te vicino
Non dimenticar although you travel far, my darling
It`s my heart you own, so I`ll wait alone
Non dimenticar


***

"Angel?...William?..." Buffy stared at the boys standing in the doorway of her apartment...

"Buffy..." Will stared at her... "Hello, Buffy..." Angel nodded...

"What the hell?..." Surprise in her voice, but somewhat to William's repressed dismay, not the shock he'd half-expected...

Nor the joy...Somewhere inside he'd hoped for...

"Buffy...Andrew called us...Said you'd been targeted by..." William began...

"Buffy?..." a distinguished, accented voice...Of a tall, handsome, young-but-immensely-experienced man who now entered the room from an adjoining one...

"Angelus..." the man gasped...

"Henri..." Buffy turned to him... "This is..."

"Buffy...That is your assassin..." Angel glared at the man... "Henri Faucomb d'Vestigy...Otherwise known as..."

"The Immortal...Yeah, yeah..." she waved a hand... "I know all about it...But Andrew's got it wrong...Henri hasn't been stalking me..."

Well...She grinned...Not stalking me to kill me anyway...

"William?...Please stop choking my fiancee..." she glared at the William now bent over the thrown-to-the-ground Henri...Gasping under his grip...

Fiancee...? William blinked...

Fiancee...? Angel sighed...Not quite so surprised...



Fiancee...Buffy nodded...

"Human-souled fiancee I should add...Which I'm sure you can confirm if you look him over..."

For love of me...she beamed...As Will glared at the worthless little copycat of a French fop vamp beneath him...

"Fellas...May I present...Let him up, William!...Count Henri Faucomb d'Vestigy, last surviving member of the d'Vestigy family...The oldest living human hybrid vampire...Formerly known as 'the Immortal'...Newly human souled..."

And newly restored to his ancestral estates...With the help of phony documents provided by my Council...she smiled at the slowly recovering...If you would please, Monsieur Walthrop?...He took Will's remaining hand off his throat...Henri...

"And my latest..." Buffy beamed...

What?...She stared at the boys' somewhat clouded faces...

"Oh, right...I was supposed to wait and hope you'd transcend the grave again, William?...I thought we'd settled that we didn't really have a future...Nice as all you did for me was...And grateful as I am..." she nodded...

And as for you...She eyed Angel...

Darla...Sex...Connor...No helping Dawn when I croaked?...

"I think that about says it all..."

"Buffy...You can't trust this one..." William tried...

"William...He loves me...And I helped him win his soul back in Africa..."

By the way thanks for confirming the existence of that demon god...she nodded...

Helped him?...William stared...

"You helped him get his soul back?..."

"Well..." she shrugged... "It was really kinda for you...And you, Angel..."

I felt kinda bad after Will fried...And when Henri showed up...And was so remorseful after his long existence...After I whipped his Immortal butt of course...she noted...And begged me for help...

And told you about his potential inheritance...Angel thought...The last possible claimant to the d'Vestigy estates...

"I thought of you, Will...And what could I do?...I just couldn't say no...I had to take an active role..." she gave a firm, dutiful look...

But...He stared at her...

"You mean if I had called you..."

"Well...No...Not really...Like I said, Will...We'd agreed you and I weren't going places...And actually Willow'd kinda learned you might be in LA as a ghost or somethin'..."

Dawn had her try to reach you by seance...That romantic lil' sis of mine...

"Course I hoped she would too...And was I disappointed when it didn't reach you...Yeah..." she nodded...



But life goes on, ya know?...

"Indeed..." Henri smiled...

Shut up...The boys glared at him...Ummn...He sat down...

"Willow did trace your mystic aura to LA...Told me you must be incorporeal...So I figured that was that..."

"I was nearly dragged to Hell, Buffy..." Will stared at her... "Why didn't you ask Willow to do something to help me?..."

Figured you were just gonna stay a ghost...she shrugged...Willow and Giles said there wasn't anything to do for ya...

Pretty much their usual answer...Angel thought coldly...

To me, to William, to that poor Amy...Our poor Fred...

"Then Henri came...To kill me at first, sure...But then...To bring joy back to my life..." she beamed at him...He smiling back...

"Since when did you suddenly decide to turn to the Light, d'Vestigy?..." William coldly turned to him... "Last I heard your favorite past-time was eating young children..."

"For centuries, young Walthrop...Mon coeur has been...How do you say?...Troubled..." Henri began, eagerly taking the opening... "When I met dear Buffy, I was at a cross (heh-ha...he chuckled at his bon mot)-roads...Her compassion and self-sacrifice won me back to the Light as it did you..."

As for the rest, what can I say?...Right time, right place...he grinned...

Grrr...Will moved on the perfumed little French sack of...

"William..." Buffy took defensive posture... "Enough...I appreciate all you did for me...I hope you're grateful for what I did for you..."

Beat me senseless when I tried to help you without a soul...Left me to die with a soul...Well, you did save me that other time...And it is true about what we agreed...

"Great..." he sighed... "Congrats and all that...Angel?...Lets be on our merry..."

"Can't you stay to dinner?..." she asked... "Wait a minute..." she moved to him as he headed to the door...

"What?...And disturb you and 'Henri' in your billing and cooing?...Wouldn't think of it, lass...Lets call it a day as you suggested, shall we?..."

But...she paused...A pleading look...

Yeah?...

"There's some trouble brewing I wanted to talk to you and Angel about...You two really did come at just the right time..."

Trouble, huh?...He frowned at her...She nodded...Biting a lip...

"Why don't you and your new beau deal with that?...Angel and I have a demonic law firm to reform..."

"C'mon Will...For ole times sake..." she smiled...Then turned serious... "And to save the world..."



Oh, please...he sighed...

"Buffy...If there's one thing I've become convinced of over the past few with you...It's that the world is never going to end until God or Whoever runs things decides its time...Til then...Some idiot will come along and sacrifice him- or herself every time...Don't fret about it..."

C'mon Angel...He called...

"Aw...Wait...Henri..." she turned to him... "Would you give us five?...Alone...?"

But, of course...He rose...

Angel?...she turned to him...

Why not?...he shrugged...Following Henri to his door...

"So tell me, d'Vestigy...How did you get away from the Master and his boys?...That last time I saw you in Austria?..."

Wasn't easy...Henri grinned as they left...

"Will..." Buffy eyed him... "Now, you know I love..."

"Don't..." he put up a hand... "Leave it be, girl...Let me keep that one intact and go on pretending it meant something..."

Hey...she glared... "It did mean something..."

At the time...

Christ...He groaned...

"It...Does mean something..." she eyed him again...

He blinked as she came to him...Kissed him, hard...On the lips, embracing him...

God...William...I missed you...she breathed...

"Buffy..."

"I love you, Will..." she pulled him close, then down...

***

Ten minutes later...

Henri and Angel apparently happily engaged in the other room telling old 'war' stories...

Buffy, back on her feet, eyed Will with a Mona Lisa smile...She'd been to the Louvre just the previous month...He rose now...Adjusting...Things...

"Does this...?...Are you saying?..." he stared at her...What?...She stared...

"Oh...No, I'm still marrying Henri...He's nice and I need the security..."

For Dawn and all...she explained...



"But...No reason we can't see each other once in a while..." she smiled...Unless...

Say...Will?...

"Just how well are you and Angel doing at W-H?..."

"Angel!!..." he called...Angel came out, Henri following...

Time to go...He eyed Buffy coldly...She a bit nonplused...

Gee...Spike would've seen the practical benefits of such an arrangement...Her look saying...

"Fine, then...Go..." she fumed... "I'm the Greatest Slayer of all Time and I certainly damned well don't need your help...Go on back to LA..."

"Well..." Henri dodged the obviously unpleasantly developing scene...So unFrench... "I shall leave you to say goodbye to your friends, my darling...Please meet me downstairs to greet our dinner guests in ten minutes, would you?..."

Sure...she nodded...

***

By the apartment elevator...

"So I guess this is good-bye..." she put out a hand... "Geesh...I don't see why you gotta act this way, William?..." Buffy stared at him...

Really?...he nodded coolly...Then I guess that about says it all...

Damn Italian elevators...she glared at the indicator light...They've been screwing up like this since we got here...Ah...The light flashed repeatedly...The doors whooshing open as she turned back to her ex-s...

"Now look guys...I expect you'll try to be a little more big about this..." she paused...

Wait, stop, come back...William muttered incoherently... "Buffy...?" Angel pleasantly called... "You really should..."

"What?..." she frowned... "Look, guys...Move on...I did...And now I have my own life to..." she stepped into the elevator...

Ahhhhahhhh!....A scream, fading rapidly as if someone had just fallen down a non-functional elevator shaft...

Hmmn...Angel looked at the open, empty shaft where Buffy had just plunged...Presumably in the absence of her life-saving gang...To her third death...

William looking as well...Perhaps with less shock than might have been expected...Though to his credit he had made a reasonably quick attempt at a last grab...A tad too slow perhaps...

But as with Buffy's love declaration...It's the thought that counts...Which Angel noted as he pulled a tottering Will back...

In any case a bit more determined an effort than Angel's faint sweep...

Though in fairness, Angel had been far away...Perhaps spiritually as well as physically...

The boys stood looking down... "Buffy?..." Angel called, punching the Italian version of 911 on his cell phone...



"There has been a tragic accident..." he informed the operator in Italian...

"I suppose..." Will sighed... "I should have stopped her..." Nah...Angel shook his head... "You heard her, she'd moved on...Didn't need us anymore..."

"Always a straight-ahead, forward-looking girl, that Buffy..." he noted...Pity she never learned to read Italian in high school...He indicated a sign on the elevator...

Say?...Will eyed him... "You speak and read Italian...Why didn't you say something?..."

She seemed to know the elevators were out-of-order...Angel shrugged... "I just assumed she knew the elevator had been returned to the shaft..."

A cold rush of wind...Buffy's glowing...And glowering...Spirit...Faced them...

Jerks...she frowned...What was the big idea?...

"Do you feel something, Will?...As if a powerful, angry spirit were opposed to us?..."

"Now that you mention it..."

You two bastards let me fall?!...William, how could you?...she fumed...

"Could it be Buffy?...So soon?..." Will asked Angel...Hmmn...

C'mon you clowns, you can hear me...I know you can...she glared...This was really childish, guys...

"Judging by the cold and wind...I'd say it was a very angry spirit...I can't see that Buffy would have call to be angry...With us..." Angel noted...

Especially after you tried to catch her...he patted William...

He did?...Oh, Will...she beamed a mo...Then back to rage...Well, ya coulda tried harder...Geesh...

"Anyway our Buf would surely have gone on to Heaven...It can't be her...Unless..." Angel paused...

Maybe she shot her bolt on the last death...

"Or..." he pondered... "Maybe there was some unresolved guilt...Something to be expunged..."

Guilt?...What guilt?...Buffy's ghost stared...She looked for the white light...Ok, Heaven, ope those pearlys...

Nothing...

Hey!...Lemme back in, you sobs...I'm the world-saving Slayer!!...

"Like maybe her telling you she loved you...and running off with ole Henri left a lil' nagging bit..."

What?...she stared...Ridiculous...

"Well, whatever it is...We oughta be on our way..." Will noted... "I'll drop a line to Willow to go check it out sometime..."

Hey!...Goddamnit!...I know you can hear me!!...she screamed...You jerks can't just leave me here...



They headed to the stairs and went down, Buffy's spirit dogging them to the front lobby door...

William!...Don't leave me!...she cried...

"I think I still feel it..." Angel noted...That cold chill...

"Like Buffy saying "It's over, William..." Will noted...

Jesus!!...When I reach Willow by seance!...You two are gonna fry!!!...Fry!!...

"It could be the First...We should warn Willow the First might be trying to take Buf's form again and persuade her to do mayhem..." William pondered... "I concur..." Angel nodded...

"Well..." he eyed the door... "If it is a spirit...It shouldn't be able to move past the door here...Lets head on and see if it follows..."

Aw, shit...Ow!...Damn barrier...She fumed...William!...Don't leave me!!...

"Gentlemen..." Henri called them back into the lobby... "Have you seen my fiancee?..."

"Ah...Henri, ole man..." Angel patted him sympathetically... "I'm afraid I have some bad news..."

Several TV news trucks pulled up, reporters emerging seeking news of the recent tragic accident...

Henri, help!...Hey!...she called to him as he stood, listening to Angel...

Don't you hear me?!...You overdressed, prissy little French...!!...

Will!...Please!!...she turned to him...Ummn...He wavered...

Buffy...

"Well, Will..." Angel had returned...The grieving Henri returning to his chambers...

"We'd best be..."

"I'll stay Angel..." Will sighed... "Call Willow and tell her what's happened..."

"You best get to LA...See if you can get Lindsey to talk about what he used with me..."

Oh, Will...A beaming Buffy spirit...

"You sure?..." Angel eyed him...

Of course he's sure, you bloody stupid jackass...she hissed...Get moving!...

Yeah..Will smiled sheepishly...

"I am..." His face hardening slightly... "And she better damned well be..."

Well, yeah...her spirit nodded vigorously...

***

After a promise to return asap with the necessary info, Angel strolled round the corner...Henri waiting for him in a dark doorway... "Angel?..."



Henri?..."

"Is everything?..." Sure...Angel nodded...Will's got her in hand...

Phew...Henri mopped his brow... "I was beginning to think you two would never appear...And that I might actually have to go through with this wedding..."

She being the Greatest Slayer, after all...

"It's bad enough having to suffer the torment of recovering my soul and experiencing the guilt of my crimes...To have had to marry that girl..." he shook his head...

Small prices to pay for getting your estates back...Angel noted...And the Council would never have helped a soulless beast like the Immortal...

"Buffy's human-souled fiancee on the other hand..."

Hmmn...Well...It will be nice to have the ole chateau and vineyards back...Henri nodded...Then eyed Angel...

"You aren't really going to leave the poor child like that?..."

"Willow will probably come up with something...And it was an accident...Not our original plan at all..."

I just planned to have you catch him and her at it...

No...Henri shook his head...Not her...

"I mean the boy...You can't leave him like that, with her..."

"He's happy...William's always been a romantic glutton for punishment..."

Poor fool...Henri sighed...

"Well, you know...She's not fundamentally a bad kid...Just not really grown-up yet...See..." Angel smiled a bit...

"She's cookie dough..." Henri waved a hand hastily...

"Yes, yes...Mon Dieu, I have heard that putrid speech from her a thousand times in the past month..." he sighed...

They looked back at the hotel, careful to maintain concealment from prying eyes...William barely visible by the lobby door...Talking rather animatedly to what appeared to be thin air...

Well, the boy does seem content...Henri noted...

"In any case, mon bon ami...Many thanks for your help..." he nodded to Angel...

"Wolfram-Hart, Inc is always ready to go the distance for a client, Henri...Especially when it involves his or her restoration to the Light..."

Angel gave a solemn look... "And making a relative...Of sorts..." he looked over to William... "More or less happy..."

Just remember we get ten percent of whatever your final vast inheritance turns out to be...he eyed his client firmly...

"But of course..." Henri sighed...



***

Damn bastard didn't even stop to check if my spirit stayed behind...incorporeal Buffy fumed to William...

"Well, Buf...You know only a French vampire would choose to call himself "THE Immortal"..." William noted...

Shhh...People are staring, honey...Incorporeal, remember?...she eyed him...Why don't we take this inside?...You can take a room and tell Dawn when she gets back that you felt ya oughta stay...

Which I know you would, Will...she beamed...Trying to take an arm...Hmmn...

Ok if I?...She put an arm through his...Literally...

Sure...He did his best to approximate a pat as they headed for the lobby desk...

Anyway...So tell me...Without attracting too much attention...How you guys are making out running LA's number one law firm?...

***