"Immortal Beloved XXXVII..."

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, but I got asked...From a suggestion by reader Jeremy Schiff...

***

LA...New offices of Angel, Burkle, Gunn, and Walthrop...LA's most unique legal/investigative team...Two weeks after the defeat of the Senior Partners...Late night...

"The Slayer never loved you, William...For her, being with you was simply degrading...A memory to be banished as quick as possible..."

He eyed her coolly as she spoke, a hard tone in her voice...Angel in turn eyeing him... "Buffy..." he tried...Quiet...she hissed...Pressing the stake she held against his chest tighter... "I'll tell you when to speak, Angel..."

"I don't quite accept that, girl..." Will replied calmly... "I felt caring there...And when I came back..."

"Simple gratitude...You were owed big time for your helpin' during the depression year...And you were needed to fight...Remember?...It was 'I need Spike'...Not 'I need, I love William'...You're getting a soul, however much you may now appreciate it...If you do...Was a waste of effort from the pov of winning Buffy's love..."

He shook his head... "I remember... 'I'm not ready for you not to be here'..." he began...She waved a hand...Please... "You were needed, as I said...Soldier..."

And lets not forget the feeblest 'I love you' ever mouthed...she grinned coldly...Shifting an arm as Angel gave a slight groan...Quiet, she hissed...

"You didn't come to Rome 'cause you knew it was a lie...Kind enough meant...But a lie...And that you'd be as welcome there as horse manure..."

"I was afraid..." he nodded... "But afraid it would be taken back...I knew by then, for that one brief moment...It was true...And I couldn't bear to give that moment up, let the words be taken..." he hesitated...Not looking at her as she grinned...

"...Taken back..." she finished... "Exactly..."

"And didn't your loving Slayer do her damnest for you?...Staying with you to the end, making Willow resurrect or at least contact your soul by seance...Being right there the moment you materialized at Wolfram-Hart...Yeah..." she chuckled... "What loving support..."

"And even after Andrew spilled his guts...Well, hey..." she waved a hand... "Pity you got your hands cut off, trying to save our dear nutty Dana, but the Slayer had a date...A real looker with cash on hand, a string of nice estates, and all the power necessary to impress a girl from the burbs...No time to bother with some ole souled vampire ex-..."

Soil herself trying to comfort him?...Please...she laughed...A real Cathy, that Slayer of yours, Heathcliff... "You know... 'It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff'...?"

"And Heathcliff loved her...Even after death..." William nodded...

"You were nothing to the Slayer in 2004...Just as you were nothing to her in 1880..." she eyed him as he stared... "Yeah, remember William?... 'You're beneath me, William...'?..."

Yeah...she smiled at his startled face... "I'd've thought you'd gotten it sooner...Cicely was a Slayer...And her memories went to the next Slayers...And Buffy..."

Sorry to tell you, kiddo...You didn't beat those Slayers cause you were better...Or even cause of that 'death wish' thing you mentioned that night in the bar...

"They had Cicely's memories of you...And her shame when she'd learned what happened to you...And failed to find and destroy you after causing your death...Seeing you and holding that memory...Those poor girls couldn't bring themselves to kill you...Just as Buffy couldn't...For a while..."

Till she finally found an excuse and someone to do it for her...

"You were better off with the First, Will...She at least pretended to be nice to you at times..." she grinned...As he looked away, trembling...Cicely?...All these years...

"If they couldn't kill me..." he began... "She must have..."

"Sympathy, William...Don't!!..." she snarled at Angel...Who'd attempted a sudden move...She tightened her clutch round his wounded body...The stake in her other hand pressing hard... "And don't move a step, Will...If you don't want your limp-haired bloody stupid partner here to bite the big one..."

She calmed as he made peaceful gestures...No one's gonna try anything, girl...he noted...

"I'm the one the love came from, Will..." she said proudly... "Anything you felt from them came from me...The one who's always loved you...From the moment I saw you through their eyes..."

Well...she gave a sheepish grin as he stared...Almost from the moment...It takes time for a demon to fall in love...

"Anne..." Will addressed her coolly... "What happened in Rome?...How did..."

The Immortal found Buffy's behavior...Unacceptable...she chuckled...

"It seems she still felt a little residual guilt over you...And was going to leave to come here and help you all out...He was a bit...Put out..."

Poor kid...She'd gotten a leetle too used to trusting vamps...And this one knew her modus operandi pretty well...Made sure none of the little Scoobies was in CPR or magics range...Gave her the patented Angelus technique...All the sympathy and compassion in the world "I understand dear Buffy...Naturally you still feel for this William"...Such a gent to tolerate dumpin' so well...But the truth was...

"No one does that to His Benevolence..." she sneered..."But hey, we're even...I took care of him soon as I transformed...Don't worry your sweet blonde head over him..." she smiled pleasantly...

"And now the part of Buffy...And Cicely...Who really loves you, William...Is free...I, Anne, demon of the Slayer..." she took demon-face... "You know..." she reverted as he eyed her carefully...Looking for any opening... "I was gonna kill Dawn and my old gang for the way they treated you...Sorta a present for you...But I realized, with that sweet lil' poet's soul of yours back it'd be much better to use them as hostages...Long with bastard boy here...The one who nearly let you slide into Hell without saying a word to Buffy...To me..." she glared at Angel...Then suddenly, smiled gently at Will...

Sweet guy that you are William...she beamed... "I knew my best chance to get you to come round was to leave em alive...That you'd hear me out if their lives were in danger..."

Not if I stake you, they're not...he noted...She grinned...That's my honey...

"You can try...But the bloody stupid Brooding One will be ashes by the time you reach me...And I will be outta here and on my way to Rome or wherever the Council tries to hide the guys from me before you can say 'William Soames Walthrop'..."

See?...Cicely was in me...she smiled...Then frowned... "Buffy sure as hell never bothered to find out who you were..."

"And if I go with you...You'll let Angel go, spare the others?..." Absobloominglutely...she nodded...

"I won't be Spike again..." he noted... "Even if it means the others die, I can't let that happen..."

"I don't want Spike..." she frowned... "I want you..."

I want the prettiest, sparkliest soul I ever saw...she nodded...The soul that won Cicely and me in 1880...

"Cicely?..." Yeah, she sighed... "Didn't mean to let that slip out..." a frown... "Cicely loved you...But, she was a Slayer...With a mission..."

Sound familiar?...she grinned...

She thought if she drove you away, you'd be safe...Hah!...But, hey I tried to warn her...Stupid fool should've sensed Dru's presence in the area...

"But I'm here...And all of Cicely and Buffy that loved you...Really loved you...Lives in me...Anne..."

He stared at her...C'mon...she shrugged, maintaining a tight hold on Angel... "I'm all that left of them and I promise I won't kill anyone so long as you stay with me...And maybe, in time, you can persuade me to go to Africa for love of you after you convince me you can never love so foul a fiend..."

Though no reason we can't have a little fun in the meantime...After all, all of Buffy's best ideas in the crypt?...All mine she grinned...

Hmmn...He pondered...Angel staring at him from her vise grip...

I suppose...In the interests of saving so many...I could make such a sacrifice...

"I suppose my Buf would want me to do what I could to save the others..."

Oh, yeah...Definitely...Buffy...And Cicely...Are 100% with this...Anne nodded...

"Just wishing they'd thought of it before, actually..."

***

"Say...Wait a minute..." he glared at her as she stepped out into the sunlight as they stood waiting for a cab at the building entrance...

Oops...Buffy grinned...Looking sheepish...

***