"Immortal Beloved XXXVIII..."

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: I just had to, the spirit moves you sometimes...Must be Cicely's ghost pushing to get her name cleared...

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She stood in his apartment doorway, looking rather wan...

And somewhat nervous...

"Buffy?..." William stared at her...Hey...she waved...

Ummn...May I...?

Sure, sure...he waved her in...

"Nice place..." she looked around... "You and Angel and the others making out well?..."

"The remnants of Wolfram-Hart allowed us to make a reasonably decent start...Our new firm's getting by..." he nodded... "Things well in Europe and the Slayer world...?"

Good...she nodded...And wandered over to his fireplace, looking at the flames...Then him...

"William, I'm sorry I wasn't here when you and Angel..."

"No problem..." He waved a hand... "We didn't call you...Didn't expect you...Don't worry about it..."

"Angel very mad at me?..."

"Only over that 'no one in our organization trusts you now' remark Andrew made when he came by to pick up your psychotic Slayer...How is she by the by?..."

Psychotic...Buffy shook her head... "We've got her locked up somewhere safe...The New Council's tryin' to treat her..."

She looked at him a long moment... "I'm sorry I didn't call when Andy came back...Your hands...?"

Fine...he shrugged...

"You came to Rome?..." she looked at him... "Why didn't you stick around?..."

"And meet the Immortal..." he finished, smiling... "No, thanks..." He stared at her, she moving round the room, finally stopping to look at him...

"I've missed you, William...Wish you'd called me..."

"It was best this way, Buffy..." he replied...Oh?...she looked at him... "So you decided I wasn't worth bothering about anymore...?"



"Sweetheart...I will always be 'bothered' about you...But I didn't see much sense in beating my head against a wall..."

She frowned a bit...

"Maybe if you'd..."

"Maybe..." he nodded... "But, when I materialized in LA...I thought for sure it was Willow...I looked for you all round the room, waited for days expecting you to come through the doors of Wolfram-Hart...Then, when I corporealized...Same thing..."

But it wasn't Willow...And you weren't there...

"And when Andy went back, though I told him not to tell you I was back...In that hospital, I kept...Every woman who walked by my room..." he paused...She staring...

But, I understand...And I should've called myself...

"Besides..." he began... "It led to me figuring something out...And to..."

"It wasn't that I didn't care..." she interrupted... "I just thought...You were gone...At peace..."

Problem...Solved...he smiled wanly...It's ok...Really...

He grinned at her frowning face, sighing...So...

"The Immortal's gone and dumped you, hasn't he, girl?..."

Ummn...She blinked...Uh...

"Not...exactly..." she began...Then suddenly sat down, looking ready to cry...Yeah...she sighed...

"Said he wasn't the one-woman-man type...Though it'd been fun...Sorry...Ciao..." she frowned...

But I did want to see you in any case, William...she brightened...

"I see..."

"You look good..."

"As do you, Summers...But I'm forgetting my manners...Can I get you some tea?..."

Ummn...Sure...she nodded...Eyeing him as he went to fetch cups and started a flame under the teapot on his stove...

"You seein' anybody these days?...Human or vamp with a soul?..." she asked...

No...he came back into the room...No one...

"I am thinking of what Angel and I could do to help poor Dru...Whether we should try the curse or just stake the poor kid, but no...There's no one...On Earth..." he smiled...

But...he began again...She cutting him off...No one, eh?...A faint smile...

"Well...Always you, Summers...But that's more in the realm of romantic fantasy..."

"It doesn't have to be, Will..." she looked at him... "We never did see where things might go..."

Ummn...Buffy...



"Don't take this the wrong way...But...No, thanks..." she stared at him... "When I say 'romantic fantasy'...I mean...I have a dream Buffy...My perfect Buffy...The Buffy I was seeking when I took up with you...A Buffy who loved me, saved me from my torment, and would die with or for me...But that's a fantasy, however pleasant..."

And I'm not saying that to hurt you, girl...he looked at her crestfallen face... "You did come close as one could at times...When you believed in me...And saved me from the First...But..."

"I've come to think...Really, to know...It's the Slayer I was searching for all those lost years...The Slayer who would save me..."

"I did...In a way..."

"Yes, you did...But you aren't the One I was seeking Buffy...And I'm not the One for you, Buffy...If I were, you'd have been there in LA...Or at least come when Andrew told you...And nice as it would be to take up with you again...I can't be your stand-in guy until you meet the love of your life...Much as Spike would have jumped at the chance, William can't do it..."

"Besides..." he paused, smiling... "The One I've been seeking really does exist...Just not here...See..."

What I told you, about the Slayer's death wish that night in the bar, was not quite true...They did let themselves be killed by me, yes...But it wasn't for the reason I thought...In fact...

"I was the one with the death wish...And they...Well...Poor girls...Like you...Carried a terrible burden...Besides being the Slayer, I mean..."

I sought out the Slayers because something in me, buried under piles of excrement, was still alive in me, wanted to free myself and hoped the Slayer would do it...Including you, Summers...But they couldn't, because of her...The memories of her they carried in them...Though fortunately, your survival instinct was stronger than the memories pulling at you...The memories of the Slayer I loved and lost...And who gave me up to save me...Cicely...

"The girl who didn't like your poetry?..." she stared... "A Slayer?..."

"The girl who loved me so much, in the brief time we knew each other, that she couldn't bear to see me die...And knew I would if she kept me...So, she drove me off in the harshest way she could..."

She couldn't know Dru was waiting for me...

"For a hundred years, she's been calling to me, through the fragments of her memories buried in Slayers...Knowing I'd be seeking them out, seeking her in them...But sadly, those fragments were all it took to kill those poor girls...They felt Cicely in them and couldn't kill me..."

While I felt her in them...And you...he eyed her...

"And she's waiting for me, my Cicely...For the day when I come home to her..."

Not that, like Angel, I feel this great need to redeem myself...I was and am an innocent victim...Though I would like to help anyone who suffered and is suffering because of Spike...And do what I can to help free the Slayers from their burden...

"It's what separated Cicely and me and killed her in the end, after all..."

"You don't love me?...You never loved me?..."

"I was in love with the memory of a dead girl, Buffy...You carry her memories, so I loved you...Of course there was a lot about you to love as well..."

"I see..." she looked at her hands...Tea's ready...He got up...Returning a few moments later...

"Buffy..." he paused after pouring two cups, handing her hers, and setting the pot down... "You'll find someone...You're a wonderful girl, if a bit young yet..."



But I can't keep you happy til you find him...he eyed her... "That doesn't mean I don't appreciate what you gave me and what we had...Just...I'm almost fully William again...All but the body...And a Victorian romantic prefers to find his romance in a long-term relationship...Which, in fact..." he beamed... "I have..."

And we are friends, I hope...he smiled at her...

Yeah...Sure...she sighed...Rubbing hands... "William?...If there's a lot of Cicely in me?..."

"I said I'd figured things out...That I knew she was waiting for me Buffy...I don't mean just that I guessed it...I'm the practical sort of romantic, thanks to Spike...I've done seances, courtesy Spike's and the remnants of Wolfram-Hart's occult materials and reached her...She's told me, Buffy..."

So...Sorry, kiddo...William is taken...

She set her cup down and rose suddenly...Sorry to bother you...she mumbled...

"Buffy..." he rose in turn... "I don't mean to hurt you..." No...she shook her head...It was my fault...I should've let things be...

"I was too much of a coward to try before...Much as I loved you..." she sighed... "And now it's too late..." she paused, standing at the door...

"I do want you to know I meant what I said that day...And more...I know no one will ever love me the way you and your demon did..."

Tell Cicely she's lucky...she smiled wanly... "And if she ever wants to borrow a human body to surprise you on your birthday or something..."

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