"Immortal Beloved XL..."

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', 'Buffy Rebecca', 'Anne', 'Nemesis', and my creative use of Cicely (in those cases where I use her) is Joss' and ME's...

Summary: Of course this is the last one...Remember the IB series 1-40 are separate retellings of events during and after the Angel "Girl in Question" episode...

From an interesting suggestion by Ms. Pamela Rimshaw...

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LA, an alleyway...The night of the final battle with the Senior Partners...

An alleyway down which the screaming remnants of the massed forces of Evil were retreating in panic...Not even pausing to mourn the loss of their beloved dragon...

Pursued by a horde of women of various shapes and sizes, not all young, with a number of rather over-dressed men in suits in their midst, trying valiantly to keep up with the ladies...And with a number of skinless-faced humanoids...Identical to the cyborgs who'd tried to capture Angel at one point...Dispersed throughout the mass, though generally keeping by the men in suits, looking to them periodically for instructions...

Near the front of the charging crowd...A short, twenty-something blonde...Very much the Leader, judging by the deference with which a number of the women...And men...Clustered about her treated her hastily cried orders...She paused when hailed by one tall brunette woman, about thirty in appearance... "Counselor General!..." And breathing hard, heard a hasty report by the equally winded messenger...

"The captives are being secured...Mr. Gunn's off to hospital..." the woman, one Brenda Maverly, spoke quickly, clearly anxious to rejoin her comrades in their battle...What little battle was left as several dozen more surviving demons put up their arms in posture of surrender...

"Gutless, worthless!..." the bald, little man...A death's head in appearance, now cornered in the rear of the alley, one Senior Partner Joseph, blocked from his escape portal by several dozen Slayers...Cried out at his treacherous, cowardly... "I surrender...!" he noted with hastily raised hands to the two Slayers now pulling stakes on him...

"Angel's safe with his son..." Brenda continued... "That blue demon...Ms. Burkle or whatever?...Is over with Ms. Rosenberg..."

"Where is he?..." Buffy hastily cut her off... "We don't know..." Brenda shook her head...A trace of sadness in her voice...

"Angel said...When he last saw..."

"I know what Angel said!...Find him!!..." the Counselor General snapped... "He's alive...Well..." she paused... "Yes..." she nodded decisively... "His soul is alive...He's alive...And I want him found!!..."

He's gotta be here...I know he is...And he's still with us...He has to be...she eyed Brenda...A faint note of despair creeping in...Yeah...Brenda nodded reassuringly... "He's ..."



"Ms. Summers!!..." one of the overdressed men called to her...She looked over to see the man, a Watcher, who'd called her, directing a couple of cyborgs carefully carrying...A body...

"Tell Amanda to take as many prisoners as she can...I want all surviving Senior Partners accounted for!..." Brenda nodded, heading off as the Counselor General raced over to the Watcher and his cyborg aides...The crowd now gathered about the body parted to let their commander through...Back off, all of you, she ordered...

William...she breathed, looking down at the blonde man beneath her on the ground...Who stirred a bit as she did so...The Watcher who'd found and brought him, now kneeling by him, gave a look up at her which turned into a gentle smile and nod...A strange tremor overcoming her a moment, she covered her eyes, then nodded back...William moving a bit more now, raising his head slightly...The Watcher nodding to the anxious-looking ring of Slayers, cyborgs, and a few fellow Watchers which had once again closed round...A collective sigh of relief, particularly among the Slayers in the group...

William...she lightly called to him... "William, I'm here..." Then frowned as he raised his head slightly...

"Hello, asshole..." she glared at the battered William...Who opened his eyes feebly...Buffy?...he groaned...One of the Slayers shone a light on him...She shrieked at the sight of his hideous injuries and was on her knees at his side in a moment...William?!...

"What the hell...?" he mumbled... "It's all right...It's me..." she stroked his hair... "Get Dr. Fauchon over here!!...Now!!!..." she screamed at one of the Slayers, more now crowding in...She turned back to him...The others?...he whispered...Angel?...

"Your bloody stupid poof of a boss is fine...Posing for a commemorative photo by the dragon's body with Connor...Kidding..." she waved a hand, grinning... "He's a bit battered but ok...Connor is with him, though...And he did ask us to keep the dragon around till he's well enough to stand for a picture..."

Gunn's on his way to the hospital...And Ms. Burkle...I mean, Illyria?...Is talking to Willow about resurrection spells...

Great...he wanly nodded...So...he tried to sit up...Down!...she harshly told him, forcing him back... "Our doctor will be here in a sec...If she would kindly move her butt!!..." she turned to another Slayer standing by...Who nodded and headed off...The doctor with the first Slayer sent, now glimpsed moving through the alleyway crowd of jubilant Slayers and numerous others...

The doctor reached them, a fortyish, attractive brunette...Who knelt to examine Will...And looked at her Slayer Commander... "Yeah, a vamp..." Buffy glared... "My vamp...How is he?..."

Oh...The doctor stared at him...William?...A faint smile...Yeah...Buffy nodded, frowning a bit at the doctor's lingering smile, then paled as one of the group about them cried out, pointing to a steadily growing pool of blood... "Where's that bleeding coming from?...Take care of him!!..." she cried...

And no handling more than medically necessary...she frowned as the doctor now warmly beamed at her patient...William...

Damned transfer of Slayer memories...the Slayer Counselor General grumbled aloud...Noting the anxious-looking Slayers clustered about as well...Some clearly letting themselves be carried away, teary-eyed, openly weeping, or seeking to reach him, pat the hand which she kept firmly in hers...

Wiping her tears away with her free hand...

Another groan...She glared as the doctor examined the writhing William......"Don't hurt him!!..."

Echoed by at least twenty watching Slayers...

"Enough, Ms. Summers...Let me do my job..." Dr. Fauchon gave a hard return glare...Physician-level...Hmmn...Buffy pulled back a bit...Nice one, doc...The doctor carefully pulled off his jacket...And gave a sudden gasp...Buffy blanching as she now saw the improvised tourniquet...And the wrist stump where his left hand had been...



Linea duty, doc...Nothin' unusual...he whispered, trying to give a grin...Buffy...He tried to raise his remaining hand to pat her, seeing her terrified face...As the doctor set to work...A Watcher came over, awaiting a chance to report...Ms. Summers?...he asked respectfully... "Talk to the Chairman!...I'm busy..." she waved a hand...

"There now, love...Nothing I haven't dealt with before...Though if a few of your people would take a looksee..." he raised his head weakly, looking round... "William, lie still!!..." Buffy, the doctor, and assorted Slayers cried... "Ah, there it is...Bring my left hand over, would you lad?..." Will waved the stump of his wrist at a cyborg standing just beside the severed hand on the ground...Who brought it over to the doctor, Buffy staring as Fauchon examined it...And hastily applied a real tourniquet from her bag...Tying it off with Slayer speed...She sighed...

"I think he'll be ok, though he should thank God or whomever he's a vamp..." Ummn...Her smile faded a bit at Buffy's sudden killer-intensity glare... "Well...We can reattach the limb...But he's taken quite a beating and lost a lot of blood...He should be transported over to our medical facilities at once..." Dr. Fauchon frowned...Hmmn...Speaking of beatings, Slayer Counselor General...she eyed Buffy...A professionally hard tone coming into her voice...

I seem to remember...A professionally hard tone coming into the doctor's voice...Yeah, two Slayers in the crowd, a bit less awed by their Leader, agreed coolly...Eyeing an increasingly sheepish-looking Buffy...

Ummn...Double damn that memory transfer...the Slayer Counselor General thought...

"Very past tense, doc..." William gallantly, if feebly, noted, taking advantage of Buffy's distraction to sit up now, she frowning as she turned back to him... "And I wasn't human-souled then..."

Uh-huh...The doctor gave a sour look at him, then a somewhat chastened Buffy...

Our sweet, forgiving William...Various Slayers thought, sighing a bit as the Slayer Counselor General gave hard looks round....Watch it, sisters...

Well, maybe not our William...

"Well, in any case, let me get an ambulance over here..." Dr. Fauchon rose slowly, keeping a careful eye on the Slayer Counselor General...Who gave a somewhat nervous smile back...Hey, all beatings in very past tense, doc...Ladies...Guys...she eyed the ring of Slayers, Watchers, and cyborgs around them...

"Lets give the patient some air...Whether he needs it for breathing or not..." Dr Fauchon commanded, stepping back herself to call the ambulance... "What the doc said..." Buffy echoed from her post by William... "Nothin' more to see here...You folks have work to do...Get to your assigned positions..."

How about her?...One Slayer groused to a comrade as the ring of spectators pulled away from the object of their fascination...Double-standard for the head honcho?... "Like when you ran your corporation, Martha?...Till ya got caught?..." the comrade wryly noted...No need to bring that up is there?...Martha sighed...I'm here, right?...Redeeming myself?...True enough, the fellow Slayer shrugged...

"So..." Buffy turned back to William, feeling free to resume her glare, seeing that he was not quite at death's door... "How are you, you little blonde cowardly jerk...?"

Hey?...He looked at her, still kneeling beside him...Several Slayers yet keeping close, eyeing her...Perhaps still a tad nervous having noted Dr. Fauchon's concerns...And feeling the press of their own Buffy memories...

Knock it off, guys...she hissed at the anxious faces eyeing her then William... Well?...she returned to the object of her wrathful affection...

"Considering, girl...That I just took on and defeated several hundred of the Senior Partners' best...And seem to have again lost a reasonably important body part..." he gave another groan...And fell back...Doctor!!...she and every Slayer able to see cried...



"William!..." she bent over him, placing a hand under his head, pressing his face to her cheek... "Don't die...or whatever...On me now...Please...You stupid idiot!...God, don't do this...Not before..."

IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou...she hastily whispered...As the doctor returned and knelt by his opposite side... "There...I'm committed...With over 3,600 witnesses from the side of Light reasonably near...I can't retract it...Please, Will...Ya got me where you want me...Spike, I give, you win...Just give Will what he needs to stay...Please..."

"Ms. Summers..." the doctor called to her sternly as she prepared an injection...Buffy waving her off...Don't even think I'm leaving...

Please, darling...she breathed... "Don't leave me now..."

Cause damn you, if ya know what's good for you, you do not wanna make me follow after you...she frowned...

"He's not going anywhere but for a quick ride to the hospital..." the doctor jabbed her needle into his arm...

Right, right...Buffy nodded, a grateful beam...

He stared at her, head cradled in her hand...Buffy...Love...

"Yes, yes darling...Will?...

"What the hell?...As I asked...Are you doin' here?..."

"Whaat?!...You thought I wasn't gonna come!!...Geesh...I oughta..." she paused...The remaining Slayers still hanging, eyeing her carefully...And some, rather sternly...

Be very annoyed with you...she lamely finished...

"The ambulance is here!!..." A Slayer cried from beyond the ring about them which had fully reformed despite the Slayer Counselor General's order...

Ok!!...Buffy called...A frown from the doctor forcing her to back off a bit as the EMTs moved in and got Will situated on a pallet, securing him as gently as possible...He raised head again, looking round, to see, looking out through the break now forming in the ring to let him pass, Illyria, very much in Winifred form, with Willow, Giles, and a stricken-looking Roger Wyndham-Price, all turned to view him...Illyria giving a rather Fredish, anxious smile to him...Willow a friendly wave...

An insistent Buffy followed beside him to the ambulance, climbing in with a look to the EMTs that brook no opposition...Several dozen Slayers anxiously moving in to watch as the doors closed... "Take care, William!!..." a few dozen calls...

"Try and rest..." the doctor at his side told him...Buffy nodding firmly...Stroking his hair... "Go to sleep, baby...Buffy's here..." she cooed in soothing voice... "All's well..." "No, no...I can't go to sleep...I can't let it be a dream...Not again..." he whispered, tears running now... "No..." he started thrashing a bit...The doctor looking at Buffy... "No, ok...You don't have to sleep just yet..." she nodded... "Just lie still, Will...Please..."

"Tell me..." he whispered...

"Angel and I...Our people have been in secret communication almost right from the day he took over Wolfram-Hart, LA..." she began... "We had to get the Partners to believe that I didn't trust Angel...That our organizations weren't cooperating..."

"Otherwise they'd never have come out from Hell and given us our one and only shot at them..." she grinned... I see...he shook his head feebly... "So Angel and the rest of you had this all planned out...And never trusted me..." No, Will...she shook her head... "That's not true..."



She frowned...A dark look coming over... "You were the one thing Angel didn't tell me about, the jealous son of a vamp bitch...I'll never quite forgive him for that...Though when Willow tried to find your soul for me...And found out where you were...Giles persuaded her not to tell me..."

Too much chance I'd screw everything, running to LA to get you...Right where the Partners wanted me...Or so Giles and the rest of the new Council figured, assuming they'd held on to you via the amulet as bait for me...

And they...The other new Councilors...Weren't quite sure of Angel...Didn't think we should put too much faith in him...

"Of course it was sweet of you never to call me...Or just come...Jackass..."

"I just thought..." he mumbled... "I know what you thought..." she glared... "Who the hell did you think you're dealing with?...Some bitch of a Drusilla whose vows are worth crap?!...If I say I love you...And don't count on hearing it again...You damned well better believe in it and me!..."

Why didn't you trust me, Will?...she began breaking down... "Oh, hell, I know..." she waved a hand... "I left you there, I told you I wanted Spike to fight, I didn't offer you any hope of a future..." she sighed... "But you should've known it was real..."

"I did..." he nodded... "For that minute, it was...And I believed...But I couldn't come to you, a vamp still, and hear you..." he paused...

I don't take things like that back, Mr. Walthrop...she interrupted coldly...Yeah, I found out your name...she nodded...

"Really..." he smiled... "You've been learning research skills, eh girl?...One Rupert Giles must be pleased..." No, she shook her head...One Rupert Giles...Was not pleased to find me researching you...

"He wanted you over and done with..."

"William, lie still, please..." the doctor now cut in...Yeah, Buffy agreed..."Let me just tell you the story, babe..."

"Andrew came back with Dana...And kept your secret about half a day...I was headed for the airport within ten seconds but Giles had Willow come after me, told me I was risking all our plans, everything...Maybe even putting you and Angel in danger as well as the new Slayers and Council..."

So I settled for calls...Which I know, you never got...Angel and I had avoided letting Harmony in on our contacts previously...And were avoiding contact at all by now, expect by way of a very few special telepathic Willowgrams...

Which now included one very angry, expletive-filled one...she grinned...Anyway...We were right to keep to telepathy...

"Harmony was keeping the Partners informed on everything...And she had, by her own admission when we caught and cursed her an hour ago...Yeah..." Buffy nodded... "She's souled again...And fairly happy about it, though I think what really pleased her is the mall trip Dawn's promised to take her on ...Anyway...She admitted her demon had blocked my calls to you...The Partners were getting nervous about the idea of us getting together while they worked on Angel...They'd fallen for our scheme and were hoping to have Angel and me fighting by the year's end..."

And to make double sure, they sent the Immortal...The son of a bitch...she frowned...

Good choice to distract me though, God, what a cutie, she grinned...And just the right combination of your romantic yearning and Angel's hero thing...Though, frankly that's been wearing a bit thin on me since he went to LA and started doing the 'my city' thing...

"The Immortal (soddin' jackass)..." she grinned as Will faintly smiled at her accent... "Didn't exactly side with the Partners...I'll say that for him...But you knew him before and probably know his modus operandi?...You are noting my use of Latin, right?..." she grinned... "I'm back in college...Anyway..."



They offered him a crack at me, another notch for his rather large and impressive belt...And more important, their resurrection spell, the one they used on Darla...He only had to try and sweep me off my feet...And keep me out of LA, away from you...

Like someone else I know, he had this crazed idea that regaining his human body would make him a human being again...Though in his case, his motivation was not love, but just to escape the punishment awaiting him in Hell...

"Loser..." she frowned... "I knew his game from the start...And played along to keep the Partners happily chuckling over the success of their scheme...Even Andrew and Dawn believed I was hooked..."

"But then...Who comes to Rome to 'save' me?...My Champion asshole coward..." she frowned at him...Buffy...he sighed...

"Who doesn't even stay to say hello?...Jackass...When Andy told me you'd been there...I coulda torn my hair out...A chance to get you out safe and sound before things went to hell and you screw it...Why do you think I didn't come after you?...They were watching you and Angel all the time, ready to grab you if I showed any signs of your matterin' to me..."

Angel didn't tell...

"He didn't know...And had to keep quiet about the little he did know...I told you we weren't in contact except for the very rare telepathic note...But you shoulda known...Jerk..."

Of course as I said I was also pissed to hell that you hadn't come or called...And doubly pissed that you didn't wait up that night...I was so furious, I cursed you and your Goddamn soul a zillion times...Hell, Spike would never have run out like that...You little coward, afraid to face me!...

Well...he shook his head... "I only wanted to let you move on, girl..."

"I know..." she sighed... "I cursed myself worst of all...I know you didn't believe me cause I hadn't given you anything to believe in...William, if you knew what I've been through these past months...How many times I was on the verge of throwing it all to hell and just coming...How scared I was that the Partners would figure us out and take you..."

But it's all right now...It's all over now...she beamed...We're together at last...You never lost me...Your Buffy is with you, my darling...Always...She kissed him...Somehow, it not seeming odd to him that her hair had turned black and her face changed appearance...

"Thank you so much...For forgiving me last night..." she smiled...He stared but again, somehow...Was not surprised... "Yeah, I was there...Hiding in the back...But I heard you..."

Always...she whispered...You know that...

"Yes, always..." he whispered back...

"Cicely..." he smiled wanly...And closed his eyes...A bright light swallowing him as he drifted off...

"Dru..." An anxious Angelis stared at Drusilla, standing over the writhing body of her victim...One William Soames Walthrop, poet...In the London alley where she'd just dropped him...She looked up at her grandsire's nervous face...

"We have to get out of here...Darla says she's sensed the Slayer near, closing on us...She knows the bitch's scent, lass..."

If you're going to take that little fellow...He eyed Walthrop, now in his death throes...

"No..." Dru eyed William coldly... "I thought he'd be right for me...But I don't like his dreams...They're not of me...Just of..." she paused...Angelis impatiently looking down the alley where he'd come, then back at her...

He's not for me...she stated simply... I'll leave him to his dreams...Alone...



"Angelis!!..." Darla's cry brought them up short... "Lets go, lass...Now!..." Angelis insisted, grabbed her arm...Dru letting herself be pulled away, gave one last look at the dying...Now dead...William...

No...Not the sort of dreams I like...she shook her head...And raced off with Angelis...

A sound of running feet...A young brunette woman in rather elegant 1880's dress, though rather winded and a bit the worse for wear...Incongruously clutching a stake in her right hand...Appeared, shining a lantern from her other hand which, noting something in the dark just ahead of her, she lowered...

"William..." she stared at him...Falling to her knees beside him...All thought of those she'd pursued vanished as she looked over him, feeling... "NO!!!!!!..." a piteous howl... "They told me you'd be safe if I sent you away!!!..." she shrieked...

A profound calm suddenly coming over her...She forced herself to check for the signs...No, thank God...No trace scent of its blood in his mouth or anywhere...He was...Safe...

Free...Free and safe, my darling...she whispered...Holding his body in her arms...Rocking him gently...

And, in a moment...she looked down at the stake she'd dropped beside him...

Your Cicely will be with you...For always...

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