"Immortal Beloved XLIII..."



A shortie...

PG-13

Disclaimer: No, Joss, no...I make no claims, put that thing down!

It's all yours and ME's...

Spoilers for Angel to the bitter end...Flee at once!...

Summary: Swear it's the last in the series...Maybe...Eh, what the hell, I'll try for 50...

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LA...The night of the abrupt end of Angel's career as a Wolfram-Hart exec...

"Slayers!..." a voice cried... "Form ranks...Stakes!..." the massed Slayers presented stakes... "For our William!!...Charge!!..."

He looked to see the group in three rows, stakes out, charging as the Wolfram-Hart forces began to waver, eyeing the determined Slayers bearing down on them...Wavered and then broke, most racing for the portal behind them as fast as legs, wings, or in a few cases, segmented bodies, could carry them...Several isolated leaders, Senior Partners or their seconds-in-command, looking on furiously but helplessly...

And in the vanguard of the fifty or so charging Slayers, crying out the order to charge...Dana?...he blinked at the sight...Struggling to rise in spite of his injuries...

Two Slayers raced to him, one unfolding a sort of stretcher... "No, William..." One called, the other moving to gently restrain him... "Our people'll take care of things...You've got to come with us, we've got a doctor and some medical supplies..." "Angel, Charlie...Illyria..." he gasped... "They're ok, Mr. Gunn's on his way to the hospital, Angel's getting treated...Illyria's with him..." the one hold him gently but firmly down told him...

"What the hell's...?" "We've come to help you, William...It's ok...Come on..." the two carefully placed him on the stretcher and lifted him...

"Buffy?..." he murmured, looking around...The two eyed each other...

He caught sight of a short, thin blonde in the charging ranks... Buffy!?...he called...

"Just rest Will...We'll talk later..." they bore him as gently as possible away, though the pain was such that he passed out almost immediately...

***



He woke to find himself on the ground, a thirties-ish woman attending him, attaching an IV...About a dozen Slayers surrounding his stretcher...And Dana at one side...Holding his hand, an anxious look on her face...Illyria, in Fred form, by his other, looking concerned...Though perhaps a tad confused and wan...

And among the dozen, the blonde he'd seen...Buffy?...He stared...No, though very like...A hair older and a bit stringier...

"William..." Dana breathed gently... "Hey..." she beamed...He involuntarily gulping a bit...Pulling his hand back...She looking a bit embarrassed and downcast as he did so...

Sorry...he whispered...Don't mean... "I understand..." she nodded... "William?..." Illyria asked, looking a bit puzzled... "Your name's William, right?..." she eyed him...

"Illyria took quite a lot of energy shocks..." Dana hastily explained... "Sort of like electroshock...The effects of which..." she wryly grinned... "I can fairly say I am familiar with..."

"Dana?...You seem quite a bit of alright, girl..." he blinked at her...

"Cicely...William..." she eyed him... "My name's Cicely now...Cicely-Dana might be more accurate..."

Cicely?...he stared... "Yeah..." she smiled, nodding... "I was a Slayer even then, darling..."

He turned to Illyria, who looked if anything even more puzzled...

"Dana couldn't save herself alone, Will..." Cicely-Dana explained... "The psychological damage was too great...But when I surfaced in her, the memories I mean...When she'd been given what treatment could be given... We...She and I...Realized our one chance to survive was to unite as one...And so we did..."

"And just in time too, from the looks of things..." she smiled gently again...

"Cicely?..." he whispered... "I was trying to save you, William...That night...I had to send you away...Or so I thought..." she sighed... "I loved you Will...But I was the Slayer and you were a human...A very gentle human...And everyone, the Council, my Watcher...They all assured me I was giving you a death sentence by keeping you around..."

But I was wrong...she frowned... I should have trusted in you and in us...

"I failed you..." she shook her head... "I didn't even stop Spike from rising...But I knew you'd forgive me...And I was there, Will...Yesterday, at the club...When you did..."

"Where's Wesley...?" Illyria suddenly asked, looking round...Several of the Slayers and Dana eyeing her in sorrow... "I have to find my Wes..." she paused...Oh...Her body trembling...Two Slayers coming to her... "Pet, I'm so sorry..." Will patted her hand, still in his, gently as she sobbed...

"Angel?..." he eyed Dana... "He's ok?..."

"A little bruised, the hair mussed...But in pretty good shape..." she grinned... "And very anxious for us to keep his dragon around till he can have it carted away for a trophy..."

He slew his dragon?...At last?...Good for the bloody poof...Will grinned back...

"Yeah...And are his girlfriend and his boy proud...And Charlie Gunn is doing well at the hospital...But there's more Will..."

"We got...!" one Slayer began eagerly, the others shushing her...Dana smiling at them... "We got all the Partners' magics data...Including the Prophecy and resurrection stuff..." she beamed... "Will?...We hafta check, but we think we may be able to help you and Angel...Humanity-wise..."

He stared...

"I thought only one..." he began... "Prophecies are funny things Will, as are magics...But we need to do some work on the stuff yet, maybe call in Mr. Giles or Willow..."

I see...he paused...She eyed him...



"Buffy?..." she asked gently... As a couple of Slayers frowned at the name...

"She's involved with someone these days, Will..." "The Immortal?..." Yeah, Dana nodded...

"She wasn't even gonna..." one Slayer in the crowd began...He eyed her as the others nudged her silent...The blonde, Buffyish girl now in front, eyeing him sympathetically...

"She didn't come..." he looked at Dana... "She thought you didn't want her to, Will...You did take your time about coming to Rome..." the Slayer noted... "And Mr. Giles didn't think she should go to LA, too risky with them uncertain about Angel..." she paused...

"And me..." he finished, looking at his hands... "No...We never doubted you, Will..." Dana told him firmly... "Though Buffy just wanted to put things...You...And me, Cicely... What she had of me in her memories...Behind her..."

"So, we did kinda hafta skip out on the quiet to get here..." she grinned...Then serious... "If she'd known the Partners were coming for you, she'd've come, I'm sure, Will..."

Oh...? "Then why...?"

"I had to see you again...And see if I could work up the nerve to meet you..." she sighed... Then smiled... "But then thank God, I tracked you down to that poetry slam...And I knew you'd forgiven me...Well, Cicely me, anyway..."

Then when we saw what was up, the bunch of us who'd come over to see you called in all the locals we could...And here we are...

"We figured it was about time a few of us went the extra mile for our William...Especially me..." she smiled...

Hands ok?...she looked at them a bit nervously...

Fine...he smiled wanly...

The Buffy near twin stood watching them, the closest of the other Slayers...Cicely-Dana eyed her...

"This is Sarah Gellar..." she made an intro...The woman eyeing William carefully... "The actress...?"

Yes...he nodded to Ms. Gellar's shy smile... "I've seen your work...Always amazed me how much you looked like..." he paused...

"He's got to get to the hospital...And get some rest..." the woman tending his IV noted... "Right..." Cicely-Dana nodded... Ms. Gellar nodding as well...But looking fixedly at him...Two Slayers gently moving the wan Illyria away a few feet...As she fussed and looked anxious, he called to have them bring her back, at which she calmed, retaking his hand... "You'll be alright, William...I'll help you..." she gently told him... "We'll get you to my lab and I'll help you..." she murmured... "Can she come along?..." he asked...Cicely-Dana eyed the doctor who nodded...

The two Slayers by her helped Illyria in the ambulance as others lifted William in...

"Ok, guys...He's gonna be fine..." Cicely-Dana eyed the Slayers clustering round... Yeah...Ms. Gellar nodded... "Lets check and round up any remaining W-Hers and get the prisoners secured...Ok, ladies?..." Buffy now waved off the glam which had altered her appearance slightly...

"Nice job...Cicely..." she eyed Cicely-Dana coolly as the others left their two leaders alone...As they obviously wished...

"You saw..." Cicely-Dana noted, equally coolly... "He still loves me...It's me he's always loved...In you as well..."

"He was looking for me..." Buffy shook her head... "I should have told him, I never should've..."



"I deserve my chance, Ms. Summers...And if you truly wish to allow Will his choice..." she paused...

"You let him die..." Buffy began... "So did you..." Cicely-Dana eyed her coldly..." And you did nothing for him all these wasted, lost years when you could've saved him...Left him as he was..."

"He loved me in the beginning and he...his poor condemned soul...Has waited for me all these years...It was me he sensed in you, Ms. Summers..."

"Well..." Buffy looked at her rival sternly... "When I've kept my promise...And you've had a couple of days to make him believe it's really you...And I have my chance..."

We'll see which of us he loves...

"And if he can't choose..." Cicely-Dana smiled gently... "We'll settle matters between us..."

Yes, Buffy nodded...Sizing up her opponent...Formerly the Greatest Slayer of all Time...To 1981 at least...

"We will..."

***