"Immortal Beloved..." XLIX...

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: Various outcomes following "Girl In Question" and /or "Not Fade Away" on Angel...What the hell, I'll try for 50...I mean the numbers are easier to write after 40 anyway...



***

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered...



I'm wild again, beguiled again

A simpering, whimpering child again

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I . . .

Could not sleep, would not sleep

Till love came and told me I should not sleep

Bothered and bewildered am I . . .

Lost my heart, so what of it?

He was cold, I agree,

He can laugh and I love it

Although the laugh's on me.

I'll sing to him, each spring to him

And long for the day when I'll cling to him,

Bewitched, bothered, so bewildered am I . . .

***

LA...Angel's apartment...Night...Just after the victory of his forces...With a little surprise help...Over the Senior Partners...

"Guys..." Angel beamed at his crew... "I'd say tonight was high time we burned up whatever is left of the Wolfram-Hart, LA CEO's expense account...And painted this town...Any other color than red..." he eyed his, Spike's, and Gunn's old blood-covered clothes, piled for disposal in a corner ruefully...

Before the Feds move in to pick over the corporate debris and freeze every account, prior to launching a major investigation...he did not say...

Guys?...he eyed William, Connor, then Illyria who stared back at him...All three exhaustedly sprawled on sofa in front of the large TV...

"It's been a long day and night, poof boy..." William noted... "We're waiting to see if ole Charlie wakes up tonight...Willow said she'd be back, soon as she reported to Giles...And most important..."

"Gilmore Girls on the telly..." he nodded at the screen...

"Gilmore Girls..." Illyria repeated...Eyeing the screen intently...

Connor however, seeing his dad's crestfallen look, attempted to show a little enthusiasm for the idea...

"Fellas...And lady..." Angel sighed... "We just survived the biggest of our apocalyptic battles...Wiped out...With a little help from Willow Rosenberg..." (Little?...We were all about to terminate when the mighty red Wiccan destroyed the front ranks of our foes and turned the tide for us...Illyria eyed him, her ever more Fred enhanced nature barely restraining her impulse to answer with a harsh correction...)...Our greatest enemies and Evil's best..."

"Thanks to Willow we know Wes is safe and happy with Fred's spirit in Heaven..."

Illyria sighed a very Fred sigh audibly...Will...and Connor...Frowning a bit at the boss' thoughtlessness...Not that Illyria hadn't expressed herself as very pleased for her Wes...Just...The poor kid...

"I even got the dragon home and ready to be stuffed and suitably mounted..." he beamed again at the thought...Eyeing the spot on his wall he'd selected as perfect for the head...

"Rory!...Not the polka dots, girl..." William called to the screen... "Indeed I would veto the black dots as well..." Illyria nodded, staring...It'll be ok, Gran'll straighten her out, Will noted...

"People...Gunn's fine but the docs say he's sure to be out till tomorrow...Willow may not be back from Giles' for hours..."

"Besides this is a tape..." Angel frowned at the screen... "You can watch it anytime...Come on, we'll go and celebrate...I have the whole night mapped out for us..."

William frowned but eyed Illyria who gave a Fredian smile...C'mon the big lug just wants to show his thanks, her Fredish expression said...Connor eyeing both...Guys...I think Dad's really up for this one, Please...

"Fine...Lets paint..." Will sighed, staggering to his feet... "Twenty-four hour party people that be us..."

Just as soon be out on the town as here when Red returns...he noted quietly...Angel eyeing him...

"Don't suppose you'd care to make it a real blast and jet over to New York while we still have a jet to jet in?..."

"I have everything set..." Angel frowned... "And we need to keep town in case Charlie does wake tonight or Willow comes back..."

Right...Will sighed...

Back to tell us how pleased Buffy is she was able to help us out...And how great things are going for her with his Buffoonishness...And maybe a polite remark or two as to how I'm doing...

Great...

"Have the limo brought round..." Angel spoke into his cell phone... "Yes, this is Mr. Angel...Yes, I am still CEO...In fact, I am the only surviving member of the senior staff...And therefore, the only person left authorized to sign your paycheck..."

I thought you'd see the light...he noted...Spread the word around for anybody who'd like to remain gainfully employed here...

"William..." Will eyed the lad coolly...A bit soon for first-name basis, lad... "...Ummn...Mr...Uh.." Connor looked at him...

"Walthrop..." Will replied... "William Soames..."

Really?...Angel stared...Hmmn, never did ask him...

"Mr. Walthrop...Aren't you kinda...I mean after what Ms. Rosenberg said when she came..."

Illyria, risen to check her Fred dress and appearance in the bathroom, turning to eye Will as well...

Buffy sending her and all...Connor paused...

"She heard what was up via the Council and sent Red...Kind of the Slayer to lend us her big gun..."

"But Ms. Rosenberg said...Ms. Summers hadn't known until today when Mr. Giles..."

William waved a hand...Please...

"Andrew Wells?...Keep his mouth shut on something like my resurrection for more than five minutes?..."

"Could be she didn't ask him..." Connor noted... "If she never asked about you, thinking you were dead...Ummn...Deader..." he corrected...

Hmmn...

Nah...he shook his head... "See, kid...Andrew told us in Rome she still loved us...Both..."

Right...Angel nodded solemnly...Illyria, in very Fred mode, frowning at him...Geesh...That's a bit cruel, Angel...Stomping out the renewed hope before the poor guy even...Hmmn...Willow...she sighed...

Willow, who'd proven, by seance, at Angel's anxious request, that Wesley was safe and happy with Fred in Heaven...And even, not a little pleased by the turn of events, given that they might have been separated for many years had he not, as her Winifred memories suggested, "kicked the bucket..."

Though what kicking a container often made of wood or plastic and usually used to transport waste or essential materials, or contain cleaning solutions, should have to do with the events of his tragic and...Internally and for as long as a former demon queen had existence on this wretched globe, lamented death...?

"Geesh, just an expression..." she suddenly said aloud, Fred side to the rescue...Startling the others for a moment... "Sorry, we're havin' a discussion in here..." she giggled a bit...

"I look ok, right?...Should I wear somethin' more formal?..." The guys eyed each other...That last blast from the Partners really brought the Fred out...Unless, knowing it wouldn't keep Fred's spirit from Wes now, she'd deliberately decided to cave to the human fragments to fit in better...Or a little of both...An idea Connor had suggested to Angel as they'd staggered back to his place after the battle, noting her extreme burst of Freddish behavior, including post-fight girl talk with Willow, who'd been pleased to see Ms. Burkle clearly ok, at first, til Angel explained, and intense mothering towards her wounded boys, especially Charlie...

"If she thought you were dead and gone...What else would she say?..." Connor eyed Will... "Especially if she meant to be nice about the them not trusting Dad after he took over Wolfram-Hart thing..."

Well...

Nah, ridiculous...Summers sent Willow to help us out...Gesture of an concerned old friend who felt a tad guilty regards their treatment of ole Angel and kind at that...That's it...All...he thought...

But Willow did say she was coming...No...He pushed the thought down...To see her old ex- and the other guy who died for her were ok and the world properly safe, if she came at all...That's it, nothing more...

"I think it's best we leave my miserable excuse for a love life for a bit as a conversational topic, lad..."

"Limo's here..." Angel called... "Lets get moving...And see what the night has to offer the world's greatest heroes..."

They stared at him...All looking rather worn and battered...Illyria with Fredish instinct desperately trying to straighten her hair a bit...Puzzled to find herself wishing for a hair stylist...Or at least a hair brush...

"I do mean you guys, ya know..."

C'mon, a little enthusiasm, fellas...he sighed... "We're gonna have a great time...On our enemies' stored nickels, wrested from the oppressed..."

"Just as along as we don't wind up you know where...I do not want to spend the rest of tonight emoting my guts out, thank you..." William noted...

"Leave it to me..." Angel waved a hand... "We're gonna have a ball..."

After all, tomorrow we gotta start trying to pull the wreckage back together...Lets feast on the remains while we can...

***

The Windows Lounge of the Four Seasons Hotel...

"This is quite a place..." Will stared round...Illyria, in Fred form, giggling a bit nervously, gasped... "Is that Julia Roberts?!...Oh! Gosh!!..." They stared at her... "Yeah, great place..." she giggled again... "Ummn...Sorry, guys...Not used to such a fancy place..."

At least not for 10,000 years...her Illyria side kicking in... "When I stayed at the Temple of Isis...Which was indeed quite the hot spot then..."

"Yeah...?" Connor grinned... "But did they have HDTV in every room...?"

I'm dressed ok, right?...she eyed them...

"Beautiful...As Wes would say if he could be here..." William gallantly noted...She shyly smiling...

Aw...William...

Then looked away, a tad downcast...

Whatever he says about his Slayer beloved, after what the wiccan girl told them...Not much hope...

And while he wasn't quite a Wesley...Considering Wes was lost to her other self forever, he might've done...

Rats...And he did like me, I know it...

Course if I went to Rome later today, or lay in wait at the airport...Assuming Willow's right and she is coming....And killed his Slayer...

I mean she has failed him...And in my day, Death was the appropriate punishment for a lover's failure or betrayal...

As it was for stealing...For lying...Giving the wrong look to one of the elite...Crossing a road when one of us was passing by...

"First stop..." Angel beamed... "Lets pull up to the bar, enjoy some music, and have ourselves a few drinks..."

"Sounds peachy...First stop, eh...?" Will eyed him... "Well, just so long as we don't wind up...You know where..."

"Care to dance, Ms. Illyria...?" Connor asked politely...

A cell phone buzzed...Angel pulling out and taking a seat as Will moved to the bar...Connor and a rather nervous Illyria moving to the dance floor... "Is that Brad Pitt?.." she pointed...Think so, Connor agreed...

"Angel...Yeah...What?...Whatdaya mean the European accounts have been wiped clean?...Oh...You mean our European bank accounts have been cleaned out...Right...Well, are there any leads, have you called the police...?" William returned, bearing something fancy for Illyria, a ginger ale for Connor, and six boilermakers for himself and boss...

Right...We're Wolfram-Hart...We don't call the police...We buy them off...

"Well, we do now...We've been cleansed, our Evil Partners purged and from now on...What?...Oh...Books to the present don't reflect that?...Lots of illegal transactions?...Deals that won't bear scrutiny with the Partners not around to cover?...Right...Ok...Well, you said you think you know who?...Our own European vice president of accounting looted our accounts?..." William eyed him...

Right, Wolfram-Hart...Our junior executives are trained in that...And he was one of the Senior Partners top men...Not exactly inclined to care if I make out well financially after their defeat...Ok, I get the picture...Angel sighed... "Well, try and get me the details of what's still left, will ya?...Remember your job is on the line...Literally...Ok...What?...Who?..."

Interpol?...And the Italian police?...

"Why are they?...Oh...Evil law firm and multinational collapses on global scale, fleeing execs loot all accounts and leave paper trail...Got it, right, thanks...Ok...Well, Brigsby...I promote you to CEO, Europe...Hold the police and any other investigators off as long as you can...And fax me any info you've got..."

He closed the phone...Will staring... "Things going to pot in Europe?"...he asked...

"Well...We had to expect some of the boys would try to grab what they could in the fall..." Angel sighed...

"Interpol...?" Will eyed him...

"Well, had to expect ramifications from the collapse...We'll make out ok, I'll handle it..." Angel waved a hand...

Right, poof...You and your what?...Equivalent of a sixth-grade education?...Will thought...

Still, we must have quite a nice bit stashed away in the corners...Not to mention prime real estate, etc...Unless our financial wizard here manages to blow all that too...

"Well...Lets leave business till tomorrow..." Angel grabbed a boilermaker... Yeah, by then, no business to worry about...Will sighed to himself...

"So..." Angel eyed him, after a nervous glance to where Connor and Illyria were attempting to dance...Illyria weaving between sheepishly apologetic Fred nods to trampled fellow dancers and grimly threatening Illyrian glares to those nudging each other at the rather hapless and oddly matched pair...

"You dance divinely, Connor..." Illyria gave him a smile...

That was correct procedure, yes?...she hissed...It wasn't a very strong Winifred memory...

Just fine, perfect...he nodded... "Thanks...And so do you..." Aw, Connor...She blushed...

"So..." Angel continued...As William grinned at him...She's not gonna run off with him...Yet...Dad... "You didn't believe Willow?...About Buffy not knowing...?"

"You were with me in Rome, you pointy-haired poof...Andrew sure didn't sound like she didn't know...And you know how long our Andy would hold up under Slayer interrogation..."

"Unless Connor's right...And she never asked him..."

"Giles knew..."

"But he had good reason not to tell her...From his pov..."

Will eyed him with a wry smile... "You suddenly seem anxious to push me and Buffy together, boss...Nina getting antsy every time she hears Summers' name mentioned...?"

"To keep the Immortal from getting her, I'd even back you, Spike...Though it would clean us out, trying to overcome the drawback of your bad poetry with a little glamour..."

"Hey?...The slam crowd this afternoon gave me a standing O..."

"And speak of the...Wonderful, beautious, divine...Nina..." Angel waved at the just entered Nina...Hey, fellas!...she waved, hurrying over...

"Angel...Hey, Spike...You made it!...Oh, guys!..." she hugged Angel, then William...

"Obviously, fur girl..." William nodded...Angel glaring...Watch the cracks with my lady, there...His dark look saying...

"He's just doing his routine, honey..." Nina patted her beau, taking a seat... "Connor, Fred!...Hey!..." They waved from the dance floor...

"She's still Illyria, right?..." she hissed... "Just taking Fred's form?..."

Yeah...But a little more Winifred post battle...The demon front line gave her some pretty hefty electrical shocks...Angel noted...

"And Wes...Gone?..." Nina sighed...Yeah...Angel nodded, looking a bit less eager... "But Willow Rosenberg reached him by seance just after the battle...He's safe in Heaven with Fred...Her soul..."

Oh, that's great...Nina beamed...Oh...She looked out to where Illyria was attempted to follow Connor's dance instructions...

"Poor thing...She did love him, Angel...Whatever she is, that was obvious..."

"We'll do what we can for her...And she seemed happy to know Wes was happy..."

Unselfish love...Nina nodded thoughtfully... Not bad from a demon just recovered from homicidal mania...

"What will she do now?..."

"She wants to go on playing Fred...For the parents' sake...Fred's spirit seemed ok with it...It should give her a little grounding..."

Hmm-hmmn...she nodded again...And eyed William, now on boilermaker three...

"And hows about you, blondie?...Are you finally gonna make tracks to Rome?..."

"There's nothing in Rome for me...Except as a tourist..." he shook his head firmly...She frowning at him...

"Besides...Willow says Buffy is coming..." Angel noted...

Whoa...Nina stared...Then a peeved tone... "And knowing you guys were in danger, she couldn't make it in time to help you?...See William before he might've died?..."

Though I don't have much sympathy for you, pal...she eyed Will... "Letting her hang like that if she knows...And not letting her know if she didn't..."

Great way to prove your undying Undead love...she frowned...

"She wasn't the one who summoned me back...Who corporealized me...Who gave a damn if I lived or died..."

"All pretty difficult if the lady didn't know..." "Andy must've told her, if she didn't know already...And why didn't she have Willow try to reach me if..."

"I'm not angry, though...I don't mean to make it seem like that..." he hastily noted...

But I am not getting my hopes up...I couldn't bear it...In fact, I think I might not wanna be around when she shows...If she shows...

"Will..." Nina frowned...Angel eyeing her... Will rising..."Lets let it rest, girl...I'm up for another round, what would you like?...Boss, more of the same?..."

Nina watched him, then looked at Angel...Who bore a rather noncommital expression... "You're not encouraging him in this?...If she is coming, this might be their last chance...If she cares..."

He'll stick...Angel shook his head... "He's just trying to get himself ready for when she starts telling us about her latest...And gives him the 'cookies' speech..."

Uh-huh...She eyed him...Hmmn...

***

Next stop...The Ritz-Carleton...And dinner...

Attentive waiters scurrying round their table...Illyria, hand to mouth blanching at the menu prices...

Though a little Illyrian outrage seeped through... "I would've roasted the cook alive who overcharged me like this in the old days..." she noted to Connor...Who was a little bug-eyed, looking at the menu himself...

"You sure we can still afford this, boss?...The company having been blasted apart and all?..." Will eyed Angel...Who waved a hand... "Wolfram-Hart's collapse'll take months to impact...The company accounts I have direct control of alone should see us through to a new place, not to mention the real estate, the European and Asian branches...Don't worry..."

His cell phone buzzed...Will staring intently, Nina sympathetically watching him...

"Mickelson?...Glad to hear you're still with...What?...When?...Well, set up a meeting with the insurance companies for 10 am tomorrow...Better make it one of the ground level conference rooms, my office is on one of the unsafe floors since last night..."

What's the status of our US accounts, can you give me a general...? Oh...That bad?...

Connor looked at Will who rolled eyes...Might not want to give up that phony family of yours just yet kid...If you want to finish college...

"How's about the...Bahamian accounts...Really?...Vickers, eh?...Got it all?..."

Told him he should've fired that guy...Vickers, a little weasel of a middle manager in Accounting...William explained to the others...

Vickers, yes...Illyria nodded... "I remember him...I wished him dead on sight...The true face of a traitor..."

"Well, we still have our real estate holdings...Lets be grate...What?...No, I didn't know...Who authorized that?...Well, what didn't the Partners mortgage to supply their army?...Hmmn...Our blasted place here, right...And the HQ in Rome?...Well, that's something...Look, Mickelson, go though what's left and have a report for me on my desk tomorrow...What?...Who?...No, no one from the SEC has called me...Why?..."

Ahem...A cough caused the group but for Angel, still occupied on cell to turn...One of their waiters and a frowning, well-dressed man standing beside him...

"Pardon me, our manager would like to speak with whoever...?" the waiter looked at the credit card in his hand... "Mr...Angel?"

Him...They all pointed...

"Sir...May I speak with you a moment...?" the manager eyed Angel...Hmmn...?

***

"What do you think?..." Illyria eyed Nina, Connor, and William...As they awaited Angel's return...

"I'd guess we may be glad we didn't order dinner yet..." Will frowned...

"You think there's something wrong?..." Nina asked, anxiously... "Fellow on the phone mentioned the SEC..." Will noted... "I'd guess the shit is beginning to hit..."

"Maybe I'd better go see..." Connor rose... "I do have my father's card if Dad's having some trouble..."

***

Angel and Connor returned, the manager and waiters in tow...

"Alls well, guys..." Angel smiled.... "Just a temporary problem with one of my corporate cards, probably due to some damage to the office server during that minor earthquake tonight..."

"Please excuse any inconvenience..." the manager nodded...

"Lets eat..." Angel beamed...He turned to a waiter...

"Connor?..." Nina hissed... "You didn't..." Nah...he shook his head...Dad called somebody in London...Some guy named Giles?...Guess he got it sorted out...

Giles?...William blinked...

The phone buzzed again...

"Mickelson?...What's...What?...The who?...From where?...The SEC...Tonight?...Who've they got on this one...Mulder and Scully?..." he fumed at the phone...

Oh...The FBI is involved, eh?...Already?...Fast work...he noted...

Ummn...Illyria eyed Nina...Nina eyed Connor...Connor eyeing William...

"Yeah..." Angel sighed to the phone... "It is inspiring to see them working so efficiently..."

"Well, tell them I can see them at 9 tomorrow...And get me those records of our remaining holdings..." he hung up...

"Looks like tomorrow will be a busy day...Lets make this one a good one, fellas...And ladies..." he raised a glass...

"To the greatest team on the face of..." the phone buzzed...Excuse me, Angel frowned, pulling away from the table...

Uh-oh...Nina sighed...

"Giles...Hey, thanks for...Yeah...Yeah...I see...Now wait a minute...I can't let our London office go for that low a...Hmmn...That much damage?...Well, look, I'm gonna hafta have the place reappraised...No, I'm not backing out of the deal, but Giles come on...I'm trying to keep people employed here...I can't just sell everything off at bargain basement...Well, lets talk tomorrow...Your people can call my people..."

Whoever that remaining 'people' is by tomorrow...William noted...

You guys are gonna stay with him, right?...Til this gets sorted?...Nina eyed the others anxiously...

Course...Mutual nods...

'Sorted out' as in an eight-to-ten stretch in a minimum security prison...Will thought...Though with time off for heroic behavior and a few strings pulled, probably no worse than probation in the end...

I warned him not to sign everything they put in front of him...

"And thanks for letting Buffy know about our sit...Tell her Willow was...Oh, great...Sure...Hey, Willow...When are you...? What?...Oh...When?...Where?...There?..." Angel eyed the gang... "Ok...We'll be there...Yes...We're on our way..." he closed the phone...

Hey, guys...he called to the gang...Willow's on her way...Will meet us in an hour...

"What about...Ummn..." William spoke up, an anxious tone...

"She didn't mention Buffy...Sorry..." Angel shook his head...

"Where do we meet Willow?..." Nina asked... "I'm anxious to meet her for the first time..." she smiled...

And considering she's been in my Angel's mind, very grateful she's a lesbian she did not say...

"Just so long as it's not...You know where..." Will sighed...

Ummn...Angel paused a moment... Then was interrupted by the first course's arrival...

***

"Sorry..." Angel eyed William as they entered...You know where...An hour later...

"Slight change of plans...Willow wanted to meet here..."

Right, Will sighed... "Just, please nobody go up tonight..." he looked at the rest who nodded...No one anxious to start spilling guts tonight...Having already spilled enough that evening...Even if mainly the guts of enemies...

They sat... "When's Red gonna show anyway...?" Will began...And another cell buzz...

"What?...What?...Whatdaya mean my personal accounts are frozen?!..." Angel shouted into the phone...Oh...Right...I'm acting head of Wolfram-Hart...

Well, now I know why my ATM card didn't work just now outside...

A waiter came over...A well-dressed man and woman...Looking slightly familiar to the group...Behind him..."Mr.Angel...?" the waiter paused, eyeing Angel...

"These folks wanted a word..."

The others stared...Where have I seen these two...? Nina hissing to William...

"Mr. Liam Angel, of Wolfram-Hart?..." the man noted...The woman eyeing them all carefully...

"We're from the Securities and Exchange Commission..." he presented credentials...Angel eyeing them...Hmmn...

"I'm Agent Scudder...This is Agent Mully..." the woman frowned... "Just kidding...It eases the tension..." the man grinned at the startled faces... "Everyone sees the resemblance...I'm Drake, this is Ms. Callahan..."

We'd like to ask you a few questions, sir if we may...

"I thought I'd set up an appointment with you guys tomorrow..." Angel frowned...

"That was another matter sir..." Ms. Callahan eyed him... "This concerns your own holdings..."

Nina looked at Connor...

"Regarding your sale of Wolfram-Hart shares this morning...Before tonight's events..."

Yeah, that minor earthquake was a tragedy...But I hear no people were harmed but my assistants Mr. Wyndham-Price and Mr. Gunn...

Uh-huh...Drake nodded... "We understand you're a known world-saving hero, Mr. Angel...Our questions concern why you sold your shares this morning...Before the firm's collapse this evening?..."

Angel?...Nina stared...Dad?...Connor blinked... Sounds very clever to make such use of advance information, good strategy...Illyria noted to herself...

Mate...Will shook his head silently...After what happened to Martha?...

"There's Ms. Rosenberg..." Connor pointed...A smiling Willow and Kennedy approaching their table...Hey guys!...Ummn...Willow paused, remembering...

"Sorry again about Wesley..."

"We understand that Wolfram-Hart was Evil, Inc, Mr. Angel...And worthy of destruction...But that's not our department..." Drake eyed Angel as they sat... "A lot of people had funds invested in your firm, Mr. Angel..." Ms. Callahan was likewise eyeing him coldly..."They're taking heavy losses...And yet you seemed to have avoided that..."

Based on your inside information...she stared at him...

"Ummn...It seemed like a good idea at the time..." Angel looked at them innocently...

Something wrong?...Willow hissed to Nina...Seeing the man and woman in suits with Angel...And the somewhat subdued faces of the others...

Hey, William...Long time no tell us you're alive...Kennedy mock frowned at him...Hitting his shoulder...

Oops, sorry...she helped him up... "Forget that Slayer strength sometimes, even now..."

"SEC investigators..." Nina hissed back to Willow... "I think we may be in for a little bit of it..."

Now?...Willow sighed, looking to where William was hesitantly trying to ask Kennedy...Without actually asking...If maybe...Someone else...Might just possibly be...

"Lemme handle it..." the wiccan frowned... "Magics...?" Nina stared... Nah, Willow shook her head...Pulling her own cell phone... "Giles has access to governments around the world now as our new Council Chairman...I'll have him call about this...At least get 'em off him for a coupla days til he can get things in order..."

Hey, Giles...she spoke into the phone...

"There wasn't enough power for her to come in any case..." Kennedy was explaining to William...

But she is coming to LA...If she didn't get here already...

"Here, Angel..." Willow handed over the phone... "Giles has their boss on conference call..." He gratefully passed the phone...Thanks, Willow...Over to Drake...Who with his partner were shortly involved in a discussion on the phone...

"Say...Who the hell is singing?..." Angel turned to stare at the stage... "Of everyone I've ever heard here, she's gotta be the wor..." his jaw dropped...

They all stared up at the stage...

(Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered...Opening with your author’s lyric)

Play

“Round and round we’ve danced together...Says he loves me, doesn’t show...

I tell him no future for us...Year later I can’t let go..."

"I'm wild again, beguiled again

A simpering, whimpering child again

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I . . .



Could not sleep, would not sleep

Till love came and told me I should not sleep

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I . . ."



Buf...William choked...Staring at Buffy on stage...As she stared back...



"Lost my heart, so what of it?

He was cold, I agree,

He can laugh and I love it

Although the laugh's on me.

I'll sing to him, each spring to him

And long for the day when I'll cling to him,

Bewitched, bothered, so bewildered am I . . ."



Hey guys!...Dawn and Andrew came over from the front...Grinning at William, eyes glued on stage...

"Well?...Jerk...Go on up..." she poked him... "And Willow'd better be right about there being no one else...Cause sis has been in a horrible state since Giles told us yesterday..."

"Greetings most glorious victors..." Andrew bowed solemnly...Meet the Sphinx...Dawn frowned at him... "We call him 'the Sphinx' now...Moron..."

A pledge of secrecy is a pledge, Dawn...Andrew noted, nodding to William who was still staring... "Yeah, right..." she glared...

Still, alls well that ends well...Kinda feel sorry for His Pomposity though, he took it kinda hard when she dumped him this morning before we caught the first plane...Dawn noted to the others as Will, standing hesitated...

"But...When your guy suddenly resurrects and you learn he's gun shy...You can't fool around, ya know?..."

Buffy nervously staring back at Will from the stage, likewise silent...

"You knew..." Nina eyed Angel...Whose attention was divided between the SEC agents on phone and Buffy...

Yeah...Buf called...She was terrified he'd run before she could get here, but Willow had to go the teleport route to save us...Begged me to keep him busy till she could...he gave her a grin...

"Stop staring at her and go!..." Dawn whacked William... "Or she'll sing another verse..."

He stumbled toward the stage...

"You might have helped her a little with the singing...This meaning so much to her..." Kennedy noted to Willow...Who frowned...

"I did..." she sighed... "You should've heard her without my help..."

***

***

Thirty minutes...And four duets later...

"Liam?...” Nina hissed... “Do something...Cause if they do one more, I'm committing suicide..."

Though he is pretty good, actually...she noted...Smiling at Dawn as Angel frowned...

"Buffy...?" At the stage, Willow tried a pull as she and Will geared up for their next...Hmmn?...Buffy vaguely answered, not turning away from her beloved’s equally locked love stare...

“Angel has a great room lined up for you guys at the Four Seasons...And the minister is waiting over there...”

Minister?...William asked, blinking slightly...Yeah...Buffy murmured wanly...I got one standing by...

Great...he nodded vaguely...Neither able to tear themselves away...Hmmn...Noting the anxious stares from their table and from the general audience...Help, please!...Willow climbed onto the stage...

“Mr. Angel...?” A waiter came over...

“What is it now, FBI at the door for me?...” “Uh...Well, yes they are...But I was sent to ask if you might possibly persuade the Slayer...For the love of God’s mercy?...And to prevent a last ditch, suicide attack by several of our patrons?...”

We’re trying...Angel sighed...

“William?...” Willow tried... “Lets get out of here and get you guys hitched before Buf has that usual case of the jitters...”

Yeah, lets go...After just one more song...Buffy nodded wanly...Then blinked... My ‘usual case of the’...what?...

“Just one more...Then we go...” William nodded wanly... “And...Get hitched...” he smiled...

Right...Willow gave up...

“Yep, just one more...Cause she sings...Like an angel...” Will smiled...Still lost, gazing into those deep greens...

I mean an angel, not...You know... “I know, darling...” Buffy smiled...Still lost in her gaze as well...

Oh, please...Dawn now at the stage in desperate support of Willow’s efforts to save the mercy-begging audience...

“She sings like he writes poetry...” she hissed to Willow as the wiccan descended...Just one more, folks...she brightly noted to the sighing crowd...A number putting heads...Several putting more than one or literally...Into their hands...

“I heard that...” Buffy eyed her sis...

“Hey, I signed off on the vamp brother-in-law thing...” Dawn glared...

***



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