Immortal Beloved..." LXII...



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...

Ok, I lied about stopping at 50...But me poor ole mum would just say, "so long as I like it, it's ok..."



Like I said earlier, these things are like Lays or candy...



And this one's just plain cruel to the bloody stupid, pointy-haired one...

***



LA...New offices of Angel Investigations...

Morning of the second day after the defeat of the Senior Partners and the collapse, literally in the case of the Wolfram-Hart Tower building, of Wolfram-Hart, Inc...

Angel frowned at his...Well, hell yes...Partner...Then at William's surprise guest, one Buffy Summers...Hanging on his arm and looking rather annoyingly content...

"I can't believe you're walking out on me now, Will...Charlie's in hospital...Illyria is heading home to connect with her 'parents' while she learns to be the best Fred she can be...The old Wolfram-Hart has to be completely reorganized..." he eyed the mound of paperwork on his desk...

"I need you..." Not to mention, he did not say...But Buffy rather guessed, seeing his frown...

He's taking her back rather easy...Considering Rome and all...

Sure, she did show at the last minute with one hundred Slayers and saved us...But hell, after what I...er we...er he...Went through in Rome...

"It's not like I'll be gone for good, boss..." Will smiled... "I'm just a phone call away..."

"In Rome..." Angel glared...

"Ok, a long jet flight or instantaneous teleport away...But I'm hardly much use to you on the administrative end, anyway..."

Buffy blinked at that...Will?...He put up a hand... "The short of it is, Angel...My work here's done...You're ok and fightin' the good fight again, Dru's saved and human again thanks to our both deferring the Prophecy to her after the battle...I'm with Buffy and she loves me..."

Put that far enough down the list...she mock-groused...



"And Harm's souled again...And able to...Uh...Help you..."

"Absolutely!!..." a shout from the door where a reinstated, post-soul Harmony had been listening...

"Get back to your desk!..." Angel called.... "I still think she only got the soul to get her job back when every other firm in LA turned her down..." he groused...

"And what's that crap about 'your work bein' done'?...You've been hangin' round here, tryin' anything to get points over me and hopin' she'd call or come runnin'..."

Ok...he shrugged...Which she did...At nearly the last minute...

A slight glare from Buffy... Just a mo, bucko...

"Buf..." Will began...

"And you're kinda back together quick...What happened to... 'the Immortal'?..."

Huh?...Buffy stared at him, then William...Will smiling at her briefly...Ohhh...she grinned...

"You...little..." she chuckled...Then frowned at Angel...

"Listen, pal...William has been the one thing keeping us from takin' you and co out all these months...If it hadn't been for his reports..."

Personally delivered to me every weekend...she beamed...

What?!...Angel stared... "What?!..." Harm's voice echoed from the door... "Go back to work!..." he hollered...

"You never asked me what I was doing weekends, boss..." Will smiled...

"Yeah...And as for administrative ability..." Buffy proudly beamed at her feller... "His Benevolence managed to run his entire organization with a few phone calls and just those weekend visits..."

His?...Angel eyed William...

"Lets lose that title, Buf..." he sighed to her... "At least between us, if I can't get the minions to stop...You know I loathe it..."

"You?!!...You're the Immortal?!!..." Angel hopped up... "Impossible!..."

"Very possible...Did you ever see him and the Immortal together?..." Buffy smiled... "Like back when he saved your nuns while staying with you in the 'house of pain'..." Will grinning slyly...Eh, cat's outta the bag on that one at last...

"My nuns!...You saved my nuns?!!!..." Angel shouted...

Er, I mean...No... "This is impossible!..." he fumed... "You can't be the Immortal!...What about Darla?..." he gulped...

Oh, no...

"Turnabout is fair play, mate...After the game you played on me with Dru and all..." Will noted... "And heck, I was Evil incarnate then...Well, apprentice evil incarnate...Though apprenticed to the best..."

Darla?...Angel stared...She wouldn't have...Who the hell am I kiddin', of course she would've...And would've loved doin' it...

"Wait..." he blinked... "Dru...Dru said..."

"Game girl, my Dru in those days...Always up for a practical joke...Not to mention group sex..."



Glare from Buffy... "Apprentice evil incarnate in those days, love...Had to earn my points over Angelus..." he noted... "And you know I was a family man ever afterwards even as Spike..."

"But those followers?...In Italy and round the world...?"

"Loyal crew my bunch..." Will nodded... "Kept mum for more than a century, even when you snapped one of their necks..."

"But...But they told us...Me...The Immortal'd been around for hundreds of years...We'd all heard that..."

"The former Immortal had been, mate...Some poof superhuman I ran into one rainy night in...Hmmn, Scotland I think...Remember when I took off after you and Dru?...Anyway this fellow called himself 'The Immortal', claimed he'd been fightin' evil...And his own mates...For centuries...Started making me some long speech about his destiny while groomin' himself and waving a sword...So, naturally I grabbed the poof's sword and let him have it in the neck..."

Next thing I knew his followers were calling me by that bloody awful title and pledgin' me eternal fealty as 'The...new...Immortal'...Some kinda inheritance by combat, top dog wins the marbles kinda thing...

As a hefty wad of cash and some nice houses came with said title, after I munched on a few, I accepted the inheritance...

"And, while my new folks couldn't obey immoral orders even from me, Spike liking the world in general, and loving the chance to put a few over on you, was not adverse to confining himself to limiting his requests to cash withdrawals, the occasional overnighter in one of his homes, and a rare good deed or two guaranteed...Like that stunt with the nuns...To tie your panties up..."

"But Glory, the First...If you were the Immortal..." Angel eyed Buffy as well... Surely this was something to piss her off...

"His people were only human, Angel..." Buffy frowned... "They'd just have gotten in the way, coming to Sunnydale...And until the chip and Will's soul's slow emergence, Spike wasn't much inclined to order them to help me...And they woulda refused orders to kill me or help others kill me..."

Besides...she beamed at her honey... "He did use them to help after he fell for me...They were researching Glory all that year...He had them consulting with the world's leading psychotherapists regarding what to do for my depression when I came back..."

"I meant it when I told her I could get money that year..." Will grinned... "But Buf had to do it on her own for her own sake..."

They were the ones who found him his demon soul-restoring god in Africa...she noted...

Hmmn...Did wonder how he'd managed to find that guy...Angel sighed...

"And who do you think found that amulet to give to the guys who gave it to you?..." Buffy eyed him...

"No wonder he was desperate that day you came...He knew it was the only hope to save the world and prove his redemption beyond all doubt...And he knew..." she gave him a deeply loving look... "He already knew what would happen to him..."

Wait...

"Your materialization..." "That was luck, mate...And it wasn't till Lindsay corporealized me that I was able to reach my people...Who told Buffy..."

Who thanked the God she'd been certain couldn't exist...Buffy sighed happily...And had Willow teleport him to Rome that afternoon...

"You went to Rome?!...You lied to me?!..." Human souled Harm called through the door...

"Had to, pet..." Will called back... "The Council was on the brink of ordering a pre-emptive strike against you here, after they'd failed to capture Angel with those cyborg agents earlier..."

When I had Willow send me back, I had to make you all believe that nonsense about my wantin' to keep my sacrifice pure...Though I did hope to win Humanity for Buf as a kinda wedding present...Till we agreed Dru deserved it more, poor lamb...

"Will insisted you'd come through...Even I had doubts but he was sure of you...So he agreed to monitor things in LA for us..." Buffy patted her honey fondly...



"Sorry for the deception, old pal...Had to be done to save your pointy-hair..."

"But in Rome...You were as shocked as..."

"My instructions..." Buffy frowned... "The Council was still considering what to do about you and Wolfram-Hart, Angel..."

Well, actually, just you...We'd decided to take the Partners and their globally Evil firm out...

"You were on probation, mate...We couldn't let you know and after one of your boys spotted me in disguise with Buffy one weekend..."

A great disguise...Buffy noted...Even fooled Andrew for a little while till he caught us the weekend after you came to Rome...

"I had to play along and go with you to Rome..." Will grinned... "It was for your own good, mate...Until you proved yourself..."

"But...Fred....Why didn't you?..." "I did, mate...Course I did...Every man and wiccan was on it...Including Willow and the Council...Giles' terseness was just a cover to keep the Partners thinking Buf and co were truly and finally cutting you out of their picture...Nothing could be done for her, poor sweet..."

Though she is safe in Heaven with Wes, we confirmed that...

"But that demon in Rome?..." Angel tried lamely... "The one who loved...You and your..."

"Books?...I am a poet and writer, mate....." "Who writes the most life-affirmin' books ever..." Buffy proudly noted... "And I use a stand-in for the book jacket...Some tall, dark, brooding guy..."

***

"But wait a minute...?" Angel tried one last, desperate effort...

"Who sent the capo?...Signed the note?..You were with me the whole..."

Buffy gave a Cheshire cat grin...

"I had Willow's girl Kennedy sign the card...She writes a very fine, bold hand doesn't she?..."

***

"Well..." William gave a wave...Buffy beaming... "We'll be off...The wedding..." "Reaffirmation of vows...And big reception..." Buffy firmly noted...

Wedding?...Reaffirmation?...Angel...And Harmony at the door, blinked...

Hold on the Cicely thing just yet, Buf...Will smiled at her...We want to tell everyone at once, remember?... "Right...Sorry, honey..." she nodded...

Cicely?...Angel blinked...

"...Anyway the wedding's set for Columbus Day weekend so if you guys can make it...Dru is a bridesmaid..." "You too, Harm...!" Buffy called...

"Thanks!...Who's Cicely?!..." "You'll hear the whole incredible tale in Rome...!"

"Dammit, Harmony!!..." "I'm goin', I'm goin'..."

They went out the door, Angel looking down at his desk...Wait...

He raced after them to find Harmony inquiring about job opportunities with the Slayer-Watcher Council/Immortal Associates Group...

"That guy you were with in Rome!...We saw you dancing...When the little demon grabbed the capo!...The bartender said you..."



"Told you to have some wine and relax...And he was one of our people, making sure you two didn't get hurt...Much... by that little guy's goons..." she grinned...

"Will has to do some things on his own, after all...Much as I hate him in any danger..."

Or you too, Angel...she nodded solemnly...

"Now that I'm convinced you never betrayed us for a deal with Evil..."

"All that moping in Rome, back here..." he growled at Will... "Had to play the role, boss...You hafta admit I threw the towel in rather easily and accepted my defeat with admirable restraint...No rejoining Evil in rage, etc..."

"Angel...We're sorry to have fooled ya..." Buffy sighed... "But you've won a great victory, with a little last-minute help...The Guardian of the Prophecy rewarded you with your curse-free soul after you helped Dru...You got Connor back...And a nice girl..."

"Dump the brood, you don't need it and you'll be a lot more attractive..." she patted him fondly...

***