Immortal Beloved..." LXXII...

... 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..."

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One week after the defeat of the Senior Partners...LA...

"What the hell is going on...Giles?...Dawn?..." Angel stared to find Giles and Dawn, with a number of young, grim-looking women in the conference room to which newly re-human-souled Harmony (a girl has to make sacrifices to get ahead sometimes) had summoned him, urgently...

William held firmly in the grip of four, (yep, definitely Angel realized) Slayers...Two confronting him with stakes...Though they seemed rather uncomfortable about it...

"Giles, what is this all..."

"Buffy..." Giles paused... "Her body was found in an alleyway dumpster three blocks from her apartment two days after you two were in Rome...She'd been strangled..."

What...? William gasped...Angel staring...

"Only someone who she knew...Trusted...Could've done...That to her..." Giles began... "And the police are certain she died within a few hours of when you last spoke to Andrew at her place..."

"You killed my sister, Spike...Like you always..." a trembling Dawn gave Will a hard stare...Her voice brittle...

Buffy...Will trembled... "The...Immortal..." he looked at Angel, teeth clenched...Angel turning to Giles...

"Look...Giles...I can positively swear that Spike was with me that whole night...We flew back immediately after we left Andrew at her place...At most we were separated twenty minutes at the airport...He've had to teleport to have done a thing...And he has no access here to that kind of power... "

The Slayers looked at each other, clearly uncertain... William would never...One noted, several nodding... "Mr. Giles?..." the first to speak began...

Giles sighed... "I see...Perhaps we've..." Dawn eyeing him...Giles?...

"Giles, he tried to rape her...You heard the police, the Immortal has an alibi...It couldn't have been him...I..."

I told her he seemed...That she oughta try...she faltered, head bowed, rubbing her temples...Then tensed...And glared at William...

"You...You got her to trust your kind!...She only believed in him cause he reminded her...Us!!...Both of you..." she turned to Angel now, then back to William... "She only wanted to find some way...She felt so bad after you...When Andy told us...When you didn't come..."

"I'm so sorry, Dawn..." he shook his head sadly as she broke down... "Giles..." he looked at the Council Chairman's stricken face...Giles moving to gently put an arm round Dawn...

"I'm sorry, William..." the Watcher looked over to him... "Let him go, ladies..." he motioned to the Slayers...



"However he did it, it must have been the Immortal...I should have realized his past deeds were a deception...Seen the signs...Kept a strict watch..."

"You say the Immortal has an alibi?..." Angel asked... He...Giles hesitated...

"He has witnesses to claim he'd gone on to a late business meeting after they separated at the club they were visiting that night...They could be lying, I suppose...Though there was no physical evidence of his on her...Body..."

"Why didn't you stay?!!...That night!!..." Dawn howled now at William... "She was so broken up over you, if you'd showed she'd've dumped that piece of...So fast...She would've been safe...Why didn't you stay?!!"

I thought she was happy...Settled...At last...he shook his head... "I didn't think she..."

"Bastard!...She loved you!...And you treated her like...!" Dawn went at him, fists flailing for a moment or two...Then sobbing as he embraced her... "She loved you, she loved you...So much..." she murmured...

"I know..." he rocked her gently...

"Giles, why didn't you call me...?" he looked at the Watcher...

"I should have...But after all the time that's passed...Not to mention our own joint history...And the Immortal was our first suspect, of course...It wasn't until the police checked on his witnesses the other day that Andrew told us you'd been in Rome that evening..."

"Yes...As usual to help Buffy..." Angel spoke up... "And as usual...This is the thanks we...You come in here, accusing William...Accusing me...Of God knows what...After a year of treating us like..."

Angel...William shook his head... "No..." Angel frowned... "Dawn, I'm as sorry as I can be about your sister...I loved her too, once...But she decided to cut us both out of her life...And you people have no right to come here and...I begged you for help for our poor Winifred, Giles and you know what you said to me..." he waved a hand...

"I'm sorry about Buffy...But it was your job to watch over her...Not ours...And for you two to come here like this..."

"Enough, mate..." Will glared... No...William...Giles shook his head...

"He's right...We had no right to charge in here...Especially after what happened with the Partners and poor Ms. Burkle...I was harsh then and too hasty now...And I can only say I am sorry, to both of you..."

"Were you afraid, Will?...She hoped you were..." Dawn told him quietly... "After Andy came back with Dana and told us the news..."

She did consider going to you...But she figured you'd let her know when you were ready...Then the months passed and...She thought maybe you hated her...

"Never..." he replied...Holding her face gently in his hands... "I could never hate her...I was afraid, Nibs...Afraid of losing that moment in the cavern when for just a minute, she did love me, I knew..."

"You were such a fool, Spike..." she sighed in his arms... "Yeah..." he hugged her...

"Well...Giles...You know we'll do whatever we can to help you bring the Immortal down..." Angel began... "I'm sure we can get these 'witnesses' to confess to the police after we sit down with them..."

And I'll take great pleasure in killing the so-called 'Immortal'...

"He seemed so nice...So sincere about the atonement/redemption thing..." Dawn frowned... "So like you...She said so...It was cause he reminded her of you..." she whispered in his ear...

"Poor Buffy..." Angel sighed... "Taken by surprise from behind like that...She must have trusted him completely, though, not to catch..."

I never said she was taken from behind...Giles thought, staring at Angel...As did William, Dawn, and the ten-odd Slayers who'd been eyeing Dawn and William sympathetically...

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