"Immortal Beloved..." LXXXI...



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..."

***



LA...Early morning of the final battle with the Senior Partners...

A scene of considerable devastation...Burned out cars, damaged and in some cases, burning buildings...To be reported shortly as the result of gang violence and ruptured gas lines...Fire trucks and ambulances only able to make their way to the outer fringes of the area...

Numerous bodies littering the area, though many in various stages of unusually rapid decomposition...And all but a tiny handful...Most of those unlucky innocents caught in the crossfire...Not exactly what one would call, human, in appearance...

And, all over the field of battle...Extending now for several city blocks from the Wolfram-Hart tower...Rounding up prisoners, attending to the demonic die-hards unwilling to surrender, collecting remains and materials for shipment and study, a horde of women, mostly, though not all young...Armed in the main with small, sharp pieces of wood...

On the street by the Wolfram-Hart tower, Angel staggered along, eyeing the battle scene, supported by Illyria, who'd just seen Charlie Gunn safely taken off to the nearest hospital by a group of the new Slayers whose sudden, near-miraculous arrival had turned the tide of what had seemed a hopeless fight into the final defeat of the Wolf, Ram, and Hart...

She made what sympathetic remarks she could glean from her Fredian memories, assuring her companion that his son was indeed safe...And on his way to join them...Gunn secure as well...

As for their other partner in the fight...No word as yet...

"William was badly injured when we were separated just before the Slayers arrived...But Ms. Summers is looking for him..." she noted...

"Then he'll be all right...If he is alive..." Angel nodded... "And happy, regardless...But lets try to find him..." he stumbled... "You've got to get some attention, Angel..." He shook his head...

" 'Sides..." she struggled briefly with the word... "Boss..." she gave her most Fred smile... "I'm pretty banged up myself, you gotta get me to a hospital...It's your duty as our CEO...Which you are for real, now..."

Buffy will find him...And would probably prefer to do it alone...she grinned at him... "We'll just be horning in..."

He smiled at her, nodding his thanks for her kind effort, but again shook his head... "I've got to try..." A grin... "He'd never let me hear the end of it if I left the battle before he was carried off..."



"But, you're right...We should let her try on her lonesome...So, lets head back down there..." he pointed...Eyeing her... "Are you ok?..."

Please...she frowned... "Very well, we'll search a little longer...But if you collapse again I will deposit you in the nearest transport..."

Say?...he glanced round...

What did they do with my dragon?...They did keep it for me?...he looked back anxiously...You did tell them?...he frowned...

Yeah, yeah...It's down that way...she pointed...

***

An alleyway three blocks to the south...Demon corpses everywhere...Many torn apart, in a rather distinctive style...

"William?..." A young red-haired Slayer stood by the body on the ground...A badly injured, but still moving blond-haired one... "William?...It is you, right?..."

He looked up vaguely... "I'm Claire, one of the Slayers...We're here to..." she looked up the alley as someone called to her...

"Buffy!...He's here!..." she waved...

Buffy?...he tried to turn... "Lie still, William...She's coming..."

"William?..." Buffy looked down at him... "It's him..." Claire nodded...

"We'd better get him to an ambulance..."

"Yeah...Go back down that way and see if you can get one through or get one as close as you can and then come back, with help...I'll try to call in and see if a helicopter can make it..."

"Buffy, there's still a lot of..." "I'll be fine...Go..." she smiled at the young Slayer, barely eighteen... "My guy here and me got some catchin' up to do anyway..."

Claire nodded and headed off...

Only puzzled a few moments later as she hurried along, looking for help...

She...Or both of us coulda carried him...Easy...

But I guess she didn't want to move him...

***

"William...Are you badly hurt?..." Buffy knelt by him...

"Only when I laugh, Slayer...Or cry...Or move...Or just lie still..." he smiled...Blinking at her...

You're here...You came...he whispered...

"Giles found out about Angel's scheme...His Benevolence confirmed the Partners' were moving to destroy him after he rebelled...We thought we'd best show up..." she looked him over...

And Andrew finally broke down when Giles called us all in to discuss the situation...she noted quietly...

She stared at him a moment...

"It was a shame you didn't come to Rome, Will...Things would have been so different..."



"I...Thought it was for the best, girl..."

"That was wrong...You should have believed me...Believed in me..." she sighed, eyeing him...And pulling out a cell phone...

"Hello?...Yes, it's me...Yes, the Partners are defeated...Yes, I found him...It's fine..."

William looked up at her...Trying to keep conscious...I mustn't pass out...It must not be a dream...I won't let it be a dream...

"He's badly hurt...Yes, Your Benevolence...I will..." she told the phone...William looking up at the title...

Well, doesn't sound too affectionate...he couldn't help smiling at the thought...

She put the open phone down and stared at him quietly...

"It is a shame you didn't come to Rome, William...Or stay when you did come...Everything might have been different if you had...But now, it's too late..."

"I see..." he nodded... "Well, nothing I didn't expect..." a slight groan...He twisted in agony...

"Are you in great pain?..." she looked at him... "Only my poor heart..." he smiled...

"His Benevolence would like you to know...He is sorry for you..." she said, in a flat, calm voice...That seemed drained of what faint emotion it had carried...

Really?...Bloody nice of the sob...William thought, glaring a bit but in too much pain to fully react to her now strangely emotionless manner...Her face quite calm and composed...Almost blank, in fact...

"As He was for me..." she continued... "Please believe that only the fact that such an opportunity...Through the Slayer Corps we brought into being, William...To bring universal peace...Will never arise again, would have led Him to take the actions He has..."

"Buffy?...What's..."

"And...He wants you to know...Nothing is intended personally..." she stared at him...Her face now completely expressionless...

"Buffy?..."

"But you are a potential threat, now that the Partners are gone and He can extend His benevolence over all the world..." she went on, speaking as if by rote...A lesson learned...

"Girl...What the hell is...?" he tried to rise a bit...No good...She gently restrained him with a firm hand...

"Please know your sacrifice is not in vain...Nor was mine...And His regret for us is sincere...But , though our sacrifices, He will unite the mortal and immortal worlds...Humanity will be cherished...Protected, under His benevolent guidance...Our goals, in the end, achieved..."

And for your own content...she paused...Pulling Mr. Pointy up as William looked up at her blank, emotionless face...

"I did fight Him, though this one time I was alone at the crucial moment...And there remains some part of me that will mourn you...He wants you to know that..." she staked him with a sudden move before he could try to dodge...And turned to the phone, still open beside her...Lifting it to her ear...

"It's done..." she told the phone, calmly... "You have the final proof of my utter devotion, Your Benevolence..."

As I destroyed him and gave my sister to your care, so I will deliver the Slayer Corps to you...And deal with Angel as soon as opportunity allows...

"Yes..." she replied to a question... "I should have no problems...There are still plenty of demons about...I'll go and find one, let him injure me, and bring his body here...No one will doubt my story..."

Yes, Your Benevolence...she nodded, listening carefully...Eyeing the ashes, now blowing away in the gentle breeze...



"There is a part of me that is very sad..."

***