Buffy didn't remember the traffic in LA being this bad or congested. She was sitting in a long line of cars, trying hard to get near downtown so she could go to the Hyperion Hotel. There was some pop song coming from the radio and she quickly turned it since it reminded her of Dawn, and what had happened. It'd been a few months since it'd happened, but Buffy still didn't like to think about it.
Everything was normal until suddenly one day they woke up and Giles had a daughter. Of course they thought she had always been there since their memories had been altered. It was Giles who had figured it out, and Buffy could remember the look in his eyes as he told Jenny and her. The daughter he adored so much was nothing but some mystical key.
But, Giles still treated Dawn like his daughter, and when Glory came after her, he protected her with his life. All of them did. And, when Dawn was taken, and put up on the tower, Giles sacrificed himself to save her.
The weeks following Giles death were a blur. They laid him to rest in England, and Jenny stepped up to take care of Dawn. There was a fight with the Council over the teenager, but Buffy had tried her best to make sure Dawn was safe with Jenny. After the adoption was final, Jenny and Dawn moved to Europe to get away from the memories of the Hellmouth and the man they'd both lost.
Giles, knowing how much Buffy was struggling with her slaying and the death of her mother, left an extensive library of books and research material. Willow understood it better, and while explaining it to her, they found an envelope addressed to Wesley. The girls figured Giles had wanted to send it before but was sidetracked by Glory and Dawn.
It was then that Buffy realized she was no longer needed in Sunnydale. It was where her friends lived, but it was also the place that held too many bad memories. When the tower had been built over the Hellmouth, the Hellmouth was destroyed when the portal was closed by Giles. Sunnydale was now Hellmouth-free and a Slayer was no longer needed. And, it was time for Buffy to move on.
She packed her bags, along with several boxes, and left Sunnydale. Her first stop was going to be LA. She figured she could stay there for a while and relax before finding someplace to go. But, first, she needed to give Wesley the envelope.
When the traffic started to move again, Buffy drove to the hotel. She was looking forward to Wesley, especially since she was going to give him all Giles' books. Buffy still felt bad about the way she'd treated him when he first was her Watcher, but over time she learned how to respect him, and actually like him a lot. She felt guilty because she hadn't had the chance to tell him about Giles' death yet.
Arriving at the hotel, Buffy felt her body tense. She wasn't looking forward to see Angel. At all. When she walked in, she was greeted by another girl.
"Hi, I'm Fred," the girl said with a smile. "Welcome to Angel Investigation. We help the helpless. Even though Angel isn't here right now. He had to go find himself even though I don't think he's really that lost but he said he was so he left and hasn't came back but we can still help you!"
Buffy grinned, thinking of how much Fred reminded her of Willow. She was also happy that Angel wasn't there. "I'm Buffy. Old friend of the gang. Is Wes around?" she asked.
"He's in his office," Fred said, pointing toward the door.
"Thanks," Buffy said before she moved around the counter. When she got to the opened door, she smiled when she saw Wesley pouring over his books. She always thought he was cute when he was bent over a book, but would never tell anyone that. "Hey," she finally said. "Got a few minutes for your ex-Slayer?"
When Wesley heard Fred start her introduction out at the reception desk, he couldn't help but smile a little. He had to give her credit for trying to both explain Angel's absence and reassure clients in the same breath. He also had to give her credit for actually making it through that whole thing in the same breath. It was quite endearing really, one of the things he had come to enjoy about her.
The client's response was too soft for him to hear, so he figured that he'd finish up what he was doing and go out to see what was going on. If this was a paying case, they'd have to take it, no matter what it was. He really didn't want to have to touch his trust if he could help it.
But before he could finish, he heard the familiar voice at the door to the office and looked up, only to see a fuzzy form in front of him. He then realized he had taken his glasses off, so he picked them up and put them back on, blinking a couple of times as his eyes focused. He couldn't believe it. "Buffy?" he said, getting up and walking over to her.
Sure enough, it was Buffy, and she was standing there.
"It's...of course, I have a few minutes for you. I have all the time in the world for you," he told her. "Please, come in. Fred, have you met Buffy? She's the one I told you about."
Smiling softly, Fred nodded as she came to the door. "We met out there just now."
"Oh, yes, of course you did." He felt a bit stupid for that, but he was just amazed to see Buffy of all people there. "How is everything? Is Rupert all right? I've been trying to reach him the last couple of months, but I haven't heard back from him, and I've been starting to get rather worried."
Buffy waited for Wesley to put his glasses on and smiled when he stood up. When he spoke to Fred, she turned and smiled at her before looking at Wes again. "Some things never change, do they? I can't remember how many times I had to throw something at you to get your attention in the library," she said.
When he mentioned Giles' name, Buffy visibly stiffened. She didn't know how she was going to tell him about what had happened. "That's the reason why I'm here." She went over to the couch and sat down before taking a deep breath. "Giles is gone. We tried to call you but some guy by the name of Gunn answered and said you were out of town and he didn't know when you'd be back. And then things got busy..."
She looked up at him and frowned. "I'm sorry, Wes, but Giles is dead. Dawn wasn't real. She was this mystical key, made by monks or something. All the memories you have of her, aren't real. Dawn was the key to opening a portal and this demon Glory wanted her. They built a tower over the Hellmouth and kidnapped her. Giles figured out a way to stop Dawn from dying and to close the portal, but he died in the process. The portal closed and destroyed the Hellmouth," Buffy quietly said.
"I'm sorry," Fred said.
"Thank you," Buffy said, giving her a watery smile. She turned her attention to Wesley and pulled out the envelope. "I found this in Giles' things. It's addressed to you so I decided I should bring it to you. And I have some of his books for you too. He would've wanted you to have them."
She stood a little and placed the envelope on the desk, but sitting back down and wiping the tears from her eyes. "I'm going to spend a few days in LA, then I'm leaving. I don't know where but I'm not needed in Sunnydale anymore and the Council hates me, so I guess I'm finished with being a Slayer." Buffy had sometimes wished she could stop being a Slayer, but now that she wasn't needed, she didn't know where to go, or what to do.
Buffy's change of expression when he mentioned Rupert set alarms off in Wesley's head, especially when she said that he was the reason that she was there. When she said he was gone, his brow furrowed. Gone? She didn't mean...? He couldn't be...
Oh, God, she did mean. Sitting down heavily, Wesley felt his throat tighten as she explained what had happened.
Rupert had died. Died to save the girl he thought was his daughter. He was really gone.
Before he could say anything, ask after Jenny and Dawn, Buffy placed the envelope on his desk, not sure if he should open and read it now or wait. Part of him wanted to share what he had written with her, knowing how much she had meant to him, but part of him wanted to see what was in there first.
The envelope, however, was pushed aside when Buffy mentioned that she was going to be leaving after a few days, that she was done being a Slayer. He stood up, wanting to hug Buffy, but he wasn't sure that she would want him too. They had just managed to find an understanding before he had left - he didn't want to destroy that by doing something she didn't want him to.
"Buffy..." he said softly, looking over at Fred, hoping that she wouldn't mind what he was about to ask. Rupert would never have forgiven him if he had let her walk out of there, just like that. "If you want, you can stay here. I--you shouldn't be alone know, and Fred and I...we wouldn't mind the company. It is just the two of us here, and it's a big hotel."
Fred nodded and smiled, and Wesley wanted to kiss her for understanding. "I think that's a great idea. Stay with us, Buffy."
"If you still want to leave in a few days, we'll understand," Wes continued as he picked up the envelope.
Buffy felt her throat tighten when Wesley sat down next to her. Part of her wanted to fling her arms around him and cry. She'd received support from her friends, but she believed she had to be the strong one. It was her responsibility to make sure Dawn, and the rest of them, were handling Giles' death. It was something she knew Giles would've wanted her to do.
When Wes offered to let her stay there, tears came to Buffy's eyes. "I'd like that," she said, giving him a watery smile. "I don't remember the last time I had a good night sleep. It's been crazy with making sure Dawn was okay, and getting her moved to England with Jenny."
"We have a lot of room here. Wes and I sleep on the second floor. There's an empty room next to Wesley's," Fred said with a smile. She walked over to the desk and picked up a tissue and handed it to Buffy.
"Thanks, Fred," Buffy said as she took the tissue. She watched as Fred squeezed in beside Wes. It was obvious the girl liked him a lot, which made Buffy move away from Wesley. She didn't want to get in the way of Fred's feelings for him. And there was definitely feelings there, especially with the way Fred was looking at him.
"So, what's in the envelope?" Buffy asked. Maybe it was something to do with a demon she could kill.
"Yeah, Wes and Cordy." Buffy didn't want to admit that she was jealous of Cordy and how Wes was always looking at Cordy, like she was the most important person in the world. Sometimes she wished he would've looked at her that way too. "It didn't last long because Cordy thought he was a bad kisser." Buffy shook her head and opened the door to the hotel. "And Wes does like you. I can see it in the way he looks at you. Plus, you're really pretty, Fred so why wouldn't he."
She helped carry some of the boxes in as Fred told her about her ex-boyfriend. Buffy was glad that someone understood what she felt. Her friends in Sunnydale sometimes asked why Angel and her couldn't get along. After all, they were in love at one time and everyone thought they should be best friends. "I'm glad you understand," Buffy said as she softly squeezed Fred's arm.
When Wes came out, his eyes widening at all the books, Buffy giggled. "Isn't he cute like that?" she said as she grinned at Fred. "And yes, there's a lot of books. He had stored a lot of them after graduation. Then he thought he was going to move away but then decided to stay because Dracula showed up and he sort of...seduced me. It was weird. Giles doesn't he didn't want to leave then because it was obvious we couldn't handle ourselves without him."
Talking about Giles was hard so Buffy decided to change the subject. "So...researching! Where do we start, Wes?" she asked, sitting opposite of him so Fred could sit by him.
When Wesley saw the look that passed between Buffy and Fred when she said he was cute, he felt like he had just been left out of some big joke. Cute? Since when did Buffy Summers think he was cute? And why were they grinning each other that way. Dear lord - him and two women in the same hotel...what had he been thinking?
But then, the feeling in the room suddenly changed as Buffy spoke about Giles and how he had changed his plans to stay in Sunnydale. He knew how much he had cared about Buffy and the rest of them, so his decision to stay didn't suprise him. And he very much doubted that it had anything to do with him feeling that they couldn't handle things without him there.
He wanted to reach over and pull her into another embrace, but before he could, she sat down across the coffee table on the other couch. A pang ran through him at that...though it was soothed somewhat when Fred moved to sit next to him instead. Why was he so disappointed that Buffy was over there? He didn't understand it. But he was glad that Fred was there and almost shifted over slightly just so he could be closer to her.
"Well, I suppose that first we need to locate the book Giles was talking about in his letter. Do you know, did he happen to have a book sitting with the envelope when you found it?"
He rather hoped that he had because the idea of having to go through all those boxes to find the one book Giles meant was a bit daunting. And he didn't say that lightly, considering some of the things he had been forced to go through for reasearch in the past.
Buffy furrowed her brow at Wesley’s question. “I’m not sure. There was a lot of moving of things when we were cleaning out his study,” she explained. She thought for a moment and then remembered the black book the envelope was sitting on top of. “I think I may know the book. I sat it on top of one of the boxes.”
She went over to the pile of boxes and moved them around with ease. Soon, she found the black book and turned around to see Fred staring at her. Buffy gave her a small smile and started to walk toward them.
Buffy was almost to them when she tripped and landed on their laps. Her cheeks started to burn with a blush. “Sorry,” she muttered as she slowly picked herself up. “You’d think I’d be more stealthy being a Slayer and all.”
“It’s the boxes fault,” Fred said. Buffy looked down at her and saw she was blushing too. “It kinda stepped out in front of you.”
“Well, I’ll have to deal with it later. Do you think they make a stake for boxes?” she asked with a small laugh.
“Just box cutters!” Fred said with a giggle.
Buffy smiled at her and slipped in beside Wesley. She was close enough to smell his aftershave and it was driving her crazy. With a smile, she placed the book on his lap. “There’s a couple pages marked,” she explained. The book was big so when Buffy started to open it, Fred reached over and helped her. “Here’s one page.” She turned to the another marked page, “And here’s the other.”
She looked up at Wesley, her cheeks still burning, and waited to see if this was the right book.
Wesley hoped that the book that Buffy thought was the one was indeed it. As much as he enjoyed research, he didn't relish the idea of trying to figure out which one had been the one Giles was referring to. He was holding out his hand to take the book from her when she returned when suddenly he found himself with an armful of Slayer instead.
He was about to say something when Buffy and Fred started talking instead. Now he really felt like he had been left out some sort of joke. Obviously, they had bonded in the time that they had been bringing the boxes in from outside. It rather hit Wesley in the heart that they could get to know each other so easily and talk like they'd known each other for months if not years, and he had trouble asking someone he had been practically living with for months out on a date. He always had trouble connecting to people when he met them, even Cordy, given how that had ended up.
As Buffy slipped beside him, however, he found himself distracted. He had two quite attractive women sitting on either side of him...and he could feel himself warming up.
"What?" he asked, realizing that Buffy was telling him something. He looked down at the book stretched across his lap and saw the pages that were marked. Reaching up, he flipped back and forth, furrowing his brow. The language in the book was very obscure - an old dialect from a demon tribe that had died out a very hundred years ago. It was also one of the languages his father had forced him to learn from a young age.
When he managed to pick out the words "Vampire" and "Son", he actually found himself very glad that he had. He'd have to work on the dialect, but at least he had a good place to start.
"This is the book," he told Buffy, looking up at her, suddenly realizing how warm it was in there again. He felt Fred leaning closer to look at the pages in the book. "I...erm...should be able to translate these pages fairly quickly. It's just a slightly older dialect that the version of the language I was taught. I should be able to figure out the words from their similarities and context."
Wesley seem distracted and Buffy raised her eyebrows and glanced over at Fred. The other girl merely shrugged her shoulders. Buffy had known Wes long enough and knew he sometimes would lose himself in researching. And when he started to talk, Buffy moved closer.
"If you need me to help you cross reference anything, I will," Fred said before she looked over at Buffy. "Buffy will help too."
Buffy was too busy watching Wes' hands move over the page and hadn't heard anything Fred had said. Wesley had beautiful hands and she couldn't help but to wonder if they were as soft as they looked. "Sure," she muttered, not knowing what she was agreeing to. "What's this mean?" She pointed to the page and then placed her hand over Wesley's to show him what she was referring to.
"I think it's referring to the section down there," Fred said as she placed her hand on the book also.
Buffy's hand was still on top of Wesley's and somehow, Fred's hand had slipped under theirs. Buffy looked over at Fred, who was staring at her and Wes. A small blush crept over her face again and she looked down at their hands. All of this should feel strange but it didn't. "Maybe all of us can walk on it," she said, without moving her hand.
"I think that's a good plan," Fred added.
Buffy watched Fred leave the hotel, her lips still tingling with the last kiss, before turning to look at Wes. She watched him move to get the green book as she positioned herself to take notes. When he started to translate the text, she made a few notes as she moved closer to him to look at the text also.
When he said Angel was going to have a son, Buffy gave him a confused look. "You're right. That's not possible," she said as she glanced down at her notes. "First, dead seed, and second, he can't have sex without losing his soul. It doesn't make any sense, unless the son is not literal. Kind of like an 'adopted' son. Or maybe a son that's made up like Dawn is." Her throat closed a little when she thought of Dawn and Giles.
Looking down at the pad, she noticed she'd written 'Jesus Christ' down and blinked. "What if it's like Jesus' birth? His parents didn't have sex. Angel could have a son by a virgin, and then the son would become a spiritual leader." It sounded weird and it didn't make much sense to her. Unless...
"What if Angel's son is the second coming of Christ?" Buffy wasn't a religious person but she remembered what she'd learned by watching old documentaries on the History Channel.
"I don't think this means adopted or created," Wesley told Buffy as he looked back to the language key he had used. "It's not perfectly analogous because of the language changes, but the closest word in here is definitely begets, which is very biblical and indicates a direct biological link."
Suddenly, he noticed that she had gone very quiet at the mention of Dawn and wondered if she was thinking about Rupert again. Reaching over, he rubbed her arm gently, wishing there was something he could do to take her pain away. But he knew short of bringing Rupert back, all he could do was offer support for her loss.
She seemed to push it away, after a moment and came up with another theory, which caused Wesley to knit his eyebrows together. "I...I don't think that's possible..." He didn't want Buffy to feel bad about her idea, so he tried to think of how to best explain it - without coming off as conscending at the same time, something he'd been raked over the coals several times for by Cordy. "In the bible, it was always noted that Mary was born without sin, so that she was...right to carry him. Angel has a demon inside him, thus he would carry sin in a biblical sense, so whatever this son is, I don't think he's the second coming."
He tapped the page of the book they had been translating. "Obviously, though, he's important enough to warrant a prophecy. The child of a vampire would be unheard of in any event. We just need to figure out what."
Just then, Fred came in, holding several bags of food in her hand. "Tacos are served," she said with a smile, hurrying down into the lobby and over to where they were sitting. "Did I miss anything exciting while I was gone?"
Buffy could admit languages wasn't her strong point. She knew how to use English and read it, and even knew a few words in Spanish, but sometimes the meaning of words were lost to her. How was she supposed to know what begets meant, and she didn't have Willow there to tell her. Shrugging, she still thought the whole notion of Angel having a kid was strange. How did someone that wasn't alive create life?
When Wesley shot down her Jesus theory, Buffy glanced over at him. "Mary must've led a boring life. Most people commit their first sin by the time their five. Did her parents slap a chastity belt on her and keep her lock in a tower?" she asked just as Fred came back in with the food. Buffy smiled and started to clean the books off the couch, knowing Wes wouldn't want them eating around them.
"Angel's going to have a son," Buffy said as Fred handed everyone their drink.
"Angel can't have a child," Fred pointed out as she gave Wes and Buffy a confused look.
"That's what Wes translated," Buffy said. Fred still looked confused but seemed more interested in the tacos at the moment. She unpacked the tacos and handed them out before sitting on the other side of Wesley.
"I still don't see how it's possible. Do you think it's possible for a vampire's biology to be changed enough to be able to produce a child? It'd be interesting to research," Fred said before she bit into her taco. She glanced down at the book Wesley had translated from and furrowed her brow. "The Nyazian Scrolls? Do we have those?"
Wesley couldn't help but chuckle at Buffy's question about Mary and the chastity belt. "Views on women were very different then, so it's fairly certain that Mary's parents kept her on what you and Fred would feel was a very short leash," he said. "Of course, her getting pregnant out of wedlock, even by God, caused quite a scandal."
He took his drink from Fred as Buffy explained what was going on to her, using his free hand to scribble a few more things down in the notebook Buffy had set down before putting it on on the table in front of him. He then took his share of the tacos, which he balanced on his knee while Fred sat down beside him. There was something quite nice about being able to sit like this between two beautiful women.
Of course, they really needed to focus on their research. Whatever was being prophecized about Angel, it seemed quite important.
"I don't know whether a vampire's biology could be changed enough...at least not scientifically," Wesley replied to Fred before taking a sip of his drink. "Although...if there was mystical intervention...? We all know that practically anything is possible when that happens."
Taking a bite of his taco, he noticed Fred looking over what he had Buffy had done so far. Hopefully, she'd be able to see something more than either of them had.
And apparently, she did.
"The Nyazian scrolls?" he asked, furrowing his brow in a mirror of Fred.
"That's what this says. Something about referring to them?" she said, pointing to the words.
"I...that sounds familiar..." He ate the rest of his taco before getting up and looking through the stack of books he had brought out. When he found what he was looking for, he sat down with it, opening it up and flipping through it. "Here. The Nyazian Scrolls are a set of prophecies written by a demon race thousands of years ago. They must have more about this prophecy regarding Angel and his son."
Fred scooted closer and looked over his shoulder. "Any idea where they might be now?"
Looking over the book he held, Wesley shook his head. "Just that they've been passed around in that time and are considered one of the most valuable things in the demon world." He looked up at Fred and Buffy. "We may have to resort to more technological means to find them."
Buffy sat back on the couch and was about to suggest they look through the other books when Fred noticed something Wes and her hadn't. She watched with interest as Wesley got up and picked up another book and flipped through it. Buffy had never been a fan of researching but over the years she'd been taught to tolerate it. All she wanted to do was slay and not worry about what the big bad of the week wanted. Giles, and later Wesley, had changed all that.
When Wesley sat back down, she peered over his shoulder as he read about the scrolls. "When we were protecting Dawn from Glory, Giles mentioned these I think. Will and him were talking about a set of scrolls with a bunch of prophecies in it but they couldn't find the scrolls. Giles mentioned some guy's name but I can't remember it right now," she said as she looked down at her lap, trying hard to remember who they'd been talking about.
Suddenly, Fred rose from the couch and went over to the counter to retrieve her laptop. She brought it back over and sat down again. "Some auction houses in Los Angeles sell demon artifacts but they don't advertise them. Only their richest clients are told of the auctions," Fred explained to them. She entered some data in and then nodded. "The scrolls were up for auction in January of this year. Huh...this is interesting. According to the bid records, one of the bidders was a representative from Wolfram and Hart."
"The evil law firm?" Buffy asked as she looked over at the screen. "They didn't win them, did they?"
"No. Actually a man by the name of John Hawthorne was the winning bidder. He paid with cash and took the scrolls a few days later," Fred said before typing more information in. "He lives in a gated community right outside of Los Angeles." She looked over at Wes. "We've passed it once or twice when we had to go out to the Bluffs on that one case. It has a lot of security but nothing I can't override and get past."