Title: Should the Wide World Roll Away
Concrit: Please! Comments are always welcome. I love to know you're reading.
Disclaimer: All characters are borrowed with respect from Joss Whedon.
Warnings: None for this chapter.
Summary: Buffy and Willow chat. Spike gives Cordy a mini panic attack. Julian speaks to the Powers...he's not pleased.
Notes: Oh my God, another chapter! Finally. I'm SO sorry it took so long. This semester has been so hectic. It's finally winding down so (with luck) I should be able to get back to posting more regularly. Hopefully I haven't lost too many readers. Again, I apologize profusely for taking so very long with this one. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
The girl's feet thudded against the sidewalk, as she quickened her pace. The late autumn air seemed to press in on her from all sides, encroaching in on the imaginary bubble of safety where she usually lived. Drawing the collar of her coat more tightly around her neck, the girl pushed herself to walk faster, a gust of wind taking the air from her and whipping her long curls into her eyes. She paused then, stopping to brush away the strands caught in her eyes. Once again able to see, the girl's eyes grew wide and terror-filled, fixed on the menacing man suddenly standing in front of her. The man flashed his teeth and as he did she thought she saw a set of what looked like fangs. The girl let out a horrified scream then, turning away and sprinting back in the other direction, the snarling man close behind her.
"Stop hogging all the popcorn!"
"Oh…Sorry Willow," Buffy said absently, grabbing another handful before passing the bowl over to her friend. "Honestly," she said, eyes fixed on the television screen, "what is that girl doing? She's begging to be some vamp's midnight snack." Buffy leaned back, resting against the sofa. "It's like these movie guys don't even try!"
"But it's sort of realistic, yeah?" Willow said after swallowing around a mouthful of popcorn. "If it wasn't, you'd be out of a job."
"That'll never happen, Wills," Buffy scoffed. Buffy sighed heavily as the movie monster overtook the girl onscreen and latched greedily onto her neck. "Ugh. Still disgusting."
Willow set the half-empty bowl of popcorn aside, turning herself to more fully face her friend. "So…why the grumpy face?"
"It's nothing, Wills."
"Come on," Willow said coaxingly. "Monster movies normally make you laugh, not preach about how dumb pretend victims are acting."
"It's not just pretend victims, though; that's the thing! You're right. It is realistic. That doesn't exactly give me the giggles."
Willow just stared steadily back at Buffy, waiting for the real issue to emerge from the barrage of complaints her friend was using in an attempt to distract from whatever the real problem was. She didn't have to wait long.
"That guy…Xander. He was talking to Giles again today. About Angel." She paused, her stare drifting to somewhere far away for a long moment before continuing. "He said Angel is a vampire. That he had a soul, but lost it. It sounds like Giles believes him."
Buffy looked over at Willow, like she was waiting for the redhead to say something, but as the silence extended, Buffy looked away, studying the carpet fibers beneath her, and spoke again.
"Giles said he was going to do some research. His answer to everything," she said, smiling mostly to herself. "But he sounded pretty sure that this Xander was telling the truth."
The girls sat there, not talking, the noises from the movie barely penetrating the thickness of the air around them. "But it can't be true, right? I mean, he must be mistaken. Angel's been nothing short of a gentleman to me. If he was a vamp, he'd have tried to kill me…right?"
"It's definitely strange," Willow said quietly.
"I should check in with Giles. See if he's found out anything yet."
Feeling slightly more like herself now that she had a plan, Buffy stood and padded out to the kitchen to retrieve the cordless house phone. She lowered herself onto the edge of the couch and Willow looked up at her from the floor as Buffy dialed her Watcher's number. Punching in the last digit, Buffy raised the phone to her ear, listening to the dial tone and waiting.
"Uh…Spike?" Cordelia asked tentatively. Spike's eyes were still fixed on the scrap of paper he had torn down from the door, the rumbling growl becoming louder and more vicious sounding as his eyes scanned the words in front of him once more. Without another thought in his mind except making sure Xander was alright before finding Angelus and giving him a final death to remember, Spike wrenched open the door, ready to dart off into the night. Afraid he had forgotten about her and that he would leave her behind, Cordelia called out to Spike a second time.
Spike's head snapped around; golden eyes bore into Cordelia's and it was plain that she had indeed been forgotten. The demon seemed to retreat back inside Spike, however, when he saw Cordelia clumsily retreat backward into the house and collapse, horrified, against the closest wall, holding her side. The gold faded from Spike's eyes then, and they were once again a cool blue. The note from Angelus was still clasped in his tightly closed fist, crumpled as he restrained himself, with much effort, from just leaving the girl behind.
As Spike approached her, swiftly spanning the distance between them, catlike, Cordelia met his gaze with bravado she no longer felt, desperately trying to keep herself from sinking back further against the wall. She opened her mouth, searching her mind frantically for something she could say to save herself. But before any one thought could form fully in her mind, Spike was looming over her, an unreadable expression on his face.
"Come on," Spike said quietly, flatly, extending a hand down toward Cordelia. "Up you get."
Cordelia hesitated and gold sparks flashed in Spike's eyes. "I don't have time for your shite, missy. Come now or I'm leaving you here and Angelus can have you."
"No! Please!" Cordelia grabbed hold of Spike's hand and he bent down, wrapping his other arm around the girl's waist to help her up. Cordelia started, surprised once again at how gentle this apparent monster could be.
"Have to hurry now, ducks," Spike said, before scooping Cordelia up into his arms and carrying her out into the night and to his car, leaving the front door wide open.
"Why did you bring Angelus back? What purpose does this serve?"
"You have no grounds to demand anything of us Seer." Twin voices echoed through the immense space, the sound seeming to expand, seeming to intone every molecule of air with their harmonious speech.
"What you ask – "
" – is not ours to tell."
"You have an inflated sense of your importance. There are things older than the Powers. Things you have no control over, despite what you may think. You would do well to remember that."
"You overstep your bounds," the male voice responded scornfully.
"I am not one of your instruments. You hold no power over me. You are nothing but bratty children toying with things better left alone. Should you not tell me what I wish to know, trust that someone else will. But if I am forced to search elsewhere I will be less than pleased."
"You are insignificant, Seer," the female voice said after a pause. "Your words mean little – "
" – mean nothing," the male voice added snidely.
"Your time here has been wasted," said the female voice.
"I will get my answers. Trust in that.. You are foolish to act as if you are the only Beings that control the Fates on this plane of existence. I will get my answers. I will understand why Angelus was resurrected. And you will pay for your insolence."
The male's arrogant laugher reverberated, reaching out into the void of space, just as the voices had.
Quite suddenly the Seer lost control of his body and was thrown forcefully down into a seated position, landing in a chair that had seemingly materialized from thin air. It felt as if his eyes were sealed shut impossibly tight and he thrashed against the bonds he felt around him trying as hard as he could to free himself. The Seer's eyes shot wide open then and he sat, silent and still, staring straight ahead with solid white eyes. It's as I feared, then, he thought, slumping forward and allowing his eyes to flutter shut a moment, the white fading away and returning to normal sparkling black, the Powers don't know. They don't know why Angelus was brought back. Their orders must have come from higher up.
Julian heard footsteps approaching then, and glanced over with mostly-closed eyes to a middle-aged man wearing glasses trussed up in the chair beside him before raising his chin to look up to the figure hovering over him.