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Variations on a Theme

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Summary: So what happened at the meeting between Angel and Buffy in season 6? And which Buffy are we talking about, anyway?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralMediancatFR1559,329271,89425 Feb 0725 Feb 07Yes

Welcome to Santa Carolita

Author’s Note: This may be the most crossovery non-crossover you’re ever going to see. This is an old fic I began years ago, and only now decided to finish.

Disclaimer: Angel and Buffy and Buffy and Buffy and Buffy and the villains were created by Joss Whedon. Buffy, Buffy, and Buffy were created by me. As was the city of Santa Carolita.

X X X X X

“Do we have it?”

“We have it.”

“Well, alright. This is gonna bring us a lot of money. Is it secure?”

“As secure as something like that CAN be. I think a couple of waves got off, though.”

“Yeah, I noticed the first one. But you say two?”

“Second one was more concentrated. If we hadn’t had these amulets, who knows what would’ve happened? I dunno about you, but the idea of spinning through infinity doesn’t appeal to me.”

“Me either, Kurowski. Now all we gotta do is move the creature. So . . . any ideas on how we can do that?”

X X X X X

Damn, damn, damn. He was late.

And this was the last thing he wanted to be late for. To see her again -- to touch her, only for a moment --

She was alive. Alive.

And then as he barreled out of town there was that boy being assaulted by the vampire -- and he wasn’t going to let a teenager die just to make sure he got down to see Buffy five minutes faster.

Also, it’s not like she was going to stand there, look at her watch, and head back to Sunnydale in four minutes.

When Willow had been there last May -- when she’d come up to tell him Buffy had died -- he’d been angry. Furious. Not at her, and certainly not at Buffy, but at those damned Powers That Be for letting him shuffle off to Pylea when he could have been down in Sunnydale helping protect Buffy from that goddess wannabe. He’d been so angry he’d gone off around the world, eventually winding up in a Buddhist monastery that wasn’t quite as it seemed.

Just once, he would have liked to visit a place that was as it seemed. A restaurant that wasn’t secretly a demon headquarters. An office building where they just sold insurance. A hospital where all they did was cure the sick, not steal their body parts. And so on.

Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to be his destiny.

At least he knew about this place going in. Santa Carolita, a town about halfway between LA and Sunnydale, wasn’t quite the magnet for weirdness either of those two were, but served as a convenient stopping point for demons on the way from one to the other. The place wasn’t quite abandoned, but it was a shadow of its former self. There were as many abandoned buildings as there were active ones.

He’d heard there was a sizeable “underground economy,” but at this point he’d have let Dracula stroll by as long as he wasn’t bothering anyone.

The major landmark in Santa Carolita was a magnificent abandoned train station -- a giant marbled structure that looked like it should have been built a hundred years ago, not twenty-five. They were meeting out front; the area for blocks around Vampires and other assorted demons tended to hang about inside, but he and Buffy weren’t going inside. He parked his car and began to walk there.

Hmmm. The town seemed oddly quiet. Even with the more than usually active night life, he should have seen someone, in the windows if nowhere else. But the way Santa Carolita was tonight, it was like everyone had moved out ten minutes ago. And he didn’t think the whole town was being thoughtful enough to give him and Buffy some quiet time.

Speaking of -- “Buffy!” He shouted. No answer. “Buffy! Where are you?”

He felt an arm around his throat, then he was pulled into an alley. After about thirty feet, he broke free and spun around.

It was her. Buffy. Dressed all in black and looking somewhat battered, but it was her. Before he could even begin to embrace her, though, she slapped him and said, “Are you out of your mind? Are you trying to let the enemy know where I am?”

Now he was confused. “Enemy?”

She sighed. “This is not the time for a brain freeze. I love you, you know that, but this is too dangerous to be taken lightly. I only agreed to this meeting because you said you had important information for the resistance, and -- get down!”

A jeep drove by the end of the alley. Instinctively, he’d ducked on hearing Buffy’s words, so he didn’t get a good look at the occupants. The thousand-watt flashlight aimed at his eyes didn’t help matters much, either.

Who was that and why would Buffy be trying to avoid them? And what was that about resistance?

He heard the jeep stop, followed by “They’re down there! Get them!” The voice was crisp and military. Had the army come to take some kind of revenge, or . . .

An elbow in his side interrupted his thoughts. “You wanna stand there, or do you want to live?” Buffy said. “Up.” And then she climbed up a fire escape.

A bullet narrowly missing him convinced Angel to follow her up, though before he dodged into the house she snuck a quick look at the soldiers.

There were four, but he didn’t get much beyond that because of their uniforms. Sixty years had only brought about quite a few changes . . . but the armband on the sleeve was still there.

The one with the swastika.

X X X X X

“What about the truck? Is that big enough?”

“The truck’s plenty big. It’s how we get the Hopper onto it that’s the problem.”

“It’s not that heavy. I think between the two of us we could pick it up --”

“You ever tried to pick up an angry cat? This’d be about fifty times worse. Only thing those restraints do is stop it from shifting and clawing us to death.”

“We need the Crocodile Hunter.”

“Yeah. Too damn bad I forgot to ask him to come along, ain't it?”

X X X X X

She didn’t know what was wrong with Angel.

First he called and said he had some papers the Resistance might find useful -- and then when he finally shows up, five fucking minutes late (and he should know better than to be as much as a minute late when it came to keeping clear of the Germans) -- and then he acted clueless.

He wouldn’t have wasted her time. And this was Angel. She was certain. The official German policy was that magic didn’t exist -- and even their unofficial Reichsmagier weren’t nearly up to the level of the Resistance’s wizards. Since they would have had a hard time coming up with a convincing doppelganger, the Germans would have found it impossible.

That was pretty much the only thing they had going for them. The other good news was that the vampires and demons weren’t happy about the concept of a repressive government, either. Saying they and the Americans were allies was ridiculous. But you handled the greater evil first.

Angel served as a good go-between. He moved easily between both worlds. And he was reliable.

Usually.

On to the problem at hand. Buffy had brought few weapons with her, the better to move quickly. Certainly nothing she could use to take down four soldiers quickly. And Angel didn’t usually come armed.

It would have been a great time for him to start, though.

X X X X X

“Nazis?” Angel asked as they ran for the rooftop.

“Well yeah,” Buffy said. “Who else were you expecting?”

“Nazis . . .” he repeated. “What the hell are they doing in California?”

“Trying to take over the last free nation in the world,” Buffy said. “And they’ve damn near succeeded.”

“Nuclear bombs not enough of a deterrent?”

“Nuclear what?” Buffy said. “Never mind. We have to get ready for them. Fight or flight?”

Angel could hear the soldiers coming up the stairs behind them. If he remembered correctly, there were four of them. He could figure out what was going on after he made sure he wasn’t going to get shot. “Will they be expecting us to run?” Buffy nodded. “Then fight.”

A few seconds later, the first soldier kicked open the door and saw Buffy standing across the rooftop, hands at her sides. “I give up,” she said. “Please, please don’t kill me!”

The soldier raised his rifle for a second and stepped out from the doorway, followed by another and then a third.

That’s when Angel jumped them from above. He tackled two of the Nazis as Buffy drew a pistol and calmly shot the third in the face.

If anything had been needed to settle the question, that had. The Buffy he knew would have never killed a human except under much greater provocation. Knocking their heads together as hard as he could, Angel left his two victims unconscious and spun to take on the fourth soldier --

Who had his rifle leveled at the both of them. He had the advantage, and he knew it. He smiled --

And that hesitation was his downfall. Someone charging up the steps behind him slammed into his back, sending him and his rifle flying. Buffy caught the rifle and Angel caught the soldier, knocking him cold with one punch.

Then they both looked towards the rooftop entryway for their rescuer. She was a blonde woman wearing a light green cutoff shirt and purple pants with something black tied around the waist. “Heya,” she said chirpily. “Looked like you guys could use a little rescuing, and I dunno you but I figure the sitch has to be the guys with the guns are the villains.” She looked at her hands. “And I didn’t even break a nail.” There was something oddly familiar about her . . .

And then Angel had a horrible suspicion. “Thanks for the save . . .?"

As he’d feared, the young woman answered, “Buffy Summers. And you?”
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