Everyone Deserves a Happy
The doors finally opened to a stark white space. It contained no walls, doors, ceiling, or floor. It just was. They stepped out and clutched their weapons close, waiting for whatever the Partners planned to throw at them. A dark spot appeared at the room's center. It started to grow, taking shape as it worked to enter the barren room. Bright lights flashed, forcing the intruders to cover their eyes. When they uncovered them, there stood - Buffy.
"You've got to be kidding me. The best you can come up with is me. In case you didn't get the memo, I don't work on your team," Buffy growled, stepping forward.
Angel grabbed her pushing her behind him. "No, this is my fight."
WR-Buffy smiled at him and said, "Aw, lover, you want to keep this just between us, how sweet. You signed a contract, which means you're mine, along with your little team. You'll find our contracts are binding and last beyond the grave. Just ask them."
The sultry lawyer stepped through the elevator doors. She took in the Fang Gang, Buffy, and the boys then turned to bow toward WR-Buffy.
"What can I do for you?"
"Lilah, please, inform Angel exactly how binding our contracts are."
She silently removed the scarf around her neck, exposing the scar where Wesley had beheaded her.
"They can reach beyond the grave or send you to any region of Hell they choose. I went to a rather nice section with my own condo, but if I don't perform well here, I could end up in a lower region, which, believe me, no one wants to go to. Lindsey and Eve are no where to be found, I'm sure they are finding out the truth of it as we speak."
She couldn't stop the satisfied smile at that thought.
"Can I ask a question?" Brian stepped up next to Angel.
WR-Buffy scanned this newcomer, accessing his memories. She gave him an evil smile. "Yes, Officer, by all means impress us with your legal knowledge."
Brian glanced at Buffy, who nodded at him to go ahead. He turned to Lilah and asked, "What did they offer you when it came time to sign your contract?"
"That they'd take care of my mother's medical bills until she passed away from natural causes."
"Did they do what they said?" Brian listened for the answer, but he watched WR-Buffy's response.
Buffy and Angel saw where he was going with this. WR-Buffy's expression turned thunderous.
"Yes, she lives in a nice home with round the clock care."
He nodded and then turned to Angel. "What did they promise you?"
Angel gave WR-Buffy a hard glare. "That they had the medical and magical know-how to wake Cordelia from her coma. But, they didn't do either one. Every time I asked when she would wake up, they told me it was only a matter of a few more days. Her latest story," (he pointed accusingly at Lilah) "was that the shipments containing the cure were hijacked. There wasn't any cure. Cordelia is still in a coma, even after I took her from this place."
Lilah gasped, realizing her trump card no longer resided in the building. Her face flew toward WR-Buffy's where she saw her fate clearly written.
"No, please, I can do what you want. Give me another chance."
WR-Buffy waved her hand. An opening appeared under Lilah's feet. The last anyone saw of her was her eyes, huge with fear, as she disappeared from sight.
"That takes care of that. Now, where were we?"
Angel stepped forward with a predatory grace. He didn't fear this creature anymore. He was ready to take on his own destiny.
"You broke our contract and I'm here to, what's the legal term, Wesley?"
"Request adequate recompense for breach of contract and liquidate said contract," Wesley happily supplied.
"Yeah, what he said."
WR-Buffy frowned unsure how to handle this situation, since it had never occurred before. Before she could turn the tables on the souled vampire, a blindingly bright light entered the room. WR-Buffy shied away from the light, folding in on herself while the others shielded their eyes. When the light lowered to a dull glow, there stood, a Knight Templar, dressed in full regalia. The blazing red cross on a white field seemed to carry a light of its own in the stark surroundings.
"What are you doing here? You are not allowed here; this is not your world," WR-Buffy screeched at the new arrival.
"Desist, evil spawn," the Knight ordered. His voice held a power and knowledge not easily disobeyed.
WR-Buffy stomped her foot in frustration. "I'm not finished with him. He can still choose us."
The Knight turned eyes filled with the cosmos of time toward her. "You had more than enough time; begone."
WR-Buffy shrieked as she started to disappear. She pounded against an unseen force, trying to return to her own power base, which another had so easily taken from her.
"Guardian of the Chalice, come forth," the Knight commanded.
Everyone was trying to figure out who he was talking about, except one. Buffy stepped around Angel to stand before the Knight. She stared into his endless eyes, wondering if she would learn any answers to her own questions there. She shook her head; this was about Angel, not her.
"Has the dark one stepped into the light? Is he worthy of the chalice? Of the gift?"
She heard Wesley and Angel's combined gasps. Somehow, they knew about the chalice. Did they know everything about it? Is that why he agreed to let Cordy go? She turned away to stare into the soulful eyes she used to know so well. She saw pain, longing and acceptance. No, he didn't know everything she decided. He had accepted his foolishness and decided to right the wrong with W&H. Angel deserved a chance at happiness.
"Yes," she said firmly.
The chalice appeared in the Knight's hands. "Provide the gift, and if his heart and soul is as you say, then it shall accept him as prophesied."
After Buffy took the chalice, she pulled a small knife from her boot and sliced her wrist, allowing the blood to fill the golden cup. Dom would have interfered, except Brian and Gunn held him back. The knife dropped to the floor as she carried the blood filled cup over to a stunned Angel. She offered the chalice to him with a soft smile.
"Drink it. You earned this gift, Angel. It's not a reward, but a goal attained after a long journey. You've reached your goal - redemption. Take the gift offered and make a good life for yourself."
His large hands shook as they cupped her smaller ones. They lifted the chalice up to his lips as he drank the nirvana that was her blood, Slayer blood, Buffy's blood. His eyes closed as it touched his tongue reminding him of another time she offered it so freely. It passed down his throat filling his body with her life-giving strength. The blood flowed out into his system changing it from the dead to the living. He gasped as it finally hit his heart. Angel fell to his knees, clutching the once still organ as it started beating. He lifted his head to stare at his first love in wonder. He was human. His heart was beating and he was breathing. He couldn't believe it. Angel stood up and grabbed Buffy, hugging her tightly.
Dom came over to pull them apart. "Not that I don't understand you being happy, vamp, but my girl's still bleeding." He shoved Angel back, none too gently, pulling a bandana from his back pocket. "You do this kinda thing often, babe? Gotta tell you, don't much like you cutting yourself up for an old boyfriends."
Wrapping the cloth around her wrist, he tied it tightly to stop the blood flow. She giggled at the face he made. He scowled at her then leaned over to give her a soft kiss. She found herself swept up in his large arms moments later. Cuddling closer, she laid her head down on his shoulder as she wrapped an arm around his neck.
"I gotta tell you, kinda liking this whole he-man thing you got going, babe. Makes my tummy all fluttery. Don't tell anyone I said that," she whispered.
"Take it to my grave," he promised.
The Knight smiled at the Guardian's choice in protectors. She had chosen well. He would guard not only her body, but her heart as well. He motioned for them to approach him. He hid a grin when he saw the protector hold the Guardian closer and reluctantly do as he as asked.
"Guardian, you have fulfilled your duty to this Earth. It will fall to another when the next Dark One is born. Your future is your own. Live it well."
Before Buffy could think straight enough to ask a question, the Knight disappeared. He wasn't the only one who disappeared, though so did they. They blinked several times to clear their eyes. Going from the white room to a room filled with colors had them seeing spots. It took them a minute to realize they were in the Hyperion's, or rather the Shelter's lobby. Fred and Lorne rushed up to them, throwing their arms around the AI team. Anne waved at Buffy, who was still in Dom's arms. While the kids seemed to take it all in stride and went on about their business.
"Isn't anyone going to tell me what in the heck is going on here? Why are all these kids in the hotel? Why is Buffy here and who's the hottie holding her? What's with the surfer guy? Angel, what's going on?" Cordelia yelled from her place on the couch.
Everyone froze in place, turning as one to stare at Cordelia Chase, awake and pissed at not knowing what was happening around her. She glared back at everyone, somehow pulling off an intimidating posture from an inclined position, wearing a hospital gown.
"Cordy," Angel whispered reverantly.
"Yeah, you act like you've seen a ghost. What's wrong, do I have something in my hair?" Her hand immediately went to her chestnut curls, searching for anything offending or out of place. They returned to her lap when she didn't find anything. That's when she realized that she wore a hospital gown. "Why am I dressed in a moon gown?"
"Moon gown?" Angel stared at her, hardly understanding a word she had said as he tried to take in the fact she was awake.
"You know, opens in the back so you moon everyone when you walk. Geesh, Angel, snap out of it. What is with you people? Could someone tell me what the hell is going on here?"
Buffy motioned for Dom to put her down, which he did reluctantly. She walked over to kneel beside Cordy.
"Hey, Cordy, long time no see. What your friends aren't saying is that you've been in a coma for a while and just woke up. Their kinda gobsmacked to see you and haven't come back to the living yet. Give 'em a few minutes to adjust and they'll be all with the happies and have answers for you. Glad you're okay. I'm living in LA, so maybe we can hang some time. That's my guy, Dom." She pointed over her shoulder. "Pretty hunky, huh? The surfer guy is my best-friend, Mia's boy-toy." She giggled when she heard Dom growl. "We're going to take off and let you guys get reacquainted. I'll leave my number with Fred. Call if you feel like talking."
Cordelia searched the face of the girl she had loved to hate. She saw nothing but sincerity. She smiled at Buffy, realizing they had both changed over the years.
"I'll do that, and Buffy, thanks."
The small blonde nodded her head as she got up and walked back over to the large muscle-bound man. They stopped to talk with Angel before they left.
"Angel, you do know the hotel is Anne's. You can't take it back now you're no longer CEO of W&H."
Buffy stared into his eyes, letting him know she wouldn't allow him do that to Anne. He nodded, wondering just how he was going to tell Cordy they didn't have anywhere to live. A heavy sigh escaped his lips. Oh, well, better to walk into the lion's den than get thrown.
Brian left, heading back to Road Wars for more racing and Mia. Dom and Buffy had other plans. She drove directly to her father's condo. They didn't say a word as they walked into the house. He picked her up, carrying her into the bedroom.
An eyebrow went up at the mink bedspread, which just had her shrugging her shoulder. He placed her gently on the bed, laying down beside her. They turned to look at each other, simply caressing each other with their eyes as their feelings filled the room. They leaned in for a tender kiss. When air became an issue, they pulled apart to lean their foreheads together.
"Are you sure?" Dom asked, his dark eyes never straying from her face.
"Yes, I want you. I know this seems fast, but it's right. Right for me, and I hope for you."
Dom stopped her from speaking by placing a finger across her lips. "I know you thought Letty was my girl. She wasn't." He saw the doubt in her eyes. "We were best friends. Yes, we slept together on occasion, but it was more to keep others away than for love. We knew we weren't right for each other. I've waited a long time to find you, Buffy. I guess that's why I didn't want to believe it could be the pig tailed little blonde who hung around the house when I was a kid. Shoot me, I'm stubborn."
He gave her a sexy grin. She rolled her eyes at him
"What can I say, men are stupid." He tickled her for that comment, causing her to burst out laughing. "Stop, stop, okay, all men aren't stupid." He stopped his torture. "Well, they are, but some get over it."
She gave him a bright smile as she pulled him down for a long, leisurely kiss. When her lips found his, Dom forgot what they were talking about. She filled his every thought. His hands came around to cup her head and back, pulling her closer to his body.
Each glad they waited until they had cleared the air between them, until the time was right. Their clothes seemed to melt away as kisses wandered from hungry lips over uncharted skin. They murmured tender words to each other as they went.
Buffy wondered if you could die from sensory overload. She smiled dreamily, what a way to go, sure beat her other deaths by a long shot. Dom watched her face, wondering what she was thinking about and hoping he was responsible for that dreamy look. Her eyes refocused as she stared back at him. They lay cuddled together afterwards, feeling complete and satisfied.
"Dom, what do you want to do? I mean do you want to keep street racing, or do you want to do the real thing?"
"Can't do it for real. They banned me from the tracks after what happened when Pops died."
He kissed her hair, brushing it away from her face.
"I know Mia wants to open a restaurant and with the money we already made, there's more than enough for that. The people I know have already said they would buy whatever I can bring them, which gives me an outlet for the Slayer. She can take out the demons and bad guys who steal or buy those trinkets. That leaves you, you should get a happy out of this."
He lowered his lips to hers, pulling her into a long passionate kiss. "Got me a happy, right here."
She smiled at him, cuddling closer. "That's not what I mean, not that I don't agree. Happy, very happy. You were young when you beat that man and someone should have pleaded you out. They should have pleaded, what's it called, oh yeah, temporary insanity. You just watched your father die, no one could have had a clear head after watching that. Bet I could blackmail those 'friends' into seeing if they can't get the Racing Committee into giving you another chance. The rest is up to you, if you want it, I mean."
He sat up in the bed, staring at her in wonder. She started to squirm when he didn't say anything after a while.
"I won't if you don't want me to, just thought since you love racing so much…"
He grabbed her, throwing her into the air as if she weighed no more than a doll. Buffy squealed in surprise as he caught her, pulling her underneath him. Dom rained kisses over her face until she caught his face, guiding his lips to hers. The kiss went on forever, leaving them gasping for air.
"No one has ever gone to bat for me, or ever questioned what happened that day. I know nothing may come of it, but if you think they can help, I'd appreciate it. You're right; I've dreamed about racing since I was little. Somehow, it'd be like I was carrying on for Pops, you know what I mean?"
She nodded her head, smiling at the hope she saw on his face. "I'll call tomorrow. We still have today just for us."
They wrapped their arms around each other, both silently promising in their hearts never to let go, and they never did. ~ The End ~