... Hard Center
BtVS by Whedon and ME; Charmed by Spelling and the WB; the BBC children's television series by Ragdoll Productions.
Angel Season 3 episodes 'Forgiving' & 'Benediction' transcripts and several lines of dialogue found at http://www.buffyworld.com/angel/season3.php
... Hours Later ...
Wesley slowly swam to consciousness, aware of another presence in the hospital room. His friends had been there earlier, he was fairly certain, but the anesthesia wasn't helping matters much. His throat still ached from where Justine had sliced it open once he had fallen into her trap. It was amazing that he was still alive... but not necessarily lucky.
Angel stepped slowly into his field of view, complex emotions trailing across the vampire's face. "I understand why you thought you were right, Wesley, but you were outmatched. The prophecies were planted by someone skilled in manipulation of time, so everything you translated, the outside sources you consulted, everything... You took my baby away, to keep him safe. Heh, that I can forgive. However, you did it in such a risky way, with such a flawed plan... You're a team player, Wesley, stick to your strengths. On your own you're just going to fail. Always
Angel leaned forward, took his thumb and forefinger and flicked Wesley directly between the eyes, with just a fraction of his supernatural strength. The bruise started to form immediately.
Helpless, unable to even moan in pain properly, Wesley stared into the vampire's hurt and angry eyes.
"Don't worry about Connor, Wesley. He's alive and safe, but he's never going to grow up. Kind of like you in a way. While you're here, recovering, you can make a list of all the stuff you'd like Fred and Gunn to bring to you. Everything," Angel intoned, pausing a beat. "You'd ever
like them to bring to you. If I ever see you around the hotel again - my home
- I'll track you down to yours. While I may not be able to get in uninvited - well - I can always find myself a rocket launcher. Trust me, as someone who's nearly been on the receiving end, they don't need an invitation."
As the vampire swept out, Wesley caught a glimpse of his friends and the hope in their eyes.
Then the door swung shut, leaving him alone in the darkened room.
... Some Days Later ...
The sun rose, giggling, over the horizon as the holding dimension settled down to mimic the dimensional coordinates of HollowEarth.
Four bulky shapes emerged from their grassy bunker to greet the dawn.
Paige Matthews, white-lighter in training, recited their names into the microphone in a kind of litany.
Seated next to her, Wesley smiled, despite everything that had happened to him over the last few weeks.
"So, they do this every 'day'," he mused, watching the various monitors around the protected Quonset hut. "If you don't do it, will they forget their names?"
Paige grinned slightly and fluttered the pages of script. "I honestly have no idea. It's sort of like in Gremlins where they give you a list of must-dos and must-nots without explicit reason... I'm still surprised you managed to get approval to come here."
"As am I. I had barely talked to my second contact before I found the invitation waiting for me. The final
resolution of this... corrected Nyazian prophecy must be pretty important to some of the higher-ups, maybe even as high up as one of their," he said, vaguely waving at the brightly-colored figures. "Disembodied, near omnipotent brains."
Deciding this was a good a moment as any, Paige stood up and focused her attention on a monitor displaying the sun-with-a-baby's-face, the glowing orb that had once been Connor, the near-human child of two vampires. "Sunlight," she announced to the world as she telekinetically orbed a piece of it to her.
A coherent ball of plasma appeared in her hands. With one eyebrow raised and a weird expression on her face, she passed it to Wesley.
"Out of everything in the world," Wesley mused to himself. "I never expected it to feel like warm cookie dough."
Unconsciously, he touched the reddened wound on his neck.
"Before you leave, I could heal that scar for you, or at least I could try," Paige said, frowning. "My powers have increased with my new... responsibilities, but they're still-"
"No need. This scar, however new, is as much a part of me as my memories."
The world vibrated and Wesley reappeared in his apartment, where there was a message waiting for him on his answering machine...
Having followed the instructions left for him, Wesley stood on the edge of balcony above a dimly lit club, waiting for something to happen.
"I see you got my invitation," said a female voice behind him.
"Lilah," Wesley replied, turning to face her. "Obviously."
"I thought the 'come alone' was a particularly ironic touch," drawled the representative of the evil law firm. "I mean, how else would you come... Wait, what's with the thing wrapped in a throw rug?"
"That can wait, if you didn't call me about it, I'm more interested in what you brought me here for."
"Just a familiar face, down in the crowd," she said, waving at Justine Cooper, the woman who had stolen Connor and slit Wesley's throat. "You can tell from here that she's being tailed. You might not find their faces as familiar, but I bet you can guess what they are."
"Vampires," Wesley said, straightening up. "If this is some kind of test, with a commando team ready to raid the bar at a moment's notice, I suggest you call them in now," he sagely advised, unwrapping the cloth bundle. "Justine should still have the jar containing Sahjahn, unless she's sold it already... What I have here is the missing piece of the prophecy."
Lilah stared in awe as the glowing object was revealed. Wesley's brow furrowed in apprehension because, although the room visibly brightened, the rays of the miniature sun had no effect on the vampires roaming below.
An hour or so later, in the dark cave that had been the sanctuary of the brutal, time-shifting demon Sahjahn, Wesley and Lilah huddled around the urn the demon's physical body had been banished to.
"You may have the honor," Wesley stated. Lilah smiled sweetly and popped off the top.
Smoke billowed out, forming into the - very - solid form of Sahjahn. He opened his mouth to make a snide and well-worded comment on the uselessness of trying to kill him now that the one being fated to kill him had been shoved
out of reality. Before he could get the words out, someone from behind him loosed a crossbow bolt with the sunbeam tied to it.
The bolt pierced Sahjahn's chest, the coherent fist of light mixed with what passed for his internal organs and he exploded in a shower of multiphasic sparks.
Angel stepped out of the shadows, pleased he'd been able to dispatch the villain without having to listen to any more of his mouth.
"I notice you didn't shoot me," Wesley said, brushing himself off.
"I only had one shot, so I thought, why not aim for the lesser of two evils," Angel replied, eliciting a dark chuckle from Wesley as they disappeared down the corridor.
Lilah stayed behind, the beeps from her cellphone's keypad echoing in the darkness.
"The mission was a complete success and the coherent sunlight holds properties I can't even begin to comprehend. I suggest we raid the Teletubbies' holding dimension as soon as-," her words broke off in shock as a hand emerged from the telephone, grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up into the air. "I'm sorry, sir," she gasped in apology. "I had no idea one of them was
The hand released her and she fell to the cave floor, gasping for breath.
The possessed cellphone hung in mid-air for a moment before exploding in a blinding flash of light.
Lilah's main worry was that she had just torpedoed her next promotion.