Timeline: One year past Chosen, four years before the main story, this takes place after the flashback in chapter 8.
Author's Notes: I've read the first fifteen or so 'episodes' of Buffy season 8. I've also read the first four or so episodes of Angel season 6. I think the fact that an entire city gets transported to 'hell' and noone else seems to notice is not only wrong, but just plain stupid. So it doesn't happen in my world. For once, everyone lives. (You'll notice that Gunn was taken to a hospital too, so he doesn't get vamped.)
"Boo," said Spike as he walked out of the shadows at the end of the alley.
Angel turned to him, "Anyone else?"
A shrug came from the younger vampire with a soul, "Not so far. You feel the heat?"
Angel looked back. "It's coming."
Thunder crackled overhead, and Spike rubbed his hands together. "Finally got ourselves a decent brawl."
"Damn! How did I know the fang boys would pull through?" called the voice of Charles Gunn as he came running down the street towards them, though his steps were becoming less sure and weaker as he got closer. "You're lucky we're on the same side, dogs, 'cause I was on fire tonight." His voice nearly petered out, and he finished, "My game was tight."
Reaching the two vampires, Gunn nearly collapses, only to be caught by the two and helped to a box he can sit on. "You're supposed to wear the red stuff on the inside, Charlie boy," Spike commented, while looking over the black man's wounds.
Gunn looked down at the wounds, but only asked, "Any word on Wes?"
Illyria jumped down from the chain-link fence behind Angel. "Wesley's dead."
Spike hung his head, and Gunn cried, but Illyria continued. "I'm feeling grief for him. I can't seem to control it. I wish to do more violence."
Spike, looking over at the approaching crowd of demons, replied, "Well, wishes just happen to be horses today."
"Among other things," Angel said, as a huge winged dragon roared, flying angrily towards them.
"Okay," Gunn said. "You take the 30,000 on the left..."
Illyria looked over at the man, "You're fading. You'll last 10 minutes at best."
Gunn eased himself to his feet, "Then let's make 'em memorable."
The four stand, ranged against the oncoming horde of demons. Spike asks, "In terms of a plan?"
'Now would have been a good time,' Angel thought to himself. 'But I guess she couldn't get through.' "We fight."
Spike looked at his grandsire, "Bit more specific."
Angel stepped forward, and a faint smile came to his face, "Well, personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon. Let's go to work." He lifts his sword.
"And then there's me. I call dibs in the giant cyclops. It's been a while since I've had a good one-eye under me..." came in a Boston-accented voice, followed up with, "... and someone please tell me that I did not actually say that out loud."
The surprised looks on the four's faces were shown in sharp relief as a flare of white light turned night into day.
"Lookie, Faith, they got me a war! Ooooh! They know just the kinds of gifts I like!" This sardonic voice was Californian, and, judging by the dropped jaws of the two vampires, a known one.
When their eyes cleared, they found the alley behind them considerably more full. At the front of the new group stood three women: one, a tiny blonde, a leather-clad brunette, and a redhead in flowing colors. The two women to either side were both holding axes over one shoulder, one rather normal looking, and the other rather distinctive. The brunette had what appeared to be a human body over the other shoulder. A very familiar-looking body.
The demon horde hesitated, and that was long enough for the same voice to cry, "Hi honey! I'm hooooooooooome!" And then, "Combat teams, move out!"
A loud shout echoed from thirty... forty... fifty throats, and young women blurred past the four remaining members of the Fang Gang, charging into the horde of demons, wielding axe, sword, spear, and several other, more esoteric, weapons.
"Leave some for me!" called Faith, easing her burden down before also charging into the fray, her axe flashing as she removed arms, legs, and any other appendage a demon who dared get in her way had available.
"And good on you, Spike, for bothering to let me know you were alive," Buffy said, the Slayer Scythe still across her shoulder. "So to speak."
"But, but how...?" Spike stuttered.
"I only called Faith," Angel said. "I didn't expect this. I thought you didn't trust us anymore?"
Buffy's brows furrowed in apparent confusion, but she shook her head. "Fight now, talk later." And then she was running into the horde as well.
For a brief moment, Spike and Angel looked at each other, and then Spike remarked, "Well, she always did
have her priorities." They too charged into the fray.
Gunn, his homemade axe in hand, limped towards the horde. He didn't make it very far, stopped by a girl with dark hair bobbed in a boy's style. She was carrying weapons as well, but making no moves to join the war going on tens of feet away.
"You're not going anywhere, Mister Gunn," came the voice of the redhead he knew as Willow Rosenberg. "Renee, get him wrapped up and all first-aided, then get him to the closest hospital. Leah, knock down that fence and clear a path for Renee and Gunn. Be careful with him. He's the Xander of their group." Unnoticed, that brought a flush to the face of the Slayer who had already pulled Gunn's shirt off to get to his wounds.
"But that will just leave you here with Rowena and Satsu for protection," the other redhead, the one who was probably Leah responded.
"If you think I don't know that Buffy chose the top members of her squad to protect me, you really don't know me at all, Leah. I think I'll be fine with two fully-armed Slayers to protect me. Now GO."
For her part, Illyria had been stopped by something shocking. Even to her.
More precisely, Wesley's ghost had appeared just as she was gathering herself to join the combat. "No! Wait, Illyria! Go back to the witch in back. I have an idea."
"You are dead, and I wish to do more violence," was the response of the translucent figure.
"Wait, Illyria. I have an idea. The witch may be able to make me live again."
Illyria almost stumbled. The emotions of these human shells were so hard to understand, but the part of her that was Fred welled up at just the very chance of that happening, grief and hope warring within her. Perhaps she should not have offered to 'lie to him' when he was dying.
But, finally, her shoulders slumped and she turned to head back to the entrance of the alley. "Take me to the witch," she demanded of the Asian-bred Slayer that moved to intercept her.
Wesley's ghost slid by, the Slayer unable to stop him, and stopped by the redhead, who was actually hovering over Wesley's body fretfully. "I have an idea, Miss Rosenberg."* * * *
"Buffy!" Faith cried, as she left upwards, bouncing off the foot of the cyclopean giant who'd tried to squish her. A second later, the Scythe was flying end-over-end in Faith's direction, replaced by a sword flashing so fast it was almost strobing. The Scythe slapped into Faith's hand as she bounced again, this time off the arm and into the air.
Holding the Scythe and her own axe together, she brought the dual blades down on the giant's neck, slicing through it like it was made of warmed butter. "Watch out below!" she called, as the head fell from the neck. "Yee-haw!" screamed Faith as she rode the dead body down as it collapsed. She bounced off just before it hit and landed smack dab in the middle of a group of six vampires. A full-body spin with the Scythe held at neck-level resulted in her being surrounded by piles of dust.* * * *
"I suppose I could do it, or at least try," Willow said. "But she has to give me the power freely. I can't take it from her."
"I should think not, muck," Illyria responded, her face the personification of long-suffering. "I will attempt to give you the power. I cannot use it now anyway, so you may as well. If you can use it to bring Wesley back, I will... allow you to try."
"Then sit beside me, here, and place your hand on my shoulder," Willow said, settling beside Wesley's corpse. "You must concentrate on that power, on how you felt when you manipulated time. Even though you can't do it now, it is still somewhere within you. You must lead me there, show me how to find it. And then you must let me go."
It didn't take long. Willow's eyes sagged closed once Illyria put her hand on her shoulder, only to snap open seconds later. Her eyes had changed color, burning an eerie blue like Illyria's own coloration. The color spread up her face and into her hair, bleeding out the red into the very same blue. The color spread down her face and she began to glow. Softly, at first, but then brighter and brighter. Soon, wisps of a blue smoky mist began to rise off of her body, "Ohhhhhhhhh! Ohhhhhhhh!"
Satsu stared, getting rather creeped out, "Do you think we should stop her?"
"You want to give it a try?" Rowena asked. "I'm not sure I
The blue mist began to coalesce around the witches two hands, and she shook her head violently. "No, no. You don't know what you're looking at. You don't know what you see." She lifted her hands and moved them around, and the mists followed. "I mean, it's pure time... pure space. Ohh! I'm at the threshold, I'm at the headwaters of creation. I feel the whole universe in my fingertips. I feel... I feel it. Infinity! What a rush! What a ride!" Then she went silent for a moment, and croaked out, "Tara?"* * * *Time stopped.
The misty tunnel that Willow found herself flying through was absolutely silent, except for the music that could be heard on the far side, music that Willow identified easily enough; it was Kosmic Blues in Janis Joplin's traditional tone. The music had been getting louder for hours, or at least it felt that way subjectively.
And then Tara was there, standing in the way of the rest of the tunnel. This brought Willow up short, tears springing to her eyes. "Tara?" she asked.
The blonde nodded her head. "We cannot stay here long, love. This is not the place for you. There is a reason this power was given to the Old Ones and not to humans. You are not ready for this power, Willow. Humanity is not ready for it. You must go back. You must remember what you are attempting to do this for. You must remember your friends and the people who love you. You must go back, Willow."
"But can't I stay here with you? I want to be with you. I want to always be with you."
Tara seemed to smile, but it was a bit sadly. "It's not yet your time, Willow. When it is, I will be waiting. And I am always watching. Always watching over you and the others. I love you, Willow. I love you all. But now, you must go back. Go back, Willow. Save Wesley and the others. They need you. Go back."
In the tunnel, Willow turned. Soon, Tara had receded in the distance, though her voice continued to carry. "I love you. I love you. I love you."* * * *
"... happening?" the redheaded Slayer asks, worriedly.
"She has opened a temp..." Illyria looked up at the ones she was unintelligent muck she was addressing, and simplified. "A hole in time. It is pulling her in. There is nothing you can do, so you should just stand away."
Willow let out a wail of anguish, and the power - the pure time and space, as Willow had called it - coalesced into the area between her hands. She placed both hands down on Wesley's body, one over his heart, another over his head, and let out another scream, this one of pain.
The blood began to vanish, sucked back into Wesley's body.
The massive hole from which the blood seeped out, it closed.
Wesley's body began to breathe once more.
Willow shook off Illyria's hand and screamed again. She lifted her own hands into the air and expelled the blue wisps of energy in a solid stream that blasted away the storm clouds overhead, leaving the sky clear. But that's not where it ended.
Suddenly, Willow flared white, her eyes and hair changing to that color as well. She turned slightly and reached into
Wesley's ghost with both hands, causing him to vanish. She lifted her hands as if holding something, and then slammed them down onto Wesley's chest. She held them there for several seconds before she slumped, falling over. Satsu was quick enough to catch her, while Rowena stayed on guard.
"That was kinda nifty too," Willow breathed, and then collapsed in sleep.
Wesley's eyes fluttered open, and he found himself looking up into the same pair of eyes that he had been looking into when he died. Illyria was gone, replaced by a woman who looked the same... except for without the creepy blue hair, skin, and eyes. The latter were full of tears, as she held onto the man. "Welcome back," she said.* * * *
Wesley replaced his glasses back on his nose, and said, "And that's how it happened. As you well know, Wi-- Miss Rosenberg was unable to draw any kind of serious power for nearly three months after that happened. Which caused some rather interesting negotiations when the United States could not figure out how all those girls had gotten in without them knowing."
Xander rocked back in the chair, and whistled lowly. "I didn't have any idea. I mean, I read Satsu's and Rowena's reports, but there's really no comparison. It's just... wow. Wow."
"Yes," Wesley said. "That seems a quite concise way of saying it, indeed. Now, we should get back to work so that you can have that store meeting with some idea of what, exactly, is going on here."
"Right," Xander said, and they both bent back to work.
More Author's Notes: On Willow using Illyria's power to move through time to 'heal' Wesley's body, well, Illyria showed that she had the power to move through time in canon in two different scenarios. The first was during season 5 of Angel, of course, but she also shows the ability to a certain extent in the season 6 comics. That means that, even after being hit by the mutari generator, the power is still there, just suppressed. Willow's done channeling with heavy power sources before - that's what the Scythe is, after all, so I just had her do it again.
And if Willow's words when channeling Illyria's power sound familiar, you're absolutely right - and welcome to the Old Movie zone. I took them from _My Science Project_, a movie that came out in 1985. It's one of the hokiest movies out there, but it's still one of my favorites.