A little story about destiny....
“Let me tell you something about destiny. Everyone has one, from the gutter tramp living in the alleyway picking scraps out of the bins to the high flying lady about to be proposed to by the handsome prince. And destiny’s a funny thing. It’s not a straight line, or even a curvy line. It’s a tree, a path with a hundred different cross roads and ways to go. Destiny isn’t the same as Fate. You can escape one, but not the other. The question is.... which is which?”
“Imagine the destinies of people all crashing into each other, twining themselves around each other until you have this huge roiling mass of potential. What might be? What might not be? Who will live? Who will die? Really there are only two potential outcomes. Will he live? Or will he die? Because that outcome, and that outcome alone, will decide the fate of hundreds of other people. Imagine that? The fate of one of the most evil men ever to have lived in the hands of someone quite overlooked. Someone so utterly important to the story but not even considered to have power and certainly not this kind of power. What she does or what she doesn’t do will either damn us all or save the day..... It’s not often you come to this point, where the threads of the story are entirely knotted around one person. Sure it’s happened sometimes, I mean, look at Donna Noble. But this person? None of us have seen this one coming.”
Lorne leaned back in his chair and smiled at the person sitting opposite him waiting impatiently.
“The long and short of it is, it’s not really your fight sweet cheeks. I mean sure, you’re going to be there and after all who could blame you? She’s your sister after all. But you’re just the cavalry. You’re not the one leading the charge. There’s someone else who has to make that decision, whether she falls into darkness or turns to the light. And that’s not something you can help with. It’s out of your hands.”
Buffy nodded and Lorne could see the resolution in her eyes. “I just needed to know. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome hon. Nice pipes by the way. I’m looking forward to seeing you back here.”
Buffy cracked a grin. “As a patron or as a bouncer?”
“Either works. I’ve never seen the bar clear so quickly.” Buffy looked apologetic but Lorne waved it away. “To hear you sing, sugar? What’s a night’s profit in comparison to that?” He opened the door for her and kissed her on the cheek. “Go bring them home. I want to see that sister of yours again. I’m thinking a duet could be fun.”
Buffy flashed him a smile and headed out into the night, half her attention on what was going on around her, half on what lay ahead. Dawn in trouble, she mused. And it wasn’t even a Tuesday. Or Ethan Rayne’s fault. She should have known, she really should have known not to let her go. Or perhaps go with her. As the petite girl made her way through the LA streets one might have considered her a prime target however she was left well alone until she walked through the Hyperion doors.
A small pile of bags sat by the glass doors with two cases next to them, weapons she guessed. Faith was loading up another case with arrows and she nodded when she saw Buffy come in. Xander was on the phone but waved when he saw her come in. Angel came out of his old office and she felt a flood of relief that she had him there to help her.
“Did you see Lorne?” He asked.
“Oh yeah.” Buffy hugged him for a moment, grateful for the support he was giving her. “There’s stuff. I’ll tell you guys in the car. God I’m so grateful you’re the head of an evil law firm.”
Angel shrugged smugly. “What can I say? If I can’t wear an amulet I can at least provide transport.” He caught the slight shadow in Buffy’s eyes and wished for the thousandth time that the memory of Spike would stop haunting her. He held out his hand. “The others will be safe until we get back. Wes will look after them. Come on, the car’s waiting.”
Car was one way of putting it. Gigantic limo was another way. Faith and Xander stood for a moment in awe of the sleek black car before piling into the back excitedly. Angel nodded to the driver who loaded the luggage into the trunk of the car, and then got in behind Buffy, pulling the door shut behind him.
“So spill Buff, “ Xander was finally off the phone. “What did Lorne say?”
Buffy leaned forward and recited briefly what Lorne had said. Silence fell for a moment or two and then Xander heaved a sigh of relief.
“So hopefully we don’t have to worry about Willow too much.”
“How come?” Angel asked. “She’s still incredibly vulnerable.”
“She is but she’s not the one who has to make this decision. I don’t think any of us can know who it is.” Buffy frowned. “I hate this, we’re walking into something we know nothing about.”
“Only at the moment,” Faith said reasonably. “Giles’ mate is going to meet us and fill us in before we go in half cocked. He must have something up his sleeve.”
“Probably a dagger to stab us in the back,” Xander said. “I still don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.”
“None of us do, Xander.” Buffy leaned back against the expensive leather seat. “Let’s just get there as quickly as we can. Get the lie of the land before we go. We have no real idea what we’re dealing with but Ethan knows if he messes me around I’ll kick his ass so hard his balls will come out of his ears.”
There was silence for a moment as the other three considered this vivid picture, Xander and Angel looking slightly uncomfortable.
“So..” Xander turned to Angel in an attempt to change the subject. “I hear Harmony’s your secretary. How’s that working out for you?”