I didn't create the wonderful world of Buffy and Angel nor do I own any rights to them. I just sneak in to play every now and then.Author's warnings:
This is a sequel to Exit Stage Left. Buffy and the Scoobies are no longer a team. If you are pro-Scooby and anti-Buffy turn back now. Seriously, you have been warned.
Spoilers for Not Fade Away.
Los Angeles, May 2004
The latest of a series unending waves of people flowed outwards from the baggage claim. A slight, dark-haired woman allowed herself to be swept along. She was carrying a small backpack and towing a small suitcase. As she exited the building, she headed towards the taxi stand. Twenty minutes later, she was in the backseat of cab on her way the old Hyperion Hotel.
The woman formerly known as Buffy closed her eyes as the vehicle began moving. She was exhausted, both physically and emotionally. The past few days had been among the worst of her life. She had been been played for a fool. She might have led the final battle at Sunnydale but she had never regained the trust and respect of her so-called friends. Her position on the reformed Council of Watchers had been nothing more than that of a convenient scapegoat. She didn't begrudge them having a difference of opinion or even outvoting her but decisions that she had never known about, nor would she have approved of, had been made in her name. That she would not, could not, forgive and so she had killed off Buffy. Let them find some other sucker to place the blame on she thought.
"Miss, are you sure this is the right place," the cabby's voice cut in. "I don't think this place is open."
Sasha opened her eyes. "It's the right place."
She quickly paid the man, gathered her things and exited the cab. As it drove off she began to walk towards the back of the building. The Hyperion looked as though it had been abandoned since Angel and his crew had taken over management of the local office of Wolfram and Hart. No matter, she thought, as she broke the lock on the back door. She would settle in and rest for now. She would be needed soon.
"I want you all to do something for me, for yourselves. Take the day off." Angel looked at his team as they gathered in Spike's apartment. Gunn, Wesley, Lorne, Illyria. He wondered briefly if any of them would still be alive in twenty-four hours. Except for the Old One, he rather doubted it.
"What?" Bugger, Spike thought. Angel has finally gone of the deep end.
"Uh, Angel, if we're planning to assassinate the power elite of the apocalypse tonight, shouldn't we be cowboying up," Gunn wanted to know.
"We'll be ready, but today, I want you guys to go out. Live. Do whatever you want."
She had been walking for hours to places that she had never seen before. They were important although why she couldn't say for certain. An fancy office building, a mansion, a busy campaign office, a dark street, a rainy alley. She opened front door the Hyperion and stepped into a desert.
It had been a long time since she had last visited this place of sand and stone.
"You think you know what is to come."
"Hello Tara," Sasha said softly as she turned towards the blonde witch. "Do you have anything less cryptic?"
The blonde witch smiled sadly. "You can't save them all. You have to choose."
"I'm not enough am I?"
Tara shook her head. "You were never meant to be. It's about free will. Everyone makes choices. Sometimes they make the right ones, sometimes they don't. Angel and his team chose to take the fight to the Black Thorn. The Scoobies chose to sit on the sidelines."
"What am I supposed to do? Who am I supposed to save?"
"I can't tell you."
"Let me guess," Sasha said somewhat bitterly. "Free will?"
Tara nodded. "You have to decide otherwise you are little more than a puppet."
"I've had enough of that lately," Sasha straightened up. "So, when does everything begin."
"Guess I had better wake up then."
In the end, it was surprisingly easy to choose. She knew that there would be no time for explanations or reunions. Her presence would be a a potentially fatal distraction to those that knew Buffy. Angel, Spike, and Wesley were on their own for now. The Old One that had consumed Winifred Burkle was considered to have power beyond that of a mere slayer. She too would be on her own. The final choice was between Lorne and Gunn. Lorne didn't have a reputation as a fighter, Gunn did. She just hoped that Angel knew what he was doing.
Sasha hopped off a bus just two blocks from Senator Bruckner's campaign headquarters just before dark. She was only lightly armed, three stakes and a vial of holy water but she had taken on master vampires with less. She waited on a nearby corner for Gunn to arrive. In an effort to look less conspicuous, she kept up a quiet, if entirely fake conversation on her cellphone. She was early, much too early she thought as a hour passed. She was about ready to scream when she saw Gunn cross the street and head in Bruckner's office. At least she thought it was Gunn because how many bald, black guys were walking around L.A. with a freaking ax on their back? Snapping her phone shut, she quickly followed.
The battle was already on by the time she got there. She slid a stake into each hand and went to work. Gunn might have forced his way through a roomful a vampires on his way to the senator, and dusting more than along the way, but she made sure that not one was able to attack him from the rear. She dusted the last one as Gunn hurled his ax into the senator's forehead.
Gunn turned to fight his way back out. "What the hell," he muttered. It looked as if a vacuum bag had exploded. There was dust every where and not a vamp in sight. The only face that he could see belonged to a small brunette holding a pair of stakes which she quickly slipped back into her clothes. His first thought was that she might be a vampire was put to rest when he saw that one of the necklaces she wore had a small cross hanging from it.
"Hi," she said. "Thought you might need a hand, or a stake."
Angel had said that Buffy had refused to help. Had the Council had second thoughts after her death?
"You one of those Council chicks?"
She shook her head. "Hardly. I've been told I don't play well with others. Name's Sasha."
"Gunn. And thanks, there were a few more vamps than I was expecting."
"It's apocalypse season. Expect the unexpected." Sasha headed towards the door. "Come on, the main event is coming up."
He moved to follow her. "Why do you say that?"
"It's why I'm here. Angel has started something big and you are going to need all the help you can get."
"You know Angel?" He picked up the pace and began a fast jog. He didn't know if she would follow but he rather hoped she would. The girl was right, they were going to need all the help they could get.
Sasha easily matched his pace. "We have some history, some of it pretty messy. If we live through the night, I'll buy you a beer and tell you all about it."
"You gotta deal girl." He started running.