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After Midnight

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This story is No. 1 in the series "After Midnight". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Sometimes one moment changes everything. Not your typical Xander/Angel Slash

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
NCIS > Xander-Centered
Harry Potter > General
(Current Donor)DeepBlueJoyFR1828211,2252524693,88417 Jan 1112 Jul 11Yes

The Dawn Arriving

Brave Students Thwart Gang Attack at Sunnydale High School Graduation


That was going to be the headline in the paper the next day, according to Brooks. Someone at the paper had emailed him a draft of the article for his comments. G and the other law enforcement officers who had been there couldn’t believe it. Even without the spells, some people insisted in spinning things for their own peace of mind. Maybe it was for the best.

“So the denial is back?” said Gibbs.

“Don’t think it ever really leaves,” said Buffy. “People have been indoctrinated to believe that demons and the supernatural are not real, and they’re scared of the things they experience. They don’t know what to do with it, so they end up in denial. It’s pretty much human nature.”

“Like a drunk with a problem, who thinks he’s fine, you mean?” asked Fornell.

“Something like that. I think until something big enough touches you personally…” said Xander.

“There was an enormous snake at the podium. That wasn’t enough?” said Gibbs.

“We blew up a demon in the mall that was burning the humanity out of people. Next day there was an article in the paper about how an electrical short had killed five people in the mall,” said Willow.

“You blew up a demon in the mall?” asked Gibbs. “Where were the cops?”

“With our heads up our asses, I’m afraid,” said Brooks. “The mayor’s spells made us very… complacent isn’t the right word… relaxed.”

“Relaxed?” asked Fornell.

“Except when it came to us,” said Buffy.

“What do you mean?” asked Macy.

“Detective Stein,” spat Buffy. “After Ted… and after Kendra died. I thought I was going to go to jail – that’s part of why I left town.”

“Ted?” asked Macy. “You mean Ted Buchanan?”

Buffy nodded.

“Ted was a homicidal robot I was dating,” said Joyce.

“You dated a robot?” asked Brooks, giving Joyce a look that made her blush.

“He didn’t look like a robot,” said Willow… “He was all handsome and friendly and kind of fatherly…”

“He was creepy,” said Buffy with a shiver.

“OK, apparently, whatever effect he had on Willow and Joyce, didn’t work on you?” asked Macy.

“That’s how it works with slayers,” said Giles. “They’re not immune to denial or spells, but they’re more resistant than normal people.”

“So you could be deceived, but your slayer might not be?” asked Macy.

“I suppose that’s true,” said Giles. “I’ve taken… steps to try to avoid that of course, but Buffy and Faith… they have a natural sensitivity. With training, they become extremely aware of their surroundings, of demons, magic, human behavior, even.”

“Sounds like we should hire you all at the bureau,” said Fornell.

“Yeah, my career day test said I’d be good in law enforcement. I’m not so sure. Maybe if I was still a potential…” Buffy thought of how hard she had hit Ted, even before she’d consciously realized what he was. The blows could easily have crippled or killed a human being.

“A potential?” asked Gibbs.

“Before a slayer is activated, she is a potential,” said Giles, giving Buffy an unhappy look. Buffy’s own look was apologetic.

“Please don’t go looking for them,” said Buffy.

“How would we do that?” asked Gibbs.

“Never mind,” said Giles.

“But there is a way?” asked Fornell.

“It’s not fool proof,” said Giles, “But yes, there is a way.”

“They didn’t find me until I was already a slayer,” said Buffy.

“What about Faith?”

“They found her… a little bit late,” said Buffy.

“Late?” asked Fornell.

“Thank god,” said Buffy.

“Thank god?” said Gibbs.

“I met a council slayer once. Her watcher had raised her from infancy. She didn’t even know her own last name. He bought her a plane ticket in his name and she was so ignorant of the world, she stowed away in the luggage compartment.”

“She could have died,” said Fornell.

“She did die. She had her throat slit. She didn’t make it a whole year,” said Buffy, her voice hard and suddenly grief filled. “That’s how Faith was activated.”

“The council doesn’t care much about the wellbeing of their tools,” said Wesley bitterly. He had happened to be passing by on his way to the kitchen.

“Why do you work for them?” asked Fornell.

“Because they’re afraid of them,” said Abby.

“Sadly, Miss – Abby is correct,” said Wesley, walking away.

“You’re afraid of them?” asked Fornell, directing his question at Giles.

“We’re… careful,” said Giles. “They’ve got a great deal of power and they’re quite ruthless when something comes between them and whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish. They’ve been known to bring down governments. At best, they’re a resource. At worst, they can be an extremely dangerous enemy. They are past masters at working in the background, but when things don’t go their way, they are utterly ruthless.”

“You speak from experience,” said Fornell.

“Yes,” said Giles. “I do.”

“They had the family of one of Giles’… friends killed,” said Buffy. “Can we talk about something else?”

“Don’t you want to stop them?” asked Gibbs.

Buffy glared at him.

“We want to keep their attention off of us,” said Buffy. “I don’t think it’s possible to stop them unless someone does us a favor and blows up their building or something!”

Giles’ expression was one of profound shock. Then Buffy grinned at him and he grinned back. Still, the thought disturbed him. There were so many priceless books.

“They’re not nice people Gibbs, and they’ve got power going back centuries,” said Abby. “Wesley’s father threatened my family to get what they wanted… The only reason they didn’t get more brutal is because they were scared of my grandmother.”

“Your grandmother?”

“She’s one of the most powerful witches… she’s very powerful,” said Abby, looking extremely uncomfortable.

“Are all your family witches and wizards?” asked Gibbs.

“More or less,” said Abby. “Most of my family doesn’t live in the wizarding world… but… yeah.”

“Why not?”

“We don’t have any problem with the real world. Me personally, I like the twentieth century – computers, technology, that kind of thing. If you live in a world where everything is magical, a lot of technology won’t work properly. Magic is wonderful, but the wizarding world can be kind of… inward-looking,” said Abby. “But the real reason is that our family has a philosophy that we belong in the whole world. We’ve never shut ourselves or our gifts off from the muggle world. Many of us have married people outside the wizarding world.”

“Most magical people don’t do this?” asked Gibbs.

“Being magical is dangerous, Gibbs. People are superstitious and stupid. Superstitious people do scary things. It’s just simpler to live in the wizarding world. That’s why most of us don’t talk about it or even tell our friends about it.”

“That’s why you didn’t tell us?” asked Gibbs.

“I didn’t tell you because I like having a job,” said Abby. “Most people would think I was crazy or want a demonstration. How long do you think I would last if word got around the NCIS that I was a witch? How long do you think it would be before someone accused me of changing evidence?”

“I didn’t think about that,” said Gibbs. “You would never change evidence.”

“Of course not,” said Abby. “I don’t use my magic much at work. I try to use my… sensitivity to guide me where to look… that’s about it. You use your magic too...”

“I have magic?” asked Gibbs.

Abby blanched, her hand covering her mouth. What the hell had she just done? She hesitated. Finally she spoke.

“Almost everybody has a little magic, Gibbs, but yes, you’re the real deal. If you were to be trained, you’d probably be a decent wizard,” said Abby quietly. “You’re a little bit psychic too… You call it intuition, but you’re very sensitive… that’s why you always know when I have information for you…”

Gibbs stared at her.

“I’m a wizard?” Gibbs asked. “Me? Don’t be… Never mind.”

“I shouldn’t have told you like that, Gibbs… Oh! Gibbs! I’m sorry! It just… I didn’t. I really screwed up… Damn it! It just slipped out.”

Abby was angry with herself. She never revealed things like that. Maybe the hellmouth was screwing with her head. Maybe it was just that she’d gotten too comfortable in her relief to not have to hide her life from her colleagues in law enforcement. She’d been trying to think how to tell Gibbs the truth ever since they’d arrived in Sunnydale. This was definitely not the way she’d intended to do it. The expression on Gibbs’ face was not reassuring.

“How long?” Gibbs asked softly.

“How long?” she whispered back.

“How long have you known, Abby?”

“From the first day we met. I was hoping you knew… but I then I figured out you didn’t, so I didn’t say anything.”

Gibbs suddenly stood up.

“Excuse me… Um… I need to talk to Abby,” said Gibbs, his demeanor uncharacteristically tentative.

Abby got up and followed him outside.

“No problem, Jethro,” said Fornell. He wore a concerned expression.

“That’s gonna be a fun conversation,” said Buffy quietly, after Gibbs and Abby had left the room.

“So… anyone know if any of the rest of us is magical?” asked Fornell nervously.

“Other than G carrying the slayer gene, I don’t think so,” said Giles.

“There’s a slayer gene?” asked Fornell.

“I suspect there’s more than just one, but there’s definite evidence that the trait runs in families,” said Giles. “It’s probably recessive or something because there’s never been a record of two slayers in the same generation.”

“Probably just as well,” said Buffy. “Can you imagine having two daughters and losing them both?”


_______



Tonight Xander found he didn’t mind the huge number of people filling up his house. He sat with Angel now that everyone had food and knew where the drinks were. Things were slowly winding down. He was exhausted, but content. Angel’s arm was around him, and he wasn’t half asleep, but he might have been. Various conversations were taking place around them, but just for the moment, he was allowing himself a moment to relax with Angel. He found himself thinking about the last several months and how his life and even the whole fight against evil had changed. At the start of the school year, he’d been dating Cordelia and feeling insecure, and their break up combined with Faith’s arrival had made him feel like even more lost and on the outside looking in. Now he had a relationship with the love of his life, a house full of friends and allies and he couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. He snuggled closer to Angel and closed his eyes contentedly.

“Tired?” asked Angel softly.

“Yeah, little bit,” said Xander, burrowing even closer to Angel, whose arm held him just a little more tightly.

“We did good, Xan,” said Angel.

“We really did. I was… I was afraid… So many people could have died!”

“If it hadn’t been for us a lot more people would have,” said Angel.

“I’m just glad we had a little extra help,” said Xander. “I can’t believe all the students, parents… and everyone…”

“I think the cops and soldiers made a difference… They kept the parents from panicking,” said Angel.

“Yeah, who’da thunk it? Me feeling grateful to feds, cops and the military?” said Xander.

“Can’t believe I’m glad they were there too – especially after my history with the DRI,” said Angel. “I think everybody played a part, though, not just them.”

“Did you see Mrs. Wexford? She hugged Wes,” said Xander. “Poor man didn’t know what to do with himself.”

“Did you see Cordelia’s face?” asked Angel.

“Oh yeah. Scary. Don’t forget: I know how dangerous that girl is!” said Xander.

“Joyce is upset she wasn’t there,” said Angel. “She wanted to be part of the big fight with the other parents.”

“Yeah, well, I think Buffy was right about that,” said Xander. “It was hard enough worrying about you – and I knew you could take care of yourself. If mom and all the family had been here…”

Xander just shuddered.

“She was right,” said Angel. “I couldn’t help worrying about you…”

“You worried about Buffy too, didn’t you?” Xander asked, his voice teasing.

“Didn’t you?” Angel said, squeezing Xander a little.

“Yeah,” said Xander. “I really did.”

“I can’t believe I have a great grand child,” said Angel. “Not a human one, anyway. Of course, now I think about it, I could have had more than one child and never known about it.”

“That’s just weird,” said Xander. “I guess you don’t have to worry about having kids, now!”

“Thank you so very much for that image!” said Angel.

“Hey, don’t blame me! Did you hear that Giles told Larry not to get pregnant?” Xander.

“Yes, Xander, I was here,” said Angel.

“You didn’t tell me,” said Xander.

“If I told you everything I ever heard…”

“I guess,” said Xander, pouting just a little.

“Just as long as you don’t get me pregnant!” said Angel, hoping to distract Xander from his little resentment.

Angel had long ago learned to ignore the scents and sounds that didn’t represent a threat and weren’t directed at him. Still he overheard things he shouldn’t, and noticed scents that gave him information about people and their activities that would have embarrassed them. Since Angel knew none of it was information he would have learned had he been human, he seldom shared it with anyone. Occasionally, he felt quite torn because he felt as if he was keeping secrets from Xander, but mostly, he decided that they just weren’t his secrets to tell. Maybe he needed to reconsider, at least a little.

“I’m planning on it… not getting you pregnant, I mean,” said Xander when Angel pulled away and looked at him quizzically.

“Now we have that sorted,” said Angel, giving him a bemused look and kissing him lightly on the lips.

“Oh, come on! Get a room,” said Faith.

“We already have one… I don’t think the guests really need to listen to that particular music,” said Angel with a grin.

Faith rolled her eyes.

“Oh, don’t mind her, she’s just jealous,” said Xander, sticking his tongue out at her.

“Hey!” said Faith halfheartedly, but she knew she really couldn’t argue.

Angel grinned at her.

Faith just shook her head and wandered off in the direction of the kitchen wishing she could drag Riley off to celebrate in private. Since there was no one else in the kitchen, she topped up her coke with a significant amount of vodka. Hopefully, G wouldn’t figure out she had spiked her own punch.

Buffy, who had been listening more than talking, noticed Angel’s big grin. She smiled to herself as she realized that she was actually getting used to seeing Angel grin. She had her regrets, but as she sat close to a quiet Graham, she found she was quite grateful for her life. Today had gone better than they could ever have imagined. She found herself hoping that things would be a little better in Sunnydale now the mayor was gone and some of the town’s officials were a bit more savvy. Over on the other side of the room, Deputy Chief Brooks and her mom were deep in conversation. Apparently, being a cop in a prosperous northeastern city came with an interest in art and culture. Who knew? The deputy chief seemed totally taken with mom. Of course, nothing would come of it, right? After all, he was way younger than mom! He was kinda cute, though. OK, not going there… that was just too disturbing to consider.


________



“So Buffy, tell me about you and detective Stein,” said Macy. “He was only assigned to you that one time, when Buchanan died. We didn’t send anyone out when Miss Young was killed. She was one of six young girls killed in the same manner within about two-week period. We knew it was a vampire as soon as the preliminary examination was complete. All the others were drained.”

“You didn’t put him on Kendra’s case?”

“We didn’t put anyone on Kendra’s case that I remember. That was how vampire killings went. I mean, I know I was under the influence, but I do remember most of the stupid things I did. I doubt I’d forget that,” said Macy. “There was a rash of vampire killings – probably the highest we’d had in the years I’ve been here… But with that killing… We figured out quite early on that you weren’t guilty of killing that young woman – even before your friends told us you weren’t involved. We never did assign a detective to the case.”

“Well, that’s just great. He terrified my mother. Maybe Stein works for the mayor – I mean worked,” said Buffy. “A little more directly than you, I mean.”

“That actually makes a great deal of sense,” said Macy, thoughtfully. “He’s always seemed like a smart, if unpleasant character, yet his close rates are among the lowest of all the detectives on the force.”

“So, not only did the mayor have you guys under his influence and ineffective, he had cops in his pocket too?”

“Cops?”

“You don’t honestly think he’d just have one, do you?”

“When you put it like that,” Macy smiled, but it was a rueful sort of smile.

Although he hadn’t suspected that Stein was a truly rogue cop before this, Macy had suspected that Stein might have been the mayor’s snitch. He had long since stopped sharing sensitive information with anyone but Brooks and Grayson, but he really didn’t want to think there might be more than one snake in the hen house.

“So… I hear you’re gonna be firing people?” asked Buffy hopefully.

“I was thinking of firing at least half dozen people – including Stein and Salvatore. She’s that cop who shot at you,” said Macy. “I almost fired her over that incident – and that was back in the bad old days when I was still the mayor’s puppet cop.”

“Puppet cop?” said Buffy. “You’ve been hanging out with us too long, Chief.”

“Y’all do use the English language rather… creatively. Of course, where I come from, we’re creative in our own right,” said Macy.

“Texas, right?”

“Yes ma’am,” said Macy. “I thought things were corrupt in the little town where I worked…”

“Well, now the mayor’s gone…” said Buffy. “Who knows what’s going to happen here?”

“The publisher of the paper was suggesting that Roy Iverson should run for mayor,” said Macy.

“Really?” said Buffy. “I know his son ran the school paper…”

“Iverson’s a writer. Maybe that’s how they know each other,” said Macy with a shrug. “Apparently, Iverson used to write for one of them big papers back east before turnin’ his hand to fiction.”

“Never heard of him,” said Buffy. “But then, I haven’t had much time for fiction. Reality was way too interesting.”

“Tell me about it! Apparently, quite a few people are interested in the job. Not sure why. I sure wouldn’t want the job for any amount of money. From what I hear, Iverson doesn’t need the money.”

“I’m not honestly sure how you do the one you’ve got, chief! Whoever it is, lets just hope we don’t have any Richard Wilkins wanna bes,” said Buffy.

“I know one thing. I won’t be signing any new contracts any time soon,” said Macy with a wry smile.

“Can’t say I blame you,” said Buffy. “I’d be careful of Stein. If he worked for the mayor… well, there’s no telling what he’ll do now the mayor’s gone.”

“All the more reason not to have him wearing a badge and gun,” said Macy.

“Just watch your back, OK?” said Buffy, patting Macy’s much larger hand. “I kinda like my friends alive.”

“I’m glad to be your friend too, Buffy,” said Macy. “It never sat right that the mayor had it in for you, even in the bad old days... Of course, I couldn’t do anything about it. We really caught a break when those ‘terrorists’ burned down city hall.”

He smiled at Buffy’s amused, slightly guilty grimace.

“We did catch a break, didn’t we?” said Buffy grinning at Macy, who winked at her.

“That we did,” said Macy.


________



“Well, it’s that time,” said Macy standing up.

“Time?” Faith looked up. It was just after nine.

“I have a bit more business to handle before the evening’s over,” said Macy.

“Things to do, people to fire?” said Buffy.

“It’s been brought to my attention that certain… individuals need dealt with,” said Macy. “There’s no time like the present.”

“I would give money to see Stein’s face,” said Buffy.

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” said Macy, grinning at her.


_____



“What are you doing here?” asked Stein.

“I thought we needed to have a little talk,” said Macy.

“It’s ten o’ clock at night,” said Stein. “Can’t this wait?”

“No,” said Macy, stepping into Stein’s house.

Fornell, G and Buffy followed. Both Fornell and G’s partners were at the back door. As they entered the house, six more FBI agents pulled up in a Suburban.

“What about them?” Stein gestured at the two officers, but his glare was directed at Buffy.

“Since the mayor’s dead, they want to talk to you about your phone conversations,” said Macy. “They have a warrant to search the premises.”

“A warrant?” asked Stein, who could see the other officers on his front porch. “You brought feds to my house?”

“I don’t think they need my permission, detective,” said Macy. “They were planning to pay you a visit anyway. It just seemed like an opportune time to let you know that we won’t be needin’ your services.”

“You’re firing me? Who do you think you are? I’ve worked for the department longer than you have!” Stein bellowed at Macy petulantly.

“Yet the mayor passed you over and hired me,” said Macy quietly.

“I didn’t…” Stein stopped, his face becoming florid with repressed rage.

“You couldn’t pass the lieutenant’s exam,” said Macy. “Guess even something as corrupt as the mayor wanted someone who could actually run a police department.”

“I had more important things to do,” sneered Stein.

“Like spying for the mayor,” said Fornell, quietly.

“It’s not a crime to update the mayor,” said Stein, suddenly looking quite nervous.

“It is if he’s paying you off,” said Fornell.

“Paying me off?” Stein asked.

Stein looked like a cornered animal, his eyes darting back and forth.

“Yes,” said Fornell. “Accepting bribes is a criminal offense. You’ve been seen going in and out of the old computer park at odd hours of night, and we know that the mayor had… offices there… We also know he’s responsible for the disappearance of at least one hundred people. We were going to charge him with human trafficking.”

“You can’t do this,” said Stein. “There aren’t any…”

“Aren’t any what? Bodies?” asked Fornell. “No. No bodies, but we have six survivors who’ll testify to being lured into town, then trapped and bled repeatedly.”

“I won’t…” Stein blanched. “You can’t prove anything.”

He’d known about the fire at the warehouse, of course, but since he’d taken leave to help the mayor, he hadn’t known about the survivors. For some reason, that detail had not made it into this morning’s paper, despite the full color photograph of the burning building. Stein couldn’t think of a thing to say that wouldn’t cause him trouble, so he folded his arms across his chest and tried glaring at Fornell instead.

Fornell was unimpressed.

“You have something you’d like to share with the nice men?” asked Buffy, grinning up at the man who had caused her more nightmares than most demons.

Stein stared at her, trying hard not to let his fear show.

“Why is she here?” said Stein, giving Buffy a look of unadulterated hate.

“I deputized her,” said Macy.


Since human trafficking was an FBI issue, G and his partner were simply there to back up the FBI agents who were going through Stein’s house with a fine-tooth comb. Fornell served Stein with the search warrant and Stein read it in shock and rage, but he didn’t resist when G and his partner Jake Sutherland led him outside. The two DEA agents stood with Buffy outside Stein’s house as agents began to emerge with file boxes full of evidence.

Buffy stood closest to Stein, who glared at her loudly. She pretended not to notice, and chatted quietly with G and Jake about the day’s events, the weather, and even who was playing at the Bronze.

“You’re gonna pay for this,” growled Stein as his computer was carried out of the house. “This is all your fault.”

“Are you threatening me?” asked Buffy mildly.

“You stupid little bitch,” said Stein, neither denying nor confirming having threatened a legally deputized, however temporary, officer of the law.

“Watch your language,” said G.

“Or what? What are you gonna do to me?” asked Stein.

“He can’t help himself, Agent Callen,” said Buffy, using G’s formal title in an effort to seem as professional as possible in front of his colleague, who was already eyeing her with curiosity. “His mother didn’t teach him any manners.”

“Don’t you dare talk about my mother!” said Stein, grabbing Buffy by the collar with both hands.

Before either G or his partner could react, Buffy had broken Stein’s attempt at a hold on her, and Stein found himself flying through the air screaming. He came to rest spreadeagled on his own front lawn, with his head in the soft soil of the geranium bed. Before he could even think of trying to get up, there were two guns trained on his head and a knife at his throat.

“You’re under arrest,” said G.

She attacked me,” said Stein.

“You grabbed her,” said Jake unsympathetically.

“He ruined my nice shirt,” said Buffy, sounding quite put out about it. “May I?”

Buffy stretched her hand out to G.

G handed Buffy his cuffs. Buffy flipped Stein onto his stomach and pulled his arm behind his back. By now, a few of his neighbors were out on their front porches, taking in the show. Even knowing what she was capable of, G was still surprised by how quickly Buffy had Stein, who was twice her size and struggling and swearing up a storm, cuffed and on his feet. Since it had rained, Stein’s face was now streaked with mud.

“Can I read him his rights?” asked Buffy, giving G a huge grin.

“You can’t do that!” said Stein.

“You have the right to remain silent…” said Buffy.

“Fuck you!”

“You might want to take it,” growled Buffy as she marched Stein towards his own squad car, which sat unlocked in the driveway.

She opened the door with one hand, while holding Stein against his car effortlessly with the other. She quickly removed his keys from his pants pocket and shoved him into the car, tucking his head in, just like on those cop shows Xander liked so much. Buffy kicked the door shut and locked the doors with the remote before pocketing it. She grinned at G as she strolled back over to where they were waiting.

“I wouldn’t want to make her mad,” muttered Jake.

“Probably not one of your better ideas,” said G. “Someone probably should have told the mayor that.”


______



It was just after midnight. All those who had gathered at the mansion after the battle had been fed, had had time to decompress, socialize and even celebrate a little. It was surprising just how much pizza, Chinese food and miscellaneous other food they had all gone through. Slayers, soldiers, cops, and the ever-growing extended clan of Scooby all seemed to eat rather a lot. Although he’d paid for most of the food, Angel hadn’t had to spend a penny on liquor or wine, since Cordelia had elected to make a significant dent in the inventory of her father’s cellar, which she reminded Xander was only going to go away when the house did if someone didn’t help them drink it!

Fortunately, now the party was over, many hands really had made for a fast cleanup, and everything was bagged, stashed, cleaned, or in the dishwasher.

“Well, I’m glad we didn’t have to clean that up all by ourselves,” said Xander, after shutting the door behind the last of their guests.

“Yeah, after the big fight, that would have been a bit much,” said Angel.

“I think throwing a big party after everything that happened this afternoon was enough,” said Booth. “How many days has it been since you all had a good night’s sleep?”

“I don’t need that much sleep. Neither do the slayers. Given everyone who was here, apparently we weren’t the only ones with the energy. You must know what it’s like. You have a big firefight… You’re wired and tired,” said Angel.

“Yeah, I guess so… If it was me personally, I’d just be sitting around, having a few… maybe a few too many… then passing out,” said Booth. “I wouldn’t be throwing a party for… how many people was that, anyway?”

“I don’t know,” said Xander. “Maybe twenty?”

“Twenty-five including us,” said Angel.

“Right,” said Xander, rolling his eyes. “He’s got eidetic memory.”

“Really?” asked Booth.

“Yeah,” said Xander. “He remembers everything.”

“I wish…” Booth began.

“No!” cried Angel and Xander at the same time.

“What?” Booth stared at both men, startled and a bit alarmed.

“No wishes on the Hellmouth,” said Xander. “It might not make bad things happen everywhere, but around here? Not a great idea. Especially now we know you’re Angel’s great grand spawn.”

“Spawn?” asked Booth. “You’re calling me spawn?”

“Yes, spawn,” said Xander, with a grin. “You have a problem with that; I can put you over my knee.”

“I’d like to see you try,” said Booth derisively.

“Don’t underestimate him,” said Angel wickedly.

“You know what, I don’t wanna know,” said Booth.

“Probably not,” said Xander grinning at Angel.

“You’ve gotta stop makin’ me boy blush,” Angel said to Xander in a conspiratorial tone.

“You do this on purpose, don’t you?” asked Booth.

“Do what on purpose?” asked Xander innocently.


______



Seeley Booth wasn’t sure just what had woken him up. He pushed the button on his watch. It was just after 2 A.M., which meant he had only been asleep for about an hour. Booth had been quite surprised when Angel had offered him a place to stay. However, given the fact that the hotel where most of the feds were staying was also doubling as City Hall and that what little space remained was now occupied by guests in town for graduation, it had been either that, or share a single room with Fornell. Much as he liked the man, he was a stranger. Booth had decided that spending the night in a mansion with all the comforts of home was definitely an improvement on that idea. That and Booth was quite curious about the man – vampire, who if his story was right, was his great grandfather several times over. So far, he liked what he had learned.

He heard a thud. There were muffled sounds. He wasn’t sure what to make of it, but he pulled his pants and undershirt back on, picked up his service weapon, and left the room as quietly as he could. Given the sorts of things that lived in this town, he wasn’t sure this was his best idea, but he didn’t really know what to do that wouldn’t alert whoever or whatever it was.

Since Angel and Xander’s room was upstairs, warning them without alerting the intruder would be impossible. Booth made his way quietly toward the sounds; then he heard a sound that made him feel quite stupid. Giggling. Giggling, and soft… murmuring. Booth eased the safety back on, and turned to head back to his room. He really didn’t want to interrupt Angel and Xander doing… whatever it was they were doing.

“Seeley,” said Angel, flicking the light on.

Angel was right next to him, and he hadn’t heard the man – vampire move. No one had ever gotten the drop on him like that.

“Crap,” said Booth. “How’d you do that?”

“He’s a vampire,” said Xander, strolling into the room.

OK, fully dressed, thought Booth, feeling relieved. Guess I didn’t interrupt anything too… interesting.

“Sorry if we woke you up,” said Angel. “We were just sitting outside for a little. We still couldn’t sleep.”

“That’s OK,” said Booth. “I… don’t mean to intrude… I was afraid you had… burglars or something.”

“Well, good thing it wasn’t ‘or something’,” said Xander. “Next time you hear noises at night in Sunnydale, make sure you have a knife of some kind.”

“I thought guns worked if I got a head shot,” said Booth.

“It’s unlikely there’ll be any other vampires in this house. Not as long as I’m alive, anyway,” said Xander. “We haven’t given any other vampires an invitation.”

“And there are things that guns don’t work on, that don’t need one?”

“Unfortunately. There are things that only a weapon of silver or a weapon of wood will work on. There are a few things that can only be killed by fire… or drowning. If you shot Oz when he was in his werewolf form, you would make him bloody, maybe slow him down a bit, but you couldn’t kill him unless you shot him or stabbed him with silver – or decapitated him. Even silver takes a while if you don’t get it somewhere vital.”

“Which is why you need a knife,” said Angel. “Not much out there that survives decapitation, though there are a few...”

“There are things that survive decapitation?” asked Booth. “How does that work, exactly?”

“Demon anatomy isn’t like ours. Some demons have hearts that aren’t located in the chest. A few have brains that can survive for several days without a blood supply. Some don’t have a blood supply at all and they’ll regenerate the parts lost from whatever pieces are detached.”

“Won’t that result in multiple demons?”

“Yup,” said Xander. “Demons are tricky in all kinds of ways. Some demons will survive pretty much any kind of killing… The only way to keep them kinda dead is to cut the pieces up and keep them separate.”

Booth looked skeptical.

“Trust me; we had to deal with one of those. That demon that Buffy was talking about? The one that wanted to burn the humanity out of everything with a soul? He was practically unkillable, too! We blew him up with a rocket launcher… but we still kept the pieces separate.”

“You blew up a demon?” said Booth.

He wasn’t sure how he’d missed that conversation.

“Buffy blew him up. I just stole the rocket launcher… me and my girlfriend…”

“You stole a rocket launcher?” Booth decided not to ask about the girlfriend.

“Um… Ooops? I shouldn’t have said that, should I?” said Xander.

“Don’t sweat it,” said Booth with a shrug. “It sounds like it was for a good cause. Wasn’t my rocket launcher.”

“You have cool great grandchildren, Ange,” said Xander.

“We have cool great grandchildren,” said Angel, grinning at Booth.

“Yes we do,” said Xander, smirking at Booth’s expression.

Booth just stared at them bemusedly. Oddly enough, the men before him were a definite improvement on the father he’d actually grown up with, since, as far as he could tell, neither of them was a violent, pathetic drunk. He wondered what his brother would make of this, or if he should even tell him. As strange as Angel was, being around him was a whole lot less angst filled than being around the family he had grown up with. Now he was getting used to it, Booth was actually beginning to enjoy his new ‘family’.

“How about a nightcap, Seeley?” said Xander. “It’s a nice night. We were sitting outside.”


_______



“Weeeeeeeeell. This is cozy! Wot a happy likkle fambly we’ve got ‘ere,” said Spike. “Husband, husband, kid… Dru, this wasn’t in the ‘andbook, now, was it luv?”

“Mmmm… no, don’t remember that part,” said Drusilla, seeming to appear out of nowhere from the darkness. She pointed a finger at Booth as she spoke. Then she pointed at Xander. “This one… It seems to fit… It’s so pretty!” She slowly licked her lips, swaying slightly as she spoke.

Angel, Xander and Booth reacted exactly the same way. All three were immediately on their feet, though Angel moved significantly faster than the other two. Angel was in game face and Xander had a stake in his hand and at the ready. Booth drew his weapon and trained it at Spike’s head… or at least, where Spike’s head had been.

Booth inexplicably found himself unarmed, with both arms pinned, gently, but firmly to his side by Spike. Spike squeezed just hard enough that Booth’s gun clattered to the ground. Angel had Dru pinned against him, though she was making no effort to get away. In fact, she leaned back against Angel as if she was exactly where she belonged. Spike glared at her and then at Angel. Then suddenly, Angel had a stake to Dru’s chest that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

“Now, now, none of that!” said Spike, theatrically. “We come in peace.”

“Why do I find that hard to believe?” asked Xander.

“We’re here to help,” said Dru as she wriggled her rear against Angel’s front provocatively, while giving Xander a very salacious look – one that made him hard, jealous and angry all at the same time.

“Daddy, I like this one,” said Dru, stretching, catlike in spite of Angel’s hold on her. “He’s yummy. We know he likes to play.”

Booth wasn’t sure what to make of the new visitors, but he was enjoying seeing Angel seem as off balance as Angel managed to make him feel.

“Dru!” Spike cried in dismay.

Spike’s grip on Booth’s wrists tightened to the point of being unbearable.

“You’re cutting off my circulation,” Booth said in a conversational voice, realizing that Spike could easily break all the bones in both forearms without even realizing it.

“Oh. Sorry,” said Spike, surprising Booth by letting him go.

Before Booth could consider attacking, Spike spoke.

“Don’t try anything stupid, Liam junior,” said Spike. “I could kill you before you could think. Even the old man wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, would you, Peaches?”

“Wouldn’t think of it, Count Platinum,” said Booth flippantly.

“Does clone boy here have a death wish?” asked Spike.

“Why are you here, Spike?” asked Angel, releasing Dru.

Dru made no attempt to step away from him, so Angel stepped back; which made her pout and give Angel a hurt look over her shoulder. Xander grinned at Angel.

“You’ll have to ask the missus,” said Spike casually, sitting down on the deck chair in a careless sprawl, and lighting a cigarette. “Got’ny booze?’

“You’re not stayin’ here, Spike,” said Angel.

“See, I told you helping Peaches was a bad idea, luv,” said Spike.

“He’s very ungrateful,” observed Drusilla. “Maybe he doesn’t want our help.”

“Stop playin’ games, Dru,” growled Angel, sounding suddenly very Irish and very dangerous.

“Maybe you should find out what we’re offerin’ before you try to off us,” said Spike, quietly.

“Maybe I should just kill you both,” said Xander, who unnoticed by any of them had picked up Booth’s gun, and now had it firmly against the back of Spike’s head. He cocked the gun as he spoke. “We both know neither of you can live without a brain.”

Xander held the gun at just the right angle that it would probably go through Dru’s head too. Of course, the proximity of her head to Angel’s body was such that Xander had no intention of firing. He pressed just a bit harder against Spike’s head.

“How the hell?” Spike began.

“Xan. Don’t,” said Angel.

“Daddy knows,” said Dru. “I sent him a dream.”

“You sent him a dream?” asked Xander and Booth at the same time.

From Angel’s expression, it was clear she told the truth.

“Did you miss me, daddy?” Dru giggled up at Angel.

“Why are you HERE, Dru?” bellowed Angel, suddenly losing his temper, and grabbing Dru by the throat and shoving her into the nearest chair. Booth felt stunned at the violence of the act, but neither Spike nor Xander seemed the least bit surprised. Booth wasn’t sure what that said about them.

Dru looked up at him with a hurt expression. Then she gave him a brilliant, jubilant smile.

“Why, we came to help you save your soul, of course!”


End of Season I, After Midnight



_____


Don't Look Back


Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day

And I can see
It took so long just to realize
I'm much too strong
Now, to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I'll turn it around, oh yes I will

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'

It's a bright horizon but I'm awakin'
Oh I see myself in a brand new way
The sun is shinin'
The clouds are breakin'
'Cause I can't lose now, there's no game to play

I can tell
There's no more time left to criticize
I've seen what I could not recognize
Everything in my life was leading me on
But I can be strong, oh yes i can

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'
Far away and left behind, left behind

(guitar bridge)

Oh the sun is shinin' *and I'm on that road*

(guitar solo)

Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day

I can see
It took so long just to realize
I'm much too strong
Now to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I'll turn it around, oh yes I will

I finally see the dawn arriving
I see beyond the road I'm driving
Far away and left behind

Don't look back
Don't look back
Don't look back
Don't look back...

by Boston

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51JQlijAxsA

______

In memory of my father, May 20, 1934-December 10, 2010.

Thanks to all who have reviewed and recommended and otherwise offered me support in this, my first slash (with a difference) story.

Special thanks to Inachis, Sithspit and Azulkan for beta reading, and for holding my hand (electronically) on those dark nights of the soul when the writing won't behave. I love you guys!

To my readers: I do hope you enjoyed it. I hope to do a sequel [or two] (season 4-5, 6-7, with elements of Angel) and I have the first chapter of my very first NCIS spin-off written. I have several unfinished stories that I need to work on (TFD, DWCN, Lost and TTRH) and depending on Mr. Muse, I will probably work on those some before continuing or spinning off this story. I also have a nursing license exams and fire department classes and a whole lot of other real life stuff that I need to work on… so don’t think I’m ignoring you… I appreciate your patience.

Really do hope you like the ending.

Peace,

Blue

The End

You have reached the end of "After Midnight". This story is complete.

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