The Job Offer
Disclaimer: I do not own Angel the Series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Dresden Files. They are owned by their respective writers, publishers, producers, etc. I'm just borrowing their characters. When I use direct lines from any of these universes, I don't own those either.
Author's Note: This takes place sometime after 'White Night' and starts during AtS episode 4x02 “Ground State.” The events of “Small Favor” and the books after it will not happen, although things from those books may be drawn upon in this fic. The later events of 'Angel' still happen, but are not going to be touched on that much in this fic.
Author's Note 2: In any crossover of the Buffyverse and the Dresden Files, probably the central hurdle in terms of reconciling the universes is the fact that none of the Three Courts given screen time in the Dresden Files really match the Buffyverse vampires perfectly. There have been a variety of ways of ironing out the differences, and the way I've chosen to do it is have it that the Vampires that have shown up in AtS and BtVS have all been Black Court, and that unlike in canon Dresden Files, they are not vulnerable to garlic or running water, though they are as presented in both universes otherwise. I do this because it seems the simplest way to reconcile the universes. Angel is Black Court, but he has a soul, as does Spike, by this point.New City, Same Enemy
Chapter 1: The Offer
Wesley was alone in his apartment in when the phone call came. Not that that was an uncommon state for him, these days. A false prophecy has seen to that.
Not for the first time, Wesley wondered why he'd not consulted anyone – Fred, Gunn, Lorne, Cordelia, if not Angel himself – about the prophecy. The Father will kill the Son. At the time, his reasoning made sense to him – and he suspected that it was only hindsight that was really making it possible for him to wonder. He'd done what he'd done, doing what he thought right with the information he'd had at hand. Angel's anger he understood, but Fred's words had cut the deepest.
Contrary to what Lilah had claimed, he'd not rescued Angel out of some desire for forgiveness – he didn't want forgiveness, not in that way anyway. He'd rescued his former friend because it was the right thing to do. Because Angel, all else aside, was a Champion for the Powers and a force for good in the world. Wolfram and Hart, and all the other evils in Los Angeles would not stop just because the person best positioned to oppose them and their schemes was in a metal crate underwater. But Wesley had no intentions of returning to Angel Investigations – not that he even could, if he'd wanted to.
Which was why the call had come at a fortuitous time.
“Is this Wesley Wyndam-Pyrce, formerly of the Watcher's Council and Angel Investigations?” Lovely.
Was his first thought. Recite the litany of my failures.
“Who wishes to know?”
“I am calling on behalf of Johnny Marcone.” Wesley knew that name. The rise of a complete mortal to the rank of Freeholding Lord in the Unseelie Accords could not go unnoticed to Wesley, even this far from Chicago, and even if the Watchers Council had pointedly refused to sign the Accords, or any of the various treaties and accords that had preceded it, in its long history. The Council was, in essence, perpetually at war with all three Vampire Courts, even if the Slayer mostly dealt with the Black Court, and it had never wanted to constrain its actions by signing onto the Accords. “Mr. Marcone,” the person on the other end of the line said, “would like you to come to Chicago and meet with him regarding a job offer.”
A job offer. Since his recovery, Wesley had operated his own small group of demon hunters, but now that Angel was back, he'd been planning on leaving L.A. Staying in the same city as his former friends now offered too many chances to run into Angel, given that they'd both be operating in and dealing with the supernatural underworld of the city. Even if Angel wasn't going to kill him on sight – which he probably wasn't anymore, encountering him again was not something he looked forward to. Working for a Mafia boss did not sound particularly appealing, and if the offer had come even a few years before, he'd have turned it down in a heartbeat, but at this point, his options were limited. The Council wouldn't accept him back, the Slayer was hardly going to want to have much of anything to do with him at this point, especially given how close she was to Angel, when added to his conduct leading up to his firing by the Council.
“Why exactly, if he offering me a position. I am not exactly in the same line of work as most people who work for Mr. Marcone.”
“Recently, a new player has arrived in Chicago, and Mr. Marcone is not at all interested in them interfering with his people or his operations. When he determined the intentions and nature of this new player, he has tried to find someone who both has significant knowledge of this group and experience opposing it, and was available. Your name came up positive in both categories.”
The only groups he could think of that might be of particular interest to a man like Marcone and that Wesley had any real knowledge of were the Watchers Council – which he didn't exactly have experience opposing, per se, and Wolfram and Hart. The L.A. Branch constituted the company's primary offices in the North American continent, but not its only one.
“Wolfram and Hart.” Wesley said.
“Yes. Can I tell Mr. Marcone that you accept?”
“No, but I am willing to go to Chicago to hear him out. I have a few things to wrap up here in Los Angeles, but then I shall leave for Chicago.”
“Alright.” There was a click as whoever it was on the other end of the line hung up, and Wesley sat back down. He had not anticipated anything like this, but...Wolfram and Hart was an enemy he knew how to fight, and if they really were setting up operations in Chicago, he could only do good opposing them – even if he would be doing it under the auspices of a crime lord. Not that the law had really been a particular consideration or block on their actions at Angel Investigations when it came to doing the right thing, fighting the good fight.
He had one more job with his team - finding a man being held for ransom by demons - and he would give to Angel everything he'd been able to gather on Cordelia's disappearance. What little it was, like with rescuing Angel, it was the right thing to do.
“Need help?” He heard the familiar voice of Angel as he swung his axe through another demon.
“No.” He paused for a breath. “Thanks.” He bent down and picked up a key on a chain. “So. Mr. O'Leary is being kept in a motel. How original. Free him, go to base and have Diana close out the file.” He told his – soon to be former – employees. They knew this was his last case with them. All the money from it was theirs, and they were capable of carrying on on their own. “Hawkins, back of my car.”
“Running your own game now, huh?” Angel said, the slightest hint of accusation in his tone. Of course I am. I can't work with you anymore, and I'm hardly going to give up the fight just because I'm not with you anymore.
Of course, the accusatory tone could just be because Angel still hadn't – and likely never would, before Wesley died, of violent or even natural causes – forgiven him. Wesley didn't say anything. The answer was, after all, fairly obvious. “I never got a chance to thank you.” The vampire continued. Oh yes. Now it comes.
Wesley had expected something like this. Angel was too predictable with his moral code, at times. “Finding me, bringing me up.” Wesley had been planning on mailing the file to Angel, but since he was here now, he might as well give it to him. He went towards the severed half of a demon and moved it. “Must have been hard for you. No map. All that water.” Wesley turned towards the metal briefcase Hawkins came back with – where he'd been keeping the file on Cordelia. Angel followed. “Look, what went down between us. I had a lot of time down there. To think. You know...about the way things went, the way things could've gone. And...I just want you to know, as far as I'm concerned, we're okay again.”
Wesley highly doubted that. Even if it was true, in the abstract, Wesley wasn't ready to forgive Angel, however justified he'd might have felt – or even been – in trying to smother him with a pillow. Wesley, had, after all, felt justified, and by all the information he'd had to work with, been justified, in kidnapping Conner, even if things had ended out far worse than he could have imagined. And the way Fred and Gunn had turned to him for leadership after he'd returned Angel to them, as if the preceding months hadn't happened...they were all hypocrites, and himself no better. Wesley opened the briefcase and handed the file to Angel.
“What you came for.” The vampire opened it. “That's everything I have on Cordelia's disappearance.”
“Did your own investigation?”
“I don't think she's dead.” The hopeful look in Angel's eyes was unsurprising. “Can't say for certain of course, but I don't believe she's in our dimension any longer. Beyond that....its a road I couldn't follow. No living thing can.”
“One of the Eleusian Mysteries. Dark Demigod of the Lost. Only the dead can enter her presence. And those that do she often traps for eternity.”
“I managed to locate her lair.” As he spoke, Wesley coiled rope around his arm. “Obviously, I couldn't enter myself.”
“So this Dinza can tell me where Cordy is?” No, of course not. You can't expect a creature like her to just give you straight answers Angel.
For all his age and experience in the world of the supernatural, Angel simply lacked the breadth of knowledge Wesley had. And even if she could, the price is rarely one that can truly be paid in full.
“No. The most she'll tell you is where to look. Just beware,” he closed the briefcase. “Dinza isn't remotely trustworthy.”
“What should I do then?” Angel's own hypocrisy was on full display now...but...Wesley was in no position to cast stones. “Send her a gift, sacrifice? Unholy fruit basket?” Wesley just shook his head.
“I've done all I can in this. Tomorrow I'll be leaving Los Angeles.”
“What do you mean? You can't leave –“
“This is your city, Angel. Even if you were willing to truly forgive me for what happened with Conner, we can't go on as if nothing happened, and staying in the same city will do neither of us any good.”
Angel looked more offended now, than anything else. “Where are you going then? The Watchers-”
“I've received a job offer, from someone in Chicago, if its any of your concern. It seems Wolfram and Hart have decided to set up operations there as well, and at least one local isn't interested in letting them do so unopposed. If all goes well, we'll never have to see each other again.” He didn't wait for a response from Angel, taking the briefcase and his axe and leaving the long-abandoned factory. And leaving, for good, the life he'd led for nearly three years in Los Angeles.