: I hold the rights to no copyrighted material. All characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who are the rights of their respective owners.
It's really interesting, going from writing for Buffy when she's older to writing for her when she's still a kid. In this story, I get to go through Buffy when she's young, through Buffy when she's old. She really has grown and changed as a character, huh?
I think I'm going to post up this whole story at once. I think the story flows better if you read it as a unit.
Next up! We get to see Seo, Dawn, the Silence, and Sunglasses in "All Must Fall."
Buffy stepped into the mausoleum, tentatively, her stake raised. Looking around herself, ready to run away or leap into action at a moment's notice. Depending on what she found.
It was empty.
Buffy's nerves fell away into a grin, as she noticed the symbol Giles had shown her, representing the Charm of Horlop, carved into the stone top to the bier in the center.
"Ka-ching," Buffy said, as she raced inside and grabbed up the bier's lid, to move it aside and get the artifact. "Dangerous demon charm, come to Buff—"
The lid had only just begun to move, when Buffy was grabbed by the shoulders and shoved away.
Buffy, on instinct, regained her balance and flipped back, grabbing up her assailant into a choke-hold.
Then released, as she realized… it was Angel.
"Don't sneak up like that!" Buffy said, shoving him away from her. "If you're going to be all creepy-stalker and stuff."
Angel looked flustered, tonight.
If vampires had breath, Buffy figured he'd be breathing heavily enough to approach a serious nervous breakdown.
"It's a trap," Angel warned. "The charm isn't a charm. I came the moment I found out."
Buffy crossed her arms. "Wow. You ran all the way here from your creepy demon contacts that you won't disclose — just so you could give me another dose of the cryptic. Thanks, Angel."
Angel's nerves didn't die down.
In fact, he now seemed more jumpy than ever. Looking around himself, constantly, as if trying to catch sight of someone who was about to swoop out at him from the shadows.
"You going to be all with the explanation?" Buffy demanded. "Or just stick with 'it's a trap'?"
"I… don't know," Angel admitted. Dropped his head. "I had this meeting, tonight — she said you were in danger. I don't know if she was threatening you, or warning you, or what, but… somehow… she knew everything. Can manipulate everything."
Buffy felt a jolt of worry run through her. "She
"She knew what Giles wanted you to do," Angel continued. "Where you'd go, tonight. Which graveyard and which mausoleum you'd be at — on a minute-by-minute basis. And she knew what the Charm of Horlop really is, and who made sure Giles would have the wrong information, to lure you—"
"You went on a dinner date with someone else?!" Buffy cried.
Angel faltered. "What?"
"You did!" Buffy said, pointing her finger in his face. "You went on a date with someone else! Some… I don't know. Demon, or vampire, or…!"
"Buffy, it wasn't like that!" Angel insisted. "She said you were in danger. I thought…"
"Was… was she prettier than me?" Buffy asked. Feeling her heart booming way too loud in her chest. Then, with a wave of her hand, "No, don't answer that. She was, wasn't she?"
"I was trying to protect you!" Angel interjected.
Buffy turned back to the bier in the center of the mausoleum. Trying to force back tears.
"Go back to your demon-super-star," Buffy said, grabbing up the bier's lid, again. "I'll just stay here being miserable while I Slayer-it-up with the Charm of—"
"The Charm of Horlop isn't an object, Buffy!" Angel insisted, snatching her up by the wrists. He pointed at the lid of the bier. "It's not something you can take out of that grave, hold in your hand, and then smash!"
"So what did your we're-just-friends-and-it's-not-a-date lady say it was
?!" Buffy shouted.
That was when the stone lid on the bier shattered, like glass.
Revealing a swirling pit of blackness underneath, which roared and ejected a sudden mob of five-legged demons with razor-sharp teeth and sleek black furry bodies.
"A doorway to a demon realm," Angel said.
They turned to Buffy, hunger glowing in their eyes.
And with a howl, they pounced.
Buffy only just managed to flip herself away from the first monster, kicking a second monster back, while Angel morphed and tore into another two. But there were more emerging from the doorway all the time, and Buffy had to find some way to seal the gateway.
Seal the mausoleum.
She looked up. If she could just jump up — hit one of the main support struts by that small window, up there, then climb through before—
All thoughts of escape ceased, as one of the creatures grabbed her.
She tried to fight back, but the whole group was on top of her. Every one of them tearing and clawing to hold her down and restrain her, each one spinning a spider-like web around her body before they began dragging her back, ant-like, towards the doorway to their demon realm.
Angel fought to get to her.
But he wasn't far from being monster-food himself.
"You win!" Angel shouted into the air, loud as he could, trying to free himself as the creatures wove a web around his limbs. "I agree! I agree to it all!"
Then there was a flash.
And next thing Buffy knew… the five-legged black monsters were gone. Vanished, as if they'd never been there at all. The entryway into the other dimension turned opaque, then faded back into the stone surface of the tomb.
Leaving Buffy on the ground, a little stunned and still covered in web, trying to work out what had just happened.
With a lot of wriggling, she managed to catch hold of a sharp rock nearby, and tear the bonds that restrained her. Then leapt to her feet, and raced over to free Angel, too.
"What did you do, Angel?" Buffy said. A little warily. "First you said this was a trap. And when you agreed to something, all the baddies disappeared." She crossed her arms. "Are you being coerced?"
Angel wouldn't answer.
"What did you agree to?" Buffy demanded. Leveling a stern stare at him. "Angel. What did you do
Angel looked away.
And never said.
When Angel was sure he'd shaken Buffy off, he went back to the bar. Sat down at the booth, opposite the woman in the sunglasses, her mahogany hair shining in the candlelight, her lips turned in a perfect smile.
"So?" she asked him.
Angel opened his mouth to answer, then… hesitated. Closed it. Looked away.
"You said you agreed to my terms," said the woman. "That includes telling me what you know as of now."
Angel was quiet for a long moment.
Then, in a half-whisper, "The Doctor isn't here. He hasn't shown up in Buffy's life at all. Not that I can see."
The sunglasses woman gave a small laugh. "There! That wasn't so hard, was it?"
Angel didn't answer.
The woman leaned over the table. Her hair falling over her shoulders, as she handed him a small trinket. "You remember the second part of our terms, of course?"
"That if he ever shows up, I summon you immediately?" Angel took the trinket. His face looking glum and somewhat disgusted with himself. "This is some kind of… summoning charm?"
"Some kind, yes." The woman's voice lowered. "When he shows up, just think of me while holding that."
Angel put the trinket down on the table.
Didn't even want to touch it.
What had he done?
What had he agreed to?!
"What?" said the woman, leaning back. "It's not that big a sacrifice, is it? You don't care about him."
"I can't let you kill him," Angel warned her. "I won't."
"Not a problem," Sunglasses replied. She winked. "I said I wanted him alive. Otherwise… there isn't really much point. Is there?"
Angel didn't answer.
Sunglasses grinned. "You've seen what I can do, now," she reminded him. "The power that I have. Prophecies, curses, time and hell demons and vampires — I can get around them all." She snapped her fingers. "Like that."
"You said you could prevent the prophecy that was written in the Peragmum Codex," Angel said. "You said you could make sure the Master didn't kill Buffy."
"At the end of Buffy's final face-off with the vampire known as 'the Master'," the woman replied, "she'll be alive and well. You have my word on that."
Angel still felt uneasy.
That didn't sound exactly like what he'd asked.
"She'll be under my protection," the woman replied. "Now and forever." Pushing the trinket closer to him. "Just one simple thing you have to do, first."
Angel didn't answer for a long time.
Then, with an irritated sigh, grabbed the trinket back up off the table.
"I'll agree to your little game," Angel said. "But just remember. If you destroy the Doctor, you make an enemy of me. But if you hurt Buffy… I'll tear you apart with my bare hands. Got that?"
The woman got up from the table. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news," she said. Then leaned down. And whispered, "But you couldn't stop me if you tried."
She stood upright. Adjusted her sunglasses.
"Your Slayer will be fine," the woman assured him. "Just so long as you summon me the moment she meets the Doctor." She turned to head out of the bar. "I have an interest in those two."
Angel stared down at the trinket in his hands.
"Forgive me, Buffy," he whispered. "Please."