The Gang's All Here
One quick note: Angel series finale spoilers coming very soon (end of this chapter, or at least within the next couple).
4-The Gang's All Here
Bonnie had been the last to arrive, and she did so with the announcement that Matt and Caroline had decided against joining them "for the baby's sake" before locking herself in the guest bathroom for over an hour. Meredith and Elena had managed to convince her to open the door finally, and the three had spent yet another hour sitting on the cool marble floor before she agreed to come out and meet the other guests.
Elena looked around her currently very crowded living room, amazed at the little group surrounding her. Damon was lounging against the far wall, flirting with Dawn Summers and a small group of vampire slayers. Buffy Summers was perched on the arm of a chair occupied by an older gentleman who had introduced himself as Rupert Giles, Head Watcher. Mr. Giles and a delicate looking redhead were poring over a collection of old scrolls and dusty books while Andrew looked on 'not making a nuisance of himself' as per Mr. Giles' instructions. The redhead-Willow Rosenberg-was a witch who had instantly bonded with Bonnie over their shared traits of red hair and magical talents.
Elena's eyes traveled to the far corner, where Cordelia Chase was bickering with a young man wearing an eye patch. A curvy brunette in an outfit that looked like it must have been painted on peppered their conversation (if the flying insults could be so described) with leers and off color comments. She was polishing a curved blade too long to be a knife but short enough it couldn't be accurately called a sword either. Meredith sat on the end of the sofa, silently studying the various new faces, much as Elena was doing from the doorway. Elena felt Stefan walk up behind her and relaxed against him as he slipped an arm around her waist.
Stefan's lips brushed the side of her neck and she sighed. "It's all real, isn't it?"
"It seems so, yes. It certainly explains why none of the other vampires like Damon and I ever knew how the Originals were created."
Buffy looked up and smiled before standing and clearing her throat. The room went silent and every eye focused on her. "Well, now that the gang's all here, it's time we get down to business. Giles?"
"Oh, ah, yes, quite rightly so." The older gentleman seemed a bit flustered as he stood and removed his glasses, cleaning the lenses with his handkerchief before speaking. "As you have all been made aware, we have come together here tonight to plan a course of actions. It seems a very powerful master vampire was trapped in our world but has been able to return to his home. This vampire is powerful enough that his return to his home dimension has upset the balance between all possible realities. The Powers That Be have chosen to step in and have chosen three champions from this world to travel to that one."
"Yeah, and?" Cordelia muttered, eyeing a crack in her nail polish with distaste. Willow and Buffy glared at her but Giles chose to ignore the former cheerleader's comment.
"Willow and Andrew have located a rather vague prophecy-"
"Aren't they all?" Buffy muttered, rolling her eyes and earning herself a warning look from her mentor.
"As I was saying, the prophecy is vague, first recorded and translated in the first century, and, I fear, incompletely so. However, there is a mention of a group of warriors called The Returned, a group of champions who have, ah, conquered death and been returned to this world by the Powers to avert the Apocalypse."
"How is that any different?" the young man with the eye patch asked. "Isn't that what we're always up against, G-man?"
"No, Xander, it is not, and do stop calling me by that ridiculous nickname. This is not an apocalyptic event. We are discussing THE Apocalypse."
"Oh. OH!" Cordelia shouted, jumping up from her seat. "Vision. I had another vision." She lifted her gaze, eyes wide. "We need Angel."
The room erupted into chaos. Elena was able to make out bits and pieces of panicked yells and angry declarations. She heard words like "traitor," "evil lawyers," "not again," and finally "I knew he'd be part of this. He's always involved in the big trouble" from Xander.
Buffy stood again, the brunette (her name was Faith, wasn't it?) and Willow standing just behind her. "Enough." She didn't yell, or even raise her voice, really, but the small force she had called together fell silent and waited for her next words. "I know how you all feel. I was the one who told you we could no longer trust Angel and his people after he took over Wolfram and Hart in LA, but . . ." she paused, making eye contact with everyone in the room, "But, Angel is to be a major player in the Apocalypse. Cordelia's visions come from the Powers That Be and, like it or not, we work for them. If her vision says we need Angel, then we need Angel." The blonde slayer turned to Willow and nodded. "Make the call, Will."
The redheaded witch took out a small silver flip phone and stepped out of the room. She returned in less than two minutes, face pale and eyes wide. "I can't get an answer, but somehow I just know . . . it's bad, Buffy. I . . . I think we might be too late." Cordelia let out a sort of strangled sob and screamed, clutching her head.