title: As You Wish
summary: Someone meddles with the fabric of time and allows Wesley to see another possible outcome to the series finale.
disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. They're Whedon's. I'm just playing with them since the WB decided he couldn't play anymore.
spoilers: Season 5 finale of AtS.
note: Yes they're quoting The Princess Bride. That's where the title's from. This was started several weeks ago. I had to go back and rewrite a little of this after the series ender. But it was sort of spooky how much I did NOT have to rewrite. I think Joss sees in my head some days.
shout: This is for Lee, who wanted a pure AtS fic, and who I know adores Wes as much as I do. I hope you like it, Lipton.
Had he started hallucinating?
Wesley had awoken on one of the couches in the Hyperion Hotel. He was fairly certain he was supposed to be dead just now.
It looked slightly different, the hotel. Lived in again. The last time he'd been by there had been dust on everything. What was this? What was going on here? He should be in some sort of afterlife with Cordy and Fred. Fred has said... no, it had been Illyria playing at being his Fred.
"You all right, man? That must'a been quite a knock you took."
He knew that voice. Faith? Faith was here? Faith was here why? Had she showed up for the apocalypse? Good for her. He had found last time around he rather liked having Faith in attendance for world-ending crisis situations. She did well in them.
Wesley craned his head around to see where her voice was coming from. His jaw dropped. Faith was pregnant. Heavily pregnant. Probably about eight months and some change. She looked... well... glorious, but also about ready to pop. What made her so lovely, healthy pregnant lady glow aside, was that haunted look she'd had the last time he'd seen her was completely gone. He'd never seen the like. Faith was... happy. She looked as though she belonged right where she was... and Faith, to his knowledge, had never looked so.
Perhaps he was in some sort of happy afterlife.... but he didn't trust it. It seemed almost too bright in here. But there was also happy-pregnant Faith who was currently smiling a wry grin at him.
"Faith, you're pregnant."
"Can't put one over on you, huh, Wes?" She said in a voice that dripped with sarcasm... more like the Faith HE knew.
"I just... you look beautiful."
"You're not patrolling with Gunn anymore. That must be some bump. Not that I'm not flattered, Wes, but you better not let that wife of yours hear you talking such sweet talk to me. I've seen her fire a crossbow."
"Daddy! Daddy! You're awake! Mommy and I were so scared when you wouldn't wake up at first, but Aunt Faith said you were gonna be ok."
Wes stared in awe as a little girl with long brown hair and huge blue eyes crawled up and rested her head on his chest. She was very thin, and all arms and legs. She reminded him or someone he had loved, still loved, dearly. And she was calling him father. He'd always wanted a little girl. Any child actually, but a girl he'd wanted most. Perhaps that was his inner watcher.
"Easy, Cordy." Faith said in the most delicate tone Wesley had ever heard her use. "Don't be too rough on your daddy. He's had a difficult night."
"Cordy? Cordelia?" Wesley breathed.
"Mommy said you might act sorta funny. Yes, I'm Cordelia, silly. Cordelia Trish Wyndam-Pryce."
"Trish? That's Fred's mother's name."
"Duh! I know that's Grandma's name."
Wesley blinked. "Grandma?"
"Oh thank goodness you're awake. I was so worried when Gunn and Spike carried you inside all knocked out with that bump on your head. You can't keep scaring me like that, Wesley. It's not nice, and how would you feel if I did it to you, hmmm?"
Wesley turned slowly. He couldn't breathe right. She... she... she was here. It was really her. Not some illusion. Not the lie. Or part of it had not been a lie at all. He was where she was now... and it didn't hurt. Not really. He DID feel like he'd been clubbed in the head though. Shouldn't it be his gut that hurt? That's where he'd been stabbed, right? His gut? Wesley patted his middle, looking for the wound.
He looked up when she said his name. "Fred."
"Yeah. Who else would I be?" Then she made a face. "Has Illyria been pretending to be me again? I asked her not to do that anymore."
"You are right, Winifred. He is indeed acting not like Wesley."
Wesley turned again. This was not possible. Illyria had come to stand next to Fred. It was odd seeing the two of them standing next to one another. It was like seeing someone and their twin who had been dyed blue. Illyria cocked her head to the side as she seemed to study him. She was not wearing her body armor. Her blue-streaked hair was pulled away from her face, and she was wearing a blue dress that hit just below her knees.
He was in some weird alterna world. That was the only explanation. It simply was not possible for both Fred and Illyria to be here. He scrambled to his feet and backed away from everyone. Just then Gunn entered the room from parts other in the hotel.
"Wes? Hey, you're up. I was starting to get a little worried, man. Your wife punched me when we brought you in, and Spike's already been mumbling about no more patrolling for you all morning, English. You best tell him to shut it." Gunn stopped when he noticed the look on Wes's face. "Hey... you all right, man? You don't look too hot, Wes. Maybe you'd better just lie back down again."
"Not possible." Wesley muttered. He was freaking out here.
"This does not interest me. I am going back to the kitchen to baste the breast of the large fowl in its own juices again so that it will be tender for our ritualistic meal." With that, Illyria spun on her the heel of her girlish black slippers and headed to the kitchen.
It was sort of amazing how feminine a dress and ballet-esque shoes could make her appear. Wesley was fairly baffled by it. Fred, Gunn, the pregnant Faith, and little Cordelia were standing very still and watching Wesley.
"We're here!" Someone called. "I brought pie!"
Everyone turned. Wesley blinked. The last time he'd seen Dawn Summers she had been quite the little girl. Not so now. Willow and Xander were behind her. He hadn't seen either of them in an age. Well, Xander at least. He'd seen Willow when she came to restore Angel's soul for the second time... and why was Xander wearing an eye patch?
"What's going on?" Xander asked.
Faith rolled her eyes. "Oh, Princess Margaret is having himself a big old freak-out."
"I got this." Willow said quietly. There was a knowing look in her eye.
Wesley bristled when she headed towards him. Willow held out a hand to him. Then he heard her voice in his head. He knew she was powerful, but damn.
Don't be afraid, Wes. I can explain. Just come away with me for a minute. I don't want anyone else to hear it.
Wesley blinked.... but then he did take the offered hand and follow Willow into one of the offices. She closed the door then muttered something and waved her hand. The door glowed for a moment. Wesley bristled.
"I just soundproofed the room is all. Don't be nervous."
"I know you know what REALLY happened, but it doesn't have to be like that."
"Giles never told me when Angel called.... if I had known, I could have stopped it... or fixed it. I didn't know until it was way too late, but I think I managed to get back at the heart of the matter... and skew things. It's better everyone alone, huh? I think I fixed it."
"It?" The realization hit. "Fred."
"Her soul wasn't destroyed... just misplaced."
"And you found it. And this is an alternate reality."
"No, this is one possible outcome."
Wesley just stared at her. What else could he do?
"Just by telling you this, I might have changed things. Enjoy today because when you wake up tomorrow, it'll be back to the last apocalypse. That day, er night. This is so you don't give up. This is so you know what waits for you."
Willow put a hand on his arm. "I want you happy."
"You've given me back Fred... even for a day... I can't even find... the words."
"All evidence to the contrary. Look, as long as you hold on when time is right for holding, Wes, you'll have her back again."
"That's all I can tell you."
"But this place, these people... where's Angel?"
"Not sure. Likely somewhere with Nina."
"Nina the werewolf?"
"Faith and Gunn?" He hissed incredulously.
Willow nodded. "He kinda develops this thing for her when she shows up at the senator's campaign office that night with a pack of potentials and helps him dust up the room. I really think it's when she throws him out of the way and takes a knife to the gut that was meant for him though. When she finally passed out after the final due to blood loss, he stayed by her bed until she opened her eyes again. Sure, he passed out due to lack of sleep shortly after, but I never saw anyone keep vigil like that before."
"Faith and a bunch of slaygals dusting vampires?"
"No, Gunn and Faith. Him staying with her like that. I mean, he barely knew her."
"Life and death situations do strange things to people."
"We're wasting time... time you could be spending with your wife and daughter."
"Any other surprises?"
"Spike and Illyria just started dating?"
"It's been really funny because you know Spike, and she's so... weird and not of this plane of existence."
"And how is she still here, exactly?"
"You mean how is it that she's here and Fred is too since essentially they shared that one body once?"
"Well... yes. Exactly."
"I'd really like to astound you with my cleverness when the time comes, but I see how you need to know now for your peace of mind. I make a new Fred out of the old one's shell. Sort of like the monks did with Dawn. Dawn showing up for the final battle is what gives me the idea. After we smackdown some baddies apocalypse-style, have several days of rest unless we're Gunn keeping the bedside vigil for Faith, and then regroup, I take Blue, and she and I remake Fred. I doesn't happen right off, mind you, but despite her being weird and former hellgoddess-y, Illyria becomes quite dedicated to bringing her 'sister' back."
"Dawn shows up in the final battle?"
"Her and Buffy. That's when Dawn and Connor first clap eyes on one another, much to the discomfort of Buffy and Angel. We all show up. It's an apocalypse. Did you really think we WOULDN'T show? Hell, Xander goes to help Spike even. They fight side by side."
"How did all of you even know where to go?"
"Buffy and Faith have the exact same slayer dream."
"But I die."
"That's ONE possibility."
"And I'm altering time for you."
"Now it's Thanksgiving. It's your perfect day, Wes. Angel and Nina will be here soon from the airport with the Burkles. Dawn and Connor will try to sneak off for smoochies. Don't eat her pie, by the way, unless you want indigestion. Fred and Illyria cooked a delicious meal, but Nina made the fruit salad. Buffy and Giles are gonna show up late due to unforeseen slayage, but Buffy pushes to get here, dirty or not, because this is her favorite holiday. Also, don't be so stiff when she hugs you. Spike, Xander, and Angel will snip at each other playfully all through the meal. Lorne's going to turn up after a seven year absence... and there will be much rejoicing. Gunn's finally gonna ask Faith to marry him, and she's gonna go into labor shortly after she says yes."
Wesley nodded. He was feeling something he had not felt since the day Fred had been infected by the dust of Illyria... hope.
Willow waved her hand at the door. It glowed again briefly, and he knew she'd removed her sound barrier. Just as he was about to leave the office, Willow grabbed his arm.
"Just remember when you wake up tomorrow you won't be here. You'll be back there. Remember to wait for me this time. We can't change any of it if you don't hold out."
Wesley nodded... and made a note. When he woke up again, he was to hold on for Willow. He must wait for her.
It was approaching three in the morning by the time they dragged themselves back into the Hyperion Hotel. It had gone pretty much like Willow had said. Angel and Nina had shown up with the Burkles shortly after Wesley and Willow exited the office. Dinner had been a tasty, yet noisy, affair. Buffy and Giles had arrived late and covered in purple goo. The slayer had indeed hugged him. Dawn and Connor had snuck off. Lorne had returned. Gunn had proposed, and Faith had accepted and then immediately gone into labor.
It was only an hour ago that Aidan Charles Gunn had been brought into the world.
Wesley slipped into his daughter's room. She was curled up on her side with brown hair spilling across her pillow. He kissed her temple and pulled the covers higher then went to find 'his wife'. Married to Fred. Now that was a fantasy if he ever knew one.
He slipped into the set of rooms that were apparently theirs. They lived in the Hyperion. With Gunn, Faith, Illyria, Spike, Connor, Angel, and Nina. They were Angel Investigations again. They were back to helping the hopeless.
Fred was sitting at a dressing table before a nicely-sized mirror brushing out her long brown hair. It was a scene he never thought to see. Her eyes met his in the mirror's reflection.
"Is Cordy all tucked in?"
"You won't be offended if I go to kiss her goodnight under the guise of checking to see that she's all tucked in for myself, will you?"
"I could never mind much of anything you would do."
Fred set down her brush and rose. She turned to face him. "You've been awfully funny and maudlin today."
"Can't be helped. I have everything I could possibly want today. I'm terrified of what tomorrow brings."
"I won't leave you." She whispered as she crossed to him.
"But you did once, didn't you?"
"What is it they say in Princess Bride? Not even death can stop true love? All it can do is delay it for a little while? And... hear this now, I will ALWAYS come for you. I'll find you, you know. All you have to do is hold on for me, Wes. "
"As you wish." He whispered as he closed the distance between them and gently touched his lips to hers.
Her kiss was always like coming home.
Wesley closed his eyes. When he opened them again, it was to be assaulted by the sharp pain of the wizard Vail stabbing him in the guts. He blew the red-faced wrinkle off his feet with a magical blast then stumbled.
"Wesley." Illyria said as she caught him and lowered him to the floor. "This wound is mortal."
"Aren't we all?"
The air around them shifted. Even in his pain, Wesley could feel it. There was a loud popping sound, and someone was crouched on the floor next to them. Illyria bristled. So did Wesley, as much as he could, until the figure threw back her mane of black hair and stared at him with empty black voids where her eyes should have been. But he would know her anywhere.
"You know this creature?" Illyria asked.
"No time." Willow hissed. "He's bleeding a lot, and I don't know if I have enough juice after my jump to heal him."
"You can heal his wounds? Then heal then. Now. Before he expires."
"He's not milk, sweetie." Willow said as she dug her hands INTO Wesley's wound.
He howled in pain.
"You hold on." Willow whispered.
She started shivering, and Wesley felt a warmth in his gut.
"You are siphoning your life force into him." Illyria noted. "Do you require assistance? I offer my life force for him as well."
"No." Willow gritted, as her eyes flickered from black to mossy green. "You'll need all your strength in a minute, Blue."
"Blue. That is what the vampire Spike calls me."
"I... know." Willow said weakly as she pulled her hands back from Wesley.
She swiped one hand across her sweaty forehead. It left a smear of blood there. Her hair became red at the roots. The color traveled down to the tips, and she once again looked like the Willow Wesley knew. She sighed heavily before she collapsed on the floor next to him.
Wesley felt his gut. It was tender. Very tender, and he was weak, very weak, but he no longer felt himself growing cold and slipping away.
"It was good that you came." He said to Illyria, then he rolled his head to the side to look at Willow. "Both of you."
"I killed all mine, and I was..." Illyria paused.
"I think so." She took up his head into her lap. "You were nearly dead."
"But this... this... creature..." She gestured to Willow.
"Willow is a very powerful witch."
"She saved you with little concern for herself. She must be most powerful to completely restore your life force as she did. Such selflessness. She is useless in this current state."
"That is just her way."
"I think I like her way." Illyria pause to consider. "Since you nearly died, would you like me to lie to you now?"
"Lie to him." Willow rasped. "It's part of the plan. Lie. Lie NOW."
Illyria nodded. The next thing Wesley knew... she was looking and acting like Fred. She leaned down and kissed his forehead.
"It's gonna be ok." She whispered. "It doesn't hurt now does it? No. One day you'll be where I am. We'll be together."
"No. It just stings a little, but I think I might pass out soon." He was starting to get lightheaded. "I love you."
"I love you, my love. Oh my love."
"I'm waiting for you. I won't doubt. I'll hold on. I'm waiting. Not even death can stop true love. Say you'll come back to me... even if it's a lie."
"As you wish... I'll find you."
"Good." Then he finally succumbed to the strain on his body and passed out.
Illyria sighed. "Is he..."
"How very touching his meaningless death was."
Illyria and Willow exchanged a look as Illyria rose slowly. Someone was getting the big hurt for trying to kill Wesley.
"But this fight was never for mortals. Two little girls thinking to save the boy playing with dark magics."
Illyria turned to face him with a look of impending death... his impending death.
"Oh." Vail said with a chuckle. "Take your best shot, little girl."
Willow propped herself up on her elbows. She was getting a bit of power back. Her hair and eyes had gone back to their scary dark magic mojo raven. When she spoke her voice was about an octave lower than normal, not that this guy knew the diff.
"Two things, ass clown. First, Wes isn't dead, just passed out. Second, there are no mere mortals here, you big poophead. Show 'em what you got, Blue."
"I do not understand that command?"
"Of course. With pleasure... Red."
Illyria swung her fist as hard as she could, morphing from her Fred-ish visage back to the blue of her more natural and Illyria-like state. Her fist hit him in his offending mouth making his ugly red head explode. His yellow eyes only had mere seconds to show his shock at being bested by a 'little girl'.
"You made his head explode. That was pretty gross." Willow said as she sat up.
"Yes, but it was also satisfying."
"We should get out of here, I'm thinking."
"Yes. I will carry Wesley."
"Good, cos I think I'm gonna have a hard time carrying myself."
Illyria pulled her to her feet before crouching down to lift Wesley. She slid an arm under his shoulder and at the bend of his knees, then looked up at Willow. "You have my thanks for restoring him. Life would be... worse... without Wesley here."
"Just remember you said that in the future."
"I do not forget the things I say."
"I meant, remember your gratitude."
"Then I shall remember. Provided you divulge the reason for your insistence that I do so."
"You and I are gonna find a way to bring Fred back."
"If you mean to send me away as I sent her, I will not agree. It is not in my nature to be so self-sacrificing."
"No. We're gonna figure out a way for BOTH of you to be here."
"What you speak of is not a possibility."
"There's nothing that's impossible for a Scooby. I brought someone back from the dead before, restored a vampire's soul... twice, released the essence of the slayer to all the potential slayers in the world, fought a hellgoddess, and I tried to end the world. This shouldn't be that hard."
"Your determination to overcome high odds is inspiring. I will help you." Illyria said as she lifted Wesley from the floor.
"Did you guys have a meeting place?"
"The alley behind the Hotel known as Hyperion."
"Cool. Let's boogie then. I hate being late for an apocalypse."
"As you wish."
AN: Never fear, I do have a sequel planned. It just likely won't be written for a while. Other things to finish first.