Spoilers: All of AtS (including the Season 5 Finale); All of BtVS; AB up to Cerulean Sins
Rating: 15-18 (to be on the safe side since I’m not sure where the language threshold is)
Pairings: None (but mentions Wesley/Fred, Anita/Richard/Jean Claude, Anya/Xander, Lily Potter/James Potter)
Disclaimers: I don’t own any of the characters, situations or dialogue found in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series, the Anita Blake books, the Harry Potter series of books and/or movies, or anything remotely related to Happy Bunny. They just decided to come to Richmond for a short visit.
Requested by: Candle
Max Rating: NC-17
Requested Genre: Harry Potter, Anita Blake, or WWE
Characters: Wesley or Willow
Want to See: Happy Bunny
Not Want to See: Buffy
Type: None specified
Wesley opened his eyes and looked around, then blinked. And blinked again. The last thing he remembered was dying from a knife wound in his stomach while Illyria pretended to be Fred and told him how they’d be together forever in the hereafter. He’d been on the floor, bleeding, having failed spectacularly in his mission to kill the magician. Now Willow Rosenberg was on his immediate right, wearing what looked like a catcher’s mitt and he was lying on a sofa in a brightly lit room surrounded by viewing screens.
“Willow? Where am I? What happened? Why are you wearing a catcher’s mitt?”
“Oookay...here’s the thing...um...I’m just visiting this realm as a favor to Faith and I don’t really belong here and Giles would kinda kill me if he knew I was up here, which is kind of ironic, ‘cause...y’know, maybe I’m not the best person to be telling you this...”
“It’s okay, Will. I got it. You better get ready for our next one. He’ll be here in about fifteen minutes.”
“Cordelia???” Willow moved a few feet away to give the friends some privacy. Once Wes realized that he wasn’t in physical pain from his stomach wound, he stood up and hugged the seer. She returned the hug, much more tightly than usual. Which is when Wes realized that he didn’t need to tell her to loosen her grip–he wasn’t breathing. Neither was she, for that matter, so inhaling oxygen wasn’t an issue. “I’m dead, then.”
“Yup. And not in that ‘I’m only dead for a few months’ way or ‘I’ll be back in a few days with a severe sun allergy’ way, either.”
Wes’s knees gave out and he sat back on the sofa, dragging Cordelia with him. She promptly laid her head on his shoulder and curled her feet under her. “I’m glad to see you, Wes. You wouldn’t believe how much I missed your stiff upper lippy-ness.”
“Is this heaven? Is Fred here?” Cordelia sighed. This was the part that was going to be the kind of fun that wasn’t.
“Fred’s not here, Wes.”
“Where is she?”
“She’s nowhere. Little Miss Loves Humanity was right about that–Fred’s soul was consumed when Illyria took over her body. It disintegrated. She’s gone.”
Wesley stared at Cordelia and Willow in denial for a few seconds, then put his head in his hands and wept out his grief, silently accepting the tissue that Willow handed him. He'd never see her again. That bright and shining spirit was gone. Forever. No reprieves, no extensions, no magic amulets. No hope. What else was there for him?
When it looked like Wes had finally gotten his emotions under some degree of control, Cordelia gave Willow a discrete nod. The redhead walked over and sat in an oversized armchair next to the sofa.
Wes looked at Cordelia, eyes shining. “Is this hell?”
“Oh, Wes...” Now Cordelia and Willow were tearing up. Cordelia wasted no time and immediately took the slightly soggy tissue out of Wes’s hand to catch any stray tears that might be brazen enough to ruin her perfectly applied makeup. After that emergency was taken care of, she looked directly at Wes and shook her head, solemnly. “No, it’s not hell.”
“What am I doing here?”
“You have a few decisions to make.”
“Decisions? What about?” Wes looked surprised at Cordelia’s statement. He was dead, after all.
“We’ll get to that in a little while. Why don’t I show you around the place first?”
“Sure. It’s not like I have anything better to do.” Cordelia hated hearing that defeated tone in Wes’s voice. Hopefully she’d be able to help him get rid of it.
All three stood. Willow resumed her pacing in front of what looked like a window. Cordelia took Wesley’s hand and led him towards a dark-haired man in a tattered flannel reading something off a computer monitor. He looked up.
“Hey, Princess. New recruit?”
Cordelia nodded. “Wesley Wyndam-Price, Allen Francis Doyle.” Doyle stood and the men shook hands.
“It’s a real honor ta meet ya, Wes. Cordy’s told me all ‘bout ya. Just sorry we had ta meet like this an’ all.”
“It’s an honor for me as well...you go by Doyle, right?”
“Yeah. Angel sure messed up good this time, huh?” Before Wesley could respond, Cordelia shot Doyle her patented “shut the hell up” look.
“Shut the hell up, Doyle.”
“Aw, c’mon Cordelia. Be honest. Ya know ya never meant for things ta go down the way they did.” Doyle turned back to the computer for a moment, typed a few words, and turned back.
Cordelia threw up her arms and started to pace, walking faster and faster as she spoke.
“Okay, so maybe I should have given Deadboy a few practice visions before I gave him the important one. The Powers wanted Angel to know about the Circle of the Black Thorn so he’d know who to keep an eye on and whose evil plans needed to be foiled. He wasn’t supposed to go all vigilante vamp and take them all out in one big melodramatically pointless gesture. I mean, crap! One extremely testosterone-influenced decision and suddenly there are two more completely unnecessary and moronic deaths. On the Angel scale of all-time stupid decisions, I’d have to say that his plan to take down the Black Thorn ranks somewhere between sleeping with Darla and deciding that AI should join Wolfram and Hart in the first place.”
Wesley, who had seen a few of these rants in his more alive days, took a few steps back from Cordelia just to be on the safe side. Doyle just grinned. “Cordelia, take a breath.”
Cordelia shot Doyle another look. “I don’t need to take a breath, dumbass. Dead, remember?”
Wes decided to take the opportunity to change the subject before Cordelia could return to her rant. Or, god forbid, start on a new one. Aimed at him. “Cordelia, why don’t you finish showing me around?” Doyle heaved a sigh of relief.
“Don’t think I didn’t hear that, buster.” Wes began pulling at Cordelia’s arm.
“Nice meeting you, Doyle.”
“You too, Wes. I’ll be around.” Doyle sat back in his seat in front of the computer and resumed reading.
Cordelia pointed towards the assorted viewing screens. “These show what’s going on in different, but mostly parallel, universes.” She pointed to one screen in particular, now showing Angel, Spike, Illyria, and Gunn in the back alley behind the Hyperion, preparing to fight dragons, demons, and various other ferocious looking creatures. “That’s home, obviously.”
They both turned away as the battle quickly became bloody and violent, neither wanting to see their comrades fall.
She pointed towards other screens, naming each universe as she went, desperately ignoring the battle on their home screen. Her voice rose as the sounds of the fight became louder. “That’s the world where Buffy never came to Sunnydale...that’s Quor’toth, where Connor grew up...that one’s the world without shrimp...”
Suddenly, a small woodland creature ran through the room, closely followed by a bolt from a crossbow and a brunette woman, running with the empty crossbow. Wes realized that he vaguely recognized the woman. The bolt embedded itself in a sofa that was occupied by three people and was positioned directly across from another of the viewing screens.
“Hey, watch it, Ahn. You almost made me spill my drink.” The man on the left, slightly shaggy and with black hair, spoke.
“Shut up, Sirius. As if I didn’t know this was all your fault.” The woman, Anya–Xander’s girlfriend their senior year of high school, if Wes remembered correctly, began stalking the creature while she reloaded the crossbow.
The creature, apparently a bunny, took refuge under the table in front of the sofa. Anya pulled the trigger and the bolt released towards the animal. It bounced off something invisible and fell to the floor.
"Ha! You suck and that’s sad!” A voice from under the table jeered at Anya. Wesley turned to Cordelia.
“Did that rabbit just speak?”
“Hey, you’re a dope, right?” This time the voice appeared to be directed at Wesley. Cordelia rolled her eyes. They really didn’t have time for this.
“Why is that rabbit insulting me, Cordelia?”
“It’s not my fault you’re dumb.” The rabbit did not seem to be getting any less pithy as time went on. The man named Sirius was laughing so hard at the bunny’s ongoing commentary that he fell off the couch. The woman seated next to him hit him with a sofa cushion. He just laughed harder.
“It’s his job.”
“Yes.” “No.” Anya and Cordelia spoke simultaneously.
“Make the stupid people shut up.” Over by the computer, Doyle was now starting to snicker at the bunny’s remarks. Cordelia shot him the look of death, then looked at Anya.
“Anya, you know perfectly well that it’s not a demonic bunny.”
“It’s cute how stupid you are.” Privately, Wesley was starting to agree with Anya about the bunny’s origins.
“Anya, you saw it in the computer, right?”
The brunette shrugged, then glanced over at Willow, still pacing with her catcher’s mitt and looking out the window. “As Willow proved more than adequately, just because something is inside a computer does not mean that it cannot also be demonic. It’s evil and it must be destroyed.”
She shot Sirius a dirty look and went stomping off, muttering something under her breath about sticks of dynamite and mystically poisoned food pellets.
Cordelia shook her head, peering down at the bunny, now sleeping peacefully (and silently) under the table. “Sorry about that. Anya’s got serious bunny issues. And of course Dogboy over there was standing behind her when she accidentally found the original website and started shrieking.”
Sirius grinned and looked at Wes, sticking out a hand. Wes shook it. “It took about a second before I decided that what Anya really needed to get over her fear was to spend some quality time with the bunny.”
“And the talking and insults?”
“Sheer entertainment purposes only. Call it a fringe benefit.”
Cordelia and Wes rounded the sofa and faced the three people sitting on it. Sirius, a redheaded woman, and a man with dark hair sticking up in many different directions and wire-framed glasses.
“Anyanka was a vengeance demon for over one thousand years, with no purpose in life but getting revenge for scorned women by torturing men. I really don’t think you want to make her angry.”
Sirius swallowed and looked slightly green at Wesley’s comment. The woman seated next to him, however, was grinning widely at the news and looking generally delighted. Anya’d been pretty close-mouthed about her past up to that point.
“Really? That’s just fascinating.” The man seated on her right in the glasses now looked slightly constipated. The woman continued, “Oh, sorry about my manners. I’m Lily Potter. You must be Wesley. Cordelia and Willow told us you were coming.”
With that, she stood, shook Wes’s hand, and wandered off in the direction where she’d last seen Anya.
The man in the glasses turned to Sirius. “Damn it, Padfoot! If Anya teaches Lily anything, I’m going to end up hiding under the table with that blasted rabbit!”
“Relax, Prongs. I’m sure Lils won’t learn anything she doesn’t already know.”
“Oh, that’s comforting. You’re a bloody arse-faced bastard. You know that, right?”
“Yeah, but you love me anyway.” Sirius glanced briefly at the viewing screen. “Ooh, James, you’re missing it. Ron just called Snivellus a greasy git.” He handed the man in glasses a shot glass full of amber liquid. “Ready? Drink.” Both men pounded the shots back.
The man in glasses put his glass down and nodded to himself and the other man. “I’m James Potter. This is my best mate or worst enemy, Sirius Black.”
“Wesley Wyndam-Price. What are you watching?”
James suddenly became much more somber and ran a hand distractedly through his hair, making it stick up even more than it had been previously. “My son’s life.”
“And why are you doing shots while you watch?”
Sirius answered for his friend. “Drinking game. Every time someone calls Snape a greasy git, you do a shot. Whenever someone does something to that Malfoy kid, you do two shots. If Harry ever manages to have a successful conversation with a girl, I guess we’ll do three shots, though that hasn’t come close to happening...”
“Hey! Padfoot, that’s my kid you’re talking about!”
“Prongs, are you watching the same screen I’m watching? Harry may save the wizarding world on a semi-regular basis with style and flair but even you have to admit that when it comes to dealing with the female of the species he’s completely hopeless.”
James grimaced, remembering Harry’s “date” the prior year with the pretty Ravenclaw seeker. He still had nightmares. “You may have a point.”
“Besides, it was Lily’s idea.” James shot his best friend a dirty look and resolved to have a chat with his wife later, vengeance demon or no vengeance demon. After all, his son’s reputation was at stake.
As the men resumed watching their screen, Cordelia led Wes back over towards Willow. “Anything yet, Will?” The wicca looked at her watch.
“No, we’ve got another few minutes. Oh, I almost forgot!” The next thing Wesley knew, his arms were full of a witchy redhead who was kissing him passionately. She broke off the kiss and looked at Wes, who was suddenly incredibly confused. Wasn’t Willow gay? And alive? What the hell was going on?
Cordelia hid a grin behind her hand as Willow spoke, “That was from Faith. She said to tell you, and I quote, ‘Tell Princess Margaret he done good and that all is forgiven, but that next time I see him, I’m gonna give his ass a good hard kick for dyin’ on me just when he was gettin’ interesting.’.”
“I see.” Wes was touched by Faith’s words, blunt and coarse as they were. Typical Faith. He thought they had settled things and forgiven each other, but it was good to have confirmation.
Willow kissed Wes on the cheek.
“That’s from me. To let you know that I forgive you for refusing to trade a box of magical spiders to the evil demon snake Mayor for a box for me. Not that he was a demon or a snake at the time, of course, or that you weren’t extremely new at your job and maybe didn’t grasp all the situational nuances...” Wes’s face fell as he remembered his numerous failures in the line of duty.
“Willow! Now you’ve gone and made him all broody!”
"Sorry. Shutting up now.” Wes swallowed and forced himself to look at Willow.
“I’m sorry for that.” Silence reigned for a moment before Wes’s Watcherly inquisitiveness forced him to either speak or explode. “How are you able to be here? Have you died as well?” Willow looked shocked at Wes’s conclusion.
“Me? Nope, I’m all astral plane-y and just visiting. Faith told me you called her to settle things before you went to kill the evil magician guy. She also told me all about Angel and Fred and Illyria and Fred’s soul going AWOL. I wanted to make sure that nothing happened to anyone else, so here I am. If it helps any, neither Faith nor I are speaking to Giles for the foreseeable future. What he allowed to happen by not giving me Angel’s message was inexcusable. After Tara...well, I want you to know that I would have risked everything I am to save Fred’s soul so you didn’t have to go through everything you have.”
Wes hugged Willow to his side. “Thanks for that. It helps, a little. But what are you still doing here?”
“Waiting for Gunn. He should be here in about five minutes.” Wes nodded solemnly. It figured that in Angel's battle it was the fragile humans who died first.
“What happens then?”
"Then you guys make some decisions about what you want to do next. You were here first, so you get first choice. There are some ground rules, though.” Cordelia suddenly sounded much more professional–almost like when she was answering the phone at Angel Investigations.
“Aren’t there always? I would like to hear my options, please.” Cordelia nodded. This was the Wesley she remembered.
“Rules first. Like eating the broccoli before the rocky road. Okay. First: You have to understand that, no matter what choice you ultimately make, Fred absolutely will not be there. I’m not saying you might not find love. Just that if you do, it won’t be with Fred. Clear?”
Wes nodded mutely, still unable to fathom that such a day might come.
“Second: Going back to our universe is not an option. You’re dead.” Another nod.
“Third: You have to choose whether to keep your memories...” Cordelia paused as Wes opened his mouth to speak, then continued on before he could start doing so.
“Not those memories, dumbass. You’ll keep your memories and knowledge of demons and vampires and witches and other things that go squish when you poke them with pointy stuff. You can choose whether to remember this place, me, Fred, Connor, Angel, Lorne, Faith, Gunn, Sunnydale or not. But once the decision is made, it’s final. And it’s all or nothing–you forget me, you forget Fred too. And vice versa.”
“I understand. What’s the job?” Cordelia kissed her smart friend on the cheek and dragged him over to another one of the viewing screens.
“This is the choice part. Door number one is going to a place where vampires are legal citizens, with rights and everything. Take your time. Marvel at the concept. Close your mouth.”
Wesley’s jaw, which had dropped open at the mind-boggling thought of vampires with civil rights, shut abruptly.
Cordelia continued. “But that’s not why they need you. There’s been some messed up mystical stuff of the Hellmouth variety going on in their version of St. Louis for a while now. There’s an uberpowerful triumverate of power with some woman who thinks she’s a slayer, a vampire master, and a werewolf ulfric. No one knows how it works exactly. But that’s not why they need you, either. There’s a lot of species of weres running around with no leadership or conception of how to work together. They’ve just figured out that having no communication between the groups just leads to people dying in incredibly gruesome ways.”
“So where would I fit in?”
“You’d be the wereanimal liaison. You’d settle inter-species disputes, watch for patterns of abnormal behavior, and generally keep them out of trouble without interfering in their species-governing structures. Since you aren’t a member of any particular group, you’ll be able to be objective in your decisions and they’ll respect you. Since you understand their nature from all your research, you’ll be able to recognize a genuine threat. Oh, and you won’t be able to do magic. Not only is it illegal to use there, but you’ll make yourself more of a target. You’ll have to rely only on your diplomacy skills and charming personality.”
Wesley grimaced. Over the years, his diplomacy skills had fallen into serious decline. “And the other choice?”
Cordelia lowered her voice to a stage whisper. “You have to go to the universe where Lily and James’s son is.”
“Why are you whispering?”
“They can’t know that someone’s going there until you show up in the viewing screen and can’t be pulled out.”
“Oh.” Wes also began whispering, feeling vaguely idiotic. “And why do they need someone to step in?”
“They don’t. Draco Malfoy does.”
“Malfoy...Malfoy...why does that name sound familiar?”
Cordelia glanced over at the two men watching the screen and doing an occasional shot. The bunny under the table was thankfully still asleep.
“He’s the kid from their drinking game. Thing is, he’s currently one of the biggest jerks on that planet. If he stays his current jerky self, he’ll end up joining the ranks of the head bad guy and become his right hand man. Thousands of people will die before he and his boss are taken down. If, however, some hypothetical man who understood the ins and outs of screwing up royally and seeking redemption were to pretend to be Jiminy Cricket and take the kid under his wing, there’s a pretty decent chance that he’d flip sides and work with the good guys. Oh, he’d still be a jerk a good chunk of the time, but lots of people would be saved and the bad guy would buy it a few years sooner than expected.”
“Will I be able to do magic and rituals?”
“A little. Mostly for self-defense and protection of others.”
“What happens to the world I don’t choose?”
“Gunn gets it. His approach will be different than yours, obviously, but he’s still more than qualified to handle either job. I’ll give you time to think.”
Cordelia gave Wes a brief hug and walked over to Willow, where they chatted quietly and waited for Gunn to arrive.
Wes walked over to a plaid armchair and sat down, pondering the events of the day. While he thought, he saw Willow catch a bright ball of light in her catcher’s mitt and place it carefully on the sofa he’d woken up on. Must have been Gunn. Willow left with a cheery wave, no doubt exhausted.
Hours passed as Wesley thought, turning each choice inside out and backwards to see what he wanted to do with his existence and future. Who do I want to be? Gunn eventually gained form and mass but remained asleep on the sofa.
Decisions finally made, Wes walked over to Cordelia. “I want to remember.”
“Okay. Where do you want to go?” Wesley whispered the answer in her ear. “I’m so glad. You’ll be great there. It’s where I hoped you’d choose.”
Cordelia hugged him tightly. “I’ll be watching for you.”
“I’m going now?”
“No time like the present.”
Wes returned her hug. “You’re even more amazing now than you were as a student. How do you do that?”
“It’s a gift. And I’ve had a lot of practice. But mostly, it’s a gift.” Cordelia kissed Wes gently on the lips. He disappeared instantly. “Goodbye, my rogue demon hunter. Good luck.”