Title: Darkening Of The Light
Author: Restive Nature
Disclaimer: The characters and fictional placings of either of these shows do not belong to me. They belong to Cameron/ Eglee (Dark Angel), Joss Whedon (BtVS) and Whedon/ Greenwalt (AtS). Only the story belongs to me.
Rating: 15 (for a little language)
Genre: Crossover of DA/ BtVS
Time line/ Spoilers: Post Season 5 for Buffy. Up to LAtR for DA. Story set in DA time.
Summary: BtVS/ DA crossover. Life brings about so many changes. Especially when one has just risen from the dead.
Distribution: Is under the discretion of the author, so just ask instead of taking please.
Reviews: While I may not always respond to reviews, they are always welcome!
Darkening Of The Light
June 2nd, 2021
“Buffy?” Alec asked lowly, concern spiking for her sudden increase of respirations and just the general heightened feeling of worry for her. But then, she seemed to be making the effort to control herself, slowing her breathing, closing her eyes, though the second didn't last long. Her shoulders hunched slightly before she turned to glance at him.
“Sorry,” she offered a little sheepishly. “I think I know what you mean. This whole thing? It makes my entire stomach knot up and twist and gurgle and just don't like it. Really want to avoid the painful, twisty knots it brings.”
“Yeah, me too,” he grinned, relieved, but not pleased. Not happy because having to press down all these feelings, the good and the bad was getting to be a mish mash of confusion that his linear thinking mind did not appreciate. Recognized completely, but also knew that this could lead down a path of badness. “So,” he smirked, “we can either avoid the subject still, which sounds good to me, or...”
“Or?” she asked, an answering smirk hovering on her lips.
“Well, I've got nothing else,” he chuckled. “Because the alternative is just too annoying to deal with right now. Besides, if we were to talk about this,” he waved his hand into the space between them, “it might cause a problem for Tara.”
“How so?” she wondered, eyes lighting and truly seeming curious this time.
“Because if I say something, then you say something, then those something's are in our mind,” he explained cheekily. “And then when we say it to Tara, we might say the one or the other, but how would she know which is correct?”
“Oh, so for the integrity of Tara's interrogation we should maintain our silence on the subject and whoa, not gonna try saying that three times fast,” Buffy chuckled, though it sounded just a little forced.
“Sure,” Alec nodded quickly, chuckling too. “But yeah, exactly. So I propose a new set of choices.”
“Those being?” she wondered quickly. Alec shrugged his shoulders.
“We keep talking about something completely different,” he suggested, before glancing at his watch. “Or, you crash on my bed, I take the couch and we try to catch a few hours of sleep.”
“Oh Alec,” Buffy sighed, wrinkling up her nose. “I'm sorry. You have to work in the morning, don't you? See? Sorry, not used to that sort of thing since... my mom.”
“So you never had to get up for early morning classes, or what, even in high school?” he teased.
“Oh well, yeah,” she nodded, not ignoring the way he skipped over an entirely uncomfortable subject, which she suspected that he did for her, but maybe, given what he had said to Logan, might also apply to him. If obviously, as his mother at the very least, from what she had gleaned, had passed on as well. “But in high school, it wasn't so unusual for me to drop off for a nap here or there. Occasionally,” she stressed with a small forced grin. No use in telling him what had caused her to be so tired in the mornings. “You'd think,” she added, “with only one club in town and not even a good club, we wouldn't have been such party animals.”
“Oh, I don't know about that,” Alec muttered, his eyes gleaming again. “If you hadn't been going to a club, something tells me that you and your friends would have found something else to get up to.”
“Oh yeah,” Buffy scoffed. “Roaming the streets to ticket litterers, or... or well, there were the marathon Indian channel nights.”
“The what?” he gasped out, his face crinkling into a puzzled mien.
“Oh, just a night where we'd sit around watching non-dubbed Indian movies, not Native American movies, but the ones from India, where the actresses would dance around a harem singing about gold coins and snakes and be heartbroken, but you couldn't tell because they were smiling all the time and braiding Willow's hair,” she finished, a little winded at the long explanation.
“The actresses were braiding Willow's hair?” Alec teased and Buffy rolled her eyes.
“Yes, we had this amazing invention called the interactive screen of doom,” she snarked right back. “You had to be careful what you watched. But luckily, with Will's red hair, they all thought she was a fire demon that would destroy their totally make up tv worlds unless they pleased her with offerings of ribbons and chocolate.”
“Oh man,” Alec pouted, playing along with a repressed smirk. “My childhood feels so deprived now, what with the regular television of news reports and music videos. How did I live without this amazing invention?”
“Oh yeah,” Buffy scoffed, glancing down at her tea cup. “Back in the good ol' days, when there were only a hundred cable channels to choose from...”
“And you could buy all the chocolate you wanted for a quarter,” Alec continued teasing, “and you had to walk to school, uphill, both ways and video games were played in arcades.”
“Oh please,” Buffy half snorted. “Chocolate? For a quarter? That would have been my grandparents day. And we had video game consoles. I'm not that old!”
“No, I guess you're not,” Alec nodded and then chuckled. “Though you are. But damn if you don't look really good for your true age.”
“Yeah,” she murmured and Alec wondered if he'd put his foot in it. But then she glanced up at him once more. “Did I tell you that Tara and I chose a new birthday for me?”
“No, don't think you mentioned that,” he noted, watching her play idly with the handle of the mug she held. “Any reason why you needed a new one?”
“Because me looking like me, giving birth to myself on my own birthday might throw up a few red flags that a Seattle government official might raise an eyebrow too,” she quipped.
“Yeah, I'd see that eyebrow and raise a sneer as well,” Alec grinned. “Trouble with establishing your identity? I mean,” he added swiftly, unable to tell her, to share his own troubles in that department. “I can imagine there's all sorts of troubles. But that's what you picked. To be your own daughter,” he reminded her.
She shrugged slowly. “Can you think of anything else that would explain...?” and she pointed one finger at her face.
“Lot's of things,” Alec admitted. “Logan's the only one here that knows you, right? Been a long time. You could have had an entirely new identity. Like, oh high financier just moved from New York to take over a company, but they went under just after your reassignment.”
“If math were a friend of mine, maybe,” she scoffed.
“Oh please,” it was Alec's turn to snort. “Logan wouldn't shut up about those test scores you got.”
“Seriously?” Buffy's eyes widened. “My whole life... up until that point and that's what stuck with him?”
“Yeah,” Alec mused, tilting his head back against the curve of the sofa for a moment. “You probably don't know this yet about your cousin, but once something interesting comes to his attention, he tends to get obsessive about it.”
“Oh, that's nothing new,” Buffy grimaced. “You should have seen him and Dawn...” she trailed off, quickly pressing a hand to her chest. Alec was instantly regretting even moving onto a topic that caused that look of pain in her eyes. “Sorry,” she whispered suddenly. He inched forward, his hand reaching for her shoulder.
“No, no,” he soothed. “I'm sorry. I wasn't even thinking.”
“It's not your fault,” Buffy shook her head before glancing up at him. “Just... really having a hard time believing that she's supposed to be gone. I can still feel her, like she's out there somewhere.”
“That must be difficult,” he sighed. As much as Max had purported that he and Ben, X5-493 were twins, that wasn't the truth. They were cloned embryos and there had never been a twin bond, such as real siblings might have endured. There were very few people in this world that Alec could claim having any kind of bond with. Some days... he wondered. “Is it tougher to try and pretend that she's not around, anywhere? Or is it tougher to maintain that she is when everyone else tells you your wrong?”
“Both,” she answered after a moment. “It hurts to think that she's out there and no one knows. Hurts to wonder if she's okay, maybe living a life, like she should. Or that she doesn't know, or maybe she does and there's something keeping her from me. Hurts even more to think that maybe Logan's right. That she's really gone and this feeling is...”
“All in your head?” he murmured. Her eyes were luminous with unshed tears.
“Yeah,” she mumbled brokenly and Alec was suffused with the urge to comfort her even more. But something about her stiffly held posture told him that she wasn't ready for comfort of a physical level that he wanted to inundate her with. Instead, he drew his hand back from her shoulder to lean his own head on it as he regarded her.
“So tell me, what makes Dawn Summers the most awesome little sister in the world?” he asked gently and was relieved when she looked up at him gratefully and then with a strangled snort, laughed.
“To tell the truth, she was a whiny, gangly holy terror,” she grumbled, though he could hear the affection throbbing in her voice. “When we were little, it was okay. Kind of cool to have this kid think that I was the greatest thing in the world. You know?”
He didn't but it was a relief that she was talking about it without breaking down completely, so he smiled and nodded and continued to listen.
June 3rd, 2021
When Alec woke, he felt the stiffness and weight immediately. Coming awake, to instant alertness and stillness was something ingrained from a lifetime of Manticore and never knowing where you might end up and in what situation. So he had plenty of time to assess the situation before deciding what to do.
The view of his ceiling wasn't all that surprising. The feel of his couch that his body was molded against wasn't anything too new either, having fallen asleep on it before. Usually, he'd lay down, but the weight of something pressed against his left arm, shoulder and leg told him that they'd never gotten that far. The scent of Buffy's shampoo filling his nostrils reminded him exactly who that somebody was and why they'd not made it past the couch.
Turning his head, Alec saw the slightly troubled features that he could make out under a thick strand of hair falling over her cheek. He frowned and shifted a little. Even her dreams couldn't let her be, apparently. As he shifted, several areas of stiffness protested, mostly his hand that had gone slightly numb from the pressure of her body against it and lack of blood rushing freely back and forth through the veins. The slightl movement though seemed to have started the wake up process for Buffy as she flared her nostrils slightly and turned her face several times, sweeping her cheek over his shoulder, before she pushed herself upright and blinked at him.
“Morning,” he rumbled, his voice lower with remnants of sleep and non use for several hours.
“Ugh,” she groaned as her eyes drifted down to apparently assess their positions. She sighed. “Sorry.”
“'Bout what?” he wondered. “Fallin' asleep on the couch? Nothing too nefarious about that.”
“No. The uh...” she rolled her eyes and brought her hand up to point at his shoulder. “That's one of the obvious dangers of falling asleep on someone.”
Alec glanced down at his shoulder again and instantly saw what she meant, the small, wet circle and now that she was no longer leaning on him, brought his hand up to start shaking off the unpleasant sensation of deadening in his arm. “Drooler, huh?” he teased. “That's okay, I can always spin that into something much sexier than it was, if you want?”
“It's just horrible that you know that about me at all,” Buffy complained as she lifted her arms to try stretching out her back. Alec couldn't help appreciating the movement from a purely physical stand point, but was quick to hide it. Not because he was ashamed, but because he sensed that she really wasn't ready to handle something of that nature... still.
“Well, I didn't have a chance to check out the top of your head before you sat up,” Alec warned, his voice still gruff, though he was thoroughly amused and sure that she could see it. “So you might be able to assume-!”
“Oh God! Please don't tell me that you drooled in my hair?” she winced. Alec chuckled and shrugged, and then it was his turn to wince at the movement pulled even more at sore muscles and a fresh rush of blood made it's way down to his smaller extremities. Namely his fingers. Buffy's hands darted up, but she hesitated.
“Can't say I did,” he teased once more. “Or didn't, but if it helps, your hair isn't doing that weird stiff thing that happens when you add... product to it.” And with that reassurance, her hands ruffled through her hair and she gave an appreciable noise.
“All dry,” she announced. And then, as she scooted to the edge of the sofa, she glanced around. “This is weird.”
“What's weird?” Alec wondered as he pushed off the furniture and swung his torso around, his feet planted on the floor at shoulder width apart. He heard a small pop as his spine realigned a slight measure.
“That it wasn't weird or embarrassing to wake up... on you, you know?” she explained.
“Not really,” he agreed. “Probably because we just slept,” he decided. “Nothing horrible about that. Although it does say something.”
“Sleeping says...?” Buffy wondered and then her eyes widened. “I wasn't talking in my sleep, was I?” she demanded.
“Not that I'm aware of,” Alec shook his head. “No, just meant, that it can take an awful lot of trust to sleep with another person around.”
“So my falling asleep on you wasn't about being tired,” she murmured, “it's cause I trust you?”
“As much as I trust you too,” he pointed out and was pleased as a small grin spread over her face.
“Well yeah, that is... not horrible,” she decided. “So...?”
“Well, since it's,” Alec began turning his wrist and fiddling to get the watch face twisted around so that he could read it, “ah crap. Ten thirty,” he winced and rubbed his free hand over his eyes. “Late for work,” he explained quickly. “So, quick plan, you go ahead and use the bathroom if you need it while I get my stuff. I'll hop in and change and then I will run you home and then go offer abject apologies to Normal and hopefully still have a job at the end of the day.”
“Or,” Buffy nodded, “I can go to the bathroom, you can call your boss and tell him that a small emergency came up and you'll be in as soon as it's dealt with.”
“That works too,” Alec agreed with a chuckle. “Either way though, could ya hurry? Last night's tea is not this morning's friend with the bladder.”
“Oh right,” she nodded, a faint blush staining at her cheeks as she dashed over to the smallest room in the apartment.
It didn't take long for them to get ready, since Buffy had no new clothes to change into. Alec made sure that she had her visitor issued city pass before they left the apartment and was tempting her into stopping at a little diner he knew to grab some breakfast, his treat, as they walked down the stairs to the outside of his apartment building. Since he had taken her idea, calling Normal and telling the man in all seriousness what had happened, that Buffy had gotten lost and because it was so close to curfew, she had crashed at his place and he was taking her home. That they'd overslept because they had been talking over the fire and all the things that had been upsetting her, Normal had actually understood and told him not to worry about being late. To just take care of his young lady, since she wasn't used to Seattle yet and making her walk an hour on her own was not tenable in Normal's books. He'd just be down for a six hour shift instead of an eight.
That worked out for Alec just perfectly. And Buffy, her stomach rumbling for once, decided that her clothes could pass muster for a diner. When they got down to the garage, for the building's tenants, Alec led her straight to his lime green Ducati bandit. Her eyes widened as she took it in.
“Not what you expected?” he teased as he slung his leg over it, straightening the bike up so that she could join them. “We can always walk if you'd prefer that.”
“No, it's okay,” she shook her head. “Green's just too bright for my eyes. You sure that color is legal?”
“Hey, just makes it that much easier to spot in a parking lot,” he sniffed, as if mildly offended, though he wasn't. It wasn't like there had been a lot of choice when he had needed something immediately for transportation. Buffy shrugged and when he had scooted forward, reached out to balance herself with a hand on his shoulder as she swung her leg over the seat. He felt her moving behind him, centering herself as he had, before her hands tentatively came to rest at his waist. “Ready?” he asked over his shoulder. “I'll take it easy,” he promised, “since I don't have helmets here...” he trailed off, but she said nothing of it.
“I'm good,” she replied and Alec turned the key. Like Max's ninja, the bandit was an automatic. There might be something satisfying about kick starting a bike, but it wasn't always the most reliable start when you needed to make a fast getaway. He let the engine idle for a moment, warming up, pleased that the noise and feel of the engine didn't seem to cause Buffy any undue stress or surprise. When he eased them forward, slowly, to make sure that she really was good, he felt her inner thighs tighten at his hips, though her hands remained loose. A wild grin curved his lips. Oh yeah, she was good.
They made it to the diner he had been thinking of when he mentioned it to her and when he pulled into the curb to park, he looked her over and was pleased to see that her eyes were sparkling slightly, even as she fussed with her hair. He held his hand up to help her climb off before knocking the kickstand down.
“I'd forgotten how much fun those are,” she grinned as she stood on the sidewalk while Alec powered down and locked the engine. “You know, it's been forever since I... not since Pike, back at Hemery High.”
“Hemery High?” Alec wondered.
“Before we moved to Sunnydale,” she explained. “That was my school, um...”
“The one that you burned down?” Alec teased as he clambered off the bike, making sure that it settled on the stand properly.
“Hey!” she protested, her eyes wide and then she coughed and mumbled something.
“What was that?” Alec taunted, leaning close.
“I said it was just the gym and I didn't actually start the fire,” she grumbled. “I was just blamed for it.”
“Good to know pyro,” Alec continued to tease as he led the way into the diner, holding the door open for her.
“Nicknames, lovely,” Buffy snorted. They continued to tease and chat, which Alec was more than happy about, as they decided to order the breakfast platter, with two plates, since everything else seemed like too much for Buffy to manage on her own. Alec was inordinately pleased to see that ham seemed to be back on the menu. It had been a while.
When he mentioned it to Buffy, after they had taken their seats in a booth, that opened up more conversation. After their coffee was delivered, they talked about what they might expect out of their days. For Alec it would be work. Buffy was sort of expecting to spend more time with Tara and mentioned the possibility again that Tara might stick around Seattle while Buffy got settled in. Alec could see how she liked that idea and told her that he'd be more than happy to check with his contacts about finding Tara somewhere to live that didn't charge by the night. Or barring that, Max or Cindy might know. Buffy promised to ask Tara about it and let them know what was decided. When the platter arrived, something like a trucker's special, Alec allowed Buffy to spoon off the portions she wanted onto her own plate before taking some for himself. And she ate, which was a relief. And then took seconds. Of course, it was barely enough to keep a bird alive, in Alec's opinion, but she was managing and spun the right way, the news would make Logan happy.
After he'd paid and they made their way through the city to Logan's corner penthouse in Fogle Towers, passing with general ease through the sector checkpoints, both were in pretty good moods. That however, ended as they pulled up to the curb across from the building, to find that there was something of a kerfluffle going on.
“I told you!” Logan's strident voice rang out from the building's security doors. Alec's eyes widened as he saw Logan holding firm to the door as someone else seemed to be trying to yank it open. “She'll be home later. I'll have her call you.”
“You called me in a panic last night because she didn't come home!” the other man growled, one that was quickly recognized, Alec not needing Buffy's breathed out, exasperated ''Angel!' to recognize the lumbering build. “And she's still not home. What if-!”
“She's fine,” Logan insisted. “You're making a scene!”
“Then let me in and-!” But Angel stopped then, apparently alerted to Buffy's presence, since Logan had just caught sight of them across the street, his body sagging in slight relief, though both Buffy and Alec could read the suppressed ire in his face and frame. The door, swinging open a little more was just another hint to Angel, who twisted around and quickly honed in on Buffy, sitting on the back of the Ducati, with Alec. “Buffy!” he shouted, losing all interest in her cousin and turning to dart out into the street. His face was thrown into sharp relief as he emerged from the shadow of the building, striding towards them.
Alec, feeling protective, a little territorial, of course, with this large man bearing down on them, felt it worsen when for the first time that morning, felt Buffy shudder, her hands curling reflexively into his sides. She was upset. Angel, once again was making her upset, and that animal inside of 494 wasn't having any of it, when he heard her pained gasp. But before he could even begin to react, because mostly he just wanted to pull his feet up, rev the engine and peel out of there until she was somewhere she felt safe, he felt her sliding away. His chest rumbled an unintentional protest as he quickly adjusted for the weight shift. And then he could only watch as he scrambled to keep up, as Angel was heading straight for her and was met with a very angry, very powerful right cross, that landed the other man flat on his ass.
It was music to Alec's ears as Buffy stood over the rival, her hands on her hip.
“Angel, you bastard!”