Disclaimer: Characters and Premise are borrowed from the show
"Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel".
“This one qualifies as being just plain weird,” Cordelia said when the
“Weird how?” Wesley asked.
“In the no sense of imminent danger way,” Cordelia said. “No pain, no
fear, nobody dying.”
“So what do the PTB want me to do?” Angel asked.
“They want you and Buffy to go to Toronto, the one in Canada. I’ve even
got the security code to get in the building,” Cordelia said.
“Why?” Angel asked.
“I don’t know,” Cordelia said. “ I get this sense that whatever you’re
being sent to fix, it’s sort of a long standing frustration to the PTB.
Also, they think it will be good for you? ”
“I’ll start making arrangements.” Angel said.
“You’re sure you can’t come?” Angel asked. “Cordelia said you were
there in the vision. LaCroix fully intends to keep Glory in check, you
don’t have to worry about leaving her unmonitored.”
“I can’t” Buffy replied tiredly. “I’m not risking LaCroix deciding to
‘protect’ Dawn by making her a vampire too.”
“I thought you were okay with this,” Angel said unhappily gesturing
Buffy sighed. “I am… it wasn’t like there was an alternative.”
“LaCroix will protect Dawn for my sake,” Angel said. “And he’ll oppose
Glory for his pride’s. Please come.”
“I’m sorry but no,” Buffy said regretfully handing the plane ticket
back to Angel.
“I understand… I’ll see you when I get back,” Angel replied.
“You’re sure you’re going to be alright flying?” Cordelia asked for the
dozenth time as Angel collected his carry-on bag from the airport security
“I’m sure,” Angel replied with a touch of exasperation.
“Look I’m just remembering a dismembered arm and a certain vampire who
said flying was out of the question,” Cordelia reminded Angel.
“This is hardly the same thing,” Angel protested. “I’m flying from one
major airport to another, I won’t even have to switch planes and the
walkways at both airports are completely enclosed. I’ll actually be inside
until I leave the airport in Toronto. Sunlight won’t be a problem.”
“And you’re sure you don’t want one of us to come along?” Wesley asked.
“There is the ticket you got for Buffy.”
“I’m sure,” Angel replied. “From the sound of Cordelia’s vision I don’t
think this is anything urgent. I’ll check out the situation then call you
with an update. We’ll decide if I need back up then, but if things heat up
with Glory I’d rather you were here to help Buffy. I’m practically afraid
to leave her and LaCroix together without anyone to act as a buffer.”
“All right Angel,” Cordelia said, hugging him. “Practice flying a
little while your there, it’s the coolest and maybe if you learn that
LaCroix will back off about you not wanting to learn how to whammy people.
Be sure to call when you get there.”
“Have a good trip,” Wesley offered as Angel boarded the plane. Once it
had lifted off Wesley and Cordelia began the long trek back to the car.
Just as they reached it Cordelia staggered, grabbing Wesley’s arm for
support as a vision slammed through her mind.
Angel, the background was a blur, but the dark haired vampire was
clear. As Cordelia watched his features shifted, becoming someone else.
“Another vision so soon?” Wesley worried when Cordelia straightened.
“More of an addendum,” Cordelia said pushing her hair out of her face.
“Buffy has to go, without her, Angel’s in gonna be in trouble.”
As she explained Cordelia dialed Buffy’s number on her cell phone.
After a few rings the Slayer answered.
“It’s Cordelia. I had another vision, you have to go to Toronto.”
“Cordy, you know I can’t,” Buffy protested.
“Look, I can take care of Dawn for a while,” Cordelia insisted. “I
swear, I’ll protect her with my life and you know your friends will do the
same, but Angel needs you, specifically, in Toronto.”
There was a long pause then Buffy said. “When is Angel leaving?”
“His plane just took off,” Cordelia replied. “We’ll get you on the next
flight. I’m not sure how, but we’ll do it.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Buffy said. “I can travel Kendra style, it’s
probably faster anyhow.”
Angel keyed open the converted warehouse on Greymalkin lane and stepped
inside. His skin was practically humming. He couldn’t explain it, but the
closer he’d gotten to this place the more pronounced the sensation was.
Even before the plane had landed he’d felt the first hint of resonance
and now that he was standing here it was so strong it was practically
tangible. Whatever it was that the PTB wanted him to deal with, it was
Angel summoned the cargo elevator and let it take him upstairs. As he
stepped into the loft the sense of déjà vu was enough to make him stagger.
It was like seeing the room (his home) from two sets of eyes at once.
The humming on his skin sank deeper, becoming a powerful resonance in
his bones. Angel wondered if it would shake him apart, like a bridge when
a vibration matched it’s natural frequency.
Slowly he walked into the loft that was part living space, part museum,
looking around curiously (noting what was out of place).
Angel prowled around the room, looking for a clue as to what the Powers
wanted him to do, trying to shake the nagging sense of familiarity that
cloaked this place.
Suddenly Angel froze, an inexplicable chill racing through his body.
Guilt, sorrow, remorse and resignation swept through his mind in an
unstoppable tidal wave.
With a choked cry he sank to his knees in front of the loft’s
Buffy slipped out of the cargo plane and into the long evening shadows.
She rolled her neck and shoulders slowly, easing the kinks her chosen
method of travel had caused.
“We’re going back first class,” she muttered ruefully.
Reminding herself that this wasn’t Sunnydale and the cops here might
not be ‘deeply stupid’, Buffy took some care to avoid official notice
until she’d joined the hordes of people who’d made more conventional
Buffy breathed a sigh of relief once she’d become yet another anonymous
face in the crowd, rather than a stow-away.
Her confidence buoyed by the trouble-free trip, Buffy hailed a cab and
passed on the address Cordelia had supplied her with.
As the cab took off Buffy reviewed her plan: find Angel, do whatever it
took to convince him he needed to return to LA immediately, then catch the
next plane home before Glory even realized she’d left. Simple.
Angel sat up and looked around himself in confusion, wondering how he’d
come to be sleeping in the middle of the floor.
“I suppose this would explained the nightmares,” he said to himself.
Angel got up from the floor and started toward the kitchen. He opened
the refrigerator door and uncorked one of the bottles stored there only to
end up retching as he poured the thick congealed liquid down the drain.
“Even Nat’s concoctions aren’t this bad,” he said in disgust. “How long
has that been in here?”
Almost fearfully he returned to the spot before the fireplace where
he’d awoken and carefully examined the area. After several minute’s
fruitless searching he sighed with relief, then hurried upstairs.
Angel opened the closet door and changed into a vivid blue silk shirt
and black jeans. He glanced at the table by the bed then hurried back down
stairs and checked the kitchen counters then the coffee table, still not
finding what he was looking for, Angel muttered a brief expletive in
French. Rapidly he searched the whole loft, only to find himself back in
the bedroom staring at the nightstand accusingly. He checked his
wristwatch and swore again then opened the steel shutters on the loft’s
huge windows and effortlessly took flight.
A few minutes after he left a disembodied yawn sounded from the
vicinity of the couch. A bit later a woman with long curly auburn hair
appeared. She rolled to her feet and stretched. “I guess we’re still here
Nick,” She said rhetorically, not even expecting an answer. She glanced
toward the fireplace. “Nick?” She asked her voice suddenly filled with
concern. “This isn’t funny Nick! Where are you?”
“Angel?” Buffy called stepping out of the cargo elevator.
She glanced around the cavernous room seeing it was empty of all forms
of life she headed upstairs. “Angel?” she repeated a little less
“What the?” She exclaimed noticing Angel’s discarded clothes lying on
“Who are you?” A woman’s voice demanded. “What are you doing here?”
Buffy turned to stare at the translucent form of the voice’s owner.
“You’re a ghost,” she said non-commentally.
“Natalie Lambert, pleased to meet you too,” The ghost replied tartly.
“Buffy Summers, I’m looking for my boyfriend, he was supposed to be
“Why?” Natalie asked. “You seem awfully calm about me being a ghost…
What are you, some sort of exorcist? Is that what happened to Nick?”
“Ghosts and monsters are pretty much all in a night’s work for me.”
Buffy said. “All part of the wonderful life of a vampire Slayer.”
“Leave Nick alone!” Natalie exclaimed glaring defensively at Buffy.
“He’s a good guy.”
“Wait a sec, Nick and Natalie?” Buffy asked a light bulb going off in
her mind. “Dr. Natalie Lambert and Detective Nicolas Knight of the Toronto
PD, who is also a vampire, and just happens to be my boyfriend’s older
brother in a really whacked out sense of the word.”
“LaCroix,” Natalie said in disgust. “He did this somehow, even with
Nick dead he won’t leave him alone.”
“No, LaCroix doesn’t have anything to do with this. Cordy had vision
from the PTB, that’s the Powers that Be for those not initiated in
Cordy-shorthand, telling her Angel and I had to come here to rescue
someone one or something. I’m late, I can’t find Angel and he’s gonna be
“Visions from a higher power?” Natalie said skeptically.
“You’re a ghost and you don’t believe in weird?” Buffy asked.
“You’ve got a point. But why send him here? Nick and I are the only
ones here. We’ve been stuck haunting this place ever since we died, until
tonight anyway. I woke up the place was a mess and Nick was gone.”
“I guess we’re both looking for a boyfriend,” Buffy said.
“It’s not that simple,” Natalie said. “Nick and I can’t leave. Hell,
Nick hasn’t even moved from the spot where he died. As far as I can tell
ghosts… souls… whatever we are, we still need a physical anchor to this
world. Instead of a body, we’ve got the place where we died.”
“What if Nick found another anchor?” Buffy speculated angrily. “One
that’s more mobile, like my boyfriend! That’s what ghost do isn’t it,
“No, Nick wouldn’t hurt anyone!” Natalie said. “But you may be on to
something. It could have done it by accident. There are connections,
almost like telepathy, between vampires of the same blood. I don’t pretend
to understand it, but if one of those connections existed between Nick and
your Angel… I don’t know how they would have been affected by that.”
Angel landed in a quiet spot near the precinct and hurried in, still
wondering how he was going to tell Captain Reece he’d lost both his gun
and his badge.
Even hypnotizing him wouldn’t help. It might get him out of a lecture
but the problem would still exist. Nat would undoubtedly hear about the
Captain going ease on him and then he’d be in for an even more unpleasant
lecture from her about casual use of his vampiric abilities and the “Did
he really even want to be human?” guilt trip throw in for good measure.
Angel sighed; there were no two ways about it, he was in trouble.
Already wearing an apologetic expression Angel strode into the station,
going straight to the Captain’s office eager to just put the necessary
unpleasantness behind him.
“Um Captain… I can’t imagine how, but … I … umm seem to have misplaced
my badge and gun,” Angel stammered.
Reece looked up from his work and asked. “Who the hell are you?”
Angel just stared at the man.
“If you’re a transfer this is hardly what I’d call getting off on the
right foot,” Reece added a few moments later.
“What do you mean?” Angel asked. “You know me, I’m Nick Knight.”
“What kind of a goddamn, idiot, stunt is this?” Reece growled angrily.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Angel repeated. “I’m…”
Reece held up a hand to stop him then entered something into his
computer. A few seconds later he turned the monitor around to show the
record he’d called up to Angel. “That is Nick Knight,” he said. “Now who
the hell are you?”
“Yes, that’s me,” Angel insisted feeling lost.
Reece got up from his desk and practically hauled Angel through the
precinct. Angel was so confused he took no notice of where they were going
until they were standing in front of a one-way glass.
“That was Detective Knight,” Reece barked, “ You’re…” Reece trailed off
into silence as he found himself gesturing to an empty mirror.
Angel stared sadly into the void where he should have been, “Not so
human today huh Nick,” he sighed.
“What’s going on?” Reece muttered.
Angel captured his mind with practiced ease and told him. “Nothing
unusual happened here.”
“This is where he’d go?” Buffy asked speaking apparently to herself.
“All vampires end up here sooner or later,” Natalie’s voice said,
echoing inside of the younger woman’s head. “Of course if we’re right and
Nick’s the one making decisions it’ll be quicker. He always comes here
when he needs help. We might have to wait longer for Angel, but this is
vamp central, he’ll make an appearance.”
“Angel isn’t the type to enjoy vamp central,” Buffy cautioned.
“Doesn’t matter, he’ll still come, they all do.” Natalie said. “You’d
think Nick would be the last person to come here, seeing that he sworn up
and down that he wanted out of this life, but he couldn’t stay away, even
after Jenette was gone he still came. To LaCroix, the person he supposedly
“So we’re just going to wait?” Buffy asked. “Like this?”
She didn’t have to explain what she meant; Natalie could feel how
unhappy Buffy was about sharing brain space, despite having agreed that
Natalie be invaluable in finding Angel.
“I couldn’t leave the loft without you anymore than Nick could leave
without an intermediary,” Natalie explained again. “There have to be
rules, always. Even for ghosts. My mind, my soul, it can’t exist in a
vacuum. To leave the loft I had to trade it for you.”
“So why don’t you just make another exchange and haunt this place?”
“The Raven? I think not!” Natalie exclaimed. “It was hard enough
getting here in the first place, there is no way I’m risking getting stuck
here for eternity!”
“Fine,” Buffy sighed. “So how’d you two end up haunting that place
For a long while Natalie didn’t say anything. “We were stupid,” She
finally began, deciding that Buffy had both a right and need to know this.
“We made life altering… life ending decisions, while we were both a mess…
When I think back… we shouldn’t have been allowed to decide what to have
for dinner that night, let alone…”
“So why were things so dire?” Buffy asked curiously.
“It wasn’t one thing,” Natalie protested. “Any one thing I think we
could have handled, but all at once and on top of the year we’d been
having… It was too much. Even before Lora’s suicide and Tracy getting shot
we were stretched to the breaking point. I spent year trying to make Nick
human and I was starting to think he didn’t even want it any more. Hell, I
was starting to think he was better off the way he was. I tried to get him
to stop relying on his vampire abilities, that was one of my oldest ideas.
I never really thought it would cure him, but what if I had cured him and
he was still dependant on them?”
“He would have adapted, Angel did,” Buffy said.
“Nick never could do it though,” Natalie argued. “How could I really
believe he wanted to be a normal human being when he’d resort to vampire
tricks for something so petty as getting out of trouble for neglecting his
paperwork? It made me so mad! Here I was throwing my whole life away to
find a cure he’d probably end up hating me for giving him.”
Natalie paused for a moment. “Beyond that we lost so many people that
year. Don, Captain Cohen, Calvin, Vashon, even Jenette in a way. She
didn’t die, but her relation with Nick was changed beyond recognition.
Then Tracy and Lora one right on top of the other… it was just too much.”
“We were depressed and desperate and we hadn’t really been
communicating for months. When I went to Nick that night I didn’t know
what I wanted. All I really knew was that something had to change. I can
hardly blame Nick for not dong what I wanted under those circumstances. We
didn’t even really talk about it then, we just did it, then I was laying
on the floor unconscious and Nick had an entirely new decision to make. We
couldn’t exactly debate the pros and cons of vampirism right then,”
“Nick had to choose for both of us, no doubt with LaCroix taunting him
all the while. No wonder it got so screwed up. I guess LaCroix’s stupid
little games at Nick’s expense really backfired that time,” Natalie said
bitterly. “He probably talked Nick into killing me.”
“Then Nick killed himself?” Buffy said. “You’re like the second
murder/suicide couple turned ghosts that I’ve had to deal with. Resolve
your issues and move on already.”
“Don’t think I haven’t tried!” Natalie exclaimed. “Nick is so fixated
on having killed me he can’t even see me. He just sits there like he can
still see my body in his arms. Do you have any idea what it’s like, being
trapped for better than a year with no one to even talk to and the
possibility that the situation will never change as food for thought?”
The only explanation he could come up with was that LaCroix had made
everyone forget him. It didn’t make sense, even given LaCroix’s
sometimes-inexplicable sense of subtlety, but how else could he explain
the fact that no one at the precinct knew who he was?
He had to find Natalie, if anyone could shake off LaCroix’s suggestion
it would be her. She had to be able to remember him. He needed her.
“Hello? Is Natalie around?” He asked Grace, not even wanting to know if
she remembered him or not.
“Were you a friend of hers Mister…” Grace asked.
“Angel,” Nick supplied, wondering where that name had come from;
normally he used some variant of his own name.
“Angel,” Grace replied. “I just don’t know how to tell you this …
sixteen months ago Nat vanished. I try to believe that she and her
detective friend finally figured out how they felt about each other and
ran off together, but she would have called by now to let me know, or at
least to make sure Sydney was being looked after.”
LaCroix would know what was happening, Nick thought desperately as he
pushed his way into the Raven. LaCroix always knew; was always the one he
turned to when everything lay in ruins around him. Even when the older
vampire was the primary architect of those ruins he was still the one Nick
relied on to put things to right.
And then she was there, right in front of him. There was a sense of
not-rightness about her but he pushed it aside and swept her into his
“Natalie, you’re alright,” He exclaimed. “Oh, thank God, you’re
“The Hell I am Nick!” Natalie snapped breaking free of his embrace.
“You killed us!”
And in that second Nick remembered, he could see not only Natalie but
also the body of the younger woman she possessed.
“I just wanted to be with you. Was that so much to ask?” Natalie
“I couldn’t do that to you Natalie!” Nick protested.
“But you could do it for Jenette, Tracy and who knows how many others?”
Natalie demanded angrily.
“I didn’t leave you,” Nick defended himself.
“Right, you committed suicide! Well yippee for you!” Natalie yelled.
Irritable Buffy pushed to the fore of her consciousness. “If this is
going to be taking a while could you two possible resolve things without
using my boyfriend and I as intermediaries?”
Buffy could instantly sense Natalie’s remorse and Nick’s was even less
ambiguously displayed in his expression.
“We should go back to the loft,” Natalie suggested without retaking
control of Buffy’s body.
“We’re heading back to your place,” Buffy relayed to Nick.
“We’re here, now get out!” Buffy ordered, as soon as they walked into
Nick watched as the duel image of Buffy and Natalie shimmer, went out
of focus and parted.
“So you can still see me, right Nick?” Natalie asked. “No going back to
acting like I’m not here?”
“I know you’re here now. I could never forget that,” Nick promised.
“That’s great and all, but out, now!” Buffy said frowning. “You’re
home, haunt the place, you don’t need Angel anymore!”
“Of course,” Nick replied. “I’m just… I don’t know how we got this way.
I don’t know how to undo it.”
“You don’t know!” Buffy growled, grabbing Nick, slamming him back
against the elevator door, then freezing an instant before she hit him
when she found herself glaring into Angel’s eyes. “It’s not fair, I can’t
even hit you!” She complained. “Not without hurting Angel.”
“Look it’s not hard,” Natalie said to Nick. “ Just turn control over to
Angel and step away. That’s all I did.”
“I don’t feel like there’s anyone else here,” Nick said quietly.
“No, Angel has to be alright,” Buffy said, the anger in her voice not
covering her fear and pain.
“Buffy?” he asked, the inflection in his voice slipping into something
infinitely familiar to Buffy.
“Angel?” she said hopefully.
“Oh, I understand now,” Nick said and then Angel’s form shimmered and
Nick, looking considerably more transparent than Natalie, stepped away
Angel fell to his knees. “What happened?” he asked as Buffy helped him
to his feet.
“Accidental possession,” Buffy said. “You’re okay?”
Angel shook himself, throwing off the last of the dazed feeling. “I’m
“Nick?” Natalie asked in concern.
“I’m good,” he replied. “We’re too much alike and neither of us
realized what was happening, we didn’t have our guard up. I think it went
deeper with us than what happened with you and Buffy. It hurt, coming
“So are you two going to be alright now?” Angel asked Nick as he
collected his things from the other vampire’s room.
“We’re together now. We’ll manage,” Nick replied. “I’m so sorry about
Angel shrugged uncomfortably. “You didn’t mean to, just… don’t do it
“I swear,” Nick promised solemnly.
Unexpectedly Angel grinned. “That’s what Buffy’s sister always says…
when Buffy catches borrowing her things without asking. I guess this means
we really are siblings.”
“Speaking of family, you won’t mention me to LaCroix?” Nick asked
“He’ll know, eventually,” Angel said. “You know that.”
“Eventually,” Nick said. “But Natalie and I have enough to deal with,
without adding LaCroix to the mix. In time, I’ll want to see, tell him I’m
sorry for what I asked from him, but not right now.”
“Course,” Angel replied. “We’ll come visit sometime. I’ll bring Cordy,
she’s family too.”
“Why didn’t I just apologize?” Natalie wondered to Buffy. “I know I
made mistakes too, but the instant Nick’s in front of me and aware, all I
do is pick up the fight right where we left off.”
Buffy squirmed in embarrassment. “I’m awful about apologizing to Angel
too,” she admitted. “It’s like I’m the Slayer and he’s a vampire so of
course I’m right, but I don’t really mean to treat Angel like that.”
Natalie sighed. “I know what you mean. We should be equals, but it’s so
hard not to use guilt against him, not when he makes it so easy.”
“Not as easy as it used to be. At least not for me,” Buffy said wryly.
“But you know what, I think of like it. Now that I’ve had a chance to get
used to it anyway.”
Natalie nodded her agreement. “I’m obviously not the expert on
successful human/vampire romances,” She said. “But one bit of advice I can
give is realize that the two of you can’t stand between worlds forever.
Someday you’ll have choose, his world or yours, you’ll both have stand
together, or else you’ll both just have to give up and walk away from what
you feel for the other. Don’t fool yourself; it will come to that. Be sure
the two of you have already made your choice when that day comes. Nick and
I didn’t, that’s how we ended up here.”
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