Tyr lay on his bed in the Hyperion, book in hand. As he read through "A Concise Guide to World History," he'd slowly come to the conclusion that he and Beka were indeed in a different world. A world where space travel was a rare event, vampires roamed the streets, and Nietzsche had written "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" barely a century before. The genetic engineering technology Paul Musevini had used to create his race was in its infancy. The Nietzschean people -- his people -- did not yet exist. He was truly alone...
Except for Beka. While not Nietzschean, she embodied many of the qualities his people prized. She was strong, smart, resourceful... and, most importantly, like him, she was a survivor. They'd have to be survivors to live in the world they were currently inhabiting.
A soft knock on the door interrupted his musing. Beka, clad in a borrowed T-shirt and shorts, poked her head in the door. "Can I come in?" she asked.
Tyr said nothing, merely motioned her in. Beka entered, closing the door behind her. "I didn't mean to interrupt your reading...but...I...I was just feeling really uneasy, alone there in my room. Vampire attacks. Demons. This place is just plain bizarre. And I think I heard that weird Fred girl muttering something about "apocalypses" when I passed her in the hall. Can there be "apocalypses"? I mean, how can an "apocalypse" happen again? Wouldn't the world end after the first one?"
Tyr smiled at her nervous babbling. She'd moved close enough to touch. He reached out, taking her delicate hand in his. "This is a truly strange new world..." he concurred, pulling her closer.
"These people may have saved our lives, but I don't trust any of them." She smiled ruefully. "I never thought I'd say this, Tyr, but you're the only one here I trust."
He knew he should make some comment about trusting a Nietzschean being a foolish endeavor, but he could not. Her trust was a precious thing, and he wanted to cherish it... as he cherished their friendship. "Would you like to stay? We could...watch each other's backs," he suggested. He was doing this strictly for survival. They were working together to ensure each other's safety. He refused to speculate on any further motives he might have for getting her into his arms.
Beka nodded. She didn't want to be alone, and Tyr...ironically enough, the most dangerous man she'd ever met was the only one who made her feel safe right now. He was Nietzschean, and as such was dedicated to his own genetic self-preservation above all else, but he'd already risked his life saving hers once tonight.
She climbed onto the bed, tucking her legs under the covers and scooting closer to him. Tyr wrapped an arm around Beka, pulling her against his body. She settled her head on his chest, the comfortable sound of his heartbeat, lulling her to sleep.
"Sleep," he whispered, stroking her soft blonde hair. "I'll take the first watch."
Cordelia looked around the room, staring at the boxes that covered every available surface. Her life in cardboard. Her beautiful, rent-controlled apartment was gone, leaving everything she owned in one room at the Hyperion.
She shouldn't feel such a sense of loss. It was just a place, right? She still had a roof over her head, in a place that was way safer than her old apartment and a million times nicer than the hellhole she'd lived in when she first moved to L.A. So why did she feel like crying?
Because that apartment was where she had become Cordelia again. Where she'd picked herself up from the depression of losing all of her family's money, the loneliness of being all by herself in a city that didn't care about her, the despair of not knowing where her next meal was going to come from. She'd rediscovered herself confronting the nasty ghost that was trying to evict her from her apartment. She was Cordelia Chase - she was smart, resourceful, and a bitch on wheels when the occasion called for it.
She picked up a teddy bear from the top of a box. Her home was gone, along with significant patches of her memory. What was she going to do? She sat down on the bed, hugging the teddy bear to her chest, and let the tears fall.
Lost in her sorrow, she didn't hear anyone else approach until a set of arms wrapped around her, pulling her to her feet. She nestled her head on Angel's chest. No warmth, no heartbeat...but still comforting, because he was Angel.
He rubbed her back with long, gentle strokes, holding her tightly to remind her that no matter what, she'd never be alone - he would always be with her, no matter what.
"Cordelia?" he asked, as her sobs began to lessen.
"Shh," she said, setting the teddy bear behind her and wrapping her arms around his waist. "Don't say anything. Just hold me?"
Angel nodded. There wasn't anything more he wanted to do at the moment. Cordelia was back, safe, alive, and in his arms. He could stay in this moment forever.
Fred sat on the edge of the bed, brushing out her long brown hair. For the longest time, they had been waiting. Waiting for Angel to return, waiting to find Cordelia, waiting to find out what the hell Lorne had been referring to as "fluffy." Waiting for their friends to return and their lives to begin again.
Now they were on fast forward, and so much was happening she could barely take it in. Angel was back, but Connor was gone. Good riddance, she thought. After what he did to Angel, she'd be happy never seeing him again.
Hard to believe that Wesley was the one who had saved Angel after the way Angel had tried to kill him. Then again, a lot about Wesley was hard to believe lately. He'd been changing for a while, growing stronger and tougher since they'd gotten back from Pylea, but he'd always been their friend. All that had changed when he'd been deciphering the prophecies about Connor's birth. He'd grown more distant and broody as he'd been working. She could see why he didn't want to tell them what he'd found, why he'd kidnapped Connor. At this point, even Angel didn't blame Wesley...much. She wondered if Wesley would ever return to Angel Investigations, or if some things were just too bad to ever get past.
Lorne had been held captive in Vegas - and had been using "fluffy" as a code word to signal his in-trouble-ness. 'Universal code for being held prisoner,' indeed. Hah! Never would have gotten that one without some serious help. But he was back, safely nestled into his own room here at the hotel.
Cordelia had been a Higher Power, but was now back, sans a large chunk of memories. Her visions were intact, and she was still seeing big, brewing evils and now, people falling from the sky.
People who were, at the moment, together in one of the rooms down the hall - Fred had passed Beka in the hall as she'd walked down to Tyr's room. Who knew exactly who or what they were, where they were from, or what they were doing here? Despite Cordy's blithe explanation as to how they were needed to fight the upcoming apocalypse, Fred didn't trust them. Not one bit.
She jumped, feeling a hand on her shoulder.
"Hey," Gunn asked. "You okay? You're jumpy."
"I'm fine, Charles." She brought her hand up to cover his as she looked at him. "Just thinking. There's a lot to think about."
"I know." With Cordelia returning, people falling from the sky, and the apocalypse coming, it was a wonder their heads hadn't exploded from all the thinking.
He pulled back the covers and they slid into bed. Fred curled up against him, resting her head on his chest as he pulled the covers around them.
"Everything's gonna be okay, baby," he said soothingly.
"You sound so sure of that," she whispered. "How can you be so sure of that?"
"Because I've got you." He smiled, using one finger to lift her chin up until she was looking into his eyes. "And nothing else matters."
The kiss began as sweetly comforting, but quickly change into something more. Gunn gently rolled Fred over, levering his body on top of hers as their passion began growing out of control.
Meanwhile, Wesley, Sophie and Connor were on the run. They'd managed to leave the vampires behind them at Wesley's apartment, but they knew it was only a matter of time before more vamps picked up their trail.
They'd never be able to handle this alone, Wesley thought. Hell, they didn't even have any idea what they were handling. They needed time to figure out exactly what was in the books Sophie had taken from the Watchers' Council, and why the vamps were willing to kill for them. Unless they'd simply been trying to kill himself and Sophie because they were Watchers...but what purpose would it serve to eliminate the Council? He had to warn Giles. But first they had to get somewhere safe, and he only had one idea as to where that could be.
He realized that they weren't far away from the Hyperion. Instinctively, he'd driven towards their one safe haven in the city, towards the one place they'd be able to find help.
Assuming Angel was still agreeable with putting the past in the past. Forgive, if not forget.
Connor knew where they were going. Back to the place where that bastard, his so-called father, lived. He didn't want to go back. He didn't need a father. Holtz had been the only father he'd needed; he'd taught Connor all he needed to know to survive. Until he'd been brutally murdered...
He knew better than to believe Angel when he'd denied killing Holtz. Angel would say anything to get his son back. He was a vampire, an evil monster, and he wasn't to be trusted.
"I'm not going back there," he told Wesley, reaching for the door handle.
"Connor, no!" Though he knew the boy would likely survive a fall from the moving car, he didn't want him to leave. They'd need all the help they could get figuring out what was going on, and stopping the evil behind it. "I know you're angry with your father-"
"Angel is not my father," Connor denied.
"Like it or not, he is your biological father. And he's also the only one who can help us right now. Something is coming. Something big. We have to be prepared, and we're going to need all the assistance we can muster. We need him, Connor, but we need you too."
The teen's hand stilled on the door handle, contemplating Wesley's words.
"Are you willing to chance our being unable stop an impending apocalypse because you don't want to see your father?"
Connor punched the door. He couldn't let bad things happen to innocent people, not if he had the power to stop it. "Fine. I'll go."
"But you're not going to like it?" Sophie asked, stifling a smile. She'd heard about Connor, the only known offspring of two vampires. Somehow, she'd expected him to be less like a normal teenager. In a way, she reminded him of Max at seventeen - stubborn and independent, but willing to shoulder responsibilities no one so young should have to face.
The car slowed as they pulled up in front of the Hyperion. All three were surveying the area, making sure nothing was going to jump out of the bushes and attack them.
They were halfway to the door when the first vampire attacked.
"Not again," Sophie groaned, pulling out her stake as Connor quickly dusted the vamp.
More vampires appeared out of the darkness, stalking towards the three. "This is getting old fast," she muttered.
"Inside, quickly!" Wesley yelled, but he was too late. They were surrounded.
Angel was standing in Cordy's room, cradling the seer in his arms, when the feeling struck. Connor was close, and he was in trouble. Tuning into his super-human senses, he could hear the faint sounds of a fight coming from the direction of the hotel's front entrance.
Cordelia could feel the tension in Angel's body long before he said anything. Something was wrong.
"Connor!" he exclaimed, carefully extricating himself from Cordy's embrace. "He's here, and he's in danger."
She picked up a crossbow from where it lay on the floor of her room. "Let's go."
Though he and Beka were supposedly in a safe place, Tyr was still on guard. The soft sounds of Beka's breathing drifted through the night air as she slept peacefully in his bed. He quietly walked over to the window, looking out for any potential threats. His sensitive hearing picked up a sound coming from the front of the building, putting him instantly on alert. Something was going on outside. Unfortunately, his window didn't have a view of the commotion.
Footsteps pounded down the hall outside their room, and he heard Angel tell someone, most likely Cordelia, to "get Gunn and Fred." Judging from their reaction, a definite threat was present outside the hotel.
"What's going on?" Beka asked sleepily. "Did I hear yelling and footsteps?"
Tyr nodded. "There is a disturbance of some kind in front of the hotel."
Beka jumped up out of bed and grabbed her gun. "Are we going to sit here and wonder, or go down and investigate?"
"The most prudent course would be to remain here and see what transpires."
"And you want to be...prudent?" Beka asked, skeptically. "You're not curious as to what's going on? Not interested in knowing how whatever's going on down there affects the dozen back-up plans you've got?"
Tyr glared at her. She was right. To be able to effectively plan their next move, he would have to know what was occurring outside.
Beka smiled, strapping on her holster. She got him. "Let's go," she urged.
He grabbed his gun and cautiously followed her from the room.
The pounding on their door woke Gunn and Fred before Cordelia poked her head into their room. "Connor's in trouble. In front of the hotel. Hurry!" She didn't wait for their reply before disappearing back through the now-open door.
Gunn and Fred exchanged a look before scrambling out of bed. They quickly dressed and headed out the door. They'd hit the weapons closet on their way out the door.
In front of the Hyperion, Connor, Wesley, and Sophie were furiously fighting the vampires, but for every one they dusted, another one appeared to take its place. They were only feet away from the safety of the hotel, but they couldn't make it inside.
Four vampires had surrounded Connor, grabbing him in an attempt to subdue the teen. Struggling valiantly to break their hold, he had a fleeting though that this might be the end. After all he'd been through, was he really going to die here in front of the Hyperion? Killed by vampires?
He redoubled his efforts, grabbing his arm away from one vamp and head-butting another, when the vamp in front of him suddenly disappeared in a puff of dust. He looked up at the person who'd just saved his life - Angel, his father, in full vamp face.
"Nobody kills my son. Except maybe me." Enraged, Angel attacked, quickly staking the vampires who were holding Connor.
A bolt came flying from the direction of the door, hitting the vampire about to attack Angel. Cordelia had arrived.
Beka and Tyr walked up behind her, guns drawn.
"Guns aren't going to kill those things," Cordy told them, as Fred and Gunn crossed the lobby over to the weapons closet.
Gunn tossed Tyr a sword. "You know how to use one of those?"
Tyr smiled, twirling the sword with ease. "Not a problem."
"You have to decapitate them to kill them," Gunn informed him. "Nothing else will do it."
Beka looked suspiciously at the sharp metal object Gunn handed her. A sword? "Shooting them really doesn't work?"
Realizing that an inexperienced Beka with a sword could be very dangerous, Fred took it for herself and handed Beka a stake. "This'll be safer. Just make sure you get the heart...and you don't get Angel, or any of us, 'cause that would be bad...very bad."
"Right." Beka nodded, noting that Gunn and Tyr were already jumping into the fray, Fred following behind them, sword in hand.
Weird world, this. As she'd once told Tyr, she preferred to shoot her opponents while hiding behind a big rock. But this? Hand to hand combat with vampires? This was way beyond anything she'd ever trained for.
Unsure of how to begin to fight with her... pointy stick... she surveyed the action. Near the exit to the garden were Angel and a teenaged boy, fighting side by side like they'd been doing it every day of their lives. One by one the vampires fell before the unbeatable team.
The other two newcomers, a scruffy-looking man and a woman with long, dark hair, looked battered and bruised, but were still fighting, armed only with pointy sticks like her own.
Cordelia was holding her own with her crossbow, firing bolt after bolt at the attacking vampires. That was sort of gun-like, Beka noted. If they were going to be here for any length of time she'd have to learn how to shoot one.
As expected, Gunn wielded his axe with ease, but Fred's proficiency with a sword stunned her. Who would have guessed the mousy brunette was secretly a warrior in disguise?
As for Tyr, he was smiling, gleefully decapitating any vampire who dared approach him. Despite his excellent proficiency with firearms, he was in his element here, obviously enjoying the physical violence.
Beka was jolted from her musings as a vampire grabbed her arm, growling menacingly. She glared at him, leaning backwards to avoid his fetid breath. She brought her stake up, but he neatly deflected her blow. She kicked the vamp, knocking him off balance and loosening his hold on her. She yanked her arm away, immediately swinging out with her other arm. This wasn't so hard after all... like practicing in the gym with Tyr, sans sexual tension. The vampire sprung to his feet, but Beka was prepared this time. Dodging his blow, she drove her stake into his heart.
As the vampire she had been fighting turned to dust, Beka quickly looked around for her next attacker, but surprisingly, the courtyard was vampire-free. The group had killed all of the attacking vamps.
"Welcome home, son." Angel helped Connor to his feet.
"Not my idea," Connor said, glaring at Wesley.
Sensing that another father-son battle was about to begin, Cordelia interrupted. "What did bring you guys here tonight?" she asked Wes, walking over to stand near Angel.
Wesley glanced at the assembled group, his eyes locking with Sophie's for several long seconds. Then he turned to Cordelia. "We need your help."