When I walked into the main room of the Magic Shop, everyone stopped talking instantly. I am so sick
of that happening! There's no reason for that to happen now...at least there shouldn't be.
God! I hope there isn't. I'm tired
of secrets. Everyone's staring at me. Interestingly enough, it's that Immortal guy who speaks as I just stand there, staring back at everyone.
"How is your father, Child?"
It took me a moment for me to realize who he meant. Angel.
Talk about Fate messing with your mind! First I'm an ordinary kid (as far as I knew), then I'm this Key thing and not even real, and then
I'm Buffy and Angel's daughter. (sarcastically
) What's going to happen next?! Me being Immortal? Hey, Mom and Dad are!... (calmer
) And I probably just jinxed myself. (dryly
I started. Willow stood in front of me, her hand on my arm. I must of really
zoned out for her to do that.
She squeezed my arm, before asking, "You ok?"
Dawn's voice was distant when she answered, saying, "Yeah. I'm still getting used to Angel being my dad...and he's fine, as far as we can tell. They wanted me to come in here, while Buffy helps Angel get out here."
Willow asked after a faint pause, "What did you three talk about? You were in there for about an hour."
Dawn slowly smiled, and said, "Oh, the fact that Angel and Buffy have been married since she was seventeen, and what we're going to do about me."
There was a stunned silence, which Dawn reveled in. She knew they would react like that. It took a moment before any could
react. She wasn't surprised that it was Giles who did so. He had
-- in a way -- become Buffy's father in everything but blood. Did that make him her grandfather then?
"What do you mean they have been married since she was seventeen, Dawn?" the Slayer's Watcher asked in a serious tone of voice.
Dawn's smile became a smirk, but before she could reply, another voice beat her to it. A voice that was low and soft, and faintly laced with pain and weariness.
"Buffy is my wife through the Claddagh ring I gave her the night I lost my soul."
Dawn looked behind her to see Angel leaning heavily against Buffy -- who seemed to be having a little trouble keeping him on his feet --, and went to help. It took only seconds to maneuver him into a chair -- which he gratefully sank into --.
While this was happening, Methos said quietly, "Of course. Irish tradition. If both man and woman place the claddagh ring upon their hand heart in, and consummate their relationship upon the same night...they are wed."
As Buffy and Dawn pulled up chairs to sit on either side of him, Angel looked over at Methos and nodded agreement to what the Immortal said.
"So Deadboy actually left his wife
so that she might be happy." Everyone turned to where Xander was leaning back against the checkout counter. Almost everyone was startled by the admiration they saw in his eyes, as he said, "I can respect that."
Before anyone could respond, a cell phone rang. Dawn was amused to see that -- literally -- half of everyone present reached into a pocket or purse. All but Angel put their phones away as he answered his.
"Hello?" Dawn grew concerned, as she saw her father suddenly sit up straight in alarm. "WHAT?!
Dread filled her as she saw Angel stand up and begin to pace. All waited in tense silence, too afraid to ask Angel what was going on. After ten minutes, the souled vampire stopped pacing, and silent put away his cell phone.
He stood tensely before them. His head was bowed and his hands clenched tight. He looked ready to kill. It was another minute after that before anyone -- Cordelia -- had the courage to speak to the imposing figure.
"What is it, Angel?"
He slowly raised his head. Once gazing at everyone, he said -- his voice a low growl as his eyes flashed yellow as he spoke --, "Faith's been killed."