The tension within Angel's car as he drove to the Magic Box was beyond unbearable. No one said anything, which left the souled vampire alone with his thoughts. Thoughts that were chaotic, yet not. How am I going to tell them? But maybe I won't need to.... Darla pretty much said what had happened. Oh God! Please don't let them ask for details!
He glanced at Dawn as she leaned against Spike, half asleep from the motion of the car and only three hours of sleep, as the chipped vampire tenderly stroked her hair in concern. Seeming to sense his Grand-Sire's eyes on him, he looked up, and nodded solemnly as they made eye contact. Turning his gaze back to the road, Angel continued his thoughts. Spike seems awfully close to Dawn...but so does she to him.... I know Buffy says that they're like that because of what they went through together when they were fighting Glory and the promise that he made, but I think it might be more than that. There is an honest attraction between them. In a way -- with Dawn being pre-Immortal and a Slayer --, I can approve of the pairing.... I just hope neither regrets it in the future...but they won't have the difficulties that Buffy and I had, as there is no curse in their way of being happy together.
His lips thinned, as he looked in the rearview mirror to Buffy and Eve. The eldest and youngest Slayers were sitting as far apart as they could, gazing at each other warily. Please, don't start anything, Buffy. We can't afford it. There's too much at stake right now.
Just then, they pulled up in front of the Magic Box. Angel noticed that Giles' car was there, and that the lights were on in the store. He also sensed a...living
power within the building that told him that Willow and Tara were already here. He had noticed -- ever since his soul and demon were combined -- that he could actually sense
a thing or person's power, and tell what kind
of power it was. Good, evil, dead, alive, or neutral and its various degrees...he could sense it all.
As he walked inside, he saw that he was right, as Willow and Tara looked up from the large tome they were studying. Willow waved, as Tara winced and looked down, rubbing her eyes. If only Tara could control her abilities to read auras. Especially considering the type of people that she is in constant contact with.
Angel noticed as Giles came out of the training room carrying a long, fairly large, sword-length, wrapped bundle carefully. Giles must have finally gotten those swords for Buffy that he said he would get for her to try out.
Once Giles set down his bundle on the table beside Willow and Tara, he looked over to Angel and the others. Nodding his head in acknowledgement, the Watcher said, "Good, you are here." He began unwrapping the bundle as he said, "Buffy, the swords I requested finally came in. Could you come here, and see which one suits you best?" I was right.
As Buffy went to inspect the swords, the shop door once again opened. Angel turned to see who it was, and wasn't surprised to see Adam. He seems upset. I wonder what happened?
After a quick glance around the shop, Methos looked at Angel, and tilted his head in the direction of the training room, his intention clear to the vampire. With a nod, Angel led the way. I wonder what he wants to talk about?
Once in the training room, Angel watched as Adam closed the door. Taking off his coat, the Immortal said calmly, "Before coming here, I had an...interesting
conversation with your Seer."
Angel silently raised an eyebrow in inquiry, as he thought, Really? And what did she say to you, Immortal?
The Immortal's lips thinned, before saying, "Apparently, it would be in the best interest of all, if I told you who I am, and how I changed sides to the Light."
My eyes narrowed, before I said quietly, "Go on."
He was nervous, that much I could see, before he said -- obviously hedging around the subject --, "It seems, that we are...brothers
of sorts. On this side and the other."
He made me
seem plain-speaking with what he had just said. I had a feeling that what he would say next would explain what he had just said...and it did.
Drawing in a deep breath, he then said grimly, "Angel, as you were once known as Angelus, the Scourge of Europe.... I was once known as Methos, one of the Four Horsemen."
A chill ran down my spine, and spread throughout my body, making me numb with shock. Knowledge filled me. Knowledge that the demon possessed about this Immortal being. He was ancient. Over five thousand years old in this day. He was a destroyer of nations. A murderer.... And many other such things. But one thing above all others filled my mind: his name as a Warrior for the First Evil.
"Death," I whispered emotionlessly. "You were the Horseman Death."
The Immortal looked me strait in the eye, and said -- still grim --, "Yes, I was Death...but I am no longer him. I have not been him for over three thousand years. I also became a Warrior for the Powers That Be roughly one hundred years ago."
It only took me a moment to make the connection. "That was about the same time I received my soul."
The Immortal nodded, a morbid humor touching his lips and eyes, as he said, "Exactly. Whistler came to me. Showed me you receiving your soul. Said I needed to make a choice.... And I chose."
Angel tilted his head as he gazed at Methos. He knew that the Immortal spoke the truth. How did he know? It was another of the abilities that he now possessed.
"Then, I suppose," Angel said quietly, "there is no reason for us former
Dark Warriors to not work together for the Light. I am honored that you would willingly teach my wife the ways of Immortality...and in so doing, aid my daughter when she becomes Immortal as well."
Angel thought deeply for a moment, then said seriously, "I do not ask this lightly, Methos: Would you allow me to call you Brother?"
After a moment, Methos grinned in acceptance, and held out his hand for Angel. Angel took it in the ancient tradition of clasping the forearm. As they stood so, Methos said quietly, "I would gladly let you call me Brother, but don't call me Methos unless we are alone. I don't want the others -- or anybody -- to know who I really
am. Not yet anyway."
Angel solemnly nodded his head in agreement, as they released their arm-clasp. Just then, there was a commotion outside in the main shop area, and seconds later, Buffy shouted in fear. "ANGEL!"
Immediately, Angel ran out of the training room, Methos close behind, sword drawn. Angel took only one glance of the situation, swiftly went to Buffy, and protectively stood in front of her, glaring at the Watchers before him. Spike was doing the same thing with Dawn, Angel noted out of the corner of his eye. They will not have either of them. I will NOT allow it!
"Out of my way, Vampire," Quinton sneered.
"Over my incinerated body!" Angel snapped in reply
"That can easily be arranged," Quinton said darkly and quietly.
"For what purpose are you here, Watcher," asked Methos calmly -- yet deadly --, as he came to stand beside Angel, resting the tip of his sword on the floor as he laid his hands on top of the hilt before him.
Behind him, Angel sensed Buffy grab one of the swords on the table behind her. Good. If there is a battle, I don't want her unarmed.
Quinton's eyes flicked from Angel, to Buffy and what she was doing, and back, before saying, "We wish to know how it is that the Slayer Buffy Summers is alive, and why we were not informed of that fact."
"Because it's none of your business," said Whistler from where he stood just inside the shop's entrance door. "She's no longer yours. If fact, she never was
Angel felt a languid smile touch his lips. About time he showed up.
Quinton turned around, and asked sharply, "Who are you to say such a thing?"
Whistler moved further into the room, until he was standing in front of the Watcher, and said, "The name's Whistler, and I'm a Messenger for the Powers That Be. That's
what gives me the right to say what I did. 'Cause it came from Them
, not me."
Angel nodded his agreement, before saying softly, "He speaks the truth. Especially since he was the one who showed me Buffy in the first place." And thus, changing my life forever.
Quinton turned back to look at me sharply, as he said, "What?!"
Buffy snorted behind me, as she said, "That's old news. Nothing to get your tights up about." She always had a way with words. Time seems to have made it even more interesting.
"Got that right," Whistler said, as he moved to stand on my other side, but not before Buffy moved to stand in front of me. I protectively put my hands on her shoulders as she positioned her sword as Methos had. I know we made an impressive picture.
"Anyway," the Messenger continued, "I've got another
message for you Watchers. They want you to re-instate the old rules, and take out all the crap you put into it. 'Cause you guys have actually shortened
the Slayer's lifespan with you so-called 'improved' rules."
Quinton bristled, as he said, "Really?...and, how
did we shorten the Slayer's life?"
"Keeping them isolated, for instance," said Whistler. "If they had had a base of support outside of the Watchers -- namely their family, friends, and sometimes even spouses --, they would've had even more
reason to last as long as they could. Hell
, the average age that a Slayer lived to when your group was first organized was thirty
! Now it's what?...eighteen if
they're lucky. That's a pretty big drop."
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Methos nodding his agreement, before saying, "It is true. The Slayers in my time lasted usually to the age of thirty, with an active duty of at least fifteen to eighteen years...." He suddenly grinned, as if amused by something, before saying, "In fact, Buffy here is the embodiment
of what I wished the Slayer to be when the Watchers Council was created." Why am I not surprised?
All but Buffy, Giles, and myself were shocked by what Methos said. I looked heavenward for a moment, before murmuring, "Anything else
you want to tell them?"
Methos gave me a sly sidelong glance, but said nothing.
Silence fell for a moment before Whistler said, "And another thing, Watchers: The second Slayer that you activated by killing Faith is off limits to you guys. Eve is the only Slayer you're getting, and that's only
if you change your ways. Giles here is now her Watcher. The Powers That Be have been extremely
pleased with how he's trained the Slayer Buffy, and want that
style of training to continue. So, you got two choices: completely
change your system around, or be disbanded."
I noticed Quinton's face was practically as white as Spike's hair, as rage burned in his eyes. In a terse voice, he said, "If that is what we must do to keep the Slayer that we do
have, then we shall change. But
don't expect the change to be immediate!"
Crossing his arms, the Messenger said, "I know, and They know, too. Just as long as you do
change. Now, the one's who belong here have some other business to discuss, so you better go. And I don't just mean your hotel rooms, but back to England, and begin changing."
Standing stiffly, the Watcher then snapped, "Very well," turned around, and left the shop with the other Watchers following behind.
The moment that the door closed, the tension levels within the building dropped considerably. I noticed Willow and Tara relax back in the chairs were they sat not far from me. Spike took Dawn over to the couch alcove, and had her sit down, as he went to get her a drink of water. As I took the sword from Buffy's hands, I saw Giles leaning heavily against the checkout counter. Methos had put his sword away wherever he hid it. Something I would dearly like to know how to do, but not even Buffy will tell me how they do it. She calls it an Immortal secret. I call it being annoying.
As I put the sword I had taken from Buffy with the others, my beloved went over to Giles, placed a gentle hand on his arm, and asked in concern, "Are you alright Giles?"
It caused me to take a closer look at the Watcher. He did
look a little ill or worn. As if he could not take much more before collapsing.
Giles nodded in response to Buffy's question, and said quietly, "I'm fine, just not liking what I have to tell you."
"And that would be my cue to leave," said Whistler as he started to walk out of the building. He stopped for a moment at the entranceway, and looked at me, saying as he closed the door, "See you around, Kid." Just what I wanted to hear...not!
) Great. I've been hanging around Cordelia too long.
As Angel returned his focus back to Giles, the Watcher said, "Buffy, since you were the one to call this 'emergency' meeting, perhaps you should tell your news first."
Buffy nodded in agreement, before looking over at me, then Spike, saying, "Dru's in town...and Darla seems to be alive in the vampire sense, and is with Dru."
Into the slightly stunned silence, Giles asked, "How?"
"Readers Digest version," my beloved said with false humor, "A bunch of evil lawyers in LA brought her back to torment Angel."
Giles warily rubbed his eyes, before saying, "Hearing this -- coupled with my own news -- is terrifying in the possibilities presented of what could happen."
Tilting her head to the side, Buffy asked, "And your news would be?"
The Watcher dropped his arm, and gazed at my beloved, before saying quietly, "Ethan paid me a visit earlier.... He's Immortal, and is looking for someone to challenge."
Buffy looked ready to faint, as she said in a strangled voice, "What?!" No! She doesn't need this right now!
I thought, as Methos murmured, "He's a Head Hunter.... I should've realized that from what I had been told."
Buffy was clearly panicking, as she said, "What're we gonna do, Giles?! I'm not ready to start beheading people because of some stupid Game
! I mean -- really
-- who'd want to be the last surviving Immortal, just to live their life alone?!" She has more of a point than she realizes. Being alone is the scariest thing in the world. It's one of the reasons I feel so blessed to have her in my life...and now Dawn as well.
Angel moved over to Buffy after a moment, and gently held her, soothing her. "Shh. Everything will be all right. I promise."
Tearfully, she whispered into my shirt, "What are we gonna do?"
"Whatever is necessary, Slayer," said Methos as he came to stand in front of us. "Whatever is necessary to stay alive. That is all we can