Title: Miles to Go (Chapt 2 of 4)
Rating: hard R
Feedback: Suit yourself, just no permanent damage, k.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, neither set of pretty kittens are mine, and I must be content to merely play with them, but I will gladly groom and bathe them all before sending them back home to their Daddy’s (aka Joss/Mutant Enemy/et al, Kripke/McG/et al, respectively- oh, and a bunch of other corporate-type ppl who aren’t me).
Warnings/Squicks: post-Chosen, no such thing as S8, AU
Summary: Xander isn’t coping well with the aftermath of Sunnydale, but Willow thinks she may have found just what the doctor ordered…
***Chapter 2: Promises to Keep***
The two men were on their way to L.A. A request from Willow to check in on Angel and the AI crew and their ‘evil law firm’. Hadn’t that been fun to explain to Dean.
Once Dean wrapped his head around the theory and why it was better to have a souled vampire running the place then to try to take it down, Willow had let him in on the ‘other’ (and, for her, more important) reason for the L.A. excursion- rumours of Spike’s un-dusty state.
Willow carefully failed to mention she’d already had the rumours confirmed by an empathic green-skinned red-horned demon. She also carefully left out Lorne’s not-so-subtle insinuation that the souled vamp in question needed a certain dark human male of her acquaintance just as much as the mortal needed the vamp.
And despite Giles’ insecurities, she still trusted Angel and his crew. Besides, it was nice to have someone else to help play the Yenta. Now, if they could only set up Connor and Dawn!
When the duo arrived at Wolfram and Hart, they received a less than warm welcome.
Seemed another thing Willow forgot to mention was Giles’ none too accepting opinion of Angel and Co running the law firm.
“Listen Deadboy, Willow asked us to stop by, that’s all! Wills asks, we do. I haven’t even talked to any of the others in months- Buff’s too busy with the new girls, Dawn’s finally having an almost normal young-adulthood, and Giles is, well, Giles. So, how ‘bout you let me in on the big evil before you rip my head off, ‘kay.”
The elder vamp sighed heavily- there wasn’t much else you could do when faced with an irate and determined Xander Harris.
“We’re terribly sorry Xander, but you must understand we had no way of knowing about your limited contact with the Council.”
“I get that Wes, now can we make with the explaining already?”
“Yes, well, it seems the Council has decided that our take over of Wolfram and Hart has compromised our credibility as well as our ability to be trusted.”
“What!?” Xander was utterly confused. Why would Willow have sent them if she thought Angel had changed sides.
Snickering, Dean could no longer hold his tongue, “Oh, that’s rich coming from a warlock who used to summon demons, a witch who tried to bring about an apocalypse, oh and let’s not forget the psycho-Slayer in Cleveland- but you guys are evil.” Dean shook his head, amazed at the lack of logic some people showed.
Surprisingly, Xander was the first to break- his giggles bubbling over and triggering everyone else’s. After a moment, the men regained their composure.
“Angel,” Xander intentionally used the vamp’s chosen name, an olive branch of sorts after the recent tension, “it was a long trip and Dean and I could use a rest, so, unless you need canon fodder or there’s a scheduled apocalypse in the next few hours, we’re gonna grab some shuteye.”
Taking the truce offering for what it was, Angel did the only thing he could, “You guys have a place set up?”
“Yeah we got a room.” The young man smiled honestly at the vamp, “Thanks Angel.”
Angel offered a half smile, “No problem, Xander. Why don’t you two come back after you’ve slept? I know Fred and Lorne would love to see you.”
The young man’s smile brightened at that, “Likewise.”
The men said their goodbyes and Dean and Xander headed off to their motel.
Back in his office, Angel poured two large glasses of whiskey.
“Well, that was unexpected,” Wes stated calmly as he took the offered liquor.
Angel sat back, nodding, “What do you make of it?”
“I think, it’s possible that not everyone in the Council is of the same mind. Namely, Ms. Rosenberg, it seems, still has faith in us.”
Swigging his drink thoughtfully, Angel commented dryly, “I just hope it’s not misplaced.”
Once at the motel, Xander’s first move was to call Willow.
As he hung up the phone, Dean emerged from the shower. “What did Eglantine have to say?”
Xander rubbed his face in his hands, he was tired, his eye hurt, and seeing Angel brought back memories and feelings he’d thought he’d finally dealt with, but none of that was Dean’s fault. In fact, the opposite was true, Dean was a big part of why Xander was doing as well as he was. Xander took a calming breath before he spoke, “Wills didn’t want us going in with any ‘preconceived notions’.” He exhaled loudly, “I still think she could’ve warned us!”
Dean sat on the bed across from Xander’s and smiled his lopsided smile, “DM calm down, she was just trying to protect all of us. Now go take your shower and get some sleep- you look like shit.”
“Thanks Dean, way to buck a guy up.”
“My pleasure,” Dean quipped back unremorsefully.
The next day they spent checking in with their L.A. contacts. Xander would always be a people person and he liked to have faces to go with the names and occasional voices he talked to. Yet, after a day of slayerish meet and greets, all Xander wanted was to head back to their room and pass out- comparatively apocalyae were easy.
Dean eyed his companion carefully. Xander was looking a bit rough around the edges, and he thanked the powers that be that this was the last of their contacts. Normally, Dean wouldn’t have pushed to see everyone in one day, but especially if Willow’s info was right and Spike was alive or undead… whatever you called it, he wanted Xander to be able to take time to deal with that without ‘hunting’ business looming over his head. “Hey DM, relax. This is our last stop, then we can head back to the motel, order pizza, down a couple cold ones, and call Gelhead and arrange a get together for tomorrow. Sound good?”
“No. Sounds great.” He was looking forward to talking to Lorne and seeing Fred, but today he didn’t think he could handle more dredged up emotions- he might be bi, but he wasn’t a total girl.
Unfortunately, the fates, it seemed, had different plans for the pair.
It was just past sundown and they were headed back to their motel when Xander’s cell rang.
Xander sighed at the familiar strands of “Tubular Bells” being emitted from his phone, indicating the call was from a Wolfram and Hart number. “Hello.”
“Ah, Xander, we aren’t interrupting anything , I hope.”
“No Wes, we were just finishing up. What’s up?”
“Actually, we could use your assistance.”
“Oh, Xan-man brand fodder,” he snarked.
Several hours later, Xander and Dean were camped outside of a large nondescript warehouse near the docks. Apparently, the evil lawyers hadn’t seen fit to employ non-magical or non-demonic surveillance methods and both Wesley and Fred were too well known in the demon community to be inconspicuous.
Fortunately for Angel and Co, Dean and Xander were up for the task.
Unfortunately, it meant their plans for a calm night of pizza and beer in their room were transformed into a rather boring night of pizza and coffee in the car. They spent most of the night counting and cataloguing the various demons that came and went.
Shortly before dawn, there was a mass influx of demons, vamps mostly- not unexpected considering they were staking out the meeting place of the new idiot, erm, baddie making a play for a chunk of L.A. What was unexpected were the humans. At least, he assumed they were human- the vamps with them took great pleasure in snarling and hissing, and even greater pleasure in their captives’ screams.
Before he could think better of it, Xander was climbing out of the car, stake in hand, “Call Angel.”
“Don’t worry Dean, I’m not that crazy. If I can get ‘em out, I will; otherwise I’m just gonna do a little recon, maybe see what I can do to improve our odds.” Closing the door he turned, “Now, get Deadboy here- fast!”