All the Stops: Road to Sunnyhell Ch. 5bybadgirl298©
Giles and Wesley were leaning over a microscope. The former Watcher had built a small lab in one of the upper rooms of the Hyperion. Frequently, they collected samples that must be studied and he’d wanted an isolated place to study them without fear of cross contamination. “Her blood isn’t human.” Wesley stated, scratching his chin. He gestured to Giles to take over.
Giles peered into the scope. “Nor is it completely vampire.” He squinted. “Do you remember Slayer Physiology?”
Wesley nodded. “A difficult course.”
“Mmm. Dawn’s blood shares some qualities with Slayer’s blood.”
“As well as vampire.”
“Well, it makes sense. The monks had to form her out of something. They must have used Buffy’s DNA.”
The two sisters had been watching their exchange quietly. Buffy pulled the bewildered Dawn closer. “Which means you really are my relative.” Her eyes misted. “You’re my daughter. Not my sister.” She hugged her tighter.
Dawn felt a few tears slide down her face. For the first time in weeks, she was crying in happiness. “You look too good to have a kid my age, ‘Mom’.”
“Ha ha.” Buffy said, straight faced. She pulled back from Dawn, swiping at her tears furiously. “Well, okay then.” She focused on Giles. “So her blood isn’t...pure now, right?”
“Right. It has been tainted with vampiric blood.” He said this while looking at Angel who stood at the back of the room, feeling like an interloper. He fought the urge to touch Dawn. He felt possessive of her now. They shared blood, they were bound together by it.
“Glory can’t use her for the ritual anymore?” Buffy asked, needing to be reassured.
“No, Dawn is safe.” He took his glasses off, automatically reaching for a handkerchief to swipe them clean. “Better than that, actually. She’s immortal.”
“Immortal.” Dawn breathed.
“Like me.” Angel added. Inside, he faintly heard his demon howl in triumph. “But I want independent confirmation of that.”
“And how do you propose we get that?” Giles asked.
“I have a source.” Angel said simply.
“Get your bloody asses over here! The chit had a vision!” Was heard, echoing through the hallway. Angel took off like a shot, with the rest of the group close behind.
Cordelia sat on the large circular couch in the center of the hotel’s foyer. Spike was next to her, his hand rubbing the small of her back. He was making non-sensical soothing noises like he used to do for Dru. She was still shaking from the nightmarish vision she had just endured. Her hands rubbed her temples and tears still leaked from her eyes. “Are they coming?” She asked wearily.
“Yes, I sounded the alarm, luv. You probably didn’t hear me because of all the bloody noise blaring in your head.” She had scared him for a little while. It had brought memories of Dru rushing to the surface. Cordy had pressed her hands to ears and rocked back and forth, trying to drown out what she had heard in her vision.
“Good, I need to tell them.” She set down the water glass on the floor. He had retrieved a couple of pain killers and a glass earlier. She took a shaky breath and regarded him with a small half-smile.“Who knew you could be so. . . nice.”
“Well, don’t let it get out. I have a reputation to protect.” He grinned then. “Besides, I am experienced in helping the vision-afflicted.”
“Cordelia, are you alright?” Angel asked, running down the stairs. He stopped just short of the couch. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to catch you.” He was followed by Buffy, Dawn, Giles, Ethan, and Willow. Faith and Gunn appeared from the entrance to the downstairs room.
“I’m fine. Spike took care of me.” She said, looking at up at him. Spike laced his fingers through her own and pressed a small kiss to the back of her hand. It was automatic. Cordelia didn’t notice.
Angel regarded the scene with a watchful eye. He saw the way Spike was soothing her, the deferential way he was acting towards her. He gave Spike a harsh look, willing him to leave his seer and friend alone.
Spike didn’t even look up. He didn’t give a damn about how Angel felt.
The older vampire let his eyes rest on Cordelia, noting the shadows under her eyes and the strain on her face. “What did you see?”
“It was terrible, Angel.” She looked up at him. “I saw the whole thing. The battle. The--”She took a shuddering gasp.
“Easy.” Spike said. “Begin at the beginning.”
Cordy took a deep breath and began to tell them what she had seen. *********
Giles stared down at the legal pads with alarm. On it were sketches, magickal symbols, and spells meticulously written out. He recognized Ethan’s smooth, even writing style as well as Willow’s printed letters. “This is what you two came up with?”
“Yes.” Ethan replied, accurately reading his old friend’s disapproval. “Don’t get your nose out of joint. She’s a goddess. What were expecting us to do? Glamours? Perhaps we could pull a rabbit out of a hat?”
“It’s not safe.” The Watcher insisted.
“No, it’s not.” Willow agreed. “But it’s the only thing we can do.” She handed him another pad. “And there’s more.”
He studied it carefully. “You charted their essences. Can you take back what she stole from Tara?”
“I’m going to try.” Willow said, her jaw tightening. “I have to try.” Giles recognized her ‘resolve’ face.
“So, are you in or out, Ripper?” Ethan asked, clearly throwing out a challenge.
“This could have dire consequences.” The both nodded in acknowledgment. “We may not know the repercussions of this for years afterwards.” Again, they nodded. “Is there anything else we can do?” Willow’s shoulder’s slumped and Ethan shrugged. Giles began shoving magickal supplies into a knapsack. “ Count me in.” *********
“My knife.” Faith said, pulling it from Buffy’s grasp. “I thought this was gone.”
“I kept it for you.” She let go of it gratefully. Sometimes when she looked at it, she still saw blood dripping from it.
“I can see that.” She ran her finger gingerly over the blade. It was razor sharp and in good condition. Her eyes met Buffy’s.
The blond Slayer straightened, regarding Faith with haunted eyes. “I never should have–“
”Shhh.” Faith said, she gently brushed a hand over Buffy’s shoulder. “Its in the past. We’ll worry about making apologies when the world doesn’t end, B.”
A low whistle was heard from the other side of the room. “That’s a thing of beauty.” Gunn said, taking the knife from Faith. “Wicked looking blade you got there.”
“Thanks.” Faith said self-consciously. He admired it for a minute more. The second he handed it back to her she tucked it into her back pocket.
Buffy stepped away uneasily. Cordelia’s words were playing over and over in her mind. She had to keep her mind on the details, not focus on the fight too much. The only thing that mattered to her now was Dawn.
“Is she okay?” Gunn asked.
“That’s just B. She gets a little sad before a fight sometimes.”Her brow furrowed. “It’s a job to her, the Slaying, I mean. Always has been.”
“What does Slaying mean to you?” Gunn asked curiously.
Faith looked down at the blade in her grasp, seeing her own reflection. “It’s an honor.” She gripped the knife tightly. “A purpose.” ***********
“It’s a demon!” Buffy said as she placed herself in front of Dawn.
“He can help, Dawn. He has a pipeline to The Powers.” Angel said. They were all gathered in the main foyer of The Hyperion.
“It has a name too. It’s Lorne.” The Host said dryly. He reached a hand out to Buffy. She reluctantly shook it. “Hmm...it’s Slayerpalooza in here, huh?” He looked at both Faith and Buffy. Then, they came to rest on Dawn. “Ready for your reading, sweet pea?”
“He won’t hurt her?” Buffy said, looking to Angel.
“No, I promise. Lorne is a good demon.”
“No such thing.” Buffy said. Angel frowned and crossed his arms over his chest. Buffy didn’t even notice.
“Now, that’s not true.” Lorne contradicted. “But I can see how a black and white view would make Slaying that much easier.” He smiled engagingly. “I promise, I won’t hurt the little one. I just want to take quick lookie lou inside.”
“Okay.” Buffy said, hesitantly. She needed to know if Dawn was safe but she still didn’t trust him. If he made one wrong move...
“Can you sing a few bars for me?” Lorne asked.
Dawn nodded. “Uh, yeah. Like what?”
“Any song you like, sweetie.”
Dawn pondered that a moment. The first thing that came to mind was music from “The Phantom of the Opera”. She had the C.D. in her collection and loved singing along with it. One song in particular had stayed in her mind. It had become one of her favorites since her mother’s death. “Wishing you were somehow here again.” She began in a small voice. “Wishing I could hear your voice again. Knowing that I never would. Dreaming of you won't help me to do all that you dreamed I could.” Lorne had heard all he needed for the reading but he couldn’t resist the pull of her voice. It wasn’t perfect. Far from it in fact. But there was something raw and emotional in her voice. Her pain was evident, heartbreaking in its essence. Lorne wanted to hear more and he nodded his encouragement. She continued. “Dreaming of you, won’t help me to do all that you dreamed I could. Wishing you were somehow here again. Knowing we must say goodbye. Try to forgive. Teach me to live. Give me the strength to try. . .” She broke off, astonished to find tears on her cheeks. “Sorry.” She whispered.
“Don’t be.” He said gently. “You miss your mother, don’t you?”
Buffy’s jaw tightened, not liking the demon discussing their private affairs. “Well?”
Lorne looked at the Slayer once more. “She’s going to be fine. This Glory diva can’t hurt her anymore. She can’t be used for the whatever ritual she’s planning.”
Buffy almost sagged in relief. “Thank you.” She frowned at him. “You saw that all from her singing?” Lorne merely smiled. Buffy reached over to wipe Dawn’s tears away with her fingers. “Where did you hear that song, Dawnie? I was expecting some N’Sync or Backstreet Boys.”
“It’s from Phantom of the Opera.” Angel answered. Buffy’s look was blank. “It’s a musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber. I’ve seen it a couple of times. It’s a really beautiful production.” He looked at Dawn. “Have you ever seen it?”
“No, not yet.”
Lorne looked back and forth between the two of them. “I also saw your little transfusion, Angelcakes. Bold move.”
“Angelcakes?!” Spike crowed. He clapped Angel on the back. “Why didn’t you tell everyone you had a boyfriend?”
“He’s not my–“
”Angelcakes?!” Buffy mouthed to Willow. There was an exchange of money between the two of them. Buffy laughed a little, before smothering her smile with her hand. “You’ve really changed, Angel.”
She sauntered off, leaving her ex-boyfriend sputtering behind her. “I’m not–“
”You’re still in the denial stage, Peaches?” Spike said.
Angel growled at him.
“No need for violence, boys.” Lorne said, holding up his hands. He laughed at Angel’s expression. “Chin up, Angelfood, looks like your plan worked.” He waved before he turned and walked away. “As it happens, I have a Seabreeze waiting for me at the bar. Have fun tomorrow night, kids. I hope the world doesn’t end, I have a Vegas stint coming up this summer.” “We wouldn’t want to disappoint you.” Angel said sarcastically, watching Lorne exit the hotel.
“Well, aren’t you going to give him a goodbye kiss? Or maybe a goodbye shag?”
“Nobody is shagging anyone!” Angel yelled, stalking away.
“Calm down, poof. I didn’t offer to shag you. I was talking about your jolly green giant.”
Angel’s glare should have incinerated Spike where he stood. “Shut up, Spike.”
“Why does everyone say that?” The younger vampire asked Angel’s retreating back.
There was no answer. Spike watched him trudge down to the basement. “He’s probably going to brood some more. It’s okay, Peaches!” He called from the top of the stairway. “Everyone already knows you’re gay anyway. It’s not like it was a shock!” He heard Angel curse before he laughed in delight and ran off in search of Cordelia. He wanted to see if she needed another painkiller or maybe a back rub. ************
Angel was down in the basement, collecting some cudgels, maces, swords, and anything else he could get his hands on from the spare weapons trunk. He was throwing them into a leather bag and imagining throwing them at his blonde childe. He felt her even before he saw her. Her feet fell feather-light on the stairs as she stopped at the second lowest step. “Angel?”
Angel turned around and set a sword he’d been holding down. “Hello, Dawn.” He said.
“Hi there. Wow, you knew it was me, huh?”
“I could smell you.”
“I don’t smell!”
”I know, I just smell like you.”
“Yes, you do. Do you think I’m gay?”
“Uh, no.” She remembered the feel of his hands on her and the heat of his mouth. She hadn’t been immune to him and he certainly hadn’t been either. “No, I think that’s a check squarely in the heterosexual column.”
He stood a little straighter. “Thanks. I needed that right now. Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay. . .but I’m not.”
“I know you’re not gay.” She couldn’t stop a smile from coming up and an accompanying giggle. “Besides, when you were. . .with Buffy, I could hear, er, things. The Summers’ household has thin walls, you know.”
Angel actually blushed. “Oh, you could hear us. . .”
“Making out? Yep. Bigtime.”
“Why did you come down here again?” He said, anxious for a topic change.
It was her turn to be flustered.“I just wanted to say. . .” She held onto the rail tightly and looked down at her own feet as if she were fascinated by them. “I didn’t get the chance to talk to you earlier, after you. . .we. . .well, I wanted to–“
”You’re welcome.” He said, coming out the dim shadows in the corner of the room. Her eyes met his, a shock of blue color in a pale face. They were the color of the sky. Beautiful. She seemed so innocent, standing there. Who would have known that this youthful creature contained an ancient Key newly mixed with the strength of a powerful vampire?
She smiled tremulously. “You’re okay, aren’t you? I know you didn’t want to vamp me. We kind of pushed you into doing this. But, I’m not really a vampire so. . .you should be alright about it.”
A muscle worked in his jaw. Angel appeared to almost float towards her. His coat billowed around him as he moved. His face wreathed in the dim light from a lone bulb. He looked every inch the fierce vampire. It reminded her of when he changed. Reminded her of those torturously long months when he had turned and had visited her house nightly. “I’m not alright.” He said quietly, staring up at her.
“You’re not?” Her head turned to the side. At once, she was consumed by concern. “I’m not a vampire, though. Angel, you didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Is that what you think?” His hand reached out to brush against her pale cheek. His body moved even closer to her. She suddenly felt as if the air had been sucked out of the room. She had the sudden urge to run up the stairs and out of the hotel. “If you aren’t mine. My childe, I mean. Then how do you explain this fee–“ He broke off. His hand fell from her face and he shook his head as if to clear it. All at once his demeanor changed. He backed away from her, no longer the powerful vampire. He was once more the sad, guilt ridden man she had known.
“What were you going to say?” She had to know.
“Nothing, Dawn. Nothing at all.” ***********
Buffy stood on the circular couch, hands on her hips. “Alright then, it is time to divide up into groups, people. We’re going home.” Buffy scanned the motley crew before her. “Dawn, Angel, and Spike, you’re with me.” She looked at Angel. “In your car?” He nodded.
“Great. Going to Sunny D in the broodmobile. Bloody fabulous.”
“Shut up, Spike.” She looked at Anya and Xander. “I want you two to ride in Ben’s car.” She looked at the Fang Gang. “Do you have other vehicles?”
“I have an SUV.” Wesley said. “I can take Fred.”
“How many does it seat?” Buffy asked curiously.
“Oh, I have room for others of course.” He looked around the room. “Uh. . .how about Cordy?” She nodded. “And Tara. She’ll probably need some space to spread out, maybe lie down.”
Buffy wrinkled her nose. “You have room for more than that though.” She scanned the people in the room. “Why don’t you take Gunn. And maybe Faith?”
Wesley blanched. “I don’t know if I–“
Faith shook her head. “Uh, B, I don’t think–“
”I’ll take her.” Gunn offered, slipping his hand in Faith’s unobtrusively. “Besides, my truck’s tricked out for vamp fighting. Who knows what we’ll run in to? Heading into the mouth of Hell and all.” He couldn’t help but be intrigued by the Hellmouth.
“Anything can happen in Sunnydale.” Xander agreed. “And that’s the Hellmouth, buddy, not the mouth of Hell.”
“Road the six hundred.” Giles added in a low tone.
“What about Giles, Willow, and ick. . .Ethan.” Anya shuddered.
“Any volunteers to take him?” Buffy asked. “Xander? You have room left in your car.”
“Can we put him in the trunk?” Xander asked.
“No, we bloody well can’t.” Ethan narrowed his eyes.
No one else was forthcoming. Buffy sighed. “He has to come. And so do Willow and Giles. There’s no more room in the brood– I mean the convertible.”
“Willow can ride on my lap.” Ethan offered. “Conserve space . . .”
“No, she can’t.” Giles said firmly, moving to stand in front of Willow and glowering at his former best friend.
“Can I ride on yours?” She quipped. Giles blushed and tried to look older and disapproving.
Wesley sighed. “I suppose we could fit you in my car . . .”
“And be cramped up with two Watchers, two crazy chits and the screaming vision girl? I think not.” Ethan scowled. “I really don’t like any of you. Willow and I can ride up by ourselves.”
“Be quiet, Ethan. If we have to we can always stuff you in the trunk.” Buffy hopped down and headed out. “We’ll figure this out outside.”
“That’s what I said in the first place!” Xander pointed out as he followed.
As the groups stepped out into the night and looked around, L.A. was still going strong, as if the apocalypse wasn’t coming. Gunn led Faith over to his truck, courteously opening the door, but not daring to offer her a hand up. Spike jumped into the back of the ‘broodmobile’, merrily pulling Dawn in beside him and lit up a smoke, his eyes daring Angel to stop him. Wesley pulled his car around and together, Fred and Cordelia managed to settle Tara in the back, seatbelt firmly in place.
Xander and Anya were already in Ben’s car and embroiled in another argument. It seemed to involve Cheesey Poofs and had already reached the smacking and hair pulling stage. Angel, looking irritated with both of them, got out of his car, stalked over to them and wrenched the door open. Angel produced a C.B., courtesy of Ethan’s magick. He’d asked the sorcerer to conjure up one more. The Fang Gang already had them in their vehicles for safety’s sake. “Just in case.”
“Cool. A radio.” Xander said.
While they were distracted by the C.B., Angel reached into their car and pulled the bag of yellow crunchies away from them. He then walked back to his own car, popping one in his mouth and winking at Dawn.
Spike raised an eyebrow. “Cheesey Poofs?” He turned to Dawn. “Nibblet, be careful, evidently they were right. You are what you eat.”
Angel turned to Buffy. “Can’t you shut him up?”
Buffy turned around to smack Spike in the back of the head, as pain seemed to be the only thing that kept him in check. She just couldn’t reach that far. “Dawnie, can’t you shut him up?”
Dawn smiled and smacked him in the back of the head. “Sure.”
“Oww! Traitor!” Spike scowled. He tried to tickle her, but in the process managed to drop his cigarette on the upholstery.