Spoilers: Major spoilers for Seasons 2,4,6,7 Buffy, and Season 5 Angel. Set post Chosen on Buffy, pre Damage on Angel.
On the dark oak desk sits a crystal tumbler filled with amber fluid, the faint malt fumes taunting his senses. He hasn’t touched it, though he poured it hours ago when it was still light enough to see outside. There should be a moon out there, hovering plumply over the horizon, but he can’t see it for the cloud cover. Giles wonders briefly what Oz is up to now. Touring probably, busking in Belgrade maybe. Maybe Willow knows. Maybe not. Oz seems such a very long time ago, although he is only two years passed, so much has happened. Oz’s replacement is buried, and Willow is in Brazil now, with Kennedy. His face slumps at the thought. He can’t help feeling vaguely disapproving of the match. If Buffy and Willow’s friendship proved anything it was that a Slayer and a Witch are an explosive combination. Sex can only complicate matters. But then, it’s not as if Kennedy is the only one now, is it? If Kennedy is distracted, the other slayers will simply carry on without her. No longer the burden of one each generation. His slayer has changed the world. Well, no longer his slayer, not in a long time, but he can’t help think of her in those terms. She never took direction from Wesley Windbag-Price, and her first watcher was an abysmal failure. No, she is still his slayer on some level, just as he is still her watcher, although not only hers. Now he also belongs to the others. A new generation of amazons need his precious little resources and skills. Now there are hundreds of slayers, thousands probably. Hundreds of thousands? He isn’t sure if that’s something he hopes for or not. Buffy and Faith in a cage. Hundreds of thousands of Buffys and Faiths, all milling aimlessly, looking for something to kill.
Some of those things are in Los Angeles.
How appropriate and ironic. Angel and his ironies. Falling for a slayer. Moving to one of the sunniest cities in the world. Moving to the city of Angels, which was anything but. Spending his entire life flouting every law he could find. Not just his walking dead years, but the ones before his turning as well. Angelus, the personification of crime, now heads one of the most powerful law firms in the United States. It’s taken Liam more than 200 years, but it seems he’s finally growing up after all. Maybe, Giles muses, Angelus will eventually get his own parking space for his shiny, four wheel drive, and join a large insurance firm. Stranger things have happened. Giles knows he has personally been responsible for some.
To call or not to call.
“Hello Angel. Just thought I’d call and let you know there are hundreds of slayers in LA now, and they all think you’ve gone back to the dark side.”
Or not, as Buffy would say in acidic tones.
“Hello Angel. Yes I know. It has been a while. Have you by any chance run into any groups of girls who want to dismember you? Tear your precious hair from your scalp and leave you blinded and crawling on the floor in agony. You remember, like you did to me once?”
Buffy wouldn’t… stop him. Buffy still has an Angel shaped hole in her life, but she is a warrior, and will always put the greater interest first. She no longer believes she can trust Angel. He has gone over to the enemy, and may even be Angelus again. She is finished with her Angel obsession, just as she no longer calls Giles for advice or support. He took care of that with his failed assassination of Spike. She made it perfectly clear that he should stay out of the way till she called for him. She hasn’t called since she left for Rome. The balance of power has shifted finally, irrevocably, from Watchers Council to Slayer army. Now that neither Angel nor himself loom large in Buffy’s life, he can feel free to take his revenge. Sad then, that it no longer holds any appeal for him. But neither does helping Angel. If another vampire dies now, what will be the difference? Willow, as ever at odds with Buffy’s methods, admonished him before transporting herself and her slayer to Rio, “Make sure Angel knows. He could accidentally get himself killed. Again.”
He really did intend to warn Angel, or Wesley at least. Yet here is the phone, and here is his whiskey, and there is the dark field outside his home, so very, very far away from the sunny, sordid, violence laced city of Angel’s choosing, and they all remained untouched by Slayer business. Every time he nears the phone, visions return unbidden. Dead girlfriend in a bed. Factory in flames. Lead pipe swinging with lethal intent. Buffy reaching for him, telling him she needed him. But not telling him she was sorry. Never that she was sorry.
Angel had never spoken the words either.
“Hello Angel. Just thought I should warn you that Buffy changed the rules of the game. There are now untold numbers of slayers the world over. They might try and take your head off, but as most of them aren’t equipped properly it should take hours for them to slice right through. Should be a painful proposition. I probably should feel concerned for you, but I really couldn’t care less.”
Sometimes, finding the right words is difficult.
Giles leaves the phone cold on the desk, heads for the cloakroom and plucks his jacket off the wall hook, grabs his keys from the hall table, and pulls the front door shut behind him, heading for his local. There’s still time for a couple of pints before closing time.