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[personal profile] last01standing
Title- The Fallen
Rating- pg-13 (violence)
(other story info on chapter one)

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Chapter 7- Stand off

Willow had thought that her arrival would have made much more of a bang, but when she walked into the Hyperion, the presence of two formally dead people caused very little stir.

Buffy was sitting on the couch, reading one of Andrew’s old comic books with a slightly detached expression on her face. Willow could tell that she wasn’t really paying attention to the story.

Andrew and Dawn were talking quietly off in a forgotten corner.

Giles was, she did a double take, Giles was in a corner in a serious lip-lock with Ms. Calendar.

Anya walked in behind her, looking around the room with a vaguely amused expression. “Suddenly I don’t feel quite so special anymore.”

“Willow!” A new voice came from behind her.

She turned around to see Xander, and at his side, Jesse. Willow blinked. She would have thought that she was hallucinating if it weren’t for the fact that she found Tara and Anya only hours before.

Jesse. He didn’t look a day older than sixteen. Willow could barely remember the times before she’d met Buffy. A sudden wave of guilt washed over her as she realized that although she had pictured Tara coming back from the grave hundreds of thousands of times, she hadn’t once pictured seeing Jesse. After she’d met Buffy, Jesse just wouldn’t have seemed to fit anymore.

But here he was. Standing there next to Xander like none of it had happened. His grin spanned his face. “Willow! What’s new with you? Did you know Xander’s a Cyclops?”

Willow balked.

“Wills is sort of gay now,” Xander supplied helpfully.

Willow’s traitorous mind for just a second flashed back to Oz. It always had and probably always would, but she glanced over her shoulder. Tara was standing behind her, mutely taking in the scene. She smiled. “Yeah, I kind of am.”

Jesse let out a low whistle. “Interesting re-introduction.” He glanced at Xander. “When am I going to wake up?”

“Dunno,” Xander replied easily. “When you do, wake me up too. Sometimes, it feels like my whole life is a dream..”

Anya suddenly appeared behind Willow, smiling widely. “Xander!”

“Ahn?” Disbelief tinged his voice as Anya, smiling broadly, hugged him tight.

Willow felt a sappy grin spread across her face. As much as she and Anya clashed, it was good to see Xander happy.

Anya pulled away from Xander, and looked him intently in the face. “Reunion sex?”

Xander didn’t look the slightest bit embarrassed, he nodded once and they were off.

Jesse on the other hand had turned bright red and only managed to choke, “Xander has a girlfriend.”

Willow grinned at him. “Give him a break. She’s been dead for six months.”

Jesse’s eyes followed Anya’s movements with renewed interest. “That’s becoming an epidemic.” His voice cracked a little and for just a second, Willow could see just how scared he was.

She suddenly felt a soft hand slip into hers and immediately knew it had to be Tara. Jesse gave her a tight smile. “Lemme guess, she’s been dead too.”

Willow laughed a little

“I thought so,” Jesse said with a flash of good humor.

Willow felt the blood surge to her cheeks. “Tara, Jesse.”

Jesse kept a straight face despite the fact that his ears had gone red. He reached out and shook Tara’s hand. “Are you two…” His voice cracked and the implication hung unspoken in the air.

Tara smiled shyly.

There was a long awkward pause before Willow sighed and said, “I’m glad you’re alive.” The words sounded insufficient in her own ears and as she let Tara led her away (she was saying something about needing to talk with Mr. Giles…)

Jesse stood alone with the uncomfortable pictures in his head of his two friends and their significant others. He thought of Ms. Calendar and Giles who definitely had a history and he thought of Cordelia who seemed really fond of that Doyle guy. He shook his head. “I never get one.”



She jumped as the specter of Spike walked through the wall behind her. “God, Spike don’t do stuff like that to me.”

“Where’s the poofster?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Angel and his merry band of dimwits are all out,” Spike said plainly. “And I don’t think they’re the type to go have a party.”

Harmony rolled her eyes. “He got a call from Buffy I think he went to meet her.”

Spike snapped to attention. “Buffy’s here?”

Harmony rolled her eyes. “Yeah. She called about two minutes after Oz showed up.”

“Oz?” Spike asked, distracted, “The wolf?”

“Yeah. Apparently there was something big going on…”

“Did he say where?”

“No. He just called everyone and left.”

Spike shook his head and turned away, muttering obscenities under his breath.

“Oh! Hold on a second.” When she didn’t respond, she sighed and yelled, “Spike!”

Spike reluctantly turned back around.

Harmony grinned and held up a package. “You got mail!”

“What?” Spike asked.

“It's addressed to you,” Harmony explained, checking the label again to make sure, “care of here. I’d have given it to you earlier but things were sort of hectic.”

“Who the hell'd be sending post to a... “

“Ghost?” Harmony supplied, faux helpfully. “Doesn't say. Kind of heavy. Here.” Spike held up his hands and after a second, Harmony understood the significance. “Oh. You want me to…”

“If you don't mind.”

Harmony shrugged and used a letter opener to slice through the packaging tape as Spike looked on with only mild curiosity. The package opened with a flash of bright light. Harmony blinked twice and looked at Spike who rolled his eyes. “Well, that was a slap and a tickle.”

Confused, Harmony examined the package. “There's nothing in here!”

Spike shook his head and started walking away once more, “You see your boss, tell him he’s a miserable bastard who...” He was cut short as he walked into a wall, bouncing off of it and landing on the floor. “Bugger! That hurt.” He paused for a long second. “Hold on...”


By the time Angel arrived at the Hyperion, things were almost at a stand still. Buffy was the first to notice him, standing awkward at the front of the place he used to call home. She stood up and walked to the door to meet him. Her eyes were cold and untrusting and it almost broke his heart. “Angel.” Her voice was short and clipped but her eyes suddenly softened as her eyes strayed from his. “Oz!”

“Hey Buffy. Long time.”

Buffy grinned and pulled the bewildered werewolf into a hug. “It’s been forever.”

Oz pulled away, slightly embarrassed.

Angel cleared his throat, for some inexplicable reason, desperate to assert some authority. “We should get them over to Wolfram and Hart. Try and run some medical tests, try to figure out if this is for real.”

“No,” Buffy replied, attention back on Angel. “I’ve heard all about that place. No way.”

“We’ve been turning it around,”a distinctly British voice came from behind Angel and Buffy slowly took notice of the rest of Angel’s team. “In some time we can do real good there.”

“Wesley Wyndam-Pryce,” Buffy said, a hind of detached disgust in her voice. “You ever find that stick up your…”

“Oh!” squeaked a mousy hair girl nervously and when Buffy’s eyes turned to her, she blushed. “I’m sorry. I don’t think we met. I’m Fred. The green guy...” She frantically tugged the poorly dressed demon by the sleeve. “This here’s Lorne. We’re not evil. Just you know. Part of Angel’s team. Have been for a while…”

“I really need to speak with Mr. Giles,” Wesley cut in, glancing uncomfortably at Oz. “There must have been a reason this was called to our attention.”

“How bout because they’re our friends,” Buffy snapped back before, turning to look over her shoulder and screaming, “GILES!”

Giles stumbled out of a doorway somewhere behind her. “Yes?” Upon seeing the crowd of newcomers, he straightened up.

Fred raised an eyebrow. “That’s a closet.”

“I got lost.” Upon receiving several skeptical looks he swallowed. “Buffy, you do remember the incident with the nightmares and my being.” He coughed. “Lost in the stacks.”

The door to the closet opened once again and a severely disheveled Ms. Caldendar poked her head out. “Rupert what’s going on?”

Buffy went bright red. “Bad mental images.”

Angel looked equally disturbed.

Giles desperately tried not to look embarrassed. “Contrary to what you seem to believe, I am entitled to a personal life.”

“But you’re old!” the comment burst out of Buffy’s mouth involuntarily.

Kate snorted. “Can’t be as old as Angel.”

Buffy frowned at the unfamiliar voice, and located the source after a few seconds. She was a pretty blonde standing in the back of Angel’s group, her eyes were fixed on the slayer. “So you’re the famous Buffy?” She let out a dry laugh. “I kind of thought you’d be taller.”

“Good one,” Buffy said tersely.

“Sorry.” She had obviously got the picture that Buffy wasn’t someone to cross. “It’s just Cordelia told me a few stories about you and she made you seem larger than life. I’m Kate by the way.”

She noticed by the ways the others looked at her that she wasn’t really a part of Angel’s team. Buffy tried to lighten the tone, “So who’s vouching for Kate. I’m not turning this over to Wolfram and Hart.”

Oz glanced behind him at Kate. “I am.”

Giles looked at Oz, a hint of a smile on his face. “I see you’ve handled yourself aptly.”

“I’m hard to kill.”

Angel raised a hand. “As nice as this, let’s get reacquainted thing is, we’ve got more important…”

Jesse walked into the room, drawn by all the commotion. “What I miss?”

Angel barely registered the new face. “We’re going to take them back to Wolfram and Hart.”

“Wolfram and Hart?” Jesse echoed dumbly, “What are they a rock band?”

“Evil law firm,” Ms. Calendar supplied helpfully. “They’re lawyers for demons.”

“We have medical testing that should be done,” Angel continued, ignoring the distractions. “We’ve got work to do!”

Doyle and Cordelia appeared at the top of the stairs, observing the stand off with interest before Cordelia squealed, “Angel!” and made a dash down the stairs, Doyle following closely behind.

Much to Buffy’s surprise, she launched herself into Angel’s arms and hugged him tight. “It’s good to see you.”

Angel stared at her, dumbfounded. “You’re… You’re…”

She gave him a megawatt smile. “Looking pretty good for someone who’s been out of it for a few years.” She pulled away. “What’s this these bozos keep telling me about a coma?”

“You died,” Angel finished.

Cordelia frowned for a second before completely dismissing the statement. “Well, I’m not dead now, so whatever.” She looked behind Angel. “Oh my God. Fred! You’re looking great.”

Doyle and Angel regarded each other for a long moment before, fed up Buffy said, “Say something already.”

Doyle grinned brightly. “Long time huh?”

Angel smiled back, all the while thinking that this was as close to perfect happiness that he could be, his two best friends were alive, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ms. Calendar, and the guilt came crashing back. “I’m sorry.”

“If you’ve been beating yourself up over that all this time, you really didn’t remember a word I said to you.”

Lorne cleared his throat, “Not to put a damper on all of this but has anyone considered the possibility of a very nasty counter-reaction.”

Wesley cleared his throat and diplomatically said, “Perhaps it would be best to go to Wolfram and Hart, we have access to research materials that could be of a great use.”

Giles sighed. “I have been looking for a copy of The Prophesies of G’hisnakau. The council’s copy didn’t quite survive its destruction.”

“Giles!” Buffy whined, “You seriously can’t be considering this!”

“If you have resources, you have to use them, Buffy.” Giles fixed a distrustful glare on Angel. “As much as I loathe to admit it, at the present time, Wolfram and Hart is all we have.”

“Fine,” Buffy said grudgingly, “but I’m not going to be the one who goes to tell Willow, Xander, Anya and Tara about it.”

“You have a limousine!” Anya exclaimed as she followed the others out of the Hyperion. Her irritation with them for pulling her and Xander away from their well deserved reunion sex was fading quickly.
Angel evidently hadn’t heard her. “We’ve got room for about 10 in each.”

“You’ve got two limos?”

Angel glanced at her. “I had to call to get the second one, but yeah.”

Anya sighed. “Evil really does pay better.”

Five minutes later she was in one of the limousines, sitting next to Jesse and across from Lorne. She ground her teeth. “It would have been nice to be with Xander.”

Lorne gave her a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry cupcake, but Angel’s got you in quarantine.”

Cordelia and Doyle were talking quietly in seat farthest back and Anya felt a pang of jealousy as she took notice at how their hand kept touching. Tara and Ms. Calendar were sitting in the seat ahead of them, staring out opposite windows.

“We’re not sick or something are we?” Jesse asked tentatively, “Because I’m not looking to die again.”

“Besides,” Anya cut in, not wanting to hear the paranoid babble, “we’d have already infected just about everyone and they wouldn’t have made you ride with us.”

“Whoa.” Lorne reached up and put a hand to the back of his neck, “good guess. I’m here to check you out.”

“And I used to find doctors scary,” Jesse mumbled, eyeing Lorne wearily.

“Nothing to worry about. I just have to have you sing for me.”

“You separated me and Xander just so you could make us sing karaoke?”

“Essentially, yes,” Lorne explained with a nod, “you see, I’m an empath demon, I can read people when they sing to me, see into their soul.”

“My soul’s private,” Jesse groused.

Anya on the other hand saw where this was going. “That’s how you’re checking up on us.”

“Right in one sugarplum.” Lorne grinned, “So are you going to grace me with a tune?”

Anya hesitated for only a split second before singing the first few lines of the national anthem. Cordelia, Doyle, and Ms. Calendar grimace in unison. Jesse clapped his hands over his ears. Tara had moved her gaze from the window and had begun staring at Lorne as if waiting for something to happen…

…which it did. Lorne who had been listening to Anya’s singing in barely disguised distaste, suddenly seized up, clutched his head and screamed.

Anya abruptly stopped singing. “It’s not that bad.”

Lorne had slid off his seat and collapsed to the ground.

Ms. Calendar made her way over to him. Not knowing much about demon physiology. She tried to find a pulse. Cordelia leaned forward. “Is he alright?”

Lorne let out a sputtering cough. “And here I was hoping that I never had to do that again.”

Anya grimaced. “Is my soul unclean or something?”

“I don’t know,” Lorne said sitting up. “Something was blocking me. I couldn’t see a thing.”


“Gunn!” Rondell’s voice had a distinct sarcastic bite, “How nice of you to come down and visit. Taking some time off of hanging with his new hotshot lawyer pals. And here I thought playing demon detective would be enough for him but no…”

Gunn had expected the animosity, but it still hurt. “Look Rondell, I’m sorry I haven’t come down to see you guys but…”

“But nothing! I got kids in the gang who ain’t never even heard of no Charles Gunn. You can’t prance back in here like you’re still our leader.”

“I’m not doing any of that. I just got a question for you.”

“Figures,” grumbled Rondell, leaning back against the alley wall. “Charles Gunn’s above coming to see his family anyway.”

Gunn swallowed. “Rondell, the other day, I thought- I thought I saw my sister.”

Rondell stiffened. “Alonna?”

“Yeah. She was walking down the street in broad sunlight and I followed her. I keep getting glimpses of her. I was wondering if you knew who would have the balls to imitate her.” He paused as he caught sight of Rondell’s facial expression. “You know something about this man, because friend of not, I’m going to have to lay your ass down if you lie.”

“She just appeared in the shelter man,” Rondell said nervously. “We thought she was some sort of demon or something, because I knew she was long dead man.”

“She’s here?” A look of shock washed over Gunn. “This is for real.”

“I don’t know man. I though things stayed dead when you staked them.”

But Gunn wasn’t listening, he was moving out of the alley, a genuine smile spanning his face. “She’s real… she’s alive.”


“So what is this thing anyway,” Jesse asked edgily as Fred circled him, waving some sort of scanner in the air.

“Oh this! I invented it myself. It senses people’s auras. I get a complete read out on my computer over there. It can tell my if you’ve had any spells cast on you, if you’re a demon or not.” She giggled. “It’s a bit of mixing science and magic, but it’s way cool and since Lorne couldn’t read any of you guys, this is our next best bet.”

Her computer emitted a loud been and she went over to check the readouts.

Jesse smirked at her. “Did I pass?”

Fred returned his grin. “Well, you’re a 16 year old human male with no magical ability of your own who hasn’t had any spells cast on you in the past two weeks.” She nodded, “Yep. I think you’re in the clear.”

“I could have told you that myself,” his voice was accusatory, but he grinned to tell her he was joking.

“I think you’re the last one to check.” Fred told him conspiratorially, “I kind of wish I had some different results to show you what this thing can really do. The only interesting thing around here to examine is Spike.”

“Is Spike your dog or something?”

“No, silly,” Fred said, whacking him on the shoulder. “Spike’s our resident ghost. I’m sure you’ll see him around soon enough.”

“Don’t worry, I think you’ve got Tara next. You still might find something cool.”

Fred giggled. “Why thank you Jesse. It was a pleasure working with you.”

She pushed open the door and Jesse looked at the group. “I passed the first test of my life!”

Fred shook her head. “Who’s next.”

Willow pointed towards Tara. “She’s the only one left.”

Fred lead Tara to the entrance of the lab, but before they could go in, they were distracted by Oz who had doubled over and smashed his head onto the table. His eyes were closed but behind the eyelids they darted frantically around. The whole ordeal lasted only twenty seconds, before Oz collapsed, exhausted back in his chair.

“What the hell was that.”

Oz opened an bleary eye. “We’ve got trouble.”
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