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05/18/17 04:16 am
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Authors Chapter Notes:
I've had some problems with updating this fic, so I've had to delete it, and now I'm triying to reposting, also now I've count with LadyAvalon help, she has offered to correct my grammar mistakes, so you can read the fic easyly.

Part One

It had been a bad day. To be fair, it had been one really horrible day, one of the worst days that each of those men had lived and those men were specialized in these sort of days.

All of them had fought come hell or high water that day, and if it had been worth it they would have continued, they would fight against giants and windmills if that was what it took to save her. But, was there something left to save? Was there still something of the Fred they’d known and loved? Or only her empty body, hardened, without any kind of humanity, the only thing that the demon had left them?

Wesley had seen her last breath; he’d been with her while the infection ended her life. He held her while the demon had devoured her body, only to invade it with its unworthy presence. A possession that went beyond any comprehension. Fred’s purity and sweetness shouldn’t be desecrated in this way.

Fear had assaulted her, she didn’t want go, didn’t want to leave though the pain was unbearable. However, while the demon was devastating her body, she’d been brave. Brave until the last minute, until the last heartbeat. She fought with all her strength, but couldn’t win. Wesley had had her in his arms, he stayed with her till the very end.

And now there was nothing left.

He’d lost her. He’d lost Fred. He’d lost the woman whom he had loved most. The only woman who he had ever loved. The only woman he would have given his life for if only it would have saved her.

Illyria had not only emptied Fred’s body, it also had emptied his own. She had always been his motive to continue, his reason, his everything. And now she wasn’t here. She was gone. Illyria had taken her. And with her, it’d taken Wesley too. Fred’s only advantage had been that she hadn’t suffered much, while he would suffer a death in life.

Because a life without love, without hope, without Fred… it wasn’t worth living.

Guilt was assaulting the other two men in that room. The first of these was not a man in the strictest sense, but he was male.

Lorne, the seer demon who loved fun, would never be happy again. His friend, his songbird who filled his days with cheerful laughs, had died. And in her place, a demon, a being of the Old Ones, had taken possession of her body.

He had had the culprit in front of his eyes, he’d examined him like the rest of the Wolfram & Hart’s staff, had heard a soft humming and had passed to the next. Because he was busy, he had to do so much and there was no time to worry about laboratory assistants, with a certain nerd and childish air.

If only he’d paid more attention, if he’d been more focused, if he’d listened better, perhaps… How many things could have been avoided if some of those "if I had…" passed? Would Fred still be alive and smiling if he’d paid more attention to Knox’s singing?

The blame for what could have passed and hadn’t happened, it was a strange thing. But nothing compared with the blame for having done something wrong, it was the feeling that was oppressing Gunn.

If he hadn’t put himself over everything else, if he hadn’t signed that paper… But it was only a piece of paper. How he was going to know the consequences that it would bring? And yet, he knew nothing at Wolfram & Hart was free, everything had consequences. Everything.

He wanted to be free of his part in the crime, he wanted to confess, but something stopped him. He was afraid. Fear that when the rest knew that everything was his fault, that Fred had… because of him. All his fault, because of his selfishness, his fear of returning to what he had been, fear of being a street-boy with nothing to offer to the world again. Because of this, they’d lost Fred.

No, he couldn’t confess. His sin couldn’t be forgiven; they couldn’t know what he’d done.

Only two men in that room kept a small sliver of hope. It had been a long time since any of them had been a man in strict sense of the word, which is why their hope remained. They were vampires. In their world death wasn’t the end; death could well be a new beginning.

Both had died as a human and been reborn as children of the night, both had been sent to hell and had returned, both had lost their souls and turned to recover them. They founded their hope on their experiences. If Fred's soul was still intact, they could get it back, like Wolfram & Hart had brought back Darla, like Willow had brought back Buffy. There was still hope.

"Wes, I know you are hurting" said Angel trying to calm the wrath that consumed the ex-Watcher. "But I need you sharp, all of you. For Fred’s sake".

"There is no Fred anymore" Wesley murmured with strangled voice.

"You don’t know that" Gunn replied holding on to the last chances.

"I saw it gut her from the inside out!" Wesley shouted afflicted by the pain of loss "Everything she was is gone. There is nothing left but the shell."

"Then we will find a way to fill it back up" said Angel more calmed down.

"That thing only took over her body" Spike explained vehemently "Not her spiritual being."

"It’s the soul that matters" clarified the other vampire.

"Trust us" Spike added "We’re kind of experts."

" What about her…" started say Gunn didn’t want to embrace a hope that might be just dust in the wind. "What if her organs have been liquefied?"

"Toasted in a pillar of fire, saving the world" answered the blonde vampire trying to convince Gunn. "Mine was worse."

"You really believe…" Wesley asked with fear "… there is a chance of bringing her back?"

"Fred’s soul is out there somewhere" explained Angel "We’ll find it and we’ll put back where it belongs. And then we’ll make every son of a bitch who had a hand in this pay. We all on the same page?"

The silence in the room was savoured for a second, then the four men who were in the office stood up and began to make a plan that would return the happiness that their lives had lost in just one day.

"Where do we start?" encouraged Gunn.

"We need the big guns" Angel said.

"Willow" Wesley contributed at once.

"Won’t be the first time she rattled the dead" Spike explained "Last time I heard, she was in South America."

"We’ll track her down and get her here as soon as we can" said Angel reaffirmed himself in the plan "In the meantime we need to contain Illyria" at that point the vampire turned to the ex-Watcher "Wes, you are the only one who had contact. Any idea where is she’s headed?"

~ * ~

Meanwhile in the same offices of Wolfram & Hart, the powerful demon Illyria resurrected in the bluish form of Winifred Burkle’s body, burst in Gunn's office to take Knox. It’s priest, one of the followers who had helped that what was written, what was predicted, were fulfilled, who had elected the body of his shell, Fred’s intellectual killer, the Qwa'ha Xahn.

With him in its power, Illyria would look for its stone coffin to recover its powers and bring its army to Earth, recovering its kingdom and dominions.


(Rome at the same moment)

"Hey Buffy" said Dawn putting her head into the kitchen, while she grabbed her purse and searched for something in it "I’m going out for a while. I’m meeting with Giulia and Marco, they’ll show me a place in… Listen, have you seen my mobile? I don’t know where…" Dawn raised the sight from inside of her purse to watch her sister, at the lack of response "Buffy? You know that you’d been washing the same dish for the last fifteen minutes, right?"

Buffy turned to her sister, with a question in her eyes and the plate still in her left hand, while the right was holding the dishcloth.

"Plate?" Dawn told her pointing with her finger, Buffy continued looking at her without understanding "you’ve taken a quarter of an hour to wash this dish, Buff."

"Oh, it’s that… I didn’t realize" Buffy said leaving the plate in the sink, absent-minded, and grabbing another.

"Yesterday, you broke two plates" Dawn continued "and last week three glasses and another plate" Dawn was kept silence for a moment before asking "It’s because of what Andrew told us, right?"

Buffy released the new plate on the counter and grabbed on to it with both hands, lowering her head and grumbling.

"Its just…" the blonde Slayer started to say, turning sharply toward her sister. " How he could have done something like that? How…? Is it too much trouble to grab a phone and give me a call?"

"Look Buffy" Dawn said approaching her comprehensively "I think you should catch a plane and stop worrying about him, and while you’re at it, stop smashing our china."

"I suppose" Buffy murmured raising her head and smiling slightly at the friendly smile of her sister "It’s just, I don’t know why he did it."

"And you couldn’t solve this by asking him?" Dawn asked, searching her sister’s eyes. "Listen, Buff. Some time ago I stopped trying to understand your relationship. It is too complicated to follow. I mean, you say you hate him, but you grab every opportunity to shag him, he said he would do anything for you but tries to… hurt you. He came back with a soul because he thought it was what you wanted and then you forgave him, but you say that you won’t get back together and even though, you two become inseparable. And then, when you finally admit you love him, he doesn’t believe you, and forces you to leave him to commit suicide to save the world. And now, we don’t know exactly how, he’s back from the dead and can’t even make a phone call. Oh well… it’s crazy, Buffy."

"I know" Buffy tried to smile, but her eyes betrayed her filling with tears "It's just that… God, how he could leave me believing he was still dead? That… that I killed him?"

"Buffy" said Dawn grabbing her hands and making her look at her "We have already talked about this. You didn’t kill him."

"But I left him there…I…" Buffy breathed slowly trying not to cry. "I said I wasn’t going to leave anybody and I left the man who… the man who meant the most to me. Dawn, I left him knowing he was gonna die, I left him so he could sacrifice himself for all of us and… God!" Buffy complained, passing her hand over her face wiping the tears that were threatening to fall from her eyes "The guilt has been killing me for almost one year, and the thing is, he was alive."

"Well, go to see him and give him a good kick in the balls" Dawn said trying to cheer her sister, but she wasn’t listening.

"And Angel…oh! He… knew, he knew I was hurting" Buffy continued walking around the small kitchen "I told him I would never forgive myself for leaving him down there, like I could never forgive sending Angel to hell when Acathla. And the… Can’t he call me and tell me, hey Buffy listen; don’t beat yourself up any more because Spike has returned?" Buffy emitted a growl, leaving the kitchen furious.

"And how about to going to Los Angeles and beating them up?" Dawn asked raising her voice while she chased her sister. A minute later Buffy screamed and dropped the glass she was carrying in her hand and it shattered on the floor.

"Didn’t you listen to my speech about the china?" Dawn inquired upset "Willow!" She shouted when saw the red-haired girl in the middle of the lounge standing in front of her sister.

"Wills, Can’t you knock on the door like everyone else?" Buffy asked recovering from the scare.

"It's just I’m in a hurry" Answered the red-head with a smile.

"Giles told me, you were meditating in the Himalayas in a whats it dimension.” Buffy replied.

"An Astral plane" corrected Willow "I was there until a couple of minutes ago, but I noticed a powerful change between planes…something… something ancient and not exactly good."

"The First?" Buffy asked fearfully, Willow shook her head.

"No. I don’t believe it’s the First, but it is very old and powerful" answered the witch "I’ve come immediately to teleport us to the new Council, see if Giles knows something about it."

"Ok" nodded Buffy "I’ll go put my shoes on and get my jacket."

Willow nodded and the blonde disappeared down the corridor towards her room, two minutes later Buffy returned and the two friends vanished in a swirl of air.

~ * ~

"Wait" Buffy told Willow grasping her by her arm, before she knocked on Giles’s office’s door. The blonde had been close to punching Andrew at the entrance, where the boy had tried to prevent them from entering "It’s seems that Giles is talking to someone."

"Let's find out why this mental dwarf didn’t want us to come in" whispered Willow sticking her ear to the huge wooden door of the office, while Buffy was imitating her.

"Himalayas!? I thought she was in South America" Angel’s voice resounded by the Giles’s speakerphone.

"Willow is in a spiritual retreat" Giles replied coldly, a third lower voice could be heard on the phone.

"Hey, look" said Angel again "What do you mean she’s not on this plane?"

"Willow is refining her skills in the astral plane" Giles replied in a monotonous voice.

"Did you say… astral projection?" Angel asked " Well, is there anyway to get her astral self over to Los Angeles? Giles this is an emergency, Fred is a good friend!"

"Sorry Angel, I have another call" Giles said.

"Buffy, I’ve got to go there" Willow whispered turning away from the door "I know what Giles thinks about Angel and Wolfram & Hart, and he’s right about lots of things, but I know Fred and if I can do something to help her…"

"I know, you told me about her when you returned from L.A. last year" Buffy said watching the red-head thoughtfully.

"Whatever is happening there, it’s bad" Willow continued saying "I felt it, I wanna help, but Giles won’t let me if I tell him."

"We don’t have to say anything" Buffy responded with security.

"We?" The confused witch asked.

"I’ll go with you."

"Buffy…" Willow answered, unconvinced.

"Look, if that girl… if you say she's a good person, I can help" said the Slayer, Willow lifted a sceptical eyebrow "Ok" Buffy admitted. "Also I’ve look into a couple of unresolved issues, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wanna help. Besides, I‘ve only slayed third rate demons and vampires lately, I’m gonna rust, Wills."

"Okay" agreed the reticent witch "But try not to kill any vampires."

"Don’t worry" Buffy said with a smile, holding her hands out towards the witch "At the most, a little torture."

"Buffy…" complained the red-head taking hers hands to teleport.

"Well… no torture…" Buffy acquiesced while the air’s swirl teleported them again.


(Los Angeles offices of Wolfram & Hart)

"Yeah" Angel admitted to the phone "I’m still at Wolfram & Hart. What does that have to do with anything? Yes!? I understand" the vampire said furiously, touching the button of hanging and smashing the phone against the most nearby wall. " We’re on our own."

"Good, ‘cause I was wondering" replied Spike sitting on the couch’s arm.

"You aren’t alone" Said a female voice coming through the office’s gates.

"Willow?" Wesley asked in a whisper.

"You’ve got us" Added a second voice.

"Buffy?" Both vampires asked, turning towards the door.

To Be Continued

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