Title: As Water Unto Wine (the “All Thy Passions” Remix)
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: PG-13, I think. No worse than the show, really.
Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, the WB, and UPN.
Original story: “As Moonlight Unto Sunlight” by aadler
Explanation: I am posting this story in parts because this month has been a crazy, crazy month and I’ve dislocated my shoulder twice in nine days, with the second one being yesterday. I will do this story quickly, but it just wasn’t ready in time to post completely today. I talked to aadler, and didn’t make the decision on my own. I could have posted what I’ve written so far and had a complete story that I’d be (mostly) satisfied with, but it’s not the story I wanted to tell yet. But it will be. Oh how it will be.
Part One: Can be found here.
(the ‘All Thy Passions’ Remix)
After all that time waiting for the Slayer to get there, Angel had forgotten to consider one very important detail: how to introduce herself and be taken seriously by the Slayer. The fact that she had a soul wasn’t exactly well known, so Angel emphatically did not want to start the conversation with the fact that she was a vampire; not when the Slayer’s job was to kill her ilk. But Angel was well aware of how young she looked. She’d been fifteen, but looked younger, when Liam had turned her, and she could pass for a young-looking seventeen if she worked at it. To the trained eye, though — and Angel had already learned that the Slayer had a trained eye when it came to fashion and make-up — it would be obvious that she was trying to look older, no matter how subtly she did it.
So, no, Angel had no idea how to go about passing on the things that she’d learned while waiting for the Slayer to get there without raising more questions than Angel wanted to answer… but neither could she stay quiet just because it might get uncomfortable for her to have the Slayer scrutinizing her too closely.
So Angel decided on a quick warning, answer no questions, disappear as fast as possible. The Slayer might not trust the warning, but at least she’d know, and she could do with that what she wanted.
Angel followed the Slayer (Buffy, she knew the Slayer’s name was Buffy, but it was easier think of her by what she was, the Vampire Slayer, as in “if she finds out what Angel is, she will stake first and not bother to ask questions later”) into the alley, trying to pick her moment, and only realized when the other girl — actually not much bigger than Angel — dropped down to the ground in front of her and landed in a fighting stance.
Angel had long since trained herself to not react to things unless she chose to (even if you are considered one of the leaders, one does not run in circles with the other three vampires that make up the Scourge of Europe and give things away with your face unless you have a death wish), so she only arched her eyebrow at the blonde. “Is there a problem?”
“Yeah, there’s a problem,” Buffy replied, more than a little belligerently. “Why’re you following me?”
Angel allowed herself the ghost of a smile. “I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry. I don’t bite.” It was easyfor her to lapse into the pretense of not taking it seriously, when Angel really took it all too seriously. But she couldn’t be too earnest or she’d come across as a little girl trying to prove that she could keep up with the big dogs, when the truth was, little Slayers might not be able to keep up with her.
Buffy backed up a little bit, giving Angel space, but kept her hands up and ready, just in case.
“The truth is,” Angel mused as though she were admitting a secret, “I expected you to be taller. Or bigger, or something. You’re pretty spry, though.” She had a momentary thought of letting her eyes drift over the other girl; Angel had spent over a century not caring who her bed partners were, and though she hadn’t done that in almost a hundred years (if it was only a few years short of a hundred, did she get to claim it as a century, just to make it easier to say? Best not, alas, because words matter, words have power, and Angel didn’t want to piss off anyone that might take umbrage at it) she could still act. But while she had no doubt it would throw the Slayer off, she didn’t know how else the other girl might take it, and best to not toss too many unknowns into the wind at the same time and see what came back. So she just focused on looking carefree and slightly amused, and waited —
The Slayer was apparently having none of it, because she stayed in her fighting stance and raised her hands a little. “What do you want,” she demanded.
“The same thing you do,” Angel lost all pretense of humour and met the Slayer’s eyes steadily.
The Slayer dropped her hands, spreading her arms wide in challenge. “Okay. The what do I want?”
“To kill them.” Angel stepped in a little closer despite the potential danger. “To kill them all.”
Buff–… The Slayer replied mock cheerfully, in the way of a game show host, “Sorry, that’s incorrect. but you do get this lovely watch and a year’s worth of Turtle Wax!” She brushed past Angel to stalk out of the alley. “What I want is to be left alone.”
Angel answered her wearily. “You really think that’s an option anymore? You’re standing on the mouth of hell. And it’s about to open.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small jewelry box, tossing it to the Slayer and trusting her catch it … nor was she disappointed. “Don’t turn your back on this,” she cautioned the other girl. “You’ve got to be ready.”
The Slayer seemed to be trusting her to genuinely be delivering a warning. Good. “What for?”
“For the Harvest.” It wasn’t a lot of information, but it was enough; Angel knew that if the Slayer told the Watcher, he’d find it in one of his books and then she’d be prepared, and that was the whole point of this. Angel was done with the conversation, she’d done what she came to do, so she started to walk off.
The Slayer stopped her. “Who are you?”
Luckily, Angel already had a response prepared for this question. She smiled at the Slayer (with perhaps a bit too much in the way of teeth), and said, “Let’s just say I’m a friend,”
She began to walk away then, but behind her the Slayer challenged, “What if I don’t want a friend?”
Angel let out a quiet laugh. “I never said I was your friend,” she pointed out, tossing the words over her shoulder.
This was the Slayer’s fight, but Angel would join herself to it, because it was her fight as well. She just wanted to make sure that the Slayer was ready for it.
Angel had already learned that the main place where most of the teens and young adults hung out in Sunnydale was called The Bronze. There was too much town for Angel to cover on her own, so she tried to focus her efforts on The Bronze and stop the vampire attacks when she could.
So she really wasn’t all that surprised when The Slayer showed up, meeting up with friends. She was surprised, however, when the Slayer let her two friends talk and dance with Liam and some blonde vampire working the private school angle.
Any other vampire, and Angel would step in — she had stepped in more often than not in the previous months — but Liam knew her, and it was too much of a risk.
It had to be a trap. The Slayer must know what she’d just set her friends up against, and she had to be using it to set a trap for them.
Except … except that the vampires and their prey were leaving, and the Slayer wasn’t reacting fast enough and damn it.
Angel sprinted after the blonde and her prey, the better strategy for the moment: Liam would recognize her, and the Slayer had seemed more focused on the redhead than the boy, it was the smart decision and the safe decision, and, well, Angel was pretty much always in favour of anything that could be both of those things at the same time.
The crowd was too thick for Angel to get through easily, though, and they got away. Angel had a good idea where the blonde would be taking the boy, but she didn’t know, and she had already lost valuable time. She was right, though, Angel found them as the blonde entered the mausoleum, the boy trailing after her before Angel could intercept him.
Why were humans frequently so stupid? Why did they so often seek out their predators and follow after them as if dazzled by their own doom?
Angel waited outside the mausoleum, ready to enter if necessary to save the Slayer’s friends, but Liam and the blonde were currently just talking, and the redhead was terrified but trying to figure out a way to escape. Angel couldn’t go in and fight them alone, she’d have the element of surprise but that was the only advantage she’d have in the fight; it would be two against one, and Liam was vastly stronger than she was.
Plus, the Slayer was on the way. Angel would intervene if the humans were in immediate danger — she would — but she needed to be smart and not just rush in unthinking.
It was a moot point, though, because the Slayer was suddenly there, so Angel stayed where she was, ready to help if it was necessary, but content to stay out of it otherwise, because Liam recognizing her would raise more questions than she wanted to answer.
Angel heard the Slayer tell her friends to run, and then the three teens came stumbling out, one of them leaning heavily on the other two from blood loss that Angel could smell from her spot in the shadows.
Angel quickly fell into step alongside them. “Let me help, I can carry him easier than you can.” They already knew about things that went bump in the night, and right then her priority was their safety, not keeping her capabilities a secret. How she could do these things, yes, but not necessarily what she could do.
The two unwounded ones obeyed without an argument, and Angel shifted the bloody one to a fireman’s carry to make it easier to transport him … but then shaggy-haired boy asked, “Are you a Slayer, too?”
Angel almost missed a step at the question, which threw her even more than the Slayer landing in front of her in the alley had earlier that night. It hadn’t occurred to her that someone might think she was a Slayer, and she filed it away for the future, in case she could use that further down the line (probably after this Slayer had died, because Slayers didn’t last long in the grand scheme of things). “No,” Angel answered with the hint of a wry smile. “I am really not. But don’t worry. I’m here to help.” She matched her pace to theirs, because she could outrun them easily even with the extra weight on her shoulders.
“We should go to the police,” the redhead was saying. “They’re just a few blocks awa–…” She broke off, the three of them slowing to a stop when three vampires blocked their way.
Angel thrust the bloody boy at the shaggy one, moving into a defensive position in front of the humans she had to keep safe. She heard the girl let out a squeak of terror, and whirled to discover that Liam had come up on that side, and now her brother was staring at her with mirth and wonder. “So this is where you’ve gotten off to, Angel?”
Angel felt the familiar icy rage settle in her blood. “Let her go.”
“I don’t think I will.” Liam made a show of sniffing at the girl’s neck. “She smells too delicious —”
Angel didn’t waste time with banter, she simply launched herself at Liam. She had no surprise on her side now, and he was far stronger, but she fought dirtier than he would ever bother to do, and she went straight for his eyes, her nails catching his face and drawing blood in scarlet lines.
His automatic reaction was defensive, as she had known it would be, and as he blindly shoved her back, she used the opportunity to seize the redhead and swing her away from Liam’s grasp. Shame she didn’t actually get to claw his eyes out, he’d be much less dangerous if he couldn’t see, but he’d never be that slow —
She caught a hard fist to the ribs, the force of it stopping her where she stood even if she didn’t need the air it drove from her lungs, and the next blow crashed against her jaw with an impact that made her ears ring. Angel was already moving, though, getting inside Liam’s third swing, and she used his momentum from the missed punch to throw him into a gravestone.
Unfortunately, that put Liam closer to the bleeding boy, and before Angel could follow up, one of the other vampires was tackling her to the ground. Angel rolled with it and to her feet, thrusting her stake into his heart before he’d regained his own footing — fledglings weren’t known for their fighting skills because they hadn’t had to learn it yet — and spun around to go after Liam again. He was easily the most dangerous of all the attackers, he was where she needed to focus …
Angel saw that the shaggy boy had been grabbed by a big-shouldered vampire with white-boy dreadlocks, and she drove straight at this new foe, not wasting time on a pretty attack but going for pure speed and force, doing her level best to punch completely through his ribcage. It didn’t work, of course, he was just as tough as she was, but it took his attention from the shaggy boy and onto her, which was where Angel wanted it. He swiped at her with a slow, lumbering hand that would have hurt had it landed — and to be fair, it would have seemed fast to a human, but she wasn’t one — and Angel simply ducked under the blow and closer in against him, her own hand darting out to slam the stake home.
Fledglings. Honestly. If she were ever a master vampire again, she’d train the fledglings up right before letting them loose. What good were they if they didn’t know how to fight?
Angel dropped to her knees next to the shaggy boy, who had at some point been rendered unconscious. She smacked at his cheeks lightly, gauging her strength because what was light to her wasn’t necessarily so to fragile humans, and waited to see if that would wake him up.
And apparently during the process she lost all concept of spatial awareness, because she was met with a foot to the face that knocked her away from him, and an angry blonde Slayer stood between Angel and the boy.
“I thought you said you didn’t bite,” the Slayer challenged. “Or was that just to get me to let my guard down around you?”
“Buffy —” the redhead protested.
Angel wiped the back of her hand against her mouth, taking the small trail of blood with it. “Why would I warn you about the Harvest if I was going to attack your friends?”
Shaggy Boy lurched to his feet, leaning on the redhead for support, and his voice was wheezy and vague. “Two pretty girls fighting over me? turns out, not as much fun as it was in all those dreams.” He shook his head, trying to clear it. “Buffy, she helped us.”
Angel realized that the bleeding boy wasn’t with them anymore, and that Liam had disappeared. Damn it, damn it, DAMN it! “Not enough,” she said grimly. “Liam got your friend.”