Link Here:

C Box:

Author's Note: Some dialogue was borrowed from the episode 'Quickening.' but the plot itself has been changed. Enjoy.

Of Past & Future Concern.

"You sure they can't trace this? Very funny. I have to be paranoid for awhile. This thing is too good to be ruined by them right now. Or in the future for that matter. I know, I know. But its not going to be pretty when I do. Anyway, so when will we see you?"

"Is that Giles?" Wesley Wyndam-Pryce asked as he came out of his office and saw the most recent employee of Angel Investigations with a mobile phone headset attached to her ear.

Buffy nodded, then spoke to the caller once more. "We'll see you then. Oh, have you a moment to speak to Wes? Okay, I'll put him on." She handed her colleague the phone and earpiece. "Where's Angel?" she asked before he put the latter in.

"His office I believe," Wesley answered.

Angel Investigations had remained quiet, despite the expectation that something big was coming, and from the offices of Wolfram and Hart. As yet however, the group had not heard any evidence of its arrival from their contacts, causing them to put it to the back burner, in favour of savouring what they had in the meantime.

Her soulmate looked up as she entered his office, and smiled at her, causing an instant smile in return. "How is Giles?" He asked her.

"Well. He's coming to visit us this evening. Wes is talking to him at the moment."

"Probably about the big bad. See if he has any info."

"Thought so." Buffy walked round the desk. Angel automatically pushed back his chair, so she could sit in front of him. "So," she began in a different tone, one he had come to recognise since her return from the dead, "any new cases while I was on the phone?"

"None," Angel replied, eyes raking over her form once more, admiring the short skirt, knee high boots and long sleeve top, how well it matched her long blonde hair, finally coming to rest level with her eyes, noting the desire within.

Silence enveloped the office. His fingers ran up her thighs, pushing up the line of the skirt. Her hands wrapped around his neck as he stood up. Lips met lips. Desire met desire, and he moved to worshipping her neck, while his hands slipped underneath her long sleeve top.

As her hands slipped leisurely from his neck to the buttons of his shirt, Angel temporarily withdrew from her embrace to lock his office door.

"I know it seems like only a moment to you. But two hundred and twenty seven years have passed since our agreement. Empires have risen and fallen. Mankind has harnessed the power of the sun, walked on the moon, and turned arid desserts into fields of green."

Holtz, his eyes still on the television screen, withdrew part of his focus from them for a moment to ask Sahjhan a question. "What of England? Has it survived the years and destruction?"

"Yes. It went through a rough patch about sixty years ago, but it's mostly unchanged. Warm beer, boiled meat, bad teeth. That's why I moved to LA. Have you followed this part of the history? American Revolution, manifest destiny, westward expansion, the Beach Boys?"

"I understand enough. One thing baffles me. These visions, wars, the weapons of destruction, how is it no one has killed Angelus?"

"That's why I brought you here, remember? Because your fate and his fate are entwined."

Holtz stood up. "Then let's go. Let's finish this. I want Angelus."

"I know. I want him, too. But we're going to do it right. I haven't waited two and a half centuries to mess it all up."

"You have been tracking him this entire time?"

"Yes. But not in the way you imagine. There are other dimensions, other worlds where time behaves differently. I have an ability to navigate those dimensions."

"And is that why you haven't aged?"

"That, and I had a little work done. Mostly around the eyes. Now get some rest. You're going to need it."

Sahjhan stepped back into the shadows. Holtz sat down and continued to watch the televisions.

"Good morning, Miss Morgan."

Lilah looked up from the contract she had just finished putting her blood signature to, and replied to the mailman. "Morning. Would you take this to Pinderhook down in Demon Resources for me?"

"Sure." The man paused, then added, "Miss Morgan, I hate to bother you. But I just thought you should know about this," he handed her a CD.

Lilah opened her drive and put the compact disc inside. There was a quiet noise as the computer recognised the new information and brought it up.

It was a clip taken from Wolfram & Hart's surveillance department, she recognised that first. Then she saw what it was watching.

"Who," she began, then looked up and realised the mailman had gone. She turned back to the screen and switched it off. "Doesn't matter, I think I can guess."

She got up from her desk and walked out of her office, taking the elevator all the way to the basement.

"Keee-yi-ha ow. Someone doing an incantation?"

The transcriber looked up and paused his writing in order to answer his superior. "No. Martial Arts training."

"Any tech problems?"

"Just a couple glitches. Don't sweat it though. I've been staying late." He reached out and lifted a thick document, handing it to him. "That is the transcription of everything up to last week."

Lilah chose this moment to make herself known. "How about that? I just asked myself, if I were a cockroach, where would I hide? And viola!" She held up the disk she was carrying. "I presume surveillance was your idea?"

"What I can I say?" Gavin Parks answered. "I'm genius."

"Is this your convoluted pathetic way of asking for my help? Because you sure need it. You're understaffed, underfunded, and clearly undertalented." She deftly snatched the thick file from him. "So, what have we learned here?"

"We? There is no we. I just decided it was time you understood the full scope of what I've been doing these past few months."

Lilah scanned the first page and picked out the first interested point. "Who's this 'unidentified blond young woman?'"

The transcriber answered her. "I don't know. We lost audio for a couple of days last week. I can pull the tape."

"See? Need me."

Gavin looked discomforted, while the transcriber put the tape into the VCR. The television screen blackened, then return to colour, with a picture of a blond, young woman walking on to the screen.

Lilah watched as Angel walked up to the girl and kissed her, but she did not need any further confirmation. Silently she took out her cell and dialled. "Linwood It's Lilah. You're not gonna believe what I'm looking at."

When the two at last emerged out of Angel's office, they found the rest of their colleagues at lunch, grouped around open delivered pizza boxes in the reception area. All looked up at their entrance.

"Sorry," the seer greeted them, holding a slice in her hand, "would have checked in, but clearly food was the last thing on your minds."

Angel and Buffy reddened, then joined them on the floor. "We weren't loud, were we?" The slayer asked embarrassed.

"No, the locked door was enough," Gunn answered.

"Its nice," Fred remarked. "I'm glad you guys are happy."

"Totally," the rest answered, their mouths full of pizza.

Angel bit into his slice and Wesley turned to Buffy as she picked up a second. "So, what time is Giles arriving?"

"You talked to him for a whole hour and you didn't ask that?" Cordelia noticed.

"I was more concerned about if he could find information on the big bad referenced in the Nyazian scroll remnants," Wes answered as he took another slice of pizza.

"Sometime this afternoon," Buffy answered as she finished her current slice. "He said he had a some pieces of news for us."

"Why do I feel concerned?" Cordelia commented.

"He assured me that none of its bad," Buffy continued.

"How is he managing to keep his contact with us secret anyway?" Fred asked.

"He brought a private line when he returned to the Hellmouth," Buffy explained. "Its untraceable as he uses a separate phone for it, and no one knows its location but him."

Holtz paced the floor of the warehouse until he heard the tell tale sign of the entrance being opened. "You've kept me here long enough. Where are they?"

Sahjhan tried placation. "It's not that simple."

"I'm tired of waiting!" Holtz shouted and grabbed Sahjhan.

Only for his hands to pass right through him.

"Like I said; it's not that simple. Do think I'd go to all this trouble of transporting you two and a half centuries if I could walk up to Angelus and stake him myself? Please! There are rules and timetables and forces at work far greater than either of us. Boy, you vengeful types aren't real good at playing with others, are you?" He passed his hands over his face, converting it to human appearance. "It's my street face. I've lined up some men to help us."

Outside, Sahjhan continued to update his chosen warrior. "The buildings are taller, machines more powerful, but the thing to understand is that people are the same today as they were in your day. They drink too much. They fight. They work hard. They fall in love."

"They have families," Holtz murmured.

"Yes, they still have families," Sahjhan agreed. "And not just the humans."

"I hope these men you've hired are ruthless bastards."

Sahjhan came to a halt and opened up another warehouse to reveal some tough, constantly combative demons. "This is where we'll get your men."

"These aren't men," Holtz observed.

"Once again: gender; not species. I should have said minions. Have you seen Grappler demons fight? Not the sharpest pencils in the box, but merciless in battle." He turned from Holtz and addressed the demons. "Okay, guys! Over here! Time to meet the new Jefe. And Flarmar, leave the head in the ring, okay?" Sahjhan turned back to Holtz. "Ready to command your troops, captain?"

"Any other surprises I should know about?" Holtz asked.

"I cannot believe this," Linwood remarked, his eyes on the television screen. "Heads are gonna roll if the Senior Partners hear about this."

"They won't," Gavin answered. "That's why we came directly to you."

On the screen, the members of Angel Investigations continued to eat pizza, oblivious to the sudden activity behind the surveillance cameras.

Linwood was still shocked. "The return of the slayer. How did we miss this?"

"I'm sequestering the psychics and the mind readers in the conference room," Lilah, announced as she closed her cell. "We will get to the bottom of this."

"Man works hard, builds something, waters it, grows rich and powerful. Leaves his wife for a younger beauty. These are the reasons we take certain blood oaths. And to have it all vanish because..." Linwood trailed off.

"Sir, I can't stress enough. There is no way we could have foreseen this," Lilah assured him.

"She's right, sir. No one could have known," Gavin agreed.

"All right. Lets gather the facts. How long has she been there?" Linwood asked.

"Well, surveillance was begun about three months ago," Gavin answered. "But, from what we can gather from the first tape, she arrived long before that."

"We never did identify the mystery shooter of Billy," Lilah murmured, as if in recollection.

"You never identified the shooter," Gavin pointed out.

"The car hid whoever it was," Lilah countered.

"So," Linwood concluded, "she has been here since the end of the summer. I thought our satellite office in Sunnydale was meant to inform us of any changes."

"They did, when she died," Gavin remembered. "No one said she had been brought back."

"The witch they have is capable," Linwood pointed out.

"Yes, but I checked with our Sunnydale contact a day ago," Lilah remarked. "And they mentioned that they have been unsuccessful in raising her from the dead."

A cell suddenly rang, causing the discussion to pause. Gavin answered it. "Berlin's on the phone for you, sir."

"Oh, god. If they've heard about this in Berlin, Singapore and Muncie can't be far behind. Now listen, if the Senior Partners are looking to assign blame, the buck stops here, you understand me?"

"Not exactly, sir," Lilah answered.

"If the Partners are looking to place blame, I'm gonna have to step forward."

Lilah breathed a sigh of relief. "That's inspiring, sir."

"Yes, I'll step forward and blame you. Buffy was resurrected on your watch. I can think of no better scapegoat."

Linwood patted Lilah's shoulder then walked away to answer the cell. Gavin grinned at her future sacking.

Lilah merely stared at him. "You think this is over? Watch and learn, rookie." She pulled out her own cell, just as it began to ring. Glancing at the id, she turned to Gavin with a superior manner. "Excuse me, I have another client."

She did not press to speak until she had exited the basement offices. "Sahjhan, your timing could not be better. What's wrong? Oh, nothing that your buddy can't take care of. Just tell there's one extra member to the team. No need for names. You're wanting the address? The Hyperion Hotel. Yes, that's the one. Goodbye."

She put the cell in her pocket with a smile.

"So, what's all of the news?" Buffy asked her ex-watcher.

"Firstly, Xander and Anya are getting married," Giles began. He had arrived a few minutes ago, walking into reception after they had finished tidying away empty pizza boxes.

"Xander and Anya? That's unexpected," Buffy mused.

"Who's Anya?" Cordelia asked.

"Former vengeance demon," Buffy replied, causing the seer to laugh.

"Secondly, the Council called, wondering why no slayer had been reactivated, so I've got to go to England for awhile and explain this to them, with your permission, Buffy. I promise it will not get further than them."

"Well, I suppose they have to know," Buffy mused. "Though it would be useful if they could activate another slayer. Provide deception."

Giles shook his head. "They don't know how. Anyway, I won't be gone for long."

"And the grave digging?" Angel asked.

"Nothing yet," Giles answered him, but with a serious face. "But Willow has been using a lot of dark magic recently. Tara's concerned now. I've hidden what I could of the volumes which contain the magic for bringing someone back, but there's no guarantee she won't try anyway."

He reached into the bag he had been carrying. "Here's the books you wanted, Wesley. They contained most the common confusing translations, and references to the scrolls. Its all I could find. I'll see if the Council have anything else."

"Thank you, I would be grateful if you did," Wesley replied as he took the books.

"When do you have to leave?" Buffy asked.

"Not until late this evening," Giles answered.

It was almost midnight when the members of Angel Investigations returned to the Hyperion, after saying farewell to Giles at the airport. After recapping on news, he had talked with Buffy, giving her more information about slaying and some of the slayer diaries which he had brought with him last time for her to keep in L.A.

Talking by phone since his discovery of her renewed existence, had been done by convert calls, most of which had been abandoned due to Willow or the Hellmouth causing trouble. Careful not to draw suspicion, they had limited the calls to only half an hour, which was not enough to exchange all information.

In particular, Buffy wanted to know more about the origins of a slayer, and the exact nature of her strengths. But most important of all, she still looked to Giles as her surrogate father, and he his daughter, and the occasional visits provided them a chance to rebuild that relationship.

The gang entered the hotel, Angel foremost, and instantly came to a stop, as they noticed the pitch black which surrounded them. In one motion, they adopted fighting stance positions.

The lights were turned up to dim, making all of them blink, then take in their surroundings, as their enemy stepped forward.

"Angelus," Holtz remarked. "I've been looking for you."

To Be Continued In