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Author's Note: Just a short viginette here, which in view of the title, I felt was appropriate. A few lines taken from the original episode, 'Birthday.' Enjoy.

Learn To See The Ordinary.

"It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer.
You need less imagination to be a painter, because you can invent things.
But in photography everything is so ordinary;
it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the ordinary."

David Bailey (1938-); English photographer,
from an interview in The Face, Dec 1984.

"Hey guys."

The rest of Angel Investigations turned in the direction of the voice as the doors opened to reveal the female contingent of their team return from a shopping trip.

"Hey, have a good time?" Angel asked as he stood up to greet his girlfriend with a kiss.

"Yeah, it was great sale," Buffy replied, handing her bags to the seer. "Cordy, could you....?"

"Put these aside while you two make the rest of us jealous over your perfect love life?" Cordelia answered with a smile to show it was kindly meant. "Sure."

Angel wrapped his arms around his soulmate, who leaned in to him as she watched the seer walk off with her designer bags. He waited until she had signalled, by inclining her head, then he asked softly, "Does she know?"

Buffy shook her head as Wesley took a couple of large, very full bags from their hiding place in the reception desk.

By the time the seer had finished off loading the bags, the gang had gathered together to support a birthday cake with candles and a picture of a fortune teller and her crystal ball, and struck out an acoustic version of 'Happy Birthday.'

Cordelia smiled, touched. "Oh you guys. I can't believe you did this."

"Don't just stand there," Gunn admonished. "Blow out the candles, girl."

Cordy closed her eyes and obliged.

"Did you make a wish?" Fred asked when she had opened them once more.

"I sure did," Cordelia replied, glancing round. "Ah, Jude Law was a little busy, huh?"

"Oh, how disappointing for you," Wes teased. "Well, I guess you won't be wanting the presents we..."

"Oh, wanting. Wanting presents."

"You'll have to forgive the wrapping," Buffy remarked as they emptied the bags and presented her with them. "Some of us, and I'm not naming names, seem to have fostered a strange addiction to Scotch tape."

"I see what you mean," Cordy commented as she took the first present which was decorated with a huge bow, and sealed with a large amount of tape. As she studied the box, trying to work out where there was a gap so she could unwrap it, a vision rocked through her mind, making her crease the paper.

All thoughts of birthday celebrations were at an end as the team, seeing the stance of their colleague, put the rest of the presents on the floor to one side with the cake and prepared themselves for action.

"There's a teenager, a girl," Cordelia began, her eyes closed as she examined the vision carefully for all the clues she could. "She... she.... She's in a house on Oak street in the middle of Reseda. Number 171. She's drawing a pentagram on the floor. A book's beside her, I think its a spell book, but....." she paused, screwing up her eyelids to concentrate on the object, "its got stains of some sort on. I think she's gonna mess it up."

Cordelia opened her eyes to find the rest of her colleagues grabbing weapons and outdoor clothing. "Let's go," she mused to herself.

A couple of hours later they returned, mission accomplished. The girl, Cynthia, had been trying to summon her dad back to home, to prevent her parents separation. Instead a three-mouth, no-eyed monster had appeared, requiring Buffy, Angel and Gunn to take him out, while Fred, Cordelia and Wesley comforted the girl, then worked out how to tell her parents so the family could resolve the reasons why the spell had been tried in the first place.

They entered the Hyperion and resumed celebrating Cordelia's birthday, helping her open her presents, eat her cake, indulging in a relatively normal office party.

Halfway through, when all the presents were open and the cake was in the process of being sliced, the telephone rang at the desk.

Cordelia rose up and answered it. "Angel Investigations."

"Happy birthday, Cordelia."

"Thanks Giles," the seer replied, making the rest of the group turn to the phone, in a mixture of expectation and concern. "Hang on a minute, I'll put you on speaker phone." She pressed a button, then put the receive down.

"Hey, Giles, I assume this isn't a regular chat," Buffy began.

"Well, it was going to be," her ex-watcher admitted, "until the latest big bad of Sunnydale decided to announce themselves to us today."

"Themselves?" Angel queried.

"Yeah. Warren, Andrew and Jonathan."

There was a moment of collective silence, then Buffy spoke. "Okay, lets take a minute to confirm IDs. Warren as in the guy who built the April and Buffybots?"


"Jonathan who tried to kill himself in the clock tower during my being able to hear people's thoughts moment, and made himself the combination of a superstar and superhero which everyone turned to right in the middle of the Initiative problem?"


"And Andrew is?"

"We asked him that ourselves. Apparently he summoned the flying monkeys which attacked the school during the school play. Oh and he is also Tucker's brother."

"Of the Prom hell-hounds fame?" Buffy sought to confirm.

"That's the big bad. Or the Trio as they're calling themselves."

"Is it just me, or has evilness really gone downhill since I left the hellmouth?" Buffy commented rhetorically.

"After Glory, earthbound villains do seem tame," Giles agreed.

"How much damage have they done?"

"Minor things really, compared to the rest. Stealing a diamond from the museum to turn people invisible, turning one day at the Magic Shop into a scene from Groundhog Day, speeding up time, creating imaginary demons. When they presented themselves to us, however, they seemed more content to argue amongst themselves over various pop culture quotes, stars and events."

"What's wrong?" Buffy commented, her hearing picking out the mixed emotions within his tone of voice.

"Truthfully? I'm missing England," Giles confessed. "That brief visit to tell the Council you were alive turned out to be more of a siren call than I realised it could be."

"Well, why don't you go back?" Buffy suggested. "I'm not wishing you away or anything, but, there's not much left on the hellmouth now."

"But what about your grave?"

"The Trio will keep the Scoobies busy for a while," Buffy replied. "and from the sound of things they won't do too much damage. And if I'm needed to intervene, well, Cordy will have a vision. Plus, if you're in England, we can talk more, without discovery."

"You're right," Giles conceded, pleased she was fine with him going. "I won't go straight away. I'll tell them and leave after Anya and Xander's wedding. Give them a chance to get used to the idea."

"You could fly out of LA and visit us on the way," Buffy suggested.

"I'd love to," Giles acknowledged, before signing off.

Cordelia pressed the speakerphone to off mode once more and returned to the group, where Wesley began to cut up the cake.

Angel turned to his soulmate. "You okay, about Giles returning to England?" He asked her softly, pulling her into his arms.

Buffy snuggled into his embrace before she replied. "I'll miss him. He's the father I always wanted. But there's nothing left for him here. I've moved from the hellmouth, which no longer needs my protection according to the Powers That Be, leaving ownership of the Magic Shop and an apartment to only tie him to Sunnydale. He misses his home, and I know how that feels."

"What do you mean?"

Buffy turned in his arms, and looked up into his face. "When we apart, I felt like I didn't belonged anywhere. The moment we got back together, I realised that my home was wherever you were."

Angel smiled at her, touched. "I feel the same way," he replied softly, before inclining his head, and capturing her lips with his. The kiss was allowed a five minute's grace, then the Chosen Ones had to return to reality.

"Hey, break it up," Wes remarked. "Cake to eat."

Buffy and Angel broke away from each other with a smile, then proceeded to immerse themselves in celebrating Cordelia's birthday.

The End.
To Be Continued In.

1,000,000 Monkeys