wherein Angel would be a petty dick and Spike would Shanshu and eventually end up with Buffy, ended
up being an eighty-four chapter behemoth, where Angel redeemed his petty nature and became Spike's
strongest protector - in a manner of speaking.
This all began on October 30th, 2005 - and fourteen years later it is finally completely finished.
liliaeth and I created this tale together. It wouldn't have happened without her, and even
though she bowed out well before the end I offer my kudos and gratefulness for all her hard work.
No more putting it off - here we go! One last bit of thanks goes to Twinkles for the
wonderful banner atop the chapter, and for all her hard beta work in taming this monster.
For a moment, Angel closed his eyes and let the busy hum of the voices around him fade into the background. The smell comforted him – grass, dirt, and family. It was time, he thought, which of course waits for no man (though it did stand fairly still for vampires).
Will and Buffy’s children and their spouses, their children and their spouses, and still yet another generation of children stood nearby to his right. Little Amelie was not so little anymore; belly gravid with her new baby. This would be the fourth great-great grandchild, and the only one so far that Will wouldn’t get to hold in his arms and spoil rotten.
Gunn, his close friend for many years, had been gone gone thirty years now, and Anne, his treasured wife only survived him by ten years.
Cady Helene Gunn-Chalmers, named in honor of Charlotte and Hugh Chalmers, both gone more than a decade, stood with her arms wrapped around the shoulders of her parents, Bethany and Carolyn Jane. Their other children – three sons and another daughter, stood off to their side.
Will’s lifelong best friend, Alonna was buried nearby. After a long, illustrated career taking over her father’s law practice, she passed away after a nasty bout of pneumonia barely five years ago. Her younger brother, Benjamin, had died a little over twenty years ago from a stray bullet shot by opposing gangs – still the bane of urban living.
Liam, his namesake, stood tall by his mother, Dawn, Buffy’s older, younger sister. She had been less affected by the passage of time, probably due to some vestigial keyness.
Angel felt the loss of his Connor, deeply. Seems that even the son of two supernatural beings wasn’t immune to a perfectly normal, human frailty… a massive stroke – fifteen years ago.
A scarce handful of Will’s peers had gathered to Angel’s left, as well as some twenty fans of Will’s and Buffy’s work. The two were responsible for a series of books based on the lives of Buffy and Spike – Into the Darkness. There were thirteen books, in all, which had been more than well received, providing a comfortable living for their family independent of Angel’s help.
When he was sure his strength was about to desert him from all the loss of people he loved, Nina squeezed his hand. She looked up at him from her place by his side; eyes bright with unshed tears, and a reassuring smile gently encouraging Angel to continue. Even confined to a wheelchair, she buoyed his soul and flooded his being with warmth and love. At nearly 111 years old, the werewolf blood helped her bear her years with dignity and grace, easily passing for a woman of 75, though her body had begun to betray her.
Angel threw back his shoulders, took a deep breath and began:
“Thank you for coming tonight,” he said, looking around at all the people gathered in small groups. “It’s not with sadness that we bury our Will; he’d lived a long and fruitful life. Several lives, in fact, though William Matthew Jamison Pratt Dowell was the greatest of all his incarnations. At least in my opinion.”
Whistler, the Rumpari they’d rescued in the sewer, let loose a volley of trills and warbles, so melancholy they incited tears. Alongside the mourning demon, his mate and children added to the song. Whistler had been tickled pink when Will had insisted on including him in several of his books, and they’d remained lifelong friends.
Surreptitiously wiping his eyes, Angel continued. “I truly believe Will was more than ready to join his Buffy – it had been a long two years without her. We’ll miss them both. Our world is surely a poorer place for their absence.
“There aren’t any more words to say at this moment. We’ll honor Will’s memory by being the best we can be. Family – it’s what he prized more than anything. He made me promise that until the day I dust, I’ll look out for his family.”
Angel stood off to the side of the open grave, where the casket was being lowered into the ground. One by one roses were tossed into the grave – a last tribute to a man loved by all. When the last shovel of dirt was patted into place, Angel turned back to the congregation attending this momentous occasion.
“You’re all welcome to come back to the Hyperion. There’s food, drink – a place to tell a tale or two. There are rooms for anyone caring to spend the night. Continuing to stand here, watching a plot of earth won’t help any of us come to terms with our loss. And it’s chilly – not good for either the very old or the very young.
“Let’s go and unwind – and if anyone’s interested, let me tell you a tale about an immortal God King named Illyria, and her eternal guardians – Xander Harris and Anya Jenkins, who gave up their eternal rest to guard our continuing health and happiness.
“There’s a statue on the grounds commemorating their generosity of spirit. Come on, folks – it’s a rollicking tale that’s heartwarming on a night like this.”
He stood his ground for the hugs and condolences headed his way, and when all attendees had made their way out of the cemetery to the parking lot, Angel took hold of the wheelchair’s handles and said, “Let’s go, my beloved wife. It’s time to go home.”
I hope those of you who are still with me enjoyed the ride, if not the wait between chapter when the writer's block hit. Please let me know what you thought. I'm hoping you found satisfaction in the tale.