Through the Storms
Lady Starlight - November 01 2001
Dedicated to Wisewoman...because she cried...
2014 - Los Angeles
"You know, while I'm all for people enjoying their work, that's just...nasty!" Gunn remarked.
Angel, Cordelia and Wesley nodded absently while watching the carnage below. The three men suddenly winced and did the 'grab crotch, raise one knee slightly' move. Cordelia squealed, "Did you SEE that? Just popped right off..." The glares from the guys would have quailed a lesser mortal, Cordelia only sniffed. "Look, just because you have issues."
"Duck!" Wesley yelled. They hit the ground as a very scaly, very green, very large leg sailed over their heads and bounced down the hill behind them. "Ah, Angel? You did let Liam know that we have weapons for dealing with things like this?" Wesley said as he brushed himself off.
"Didn't seem to want any."
2015 - Los Angeles
Angel could hear the thudding beat of the music from down the block. As he pushed open the door, he winced. He looked around the lobby but no one was there. He glanced at the front desk and saw the phone cord running under the door into his office.
He opened the office door and said, "What the HELL is going on?" Thankfully, it was a little quieter with the door shut. Gunn and Cordelia just kept on with the various files they were looking at. He slammed a hand down on the file lying on the desk in front of Cordelia.
She looked up. "Angel, glad you're back. You have to go up and talk to him."
"Talk to who?"
"What? Oh, hang on a minute." She nudged Gunn and pulled earplugs out of her ears. "Mr. Depresso up there, that's who. Look, Angel, we know he's hurting. We know what day it is. But could you just get him to grieve a little quieter?"
Angel slumped onto a chair. "Oh, it's THAT day already."
Wesley opened the door. Shards of glass fell from his shoulders as he sat down. He looked dazedly at Angel and said, "Well, I think he meant to miss me."
Cordelia jumped up and started picking glass out of Wesley's hair as silence fell. She dropped the glass into the wastepaper basket and turned back to Angel. "Look, this is the last straw! He started the stereo, that you bought him, Mr. Let's-Give-The-Vampire-A-Stereo-With-A-Bass-That-Could-Rival-Northridge- For-A-Christmas-Bonus, at 7:30 this morning. Why do I know this? Because he woke me up." Noting Angel's questioning look, she explained. "It was so late when we were done last night, I decided to stay here. Elizabeth's teething and if you wake her up at night, she never gets back to sleep. Then, after several deliveries, the liquor store guy PINCHED MY BUTT!"
"Well, it's stopped now, right? Right?" They rolled their eyes as Gunn explained. "Look, man, the playlist goes like this. Number one with a bullet is Hush by Deep Purple. Then, we have the Sixties' favorite Crosby, Stills & Nash. And then, guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye, especially when your eardrums dribble out the side of your head, Styx. WVAMP radio, all three, all the time."
Cordelia pulled him out of the chair and shoved him towards the staircase. "Talk to him. Before I have to explain yet again to Lori and the kids why Wesley came home in bandages."
Angel pushed open the door. "Liam, ah, are you OK?" He just barely caught the bottle in time. "Reflexes still good."
He looked around as he sat down on the bed. One, two, four, eight, ah fuckit, lots of bottles. Empty bottles. One grieving vampire, presumably full of what was in the bottles. And one really loud stereo. Well, that I can fix. He flicked the off switch just as the wolf howls reverberated through the room.
"Oi, I was listenin' t'that."
Liam drained the current bottle and reached for another. He twisted the cap off savagely and drank. "No, you fucker, it's not helping." He started to pace, kicking the bottles out of his way. "I wake up in the morning and her scent is in my nostrils. I remember her favorite flavour of Kool-Aid...mango-berry. I remember exactly how she took her popcorn...put half in the bucket, add butter, put the other half in and add more butter and ONE shake of salt. I remember her favorite movie...Hope Floats. I can feel her hair between my fingers...I braided it for her every morning. I remember the taste of her skin. I remember the sounds she made when she came. I remember everything about her. Every conversation we ever had. SO WHY CAN'T I DREAM ABOUT HER?" He threw the bottle through the door and dropped to his knees.
"One dream. Just one dream where I'm holding her again and her arms are around me and I'm happy."
Angel crouched beside him and rubbed his back. "sshh, sshh, it's all right, it'll pass, it's OK, come on now, get up into bed, that's right, there we go, sshh, I'm here Liam, sshh"
Liam curled up on the bed, face contorted with a grief too deep for tears. "When, Angel? When does it stop hurting so much?" He groped for Angel's hand and held on with a death grip.
"I don't know. Try to get some sleep now, OK?"
Liam opened his eyes and he was standing in sunshine. Instinctively, he flinched and covered his head before he realized he wasn't on fire.
"Nice dance move."
The voice froze him in the midst of straightening up. "Lyssa?" he breathed.
turned slowly, afraid that it was a horrible mistake. His eyes drank in the sight of her. She started to fidget under his scrutiny.
"Liam, oh, Oh, OH. He didn't tell you did he? SHIT!" She snapped her fingers and a small tablet appeared out of thin air. He watched, fascinated, as the words formed in time with her voice. "Memo to self: rip Whistler a new one tomorrow." She snapped her fingers again and the tablet vanished.
"Tell me what."
"On the anniversary of my death, we get to spend time together. As long as you're asleep, that is. This isn't how I thought this would be going at all."
"Why haven't I been able to dream about you?"
"Because that was one of the deals the Powers That Be made. This," she gestured "is the only place that we can be together. Once a year, on the anniversary of my death, while you're sleeping."
She walked over to him and slid her arms around his waist. "Please can we talk about this stuff later? It's been a long time and" she snapped her fingers and they were both naked. He felt something nudging him in the backs of his knees as she pushed him over backwards. He had barely hit the mattress when she was straddling his waist. "I really missed you." She kissed him and he was lost.
A long, sweaty time later she was endeavoring to explain things to him. "Okay, one more time. This place is outside time, outside space. Everything that WAS, IS and WILL BE can be observed. Which is where I come in. I work backwards from the events We want and write the prophecies that Our Warriors use in their fight. It's like somebody goosed the power on the Truthsaying by a bazillion degrees. Look, if you want quantum mechanics, why don't you go ask Einstein?"
"I'll take your word for it, love. So, we get to do this once a year for, how long again?"
She rolled off the bed and started to get dressed, a troubled look on her face. "nobody knows" she mumbled. He propped himself up on one elbow. "What was that?"
"Nobody knows!" she yelled, throwing her hands in the air. She sank down onto the bed. "We can't tell. At all. I can't with you; I just get a sense of time passing. Could be 5 years, could be 5000."
"You know, not really liking those odds." He was groping for his own clothes by now.
"It's not my fault."
"Never said it was." He turned away from her, patting down his duster for a cigarette.
"Well, you're certainly acting like it is. Look, I'm just Prophecy Girl up here. That's what I do. Every prophecy ever written comes from me and I can't tell anything from looking at you." She grabbed his arm then and made him look at her. "It's our only chance, Liam. The only way I could get the PTB to let us be together."
He dropped his duster and hugged her fiercely. "I know, love. It's just, I'm so lonely. I miss you so much."
They were both crying by this time. She spoke through her tears. "Liam, you have to stop bottling everything up inside you. I can, cheat a little sometimes, visit you in your dreams, but you have to let me in."
"You won't, get in trouble?"
"Hey, if they want prophecies, they'll bend." A peculiar bell-like tone sounded.
"Damnit! Liam, it's time. You've got to go."
He held onto her, shaking his head. "No, no, I can't let you go again." She kissed him fiercely. "You've got to," she said. "Remember, I love you. Always and forever."
"Always and forever," he whispered.
Liam opened his eyes to the familiar outlines of his room. Angel was still holding his hand, even though he was fast asleep. Liam felt the aching loneliness grip him again, but then a faint whisper of sound came to his ears. "always and forever, my love."
2082 - Yorkshire, England
Watcher's Council Compound
He listened to the babbling. They kept hashing over the same old arguments. Finally, he stepped forward.
"Look. The whole reason Buffy Summers was the best Slayer in history is because she had ties to the world. You can't expect a sixteen-year-old to be willing to fight and die for the abstract. And, let's face it, your track record isn't that great." He consulted a computer screen. "Jessie Smith, dead after 2 weeks. Jane Halvorson, dead after 3 days. Elizabeth Johnsson, dead after 3 weeks. Daisy Evans, killed on her first patrol. And we're not up to today's date yet. D'ya want me to go on?"
He surveyed the sullen Watcher's Council. Miss you, Rupert. We'd have these sods turned around. "The whole reason Rupert Giles," he watched their reactions as the name was invoked. "brought me here was to assist with training. It's been sixty bloody years, are you idiots EVER going to let me do my job?" He sat down at the head of the table.
"Why should we trust you?"
God, or whoever, grant me strength. "Because I'm here. Because I fought shoulder to shoulder with Buffy Summers for over 10 years, actually 510 if you count the time I spent in Hell. Because if you don't, you'll lose." The flat statements echoed around the chamber.
"What would you suggest?"
He got up from the table and walked over to the large touch-screen. "For starters, no more yanking the candidates away from home. Let them grow up knowing love and family ties...."
Oh, Lyssa. I miss you. He rested a hand on the gravestone he'd insisted be moved when he came back to England. I think you'd like it here, but you wouldn't like the Council. Bloody stupid sods. It's a start though. He arranged the roses he'd brought and got to his feet to go. A slight breeze played with the ends of his hair as a whisper of sound came to his ears. "Good work, my Liam. You've saved many lives tonight. Always and forever, my love." "Always and forever, Lys." He barely breathed the words, knowing she'd hear him.
2168 - Genoa, Italy
Liam answered the knock on his door. "What?"
"Letter for you, sir."
"Oh, ta very much." He dropped some coins into the outstretched hand and sat down at the small desk. He slit the envelope and pulled out the heavy stationery.
If you're reading this, I'm dead. Really dead, in fact, dust.
I'm so very tired. How do you do it? Keep going, I mean. I can't anymore. I've fought the good fight (well, lots of them) and I need to rest now. I can feel my reflexes letting me down. Even human blood doesn't help.
There's a very large demon tracking me these days and I think he's going to win. I love you, Liam. I wanted to say that before it was too late.
He crushed the letter in his hand as he gazed out over the lights of the town. Somewhere deep inside of him, he'd known Angel was dead; some resonance along the bloodline, he supposed. He fought to keep the tears back, but they fell anyway.
2294 - 'Heaven'
Liam sighed as he cuddled Lyssa's pliant body against his. "What's wrong, love?" she asked.
"It gets harder and harder to go back every time. We're fighting so hard, and yet..."
She wrapped her arms around him and held on. "I know."
They lay in silence and watched the falling snow. After a while he cleared his throat. "Why snow?" he asked.
"Got bored. Wanted to see if I could do it."
"Oh, you can do it," he leered as he flipped her onto her back. "The question is, do you want to?"
"No, twit! With your other demon lover."
"Oh, well, in that case..." She tried to get off the bed, but he pulled her back. Both of them were laughing as their lovemaking started all over again.
2348 - Siberian steppes
He was in the fight of his life this time. At least 8, maybe 12, really big Markyl demons. Backed up by vampires. Lots of vampires. All of them fighting to keep the Hellportal open. He glanced quickly around for Mayria. She was dusting vamps right and left. He charged the demons, swinging his broadsword. Part of his mind wondered why, after so many centuries, the old weapons still worked the best.
Got to clear a path to the 'portal for Mayria. he thought as he ducked a claw swipe that would've taken his head clear off. "Mayria, to me!" he yelled. "Damnit, that hurt!" One of the Markyl's had snuck up on him and got him a good one across the lower back. She fought her way through the massed vamps and reached into her pocket. With one last desperate swing, the demons fell. He collapsed to the ground as he watched her run for the 'portal.
She flung the contents of the small pouch she held into the 'portal. "Tarzek alytora MYLZ!" With a groaning shudder, the 'portal closed. The remaining vamps fled the approaching sunrise. He rolled over onto his back, waiting for his reward. When he realized that he was still 'alive', he began to beat the ground in frustration. "What does it take? What does it bloody well take? We closed the Hellportal, hasn't been one open for 3000 years. Please, aren't I finished yet?"
Mayria watched his tearful rage with dismay. Both of them had fully expected that this would end Liam's service. She had been afraid of him when she was first called as the Slayer, but they had grown close during the search for the 'portal, and for the first time in almost 300 years, he had told her the whole story. She had thought it incredibly romantic at first, but had come to realize how tired he was. How much he wanted to finish it. She looked at the horizon, gauging how soon the sun would rise.
She walked over to him and bent to shake his shoulder. "Liam, please. The sun's almost up. We can shelter in the mouth of the 'portal cave." He made no response. "Please, Liam. Get up." He lay on the ground, eyes closed. She grabbed his hands and pulled him upright. She just managed to get one arm across her shoulders before he collapsed again. Alternately dragging his dead weight and coaxing him to walk when she rested, she managed to get him just inside the cave mouth before the sun rose. She lowered him to the ground and half-fell, half-sat beside him. He curled into a ball and she could just hear his soft sobbing.
2493 - 'Heaven'
Liam clung to Lyssa desperately. "Lys, when will this be over? I'm so tired. I want to stay here. I can't fight anymore. Please...." his voice trailed off into broken sobs.
She held him close, crooning softly to him. "Sshh, love. Your service is almost done. It's close now."
2517 - Somewhere in Africa
The ragged remains of the Watcher's Council crept into the hut one by one. The last battle had all but decimated them. Liam looked around the hut; when he was sure that everyone who could make it was there, he began. "Thanks to the efforts of Jezkaya, we've figured out what's happening. This new Master has managed to cast a spell tying the vampires together. Excepting me, of course." His feeble attempt at humour coaxed forth a few weary smiles.
"That means that each vampire can tap into every other vampire's strength. He's probably running the spell through some kind of focus. He'd have to; no one can contain that much power and still be corporeal. If we can get to his lair and destroy the focus, the energy should backlash through the link and take every single vampire out. Including the ones that haven't risen yet." A murmur of voices rose through the hut as he waited for the news to sink in. Someone spoke up from the back. "You mean?"
"Yes. If we can do this, there will be no more vampires. Ever." Including me, I hope. "I've tentatively planned out the strategy. Diandra and myself will make a guerilla strike on his lair. The rest of you will have to start a fight elsewhere, hopefully drawing his attention into the battle. I'm going to be honest with you, we're probably all going to die."
Diandra spoke up. "But if it works, no more vampires, right?" His heart ached when he looked at her. She was so much like Buffy. "Right." She looked around the room. "So what are we waiting for?" Tears stung his eyes as he answered. "Technically, sunset. After that, nothing."
They crouched in the shadows beside the entrance to the Master's lair. "Looks like it's all clear," he whispered. "Let's go." He eased the door open and they slid inside. They walked quietly down the long corridor. It was deathly quiet as they reached the ornate door at the end. He listened carefully, then slowly turned the handle.
They surveyed the room for the focus. Diandra saw it first and tugged on Liam's sleeve to get his attention. He turned and saw what she was indicating. He approached it carefully and nodded. Just as she pulled the bespelled sword from the sheath strapped to her back, a voice came from behind them "Oh come now. Did you really think it would be that easy?"
"No harm in hoping, now, is there?" He pulled his own sword from the
sheath. "Come on, you bastard.
Diandra circled the fighting vampires, trying to find a way to get between them and the focus. One swing of her sword and it would be all over. Liam was fighting like a whirlwind, but he was barely holding his own. She noted the blood streaming from a myriad of slashes, making it hard for him to hold onto his sword. Her eye fell on a long spear standing in the corner. She ran over, grabbed the spear and crept up behind the Master. She just managed to tangle his feet with the spear as he lunged at Liam with his sword extended for a killing blow. As he crashed to the ground, she leapt over him and landed beside the focus.
She wasted no time, but lifted her sword over her head and brought it crashing down onto the focus. As soon as she felt the sword connect, she let go of the handle and dropped to the floor with her arms folded over her head. A million screaming voices filled the room. Liam watched in awe as the backlashing power ripped the Master apart. The earth shook as the backlash swept out from the lair, taking out every single vampire. He tried to roll aside, but a large pillar landed on his legs, crushing them instantly. His scream of pain was lost in the cacophony.
When the noise and earthquake stopped, Diandra slowly raised her head. Her first thought was, Alive, wow. She looked around for Liam and gasped as she saw his body trapped under the pillar. She got unsteadily to her feet and scrambled over the debris. She tried to move the pillar, but stopped when it was clear she couldn't do it. He opened his eyes. Diandra dropped to her knees beside him. "Don't move. I'll get help."
"Don't...bother." He coughed and winced as a broken rib made its presence known. A gentle light came from the entrance. Diandra swung around, alert for any threat. She caught the scent of vanilla as the light passed her. It coalesced into the form of a woman. She knelt beside Liam and took his hand. "Liam, you've won. It's over now." He smiled weakly in response. "Lys...scared." Lyssa laid a gentle finger across his lips. "Trust me?" He nodded. Still holding his hand, she stood up. Diandra's eyes widened as she saw Liam's spirit standing beside the woman. She looked in disbelief at his body. Lyssa answered the unspoken question. "His body remains as a symbol of the Powers' respect. Bear it to the Watcher's Council sanctuary and bury it with honour beside mine." Diandra nodded, unable to speak for the grief clogging her throat.
The light slowly faded from the ruined lair. Diandra heard, faint and far away, the sound of laughter.
Like this? Hate it? Please let the author know -- it makes us all happy. (well, maybe not if you hated it, but you get the idea.)