Chapter 1: New World, Old Friends
She was the last to die, the last to be born, yet she was so connected to one of the first evils. It was ironic, though, that such an evil would then be forgiven for his past and chosen for the future.
It was ironic too, that she, a memory of his evils, was to guide upon his shoulder. She, along with her ancestors, helped to build his initial and final army. It was ironic that he was given the Gypsy's curse, and that now the curse became his cure, and he the cure for the Gypsies and their destiny.
However, irony was something easily found in reality, and something that had always caused great adaptation. Now free from mortality, her eye had been dedicated to he, his purpose, and those of his kind-and previously her's-who had passed on. Already, so many have done so. With the newest young man, stricken justly with pain over betrayal, just getting his bearings, yet another had come mere minutes before…a much more interesting, calculated other, with a history that brought pain to her heart.
It wouldn't be long until they found the others. After all, they were being watched over by many curious eyes.
Wesley was articulate. Wesley was respected. Wesley was wise, bookish, lawful and moral. Wesley was the perfect watcher, with every rule on his lips and every 'right move' waiting on his fingers. He lived life knowing that he had a role, and it had to be played for the greater good. He knew no deviations. Then, he was appointed to 'a most significant, exciting mission'. He was to play his duty to the slayer at last.
That didn't go well. He was humiliated by his slayer and her friends, not accepted by them, and then banished from the council, robbed of the very thing he was literally born to do. It was his destiny.
Thrown into a world he couldn't quite grasp, a new destiny was created. He met Angel, and together they helped. Such a simple thing it was, yet he felt himself becoming full, but not quite complete.
Then he met Winifred Burkle, and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce achieved that completion.
Everything was different. The world, once so estranging without orderly guidance, became crystal clear. He would look at her and see the future, the amazing things she could do and he could work with her to do. He saw everything bright. And then…and then…Then she was torn from him.
He opened his eyes, expecting to see either purity, chaos, or blatant nothing. Fortunately or unfortunately for him, it was none of the above. He opened his eyes to see bright blue sky, and dirty dust coiling around it. He coughed as feeling returned, and noted the bumpy surface he lay on, and the smell of both grime and something stale. There were no golden clouds, no wrathful flames, and no limbo. There was only…
A painful sense of realness.
Wesley staggered to his feet. No, this was not heaven or hell or something in between. In fact, it looked like any normal place, but quite deprived of…well, everything. The place reminded him of one of the rundown towns he'd seen back in London, near the countryside. There were shady, old houses-which looked quite different than the normal kind-and poorly conditioned dirt roads. In addition, there was absolutely no shortage of people who looked distinctly...poor. Very poor.
No document or ancient text could have warned him of such an afterlife.
He walked around in curiosity, examining the surroundings, but more or less looking for someone willing to tell a tale. Most didn't seem like telling a tale, much less a single word, would even be possible. And he, with his clothes still clean and intact, looked like the last person anyone would be willing to fill in.
"You're a newcomer?"
Wesley turned around, surprised, but not showing it. A man of fair size, not as malnourished as the rest, smiled down.
"What is this place?" He found himself demanding in all even tone, ignoring the friendly demeanor.
"Then I take it you are a newcomer," the guy replied. He walked off to the side, and Wesley followed.
"Perhaps I am. So, will you answer my question or not?"
"You have some gall, scrap. This place is heaven-or as close as you'll ever get to it. Heaven is a lie, as it seems."
Wes frowned. So he has died. But wasn't that a good thing? Now he could meet Fred, right? Deep down, he knew that surviving the battle wouldn't be much of a option for him.
"I know what you're thinking," the man went on. "'This can't be heaven, because this place isn't paradise. But it can't be hell, because then I'd be burning alive.' Or, at least, that's what most of the newcomers always say to me."
"Actually, quite the contrary. I'm rather good at accepting what happens."
"That's good, scrap. Here, you see, it's all about accepting. Accepting what you receive, and what you don't."
"Meaning everything. There's so much here, but we get so little of it. There's plenty of pain, mind ya', but most of that pain derives from the fact that only one in a thousand can be chosen, only one in a million are truly chosen, and that only one in a hundred million find what they're looking for."
Wesley gave a strange look. Chosen? What those are looking for? By the vague cryptics in his language, the place reminded him much of a demon dimension now. The man saw his look, and changed his smile to a frown.
"Chosen. It's a big word around here, and it stands for lots of things. It's all about Shinigami."
"Shinigami…reapers? Valkries? Angels?" He could give many more synonymous titles, but decided to keep his side on the conversation minimum.
"Wow. A scrap with a brain. Who knew? But yeah. Yeah. But I'd say reapers before Valkries and Angels-see, there's not really any wings and halos involved. They dress in black and have swords, but ultimately, they're supposed to be good guys. They act like good guys."
"Guys. So there's multiple."
"Millions, all divided into 13 groups. Basically, they keep order. They have better lives than all of us, and thing is, the majority prior to their current callings have all been people like us. They're lucky, freed from the suffering here, like rich men compared to serfs. People with the potential are chosen from the mud to be Shinigami, and we live with the pain of not being those chosen if we aren't."
"And those who are truly chosen?"
"Bear the mark of the Soul King somewhere upon them, and were chosen before death. But we who aren't chosen-and actually, we who are chosen as well-are always looking. Looking to be chosen, yeah, but ultimately looking for happiness, or love, or family."
"Or a good friend," Wesley murmured more to himself than the man.
"Or a good friend. But, see, the afterlife is enormous beyond belief. The chances of ever finding what, or rather, who you are looking for is, well, just impossible. I don't know a single soul who has."
His heart dropped. Out there was Fred, and he may never find her?
"That's right," the man confirmed, echoing his thoughts. "Whoever you may be looking for is lost now. Not to the world, but to you. You'll never find him…or her."
Wesley looked up, hardly noticing looking down, just in time for a fist to slam straight into his face. Wes slammed into the ground, both hands clutching a nose most likely broken and flowing with blood. Everyone around him hardly looked to see what happened, and those who did didn't look ready to step in.
Watcher instincts crept in, and he leapt right back up, eyes narrowed. He should have suspected it. Like hell a stranger in such a ghetto town would show an random act of kindness for no reason at all.
"Yeah, you were quick to catch on. Too bad you weren't as adapt to catching onto muggings."
"Sorry," he shot back. "But this 'scrap' might just mug you instead."
The man dashed forward, all muscle, not mind. Apparently that's what got him healthy in this dimension-a dirty trick and a lot of brawn. It was too easy, though, reading his next punch and moving out of the way. However, Wesley didn't expect to be so fatigued from apparent death, and was clipped by the blow. His left fist, on the other hand, felt better than ever as it collided true with his opponent's gut. The man stumbled back, gasping. Recovering, though, was fast for the muscle, and did so easily.
Wesley had a harder time.
Before he knew it, another hit whipped his head to the side. A second, then a third sent him crashing into a stand. Something sharp-probably the shattered remnants of the stand itself-slashed his clothes. Already he felt the pain blossoming on his chest.
He expected something else, something more. Maybe a kick to the face, or a shove. Well, the norm. Instead, Wes cracked open his eyes, with the man's treacherous eyes wide and full of shock. A crowd had gathered. How strange, he thought, for a crowd to form where all the people seemed to be so used to violence, and uncaring of it.
"One in a million…!" The man gagged, lost in some wonder. Murmurs erupted among the crowd.
"…And the second one…."
"…Will they say?"
Someone helped him to his feet, two strange pairs of arms. Then there was a dry towel to his broken nose, and then the man was groveling. Wesley, head still spinning from both moving around and being beat up by an amateur, tried to focus.
"What is it, you people?"
The man met his eyes. "One in a million….One in a million."
A woman in the crowd pointed at him. His chest.
Wes looked down, and there upon his skin sprawled a black tattoo, one so familiar, yet so distant. It glowed. Oh, it couldn't be what he thought it was. Oh lord.
"One in a million!"
Lindsay felt the pain, the bullets, the death eating through his flesh, his existence. His vision was blurred, blurring, soon to be gone. Gone. The very word brought dread to him. Lorne…that green, singing bastard! His red eyes, burning through him…and Angel. That traitor. That traitor…He didn't expect the vampire to trust him, not ever, but why now, when he needed the most help? And why Lorne? Was he not good enough to be taken care of by the lame monster himself?
He had changed. He had truly changed, even looked up to Angel. When he left LA, his hate turned to compassion for Eve and slight reverence to those who doomed him. He wanted to be something else, something meaningful.
Now he never will.
This is what compassion and reverence got him.
Then he came to, pain gone, with hot sun burning his face and dusty rubble prodding at his back.
Willow has had visions. Many, actually, but only in her ethereal state. This one she had in the middle of breakfast, and was much, much more vivid. She exited the dream-like sub reality in shock, lurching forward, eyes wide, glass of juice spilling forward and shattering as it hit the table. She felt like the vision lasted for hours and hours, but apparently, it only lasted for a split second.
What she'd seen made her want to puke.
"Willow!" Kennedy exclaimed from another room, rushing to her side. She felt her girlfriend's hand on her shoulder. "What's wrong. Is everything alright? Oh, god, Willow you're bleeding!"
She turned around, and they locked eyes. Willow was all business. "Kennedy, we're going, now. Grab all of the emergency reagents-you know which ones. Hurry!"
"What happened to driving? Or a plane?" She asked while suddenly rummaging through drawers, Willow doing the same.
"No need. We need to get to Buffy as soon as possible. If we don't…"
"Bad things happen?"
"Bad things happen."
I could do better. It didn't turn out like how I wanted, but oh well. I'm pretty much writing on impulse anyway. I'm trying something weird here-hope it works out >.< Also, everything in the story has almost no relation to the comic series, cuz, well, I don't have the comics and have never read them. Angel and Co. survive the season finale, and Buffy and Co. run the slayer biz, but that's about it. Everything else is all made up. As a crossover between Bleach, BtVS and Angel, there will be characters from all three-prepare for some old guys returned!
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, Angel Investigations, BtVS, or any characters of Joss Whedon's.
Next: "The Gypsy's Sign". Willow's vision comes to light, Wesley is brought somewhere new, and a ruined soul meets someone just as devastated.
Chapter 1: New World, Old Friends