Summary: Angel and Spike get a letter from Buffy
Fandom: Angel the Series
Spoilers: Post NFA, no comics canon.
Title, Author and URL of original story:Mommanerd’s The Invitation.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to my beta antennapediafor the wonderful suggestions and to fiareynnefor also giving it a look over.
Envelopes were spread across the mat, the mail stopped for nothing. It was hiding under a flyer from the local pizza place and a coupon booklet. A cream envelope, addressed in a looping, purple script. The familiar handwriting gave Angel pause. They’d never gotten much mail at the Hyperion beyond the usual junk and occasional bill that couldn’t be paid online. This…this was special. She knew he was alive. Buffy knew. Closing his eyes, Angel brought the envelope to his nose, half-imagining he could smell her scent.
With a sigh, he opened his eyes and brought the letter to the counter, setting it down and staring at it for a while. It was silently mocking him, daring him to open it. The return address was London, so she was in England, or at least had been long enough to mail the letter. She was probably in contact with Giles. If anyone was going to tell her where he was, it was Giles. The Watcher had ways of finding things out, a contact list to rival Wolfram and Hart’s. Besides, Giles could rarely deny Buffy anything, even the location of a former lover. Angel smiled; he knew what that was like.
He took a moment to look around him, take in his surroundings. Every nook and cranny of this place he knew by heart. There was where Fred used her machine to open the demon’s head full of bugs. Over here was where Doyle had sent Angel back to Sunnydale. That was where Cordelia had gotten her first vision. By the counter was where he and Gunn had played with the mini hockey sticks. He could see the office that had belonged, for a while, to Wesley. And there, in the middle, was where he’d painted the pentagram in his desperate effort to get Connor back.
So many memories wrapped up in this place. For reasons he’d yet to fathom both he and the hotel had survived. He wasn’t human, but he didn’t expect that after signing the Shanshu prophecy. But he was still here on this plane of existence in his hotel.
“Oi! Bought more blood, saw we were runnin’ low.”
Angel sighed and rolled his eyes at Fate. Spike had managed to survive too, though Angel had to nurse him through injuries for those first two weeks. Spike had gone into the kitchen and Angel could hear him putting the blood and other things away. Probably Weetabix, Spike liked to put it in his blood. There was probably also coffee, Angel had become a bit of a caffeine addict.
“That was very…nice of you, Spike,” he replied.
“Don’t go sayin’ things like that, people will think I am nice. ‘Sides, didn’t do it to be nice. There’s a Dawson’s Creek marathon on this week and I didn’ want to go out for a while.”
“Whatever you say, Spike.”
Angel returned to the letter. It was addressed to the both of them. Angel and Spike it read. Had she written it that was because it was in alphabetical order? Or in order of who she dated first? Or who she loved the most? So Buffy knew they were both alive. Who did he have to thank for that, he wanted to know. He wondered if Buffy was writing to tell him she was done baking and to say sorry to Spike. If she was, then why hadn’t she called? Giles probably could probably find out the number here but it wouldn’t matter because Angel realized he hadn’t gotten around to having the line reconnected yet. He mentally smacked himself.
Instead he picked up the envelope, weighing it carefully, assessing how long the letter might be. He used a letter opener to slit it open carefully. He tilted it slightly, letting the single sheet of paper slide out and began to read.
“Who’s it from?” Spike asked. He was leaning in the doorway, mug of blood in hand.
Spike came around the counter and tried to read over Angel’s arm. Angel ignored the odor of smoke and decay that surrounded his grand-childe. The mess of battle hadn’t been entirely cleaned up yet. The blood was making him puckish though.
“What she say then? Anything about me?”
“She’s getting married.”
Angel crumpled the paper slowly, relishing every crinkle and crackle it made. He squeezed it in his hand before throwing it across the room. It landed softly by the elevator, rolling around a bit before stopping.
“You don’t say?”
Spike slapped his hand on Angel’s shoulder. Then he reached around for the envelope, trying to read the address. Blood sloshed from the mug and onto Angel’s hand. Angel snatched the envelope up, wadding it up and hurling it towards the letter. Spike backed away, shrugging.
“She didn’t happen to say who the wanker was did she?” He sipped his blood.
“No,” Angel scowled. “She just said to come and to bring you.”
His scowl deepened. Why on Earth would Buffy want them both there was beyond him. Was she inviting all her ex-boyfriends? Would that corn-fed college boy be there? Did Buffy want them all to suffer?
Spike interrupted his brooding. “So, she knows that we both…?”
“Survived the apocalypse?” Angel answered. “I would think that a letter addressed to both of us means yes, Spike. Did losing all that blood kill a few brain cells?”
“Well it was a stupid question.”
Spike paced the lobby, drinking his blood. Angel leaned on the counter, contemplating life’s cruelties.
“You don’t suppose…?”
Angel looked up, catching Spike’s look of fear, disgust and hate. He instantly knew what he was thinking. The one person they both despised in equal measure.
“The Immortal? No, I heard they broke up.”
Spike didn’t look happy, scowling and pacing even faster. “And you didn’t tell me?”
“You didn’t really need to know.”
Spike stalked closer to the counter. “Of course you did, so you could go running after her for yourself then?”
“No,” Angel replied angrily. “I didn’t know where she went when she left Italy.”
Spike snorted, turning back to pace the lobby once more. “Then who?”
They were silent, Spike drinking and wearing a groove in the lobby floor, Angel brooding. Buffy hadn’t mentioned a groom, which was kind of weird. Could this be her weird way of saying she wanted to marry him? Or Spike? A letter as a proposal? Angel looked across the lobby and saw Spike had come to the same conclusion.
“It isn’t you, William, you can forget it.”
“And you think it’s you, Gramps?”
They continued to stare at each other until Angel spared a glance towards the door.
“Can’t go anywhere, Spike, sunrise was about fifteen minutes ago.”
“This place has sewer access, right?”
They both scrambled for the basement door, pushing and shoving each other out of the way. Tripping and stumbling past boxes and weapons and assorted junk Angel kept rescuing from the ruins of Wolfram and Hart, they were stopped by a rusty grate which took their combined strength to lift. Once they splashed into the actual sewer, Spike started to go one way, but Angel grabbed the sleeve of his coat.
“Watch it, mate! That’s priceless you know.”
“Spike, you got it in Italy and there are ten more like it sitting in your room. They were the only thing you wanted when we looted the ruins.”
“Still priceless to me,” he pouted. “What you want anyway? I’m off to chase down Buffy.”
Angel shook his head. “You don’t know where she is, I do.”
“Oh, right. But don’t think I’m gonna let you get a head start.”
“I won’t. I was going to tell you the jet is still sitting at the airport and technically I’m still CEO.…”
Spike grinned, cuffing Angel on the shoulder. “What are we waiting for then?”
He strode off into the dark, Angel wondering why he didn’t stake Spike then and there, but realizing he’d have to explain the absence to Buffy, so instead he squared his shoulders and followed the sounds of The Sex Pistols. He may have liked William’s poetry, but Spike’s singing was worse than all the torture that had been inflicted on him in hell.
It was noon by the time they arrived at LAX, so there was still time to kill. Luckily, it didn’t matter that the most powerful law firm no longer had a physical presence in the city, the name still had power, so Angel and Spike were shown to a private lounge and supplied with blood. The small jet needed to be fueled anyway, a flight plan filed and a pilot found.
Angel occupied himself with a book brought by a willing human. Spike asked for and received music, in the form of an i-Pod. The volume of which he cranked loud enough for Angel to hear. Adding insult to injury, he sang along. Angel mentally counted the hours from here to London, including a stop somewhere on the coast to refuel and dug very deeply into his reserves of patience.
“You got any dosh?”
Angel looked up; Spike had the earphones out, the music off. “What?”
“Got any dosh? You know dough? Coin? Dinero? Money? Dollars?”
“I’ve got Wolfram and Hart’s credit card. It should still work, why?”
“We’re about to go see Buffy, mate. The woman of our dreams. We should look our best. They got shops here right?”
“It is an international airport, Spike. Let’s go.”
They bought soaps and gels and colognes. Spike checked out hair colors while Angel contemplated new clothes. Maybe something other than black. Even though black made him look good.
“Where we gonna do all this?” Spike asked.
“The lounge, it has a private bathroom.”
“Gonna tell me if I muck it up or do I have to ask one of the staff?”
“You can trust me, Spike. It isn’t like you haven’t done it before, right?”
“Always had someone t’help me.”
Angel cursed to himself. “I’ll help. But only if you tell me how my hair looks.”
“Are we there yet?”
“Spike, we haven’t even left the runway yet. And if you think you’re going to do that the entire way there, I will stake you right now.”
“You wouldn’t dare. Buffy’d kill you.”
“Are we there yet?”
“We’re only four hours in, Spike. A while to go yet. And what did I say about saying that?”
“Sorry. M’bored. What kind of private has no in flight entertainment? Did the evil lawyers have to make budget cuts on their travel?”
“Are we there yet?”
“We’re in New York for refueling, Spike. We have a few hours yet. And if you say that again I’m going to bind and gag you.”
“Always did like a bit of bondage I did.”
“It won’t be fun.”
“Wanna take in a show? Been ages since I’ve seen a good show.”
“For fuck’s sake, Spike, we’re circling Heathrow, you can stop that now!”
London was dark when they finally arrived. They’d secured a private limo because the branch of Wolfram and Hart had found out he was coming and were as friendly as the Roman branch had been. In deference to their vampiric nature, Buffy was having the wedding at night. They had about two hours to get to the church, which was located just on the outskirts of the city, and they were going to need every minute of it thanks to traffic.
“How do you know where we’re going?”Spike asked.
“Buffy gave us the address, photographic memory,” Angel replied. He drummed his fingers on the door handle anxiously as he watched the traffic pass, the lights of the city whiz by. The driver passed back a flask to Spike, who sniffed it when he opened it.
“Blood. Want some?”
“Sure, why not?”
Once free of the city’s nightmarish street planning, the limo raced full tilt to the address Buffy had given. It pulled into the parking lot with a squeal, Angel and Spike opening doors and racing for the large oak doors before the vehicle came to a complete stop. They opened the doors, the church full but none of the attendees noticing their late arrival.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
They were too late. Angel and Spike watched as Buffy leaned in to kiss a man whose face was obscured by shadows. Everyone stood, clapping and cheering. Angel blinked, wondering what the hell was going on. He’d come, they’d both come with the hope that….It wasn’t either of them. It was never going to be either of them. Buffy had known it all along, yet said nothing in the letter. Why would she do that? Why?
“But…but…cookie dough…baking….” Angel sputtered.
“Get over it, ‘gelus,” Spike said. “She’s moved on, she’s happy.”
Buffy turned to face her friends and family. She was positively glowing. Spike was right, she was happy. And maybe that was why she’d invited them, to let them know they had no chance any more. Spike was patting him on the back, stewing in his own misery. Angel awkwardly returned the gesture. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe he should look Nina up.
They both looked up to see Buffy making her way down the aisle.
“You came. Lemme introduce you. Angel, Spike, you know my husband….”