Previous parts of the story can be found at
Usual warnings - there's been MAJOR character death in earlier parts, if you don't like that you probably shouldn't read this.
This is a BtVS / Angel / Lou Grant crossover fiction, a sequel to my earlier story Family Issues, a BtVS / Men in Black crossover. It isn't necessary to have read Family Issues, all essential information will be included in this story, but it helps. For details of how this story ties into series continuity see part I. For more information on the Lou Grant TV series see the author's note, published as a separate chapter (at the end of chapter 1 on fanfiction.net)
Characters and settings are used without permission, and with no intention of damaging copyright in the original stories. This story may not be distributed on any profit-making basis. Distribution Fanfiction.net, Twisting The Hellmouth, Fonts of Wisdom, other sites please ask. I'm British, so's my spelling - live with it.
Author's Note: I'm currently busy on a non-fiction writing project which will occupy most of my free time for the next few months. I am not abandoning any of my ongoing stories, but updates will be very slow.
by Marcus L. Rowland
"So now you're Connor's godmother," said Willow, as they waited in the lobby of the church.
"I know," said Billie. "It feels a little odd, considering..."
"Considering you killed his father," Cordelia said accusingly, rocking Connor gently in her arms.
"Cordy, this isn't the time," said Gunn.
"They killed Angel."
"You remember why? Remember what I was doing the first time I ran into Angel?"
"It's not the same."
"It's exactly the same. Vamps killed my sister. Angel killed the man's wife and kids. What do you expect him to do?"
"Cordy," said Willow, "We're all kinda numb right now, and I guess that sooner or later we'll have to mourn Angel properly. But right now our priority has to be to get through this, and I think our chances will be a hell of a lot better if Holtz isn't part of the problem."
"She's right," said Fred, helping April to support the barely-conscious Justine. Both took care to keep her well out of reach of Connor. "I hate it, but she's right."
"What now?" said Holtz, joining them from the chapel.
"Wesley's moving the cars," said Willow. "Once they're outside we'll head back to the Hyperion, have a late lunch."
"You were serious?"
"Yeah. We've got to de-spell Justine, and I think we need to talk about the guy that brought you here, make sure that he hasn't left any little surprises in you."
"You think I might be under a spell too?"
"Maybe. Nothing as obvious as Justine, but there could be something there. It'll take some tests to be sure you're clean."
"Then you are a witch."
"Used to be, not so much these days. We both are. You've got a problem with that?"
"I'm... uncomfortable with magic."
"But you let someone cast a honking big spell on you, to travel through time."
"I had nothing left in my own time, and it was the only way to get my revenge."
"I guess you got what you wanted."
"It feels less... satisfying than I'd expected."
"The trouble with revenge," said Billie, "is that once you've got it, there's nothing left to look forward to."
"Get that one out of a fortune cookie?" Cordelia asked bitterly.
"Cordy," said Fred. "Shut up." Everyone stared at her. "You think you're the only one that's sorry Angel's dead? We all miss him, but we've got to face facts and move on. And the fact we've got to face is that without Angel we're incredibly vulnerable. Wolfram and Hart are after Connor, so are all those cults and demons. We've got to find a way to protect him, and we're not going to find it by standing here bickering."
"Right now the only edge we've got is that nobody else knows Angel's dead. That's not going to last, while it does we need to work on our defences, find ways to keep them off our back. Any questions?"
"Uh.. no. I guess you're right. So what's your plan?"
"I was afraid you'd ask me that...."
Wesley came in and said "We'd better go. I've parked all the cars outside."
"Someone will need to drive us," said Holtz. "I don't think Miss Cooper is capable."
"I'll do it," said April.
"Right," said Wesley. "Let's move."
As they came out of the church three white vans screeched to a halt, boxing in the cars, and armed men in ski masks piled out. "Friends of yours?" asked Wesley.
"No," said Holtz.
"Hand over the child and nobody gets hurt," said the man in the lead.
"Indeed?" asked Holtz, drawing his sword. "Are you willing to stake your life on that?"
"Willow," said Tara, "I think this is an emergency."
"Yeah. Thicken" Her eyes darkened, and the air in front of them seemed distorted. Smoke began to pour from the hood of one of the vans. In moments all three were ablaze, and the kidnappers paused uncertainly. Their leader tried to fire his gun; the bullets hung in the air, as though embedded in thick jelly, slowly drifting down towards the ground.
"Okay," said Willow. "I can hold them for a while. Can you get the cars out?"
"Sure." Gunn got into Cordelia's jeep and drove forward in low gear, pushing one of the vans backward into the middle of the road.
"If he's damaged the chrome..." began Cordelia.
"Cordy," said Fred, "I love ya and all, but sometimes you are so amazingly shallow..."
Behind the distortion the gunmen seemed to be having problems. One after another collapsed, until only the leader was left standing. Suddenly his pistol began to glow redly. He dropped it with a yelp then raised his hands. "Okay," said Willow, sagging against Tara.
"Go back to your masters," said Holtz, "and tell them that we grow weary of these games."
"Better start running," said Billie. He looked at them and started to run, leaving the other gunmen without a second glance.
"Come on," shouted Gunn, "let's get out of here before they come back with reinforcements."
"Willow," said Wesley, once they'd reached the Hyperion, "If you and Tara can start to remove the spell from Justine, I'll order some food."
"Where's Zap?" asked Billie, suddenly realising that the kitten was missing.
"Still following that guy," said April. "He took a cab once he was clear of the church, Zap's riding on the back fender, says they're heading for the Wolfram and Hart building."
"I know their physical security isn't amazing," said Willow, "but I think we know what they want, and I'd rather they didn't get a good look at him. Maybe he'd better head back."
"He wants to reconnoitre."
"We already have a good deal of information on the building," said Wesley. "Chinese good for everyone?"
"Tell him no, it's too big a risk. Chinese is fine for me."
"And tell him good work with the gunmen and the vans."
"That wasn't you?" asked Holtz, pretending to ignore the way everyone was watching him.
"No. I kept them blocked, but Zap took them out."
"Okay," said Cordelia, handing Connor to Fred, "I've had it with being nice. Why are we letting this guy anywhere near us?"
"Do you have a better suggestion?" asked Wesley.
"For all we know he's gonna kill Connor and the rest of us. Why shouldn't he? I want him out of here."
"I have what I wanted," said Holtz, "Connor and the rest of you are... irrelevant now. And I have no intention of leaving without Miss Cooper."
"He's telling the truth," said Tara, "and as far as I can tell he isn't under any spells."
"How did Wolfram and Hart find us then?" asked Cordelia, "Are you telling me that wasn't him?"
"That's a good question," said Wesley, "but we already know that they watch the hotel. I think that they must have noticed us leave and decided to follow."
"It makes sense," said Gunn, "must have taken a while to get those guys in position. Good thing they didn't stop that bitch before you two got together."
"Miss Cooper was followed when she left the hotel," said Holtz, "but told me she was able to shake them off."
"That makes sense. They saw her with the kid, chased her but lost her, then saw us going looking for her and followed us to the church."
Cordelia sat down, looking defeated, and began to sob. Fred patted her back awkwardly and made "there there" noises.
"So what's her story?" asked Gunn, as Willow and Tara began to remove the spell from Justine.
"Vampires killed her sister," said Holtz, "she wanted revenge."
"Yeah, I know how that goes. So the kidnapping Connor part, was that just the spell on her?"
"She suggested it, with the idea that we would have to be sure that he wasn't demonic, I don't know how much of that was her, and how much was the spell. It seemed a good idea at the time."
"These things always do," said Wesley. "You'll appreciate that you've created a problem for us. Wolfram and Hart aren't going to go away, and our main deterrent against them was Angel. Presumably your sponsor... who might that be, incidentally?"
"His name is Sahjan."
"Presumably this Sahjan has his own reasons to want Connor eliminated. I have to ask if you intend to help him."
"Certainly not. He's my godson now."
"And you take that seriously, of course."
"Well then, perhaps you could tell me more about this Sahjan."
"I'm not sure," said Holtz, looking troubled. "He helped me to find Angelus, I don't feel that betraying him..."
"He's using you," said Billie, "like he used Justine and me. He's spent hundreds of years plotting against Connor. For all you know the death of your family could have been part of his plan."
"I don't think so," said Willow, looking up from a pile of herbs. "I'm sorry, I kinda liked Angel when he had the soul, but I saw what he was like without it. Once he had someone in his sights he'd go after the family first, prolong the agony."
"What happens now?" asked Fred. "Not just with Sahjan... there are decisions to be made about Connor's future."
"It's a mess," said Wesley. "I'm not sure if Angel has a will, but even if he does we have no proof of his death. Nothing that a court would accept anyway. Just the ownership of this building must involve a dozen different banks and state agencies, and they're gonna want to see some payment."
"Actually," said April, "that isn't the case."
"What do you mean?" asked Willow.
"When we began negotiating our lease here I realised that Angel was essentially at the mercy of the mortgage holders. If Anya's business plan worked as expected the property would become much more valuable, and they could use various stratagems to increase the interest and even foreclose. It seemed an unnecessary complication, so I took steps to eliminate it."
"Are you saying what I think you're saying?"
"SunnyD Technology owns the mortgages on this building. It seemed a logical precaution, and the total budget commitment was considerably less than the renovation of the offices."
"And you were planning to tell me this when?"
"It's in the company records and last month's financial statement," said April, sounding a little hurt. "You signed the papers when we were negotiating with Angel."
"Oh... Okay, April, try to remember I'm really not very good at this stuff yet, and explain things simply. Right, so we own the mortgages. Who actually owns the building?"
"The owner of record is Connor. I think Angel had it transferred shortly after he was born."
"Okay... what about Angel Investigations."
"Wesley is the company's executive director, with all employees participants in a profit-sharing arrangement which pays their wages."
"Really?" said Wesley. "I never realised that Angel had formalised things to that extent."
"I checked thoroughly and I could find no problems with any of the paperwork."
"Lilah Morgan did it," said Cordelia. "One of the other lawyers, Gavin something, was scoring points by finding ways to harass Angel. She wanted to mess up his plans so she faked up a load of documents to make everything legal. That was before Connor was born, but Angel must have gone to another attorney to make the changes when Connor was born."
"That simplifies things considerably," said Wesley. "Then our major concerns are Connor and this Sahjan chap. And Wolfram and Hart, of course."
"Not to mention all the cults and the other guys that were after Connor. Angel took most of them out, but there are probably a few around."
"At the moment they all think that Angel's still... ah, alive. They'll be on us like a pack of wolves once they hear he's dead... um, deader."
"Unless we can find some way to scare them off," said Willow, "or make them think he's still around."
"We might gain a few days by a deception," said Wesley, "but that won't help us in the longer term."
"Does anyone outside this room know he's gone?" asked Billie.
Everyone looked at Holtz, who said "No, I've spoken to nobody, and as far as I know neither has Miss Cooper."
Justine spluttered out a mouthful of Willow's potion and said "Yecch... No, I didn't tell anyone either."
"How are you feeling now," asked Willow.
Willow slapped her. "That's for lying to me, and for what you called me in church."
"Uhh... yeah, well, lying was the only way I could get at Angelus. I'm sorry about the thing in church."
"Do you still want to hurt Connor?" asked Tara.
"He's really just an ordinary kid?"
"Then I suppose not. Don't know why I was so hot to kill him before."
"That would be the spell," said Willow. "Okay, we'll need to do a little more to counter it completely, but you ought to be okay."
"I got the same... I guess you'd call it a signature... from both spells," said Tara, "and it feels a lot like the residual aura Holtz has."
"From travelling in time?" asked Billie.
"I think so."
"So it was definitely Sahjan," mused Holtz.
"We're gonna need a lot more information about him," said Willow.
"I'm still indebted to him," said Holtz.
"But you won't interfere if we try to stop him?"
The lobby doors swung open, and a delivery boy came in with a box full of containers of Chinese food. As he was leaving Lorne came downstairs, followed by a tall muscular figure wearing odd leather clothing.
"Hey, everyone, look who just showed up!"
Everyone stared. Cordelia shouted "Groo!" and ran to him, hugged him, and started to sob again.
"And I thought today couldn't get any weirder," said Gunn.
To Be Continued
Comments please - I'll be posting to archives tonight.