"It started with a girl..."
Joined: 28 Nov 2003
|Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:30 pm Post subject: Shades of the Past ch 1 Wes & ensemble
|Disclaimer - not mine (outside of Ceara). Joss owns all. I make no money off of this
Spoilers - zippo. Set just after Epiphany S2
Rating - R for sexual themes
feedback - please
Wesley looked at his watch then back at the door.
"Wesley, what is it?" Cordy asked, slapping a file down on her desk.
Startled, he glanced around. "What's what?" Wesley asked, shocked at the sharpness in her voice.
"Why are you checking your watch every ten seconds?" Gunn asked, looking up from where he was sharpening some stakes.
"It's very annoying," Cordy added.
"I'm waiting for Ceara Charging Thunder," Wesley replied. "She's late."
"She? A new lady friend, English?" Gunn shot him a smarmy grin.
"Old lady friend actually." Wesley's forehead creased. "That came out wrong. She's neither old nor a lady friend, not like you mean. I've known her mostly by our correspondence but we used to hang out, if you will, at the Watcher's headquarters in London." A subtle smile tugged at his lips as fondness shone in his eyes.
"She's a Watcher?" Cordy asked, wrinkling her nose not in the mood to deal with a Watcher. In her experience they were all uptight snobs, Wesley excepted.
"Actually no. She was a Slayer-in-Waiting once."
Wesley spun at the new voice. A somewhat panicky look flickered across his thin face. "Angel, I wasn't expecting you to be awake yet."
Angel shrugged, swinging into one of the seats near Gunn. He examined the stakes appreciatively. "Couldn't sleep. Who's a Slayer-in-Waiting?"
"What's a Slayer-in-Waiting?" Gunn asked.
"The Watchers are able to identify possible Slayers. When we do, we get a Watcher with them to prepare and train them just in case. Very often these girls are extremely young. Charging Thunder was found in Australia and brought to England to train. She was a most difficult woman though much of that had to do with her ancestry. A Lakota-Irish woman, Australian raised, there were three separate cultural resentments against the English," Wesley said sadly.
"So why did you invite Ms. Difficult here?" Cordy asked, crossing her arms. She gave Wes a look that said she had best not be expected to entertain someone who was likely to really annoy her. "Oh, I hear the kettle. Could you go get it, please Gunn? I feel a headache coming on." Cordy gave Wesley a look.
"She's a psychic of some renown. She specializes in talking to ghosts and psychometry. She works with the police quite often," Wesley said as Gunn left to make the tea. It was easier than arguing with Cordy that he wasn't there to make tea and clean
"That doesn't exactly explain why you invited her here," Angel said, his dark eyes leveling on Wesley. There was a hint of edge to his curiosity that made Wesley squirmy.
"Maybe you ought to bring her by my apartment to chat with Dennis," Cordy said, brightly, thinking Dennis might like that.
"That is why she's come here. Think about it, Angel. There was so much violent death here in the Hyperion. Ceara could be here for years and probably not document all the activity," Wesley said animatedly, his thin face glowing the thought of doing research.
"And you didn't tell us this earlier, why?" Angel asked. The edge in his eyes reflected in the sharpness of his voice. His friends could tell he was not thrilled at this prospect.
Wesley hung his head. "You're a private man and you're a vampire. I wasn't sure how you'd handle a one-time potential Slayer here. I thought if she were here while you were asleep it might be better." When he had come up with the idea, it had sounded good. Now it seemed lame.
"You still should have told me." Angel noted the pained look in Wesley's dark eyes. This spoke volumes towards the strain on their relationship was under ever since he had fired his friends and come back as their employee. That term hadn't really redefined the relationship. He still acted like the group's alpha just like he was now, trying to make Wesley submit. His face softened. "But it's all right. I'd be interested in meeting her. She does know I'm here, right? Even Slayers-in-waiting are usually able to spot a vampire."
"She knows your full history, Angel." Wesley's lean body relaxed at this acceptance of his idea. "This lateness of her is most irritating however. Two to one she'll tell us she's on Indian time, her usual excuse for being late. Promptness is not one of her virtues," Wesley lamented.
As if on cue someone knocked on the main doors. Wesley and Cordy looked at each other shocked to hear it. Most people just wandered in.
"That must be her and only an hour late. I suppose for her that's doing good," Wesley groused as he let her in.
A tall slim woman sauntered inside. She stopped almost immediately, her head tilting back giving the impression of a predator sniffing the wind. Wesley's hello died on his tongue. He knew the vacant look in her eyes and knew she was seeing something no one else in the hotel did. One of her hands came up, index finger out like a gun. She moved jerkily forward. "Here, here, here," she muttered walking through the lobby.
"Um, Wesley what is she doing?" Cordy asked, edging closer to the ex-Watcher.
"She's mapping out the massacre the bellboy left behind," he said softly, recognizing the spots she said 'here' in from the old crime scene photos.
She finally came to a stop in front of Angel. She swept her long raven hair out of eyes nearly as black. Her eyes raked over him.
"I didn't expect you to be awake. I'm Ceara Charging Thunder. You must be Angel. How very curious to meet you."
He smiled faintly, realizing she was nearly his height . "You're rather tall. When I met Buffy I thought she'd be built a bit more like you."
"She's the current Slayer, isn't she?" Ceara asked. "And hello, Wes. You look good thin. You need to eat."
"I do not," Wesley said, smoothing his shirt trying to see what she did. "And I'm glad to see you again, Ceara. It's been too long."
"Yes Buffy is. Wesley said you wanted to look around here for the ghosts. It seems like you've seen a few already but I am curious as to why you want to do this," Angel said.
"It's sort of what I do only now I get paid for it," she replied, staring just over his shoulder. He half-turned looking for whatever she saw but didn't see anything.
"Say again?" Cordy asked, then turned hearing Gunn's footsteps coming back into the room.
He took a quick look at Ceara and gave her a goofy grin. He set the tea tray in front of Cordy nearly spilling everything in his haste. "I know you. Aren't you the hostess of Paranormal Investigations'?"
"Yes, I am." Smiling, she stuck out her hand and Gunn shook it heartily.
"I'm Charles Gunn, one of Angel Investigations' best men." He ran a hand over his shaved head, smiling almost bashfully.
"We're so glad he thinks so." Cordy rolled her eyes.
"You're even prettier in person than you are on TV," Gunn said, eyeing alternately her lush bustline and her large eyes that were set off by a luxuriant fringe of lashes. Full pouty lips drew a man's eye away from her slightly aquiline nose. A pale cocoa blush rode cheekbones high enough to give lips frostbite if one dared kiss them. Gunn liked what he saw
"Thank you, Charles. It's nice to meet you." Ceara grinned at him then finally went over to Wesley and gave him a rib-creaking hug. "See, hlete, I can pick you up like a twig."
"I'm not too thin and you promised not to call me that." Wesley pouted.
"Take care of yourself, and I won't," Ceara said, tapping his chin. "Hlete, is a good-for-nothing," she added for the other's benefit. Gunn snorted as Wesley rolled his eyes.
"Wait! Did he say TV? You're on TV?" Cordy's eyes gleamed eagerly. "I'm an actress,okay, I don't have a big resume yet but still. Cordelia Chase, you might have seen a commercial or two."
"I'm not exactly an actress, Cordelia. I host a show on investigating the paranormal. I head up a team of parapsychologists who examine hauntings, go into buildings talk to the ghosts, et cetera. We work the history of the area into the show as well. It's a lot of fun but it's not acting," Ceara said quickly, sensing where the conversation was going
"You aren't looking to put the Hyperion on the show, are you? Is that why Wesley didn't tell me you were coming?" Angel asked, glaring daggers in Wesley's direction.
"You didn't tell him?" Ceara glanced at her friend with slotted eyes. "No, Angel, that's not it. I'm here for play time. But I do know the producers of the show have contacted the leaseholder for the hotel since it has such a reputation. It has nothing to do with my visit here though."
"I really don't want camera crews in here," Angel huffed. He circled back to Wesley's side, his eye glinting angrily.
"Understood and I do have some pull as to which stories I do. If I can steer them away from you, I will." Ceara offered, stepping over to Wesley almost protectively.
Angel looked at her, realizing she wasn't afraid of him and didn't like his aggressive stance toward her friend. "Thanks." He seemed mollified and somewhat pleased to see Wesley had such a friend.
"Do you want me to not do this at all? I'll understand if you don't." The offer was less than enthusiastic.
Angel couldn't think of a reason why she shouldn't be allowed. "No, you can do what you came to do," Angel replied.
"Is there anything you need us to do?" Wesley asked.
"Try not to let me get in your way. I could use a drink of water before I start."
"I'll get it. I think Wes was about to complain about you being late," Cordy said, shooting him a reproachful look, her eyes narrowed.
"Ah, big surprise there. Have yet to meet a Watcher who wasn't entirely anal," Ceara said.
"I'm not anal." Wesley puffed himself up a bit then deflated seeing all the looks of disbelief on his friends' faces.
"Ha!" Cordy laughed.
"I'm not." He stuck out his lower lip. "I just don't think it's much to ask for a little promptness."
"I was prompt. I've been sitting on the sidewalk for nearly an hour debating whether or not I was coming in here," Ceara informed him.
"Why?" Gunn asked.
"Ever see that Michael J. Fox movie, 'The Frighteners?' There was this house they anthropomorphized into this evil devil face thingie. This hotel has the same sort of look to it," Ceara replied.
"Well, I've had cheerier thoughts," Cordy said, heading off for the water.
"And yet you came in." Wesley gave her an admiring look. He never failed to marvel at her spirit. Every now and then he wished they had hit it off better in the manner Gunn had implied earlier.
Ceara spun a circle, arms wide. "How could I pass on the chance?"
"One would make a case that anyone in her right mind would," Angel said, smiling at her enthusiasm.
"Right mind? You think I might be in my right mind?" Ceara's grin broadened and he laughed softly.
"Not if you have English as a friend," Gunn said.
"Excellent point." She patted Wesley's back.
Wesley's eyes narrowed as he pulled off his glasses. "I really must protest."
"Oh, hush," Cordy said, bustling past with a glass of water.
"Thanks." Ceara drained the glass in two smooth swallows.
"What else do you need from us?" Wesley asked.
"You can watch me work if you want. I mostly need paper and pens to record what I learn and some quiet so the ultra low frequency tapes won't get disturbed," Ceara said, taking out her tablet and pens.
"Well, since the phones don't exactly ring off the hook here your tapes should be okay," Cordy said, rolling her eyes, going back to her desk.
"I could work for hours just in this lobby," Ceara replied, her black eyes gleaming with anticipation.
"Would you like a tour first?" Angel asked.
"I'll take you up on that after I work on the lobby if you don't mind."
"Do you plan on coming back here then? I would think it would take days for you to thoroughly talk to all the ghosts," Angel said, not sure he liked that idea. When had he become so mired in routine?
"True. Angel, I'm getting a real hint of resistance here. If you don't want me to do this, I'll go," she offered again.
"Stay. Come back whenever you like. Angel doesn't run the show. English does," Gunn said, leveling his gaze at Angel, daring him to protest again.
"Problem is if Wes gets mad, I know I can knock him on his ass. If Angel gets mad, well it's been a little while since I've staked a vampire and I'd really hate to have to do it." Ceara thought she could almost smell the testosterone.
"It's all right, Ceara. Take your time. Come back if you need to. I'm just well, I'm not really used to company," Angel said, backing down. Maybe he should just go back to bed before he ended up fighting when he really didn't want to.
"Understandable. I'll keep out of your way. But could I ask about an impression I get about that banister? It's not a ghost or anything but there are times when bad things leave their imprints on things. I'm curious why a group of people hung you, Angel. Surely they didn't know you were a vampire or they'd know better than to try that." Ceara looked at the banister, taking his hand trying to heighten the sense she got from it. Her hand felt nearly as cold as his and that shocked Angel. He moved his other hand in front of her feeling a blob of cold.
She smiled. "That's the entities, that cold you feel."
"There was a Thessulac demon in here. We only cleared it out recently," Angel replied. "It feeds off of negative emotions, creates suspicion and guilt."
"And what's more negative than mob mentality." Ceara wrinkled her nose. "It is gone, right?"
"Good. I don't mind ghosts but I hate dealing with demons." She took her tablet and went to a spot on the floor and sat. She set up her tape equipment and seemed to just wait.
"I think maybe I'll give sleeping another shot if no one minds. That'll get me out of your way, Ceara," Angel said.
"You're not in my way but we all need sleep, right. When you feel up to that tour I'd love it," she replied.
"Of course," Angel said then headed off.
"Think she'd like to go out for dinner?" Gunn whispered and his friends looked at him surprised. They weren't used to him being interested in anything but work.
"She's older than you, Gunn," Wesley said.
"So? She's not that much older. Maybe she likes them young and buff." Gunn strutted a bit for effect. Cordy rolled her eyes, kicking back in her chair, feeling a bit disappointed no one had looked at her like that in a way.
"If the gossip from when we were teens back in London was true she likes them older," Wesley replied
"Don't ruin my fantasy," Gunn said, giving Wes a good-natured shove.
"Was it good gossip?" Cordy asked, utterly bored with her work for the day and even old gossip would be a welcome diversion.
"Is gossip ever good?" Wesley shot back. Cordy gave him a look that said 'well, of course.' He shrugged. "I guess it was. It was said Ceara was having an affair with a Watcher while she was a Slayer-in-Waiting."
"Okay, given what I know about Watchers just let me say, ewww." Cordy gave a full body shudder.
"Hey!" Wesley gave her his best indignant look. Cordy just lifted an eyebrow daring him to contradict her. "At any rate, she was supposed to be having an affair with Rupert Giles."
"Giles!" Cordy's jaw fell open. "I'll repeat. Ewww. Was it true?"
"Who's this Giles person? Anyone we should worry about?" Gunn asked, misreading the look on Cordy's face to mean Giles was a threat.
"He's Buffy's Watcher. I doubt it was true. The Council wouldn't have let it continue if it were," Wesley replied.
"It's true." Ceara's head swiveled so she looked at them over her shoulder. "Almost."
"You have hearing like a cat's," Cordy said, far too self-assured to blush.
"Blame it on Mom. She's a biologist, had me out in the Outback for a good part of my life, tracking mammals. It's gotten so I can hear a mouse fart I swear."
"You had an affair with Giles. That moves beyond 'eww' to the realm of yuck," Cordy said, trying to figure out what anyone would see in that fussy bag of tweed. She conveniently forgot she had been interested in the fussy blue bag of tweed that had been Wesley back when they first met.
"You said it was true. Back when I told you I took Mr. Giles' place as Buffy's Watcher, you never even let on you knew him." Wesley looked stunned. "Having met the man, I really do have trouble seeing him breaking the rules." He pushed his glasses up, walking over to her. "And I knew you back then. How could I have missed it? I even asked you out but "
"You were a naŠve prig?" Ceara leaned back, looking up at him. "And I said sort of. He and I weren't involved until I was no longer considered a candidate. They were courting me to be a Watcher at the time. We were together very discreetly for over a year. It just didn't work out though."
"You being a Watcher or you and Giles - uh forget I asked that. If you and Giles had worked out, you'd have been with him in the library in a tweed skirt or something," Cordy said, pulling a long face.
"I don't want to know what you mean by that, do I? But yes, I turned down being a Watcher. It wasn't for me. I still had a lot of issues to work out and as for Rupert he bolted on me when things turned serious. But that was all a long time ago but not as long as this bellboy's badness. I'm going to be talking to him for a long time," Ceara said then turned back to her work.
Gunn clamped a hand on Wesley's slim shoulder. "You know, English, I used to think it was just you who was weird but obviously its anyone in the whole Watcher-Slayer gig."
Wesley canted his eyes at the younger man. "Not funny."
"Then why's Cordy laughing?"
|S J Smith
Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Location: Scariest Place in Florida
|Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 7:04 pm Post subject:
|Ceara!!! Oh, boy, I'd forgotten about this story! Hee hee hee!
"I know it gives the enemy a handhold, but somehow I feel better going to a big battle with pretty hair. " --Buffy, in Kristi's "Fallen Angels"
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