Epilogue: "A Little Apocalypse, Now and Then" (or "Story Teller, Revisited")

Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep.
John Milton, Paradise Lost. Book iv. Line 677.

Somewhere nearby, a little later...

Andrew Wells, self-styled Watcher Extraordinaire and Trusted Confidante of the 'Slayers of Vampyres', crept out of his hiding place behind some flattened cardboard boxes in the fenced-off dead end of an alley.

It had been several hours since the last of the strange and terrifying people with wings (angels are as real as demons? Did everybody else know that and just forgot to mention it?) and the hordes of truly horrifying demons briefly loosed upon the earth had vanished from his alley and the sounds of the city had returned to normal, but his hands were still trembling.

Buffy had been very upset with him, when she found out that he hadn't told her the whole truth about his trip to L.A. to retrieve Dana, the emotionally damaged slayer, and that he had entirely neglected to mention the visit of Angel and Spike to Rome. When the Council's seers had started having visions of Angel and Spike and a few others facing an overwhelming army of hell-spawn, that cat had finally come out of the bag.

It also seemed that his estimation of which side Angel was really on had been in error.

While Buffy was trying to put together a team of slayers to save Angel's bacon (or, more likely, to beat back the rest of the demons and help clean up the greasy stain that would be the only thing left of Angel and the beautifully chiseled Spike by the time they arrived), Andrew had decided to come ahead. He had been hoping to redeem himself at least a little bit in the eyes of Buffy and Dawn by reaching Angel and Spike before the battle was irrevocably underway, letting them know that they'd have super-powered reinforcements if they could just put off their mini-apocalypse for a day or two.

Unfortunately, Andrew didn't have the magical skills or power necessary to teleport himself from Italy to California, and he was slightly out of pocket due to a recent, unexpected auction of incredibly rare Star Trek memorabilia. So, he could only afford to fly stand-by, and he'd arrived too late to give warning, yet early enough to be within the sphere of battle when the area around the Hyperion hotel was suddenly cut off from everywhere else.

To Andrew, it seemed as though he'd been sealed off by something like that negative zone barrier that had trapped the Inhumans in Fantastic Four #48 (or was it 45? He was too scared to even remember which issue it was, at that point).

Andrew wasn't really a fighter, even though he'd tried his best in the final battle of Sunnydale, so there was nothing he could do to help, it seemed. He couldn't even help Angel's friend who arrived on the scene already bleeding, because by the time he realized that Gunn was injured an army of demons was charging into the space between them.

Andrew was about to scream and try to burrow even deeper into his hiding place when he realized that there was also an army of angels on the scene, hovering just above his line of sight. And these winged avengers (or was vengeance a sin? Could you call angels – even warrior angels – 'avengers' and not get smote, especially if they were really nearby at the time?) were carrying wicked-looking (no, cool-looking, he corrected himself, ever ready to edit where necessary to protect himself) weapons. It was scary as 'heck', still, but at least there was now a chance he might survive.

And the others, too, of course – they might survive, as well. He really was worried about Angel and his friends, he reminded himself, even if some people didn't think so.

He would have come out of hiding after the fighting was done, he really would have, except then a bunch of freaky visions had started appearing in his head. He'd been mesmerized, and slightly appalled at times, by what he'd seen – he remembered that much – but what he couldn't remember now was what he'd seen that had inspired those emotional reactions.

Andrew got to his feet, finally, and decided that it was time to find Angel and the others, and perhaps at last he could offer some assistance in first aid, or at least boil water or something. He headed towards what seemed to be the back door of the Hyperion, hoping that he'd be able to make peace with Angel's people - or the ones that had survived - so they might speak well of him to Buffy when she and her cavalry of over-caffeinated slayers finally got there.

As he walked, Andrew found himself singing under his breath. It was a catchy tune, but he couldn't recall where he'd heard it before or how he'd thought up his own lyrics so quickly:

"Andrew the Mighty,
He's very bright. He
Knows all the Watcher lore,
And tells it with a lot of gore.
Cherubim and Seraphim
Tremble at the sound of him.
He's every Slayer's true friend,
He's every Vampyre's bitter end
Except for those whose souls attend!
He's Andrew
I'm Andrew the Mighty!"

I have to work on that rhyme scheme, Andrew thought to himself before starting the second verse that sprang so effortlessly to his agile brain.

After all, I don't want to accidentally summon more flying monkeys whenever I sing my new theme song.

The End ( . . . unless anybody has a good idea for a sequel, of course..., or is dying to see what happens if Spike/Gabrielle and Buffy/Xena can finally get their happy butt-kicking ever after ending that they so richly deserve by this point!)

[The original lyrics to the song "Joxer the Mighty" from Xena: Warrior rincess are available on various fan sites, including "Whoosh!" (the 'International Journal for Xena Studies')]