Hotel California
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The Scoobie Gang descends on Los Angeles to help with a little portal problem.

The Hyperion Hotel, LA

May 22, 2001

"Best quote"

The California-Spanish building known as the Hyperion Hotel was built in the 20s. Through the cast iron gates from the sidewalk, is a small front courtyard with a rectangular fountain, and a mythological figure holding a bowl from which water flows. Greenery frames the walls and a large set of glass double doors that open into a high ceilinged lobby. Dark red carpet descends the four steps to the lobby floor and climb the two sets of stairways that lead to the second floor. These stairways branch off in front of two doors on the landing. The green marble floors are broken by wavy red inserts, as are the walls broken by a red border running their length. A set of doors identical to those of the entrance lead to a small enclosed garden.

Cream-colored pillars line two sides of the room, holding up the second-floor balconies that look out onto the lobby and creating arches. Underneath one of them is a large plate glass window that looks into the hotel office - now used by the head of Angel Investigations. There's a wraparound counter with dark wood paneling and a top the same color as the floor. Behind it are filing cabinets and a pair of desks pushed together. A navy blue circular couch harkening back to a 50s design sits close by. A large wooden, glass-door cabinet pushed up against the wall holds a large assortment of weapons.

"Never fightin' a Carpathian Sandworm again."

The doors to the Hyperion Hotel open nice and wide as Charles Gunn leads the way into the hotel. He's covered in what can only be a combination of blood, guts, sand and a very annoyed attitude. He's got his axe in his hand, holding it tightly as he just immediately continues to stride through the lobby and off towards the first place to sit himself down.

The axe that gets dropped, dripping with congealed dark bluish blood, is immediately lifted from the floor and floated off towards the weapon's case, the moment Gunn plants himself down on the sofa. He looks tired and worn out, as if he has been fighting things for quite sometime. And by quite sometime we mean Hours. Because that's how long it takes to track and kill a Carpathian Sandworm slithering loose in Los Angeles.

"Angel, Wes, Anybody gets the next one. Seriously."

There's a small squeak when the axe clatters to the floor and Gunn plants himself onto the sofa. It sounds like there is someone or something is hiding under there.

The dropping of the axe actually prompts Wesley to tug the glasses from his nose. Carefully, on the edge of his shirt he rubs at the lenses persistently in a harried nearly-fruitless effort to remove all of the smudges, and, perhaps, in his own way to wash his hands (or his glasses) of Gunn's urging. The glasses are perched on Wesley's nose once more as his very British, nearly-harsh, facial expression takes over. There's an unemotional quality to each of his features as his head lulls to the side.

"I had this understanding we work as a team," Wesley observes while his hands trail into his pockets. The very corners of his mouth tug upwards just a stitch, nearly imperceivably, at his next thought, "Right, then. So next time you take the research and we'll chase the monster?" Once more he deadpans, "Surely you would like to spend more time in the library. Wouldn't we all?"

Gunn narrows his eyes for just a moment, before looking over in the direction of the library and then back to Wes. "Demons it is." Gunn decides. He'd clearly rather be almost eaten on a regular basis than read any of Wesley's books. Ever. At all. Because, Wesley's books are boring.

The squeak is heard and Gunn leans over to peer down and beneath the sofa. Eyes softening immediately because most things that want to kill them don't squeak cutely.

Hiding under the couch is one Winifred Burkle. Though they've been back in LA for a few weeks, the formerly enslaved physicist has barely been seen. Since Cordelia went shopping for her, the dirty sack she was previously wearing was burned somewhere in a quiet ceremony in the garden. Now she has flowery sun dresses, jeans and comfortable tops. Currently, she's wearing a purple sundress and no shoes. She came downstairs for a pen - hers ran out of ink and if she stops writing the memories of Pylea start to come back. That she can't allow happen.

Fred had just picked out a nice red one and was skittering back to the stairs when Wesley entered the lobby reading a book. While he was distracted, she all but threw herself underneath the couch and that's where she stayed, waiting to be alone again so she could scurry back to her dark and safe room.

Wesley offers Gunn a shrug and looks at the couch squeak before allowing his head to turn up towards the stairs. What more is there to say? The new guest (resident?) has proven more than a little edgy. Whether she's eaten is anyone's guess. And Wesley can't help but give grace for such things. He treads to the mini-fridge and extracts a sandwich he'd made earlier that morning, all wrapped in plastic. Corned beef with cheddar on rye. At least it's healthy-ish. Before closing the fridge he scowls at some of its other contents: the jar of pig's blood causes him to cringe. The door is then shut with some measure of authority.

The sandwich is walked back to the red couch, and Wesley kneels on the ground, finally ducking to peek under it. He offers a gentle smile and then slides it towards the couch's occupant. "You should eat something," he says quietly before pressing against the floor and rising back to his feet. He tilts his head in an unasked question towards Gunn. Instead of saying anything about the matter, however, he refocuses on the Carpathian Sandworm. "So, I take it you found our friend?" Pause. "Unless the congealed blood belongs to you…"

"He was right where you said he'd be. Or she was. Whatever. Nasty thing. I think it bit me." Gunn's response crosses over the spectrum of finishing his peering at the girl under the sofa and then back up to Wesley, before he gets all the way up to a standing position. "I need a shower. This stuff is messing up my chocolatey goodness." Gunn immediately reaches out for the Bromance Handshake. He's pretty sure Wesley can keep an eye on the Winifred until Angel gets back.

The Bromance Handshake is reciprocated. "Yes, go clean up." Not that it's about the choclatey goodness. "We'd like to seem competent if potential clients tread through the door. Caparthian Sandworm blood doesn't exactly scream competence." Once more his gaze tracks to the sofa, but Wesley doesn't force the issue, choosing a chair to sit on instead.

"S-sorry." She speaks! Fred takes the sandwich, but doesn't eat it yet. She lived for years with little to no food and scavenging in the woods. "I-I can get out of your way. Didn't mean to intrude." Not that she was intruding so much as hiding so she wouldn't be seen. "Thought no one was around." However, despite the fact that she's talking to Gunn and Wesley, she doesn't yet crawl out from underneath the sofa just yet.

Wesley nearly smiles at the voice. It's a triumph in a way. But the nearly stern expression he almost always wears carries. "You don't need to apologize." And then to further his argument he adds, "And you aren't intruding. You are very much allowed to come out of your room and explore the hotel." Then, as if deciding on something, he adds, "Perhaps we're the ones intruding on your privacy then. Particularly because you were here first."

Getting out of their way would mean exposing herself to scrutiny. And it would also mean leaving the safety provided by being underneath the couch. Fred shakes her head, but doesn't quite realize that Wesley can't see that. "Oh, but, it's not my place. I'm just here 'cause ya'll are too nice."

From the balcony, Angel appears. He is obviously having an argument with someone not visible from the lobby. "Black is classic. Stop trying to cheer me up by updating my wardrobe. It's as updated as I want it to be." He has a shirt clutched in his hand which is a bright red with smaller white stripes threaded through it. It's held at arm's length.

Unseen, Cordelia's voice counters, "Red is a good color for you. I mean, vampire, blood, nice accentuating stripes? A few new outfits and you'll feel like a whole new you! I guarantee!"

Angel continues toward the lobby. "I don't need a new me." What he needs is for Buffy to be alive. Or to at least have been there. He could have prevented all this. Tossing the shirt toward Wesley, he mutters, "Burn this." Without stopping, he makes for the office.

At Angel's voice, Fred hopefully peeks her head out from underneath the sofa.

Wesley cringes as the flurry of red fabric is tossed in his direction. He catches the shirt and issues the pair a single eyebrow raise while tramping after Angel, but not before Cordelia is cast a sidelong glance. "I do not believe that lighting clothes on fire is part of my job description." His chin drops, "We do, however, need to look for more business — "

Authority brandished by the trim figure behind them forces the doors of the Hyperion opening; the double-doors swinging wide to shine light on the head of blonde hair pulled strict into a ponytail. Slight the young woman may be, but with poise to spare as the fit of her jeans— a leather jacket above— paints a flattering silhouette. A pretty cheerleader's face firms, scouting the location from left to right with instinctual diligence— scouting, like a vampire slayer.

Gunn still hasn't made it to the stairs. All he wants to do is go get a shower but with everything happening and the arrival of Angel and shenanigans like crazy, his feet just didn't move fast enough. "By the way, Angel, you might wanna' let a brother know when you're gonna' be mysteriously absent. I'm just sayin', a head's up would be nice." Gunn can't even get his rant into full swing yet, because he's turning to look at the doors that have just opened. "… Wes, did you just jinx us? You just jinx'd us, didn't you?" His feet bring him back over to most of the group, perhaps more near SofaFred than anyone.

Wesley's head snaps around at the opened doors and his lips part in silence. His eyes narrow as he stares, openly stares at the silhouette. And then, in a completely deadpanned tone he states, "It wouldn't be the first time…"

"I wasn't mysteriously absent. I was just out." Angel is quite annoyed at everyone, it seems like. Ever since he learned of Buffy's death he's taken his brooding to a whole new level. His trek toward the office does not pause while he continues to snark, "Business always finds us. It'll turn up." As if on cue, the doors open and standing there is Buffy. For a moment, Angel stares - open mouthed. Could it be? Is she really standing there? He takes an involuntary step forward before his face contorts into anger and hurt. "Is this a joke? What is this?"

Fred, still under the couch, is completely unable to see Buffy. Curiosity starts to take over and hesitantly, she pulls herself to a sitting position, peering over the arm rest at the pretty, blonde cheerleader standing in the door. She doesn't get Angel's anger or meaning. In a somewhat loud whisper, forehead creased in confusion, she asks anyone who will answer, "… is it a joke..?"

With Buffy's unmistakable resemblance, the face looks at Fred then jerks her chin up to address Angel, eyes free of confusion; she recognizes him. It sings over her features as her lips begin to part, and she breathes— a living breath— in to announce, "This is a hotel!"

Unfailingly chipper, like the cheerleader figure, and it breaks her stoic face into a brilliant, toothy smile that she beams equally at everyone in the room, her pride both assured and seeking affirmation. A second, more bouncy, sweep of the hotel follows, at which point she details excitedly, but with an even tone of practicality— put this on my calendar, "I would like to have sex with Spike here."

Carefully, Wesley reaches up to his glasses, tugs them from his nose, and rubs them with the corner of his shirt as if trying to clean them. They're returned to his nose, and he stares openly at the cheerleader, his lips gaping open. Evidently it's not a trick of the eyeglasses. "If it is, Fred, we're the punchline."

A few moments, traipsing after the blonde cheerleader comes another familiar figure. The shock of red hair against the blue sweater and boho-chic skirt, only makes the red hair seem that much brighter. "Hi," comes Willow's voice as she practically stumbles into the hotel. "It's not what you think," she says as she reaches out her hands. "This is not who you might think it is — "

"Oi! Wait a bloody second!"

That voice can only belong to the one and only Spike. He's moving with minimal vampire speed, enough to knock Willow over as he brings up the rear and slides past and over to where Buffy is standing and announcing things. An arm of ownersh— protection immediately slides around her. "Let's just all calm down. I've got this situation completely under control. I do." Spike's eyes are darting around to everyone that he knows that will judge him for what he has yet to explain. It is not until his eyes are brought around to Buffy and his voice goes just a bit quieter, "What say we turn the volume down on the sex talk in front of the kids and the ex, hm, love?"

Standing still and shocked beyond so many scopes of shockdom, Gunn has managed to find himself sitting down on the mini-steps, getting somewhat comfortable. "I swear to god, I don't even know what's going on. But it's gonna' be hilarious to watch." Gunn immediately looks around to the Angel crew. "Who wants to make the popcorn? 123 Not It." Yes, he just did that.

Angel's expression of anger quickly devolves into rage when the spitting image of Buffy says it wants to have sex with Spike. He's about to beat it into an oblivion when Willow's red hair flashes into his line of sight like a stop light. "Willow," he hisses through clenched teeth. "Why is that thing here." He's staring right at Spike. And after a pause he adds, "And why do you have a Buffy clone." Hands clench into fists; he's been waiting to fight something. Seeing Spike just narrows the definition of 'something' into 'Spike'.

Fred looks between Willow and then Spike and then back toward the people she knows. Obviously, she is confused. Angel's reaction is the one that leads her to comment, "I guess it's not a very funny joke. But, then, I lost a lot of my humor in that cave." She quickly glances at Gunn and - thinking he's serious - quickly adds, "Not it." It seems like a dangerous time to leave the safety of her couch. Instead, she slowly starts to sink back underneath it to hide.

"Not it," states Wesley as he steps just a little closer to the apparent joke. His face contorts into a small very contemplative scowl. His gaze shifts uncomfortably between 'Buffy', Spike, Willow, Angel, the disappearing Fred, and Gunn in turn. "Well. This doesn't seem like the kind of business I was talking about — " But he doesn't look away or go back to the office.

Willow's fingers splay in front of her as she, quite awkwardly, attempts to impart what's going on. But whens he opens her mouth, no words come out. And so she shoves her hands into the pockets of her skirt and she tries again, "This is not Buffy." There. That should explain half of it. "And she's not a clone." Her eyebrows furrow as she tries to articulate the rest of the conundrum, "And she's kind of like… Spike's. Ew." She stares right at Angel, "Please don't make me say it."

Blithely ignorant to the commotion she's caused, the gleeful Buffybot gamely wraps a companion arm around Spike when he nears to touch her. The reach of her arm, slipping deftly with all those programmed slayer reflexes, as it shimmies inside his coat and around his— back— is not quite as innocent. "That's right," she tells Spike importantly, "I used to be with Angel, who has a very large forehead. But now I know that's gross."

"Cordy! You're on popcorn duty! Double butter, this time!" Gunn is more than happy to toss orders off to wherever it is that Cordelia is. He's not moving from this spot, because he'd miss something, more than likely. And this is shaping up to be something way too awesome to miss. And that's when his eyes kind of go wide a bit at what he's starting to put together with two and two. "Uhhh…"

Spike is somewhere in the middle of attempting to pay attention to Buffybot and also the eyes that are on him in the room. "Heh. That's right, pet. That wanker Angel has the worst forehead." His grin is more genuine at this moment than it probably has been with the Scoobies for a while. But eventually he turns to look at the others again.

Gunn, meanwhile, is looking off towards Fred and Wesley, mouthing: 'Pet?' silently.

"Oi, listen, before you go flying off the handle, again, Angel. This is Buffy. Of sorts. She's pretty much everything the Slayer was and then some." Spike has nothing but good things to say about his sex bot. "Anyway… what's this I hear about worlds colliding or something? Shouldn't we be saving the world by now?" Or anything to take the focus off him and his favorite toy?

Gunn's face goes into 'ew' mode. Two and two just got added together.

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