Buffy Summers takes a walk in the park and runs into a couple of interesting homeless people: an angel and a witch-boy.
Golden Gate Park Edit
The western side of the park features a number of athletic fields, open meadows, and lakes. Also located here are the Golden Gate Park Stadium in the center of the area and Murphy's Windmill near the southwest corner. By contrast, the northwest corner features the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden and the Dutch Windmill. This area also features a dog training field, senior center, model yacht racing area, bison paddock, and equestrian center. For fishermen there are the fly casting pools and Anglers Lodge, and of course the park has its own golf course. Amidst the more grown-up diversions, a playground can be found along the south side of the park. The western edge of the park stands atop the cliffs of the coast, overlooking the shimmering Pacific Ocean.
The eastern entrance to the long stretch of Golden Gate Park is preceded by a block-wide strip of parkland extending eight blocks towards down. Here, a gate offers one of the many access points to the park itself. Major features in this area are the children's playgrounds and carousel, tennis courts, several sports fields, and the large Sharon Meadow. A bit farther in one can find the Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest glass-and-wood Victorian greenhouse in the Western Hemisphere and home to more than 10,000 plants from around the globe. Several buildings, such as the California Academy of Sciences and a few museums, are housed in the center beyond the Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers, and near the western edge of this area of the park is the Japanese Tea Garden.
The park is a world away from the city, with enough trees to feel like a forest broken up by cobbled paths and dirt trails in between broad lawns and playgrounds. There are several large ponds or small lakes, and even a waterfall or two. It is cool and peaceful here, and it's large enough that even though the park is very popular there always seems to be room for everyone.
The thing about California?
Well, besides the girls, if Katy Perry is to be believed, are the views you will not find anywhere else in the world. That special arcitechture, the feeling, the ambiance of the place. There was something special about it that Buffy Summers wasn't sure she could feel anywhere else.
Well, and the vampires, but that's another story. Here in the bright of day, such things were just an afterthought in the back of her mind. She heard stories of someone rolling through and slaughtering monsters, and that sounded pretty Slayery to her, so...
So why not drive down and take a peek. Who knows what might turn up?
Cross shining in the daylight, she leans against one of the dress, dressed in boots with a chunky heel, a swishy skirt and blouse, and a leather jacket over that, her hands tucked into the pockets of said jacket as she looks over the ocean, ignoring the hair blowing in her eyes as she purses her lips and stares.
Buffy is, of course, not alone in the park. There are, of course, the various passers-by, joggers, picnic-goers, and so forth--but there's also an angel. Not far off, a perhaps familiar, plain-looking man in a rumpled trench coat sits on a bench, a chunk of very stale bread in his hand. He appears to be feeding it to the pigeons in small crumbs, and... he also seems to be talking to them. Well, it's a big city, after all--and San Francisco is noted for its eccentrics. Except this is also the guy who showed up at Taqueria del Mar the other day with heralds of doom.
Sitting on the ground with his guitar case open, Aidan's currently playing a somewhat melancholy version of Happy Birthday as he looks towards the sky. The dark haired youth decides to change the song though and switches to playing Carry on my Wayward sun by Kansas. Doesn't have quite the punch on the acoustic that he's playing but it does the trick nicely. Blue eyes are looking outwards as he watches the people coming and going. His headache growing just a little bit but there's weird things happening in this city and the Park's not a bad place to people watch and maybe make a little bit of money.
Happy Birthday - Buffy knew that one. When the guitarist nearish the park bench that a certain ang-to-the-el sits on (probably), switches songs, Buffy lifts her eyes up to look his way. That's what draws her attention that way to begin with - and then to... Castiel.
The man had a bit of an edge over the other eccentrics in the city, or so she thought. Kinda meandering that way, Buffy pulls a couple bills from her handclasp, tossing them into the open guitar case as she passes.
"Nice song," she tells Aidan, "But could you play something a little more... religious?" she asks, her lips kinda pulling apart as she makes a wishy-washy sort of flopsy motion with her left hand. "I get the feeling that heaven's got an eye on us right now," she says, looking directly towards the angel at that.
Glancing up at Buffy's approach, Castiel offers an oddly tired smile and nods. "Yes, of course. Heaven is always watching." His brow furrows slightly, and he adds with what might pass for mild frustration, "Even if it is seldom permitted to intervene in things." He rises, shifting the bread to his left hand, and offers Buffy his right. "Buffy. You look well." He glances over at the boy playing guitar. "It was kind of you to give him the gift. Today is his birthday, and I'm afraid he has nowhere to go to celebrate." This is all delivered as though he were commenting on the weather, of course. Just another fact.
"Uhhh.... I don't really know who you are but... I don't usually go around telling people any of that." Aidan says as he stops playing entirely when the Angel come close, his eyes closing instantly as he sees him. Buffy had been intense but Castiel took it to a WHOLE other level. His blue eyes look towards Buffy,"Not sure I really know too many religious songs. I mean there was a song called Flood my teacher taught me but it really isn't a guitar song." He's nervous though. Angels and something else and he doesn't have much in the way of defense right now.
What might also spaz Aidan's powers was that Buffy was dealing with a little bit of an irritated feeling coursing through her aura right now. But what could be the source?
Apparently the one in the trench coat ahead of her. "Well, trust me, he knows things. It's kinda a thing he does," says Buffy to Aidan, crossing her arms in an outward expression of her annoyance.
The... compliment kinda causes her shoulders to slouch, and stop assuming that kinda fierce posture she was used to holding, though, her eyes flickering down and to one side. "Thanks. You look like you fit in here in San Fran - you're talking to the pigeons - are they talking back?" she asks.
A beat, though, and she glances down and to the side back towards Aidan, even if her front faced the angel. "...is it really your birthday? What are you doing out here?" Her tone was noticeably softening with those questions.
"I apologize, Aidan," Castiel tells the boy. "I would wish you a happy birthday, but I doubt there's much I could do to make it so. Human resources are... not something I happen to possess." He looks down at the bread in his hand, then crushes it so that he's left with just stale crumbs, which he tosses out onto the grass for the birds before brushing his palms together. "The pigeons have very little to say, as we would understand it. Their world revolves around base impulses. At present, their only real thoughts would translate, effectively, to 'feed me.'" He lets his hands fall to his sides, resuming his customary stiff and awkward posture. "Yet you seem... troubled. Is there anything I can do?"
"You really don't have a concept of emotions? I can see you guys aren't normal but really..." Aidan says shaking his head a bit,"Yep. Today I turned thirteen and I'm celebrating. This evening will probably do a different sort and maybe see about doing a bit of potion making depending on how much money I get today." He says shrugging indifferently,"And I am fine. Well maybe not fine but I manage to get buy. See. Not starving you know."
"I'm not troubled, Cas," says Buffy, "It's just people have a habit of swooping out of windows and giving orders from On High around me," says Buffy. A beat then, her eyes narrowing as she brings up a hand to brush fingers through her hair. "Say - you wouldn't happen to know about anyone who swept through here with a big ol' can of monster beatdown, would you?" she asks the angel, before her eyes turn back towards Aidan at what he says.
Her brow furrows with concern. "Your mom isn't around to, you know, help celebrate?" she asks, her voice gentling again. Really, it was a little gentler all around.
"I am quite familiar with the concept of emotions," Castiel replies with vague puzzlement. "It's... presenting and interpreting them that can be challenging. In any case, I do wish you a happy birthday--and I'm pleased you aren't starving." As he returns his attention to Buffy, he attempts (and nearly accomplishes) a small smile. "Recently? Here? I've not been told anything specific--though I do believe that your friends at Angel Investigations have been operating in the area. It's probable that they have engaged any major creatures that have been troubling the area." He glances between her and the boy as she mentions moms, and for once he has the tact to remain silent.
"There's been a rash of demonic activity over the last few years here." Aidan says as he begins adjusting the capo on his guitar, before sighing a bit,"Okay. Parents dead. An upper level demon got them. My mother protected me and made sure I had our Book of Shadows. Not as powerful as some but there's a lot of potions in here." He says in a casual way, as if he were used to explaining this,"But I get by. Really I do. No worries here."
"Not recently, or here, just... you know, at a taqueira in the middle of nowhere, recently," says Buffy, bringing up fingertips to brush a lock of her windswept hair out of her eyes, finally. At the mention of Angel Investigation, her face falls more towards the serious, her lips pursing tight. "Yeah? Well, I guess they have things under control then. It might even be them that's causing all this..." she makes an airy gesture. "...ruckus, right?" she says.
Kinda falling into a kneel nearish Aidan as he says what he does, her brow does furrow quite a bit as she processes what he was saying. "Wait... demons killed your family, and gave you a book of shadows?" she asks, her tone rich with incredulousness. Glancing up towards Cas, and back down, she kinda squints at Aidan. "Did I just wander into a heavenly powwow or something?" she asks both. "Cuz if so, I don't mean to interrupt."
Castiel withholds comment on Angel Investigations for whatever reason, opting instead to look grim and pensive. However, at the questions for Aidan he supplies, "Aidan comes from a family of witches. His mother gave him the family grimoire when she died, presumably to preserve its legacy." He looks more troubled than ever, adding, "An... upper level demon killed them? I'm... very sorry to hear that." And once again the terse messenger resumes his posture of terseness and not-terribly-messenger-ness.
"What he said. A Book of Shadows contains a family's spells, potions and knowledge of demons that they've faced and of other mythological creatures and beings." Aidan says shrugging a little bit about the whole thing,"Well it had powers that could only have been from an upper level demon. Lower level demons cannot use them. Then again, there's apparently demons that don't play by the rules I know but not sure what sort of powers those have." He pauses for a moment, before he begins speaking,"Demons seek the Book of Shadows of various families because if they can destroy them, it will remove how to defeat them."
"So kinda like a... ... a big bad tome of anti-demon sorcery," says Buffy. "I know a couple of people who would looooove to look at a book of shadows," says the young woman, looking from him to Cas. Especially at the way he responds to the demon thing. Well. She just assumed that that was his way of saying... well... emotion like before.
Buffy kinda purses her lips, and looks at Cas for a long moment. "You're kinda just..." she begins. "...hanging out and waiting for someone up above to tell you something to do, huh?" she asks the angel.
A realization passes her features, as she looks back towards Aidan. "So what are you doing in the meantime?" she asks. A beat. "...do you have anyplace to stay? Or go?"
Castiel, who nods absently along with Aidan's explanation, offers Buffy another almost-smile at her observation. "I'm afraid so. I am presently on 'field assignment,' meaning that I cannot return to Heaven without need. I do not require mortal rest or sustenance, and thus... I wait to be useful again." Were he any more emotive, he might sounds frustrated. As it is, he sounds more... weary, as though he finds the lack of purpose a difficult burden to bear.
"Depends on if she's a good witch and what kind of witch she is. There are a lot of different types." Aidan says looking at Buffy, before his expression gets a little bit on the guarded side,"I usually find a place to crash before the the night's over." He doesn't know whether or not he should explain more but for now he's erring to the less is more category. "It's very much a big tome filled with Anti-Demon sorcery among other things. I can brew a potion that will make someone frozen in place. Great for escapes."
"You guys are both so..." Buffy pauses a moment, letting a smile touch at the edge of her lips - an almost-smile, much like the sort that certain angels seemed to enjoy. "...open. It's kinda nice," she says. "And I get the feeling we're all kinda lost, in our own ways - looking for the next steps forward, you know?" she says.
A beat. "So I'm Buffy - I'm a slayer," she says, gesturing towards herself with an open hand. "And I'm looking for more people like me," she adds. "...trying to help people who are lost become a little more found," she says, glancing from Cas, to Aidan again.
"And maybe I don't know witches so much, but I have a friend who is a witch, if you'd like to talk with her? I know a place you could even crash for the night if you need it. And I can get you a burger or something," she says, crinkling her nose as she smiles at Aidan. "Do you have any other family? Like... a long-lost uncle or something?"
Castiel seems to be slowly picking up on the don't share everything you've ever observed about a human before idea, as he simply nods along with what the boy says. Buffy's words, though, inspire an expression that comes a shade or two closer to a real smile. "Buffy, that was very eloquent," he says in tones that hedge a bit away from "monotone" and a smidge closer to "impressed." Then he frowns slightly again and adds, "I would offer to purchase you food as well, but I'm afraid I spent my entire measure of currency on hiring the wizard." His gaze shifts back to Buffy. "A wizard of the White Council. I hope he'll be able to help you and your friends with... this mystery."
"While I have family back home, I need to be here." Aidan says shaking his head a little bit,"I've met a Wizard recently. He didn't seem to like me a whole lot." He says laughing softly about the whole thing. "And dealing with those who are lost is admirable." He pauses for a moment,"By the way home... Not really in this country." He says laughing a bit weakly,"And I have enough for food. "
"Thanks!" says Buffy, in a chirpy sort of voice to Castiel. "I'm just passing on the little eloquent nuggets of wisdom my friends have helped me with," she says, straightening up. "And you need all your money for pigeon bread, don't you?" she says to Castiel. When he speaks of wizards, she kinda purses her lips. "...well. Haven't met many wizards I got along with, but I'm always willing to give one a try. Especially if he's heaven-certified," she says, giving Castiel a smile and a thumbsup.
"Is it the same wizard Cas is talking about?" she asks the witch. "...or is this like wizard country down here?" she says, leaving the offers of food and shelter kinda alone for now.
Castiel seems unruffled by this coincidence, and indeed he's able to explain, "The same. Harry Dresden. He's... complicated. But a good man." He pauses, regarding Buffy, and then adds in a thoughtful tone, "It's probable that you would give him some measure of pause, though. He is... I believe... not accustomed to slayers." His eyes attain a distant look for a moment, and then he nods. "In any case, I hope he may have some ability to aid us with our concerns. There has been no warning of a next move yet, but even so... I'm concerned. I still have no new information, save the possibility that Beacon Hills may be a future target."
"He doesn't seem like a bad person. Just doesn't like me. That doesn't mean anything really." Aidan says shrugging a little bit,"I'm wondering what is happening. I mean there's a building here that wasn't there a couple days prior and yet it seems to have been there the entire time. It's old. Like REALLY old." He says as he thinks about this for a moment. He's not sure about the Hotel still,"Why would he be worried about a Slayer? And umm... What is a Slayer?"
"Beacon Hills?" says Buffy, furrowing her brow at that. "Well, if you hear something more concrete, you can send me a text, alright?" says Buffy, bringing out her phone. In a moment, she gives her phone number out, before tucking her phone away again. "Either of you. Or if you get in trouble, or just need someone to talk to, Aidan - you can as well," she says at that. "It's a long story. But the job description is in the title!" she says when Aidan asks about Slayers. "So. I'll catch you guys later? I gotta get going for now," she says, pointing down the path.
"Ah," Castiel says, nodding to Aidan. "That was the work of Heaven. That building represents an asset to the Divine Plan, and thus The Powers That Be dictated that it be relocated to a safer area." To Buffy, he gives a weary-looking nod. "I will. Unfortunately, I'm being given... very little to work with. I feel... extremely frustrated. I'm sorry." Then, as she prepares to go, he nods and manages another nearly-a-smile. "It was pleasant to see you again, Buffy. Take care."
"Good luck with the Slaying. Don't get slayed." Aidan calls out cheerfully towards Buffy's retreating back. Once that's said he looks at Castiel,"A safer area or an area that it would be of use to their designs?" He asks curiously. The concept of powers that be moving a hotel doesn't really disturb him all that much really. It was the sort of thing that they would probably do but the concept of how much power that took was a bit mindboggling to him.
"You bet, Cas," says Buffy, as she kinda turns, and backs up along the path. "And hey - hang in there, or... whatever angels do to hang. In there," she says, looking briefly confused. Aidan is given a glance as well. "Thanks as well. Again, call if you need any help, alright?" she says, turning on her stylish boots, on her way down the park path. Soon, she was out entirely.
Castiel watches Buffy go with an air that manages to be inscrutable mainly due to his lack of skill at conveying emotion well. After a moment, he looks back to Aidan. "A safer area. Los Angeles, where it was previously located, was wholly divested of all magic. Any supernatural being or enchanted object left there... was most likely destroyed. Of course, this was no particular disruption to the human population, so it has gone unreported."
"That's rather scary." Aidan says shivering a bit,"The fact that there's magic going away makes me wary. At least some of the nasties in those areas aren't in existence." He says as he begins packing up his guitar and everything."I should be going though for now."
Castiel nods, looking distant, and says absently, "Very well, Aidan. Happy birthday." And then, with just the faintest sound of distant fluttering wings, he's gone.