Epilogue: Fates on the Future
Doyle watched the party from the balustrade above, a drink in his hand and a smile on his face. Guests of all sorts were milling about. Society people intermixing with the unsavory types like himself and Xander Harris. That lad was certainly the life of the party. As was Faith who certainly put a little excitement into most of the male population when she was dancing earlier.
The past week had been full of interesting experiences for all, including himself as he moved into the mansion. Angel and Cordelia had brought the old lady along. The one from the Hyperion. Judy had nowhere else to go and felt safe with the vampire. She was now sitting near the fireplace which was roaring with a bright blaze despite the fact that the temperature barely warranted one.
Slowly coming out of her shell, Judy still remained confused about how Angel could be alive and still look so young. They were waiting for the right time to tell her about vampires. Angel told Doyle one day after their arrival back in Sunnydale that if Cordy hadn’t made the trek to Los Angeles and brought him there a year before he was supposed to be that he wasn’t certain the old gal would have lasted that long.
There were far too many happy vibes at the mansion these days to keep anyone in a brooding state, Doyle figured. A little too happy at times. He hoped Santa would bring him some earplugs for Christmas. Oh, to be back in L.A. in his downtrodden apartment with the ridiculously high rent.
A tap on his shoulder alerted Doyle that he was no longer alone. Turning, his mouth dropped open as he recognized just who the three women were supposed to be. The lack of holiday attire aside, facing the personifications of fate in their eternal guises of youth, maturity and age, Doyle made a lucky guess.
“You’d be the Moirae?” He asked them. “What are you three doing here?”
Lakhesis frowned momentarily at the lack of respect in the seer’s voice. “I could ask you the same question, but it would be redundant as I fated your presence here.”
“The Oracles warned me about you,” he decided to be up-front. “Does it matter that your ticking time bomb went off ahead of schedule?”
The old crone, stooped and bent as she reached out a gnarled hand for the banister, cackled a bit, “Time— there’s so little and so much of it.”
“So I’ve heard. Sounds familiar,” Doyle told her. “That doesn’t explain why you’re in the here and now gracing the mortal coil.”
“Celebration,” Lakhesis explained simply.
“Long have we worked on this project,” her sister agreed that it was time to pause in commemoration of their success.
Doyle glanced behind the two sisters as the youngest of them fiddled with something in the background. He couldn’t tell what she was doing and decided he didn’t care as long as the Moirae weren’t here to make trouble for their hosts or his friends. “Your vampire has the makings of a strong champion.”
He was down there in the midst of the crowd, standing with Cordelia as they were caught under a sprig of mistletoe. Clapping and wolf whistles abounded and Doyle let out a shout of his own telling them to cool off. He’d swear Angel had purposefully dragged Cordy to every random-hanging plant that remotely appeared green just to kiss his mate tonight.
They had an excuse, he supposed. Cordelia proposed just before they rang the front door to her parents’ house with Doyle and Judy standing there like gaping gleeful witnesses. The vampire’s answer had to be the fastest on record.
“Cordelia did the asking,” Doyle told the Moirae wondering if they knew all about it and somehow had a hand in the event. “Good thing since her mother seems to have planned this as an engagement party.”
Atropos looked surprised and tapped her finger against her jaw. “I did not predict that.”
“Nor did I,” admitted Lakhesis, “but the result remains the same. The vampire has accepted the chosen path and the woman whose influence will guide him upon it for a time is at his side.”
Despite the number of drinks he’d already had to toast the couple, Doyle caught on to something she’d said. “For a time? Why does that make me nervous? They look happy enough. They certainly sounded like it last night.”
“Thus is the way with the Children of Fate,” Lakhesis shrugged it off. “Compatibility is never a problem when destiny itself is guiding their path.”
Doyle wasn’t about to let it go. “Wait a second there. You said only ‘for a time’. I’m not getting the ‘happy ending’ vibe. The Oracles were right. You three are trouble.”
Klotho popped up behind her two sisters, a conspiratorial smile on her face. “Relax, seer. Suspicious, much?”
Lakhesis looked a little suspicious herself as she glanced at her youthful sister, but told Doyle, “The future has many paths, seer, many branches and divisions where free will may make its mark. Some things, however, are simply fated to be. Born of my own plan none but a Moira can alter its course.”
“All ends with me,” Atropos spoke of that final certainty.
Pooh-poohing her sister’s doom and gloom approach to the future, Klotho gave him a hopeful look. “Do not despair, seer, for this is but the beginning.”
Tapping Atropos on the shoulder, she gave her a sheepish look as she said, “You dropped these.”
“I did not,” Atropos grabbed the scissors, the metaphorical representation of her true powers. Snatching them away, she shoved them into the deep pocket of her purple robes.
Lakhesis was quick to voice her understanding of Klotho’s actions, something that was completely lost on Doyle until the Moira accused her sister, “You’ve been cutting threads. Where is my tapestry? You’ve been at my tapestry again.”
“I think you left it over there,” Klotho pointed to the long rectangular table hugging the wall.
Doyle hunkered back and watched the powerful beings arguing over Klotho’s actions. He had a strange feeling that they were allowing him to see this as if to make him come to some understanding.
The young, perky Moira with her bouncing and…bouncing leaned close to Doyle in order to reveal, “Atropos and I disagreed about the Champion’s destiny and our daughter’s fate.”
“Daughter? Oh, you mean Cordelia,” Doyle got it. They’d both told him the story of meeting up with these three on their home turf. The Fates were apparently big on calling everyone Child of This & That or Son & Daughter of Something.
Atropos actually poked her sister with her pointy fingernail. “Whiner! Let me deal with the ending.”
Holding onto Doyle’s arm now, Klotho said, “Our champion was to be the balance between Order and Chaos, Good and Evil. The Powers led him to his mission, but those who oppose them lay out their own plans. Such games have kept them occupied for eons. I do not like the outcome chosen.”
“What outcome?” Doyle dared to ask trying literally to shake off the hand of Fate.
Klotho let him go as she explained, “Lakhesis has spun a scenario not to my liking. A path of potential destruction leading to the end of days. One power shall be let loose on the mortal plane after the seer’s ascension. Loss and devastation will follow and while the Moirae do not take sides in such matters, we do remain connected to that which we have guided into being.”
Having stalled back at the previous statement, Doyle muttered his confusion, “Seer’s ascension. Am I missing something?”
With a sigh, Lakhesis assured him, “Not you, Child of Order. A seer you may be, a hero shall you become, but to power you will never ascend.”
“Good,” Doyle commented gratefully. He didn’t want the kind of power these beings had in mind. “I can live with that, I think.”
Lakhesis sniffed sadly as she held her intricately woven tapestry. Admonishing her sister, “Klotho, your task in the Champion’s destiny was over. Explain this!”
Refusing to look at the crisscrossed threads, Klotho felt her explanations were on the table. Sneaking a peek, Doyle noticed a patched up area, but had no idea if that was important or not. Examining the woven threads, Atropos gave him a surprised stare, her wrinkles deepening with the course of her frowning, “Well I must say that is an interesting future.”
Staring down at it now, looking at the details that Doyle could not see, Lakhesis let out a slow sound of agreement. “Hmph. Maybe it is. There was no reason to cut the tapestry. After all, that path was only a possibility.”
“Not anymore,” Klotho smirked at Lakhesis knowing the only possible paths left as free choices for Angel and Cordelia were ones that kept them together.