"So he attacked your mother." The detective circled around his suspect like a vulture, watching his every move, every expression. Sure, the kid looked innocent enough but nobody ever knows what these kids do these days. "Then what?"
"My sister jumped on him but he knocked her away." Angel said dully. He couldn't look the pushing detective in the eye. Everything was so fucked up. He wanted nothing more than to curl up in a nice dark place and never wake up.
"Is that when you threw him down the stairs?"
Angel winced and looked back down at his hands. God, who was this guy? Snyder's father? Do trolls have fathers?
"I didn't mean to."
"Well you did." The detective sighed and sat down in the chair in the Interrogation Room. Two other police officers and a lawyer were on the other side of the one way mirror.
"Has he ever hit you or your siblings before?"
"He just pushed me once." Angel remembered with a wince and he couldn't help but look at the clock on the far wall. Angel felt empty. Sure, a part of him was sad that his father who raised him was dead, yet another part of him was screaming in victory. He was torn.
"That's it? A little shove?" The rude detective continued.
Angel raised a daring eyebrow and for the first time in the whole three hours, Angel stared him hard in the eye. "It was more than a little shove."
The man stared at his suspect before sighing and nodding.
"Am I under arrest?" The dark student asked.
"No. This is a case of self-defense. You should be glad that you saved your mother in time." The detective actually showed Angel some respect for the first time but Angel didn't feel like getting up and doing a victory dance. He was exhausted yet he didn't want to go home. He never wanted to go home again and to think that all of this started with his yearning to be part of his home once more. Angel chuckled bitterly to himself and the detective raised an eyebrow.
"This is not going to be easy to deal with. I suggest a councilor of some sort. The ones at this police station are very good."
"I don't need some therapist lecturing me." Angel snapped darkly. The detective nodded, ignoring the student's dark attitude. There was a long spell of silence before Angel groaned impatiently.
"Can I go now?"
"You think I want you here? No offense, kid, but you scare the shit out of me." The detective chuckled and switched off the tape recorder before walking to the door.
Angel rolled his eyes as the phone rang *again*. Damn, will these people ever stop calling? Might as well get it over with. Angel tiredly reached over and grabbed the phone off the cradle.
"Hello?" He asked, bored.
"God damn man! What the hell happened to you? Buffy was in hysterics when the fuzz took you away and you weren't at school today. Everyone is worried about you. The whole school is saying your on death row!" Spike yelled frantically over the phone.
"Hey Spike." Angel answered simply. Angel looked, bored, around his room. He could still hear Cordelia bitching outside the door, screaming at him to come out. Why should he listen to her? He was the one who had power in this house. He was almost a fucking criminal.
"Angel, we are friends. Talk to me. Tell me what the fuck is going on!"
"Nothing. Everything is fine." Angel said smoothly.
"You don't sound to good, man." Spike paused and Angel could hear a woman's frantic voice in the background. "Buffy thinks you hate her or something."
"Why does she think this is about her? Why does she think everything is about her?"
Spike blinked and pulled the phone away from his ear to stare at it. Did he dial the wrong number? Was this *their* Angel who was actually dissing Buffy? Spike was half tempted to go over and look out the window to see if pigs were flying.
"Uhh. Sure." Spike said slowly. "You know you could talk to me, right Ang?"
Angel chuckled bitterly. "Yeah. Whatever."
"Hey. What the hell does that mean?" Spike growled, not liking his tone of voice. "I happen to be very approachable."
"Keep telling yourself that. I'll be back at school tomorrow and tell that blonde to fucking relax." Angel snapped before hanging up the phone. That was one thing taken care of. Angel leaned back against his pillows and closed his eyes. He quickly regretted it when he saw a flash of his father laying dead at the bottom of his stairs. No! He quickly forced his eyes opened with a gasp. He couldn't allow this to get to him, he just had to keep his walls up and he would be fine.
"Angel! I swear to God if you don't open this door I will break it down!" Cordelia screamed from the outside of Angel's room. The occupant inside the room winced, rolled off his bed, and opened the door.
"Its called knocking." Angel muttered before returning to lay down in his bed.
"Its called opening the door when I *did* knock the first hundred times." Cordy snapped and ran her fingers through her perfect brown hair.
"Angel what the hell is wrong with you? I know you probably have this big guilt trip going on but you can't feel bad about this. You saved me and Mom, isn't that enough for you to feel a little bit better?" Cordy sighed and sat down at the edge of his bed. Angel didn't answer but just stared up at the ceiling, not even taking time to glance at his distressed sister.
"I mean, its like you were James Bond and now you are Barney the Purple Dinosaur, expect with less singing." She pushed, waving her hands around.
"I'm fine, Cordelia." Angel said, still not looking at her. "I'm glad that he is dead."
The Queen C looked down at her hands. She missed her dad but she didn't miss the man that he was the day he was killed. A part of her was glad that he was dead too but to hear it from the person that killed him, her own brother, was a bit Hannibal Lector.
"Then why are hiding in this room? Time to face the music." His sister said.
"I'm not hiding Damn, why is everyone on my back about this?" Angel muttered more to himself than to Cordelia.
"Because you acting like a fucking baby." Cordy snapped, losing her patience. "Now. Go downstairs, get something to eat, change you clothes for God sakes and go out with your friends. Or just do something." The brunette got off his bed and walked to the door, already tired of arguing. It was like talking to a wall or Xander or something.
Angel didn't respond but just stared at the spot on his ceiling, only his blinking indicated that he was still alive, at least physically.
"Well what did he say?" Buffy eagerly asked when Spike hung up the phone. Faith, Spike, Buffy and Oz were all gathered in Buffy's bedroom. This was the first phone call that Angel had picked up and it would probably be the last with that look on Spike's face.
"He said everything was fine but I don't think he is okay. He sounded....strange. Like he was totally cool about everything." Spike sighed and the hopeful look on Buffy's face vanished.
"Maybe somebody should try going to his house." Buffy suggested. She was wigged out to say the least. She missed Angel and she was completely worried about him. He wasn't talking to anyone, pushing himself further and further away from the world.
"Already did." Faith sighed and glanced around Buffy's bedroom again. She would kill to have a nice bedroom like this. Her bedroom was more like a whole in the wall.
"I think he just needs some time to himself." Oz spoke up. "Collect his thoughts."
"He accidentally killed his own father." Buffy argued. "He shouldn't be alone right now."
"Maybe Oz is right. I mean, Angel has a good way of coping with things." Spike said slowly, trying not to anger the hyper sensitive Buffy.
"But he is all alone now. He doesn't have anyone to take comfort in." Buffy sighed and slumped down in her chair. Faith put a gentle hand on her arm.
"Don't worry about it, B. Angel is cool, he will get through this."
"How can you be sure?" Buffy asked softly.
"You can't." Oz answered and Buffy frowned. She was hoping for something comforting but she guessed she would have to face the truth instead.
Angel walked confidently through the hallway of Sunnydale High, his head was raised high and shoulders stiff. In the corner of his he could see a couple of students whispering and looking in his direction. Normally, that would have bruised his ego but right now he didn't care. Didn't care for anything. This way, he won't get hurt or just randomly kill who ever pissed him off the most. He should really avoid Spike today.
"Angel!" A loud shout across the hallway made Angel halt and turn around. Angel raised an impatient eyebrow at brownish blondish hair student.
"What's up, man? What's with all these rumors and how come you missed practice? People are saying you escaped out of jail to come throw Snyder off the top of the building." Penn looked at his friend strangely.
Angel blinked. Not a bad idea. Where did that come from? Oh God...
"That's not true." Angel said, his strong walls crumbling slowly.
"Yeah, I know." Penn grinned and nudged his friend in the ribs. "Because I know your not some sort of a loony killer."
Angel's stoic expression was back in place and he shied away from the real world. Desperately closing himself in, hiding behind the walls of uncaring.
"You would be surprised." Angel muttered before walking away, leaving a confused and worried Penn behind.
"Ugh!" Willow yelled and pulled at her red hair. She felt like throwing a big tantrum, right in the middle of school, filled with the laying on her stomach and kicking her legs violently. Wouldn't be a real breakdown without that.
"Its okay." Oz said putting a comforting hand on Willow's arm.
"Nothing is okay! He just walked by me. He *ignored* me. I haven't been ignored since the third grade. I'm just not a ignorable person! What if I am becoming ignored? Do I have a sign on my face that says "Please Ignore the Redhead?" Willow yelled.
Oz blinked, his face expressionless. "No." He answered simply.
Willow sighed and looked down at her hands. "Sorry. I'm just a little bit angry about Angel and all. I mean, we are his best friends. You think he would talk to one of us."
"I still stand next to my theory of 'alone time'." Oz said.
"Hey guys." Buffy and Xander came and sat down at the lunch table with them.
"Why the cloudy face, Will?" Xander asked his best friend.
"I saw Angel today."
Buffy's eyes grew wide and she leaned forward in her chair to listen more closely. "You did? Did he say anything? Is he okay?"
"Slow down. He just walked by me in the hallway. He is tall so maybe he just didn't see me." Willow shrugged weakly and watched sadly as Buffy sunk back in her seat.
"Damn that man." Xander muttered, shattering the awkward silence.
"I guess that I just have to find him and talk to him." Buffy said slowly, but her face was determined.
"Uh, question?" Xander asked, raising his hand. "If he didn't talk to anybody, not even his own sister, what makes you think that he is going to talk to you?"
"I'll make him talk to me. No more Mrs. Nice guy...girl." Buffy took a deep breath and gathered her books off the lunch table before walking away to find her troubled boyfriend.
"If this was a movie then this is were the scary music would be playing." Xander muttered before taking a bite of his apple.
"Dum dom dom dun dum." Oz filled in.
"Thanks man." Xander replied.
Angel prepared himself mentally as he felt the familiar shivers go up and down his spine. Buffy was nearing him. He felt his heart start racing and his stomach seemed to try and separate it's self from his body.
"Angel." Buffy said sternly and grabbed his arm, spinning him to face her. Angel desperately tried to tamper down his anger and annoyance. Why did he even come to school today?
"What?" Angel snapped. Buffy ignored his tone as best as she could.
"You are going to shut up and listen to me. No more tough-guy act." Buffy said, pushing her boyfriend to sit down on one of the many stone benches in the courtyard of her school. Angel rolled his eyes but did not move to get up from the bench.
"What the hell is up your ass?" Buffy shouted and several onlooking students paused to stare at them. "I'm trying to call you because I'm worried sick about you and you don't even care. You have friends who are trying to help you during this hard time and you shun us away."
"I don't need your help. I'm perfectly fine, better than ever." Angel stared hard up at her, his features revealed nothing.
"Oh, I'm sure." Buffy snapped sarcastically. "You can lie to yourself like that Angel, but not to your friends. Not to me."
"I don't need to lie to myself. I'm not. I'm glad that I killed that son of a bitch and I think that I'm going to be even happier when I suddenly loose my temper on you!" Angel shouted, standing up violently, forcing Buffy to take a step back. Buffy swallowed hard and blinked tears away from her eyes.
"Your not going to scare me away, Angel. I know that your hurting and-"
"You know nothing!" Angel yelled.
"Because you don't tell me what's going on. I need to know whats wrong with you Angel. I know you want me to help and I know your just scared." Buffy desperately tried to reason with him but her flinching from his yelling was getting the best of her. Flashes of Riley Finn were shooting through her mind and she felt her emotions would soon overwhelm her.
"I'm scared of nothing! I committed murder, Buffy. You really want to love a murderer? It will probably end up just like you last relationship!" Angel shouted and his walls were falling down fast and he could hear his heartbreaking over and over.
A soft sob tumbled from Buffy's lips and she wrapped her arms tightly around herself, desperately trying to block his words and the images in her head. "I want to love you." She whispered softly.
Angel blinked at her declaration. "But you can't."
"No." Buffy said strongly, ignoring the tears tracking down her cheeks. "I *do* love you."
Angel stared at her, unmoving. His eyes wide with disbelief that even after all he had done to her, she still loved him. With a muffled cry Angel gathered Buffy tightly in his arms, breathing in her scent and sighing out of pure relief. Buffy sobbed into his chest, staining his shirt with her tears. She was suddenly very glad that he was holding her because she was sure her legs were made out of jelly right now.
There was a loud applause from the gathering students around them and Faith whistled as she watched the lovers reunite.
"This is *way* better than Passions." Spike muttered as he clapped with all of the other onlookers.
In the morning was the last day of school for students of Sunnydale High. Students said goodbyes to the seniors and all the men said 'hello' to the new young freshmen. Sadly, Mr. Snyder was keeping his job as principal. There had been a celebration of throwing around books and papers, bonfires, dances, and house parties. Though the big party was at the Bronze where half of the population of Sunnydale High was getting drunk, making out, or dancing their ass off. An even *bigger* celebration at the Bronze was held to all the football players who were first in state.
Spike sighed and looked down at his glass of water. Water? He had a huge craving for a Bloody Mary or some Vodka but he knew that if he wanted to keep Faith, he had to be the permeant designated driver. Willow sat happily on Oz's lap. Even though it was the best thing that school was out, she was going to miss seeing all of her friends and doing everyone's homework.
"I feel so honored." Faith grinned.
"That you have such good friends like us?" Xander asked.
"No." Faith showed her yearbook to Xander. "I was voted 'Best Bad Girl.'" Sure enough, in the yearbook was a picture of Faith who had her middle finger up and her tongue sticking out. Willow and Oz had been voted Cutest Couple and Cordelia was Best Dressed. Though Xander had written 'un' in front of 'dressed'. He seemed to get a big kick out of it. Surprisingly, Xander and Cordelia had not gotten into a fight since they got back together. Sure there was the occasional 'I hate you's but it never ended without a make out session.
"Well, I feel a little gypped about not being voted the Smartest Student." Willow admitted.
"Well, you are the smartest out of all of us." Buffy chirped from her spot on Angel's lap. The whole group was gathered at a large table in the crowded Bronze.
"Thanks. That makes me feel better." Willow smiled sarcastically.
"It bloody should. I happen to be the second smartest here." Spike grinned.
"Yeah right. You couldn't count up to two before I taught you everything." Faith grinned.
"Yes. You taught me a *lot* of things." Spike shared a mischievous grin with his girlfriend.
"Okay, eww." Cordy frowned.
"I have to say this was my best year so far." Angel smiled softly into Buffy's neck. There had been so problems and talking but everyone finally seemed to forgive Angel for his shunning. Everything seems to be okay. Buffy knew that Angel was not one to share all of his feelings and his father's death would haunt him for a while, but Buffy knew that she could help him through it.
"Me too." Buffy smiled and shared a smile kiss with her boyfriend.
"A toast," Xander said, raising his drink. "to the best of this year and to hope for the best for next year."
"Amen." Oz muttered and the group knocked their cups together. There was a comfortable silence when everyone listened to the music and the babbling of all of the other students in the Bronze.
"I don't know about you party poopers but I'm going to go get down with my bad self." Xander said and got off his chair and waited for Cordelia to join him.
"What?" Cordy asked.
"I think that was our cue to leave and go dance." Xander raised an eyebrow at her.
"I'm sorry Xander but I really can't be seen in public with you and your dancing."
Faith grinned and got up. "All right, Xand, I'll dance."
Xander smiled triumphantly when Cordy got up quickly. "Okay, since you talked me into dancing." The Queen C *hated* how her boyfriend danced but it was better than Faith's mating ritual.
"Works every time." Faith sat back in her seat with a grin. Willow and Oz silently moved over to the dance floor, their arms wrapped tightly around each other in the mist of drunk students.
"I'm glad you two are okay now." Buffy smiled encouragely at Spike and Faith.
"Me too but is this no alcohol thing really necessary?" Spike whined.
"Hell yeah." Faith said, looking into Spike's glass for the seventh time this night to make sure it wasn't beer.
"Doesn't that suck?" Spike muttered to himself.
"Speaking of, how are things with your dad?" Buffy asked Faith with compassion and pity in her eyes. Buffy thought she had family problems but it kind of seemed petty compared to Faith's abusive father.
"Spike called social services on him a couple weeks ago." Faith looked down at her hands. "They are taking him to jail and since I'm not old enough to take care of myself they are making me stay with a guardian."
Spike grabbed Faith around the waist and pulled her on to his lap. "Don't worry, pet. I didn't think that things would go this far. I just wanted to make sure you were safe."
"You did the right thing." Angel nodded. Fathers were getting to be a bit of a sore subject for him but he forced himself to stay calm.
"I know." Spike grinned casually.
"So full of yourself?" Faith raised an eyebrow.
"Hey! How come you fine ladies aren't dancing?" Penn walked over to their table and looked the two girls up and down.
"She is waiting for her *boyfriend*." The bleach blonde said, hugging Faith possessively. Penn just grinned and winked at him.
"Hey Penn." Angel said.
"Nothing much. Hey, I wanted to thank you for getting rid of Darla for me." Angel said, remembering his football friend saving him from that bitch.
Penn just grinned. "Trust me, the pleasure was all mine. You should have seen her face when I told her off. Think that she could just control everyone, take that you dumb walking STD."
Buffy smiled triumphantly. "I really like you."
"All of the ladies do." Penn made a clicking sound with his tongue and Buffy chuckled.
"Sure they do." Spike grunted.
Penn ignored Spike's comment and glanced over to the stage were the DJ was announcing the next band playing next.
"Yo, I gotta go! The Bronze offered me a little gig here. The students voted that I should sing so you better get your asses out there and dance." With that, Penn hurried away to the stage and took the microphone. A slow jazz song came on and Penn's soothing voice made the girls stop dancing with their boyfriends and start drooling at the hottie on the stage.
"That is our cue." Buffy said, hopping off Angel's lap and leading him to the dance floor followed by Spike and Faith.
Buffy sighed as she wrapped her arms around Angel's neck and his went around her waist, holding her flush up against him. Their foreheads were touching and Angel's lips gently whispered soothing nonsense against her skin.
"Hm?" He asked.
"Thank you. For making this year anything but a living hell." Buffy smiled.
"You thought it was going to be that bad?"
"Have you ever been the new girl in school?" Buffy played with the small hairs on the back of his neck.
"Just once...I'm not sure about that girl thing though." Angel grinned and kissed her lips softly.
Yes, this year was definitely something to remember.