Author Notes: Okay, so my story totally doesn't fit with the show timeline at all. I've changed so much it's amusing. Okay, this is what's up. Doyle is not dead! That was just plain evil. Oz didn't leave either cause I don't think Willow makes a good lesbian. Not that I don't like Tara. I just like Willow better with Oz. As for the time line, it falls a few weeks after Buffy got back from seeing Angel in LA. Spike IS "Neutered" and is kind of in love with Buffy. Oh, and he's kind of crossed over to the side of not killing people for a hobby. He doesn't do it anymore. Oh, and Angel and company don't work in the hotel. There was no fire and they're still in his same office. I think that's it, but if you have any questions regarding something in the story, just let me know, okay?
Rating: PG-15 or so. Could get a little higher because of some not so nice words.
Distribution: If you really want it, e-mail me and let me know where its' going, so I can come and visit!
Feedback: Okay. This is like, totally obvious. If you don't think that I would actually want you to write me and tell me what you think of my story‚¶well‚¶we just won't go there, Kay?
In a house on Rebello Drive, a young blond slayer lay sleeping. Her slumber however, was far from peaceful. She was moaning, whimpering, tossing and turning. A shrill ring from the phone finally woke her.
"Lo?" Her sleepy voice asked.
"Buffy? Is that you?" asked a male voice from the other line.
*Riley. * Inwardly, Buffy winced. This is so not the way she wanted to be woken up. " Yeah. Sorry. Not quite awake yet."
"You were sleeping? Buffy, it's not even the morning. Had you forgotten about our date?" Riley asked. It wasn't like her to be sleeping this late. At least he didn't think she usually slept this late. She never tells him much.
*Date? Who schedules a date for the ungodly hour of-7:00PM? * "Date. Yeah. Wanna remind me what I'm supposed to wear?" Buffy quickly recovered.
"Patrol clothes silly. I figured we could patrol and have a midnight picnic, all at the same time! I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Be ready." With that, Riley hung up.
In the fifteen minutes that she had, Buffy shoed, dressed, and stashed stakes and holy water on various places of her body. She had two minutes to spare.
Buffy opened the door and was greeted by Riley's smiling face.
"Hey sweet heart." Riley exclaimed, giving Buffy a soft kiss on the mouth.
A thousand little shivers crawled up Buffy's spine but she shook it off and smiled anyway. "So, are we going to go?" She asked in a WAY to cheerful voice.
"Yep! Let's go. I've got everything we need. You're gonna love it!" Riley was almost jumping he was so excited.
*He seems so enthusiastic. Angel never sounded like that. His voice was always smooth, deep, beautiful. STOP! Don't think about him! No no no Angel! Don't think about how his kisses make you want to die, or how his cold hands always feel so good on your skin, or how he knows all the right places, how he's so strong‚¶ and oh those hands!* No matter how hard she tried, Buffy's thoughts kept drifting to Angel as she and Riley walked to the grave yard.
"So, I was thinking, maybe we should train a little more. You know, you were gone for those days and probably didn't get a work out‚¶" Riley's babbling voice cut through to her mind. Then she drifted again.
*Angel never babbled. He hardly ever spoke. He never needed words. His eyes said everything. We could talk just by looking at each other. I can't do that with Riley. He can't read my mind, or my face like Angel could. I can't hide anything from Angel. He'd know something was wrong‚¶*
"DEMON!" Riley's shouting voice yelled.
Buffy looked up to see a horribly ugly demon. It had slimy, scaly yellow-puke green colored skin, stringy, oily black hair, glowing blue eyes, and crooked brown teeth.
"Today is the day you die slayer!" The demon cackled.
"Oh. Sure. Like I haven't heard THAT line before. I'd like to see you try and kill me, slime guy." Buffy shot back, her body in a crouch as they circled.
"Gladly!" The demon rasped.
Buffy swung, her fist connecting solidly with its face. The demon, though, had a size advantage, and as Buffy's fist hit his face, he grabbed her and swung her into a large head stone. Buffy felt something crack in her arm, but she ignored the pain and continued fighting. She swung at him again, and this time he got her across her abdomen with some type of knife thing. Again, Buffy tried to land a kick to his stomach, but he grabbed her leg and swung her into a tree. Dazed, she lay for a minute, trying to get her bearings. Riley rushed to help her, but was launched through the air. Buffy didn't even pay attention to where he landed so focused on the fight before her.
"Give up Slayer!" The demon screamed.
Buffy knew she couldn't last much longer. She could hardly see, her vision so blurred. She got in two more solid punches before he got her again. He threw her into a large stone temple. As Buffy felt several places of her body crack upon impact, her last thought was of Angel.
In the city of Angels, the vampire with a soul sat at his desk working on a case.
"Angel! Are you in there!" Cordelia Chase yelled down the hall.
"Cordy, it's almost 8 in the morning. Where else would I be? The beach?" Angel's voice was short and tired.
"Jeez, what bug crawled up your butt?" Cordelia said, her voice filled with hurt.
Angel sighed and rubbed his temples with the pads of his fingers. "I'm sorry Cordy, I'm just a bit on edge right now. The case, and then that whole thing with Buffy‚¶ I'm just preoccupied."
Cordy went from hurt to concerned it the blink of an eye. " Do you want to tell me about it? You don't have to, but if you want to‚¶" Cordelia's voice trailed off as she waited for Angel to either accept her offer or reject it.
*Buffy was such a good listener. She always knew the right thing to say. Even when she didn't, she looked so cute trying.* Angel sighed again as he thought. He and Cordeila had gotten close since they started working together, and he didn't like pushing her away, but it was hard talking about his feelings. "When Buffy first walked in, what she saw was bad. I had Faith in my arms, Cordy. I was holding the girl that stole her body, slept with her boyfriend, tried to make me lose my soul, tormented Wesley, tried to kill Buffy her self, poisoned me‚¶Buffy was the only one who tried to befriend her, and what does she do? She stabs her in the back." Angel talked. For once in his life, he let it all come out. "I can't blame her for being mad. She was more than mad though. She was furious. I hate seeing her unhappy. That look, though. That look on her face, that look of pure disgust, of anguish. To see your nemesis in the arms of your ex-lover, I can only imagine how awful it would feel. We started to talk. Then to yell. Then she hit me. I deserved it. But then I hit her back, damn it! I hit her back!"
Cordy had walked over and placed her hands on his shoulders as he talked. "Did she deserve it, Angel? Did she need it?"
"Yes, but I shouldn't of hit her. I shouldn't of gone that low!" Angel slammed his fists into the table, almost cracking the wood. "I SWORE that I would never hurt her again, and what do I do? I hurt her the first chance I get! And do you know what's even worse? She doesn't remember our perfect day together. Can't remember. Now she hates me. I still love her though. Forever and always will I love her." Angel finally lost it. All of the emotion he had stored up inside of him for 200 plus years came tumbling out. Cordy stood behind him, hands on his shoulders or rubbing his back as she watched the strongest man she ever knew break down and cry, blood tears marring his handsome face.
Angel sat downstairs, staring at a picture of Buffy's smiling face while Cordy was upstairs talking to Doyle and Gunn.
"You should of seen him! Angel is the strongest, most emotionally stable person, vampire, whatever, that I've ever met, and he lost it! Cordy said, her voice holding none of her usual mockery or sarcasm, only concern for a close friend.
"I know princess, I just don't know what we can do about it." Doyle said as he took Cordelia in his arms.
"Wait! Buffy!" Cordelia said suddenly.
"What about her?" Doyle asked.
"She can help Angel." The wheels in Cordy's head were turning as a plan formulated in her mind.
"Um, just one small problem with that." Gunn spoke up. "Isn't this chick the one who caused the problem in the first place?"
"Yes, maybe-" She was cut off by the ringing of the phone. "Angel Investigations, we help the hopeless." She paused. "Just a sec, I'll transfer you."
"Who was that?" Asked Doyle as Cordy hung up the phone.
"Giles." She said. "He wanted to talk to Angel."
A few minutes later, Angel came upstairs, a frightenly confused look on his face.
"Angel, man. What's up?" Gunn asked.
"It's Buffy." Angel whispered hoarsely. "She's in a coma."
Giles say in the hospital lobby, glasses in hand, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Bloody hell!" Giles yelled at nobody in paticular.
Willow jumped. She wasn't used to seeing Giles like this. He was supposed to be the shoulder that they oculd all lean on, the strong one of the group. "Giles, I'm sure if they learn anything new, they'll let us know as soon as the can." Willow said gently.
"Yes, Willow, I'm sure you're right, but it would be nice to know something, anything, as of now." He sighed and stood up. Giles began pacing the lobby. He looked around him. His family, almost like his children. His poor, lost children, who were forced to grow up to fast, who knew way to much about the creatures of the night.
Oz sat next to Willos, one arm around her shoulders, one holding her hand, smoothing his thumb along her knucles. Willow herself leaned into Oz, drawing comfort from his presence. Her pale skin was now white do to the most recent chain of events. Xander and Anya were also together, his arm about her shoulders. For once, the young boy was not cracking stupid jokes. He wasn't even smiling. His once sparkling eyes were cold and dull, full of worry. His bright face pale and dull and his mouth lacking the usual goofy grin. Anya too was quite, not complaining or making inappropriate comments. Joyce wasn't there. She had gone over seas to sell art of some sort for her gallery and Giles had been unable to get a hold of her. He had not even tried to reach Hank Summers, Buffy's father.
Giles snapped to attention and walked quickly over to the nurse, followed by the others.
"Yes? Is Buffy okay?" Giles asked.
"Well, as you know already, Ms. Summers is in a coma. After further examination, we've discovered sever bruising to her abdomen, several broken ribs, a broken arm and leg, a long cut on her abdomen, and numerous other scopes and bruises. We were able to stop internal bleeding, and she is now being given blood through an inter venus tube," The young male nurse explained.
"I don't give a damn about that. Will. She. Be. Okay?" Giles said through gritted teeth. She had to be okay. That's the only thing that mattered.
"I'm afraid that the longer she stays in the coma, the less likely she is to wake up from it."
Giles swallowed hard. "May we see her?"
"Are you family? Only family can see her now." The nurse said.
"Yes, we're family.
The nurse looked skeptical. "ALL of you?" He asked.
"Yes! Damn it! Now let us see her!" Giles had lost his patience. He wanted to see her NOW.
"Yes. Okay. Room 415. Down that hall." The nurse was frightend of this angry British man. He didn't like him at all. He walked away as fast as he could.
As the scoobies were leaving, Oz spoke up. "I'll stay. Wait for Angel. He should know what's going on." He explained.
"Yes, thank you Oz. Please, bring him down as soon as he arrives." Giles told Oz. He thanked him again before turning and walking down that hall.
Oz sat in the waiting room for twenty minutes before Angel showed up. He was was wearing his usual black on black atire, his duster flapping behind him.
He looked extreamly pale.
Even for a vampire.
"Angel," Oz said.
Oz. Where's Buffy? Can I see her? How is she?" Angel rapidly fired questions, wanting answers.
"Only family. Giles made up something about him being an uncle and the rest of us cousins. I think Xander is her brother." Oz said as he watched Angels face take in the information.
"Go. I need time to collect muself," Angel said.
Oz nodded and left.
As Angel was about to go, he relized he didn't know Buffy's room number. He found a frightened looking nurse and aksed him.
"Are you family?" He asked Angel an almost scared look on his face.
Angel looked down at his hand, and saw a silver ring.
"Husband," He whispered.
Angel took of down the hallway and flew into her room. When he enterd, the rest left, leaving him and Buffy alone. He dropped to his knees by her side, and took her hand. "Oh, Buffy." He whispered, brushing his lips to her hand.
Angel sat next to Buffy's bedside, holding her hand and softly smoothing his thumb over her fingers. For hours, he sat and stared at her, lightly trailing his hand over her bruised face. He ran his fingers through her bloody, matte hair. Carefully, he pulled up her shirt and looked at her stomach and chest. His hand trailed slowly over a long cut on her abdomen. He caught his breath when he saw her bruised and broken ribs, caressing them lightly, trying to ease not only any pain that she had, but his urge to touch her, to feel her skin beneath his fingers.
A small sound escaped from her lips and Angel pulled back his hand as though it had been struck by lighting. He glanced at her face once more. Despite the bruises, the scrapes, the blood and the scratches, she was still the most beautiful woman Angel had ever laid eyes on.
"I'm sorry Buff. It's all my fault. If I hadn't of left, you wouldn't have gotten hurt. You wouldn't of dated Riley, or gone out with him. You would have been training more, and you would have been stronger. I would have been with you, protected you. You wouldn't be in a coma, or lying here, bruised and broken in front of my eyes. You wouldn't be in HERE!" As angel yelled the last sentence, all the energy flew out of him, and he slumped down in his chair, bloody tears yet again running down his face.
As Angel buried his face in his hands, he felt a piece of cold metal touch his face. He glance down and noticed his cladagh ring, still nesteld on his finger. He had gotton so used to wearing it, he hardly noticed it anymore.
Angel looked down at the tabel by Buffy's bedside and saw a little blue velvet box. He carefully picked it up, but debated whether or not to open. He didn't want to invade her privacy, but he was curiuos. He decided to open it, and slowly lifted the lid.
Inside, nestled in a small box of cotton lay a silver cross, the very same one Angel had given her the first night he met her, the night that she knocked him down on his ass behind the Bronze. He smiled slightly at the memory.
Noticing another glimpse of metal, Angel looked back in the box and picked up a small silver ring. He sucked in his breath when he relized that it was her cladagh, the one that he had given her on her seventeenth birthday, so long ago. After finding it when he had returned from Hell, he had stored it away and given it to her at her senior prom. His heart soared when he relized that she must still wear it. His high spirits came crashing down again as he glanced back at the bed, and saw his poor Buffy, bruised and broken, machines beeping and a IV running into her delicate hand.
His eyes welled with tears, one slipping down his face to land in a small, red circle on Buffy's sheets. He looked at it for a long time. How it's deep red color stood out against the stark white. The way it was small and perfect. It reminded him of his beautiful Buffy.
Giving her forehead a soft kiss, Angel climbed up into the bed with her, enveloping her small frame in his strong arms. He carefully moved aside wires and tubes, making sure not to disconnect any and make a nurse or doctor come running. With his chin resting gently on her head, Angels lack of food and sleep caught up with him, and he slumped into uncouncisness.
"Angel isn't okay, is he? Willow asked Giles as they stood outside of Buffy's hospital room.
"No, I'm afraid he's not." Giles sighed as he glanced back at Buffy. He had watched Angel climb into bed with her. His first reaction had been to stop it, but he believed that it was something they both needed. And now, as he watched them, Buffy lying in a coma, her vampire lover passed out beside her, he wasn't sure how long Angel would last. "I fear, that he is, in a sense, dying."
"But he CAN'T die!" Willow argued.
"Yeah," Xander added. "He's already dead. Kinda. Undead. Or something."
"Yes, Xander. We are quite aware of that, thank you. What I meant was that Angel hasn't yet left Buffy's side sense he arrived here. He hasn't fed in at least a week, and he hardly sleeps anymore according to that little Irish man that came with Cordy." Giles said, his eyes tired and full of grief.
"Buffy? Where's Buffy?"
Everyone turned to see whom the new voice was.
"Riley. Buffy is in there, but know one can see her now." Giles said, praying that the annoying fish boy would just go away.
"No one can see her? Then who is that? Hmm?" Riley asked. They had no right to keep him from his girlfriend.
"Who?" Xander asked.
Riley looked around Xander and into the room. He noticed a young dark haired male in bed with HIS girlfriend. The shades were tightly drawn, allowing no light into the room. "Is that Angel? That's Angel isn't it?" Riley said, now fairly pissed.
"No, that's a doctor who has the hots for Buffy." Cordy said. She didn't know who that guy was, but she didn't like him. Not only was he ugly, but he had no sense of style. Maybe that's why she liked Angel. Black never went out of style, especially for someone with his body.
Riley glared at her, but before he could say anything, was interrupted by Giles.
"Riley, arguing isn't going to make Buffy better. We need to get along, at least be civil to each other."
"Fine. I still don't think that, that VAMPIRE should be in with Buffy though. What if he decides to suck her blood or something?" Riley questioned. Personally, he'd like to go and ram a stake strait though Angel's heart, but he believed that he would be in serious trouble if he did, and if Buffy did wake up, she would probably castrate him.
"Angel would never bite the lass man. She means the world to 'im." Doyle spoke up.
"Who are you?" Riley asked.
"Names Doyle. I'm here with the princess over there." Doyle said, and tipped his head in Cordy's direction.
"My name is Cordelia, and I work with Angel. He may be a vampire, but he would never bite Buffy. And he dresses with style, which is more than I can say for you." Cordy said. She wasn't going to play nice with the fish. She really didn't like him.
"You‚¶ He‚¶that‚¶mean‚¶" Riley stumbled. He thought someone would stick up for him.
No one did.
"Might we go somewhere else? Talking about demons and vampires in public places usually is not the best way of discussing problems." Giles said.
"There's an empty waiting room down the hall. I passed it when I came in." Riley said.
"Must of stopped and stood there awhile, aye?" Doyle muttered under his breath. Xander was the only one who heard him, and he laughed loud enough for people to glance at him. He just shook his head and walked on. He may have only known Doyle for a day or two, but he like him already.
A few hours later, every one sat around Giles living room, either talking to one another, or milling about.
"So, Riley. Can you tell us what happened?" Giles asked Riley.
"Buffy and I were out on a date, and were hanging out in the grave yard when all the sudden a demon came out of nowhere-"
"Demon? What kind of demon?" Giles asked sharply.
"I don't know. Anyway-"
"What did it look like?"
"Um, it had slimy, kind of scaly yellow-green skin. I think its hair was like, a stringy, oily black, and um, its eyes were blue and its teeth were brown. I think."
"Are you sure?" Willow asked, already having her lab top open and on her lap.
"Yeah. I mean, I don't think I missed anything." Riley scratched his head.
"Oh, god." Cordy moaned.
"Lets get to work then." Giles said.
A half-hour later, Willow had something.
Angel stood in‚¶‚¶‚¶nothing, All around him was white. He couldn't tell which way was up or down or left or right. There was nothing.
"Angel?" A quiet voice asked.
Angel turned. "Buffy?" He ran to her. He was about to pick her up in a hug when he realized‚¶ "You're awake!"
"Um, no actually." Buffy said.
"Then where are we?" Angel asked. He couldn't believe this was happening.
"I think we're in my head, or dreams or something. I'm not quite sure actually. Did you fall asleep?" She questioned him.
"Something like that, yeah. I don't feel asleep though. And I'm not. And you look awake, but your not." Angel was finally figuring this out.
"Correct," Buffy answered.
"Why are we here?" Angel asked.
"Well, I wanted to say I'm sorry for the way that I acted, I treated the only person I've ever and will ever loved like dirt. I'm sorry for acting like a bitch, for not trusting you, for rubbing Riley in your face. I felt like I wanted, had, to hurt you, make you feel the gut-wrenching pain that I felt as I watched you walk away. You didn't say good bye. Not even a good bye‚¶" Her voice trailed off and tears welled in her eyes. Then she regained her composer. She dragged a hand across her eyes and took a breath before beginning again. "My point, through all that rambling is‚¶that I'm sorry.
Angel had started looking at the ground sometime during her little shpeal and only now raised his eyes to face her. "Why bring me here to tell me this? Why not just wait till you wake up?" Angel asked.
Her eyes said it all, but he listened to her words anyway. "I'm not sure that I'm gonna wake up. That demon thing beat me up pretty well, Angel."
Angel knew what she was going to say before she said it, but he sputtered anyway. "But, but you can't die! You have to wake up! Buffy, if you died, I don't know how I could go on."
"The same way you have been the past few months." Buffy told him pointedly.
"You mean sitting and staring at your picture?"
Buffy gave a bitter laugh. "Yes, I supposed so."
"But I don't want you to die," Angel said, sounding almost like a little whining kid.
"And I don't want to die, but I don't have a choice." Buffy said sadly.
"But you do! You're the slayer Buffy. You're stronger than anybody I've ever known.
"I suppose I should take that as a compliment considering how many people you know, huh?" Buffy smiled, trying to lighten the mood.
Angel frowned. "I'm serious. The only reason I've made it through these past few months because I know you're only a phone call away. If you're gone‚¶" Angel stopped talking, not even wanting to think about life without her.
"Oh, Angel. My sweet Angel."
For the first time since they got there, Buffy touched him, drawing him into her tight embrace. She held him and let him cry, her own tears mingling with his. Later, a few minutes, a few hours, Buffy looked up.
"I have to go now Angel."
"No! You can't! Please Buffy!"
"One more kiss, until forever?" She asked, her face tilting up towards Angel.
"You can't die," Angel whispered, his lips descending on hers. "You aren't gonna die." And as their lips touched, they were launched back to reality and until forever got further away.
"I found it."
"What Willow?" Xander asked.
"I found what the demon is. I think anyway. Riley, can you tell me if this is what you saw?" Willow held the book up to rileys face so he could see what it was. She had abandoned her labtop for one of Giles' old books, and found the demon.
Riley nodded. "That's it."
"It's a Yremna demon. It's supposedly the strongest ever to live, and comes up from underground every 150 generations of slayers. I guess a slayer that has gone up against him as never lived." Willow talked in a softly panicked voice. If a Slayer never lived‚¶
"What do you mean never lived?" Riley asked.
"She means that all the Slayers that have fought him are DEAD." Anya told him, acting as though he were a stupid little child. Well‚¶close enough.
"I know what it means. Does that thing, that demon have anyway it can be killed?"
"I'm still looiking. I believe they don't stop until they kill the person. I-it must of thought Buffy was dead, or it wouldn't of left. I think that there are only seven of there kind. Apparently one for each continent, although Antartica doesn't get much action.
"That's all nice and good Will, but if Buffy, WHEN Buffy gets out of the hospital, it'll just go right after her again, and it'll be this all over again. We have to kill it. There's no other way."
"Yes Xander, we know that. What we don't know, and need to know, is how to kill it," Giles said as he began pacing around the room. "Willow, what about just having us all surrund it, and behead it? Would that work?"
Willow shook her head. "It says in this book that there's a special way to kill it, but we don't know how yet. I don't think an ambush would do it." Will sighed softly. She couldn't stand not knowing how to kill that demon.
Giles glance at the clock, seeing that it was now close to 1 AM. Everyone was tired and needed to sleep. "Lets go to sleep. We can look more in the morning."
"But Giles-" Xander complained.
"You are not any help to Buffy dead tired Xander. Get some sleep and we'll continue in the morning." The others nodded and they all went to find somewhere to sleep in Giles' crampped apartment.
"Do you think we can beat this guy?" Willow asked Oz as they laid down sleeping bags on the floor of the living room.
"I don't think we have a choice." Oz said.
Giles woke tired and sore. He had slept on a chair for the night, surrenedering his bed to Cordelia so he wouldn't have to listen to her whining. As he sat up and streched, he decided to call Angel, to see how Buffy was doing.
"Angel?" Giles asked.
"Giles. What do you need?" Angel's voice sounded horse and Giles could tell that he had spent more time crying.
"I called to check on Buffy. How is she?" He prayed she was better.
"The same. She hasn't moved at all, nothing. She's still in there though, she's still there." Angel said.
"Still in there?" Giles asked.
"Still in her body, her spirit, her mind. It's all still there."
"Yes, good. Very very good. We found the demon that hurt her. We know what it is. Willow is looking for a way to‚¶ dismember it, so to speak."
"What is it?" Angel asked.
"It's a Yremna demon. Do you know it?" Giles said as he began getting himself a cup of tea.
"I've heard of it. Only seven of them, right?" Angel asked.
"Yes. Might you know how to kill it?"
"I know very little, but I think I remember something about feelings, but I can think of the specifics." He wished he could remember, but his head wasn't working. All he could think about was the women lying next to him.
"Thank you Angel. We'll find out what we can as soon as possible. Good bye."
Giles hung up the phone and walked into the living room to find everyone else awake and active.
"Giles! I think I found the answer." Willow said excitedly.
"Yes willow, what is it?" Giles asked.
"In order to kill the demon, the person has to love and be loved by Buffy. Then her strenght is transferred into him, and he can beat the demon."
Angel sat up, gently moving away from Buffy, needing to stretch his legs. He had slept next to her every night since he came, and last night had been no exception. The doctors hadn't like the idea, but Giles had somehow convinced them that letting Angel be by Buffy raises her chance of waking up. Angel hoped it was true. If Buffy didn't wake up‚¶
"Mr. um Angel?"
Angel whipped around from looking at Buffy. "Just call me Angel. What did you need?"
"I'm Doctor Raye, Buffy's doctor. I believe we've spoken before about your wife?"
"My wife. Yes. Buffy. My wife." Angel stammered. The thought of Buffy as his wife‚¶ Well, it was the one thing he wanted most in the world.
The doctor raised an eyebrow but continued. "Your wife is better off then we expected. With the amount of injuries she came in with, well, we expected her to be dead by now."
Angel grimaced at the thought. "Yes, well, she's strong."
The doctor nodded. "She should have been dead when your uncle brought her in."
"My uncle?" Angel asked. His uncles were all long dead. He would know. He killed them himself.
"The stuffy British man?" The doctor said.
"Oh. Uncle Gi-Rupert." Angel said.
"Yes. Anyway, what I needed to know is what exactly happened to Mrs. um, just what exactly is you last name?"
"Angelus. I don't really like my first name, so I go by Angel." Angel explained.
"Angelus. Interesting name. Anyway, Mrs. Angelus. What exactly happened to her? I was informed that she was beaten up, but that's all."
"Buffy was walking home from a meeting at school and was surrounded. A few men circled her and attacked. Rupert found her and brought her here." Angel calmly replayed the story that Giles had told him.
"Do you know who the men were?" Dr Raye asked, scribbling on her clipboard.
"No. I wasn't there."
"Thank you. I'll be going now." Dr Raye nodded and walked off.
Angel walked around to pull the shades farther down, making sure that no sunlight could get in, then climbed back in with Buffy and promptly passed out.
Angel opened his eyes and found he was standing inside Buffy's room, the way it was when she was seventeen, before the Angelus thing. She sat by her window, looking out at the moon.
"Hey." She said.
"Hi. It's not white." Angel said.
"Yea. I figured that if we were gonna meet, it might as well be a well known place."
"Your room?" Angel asked, walking up next to her and taking her in his arms. He had to hold her, feel her in his arms.
"Yes. I like it. It reminds me of times before all this other bad stuff."
Angel was silent as he watched Buffy and held her in his arms. Buffy glanced at the pale moonlight that cut a path on her floor to her bed.
"When I was little, I used to think I could walk on the moonlight to a place over the rainbow. Maybe that's where I'll go if I die." Buffy said, her face blank.
"You can't die though Buffy. I need you too much." Angel begged.
"Who knows what will happen Angel. Promise me something though?" Buffy asked, her face tipped up towards his.
"Anything for you, beloved." Angel said, his face descending to Buffy's.
"Promise me that you won't go and kill yourself if I die." Buffy said.
"I can't promise you that Buffy, I don't think-" Angel got cut off.
"You already promised." Buffy said as her lips gently touched Angels, and they were once again transported back.
As Angel slowly came to, he realized that it was a day later. He got out of the bed and stretched. As he was doing so, Buffy's doctor walked in, a sad statement on her face.
"Angel. I need to talk to you."
"Yes?" Angel asked.
"I want your permission to take Buffy of life support."
Back at Giles' house, the gang was once again huddled around books, though now they at least knew how to kill the demon.
"So, the person has to love and be loved by BuffY? Like true love? That's not a problem then. I can kill the demon." Riley said to the others. He was much happier, now that he knew that it was him who could kill the demon who put Buffy in the hospital.
"Um, Riley, don't you think that maybe Ang-" Willow cut off Xander with a sharp nudge in his stomache. He look at Will funny and then shrugged.
"Well, what are we waiting for? Lets go and kill this Yremna demon." Riley was practically skipping around the room, so excited to be able to help Buffy.
"Well then, shall we leave?" Giles asked.
As they were walking out the door, Willow walked up to Giles. "Giles, doesn't Buffy have to love the person in order for them to be able to kill the demon?" Willow asked.
"Yes, I believe so." Giles said.
"Then how is Riley going to kill it? We all know that the only one she loves is Angel, and he isn't here right now." She told him, trying to figure out why Giles was going to let Riley make a fool of himself and probably get himself killed.
"I guess I was hoping that maybe the demon wouldn't show. He knows who can kill him as much as we do, and possibly won't take Riley as a threat." Giles explained.
"Oh. Think it will work?" Will looked up at Giles.
"Giles! Demon at twelve O' clock!" Xander yelled.
"Damn." Giles whispered under his breath. He watched as Riley ran forward, swinging an ax. He got to the demon and was up for five seconds before he was flat on his ass. The Yremna demon had swung his arm out and hit Riley as though he was no more than a pesky fly buzzing about his head.
"He's gonna be killed. It should be amusing." Anya stated as they watched Riley‚¶fall down numerous times. He was again flicked aside, and this time flew into a tree.
Xander, although he didn't like Riley much, ran to help him. He was able to get in a punch, because even if Buffy didn't love him as a lover, her love for him was true as a friend. He too though was thrown to the side after a second.
Riley slowly started to stand after being thrown once again into a tree, the third time in fifteen minutes. He was sore and bruised, and his back ached from being thrown into the trees. He was losing hope of killing this thing tonight. Of killing it period. He was beginning to understand why he wasn't able to hurt the Yremna. He may love Buffy, but Buffy was still madly in love with Angel, and from the way Angel was acting, he was still feet over fangs for her too.
Back at Sunnydale's hospital, Angel stood and looked at the
doctor, still unsure if he had heard her correctly of not.
"Take her off life support? You mean, kill her?" Angel asked.
"Well, not kill her. As of right now, although there is brain function, she isn't responding to you, me, or any of her other family members. As her husband, you are the prime decision maker. I can't force you, but I believe it would be a merciful thing to do." Dr. Raye explained.
"A mercy killing. You're asking me to un plug my wifes life line, so that she'll slowly die? You're asking me to give up on her, after you yourself admited that any other human being would be DEAD by now? You're asking me to kill my own wife, my love, my heart, my life?" Angel asked, his voice raising to such an extent that he was almost shouting.
"I mean, I guess, I didn't think‚¶" Dr. Raye stumbled. She had had no idea that asking this would work the young man into such a stupor.
Angel looked at the doctor and his eyes flashed yellow. He turned away, and with his teeth gritted together said, "Leave. Now."
She ran fast.
Angel walked over to Buffy's bed and took her hand, rubbing it gently. He knelt and placed a kiss on her head. He bowed his head down to her ear, and softly whispered "√Ālainn ion√ļin, √°lainn."
Beautiful beloved, beautiful.
Angel awoke slowly the next morning. He hadn't even realized that he had fallen asleep. He was still by Buffy's bedside, head nestled by her stomach, hands still wrapped around hers. He was extremely sore from sleeping like that and decided that he needed to walk. He also noticed that the shades were open and that there were little streams of sunlight pouring in. He quickly got up and shut the blinds. As he walked back to Buffy's bed, the phone rang.
"Hello?" Angel said.
"Angel, this is Giles. We have a bit of a problem. You need to come over."
"I'm not leaving Buffy, Giles. I can't. What if she wakes up?" Angel asked, glancing back at the petite blonde in the bed.
"Then we'll come there. We've discovered how to kill the demon, what it needs and who it needs to be. We'll be there in fifteen minutes. Don't leave." With that, Giles hung up and rallied the troops to leave.
After Giles hung up, Angel thought back to what he said. The demon. He could remember certain things about it, but nothing specific. The one thing that stood out in his mind was the fact that Giles had said they knew who needed to kill it. Hmm.
Angel turned around to see Willow standing in the door with Oz, their hands clasped tightly together.
Willow let go of Oz's hand and came to Angel, wrapping her arms around his neck in a tight hug. Angel, overcome for a second just stood there before coming to his senses and wrapping his arms back around her, and putting his head in her neck. "She can beat this. Buffy's strong enough to beat this." Willow whispered into his ear. "She will wake up."
Angel pulled back and smiled sadly at her, then looked down at her shirt, noticing a reddish smear. Willow glanced down to and shrugged. "It's not like you bit me." She said and handed him a tissue to wipe his eyes with.
"So, what's up?" Angel asked, turning away from the group and walking into the small bathroom attached to Buffy's room.
"Well," Giles said, entering the room with Cordy, Doyle, Xander and Anya all coming in behind him. "We've discovered how to kill the demon. It seems that in order to be able to do any damage, the killer, so to speak, has to love and be loved by Buffy. Riley went after the it last night."
Angel swallowed hard. The thought of Buffy loving someone else was enough to make him sick to his stomach. "So, it's dead now, right?" He asked.
"Well, um, no. It seems that Riley was unable to kill the demon, for even though he loves Buffy, she does not seem to return it." Giles said.
*She didn't love him. * Angel thought. *She didn't love him. She loves me? * "So what happened?" Angel asked, his spirits lifted considerably after finding that Riley was unable to kill the Yremna demon.
"Well, the stupid fish went to fight the demon, 'course we all new that there was no way in hell he'd be able to kill it, even if the Buffster loved him. So he got his ass kicked and is in some private military hospital initiative thingy 'gaining strength.' Even I was able to get a swing at the stupid demon." Xander said.
"Buffy loves you?" Angel asked, dumbfounded.
"Buffy loves Xander as a friend. A small love, but true in it's own sense. That is why Xander was able to hit him-"
"Then be swung into a grave stone and almost have my brain knocked out my ears." Xander interrupted Giles.
"You mean it hasn't already happened?" Cordy mumbled.
Angel was the only one who heard her, but decided to ignore it, although he agreed, and continue with Giles. "So, you're saying that only someone Buffy loves truly can kill the demon?" Angel asked.
"That is how it appears, yes." Giles said.
"That means that I am the one that has to kill it?" Angel asked right before hearing a new voice added to the group.
"Or I could." Said the voice.
Angel turned around at the sound of that frightenly familiar voice. He came face to face with‚¶ himself.
"Heya Soul Boy. Bet I was the last person on earth you ever expected to see."
"What the hell are you doing here?" Angel asked, slowly positioning himself in front of Buffy.
"Well, it seems that a friend of yours, a Yremna demon I believe, decided that it would be a fun time to bring me into my own body." Angelus smirked.
"The demon did this? How? Why?" Angel asked as he motioned the others out of the room.
"Well, I suppose that I'm here to distract you from Buffy and the demon. That way you get killed, and I make everyone's life a living hell."
Out in the hall, the others were standing around fretting.
"How did he get here?"
"What's Evil Dead Boy doing?"
"He's large and attractive."
"BE QUIET!" Giles yelled. "We know that Angelus is here. What we need to know is WHY he's here and what he wants." Giles said.
"You mean we can't just kill him?" Xander asked. "I'm sure I could find something that would work as a stake."
"You will not hurt her." Angel said between clenched teeth.
"I have no need to keep her alive." Angelus said, although he knew that he wanted her alive and well. "I also have no need to kill her."
"Why don't you just go away and reek havoc somewhere else?" Angel asked. He wanted his bad side as far away from Buffy as possible.
"I won't kill her. I give you my word." Angelus said. "I won't hurt her."
"Like I can trust you word." Angel seethed.
"I could have killed you both by now and you know it. I told you, I gave you my word. I won't kill her." Angelus told Angel, glancing down at the small blonde slayer lying on the bed.
"I need to talk to Giles. If you so much as move one hair on her head I will rip out your brain through your ears and shove down your throat," Angel said his voice low and lethal. He walked out the room and over to Giles.
Giles glance up, saw an incredibly tired, pale, in-need-of-a-shave-and-40-hours-of-sleep vampire walk towards him, and knew at once that it was Angel. "Angel, you left HIM alone with Buffy?"
Angel looks back wearily. "He won't hurt her Giles. At least, not now. We're right out here. He won't do it."
"How are you sure? He could do anything right now!" Giles yelled.
"No, he won't. I promise." Angel said.
"Why is he here? What does he want?" Willow asked clinging to Oz's hand.
"The Yremna demon summoned him. He took him from my body and made a new one for him. He was supposed to distract me from Buffy, kill me, then raise hell in Sunnydale." Angel said, a hand swiping over his bleary eyes. "Giles, go home, get a tranqulizwer, come back, knock him out, and lock him up. We'll deal with him later."
One hour and numerous bruises later, Angelus was safely locked away and Angel was again alone with Buffy. He was exhausted, so he climbed in with Buffy, wrapped her again in his large, safe arms, and fell asleep.
Angel opened his eyes and found himself in his old apartment. Buffy sat on his bed, still rumpled and unmade from-he didn't want to think about that.
"Will I ever get to chose?" Angel asked.
"No. I like being in control." Buffy said as she moved over on the bed, motioning Angel to sit next to her.
"Really now," Angel said, sitting down and wrapping his arms around her and pulling her to his chest, then leaning against the wall.
Buffy blushed. She hadn't really realized what she said until he mentioned it. "Um, I mean, I, uh," Buffy stammered.
"I know what you mean. I'm just teasing you Buffy." Angel said, smiling slightly.
"Um, Buffy, I have to tell you something." Angel said.
Buffy cuddled into Angel, her arms wrapped around his middle.
"Is here. I know. I could feel him. Just like I can feel you. You're always with me aren't you? I can feel you all the time." Buffy said, her large eyes looking up at Angel.
"Yes. I'm always there." Angel murmured into her hair. He could feel her, smell her hair, kiss her lips, but in the back of his mind, he knew that this was only a dream.
"How much have you eaten since you've come?" Buffy asked.
"I haven't left your side. I can't bring myself to leave. What if you wake up? I wouldn't be there." Angel told Buffy his greatest fear.
"Go. Eat. You aren't going to help me starving Angel. You can't help me. Go. Angelus can stay with me." She whispered.
"Angelus? What if he‚¶" Angel couldn't bring himself to say it.
"He won't. Just go." Buffy pushed Angel away, gave him a light kiss, and disappeared.
Angel woke up and called Giles. "Get him over here. Now." Angel said into the phone.
"Him? You mean Angelus? Why would you want-"
Angel interrupted him. "Just bring him."
Thirty minutes later, Angelus was in Buffy's room, alone with her. He paced around the room, wanting to go to her, and yet knowing that he should stay away, if only to preserve his image. In the end, he walked to her bed and took her hand, talking softly. "I know I'm not supposed to love. I know I'm not even supposed to even like you. I should kill you right now. Snap your neck or drain every drop of your wonderful tasting blood, but I can't. I love you. I hate myself for it, but I do. When I was trapped away inside Soul Boy, I wanted to be the one touching you, tasting you and holding you, but I can't." Angelus walked away again. He looked out the window at the moonless sky, the bright stars shining protectively.
Giles looked in to see Angelus walking back to Buffy's bedside, taking her hand, kissing her forehead, and settling down to sleep.
As Giles looked on at Angelus, a million different thoughts were running through his head. Why wasn't he killing her? Hurtung her? The only thing he had shown her was tenderness and care. What was wrong with him? Not that Giles was disapointed that Angelus wasn't draining Buffy of her life, but what was up with this demon?
Angelus was in the mansion. He had no idea how he had gotten there, that is, until he saw Buffy sitting in front of the fire that she and Angel had sat in front of and had long, frustrating conversations.
"It's about time you got here." She said, her gaze not leaving the fire.
"Got where?" Angelus asked, moving toward her.
"Here. It's what Angel and I have been calling Dream Limbo. Somewhere in-between. I wanted to talk to him, so I brought him into my dreams." She explained.
Angelus sat down next to her, and her noticed her tense a bit. When it was obvious that he wasn't going to bite her or hurt her, she relaxed and turned to him, her eyes dancing in the firelight. "Why did you bring me?" He asked, his voice low, his features shadowed by the light of the fire.
"I wanted to talk to you." She said simply.
"About what?" He moved closer to her, taking her hand hesitantly and sighed a breath of release when she didn't remove it.
"Why you're here. How you're going to help. Why you love me."
Angelus stiffened, surprised to be caught revealing his feeling to Buffy. "Love you?" He gulped.
"I heard you talking to me. I know what you said." Buffy answered, moving closer to him.
"You heard. So? Now you know. Just don't tell. I've got a rep to protect." Angelus said, smiling at her as she moved closer.
"I won't tell. I have a question."
Angelus pulled her up his body, leaning her back against his chest. "What's that?"
"Are you going to stay and help Angel fight?" She asked, gazing intently at his beautiful face.
"I'll stay. I'll fight. I'll help." Angelus said.
Buffy smiled. "Good." She snuggled up into his chest, and even in her dreams, drifted peacefully off to sleep.
Willow stood and watched Angel as he threw numerous weapons out of a closet in the mansion. She was worried about him. He's been really off since Buffy went into a coma, and now, with Angelus here‚¶ "Angel?"
"What?" Came Angel's reply, muffled by the closet.
"What is it that you're looking for? Can I help?" Willow asked.
"I'm looking for anything that's sharp, and if you want, you can go upstairs and look." Angel said as he walked out of the closet carrying something that was indeed VERY sharp. "If I'm gonna kill this demon, then I have to have something to do it with, especially if Angelus goes back on his promise. I won't gamble with Buffy's life."
Angelus sat by Buffy's bedside, deep in thought. He knew that he promised to help Angel kill the Yremna demon, and he wasn't planning on going back on his promise, but it was what came after that that worried him. Is killing the demon enough to wake Buffy up? Or will she die anyway? And what about him? Will the banish him to hell when their done using him to fight?
He heard a noise from the bed, and his hope soared. As he lifted his head to look, he noticed that an IV had come out of Buffy's arm. He quickly pushed a button to call a doctor. A few minutes later, Dr. Raye came into the room.
"Mr. Angel. What's wrong?"
Angel motioned to Buffy's arm where the IV had come out. "That thing came out of her arm." He said.
"That's impossible. The only way for that to come out would be if somebody took it out." The doctor raised an eyebrow at him, and Angelus caught her meaning.
"I did not take that out. I don't even know what it is! How dare you think I did!" Angelus knew he shouldn't get so worked up, after all, Buffy couldn't have pulled it out. He could feel his game face coming and fought to control his temper. He could feel his eyes turn golden and his teeth lengthen. He turned to face the wall, making sure that she didn't see his face. "Fix it, and leave." He said softly.
"Y-y-yes." The doctor quickly fixed Buffy's IV, then left quickly.
"Wow. Moody." She mumbled to herself as she walked away.
Angel walked into the hospital and strait to Buffy's room, ignoring the protest coming from the nurse saying it was past visiting hours. He looked up, his face blank but his eyes full of fire. The nurse quickly looked away, and he continued.
As Angel walked into Buffy's room, he saw Angelus standing by Buffy, but his back was to him. He was about to say his name when Angelus turned around and Angel noticed his golden and intense looking eyes. "How is she?" He asked, moving to the other side of Buffy's bed.
"The same." Angelus said.
"You won't hurt her." Angel stated. It was a fact, not a question.
"No." Angelus looked up and locked eyes with his souled half.
And there they stood, the two fallen angels, their gazes locked, each holding a hand of the woman they both loved with all their undead hearts.
Angel and Angelus looked at each other, then to the small blonde-haired woman on a bench in the park. Neither of them remembered falling asleep, nor did they remember being knocked out.
They tuned in unison to look at Buffy as she sat on the bench.
"You're probably wondering how you got here." She said.
Angel looked at Angelus and then back to Buffy and nodded.
"I needed to speak to you, both of you, together. You need to know what's going to happen," Buffy said, looking back and forth between them. "I know you both love me, even you Angelus, and that's what it's going to take to kill it.
In order to win this battle, you have to fight together. Train together, learn each other. You need to learn how to fight in unison. I know, because both of you think you're better than the other, that you can do it alone. That's wrong. You can't. Angel never would have been able to do it, even with his love for me, by himself. The demon signed his death papers by bringing you into this, Angelus." Buffy looked at him and saw the surprise and confusion in his eyes.
"Me? Why?" He asked.
"He underestimated you. He thought that you would take us all out at the first chance you got. Granted, that might have been true when I was seventeen, it isn't anymore. You two may be separate people, demons, what ever, but you still FEEL the same thing." Buffy explained.
"Things like love? And lust?" Angelus asked as he walked over to Buffy and wrapped his arms around her.
Buffy, surprised at his second comment, said nothing at first, before getting herself together and nodding. "Yes, those things exactly." She said, snuggling into Angelus's silk covered chest.
Angel watched as his mirror image held Buffy tenderly in his arms. He wasn't able to believe that his demon loved the same person that he did, and a slayer at that. Angel pondered for a moment and then a question came to his mind. He cleared his throat and the couple broke their embrace.
"Yes?" She asked, looking up at him with the hazel eyes he had fallen so hard for so long ago.
"What are we going to do after this? What if killing the demon doesn't wake you up?" He asked, his voice concerned.
"I guess we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it." She said, not looking at him.
"What about Angelus, what are we going to do about him?" Angel asked, looking at his evil counter part.
"I don't know." She said.
The gang sat around Giles's living room, minus the Angels, and of course, Buffy. They talked about what was to come.
"Giles? What are we going to do?"
Willow's voice startled him and he almost spilt the tea he was pouring. "What are we going to do? About what, exactly?" Giles asked, wiping up the tea that had sloshed out of his cup.
"About Angelus, the demon, Buffy. You know, all those things that make this little problem so big?" Xander asked, ticking the things off on his fingers. "It's not like we can have two dead boys running around. I mean, one, even in LA, was bad enough. Two? Well, two would be positively unthinkable!"
"I don't know. Two, tall, dark, handsome men, with a few hundred years of sexual experience? What in the world could possibly be wrong with that? I mean, I thought two Xanders would have been great-" Anya was cut off when the hand of her jealous boy-friend clamped over her mouth.
"I never thought I would say this ever, but thank you Xander," Giles said as he continued to talk. "I don't know what we're going to do about the demon. I suppose one of them will have to kill it. Angel, being the most obvious choice, of course, but perhaps Angelus would work better‚¶" Giles trailed of and began mumbling to himself.
Giles glanced up sharply to see the entire room staring at him. He blushed slightly before continuing once again. "Yes, um. As I was saying, I don't know what we're going to do about the fighting. As for Buffy, if it wakes her, that would be an immensely good thing. We can't be sure though." He finished.
"And the Angel and Angelus thing?" Willow asked.
"Well," Giles said. "I suppose we could‚¶"
Angel and Angelus climbed slowly to their feet. They had slumped to the ground after re-turning from Dream Limbo. They're conversation with Buffy had left them confused on things, but also very clear.
Angel cleared his throat and looked at Angelus. "We should train."
Angelus glanced up. "Yeah."
Giles glanced at the moon outside his living room window as he paused from his sentence. Taking a deep breath, he continued. "I suppose we could always send Angelus back to hell. Or possibly put him back inside Angel."
"Put him back‚¶ wait a sec. If Angelus is Angel's demon, and he's not in Angel right now, then what's Angel?" Willow asked, slightly confused.
"Well, I'm not sure actually. The demon is what makes Angel a vampire. That, of course, and being dead. I've never heard of any vampires being completely separate from their demons."
"Like that one book, the Golden Compass I think it's called. There were people and that had daemons. They couldn't be separated from them or they die. Isn't that what should have happened to Angel?" Willow asked, her features scrunched from trying to think.
"I would suppose so. But maybe‚¶" Giles dwindled off, thinking to himself.
"Giles!" Xander yelled.
"Wh-what?" He asked.
"Tell us what you're talking about!"
"Oh, yes um, what I was saying. I believe, that Angel without the demon means he may be re-humanized."
They all stared at him.
Giles sighed and shook his head. "I mean, Angel may very well be a human."
Angel threw through the air and landed on the floor about as gracefully as a baby hippo. Angelus's blow had knocked him smack on his arse. He grimaced as he felt his tailbone gingerly. He would have one helluva bruise.
"Never knew vampires could fly."
"Shut the bloody hell up." Angel said.
"Fine. Come on. We need to train. Tai Chi?"
They moved to the middle of the mansion floor and both peeled of their sweaty shirts, revealing naked, glistening, perfectly chiseled stomachs and chests. They went through the movements perfectly in sync for almost and hour before a knock on the door interrupted them. Angel grabbed a towel and went to see who was there.
"Giles." He said, opening the door.
"Angel. We have‚¶news." Giles said.
"Yes. We've discovered what to do about our‚¶dilemma with Angelus," Giles said to Angel, his eyes serious.
"What are they?" Angel asked, his gaze locked on Giles.
"You have two choices. You could either send Angelus back to hell, or you can merge. Both of you will be together. If you do, um, achieve true happiness, Angelus would be in charge for a few hours before you regain control. What's your choice?"
Spike wondered into the hospital clad in a dark black coat, a hood over his eyes. He knew that the gang wasn't with Buffy, so he came now. Walking into her room, seeing her hooked up to hoses and wires; it was almost too much.
He walked over to her bed and took one of her pale hands in his.
"Good god Buffy. You just couldn't have put your stubbornness away for a single second and let me patrol with you, huh? You KNOW that that damn fish boy can't fight! Sure, he talks big, but you told me yourself that Red could be him."
Buffy didn't respond at all. She didn't move, sigh, or even blink. Spike continued talking.
"I promised Angel something when he left, did you know that? I promised him that I would take care of you, watch over you. I told him I would protect you with my life. I guess I let you both down."
He turned to walk out the door when he heard a voice in his mind.
'It's not your fault, Spike. Not your fault at all.'
Spike turned around fast, staring hard at Buffy's sleeping face. She had not moved yet he KNEW he heard her voice. Shaking his head to clear it, he turned and walked out of the room and out into the night.
Angel stared hard at Giles, comprehending what he had just heard. At last, he understood what Giles was saying. "I understand I have to chose, but what happens if I don't like the choices?" Angel's dark chocolate eyes stared hard at Giles.
"Well, um, I'm not sure actually. I would suppose, well, I don't know. I have no idea."
Angel glanced over at his demon. What he saw in Angelus's eyes almost made his non-beating heart jump to life.
Angelus, the Scourge of Europe himself, was scared.
Which made Angel wonder something‚¶
"Could he stay? He's not going to kill Buffy. I made him promise. I know, if I ask, he won't kill the innocent, only those that deserve it."
"Is this true Angelus? Would you do as Angel asked?" Giles questioned, looking the demon up and down.
"If it would help Buffy, or make her happy, I would do it." Came Angelus honest reply. His eyes told Giles he wasn't lying.
"Well then. I suppose that would work. You two might keep training now, yes? The time to kill the Yremna demon is coming soon." Giles told them
"When?" Xander asked.
"So, 'eat, laugh, and be merry-' " Willow started.
" 'For tomorrow we shall die?' " Angel asked.
"Yes," Willow said, " 'for tomorrow we shall die.' "
Willow awoke far before the sun began to rise. She was nervous. Today was the day when Angel and Angelus were going to kill-or try to kill- the demon. She had slept very little that night, being so worried. She untangled herself from Oz's arms, although he groaned out in protest. She stroked his face until he fell back to sleep and decided to go for a walk to the garden. When she got there, she wasn't surprised to see Angel awake and sitting on a bench. The garden was lit with vanilla scented candles, Buffy's favorite, and the light played off of his chiseled features.
Before Willow could say anything, Angel turned around to face her and offered his trademark half smile in greeting before turning his head back to the ground.
"Hey." She said, walking towards him and sitting down next to him.
"Hey." He said, his eyes on the ground, his hands in his lap.
"What are you doing up so early?" She asked, placing her elbows on her knees and her hands in her lap.
"I could ask the same about you," Angel said, standing and walking to re-light a candle that had gone out from the light wind blowing through the area.
"You got me. I couldn't sleep. I guess I'm just kinda, I dunno. Worried and nervous I suppose, even though I'm not the one that's going to be fighting some kind of killer demon." She said, shrugging her shoulders and making her head move up and down with the movement. "I'm worried about Buffy too. What's going to happen if you beat the demon? Is she going to wake up?"
"I don't know, Willow. I suppose that we can only wait and hope that she'll wake up," Angel sighed.
"What about if she wakes up? What happens then?" Willow asked Angel, looking up at him from under her eyelashes.
"What do you mean? She'll just go back to her regular life style. Go back to college, hang with you and the gang," Angel paused and gulped before continuing, "go out with Riley."
"That's not what I mean, Angel. I mean, what's going to happen between you and her?" Willow stared at Angel now, awaiting his answer.
"I don't know. I guess I'll go back to LA, and Buffy will stay here." Angel stared at a candle, the flame dancing in his dark eyes, making them appear to glow.
"Don't you love her?" Willow demanded.
"I love her so much that it hurts, that it tears my heart in half. I love her so much that being near her and not being able to touch her, make love to her drives me insane. Even the smell of these candles now, makes me think of her. Did you know, that when we were still together, she used to come and surprise me at night after I woke up, and the entire mansion would be covered in vanilla candles? I loved waking up to that smell, Buffy and vanilla candles." Angel had started rambling sometime in his little speech.
"Being near her now, being able to hold her again, touch her hair, stroke her face, even kiss her, I can't think of no longer being able to do it, but‚¶" Angel dropped his face into his hands and rubbed his eyes. When he looked up, tears were dripping down his face, staying the cement with small red drops.
"Oh, Angel," Willow said, moving over to him and wrapping her arms around him, holding him against her.
"I can't stay, Willow, but I can't leave either. What am I going to do? I need her so much that it's tearing me in half, Will. It's tearing me in half!" Angel continued to sob for a time. How much it was, neither knew, nor did they care. What mattered was that they were there for each other.
A while later, Angel pulled away from Willow and smiled half-heartedly before wiping his eyes. "Thanks. I needed that," Angel told Willow.
"I know," Willow looked towards the skyline and then back at Angel, "the sun will be up soon. You need to get inside. Eat. Sleep if you can, then train like hell."
"Yes ma'am." Angel grinned before raising his arm before him and leading Willow back into the mansion.
When they walked back into the house, the others were rising, but not were fully awake. Willow walked over to Oz and nudged him. He didn't wake, so she kneeled down and kissed him softly. He didn't open his eyes, but reached up and wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against him. She giggled, but pulled away and yanked him to his feet. "Wake up. We need to prepare." Willow said.
Oz, still tired from sleep, nodded and began to wake the others from numerous places on the floor and furniture.
Giles rubbed bleary eyes and put his glasses on, stretching his muscles that ached from sleeping in a chair all night. "Everyone must eat. I don't care if you aren't hungry, you must eat," Giles said.
"I can make eggs and toast. Bacon and juice too if you want," Angel spoke up.
"Dead boy can cook? He can't even eat," Xander mumbled as he stood from his place on the floor.
"He can could better than you ever will Xander, so shut you trap," Cordelia said, "he's cooked for me on more occasions then one, which is more than I can say for you."
Xander blushed and moved to a different room as Angel and Cordy moved to the kitchen to begin breakfast.
Those who did eat ate in silence, and those who didn't eat; though Angel sipped some tea, sat quietly. They were all deep in thought of the upcoming battle.
"Angel, are you ready?" Angelus asked as Angel finished his tea.
"Yeah. Lets go." Angel stood up, wiped his mouth, and went to follow Angelus into the training area. They trained until two hours before sunset. Angelus slept, but Angel stool away to visit Buffy one more time, never knowing he was to see her again.
Angel entered Buffy's room quietly and pulled of the robe that covered him head to toe to protect him from the sun. He walked over to her and took her hand in his. He put his lips to her forehead and sighed as he came in contact with her skin. It felt like so long since he had touched her.
"I fight the demon that did this to you tonight, my love. Angelus will be at my back, imagine that. I never thought that my demon would have his own body, let alone help me kill a demon.
I talked to Willow this morning. She asked me a question I couldn't answer. She asked me what I'm going to do if you wake up-WHEN you wake up. Oh, Buffy. I long to stay with you, but we both know that that isn't possible. You know I love you, don't you? That I would lay my life on the line for you, right? Oh, Buffy." Angel lay his head on her chest. Her ribs had healed, as had most of her other bruises and broken bones, though her arm was still encased in a soft air cast.
"I thought you would be here."
Angel turned at the sound of the voice in the doorway, and found Angelus standing there, wearing the same type of long black robe that Angel had worn.
"Is it time?" Angel asked, standing up and softly stroking Buffy's face again before moving away towards Angelus.
"Yeah. Giles sent me." Angelus came over to Buffy, stooped, and brushed his lips against her eyelids and forehead before rising and turning back to Angel.
"Well, then. Lets rock and roll."
Giles and Willow sat together, heads bent over a book and numerous things such as herbs, parts of different creatures, and a black bowl on the table in front of them. Willow's hands were shaking as she mixed the things together and poured them into the bowl. Willow whispered words in Latin, completing the protection spell as Angel and Angelus walked into the mansion.
"Ready to rumble?" Xander asked.
"Lets do it." Both Angels said in unison.
They filed out the door to the park.
"Do you think they can do it?" Xander asked Doyle as they lagged behind the rest of the group.
"I don't know, but I can hope to 'igh 'evan that they do."
"What about Buff? Think she'll wake up? I mean, of course I HOPE she will, but ya know, I don't often get what I want." Xander told the half demon.
"If the lass doesn't wake up, Angel'll be heart broke. Ya know how he loves her." Doyle said.
Xander choked back a laugh, "He the vamp loves her so much, why did he leave, hmmm? Why leave the one person he loved more then his undead life?"
"Have ye not heard the story?" Doyle sighed at the blank look on Xander's face, and then continued. "He left 'er, not for 'er good, but for his. He knew he couldn't be around 'er, and left. It was to difficult for him, with the curse and all."
"Kick his ass‚¶"
Xander shook his head to clear it, "Never mind. I didn't say anything."
"Are ye sure? I coulda sworn you said 'kick his ass,' but I coulda been mistaken." Doyle said, a slight smile on his face.
"I'm sure. I didn't say anything." Xander quickly covered.
"Yeah," Doyle said to himself, "and I'm a bloody Brit."
The full moon hung above the trees and the park had an almost unearthly aura.
"I wish Oz was here." Willow said.
"To bad this is the full moon." Cordy said, hugging her jacket to her. Oz was lock in a cage. The whole were-wolf thing really put a cramp in coming out on full moons.
Angel heard the talking, but didn't register it. The only thing on his mind was killing the demon, and saving Buffy. He looked at Angelus, and found that he must have been thinking the same thing, for on his face was the same lethal statement that Angel assumed must have been on his own.
"This is the spot. Keep your eyes on the demon. Don't make the first move; allow him to attack first. If you can, try and pull out his hair. Apparently, that is one of his week points. If nothing else, get the talisman that hangs around his neck, and then behead him. That will kill him. You MUST work together, or you will never beat him. Angel, you have the brains and calculations of the attacks. Angelus, you have the speed and superior strength, being full demon. He will try and taunt you, bring up things from you past to make you falter. Do not listen, if you do, all is lost. Just kill the damn thing so we can go home, understood?" Giles told them.
Both nodded, then, taking their chosen weapons, walked further into the park.
"May the Goddess help you both." Willow whispered.
They saw the demon at the same time, walking towards them in the glowing light of the moon.
"Ahhhhh, Angelus," it said, "I see you have brought the Angel here for me, thank you."
"Actually, you made a mistake. You brought me here to help you, but," Angelus swung at it, hitting it square in the jaw, "I love Buffy too, so I've decided to help Angel."
Head spinning from the hit, the demon cursed. "Traitor! I brought you here to help, and you betrayed me!"
"Yeah, well, there wasn't a contract." Angelus grunted swinging again.
"Angelus, shut the hell up and FIGHT!" Angel said through gritted teeth as he swung an ax at the demon's head.
They went to work, both flowing smoothly from one punch to another as the demon had no time to recover. When Angelus was knocked to the ground when the demon finally got a swing in, he heard the demon say something.
"You really expect her to love you, after what you have done to her?" The demon taunted as Angelus got to his feet.
Ignoring him, Angelus stood and knocked him in the jaw again, as Angel started at him. Trying to grab the talisman, Angel got knocked away and landed hard on his side.
"You left her, and have come back only now that she is on her death bed. She will not take you back, and you know it." The demon yelled at Angel when he slowly began to rise from the ground, holding his side lightly.
"Damn thing broke my ribs," He said to no one in particular.
Angel, pissed now beyond belief, started raining blows onto the demon, hitting whereever he could, not caring if it did damage. He kicked it hard and it flew to the ground, laughing.
"You made decisions and kept secrets from her, and you think she will take you back with open arms? You have changed her life in such a drastic way, and yet you still believe she loves you? You are a fool!"
As the demon was rising, Angelus was grabbing the talisman from his neck. From far off, he heard Giles' voice.
"Smash it, Angelus! Smash it!"
Angelus took the talisman and swung it into a nearby gravestone, and the thing went flying into a dozen pieces onto the ground.
"You inferior half breed! I will send you to the pits of hell itself for that!" The demon cried, rushing at Angelus.
Angelus couldn't refuse a remark, "Oh, I've been there, done that, ya know. Though I here it is quite nice down there this time of year."
As Angelus talked to the demon, Angel swung his leg in a sideways kick and knocked it to the ground, straddling it about the waist.
"You hurt Buffy," Angel said, his eyes glowing and deathly against the backdrop of the cemetery. "You deserve nothing more than being chopped in a million pieces and then remade to live it over and over for eternity. Since I have a limited amount of time, and I want to go see Buffy, I'll have to settle for this," and with that, Angel swung his ax in an arc, neatly cutting the demon's head off of it's shoulders. Standing, Angel looked once more at the dead demon that was slowly melting away. Suddenly, an image from the movie The Wizard of Oz came to mind. Buffy had made him watch it once with her, and one of the last scenes of the movie came to mind. The evil Witch of the West slowly sinking to the ground after having water thrown on her, and yelling "I'm melting, I'm melting." He smiled slightly at the memory before turning away and facing Angelus.
The both turned and walked back to the other side of the park to where the gang was waiting.
Xander hummed a song in his head as he waited to hear from Angel and Angelus. It was a song he had heard only once before, and he knew only one line. "Everybody wants to be a kung fu fighter."
"Xander, shut up." Willow said tersely, the song getting on her nerves.
"I'm not doing anything!" Xander yelled.
Giles sighed. Everyone was a little uptight and wound because of Angel and Angelus' lack of telling them what was going on. He was about to snap when they walked into view.
Angel had a nasty gash across his abdomen, and a few other scrapes and bruises. He was holding onto his side, so Giles assumed that he has a few broken ribs. Angelus also had a deep, bloody scratch along one arm, though that was beginning to heal slowly. They both looked exhausted.
Angel slowly raised his head and said one word to Giles.
Giles nodded and the went to the hospital.
They stumbled into Buffy's room, walking over to her bed, both Angels dropping to their knees.
"She isn't awake Giles. Why isn't she awake? The demon is dead! I killed it! We killed it! WHY ISN'T SHE AWAKE!?!?!?!?!" Angel was beginning to panic. She should've been awake by now, and yet still she slept, her eyes closes in a seemingly peaceful slumber.
"I never said that killing the demon would FOR SURE wake her up. I suppose now that the demon is dead, it strictly a medical reason that she hasn't woken up yet."
"She's the slayer Giles! She's beaten things worse than this. She has to wake up. I need her to wake up, Giles. I need her," Angel whispered. He slumped down onto a cold vinyl chair and placed his head in his hands. Giles saw small red drops squeeze between his fingers and then drop to the floor.
"If she's not under that spell or whatever it was, why isn't she waking up Giles? I mean, look at her. She's healed and all. She's our Buffy again. I need her too. She's my best friend." Willow wiped her eyes with her hands, than buried her face into Oz's chest.
"I need her to Giles. I only have one bud that can kick my ass. I can't lose her," Xander looked up, his eyes hauntingly serious, his smile obsolete.
"I know you don't like me at all, and I know I've but you through more hell then I'm proud of, but you need to help her Giles. You CAN'T let her die!" Angelus moved to pick up Buffy's hand again, feeling it warm and soft in his own. Oh, how he had longed to touch her like this when he first came back, and now that he can, he felt as though he was in heaven himself.
"I think we should leave them alone for awhile. They deserve some time together." Giles led the others from the room, pausing to drop a quick kiss to Buffy's forehead.
"We need to talk," Angel said.
"Yeah. We do." Angelus said, not lifting his head from it's resting place next to Buffy's stomach, her hand still in his.
"What are you going to do?" Angel asked, moving from his chair to Buffy's other side and sitting on the bed with her.
"I don't know. Stay, maybe? That is, if it's okay with you and Buffy. I mean, if she wakes up-"
"When," Angel snapped.
"Yes. When she wakes up, I'll let her decide. What about you? Are you going to run back to LA, or stay here?" Angelus asked quietly, gazing at Buffy's face.
"It's up to her. I'd stay if she wants me. Hell, I'd stay either way if it meant being able to see her only if to fight. I can't live without her anymore." Angel said, his eyes clear and honest as he looked at his evil counterpart.
"I would too."
"So, you really love her, huh?" Angel asked.
"I really do. I probably love her as much as you do, if not more," Angelus told Angel.
Angel chuckled, "I highly doubt that you could love her more than I do."
"Yeah, you're probably right," Angelus said.
Angel and Angelus sat in silence, both of them zoning. After a few minutes, the silence was broken.
"Angel?" Buffy whispered.
Angel jumped to his feet so fast that he almost killed himself. He was hearing things. He had to be hearing things. He looked at Angelus, and by the statement on his face, Angel could tell that he had heard the sound too.
"Buffy? Honey? It's me, it's Angel. Can you hear me baby?" Angel grasped her hand and pulled it close to his non-beating heart.
"Come on, Buffy. Talk to us." Angelus came up beside Angel.
Buffy's eyes began to flutter, and her hand clenched around Angel's. She moaned slightly before fully opening her eyes and staring deeply into Angel's.
"Angel." She said.
Angel almost fainted; the pleasure he felt at that single word was so large. Leaning down closer, he looked hard into her eyes, searching for anything that would ensure him that she was really and truly awake. "Talk to me sweet, come on, talk to me."
"I'm here to babe, right here." Angelus' eyes had lit up when he saw her eyes open. He needed her to wake up and be okay.
"Angel, what happened? I don't remember." Buffy looked around confused, her eyes unfocused and slightly glazed over. She shook her head a bit and rubbed her eyes before looking up and seeing Angel and Angelus. "Am I still seeing double?"
"No, Buffy. We're both here. Both of us are with you, and will never, ever leave." Angel said.
"Unless you want us too. We could leave you alone or something, you know, if you wanted to be that way. Alone. By your self." Angelus was worried now. What if she didn't want to be with him? What if‚¶
"No! Don't leave. Either of you. Ohhh. My head." Buffy had sat up quickly when telling them not to leave, and now her head hurt something awful.
Angel was instantly at her side, holding her and slowly easing her back into bed and rubbing her arm with his hand, trying to comfort her. "It's okay sweet, we won't leave, we're here, don't worry."
Buffy slowly calmed down and drifted off to a light sleep. Angel didn't want to leave her side. He thought they should get a doctor in here to examine her, make sure she's okay. He was about to ask Angelus to go find a doctor, but when he looked up, he decided against it. One look at him and Angel almost laughed out loud, but caught himself so as not to wake Buffy.
Angelus, the might scourge of Europe himself, stood in the corner of the room, an almost petrified statement on his face as he looked closely at the little blonde-haired woman in the bed. He looked up and caught Angel almost laughing at him, and his statement changed to a scowl. "What are you laughing at soul boy?"
"The fact that you looked terrified of Buffy and that you probably almost wet your pants," Angel said a large grin on his face.
"I did not almost wet my pants!" Angelus yelled. Buffy stirred and he lowered his voice instantly. "I'm just scared that she won't want me."
Angel's grin faded. He knew exactly what Angelus was going through. "Don't worry. She'll like you. Hell, she may even love you."
"Yeah." A slow smile slid across Angelus' face and he moved away from the wall and came over by her bed. "Shouldn't we like, call a doctor or something?"
"Yeah. I'll call the doctor." Angel left the room after placing his lips softly against Buffy's knuckles.
When Angelus was sure Angel was out of the room, he slowly looked back down at Buffy, his eyes zooming in on her neck, and the life giving blood pumping beneath the surface.
Angelus stared hard at Buffy's neck. Slowly, he leaned down and placed his mouth right on the pulse point. Giving the area a soft kiss, he moved away and sat back down in the chair Angel had occupied before Buffy awoke. He was deep in thought by the time Angel came back, Dr. Raye in tow. He swiftly moved to the corner of the room and blended back into the shadows, using his vampric nature to keep himself concealed from the doctor so as not to cause more problems then there already were with Buffy's case.
"I thought you said she was awake, Mr. Angelus," Dr. Raye said, moving around the room and checking the various IV's that were attached to Buffy.
"I said she was no longer in the coma, Doctor, and if it wouldn't be to much trouble, I'd appreciate if you would call me either Angel or Mr. Angel, thank you."
"Um, of course Mr. Angel. It does appear that Mrs. Angel is no longer in a coma. When she is fully awake, please press the call button. I'd like to ask her a few questions." As the doctor turned around, she noticed Angelus standing in the shadows. She shook her head and walked away. "It's been a looong day."
"I don't like her. She bothers me. Couldn't you of gotten her a better doctor?" Angelus asked, walking back over to Buffy and Angel.
"I didn't pick her doctor, Angelus. She was assigned to Buffy's case. If I had picked a doctor, though, you can be sure as hell that I wouldn't of picked her," Angel said.
Buffy began to whimper in her bed, thrashing around the covers and moving her arms. They were both beside her in a second, Angel drawing her into his arms and Angelus standing by him.
She opened her eyes and looked at Angel with a smile on her face. "This has got to be the greatest way I've ever waken up," Buffy said, keeping her eyes locked on Angel.
"That's nice to know, sweet. I need to go get that doctor now. Are you okay if I leave you with Angelus?" Angel asked.
"Of course," Buffy said, turning her large eyes on Angelus's smiling face, reaching out her arms.
"Of course we'll be fine, Soul Boy," Angelus said, pulling Buffy close and sighing at the feel of her in his arms, the first REAL time she's been in his arms of her own will. "Go and get that annoying bitchy doctor so we can take Buffy out of here."
Angel glanced at them once, smiled, and walked away to go get 'that annoying bitchy doctor.'
"Well, Angelus. Have you decided on what you're gonna do?" Buffy asked Angelus as they snuggled on the bed.
The vampire in question tightened his hold on Buffy before sighing into her hair and speaking, "I don't know. I-it's up to you. I can stay, I can go, it doesn't really matter to me." *Yes, it does matter to me. It very much matters to me! Dear god, Buff, please don't send me away!*
"I suppose you could stay, I mean, if you really really wanna. I-I'd kinda like having both my Angels around, if, you know, you're not gonna kill people." Buffy said, laying her head on his chest and closing her eyes.
"I guess that means I'm gonna be sticking around for awhile," Angelus said, looking down at her face. He noticed her closed eyes and jostled her a bit. "Don't be going to sleep on me, girl. I didn't send soul-boy to get that damn doctor if you're gonna sleep."
She giggled but didn't open her eyes. After a few seconds, she yawned at look up at him from under her eyelashes, a thing she new made both Angel and Angelus crazy with lust. "Okay, okay. I'm awake. Just promise that you won't go crazy-psycho-killer on me?'' She asked, her voice filled with need.
"I promise," he said, dropping a kiss on her forehead as the doctor and Angel walked in.
"I see that she's awake this time," Doctor Raye said, looking at Buffy. Then she noticed Angelus sitting on the bed. She turned around to look for Angel, who she THOUGHT had been standing behind her, but he wasn't there. Angel had expertly blended back into the shadows, severely confusing the doctor. "You know, we don't usually allow our patients to share a bed with their visitors."
"Yeah. So make an exception." Angelus went from a sweet, loving boyfriend to a mess-with-me-I-kick-your-ass vampire in the blink of an eye. He didn't like this woman and he wasn't afraid to let her know it.
"Um, I'm just going to check her over, and then we'll see when she can go home, so if you could just move aside‚¶" Dr. Raye came over to the side of the bed that Angelus wasn't in and took Buffy's heart rate and temperature. After a few more minutes, she was done checking her over and turned to look at Angelus.
"You seem to be in remarkable condition. Someone who has gone through the trauma that you have should be dead, or near it. You look as though you walked in here all by yourself." Dr Raye said.
"Yeah, so that means I can walk right outa here by myself to, right?" Buffy asked. She HATED hospitals and wanted to leave this one as soon as she could.
"You need to stay tonight at least just to make sure nothing goes wrong. If all is well, as it seems to be today, you can go home with your husband tomorrow," Dr. Raye explained.
At the word husband, Buffy raised her eyebrows at Angelus. He too didn't know anything about the whole husband thing, so he turned to Angel. Angel gave him a "I'll explain later" look that the doctor was unable to see. Angelus nodded and turned back to the doctor.
"Why can't we, um, I, take her home today? She seems to be in perfect health, everything has healed. Why can't I take her home, to her own bed?" Angelus looked at the doctor with dark eyes.
"She needs to be observed over night. I'm sorry. You may take her home tomorrow." With that, the doctor left the room, leaving a mad Angelus and an un-happy Buffy behind.
Angel walked out of the shadows and over to Buffy. He kissed her lips hard before pulling away and looking out the doorway, a strange statement on his face. "I really don't like that woman."
Buffy woke up to a squeal coming from her doorway. By the time she had opened her eyes, a pair of arms flung themselves around her neck and the sweet smell of apples was in her nose. "Willow?" Buffy asked the cloud of red hair that covered her face.
"Buffy! You're awake! When Angel called me the other night, it was just to good to be true! I wanted to come down here right that minute to see you but Angel said that the doctor was already mad at having Angel and Angelus here and that if I came it would be even worse cause that stupid doctor of yours isn't very nice and nobody likes her and-"
"Will!" Buffy interrupted her friend. "Breathe!"
"Sorry. I'm just so happy you're okay!" Willow threw her arms back around Buffy's neck, and when she pulled away, there were tears in her eyes.
"Oh Will." Buffy said, drawing her friend close.
"I was s-s-so scared Buffy. I th-thought that I would nev-ver see you again." Willow hiccuped through the words, she was crying so hard. "God Buffy. If you would have died, if I never would have seen you again, I don't know what I would have done."
"It's okay Will," Buffy rubbed her hand over the soft sweater Willow was wearing, doing her best not to cry right along with her. "I'm right here, and I'm fine, and I'll never go away again. Never. I promise."
Willow pulled back and looked at Buffy with red, swollen eyes. "You swear?"
"If you leave, I get Mr. Gordo, AND Angel. Deal?
Buffy laughed. "Deal."
"Oh, god. Xander."
Xander leapt, seriously flying through the air leapt, into the room and bounded over to Buffy and Willow. "My girls are back together again! Yes!" He looked over at Buffy, stuck a finger out at her, and shook it. "You gave us quite a scare young lady. Don't ever be doing that again."
"I won't, Xander. Don't worry. Now come give me a hug." She smiled and held out her arms to Xander, who came to her thankfully and sunk into her embrace. "I'm serious Buffy. Don't do that again. You scared the shit outa me girl, and I got that pants to prove it."
Buffy leaned her head into Xander's neck, felt her tears hit with a wet splash, and smiled while she cried. "Don't worry Xander. You're stuck with me for quite awhile."
Xander gave her a goofy grin. "That's gggggggrrrrrreat! Now, when Giles gets here-"
"Oh, god, Buffy. You're awake." Buffy's watcher ran towards her, about to put his arms around her and pull her into a hug when he stopped. He didn't think it was proper to show affection, when, after all, he was just supposed to be a guide, not a father or mentor.
Buffy didn't care though, and pulled him close, wrapping her arms tight around his neck, locking her wrists in place. "Giles. I've missed you, even though I was only sleeping."
Giles no longer cared about proper and hugged his slayer back for all he was worth, holding her close. "The world missed you Buffy. As did I."
"That's nice, Giles. How is every thing, slayage wise?" Buffy asked, her cheek resting on the tweed of Giles jacket. It was so nice to be with him again.
"Fine, fine. We took care of everything, don't worry. Just get better, and come home soon." Giles said as he backed up. "By the way, where are Angel and Angelus?"
"I sent them home to crash. They were both exhausted. They left last night, and promised to come back tonight."
"Well, then. Let's leave Buffy alone to sleep for awhile. She must be tired," Giles said.
"Um, Buffy? If you don't mind, can I stay awhile?" Willow asked nervously.
"Sure Willow. We'll talk a bit." Buffy said.
Willow smiled. "Great."
Fifteen minutes later, Willow had found tea for herself and black coffee for Buffy.
"God, I love coffee," Buffy told Willow as she held the steaming cup in both hands and took a long drink.
"Coffee stunts your growth, you know," Willow pointed out to Buffy as she sat at the foot of the hospital bed, her legs curled underneath her and a pillow in her lap.
Buffy laughed her looked her self up and down. "Will, I'm barley 5' 3''. I don't think stunting my growth is a real big worry for me."
"Yeah, I guess so. What about your other big worry?" Willow questioned.
"You mean the whole Angel/Angelus thing?" Buffy asked.
"That would be what I'm talking about, yep. What are you going to do? I mean, before, you had Angel and Angelus in the same hunkalicious body, and now you have them both in their own hunkalicious body. And what about the curse? Does it still stand? Cause Angelus is already out and all, so if Angel um, seizes the day with you, will anything happen?" Willow began rambling things off to Buffy, her eyes growing with everything she named.
"I don't know Will. I love Angel so much, it tears me apart to not be with him." Buffy said, her voice sad and her eyes wanting.
Willow smiled. The memory of her talk with Angel came to mind. He had said something along the same lines of what Buffy had just told her. Did they know how much they think alike? "Angel said the same thing."
"What? That I love him so much that it tears me up inside?" Buffy said, slightly confused. The whole coma thing made her thinking rather fuzzy.
"No, silly." Willow explained. "That he loves you so much that it tears him up inside. That not being able to hold you and kiss you is so hard."
"And he told you this when‚¶" Buffy trailed off.
"We had a chat when you were still‚¶asleep, so to speak. He told me a lot of stuff. Most of it I already knew, being he's Angel and everyone knows he loves you more than life itself."
"He said that?" Buffy asked in awe. Angel was never one to overly share his feelings.
"Yes. He did. He wants to stay, Buffy. He's just not sure if you want him to."
"I do, Willow. I want him to stay so much. But, I couldn't handle it if he ran away from me again. I don't know what I would do if he left again."
"He won't leave. I promise you he won't." Willow told her friend. "I'm your best friend Buffy. I would never ever lie to you about something like that."
"I know. That's why I love you." Buffy said, smiling at Willow.
"What about Angelus?" Will asked.
"I don't know, Will. I just don't know."
Angel and Angelus walked into-well, actually sneaked into- Buffy's quiet hospital room. She was fast asleep, curled on her side, her long blonde hair fanned out behind her. As Angel walked around and closed the blinds, Angelus went over to Buffy's bedside. He sat down in the space next to her, leaning down to nuzzle her neck.
"Angels?" Buffy mumbled as she stirred to life.
Angelus chuckled. "Yes, Love, it's your Angels." He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, closing his eyes and resting his chin on her head.
"Angelus, it's not nice to mock the sleepy Slayer. It results in parts of your anatomy that you would probably enjoy using later being cut off," Buffy said, pulling away and looking up at his face. "Catch my drift?"
"Of course, Love," Angelus said, his face pale. He did not want to lose the piece of himself. "By the way, how did you know who I was?"
"Oh, that's simple. You and Angel feel different," Buffy explained as though it was the simplest concept in the world.
Angel came into the conversation then. "What do you mean," he asked, "when you say we FEEL different?"
Buffy tossed her hair out of her face before speaking, "Angel, for example. It feels as though my heart is tugging towards him, or a pull on my soul. Angelus, you're more of a tingle. Something that starts in my stomach and moves its way out ward."
"Tingles and tuggings huh?" Angel asked.
"Yep. Tingles and tuggings."
"Well, I best be going then, hmm?" Angelus said, getting out of Buffy's bed.
"Where are you going? You're not leaving, are you?" Buffy asked concerned.
"No, Love. I'm just going on a little trip. I'll be back in a few days, don't worry." He gave her a long, deep kiss on her lips before walking out the door.
"He will come back, right?" Buffy asked, her eyes large and childlike as she looked at Angel.
Angel's heart melted at her innocent eyes. He climbed in beside her, occupying the area that Angelus had previously been in. "Don't worry, Sweet. He'll be back. In the mean time, lets sleep, shall we?"
Buffy snuggled into Angel's broad chest and wrapped her arm around his waist, drifting back off to sleep. "Love you, Angel."
"I love you to, Buffy."
And they both drifted off into a pleasant world of dreams.
That pleasantness was shattered the next morning by a voice in the doorway.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
Buffy looked up to see the one person she wanted to see least in the world.
Okay, to clear up a little bit of the confusion. I've had people ask me if Angel is still a vamp. In a way, both yes and no. He can no longer lose his soul, he can walk in the sun, and he will age. He can also enjoy human foods, although still has his game face and needs small amounts of blood to survive. That clear everything up?
"It's nice to know you remember me. He hasn't changed you yet, hmm? Or maybe he has and you're just playing with my mind like you did my heart."
Buffy winced as he spoke, not from any physical pain, but because of what he said. "Of course I remember you, Riley. You tried to save my life, and I thank you for that."
"Oh, really now?" Riley asked. "I would of thought that now that you have you're little fuck toy back, you wouldn't really care about me."
Before Buffy spoke, she took Riley's body in. His face was a smeared purple bruise on the left side with a deep cut over his eye and a split lip. His right wrist was in a cast and he stood as though his ribs were sore, which they had to be because of his rigged stance. "Riley, I'm sorry about what happened to you because you were my friend-"
"FRIEND!?" Riley's voice spat venom. "Friend? We made love Buffy. Is that what friends do? You introduced me to people as your boyfriend. We kissed, we held hands. Is that what friends do, Buffy? Huh? Is that what they do?" His eyes burned a hole into her face as he stood looking at her, his gaze never leaving her face.
"Okay, I was wrong. We were more than friends Riley. We were sex partners. Are you happy now?" Buffy asked, her voice as cold as the vampire next to her.
Riley snorted. "Sex partners. Is that it? So now you're just a slut?"
This time Angel cut in. He had been able to hold back until now, and as it was, wished that Angelus were here to tear the college boy in half. He jumped out of bed, grabbed the injured boy by the front of his green sweater, and yanked his face up to his. "You will never, EVER call her a slut again, do you understand? She is one of the nicest, smartest, most beautiful and good judgemented person you will ever meet in your SHORT, MEENINGLESS life. Get out before I kill you." Angel snarled as he shoved Riley toward the door.
"We'll talk Buffy. We WILL talk." Riley said as he stood in the doorway, fixing his shirt.
"Yeah, we'll talk. I'll..call you or something." Buffy pressed her fingers to her eyelids as she called to Riley.
Riley nodded in conformation the left the room.
Angel, however, was still standing exactly where he had been after tossing out Riley. His body was tense, his hands were in fists, and, although she could see only his profile, she could see the yellowness of his eyes. Buffy gently called his name.
Angel relaxed visible at the sound of her voice. His shoulders were no longer so rigid, his hands hung lose by his sides and his eyes were no longer yellow, but the more human color of chocolate brown. He took a deep breath and turned around fully to face her. "I'm here."
"I know. I'm sorry about Riley, Angel. I thought-I thought he was dead and Xander told me that he was in the hospital and really injured after the fight with that demon so I never thought I would ever see him again and I didn't care then but now I feel sorry for him and I still like him as my friend but nothing more cause it's you that I love and I hope you know that and I didn't really enjoy being with him he was just something to take away the loneliness-"
Angel walked over to Buffy and stopped her rambling with a quick kiss on the mouth. "It's okay beloved. I understand. I just don't like that guy."
Buffy sighed in relief. "That's good. I think I need to take a nap, then call Riley."
Angel nodded. "I'll be out-"
"Stay with me?" Buffy asked, extending her hand.
Angel nodded again and took her hand, climbing in the bed beside her and wrapping her in his arms. "I love you," he whispered. Buffy was already asleep.
An hour later, with Angel's help, Buffy had gotten up, washed her hair in the sink, and put on one of his old shirts and a pair of boxers. She sat on the bed with the phone in her hand trying to make herself call Riley. She had told Angel to take a walk for an hour or two so she could speak to him privately. Taking a deep breath, Buffy gathered her strength and dialed Riley's number.
"Hello?" Asked a voice.
"Yeah," she nodded, although he couldn't see her. "Do you want to come and talk?"
"Yeah. I'll be over soon. Good bye."
"Bye Riley." Buffy hung up and waited for him.
Fifteen minutes later, Riley sat in a chair by Buffy's bed looking at her clothes. "Nice outfit."
Buffy looked at her clothes and blushed. This probably wasn't the best attire when talking to her ex. "Yeah. Um, Riley, I want to apologize for Angel's and my actions earlier today-"
Riley cut her off. "It's okay Buffy. I understand. I was upset and so was he. He just wanted to protect you. I would have done the same thing."
"That's why I liked you Riley. You always were so very protective, and at the time, that's what I needed."
Riley's eyebrows went together in confusion. "I don't think I understand."
"You know that Angel left me right after graduation 'for my own good' right?" He nodded. "After that, I wanted so bad to forget about him, because thinking about it hurt to much. I needed someone to take my mind off of him, make me feel safe and needed. I went out with Parker because I thought that he liked me. He used me and that made it all the worse. Then I met you and you were nice and cute and everything that I thought I should want in a boyfriend. You made me feel safe and wanted. I can never thank you enough for that."
"But it wasn't enough, was it? I wasn't what you needed, really, was I?" Riley asked, his eyes sad. He really did love her.
Buffy sadly shook her head. "Nobody but Angel has ever been what I really needed, Riley. I don't want you to think that it was just you."
"Was I okay though? I mean, did you ever even really LIKE me, or did you just use me the way that bastard Parker used you?" Riley asked.
"You were wonderful and you made me happy, and that's why it makes this so difficult. I did like you, really truly, I did, but the only one I will ever love has and always will be Angel. I'm sorry."
"I understand that know. I'm just sorry it took me this long to realize it." He stood and took her hand, placing a soft kiss on her knuckles, then placed his lips on her forehead before backing away. "I did, do, love you Buffy. I just want you to know that."
"I know, Riley. And I'm sorry that it has to turn out this way. I did like you. I hoped we could be friends‚¶" Buffy trailed off, wondering if he would take up the offer.
Riley nodded. "Friends is fine with me." *Cause I know I'll never get anything more. *
"Goodbye Buffy," Riley said, and walked slowly out the door.
After talking to Riley, Buffy had laid down to think. She knew that she could never really be with Riley. He just wasn't what she needed. Or wanted for that matter. Angel was what she needed. Angelus was what she wanted too. It was all too much. She needed sleep.
A few hours later, Buffy awoke to the feeling of someone kissing her nose, then her cheeks, and her chin. She opened her eyes to find a beautiful, angelic face looking down at her.
"Angelus? Are you back?" Buffy asked.
She felt him smile as he kissed her mouth. He pulled back and looked at her face. "I'm back, sweet. Did you miss me?"
"Yes!" She squealed. "Where were you?" She scooted over on the bed, making room for Angelus, and then wrapping her arms around his waist once he was seated.
"I‚¶went to the mansion. I fixed it up. I thought you might like to stay with me‚¶us. Angel and me. But you don't have to."
Buffy interrupted him. "I would love to stay with you, but my mother-"
"Already okayed it when I called her yesterday. She thinks that since she's going to be out of town for so long, that I would be better for you to stay with us, you know, to keep you safe."
"I can't wait. When do we leave? I want to get out of here." Buffy said anxiously.
"Angel is checking you out right now, then we go."
"Wonderful." Buffy sighed and snuggled into Angelus.
At this time, Angel walked into the room with a small smile on his face. "You're all checked out and ready to go. Are you ready? Did you talk to Riley?" Angel really didn't want to know the last part, but had to ask anyway.
Buffy's smile faded as she thought about Riley. "Yeah. We talked, he walked, we're all fine and good."
"Buffy‚¶" Angel started.
"I'm fine Angel. Let's go home."
It was 9:30 when Buffy finally got out of the hospital. Angel had gone out to get the car, leaving Buffy and Angelus alone to walk down to the lobby.
"I missed you."
Angelus' head snapped up from where he had been looking at his shoes while riding the elevator. He smiled and pulled Buffy's hand from his, then wrapped her in his arms. He placed his face in her hair, breathing in her scent, then nuzzled into her neck. "I missed you too sweet. More than I like to admit sometimes."
"You know we're going to have to talk about what's going to happen, right? I mean, just because we're all living together doesn't mean it's all happily ever after."
Angelus nodded against Buffy's neck, giving a sigh. "I know. Can it wait until you're settled? Remember, the doctor said you were still fragile and frail. You need rest."
"Fine, but we WILL talk about this. And until then, you both get to sleep on the couch or some other room. You wouldn't want me to get to riled up, right?" Buffy said with an evil grin, trailing her fingers down Angelus' back.
Angelus' throat rumbled in a cross between a growl and a purr. "We'll wait and see how you feel."
Buffy smiled sweetly, "But of course."
The doors opened and they both got out, walking threw the lobby to the doors and out of those. Angel pulled up in his black car, hood down, CLASSICAL music playing softly. Angelus opened the door for Buffy, letting her in, than planning on getting in the back, but Buffy would have none of it. She hand he offered her to help her into the car was still in hers, and she used it to tug him in next to her. He just smiled and settled her into his side, looking at Angel and smiling.
"Home Jeeves," Buffy said, snuggling into Angelus's side.
"As the lady wishes," Angel said, his eyes soft as he looked at the women he loved with all his heart.
As Angel pulled into the circular drive in front of the mansion, Angelus shook Buffy's shoulder, jolting her awake from a very pleasant dream.
"We're home sweet. Let's go inside." Angelus grabbed her hand and pulled her inside. His stomach was in knots. He had thrown his soul, hypothetically speaking, into redoing the mansion to her liking. Gone was all the black drabby-ness. He had added touches of color. A soft, thick rug in front of the fireplace, a picture of the sunset over top. Soft colored throw pillows adorned the couch, along with a multi colored afghan settled on the corner of one of the chairs. In what was to be 'Buffy's' room, there were her clothes in the closet, her toiletries in the adjoining master bathroom, and, of course, Mr. Gordo sat on the bed.
"Well, what do you think?" Angelus was growing antsy. Buffy hadn't said anything, and her silence was making him nervous.
Buffy looked up at him and smiled. "It's wonderful. I love it. I can't believe you went through so much trouble just for me."
Angel walked up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and placing his chin on her shoulder. "We love you sweeting, and we want you to be happy," Angel looked at her, tears in his eyes, and continued speaking, "It's also a kind of 'I'm sorry' present, from both of us, because of‚¶" Buffy stopped him by placing her finger over his lips, and bringing the other up to his cheek, slowly trailing her fingers from his temple, over his eyes, across the bridge of his nose, down his cheek, finally to come to rest on his neck. She used her hand to pull him toward her, removing her finger from his mouth and replacing it with her own. She pulled away after a moment, and looked up at his face.
"We'll deal with all of that when we come to it. I love you both, and nothing will ever change that. The past is forgotten as of now. All that we have is the future, that we will go throw together."
Angel smiled and took her hand, drawing her along with him as he continued upstairs. "You still need to rest Buffy," He help up a hand as she opened her mouth to protest, silencing her, "Let's go to your room."
Buffy nodded and allowed Angel to lead her upstairs, and into her new room. Once there, Angel pulled back the covers and she crawled on, lying her head on the pillow and wrapping her arms around Mr. Gordo. Both Angel and Angelus gave her a kiss before preparing to exit the room, but Buffy stopped them. "You're not LEAVING me are you? You are gonna stay, right?"
Angel and Angelus looked at each other, shrugged, then climbed in on either side Buffy, pulling the blankets around them and falling asleep
When Buffy awoke the next morning, Angelus was gone, but Angel still slept soundly on his stomach an arm across her abdomen. She carefully moved herself from under him, pulled on a robe, and walked to the kitchen. It was filled with sunshine and she was surprised when she found Angelus there. He was leaning on a counter, in the only stop not touched by sunlight, sipping liquid from a hunter green coffee mug and reading the paper. Whether the contents inside was blood or coffee, Buffy didn't know.
Angelus glanced up from the paper and smiled. "Morning sweet. How'd ya sleep?"
"Wonderful." Buffy moved over and gave him a small kiss on his shoulder before going to the fridge and getting out some milk. "Do we have any cereal?"
Angelus rinsed his cup out in the sink and then placed it in the (newly installed) dishwasher. "Check the cupboard by the windows."
Buffy walked over to the cupboard and pulled out a box of cereal. Looking at the box more closely, she found that it was her favorite: Cinnamon Toast Crunch. "You guys are going to spoil me something awful, you know that?" She walked back over to where Angelus was standing.
Angelus grinned lazily, and reached out his arms to encircle her waist. He rested his chin on her shoulder, and moved his mouth close to her ear. "You're worth every penny of it, Sweeting. Now eat your breakfast, and go back to bed. You're still weak." He gave her a gentle shove toward her bowel.
Buffy whined that she wasn't weak, and that she was perfectly healthy, but Angelus would have none of it. The second she was done eating, he picked her up and carried her back up to bed, where he set her gently on the floor. He then flicked Angel's ear to wake him.
"Grrhmpghmhg‚¶" Angel moaned and pulled another pillow over his head. He didn't want to move.
"Angel, sweetie. You need to wake uuuuupp," Buffy said in a singsong little girl voice.
"BuIwanstayherenowanmothatallstayhere." Angel's mumbling was incoherent noise to Buffy's ears.
Buffy pulled the pillow from on top of his head off and tossed it to the side of the bed. She then proceeded to grab the glass of water that was sitting on the nightstand, and dumped it onto the slumbering vamp head.
"What the fuck!" Angel sputtered as he spoke around the water in his throat.
"I knew that would wake you up Sweet. Now, time to get out of bed." Buffy turned to walk away as Angel reached out and grabbed her wrist.
"Come to bed, baby." Angel pulled her down beside him and snuggled around her.
After an internal battle with her emotions-she LOVED being this close to him- Buffy de-tangled herself and got up. She swatted him lightly on the butt before walking away. "Get up, get showered, and get downstairs. We have to talk." With that, Buffy left the room, Angelus trailing behind her.
Twenty minutes later, Angel walked into the mansion's main living area, and found Buffy and Angelus. Both were curled up together on an overstuffed chair. When Angel appeared, Buffy removed herself from the chair, took his hand, and led him to a chair next to the one Angelus occupied. Buffy seated herself on a couch across from them.
"Now," Buffy said, "we have got to work something out. Because I know this whole two Angels thing is kinda creepin me out."
Angelus ran a hand through his hair and look intently at Buffy's face. "What do you want to do about it, Sweet? It's really up to you." Angelus stated his voice quiet.
"I love you both, and I want you both to stay. But you look exactly a like, is there anything you can do to say‚¶look a little more individual? Angelus, maybe you could wear some of those tasty leather pants‚¶" Buffy trailed off, pictures of leather clad Angelus's running through her head.
"Well, I suppose‚¶" Angelus liked the leather pants, and if it would please Buffy‚¶he'd do anything.
Angel, who had been quiet throughout this entire conversation, finally spoke up. "This won't be TOO strange for you, will it Buffy? You know we both love you, and you know we'd never do anything to hurt you-" Angel cut a sidelong glance at Angelus, who nodded. "Anymore. At least, we would try and do everything we could to make you happy. And as your mother is still out of town, you should stay here so we can take care of you, unless you want to go home, we could take you home and stop in and look over you every few da-" Angel's babbling was cut off by Buffy, who has walked over and placed her mouth on his, silencing him.
"Angel, I want you, and I want Angelus, and I want to stay HERE. Don't worry about what happens tomorrow. Let's just worry about today." Buffy placed her fingers along his cheek, slowly drawing lines down to his jaw, and around his neck.
Angel nodded his head while taking her fingers and kissing them. "Whatever you say, beloved. Whatever you say."
Buffy, Angel, and Angelus spent the day in front of the TV, or listening to music, or putzing around the house. Once the sun had set, Angel broke up their relaxing time in front of the TV, and announced that him and Angelus were going to go patrol. Angelus got up, and went to the weapons chest, removing some stakes and a crossbow.
Buffy stood up, hands on her hips. "I want to go."
Angel shook his head, and glanced at Angelus, who was also shaking his head. "You're still to weak, sweeting. You should stay home, rest."
Buffy stamped her foot. "But I want to go!" Her eyes welled up and her lower lip trembled. "Please, baby. Don't make me stay home, all by myself!"
Angelus immediately came to her side, wrapping his arms around her. "We don't want you to get hurt Buffy. Please, stay home."
Buffy shook her head, which was leaning into Angelus neck. "I want to go. I won't slay, I'll just watch. Please let me go."
Angel sighed, glanced at Angelus and finally told Buffy she could go. She leapt over to him and kissed him, throwing her arms around his neck. "You're the greatest!" Buffy exclaimed as she bounded out the door, Angel and Angelus at her heals.
They reached the graveyard, and Buffy did as she promised. She sat on a headstone and watched Angel and Angelus fight. What she didn't notice was the vampire walking up behind her.
Angelus, however, did. "Buffy! Look out!" Angelus leapt in front of her, pushing her off the headstone and onto the ground. The stake meant for Buffy sank into his heart, and Angelus exploded into a cloud of dust.
Buffy stared open mouthed at the stop where Angelus had been standing just moments before. As the dust settled around her feet, she collapsed in a small ball on the ground.
"Buffy!" Angel shouted, running over to her and scooping her into his arms. He rocked her against his chest as she cried.
"He's gone! He's gone! He's gone! He's gone! He's gone!" Buffy repeated, over and over.
Angel picked her up, tossing the bag full of weapons over one shoulder. As he slowly walked back home, Angel began to think of what had just happened.
Angelus had sacrificed himself to save Buffy. He just jumped in front of her like it was a common occurrence. But how could he do it? Angelus didn't have a soul. Sure, he loved Buffy, but was it a strong enough love to make him do the heroic thing he had just done? Angel needed to talk to Giles. Quickly. But first, he had to get Buffy home.
Once Angel arrived at the, he set the weapon bag down and carried Buffy upstairs. He laid her carefully on the bed, and pulled the covers up around her chin. Smoothing her hair from her face, Angel reached down to kiss her forehead gently. "Are you going to be okay if I go and make a quick phone call, Sweet?" Angel asked, his voice soft.
Buffy nodded, her eyes wide and scared. She clutched at the blankets around her, pulling them closer as Angel made his way downstairs to the phone.
Angel entered the living room, sitting down on the couch that had, only hours before, held Angelus, himself, and Buffy. He picked up the cordless phone Buffy had insisted he bought and dialed. The person on the other end answered after the first ring.
"Giles. We‚¶I‚¶Something happened. Something bad." Angel said into the receiver as he began to pace around the room.
"Angel. What? What happened? Is Buffy okay?" Giles was immediately worried about the way Angel was speaking.
Angel shook his head, then, realizing Giles couldn't actually see him, spoke. "No, no. I think Buffy's fine, except‚¶"
"Bloody hell Angel! Spit it OUT!" Giles was getting fairly peeved at half-human's behavior.
"It's Angelus, Giles. He's dead. He got dusted tonight, while he and I were pratoling. Buffy was‚¶Buffy was sitting on a tomb stone and a vampire came up behind her and she didn't notice and Angelus did and leapt in front of her hand the stake landed in his heart. He sacrificed himself to save her, Giles. He SAVED her."
Giles ran a hand over his face. "Oh, dear. How is Buffy holding up?"
"Not good. She hasn't said much, she's practically in a catatonic state. She's upstairs now." Angel shook his head, and muttered something about not believing Angelus had done that.
"Come over. Bring Buffy," Giles said, his voice strained.
"I'll be there in fifteen minutes." Angel hung up without saying goodbye. He went back upstairs to find Buffy in the same position he left her in. "Come on, beloved. We're gonna go see Giles. He wants us to come over. Come on sweetie, let's go." Angel tugged gently on her arm, and she got off the bed. She followed him downstairs, and into his car.
At Giles', Angel didn't even bother to knock, but opened the door and led Buffy inside.
"Ahh, Angel. And Buffy. You're here. Good." Giles sat his cup off tea on the table and walked over too a pile of books.
"Have been researching, Giles?" Angel asked, sitting down next to Buffy and pulling her close.
"Yes. And I think I've found a way to bring him back."
"What? You know how to bring him back? How? HOW?" Buffy was practically jumping up and down in front of Giles with excitement. "How do we bring him back Giles? How?"
"Buffy, calm down and let Giles breathe!" Angel said, grabbing her arms and pulling her down next to him on the couch. "He can't speak if you're jumping in his face."
Giles took a moment to wait for Buffy to settle herself down next to Angel before speaking. "It won't bring him back into a separate body, but back into Angel."
"What do you mean?" Buffy asked, leaning forward.
"Well, it would be rather like it was before, only Angel would keep his human qualities, rather than being a vampire again. Angelus would come out when ever he and Angel chose. It would be as though Angel really did have the voices in his head you so often speak of, Buffy." Giles explained.
Angel shot Buffy a look, and she spoke to him off handedly. "I was talking about the voices in my head, dear, not yours." She patted his hand before turning back to Giles. "When can we do this? What do we need?"
"I fear that the spell itself is rather dangerous, Buffy. It could result in Angel's death as well, if it is not preformed correctly." Giles said, his face etched with a sad statement.
"I could‚¶lose Angel too?" Buffy asked, her eyes wide and child like.
"Yes, I fear so. But it is only if the spell is not preformed correctly." Giles said.
"What's the chances of it going wrong?" Buffy asked.
"I don't know, Buffy. There is more chance of it going right than wrong, but you never know for sure." Giles said.
Buffy bit her lip. She wanted Angelus back, really really badly, but she also couldn't stand the thought of losing Angel. "It's Angel's choice. He can decide what he wants to do."
Angel's eyes locked with Buffy's, his face sad. "What do you want, Buffy? Do you want Angelus back?"
Buffy crawled into his lap, her face resting in his neck. "I don't want to lose you as well, Angel. I couldn't possibly think of losing you. I've already lost Angelus. I don't want you to go."
"I know baby," Angel said, rubbing his palm along her cheek, "I just want you to be happy. Are you happy?"
"With you, I'm always happy." Buffy told him honestly.
"Would you be happier with Angelus back?"
Buffy was quiet. She thought about Angelus and Angel. Angelus had saved her life, sacrificed himself to save her. She loved him, and she wanted him back, but she didn't want Angel to think that she didn't love him. "I want him back, Angel, but it's not because I don't love you. I do, really, with every fiber of my being, with all of my heart, body and soul. I would die if anything ever happened to you. I don't want you to go through with the ritual, unless you want to. He's part of us both, Angel, whether you like it or not. And so, I'm leaving this decision up to you."
Angel locked eyes with Buffy, holding her hand, staring at her features. His mind was made up; it had been since the moment she said it was his choice.
"Lets do it."
Giles nodded. "Very well then. Tomorrow, you both must be here. Early. Say, sixish or so? Oh, and Angel, if you could bring something, say a shirt that Angelus has worn, and something of Buffy's as well."
"Yes, of course. We'll see you tomorrow, Giles." Angel gave Giles one last nod of his head before taking Buffy's hand and walking out the door.
Back at the mansion, Angel held Buffy as they sat on the couch, watching Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was one of Buffy's favorites, and was something she always watched when she was depressed.
"I don't want to lose you," Buffy whispered.
"I know Beloved, but this is the way it should be. Angelus sacrificed himself to save you, and now I'm doing the same for him. I want you happy, and this is the thing that will make you happy." Angel pulled Buffy closer to him, wrapping his arms tightly around her body, gripping her hand in his.
Buffy leaned into Angel, snuggling into his chest. "I couldn't stand it if I lost you too, Angel. I just couldn't live."
"We have to try this baby. We can do this. Don't worry about it, okay?" Angel felt Buffy's head moving on his chest. Her hand slowly relaxed in his, and her breathing got deep and even. Angel sighed and, resting his head on Buffy's, drifted peacefully off.
The next morning, Angel and Buffy stood out side Gile's apartment, their hands laced together. Angel held Buffy's favorite blue tank top in his hands, while Buffy held the black velvet shirt Angelus always wore. Together they entered the apartment.
"Ahh, Buffy, Angel. Just on time. Perfect. Shall we begin?" Giles was moving around the living room as he was talking, placing candles in certain spots. The furniture had been cleared, and there was a large circle in the middle.
"Angel, I need you to step inside the circle, holding onto both articles of clothing. This circle will hopeful-" Giles look quickly at Buffy, "ah, it will keep you safe. So Angel, if you would just‚¶"
Angel stepped into the circle, taking the shirt from Buffy. He sat cross-legged, his arms resting on his legs, the shirts in his lap.
"Lets get this show on the road, Giles. I can't wait much longer."
"Yes, here we go." Giles began to chant in a language Buffy didn't understand. She didn't care however, for she was watching Angle's face. It was calm, peaceful. That didn't last long, however, and now his face was contorted in pain. Buffy wanted to run to him, but knew that that would only mess up the spell.
Lights swirled around Angel's body, and little balls of color flew up into the air. If Buffy didn't know any better, she would say that it was a good show of fireworks, but the moans coming from Angel made her think differently.
As Giles stopped speaking, the light became incredibly bright, and when it cleared, Angel was gone.
Buffy stared open-mouthed at the spot where Angel had been. He was gone.
She had lost both of her Angels.
"He's gone, he's gone, he's gone‚¶" Buffy stumbled to the couch,
continuously repeated that phrase as if it were a prayer. Giles walked over
next to her, taking her hand and rubbing it, trying to get a reaction out of
"Oh dear. This is very bad. Buffy? Buffy, can you hear me?" Giles
patted her cheek lightly with his hand, again trying to get some sort of
action out of the girl. Giles grabbed the phone, and dialed quickly.
"Hello, Mrs. Rosenburg? Is Willow home by any chance? Oh, of course. With
Oz. And they went to‚¶? Yes, yes. Do you know when she will be back? Yes,
I'll just call her tomorrow. Have a nice evening, Mrs. Rosenburg." Giles
sighed. He couldn't get a hold of Willow. Who else could he trust Buffy
with in this condition? Thinking himself a complete dolt, he dialed another
"Come on, Luv. Let's go inside now, okay?" Spike gently led Buffy by
the hand into the mansion. "Let's just sit down on this nice couch, and we
can watch the telly a little. How does that sound, Luv?"
Buffy followed Spike like a lost puppy, seeking comfort and hope in the
feel of his hand on hers. Buffy may love her Angels, but Spike had become a
close friend, and she was grateful that he was here with her.
"Here we are, ducks. Let's just sit here on this couch." Spike sat down
and pulled Buffy down next to him, keeping his old on her hand. "Buffy, Luv,
snap out of it."
At the sound of her name coming from Spike's lips, she turned to him.
For the first time, tears trailed down her cheeks. Slowly at first, and then
harder the tears came, until she was sobbing so hard her whole body was
shaking. Spike gathered her into his arms and onto his lap, holding her
close, enjoying the feel of her against him. He was in love with her. The
Slayer new it, Peaches new it, hell, even most of the scoobies new it. They
all tolerated it because although he held such love for her, Buffy new that
he would never act on it with out her permission, and so he became a trusted
friend and confidante.
"He's gone, Spike. And nothing is ever going to bring him back! My
angels are gone!" Buffy cried, her face buried in his neck, her hands
gripping fistfuls of his black T-shirt. "There's nothing I can do, Spike.
I'm dead inside, and nothing is ever going to make me feel alive again."
Spike rubbed her back in a soothing pattern, wishing he could do
something, anything, to make her stop hurting. "I know, luv, trust me, I
know. But you can't give up. Think of everything you have to live for. All
your friends. Giles‚¶‚¶me." Spike said the last word at such a whisper that
Buffy didn't catch it.
"I don't want to live. There's too much pain," Buffy sobbed harder.
"I know, luv, I know." Spike rubbed her back until she fell asleep, then
picked her up and carried her to her and her angel's bedroom, placing her
gently on the bed. He stayed with her all night, sitting in a chair next to
the bed, holding her hand.
Giles rubbed his hands over his eyes as he cleaned up the remainder of
the spell. He placed his books back on his shelves and placed a kettle of
water on the stove. After the water was warm, he placed the earl gray tea
bag into the water and collapsed on the couch. His heart was broken for
Buffy. She had only just gotten the man-men- she loved back, and now they
were gone forever. Giles could not begin to comprehend the pain his dear
slayer was in. Of course it hurt when Jenny had died at the hands of Angel's
evil counterpart, but he had at least had time with her. Time that he will
treasure until the day he dies. He had never needed a second chance with
her. His first chance was wonderful enough. Giles wearily stood and walked
upstairs to his bed where he fell into an exhausted sleep.
During the night, light swirled in the living room, and a figure began
to take place. After a few hours, an angel from above smiled and the tear on
her cheek fell to the figure lying on the couch. She covered him with a
blanket before floating away.
Wiping his bleary eyes, Giles made his way down stairs to open one of
those god-forsaken boxes of cereal Buffy had made him buy. "Cereal," she had
said, "is part of America. In order to be an American, you must eat cereal.
When in America, do as the Americans do, okay?" Giles had only smiled, not
bothering to remind her that he was actually British, even if he was in
America. Even so, he had no energy to make a real breakfast, and so
surrendered to the white box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Giles nearly dropped his bowl on the floor when he saw what was on his couch.
The vampire jerked awake at the sound of his name, jumping from the
couch in a hurry, only to cover himself back up with the blanket when he
realized he was wearing a little less than nothing. "Giles! Oh, where was
I? What happened? Where's Buffy? I have to find Buffy."
"Angel, calm yourself. Before you leave, I suggest you put on some
clothes and breathe a bit." Giles walked to his closet near the bathroom and
pulled a shirt and some flannel pants from a shelf.
"Giles, I'm a vampire. I don't breathe," Angel said, his voice full
of exasperation. "I need to get to Buffy."
Giles tossed the clothes at him. "Before you leave, I suggest you put
these on." Giles turned around, allowing Angel to dress. "Do you remember
As Angel pulled the shirt over his head, he looked back at Giles. "I
remember Angelus dying, and then the ritual and Buffy crying. After that,
it's just black."
Giles nodded. "What about Angelus? Did you find him, or see him, wherever it
is you were?"
Angel shook his head. "I don't remember where I was, but I can feel
Angelus. He's here. Inside me. It's almost like‚¶we're both in control, but
That's right, soul boy. I'm here. And now I want to get gone, and go
"He's in my head. No question." Angel shook his head and thought to
We'll go soon. Just let Giles finish talking, okay? *
Fine, as long as it's soon. I NEED to see her.
"Are we done here Giles? I'd like to go see Buffy."
"Yes, yes, of course. Go." Before Giles finished his sentence, Angel
was out the door. "Wonderful. Just bloody amazing."
Angel ran to the mansion, a blanket over his head. When he got there,
he tore the door open and ran into the living room. When he didn't see
Buffy, he ran up the stairs and into the room he shared with Buffy. There he
found her, asleep on the bed, Spike next to her. Quietly, he woke Spike up.
"Peaches!" Spike shouted.
"Shh. Thanks for staying with Buffy. You can go now." Angel wanted
to wake Buffy up himself, after Spike left.
"You're back. How did you get back?" Spike was dumbfounded. He
thought Angel would never be back.
"My guardian angel was looking out for me." Angel smiled at the over
used phrase, but thought it funny nonetheless.
Spike snorted before walking away. "Nice, Peaches. Very nice."
Angel only shook his head before gently kissing Buffy's forehead, then
her cheeks, eyes, nose, and finally, her lips. At first, Angel got no
response, but as Buffy began to wake, she acted as though Angel had never
left. Her eyes opened and he pulled away, smiling gently at her. "Hey,
"ANGEL! You're back! How!? You're back? How? And Angelus, where
is he?" Buffy jumped to her knees and smothered him in kisses.
"It doesn't matter baby, all that matters is that I'm here, with you,
and so is Angelus. That's all that matters," Angel said as he pulled her back
into his arms.
And up in the sky, the angels cried tears of joy, for true love was
back where it belonged.