posted on 28-Sep-2001 4:44:51 AM by Fresa Chica
Okay, this is really old, but I thought I'd post it here anyway... It a Buffy/Angel crossover story to do with the whole IWRY thing, enjoy!!

Title: Breakdown
Author: Me
Spoilers: IWRY, In the Dark and basically seasons 1-4 of Buffy. Oh and ‘Heroes’ never happened (but I guess that would be obvious, ‘cause Doyle’s alive!)
Rating: Um… If you can watch the show.
Summary: It’s another one of those ‘Buffy remembers’ fics. Mostly B/A with a tiny bit of B/R
Disclaimer: I don’t own it, wish I did. Joss, the evil-crack-monster-of-death owns the characters. Maybe if I gave him $1.47 (my life savings) he’d give them to me.
Authors Notes: I realize that I make Buffy really waterworky in this fic, but I promise I’ll make her happier in the future.
Authors Notes 2: I can’t remember what time period this is supposed to be in (somewhere around “Doomed” I think) so if there are any inconsistencies please tell me when you send in feedback *wink wink*

It was almost dawn as Buffy dragged herself into her dorm room. She walked in and closed to door rather loudly forgetting there was another sleeping person in the room. She crossed the room to her closet and placed her crossbow with her other weapons.

Willow stirred and rolled over and tried to focus on the blurry object that was moving around the room. “Oh hi Buff, you’re back,” she said when her eyes focused.

Buffy quickly turned, startled, “Oh sorry Will, I forgot you were here, I’ll try to be quieter.” She grabbed her pajamas from the drawer, got changed, and climbed into bed.

“So how was patrol?” Willow asked as if they were talking about the latest gossip. Buffy’s movement had woken her up more than she’d like to admit.

“It was good, uneventful.”

“Uneventful in the demon way, or the boyfriend way,” Willow prodded.

“Both, Riley’s not my boyfriend.” Buffy sighed before continuing, “I mean we were out there for a couple of hours and not so much as a hint of vampires.”

“But that’s a good, right? I mean we don’t really need vampires since they usually end up eating people.”

“Yeah, normally I’d agree, but I really felt like pummeling something tonight,” Buffy explained. Willow gave her a questioning look, indicating that more information was needed. “Well, I get the feeling that Riley was trying to ‘protect’ me. Like I need protecting, I’m the Slayer; I could wipe the floor with him. It just makes me frustrated, and when I get frustrated, slaying is a release.”

“Does Riley understand who you are?” Willow asked.

“He says he does, but I don’t think he really understands, you know?” Buffy said.

“Maybe you should spar with him,” Willow suggested laughing.

Buffy looked at her friend with a smug smile on her face, “Maybe I will.”

“Now Buffy,” Willow said warningly. But she didn’t respond as she turned over and went to sleep. Willow just shook her head and did the same.

Buffy was still semi-conscious as she thought she saw a shimmering figure appear in the room and whisper, “Sweet dreams, Slayer.” When she tried to concentrate on the figure, however, she seemed to disappear. She just shrugged it off as an overactive imagination and went to sleep.

**********

She found herself in a marble hallway. The light was playing off the walls; it was constantly changing, making it look ethereal, a dream. But that’s what it was, a dream.

“Hello,” Buffy called out tentatively. She was alone as far as she could tell. She started to wander around the room; there were pedestals with trinkets on them. On one pedestal was a statue made out of a shiny, black rock. It was so dark it seemed to absorb the light. On another pedestal, a couple of feet down, there was a red vase, ‘Pretty,’ she thought. She continued along the wall until she came to a watch, it seemed out of place with all of the other ornaments. “What is a watch doing here,” she wondered aloud.

“It was a gift,” a male voice said. Buffy quickly spun around and found herself face to face with two beings. They looked like they were covered with blue and gold paint, but for all she knew that could be their skin colour.

“Who are you?” Buffy asked.

“That is not your concern,” the female half of the duo said.

“Then what should I call you?”

“You will not talk. You will listen,” the male said. “Now I see why The Warrior did not consult you.”

“What?” Buffy was confused, “Who are you talking about? Why did they…”

“Enough! We brought you here,” the female explained, “so you could remember.”

“But…” Buffy started to protest as a bright light consumed the hall and she found herself in Angel’s office.

**********

It was like she was possessed; she had no control over her body. She was forced to sit there helpless, as the best day of her life played out before her.

“I felt your heart beat,” she heard herself say as her heart broke into a thousand pieces. She had just witnessed the most noble scene she would ever see. Angel had given up a lifetime of happiness for her. He had had everything he had ever wanted, but he’d given it up to save her. Life was so unfair.

As time passed, she could feel the tears streaming down her cheeks and was helpless to stop them. “I’ll never forget, I’ll never forget, I’ll never forget,” she heard herself say, but she had forgotten. She had known something was missing, and now she knew what it was. Him.

As the dream faded she lay there with her eyes closed. She wished she could go back, change things. But as reality slowly intruded, she realized that it had indeed happened; she curled up into a ball and began bawling.

Unknowingly, Buffy’s crying had woken up her roommate. Willow was awake instantly as she rushed over to Buffy, who by this time was in hysterics.

“Buffy,” Willow said, trying to get her attention, “Buffy, what’s wrong?”

“Oh God Will,” Buffy sobbed as she turned and hugged Willow; her friend held her she cried. Willow whispered words of comfort and told her that everything was okay as her friend cried on her shoulder.

“But it’s not. Nothing is okay,” she heard Buffy say, “everything is falling apart.”

“What do you mean, Buffy?” Willow asked. “Tell me what happened.”

“God Will, it was real, it was all real. And he gave everything up… for me,” Buffy explained as she started to calm down.

“Gave what up? Who are you talking about?” Willow was getting worried; Buffy wasn’t making any sense.

“Angel, he was human, and we… oh Will, he was human,” Buffy said as she started to cry again. Willow looked down at her best friend in concern. ‘I’m going to have to ask Giles about this.’ Willow thought as Buffy drifted off into a tormented sleep again.

**********

When she awoke, Buffy realized that it was well past two o’clock. In fact, if she hurried she just might only miss the end of her class by two hours. She groaned as she fell back onto her bed; she was exhausted. She heard the door open and looked over to find Willow standing there.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” Willow asked as she walked over to the bed.

“Tired,” Buffy replied.

“Which is understandable cuz you were crying a lot. You’re done crying, aren’t you?” Willow asked in her special Willow way.

“Yeah. For now,” Buffy said as she made a move to get out of bed. “I think I’ve cried enough to last me a couple of lifetimes.” She walked across the room they shared to her desk, placing some nondescript object down before turning to get dressed.

“Well, do you want to do something?”

“Not right now Will. I was kind of thinking about going to talk to Giles about the whole ‘Day gone missing’ thing,” came Buffy muffled response from her closet.

“Right. Okay then…” Willow started, but was interrupted by the phone ringing. She picked up the phone, “Hello?… uh huh… yep… no… okay, bye.”

“Who was that?” Buffy asked as she went back to sitting on her bed, fully clothed.

“It was Riley,” Willow replied, “I told him you weren’t here. I hope you don’t mind.”

“No, it’s fine,” Buffy sighed in relief, “I really don’t want to talk to him right now.” The two friends gathered up their things and headed out the door. As they were walking out Buffy said, “To Giles’ house we go.”

**********

“So you’re saying that the day was erased,” Giles asked, “completely?”

“That’s what I’m saying,” Buffy said, “ just gone, pffft, no longer exists, history. Well actually, it wouldn’t be history since it never happened…” she looked up at Giles who had a amused look on his face.

“I think I got that part,” he said as he reached for one of his many books. When he turned back, Willow asked, “So, what do we do now?”

Just before Giles could answer, Anya and Xander walked through the door. “Hey everyone,” Xander said, “What’s up?”

“Research party. Right?” Willow said hopeful as she looked at Giles.

“Well count us in for that wild and crazy bunch of fun,” Xander said sarcastically. Anya gave him a questioning look, “I though we were going to go back to your place and have sex, near some candles.”

“Yes, well, of course, I mean,” Giles stuttered. He still hadn’t gotten used to Anya’s tactlessness.

“Seriously though guys,” Buffy said, trying to save Giles, “I’d like to know why I remember it and none of you do.”

“Well, it could be any number of reasons. It could be because of a planetary arrangement, o-or, um, a demon’s energy could have triggered it. Or a spell that was cast nearby could have sparked your memory. Or, it could have been a spell that was directed at…” Giles trailed off as he realized everyone was staring at him. “Or you could have just remembered it on your own.”

“Yeah, but I’m pretty sure Angel remembers,” Buffy said as she started to get a far off look in her eyes.

Before the memories could draw her in Xander’s voice cut through them like a lighthouse through fog, “Okay, back the train up, what are you guys talking about?”

“Oh,” Giles said, “It seems that Buffy experienced a day the has been forgotten by everyone, herself included, until recently. She had a dream last night that presented the day to her.”

“Okay,” Xander said, clearly not understanding, “and two, why does Angel remember? But more importantly, how do you know Angel remembers.”

“Short version?” Buffy said before continuing, “He remembers because he needed to remember and I know because he told me he would. I asked him how I could go on with my life knowing what we could have had and he said only he would know.” Her eyes glazed over as her mind was pulled deep into the ocean of memories as she continued, “He told me that it was the only way, that I would die if he stayed mortal. I told him I’d never forget, but I did.”

Giles walked over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder; this seemed to snap her out of the dream like state. “Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, right as rain,” Buffy said as she stood up to get her coat. “I should go patrol.”

“It’s okay Buff, you don’t ha…” Xander started.

“Yes I do,” Buffy replied as she walked to the door. As she disappeared, her mind was set on one thing, not thinking about a certain someone.

**********

“Well Buffy was certainly chipper tonight,” Xander stated as he reached for another book. They had been going through Giles’ books in silence for the past couple of hours, and everyone jumped at his voice.

“Don’t Xander,” Willow warned, “She’s going through a lot right now.”

“I don’t see why,” he replied, “I mean, Angel was human, now he’s not. So what, how is this different from before?”

Willow looked at him like he had grown another head, “So what? Xander, Angel was human. They had a chance to make it work, to finally be together, and he gave that up. Buffy told me that she could never remember feeling more content, more normal, than she did that day.” Willow paused and looked down at the book she held in her hands, “How would you feel if the love of your life decided to make you forget everything that’s happened, even if you were saving the world in the process? It wouldn’t make me feel to good. And now that she remembers, it’s almost worse.”

Everyone continued in silence after Willow’s outburst. Willow’s eyes were no longer looking at her book as her thoughts turned to her own heartbreak. Although she could not related to Buffy’s situation, she could certainly relate to someone leaving for your own good.

**********

Buffy was sitting on the swings in the park, thinking to herself, wondering why she remembered. It was at that time that a vampire decided she would be an easy meal.

“Hey little lady,” he said as he walked over to her, “you shouldn’t be out late at night, it’s dangerous.” Buffy looked up and saw him in full game face

“Might as well get this over with,” she mumbled to herself and she stood up and delivered a roundhouse kick to his midsection.

“Slayer,” the vampire said as he tried to recover.

“Actually, my name is Buffy. And your name is dead meat,” Buffy replied as she attacked him. The vampire never stood a chance. Her slayer skills, combined with her emotional state, made him dust within seconds. As he crumbled, she just stood there, a silent rage boiling inside. She heard a twig snap behind her and spun around.

“Evenin’ Slayer,” Spike said. Buffy wasted no time and started to attack. She was so mad that she couldn’t comprehend who she was fighting; her brain had shut itself off so she wouldn’t go crazy. It was all Spike could do to block her punches, and even then he wasn’t going to walk away from the fight untouched.

“Whoa, Slayer,” Spike said in an attempt to get her to stop, “will you bloody calm down.” Buffy paid no attention as she continued her assault.

However, Buffy’s tiring day and her emotional state had finally caught up with her. In one last desperate attempt, she let out an unintelligible scream as she lunged at Spike. He managed to grab her arms before she could do any real damage, and she slumped to the ground.

“Why,” she asked, “why?”

“Why what pet,” Spike wondered.

“Why did he give it all up,” Buffy elaborated, “We were happy and… and free.” And with her last bit of strength gone, the mighty slayer burst into tears. Spike, at a loss of what to do, bent down and pulled her into a hug as she cried.

“Uh, there there,” Spike said awkwardly as he held the tiny blond in an even more awkward hug. ‘I bet Angel had something to do with this,’ Spike thought, ‘the bloody wanker's an even bigger idiot than I thought.’ As her tears subsided, he helped her up and walked with her back to her dorm.

**********

“Yes, yes, thanks, I’ll be right over,” Willow said and hung up the phone.

“Who was that?” Giles inquired from the kitchen.

“That was Spike,” Willow replied as she gathered up her things,” he brought Buffy back to the dorm after he found her in hysterics in the park.”

“Why would she be in hysterics?” Giles asked coming into the living room. Willow paused and gave Giles a look. “Oh right, well, you better go then.”

“Bye guys,” she said to everyone before running to her friend.

**********

When Willow walked into the room, she was faced with a very odd sight. Buffy was asleep on her own bed, and Spike was sitting across from her with a worried look on his face. The look stopped Willow in her tracks. “Spike,” she said, “you’re still here.”

“Yeah, what of it?” Spike had noticed her come in but had still not moved.

“Well, um…but… uh,” Willow stuttered, “you’re evil.”

“Yeah, but it gets bloody tiring sometimes,” Spike said as he stood up. “Ya know, walking around going ‘grrr’ all day loses it appeal after a while.” He started to pace back and forth in front of Willow, which was quite an unnerving sight. “Sometimes I just want to sit down with a nice cup of blood, and not worry that someone is going to stake me. Why do you all try to stake me anyway?” he asked.

Willow gave him a look, “Well it might be because you killed all those people and, on more than one occasion, tried to kill us.”

“Well it wasn’t my fault,” Spike said. Willow gave him another look. “Vampires have politics too. It’s not like I could go around suggesting that we not kill the happy-meals-on-legs, I’d be dust before you could say…”

“Liar?” a voice asked from behind them. They had been so absorbed in their discussion that Willow and Spike hadn’t noticed that Buffy had woken up.

“Oh my god, are you okay?” Willow asked as she ran over. She sat on the bed and took in Buffy’s appearance. Her eyes were red from crying, which had resulted in tear tracks running down her face. Her hair was a mess and she had a solemn look on her face.

“I’m okay,” Buffy answered, “or I would be if I could stop crying for two minutes.” Willow leaned over and gave her a hug. “Why are you here?” She asked Spike, who was still standing in the middle of the room.

“What,” Spike said, “I can’t take care of my favorite slayer?”

“That makes me feel so special,” Buffy replied sarcastically, ”but I think you mean the only slayer who can kick your ass.”

“Fine, if that’s the thanks I get,” Spike turned and walked out of the room.

Buffy turned to Willow and said, “And you know, he almost sounded hurt.” She got off her bed and walked over to close the door.

“Well actually,” Willow started as Buffy turned around, “he was still sitting here when I came in.”

“So?”

“Well he must care a little.”

“Will,” Buffy said, “this is Spike we’re talking about. Remember, he kidnapped you and Xander to get Dru back, he’s killed countless innocent people, and, for some reason, my mom likes him. That’s three strikes. Oh yeah, don’t forget how he’s tried to kill me many times.”

“Your mom likes him?” Willow asked, surprised.

“Yeah and you know how she’s a great judge of character,” Buffy said as she sat down on her bed. They switched topics many times as their conversation continued into the night.

**********

When Buffy woke up, she was dripping with sweat; she had fallen asleep after her long talk with Willow. She had dreamt about Angel again, but this time the dreams had not been about the missing day, as many before had been, but of the future. There had been gut wrenching pain and horror, and miles and miles of desolation in all directions. He had been helpless as he was tortured endlessly. Finally she had seen him die by the hand of his torturer, her hands. But when she awoke the dream did not fade; the memories plagued her mind.

The dream had seemed so real; she thought she was going crazy. She had to get away.

As Buffy got out of her bed, Willow rolled over. She paused, hoping she had not woken her roommate. Finding Willow still asleep, she crept towards the closet and gathered some clothes. As she was walking out the door she paused, pulled out a piece of paper, and wrote a quick note to Willow and everyone so they wouldn’t worry. With that she turned and walked out the door.

**********

It was hours after Buffy left that Willow awoke. She yawned and turned over to see if Buffy was awake. She saw that Buffy’s bed was made and lots of her clothes were missing. Willow got up and walked over to her desk where she found a folded note in Buffy’s writing. She opened the letter and read it to her self. As soon as she had finished, she dropped it and called Giles.

Ring…

Ring…

Ri… “Hello?” Giles asked as he picked up the phone.

“It’s Willow,” she said hurriedly, “we’ve got a problem.”

**********

Giles and Willow were sitting in his living room waiting for the rest of the gang to get there. Giles had told Willow to come over as quickly as possible as soon as he found out Buffy was missing. She had arrived five minutes ago and was anxious to know what was going on. Giles had given no explanation as to why he had called the meeting, and the only time he did that was when there was bad news.

Just then, Xander and Anya walked through the door. “Hey what’s up?” Anya asked.

"Nothing good I'm afraid," Giles said as he saw the two come into his house.

"As long as it's not the end of the world," Xander joked. Giles' expression put an end to that. "It isn't the end of the world, is it?" Xander asked meekly.

"It very well might be," Giles said as he walked over and pointed at a book with his glasses. "I found a prophecy as I was going through my books earlier. It doesn't sound too good."

Willow picked up the book and read the passage aloud, "And when one is born to conquer, the world will rejoice as harmony is brought to all." When she looked up, Giles was giving her a funny look.

"It's the next one Willow,"

"Oops, sorry." She looked down at the book again, "Okay I got it.

And with a folded day, forgotten by many,
A great evil may reemerge,
And this evil will control everything in existence.
A warrior will be tried
And the outcome, brought forth from a rite of passage,
Will decide the fate of the world."

"Well," Xander said when Willow had finished, "that's the kind of prophecy I'm used to. Doom, gloom, maybe a couple of deaths."

Giles looked at Xander. "I'm afraid that with Buffy running off like this, thing are not looking very good at the moment."

Willow looked up, "So, what do we do?"

**********

Buffy was on a bus to Los Angeles; she had spent all of her money on her ticket. She needed to go see Angel before she went insane; she needed to know that he was all right.

Buffy had been talking to the woman sitting beside her for the first half of the bus ride, but the woman had fallen asleep listening to her walkman. With nothing to keep her occupied, Buffy's thoughts turned to Angel.

She almost didn't notice when the bus pulled into the Santa Monica Bus Station. After getting off the bus, she realized that she didn't know where to go. She did not want to face Angel just yet, and there were a couple of hours left until sunset. She decided to walk around the city, visit her old haunts, until she built up the courage to visit Angel.

**********

Angel walked into the office to find Cordelia asleep at her desk. He closed the door behind him and she jumped.

"Angel, hi, um," she said as she started typing on the computer, "I was just finishing up here."

Angel looked at her and said, "You've been at this all day Cordelia, why don't you go home."

Cordelia look at him for a moment before cleaning off her desk and picking up her bag. "Okay, but if you need anything, just call," she said walking out the door.

"Yeah, like I could ever get through," Angel commented.

She turned around and shot him a look before replying, “What, I’m an actress,” as if that explained everything, and continued to her car.

Angel looked around the office and realized it was almost sunset; he should be heading out to patrol soon. He decided to sit and relax for a while, see if anyone actually came in looking for help. He picked up an old book and started to read. After a time, he found the picture, Her picture.

The sun was glistening off her hair, and her eyes were so bright and cheerful. He guessed that the picture had been taken about two years ago, before all of their problems had started. She had changed so much since then. Her eyes had become darker, haunted. She took her duty more seriously now, the carefree teenager of the past was gone, and in her place was the slayer. He sighed as his eyes drifted towards the door.

He was staring off into space when the door opened.

**********

Buffy stood outside the door with her hand on the knob. She had seen Cordelia leave a while ago and was working up the courage to go in.

She had walked around L.A. for the day, visiting all of the places she used to go for fun. “Yeah, fun,” she mumbled to herself, “now there’s a foreign concept.” She hadn’t had any fun in a long while; she just didn’t have the time to spare. She even went to her old house to visit her dad, but he was away, on business she presumed. She had ended up wandering around the city and seemed drawn to a particular area. As soon as Buffy realized where she was, she started to panic; her feet had brought her to ‘Angel Investigations’.

And now here she was, standing outside the door, waiting for her courage to stop cowering in the corner. “It’s just Angel,” she told herself. But to her, he had never been just Angel, he had always been Her Angel. Buffy suppressed the thought as she straightened, took a deep breath, and opened the door.

TBC...


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 18-Apr-2002 2:43:58 PM ]
posted on 28-Sep-2001 4:45:48 AM by Fresa Chica
The Scooby Gang and friends had been searching all day for Buffy. They hadn’t found her, exactly, but there had been reports of a 20-year-old blond getting on a bus to L.A. They decided to work on this lead, since the other had her in a casino in Monte Carlo winning millions of dollars. The former was looking to be a letdown though; Willow had called Cordelia but so far there had been no sign of Buffy.

“Well, maybe she just needed some time,” Willow suggested, “ you know, to collect herself.”

“You could be right Willow,” Giles replied.

“Yeah, she may not be going to see Dead Boy at all,” Xander said cheerfully. At the looks he received he changed his mind, “Or not.”

“I think that we should give her another day to show up,” Anya said as she stood up, “Let’s go Xander.” Xander followed helplessly as Anya took his hand and started towards the door. He shrugged as everyone else in the room gave him a confused look, and with that, there were four of them left in the room.

Giles sighed and looked at the rest of the group. Willow’s face was a mask of worry for her best friend, Tara was hanging her head shyly and looking at her hands, and Spike, well Spike was sitting in front of the TV and yelling something incomprehensible at the characters. “You might as well go home now,” Giles told them, “there’s not much more we can do today.”

Tara and Willow stood up and walked over to the door. “We’ll find her Giles, don’t worry.” Willow said. She gave him a small smile as she walked out the door with Tara, who also offered a smile of comfort.

Giles was thinking to himself when he was interrupted, “Don’t do that you bloody idiot, it’s a trap,” Spike yelled as he jumped up from the chair he was occupying. Giles moaned and walked into the kitchen to make himself some tea.

**********

Angel sat stunned as his brain recognized who stood in the doorway. He didn’t expect to see her so soon, at least not after what had happened on Thanksgiving. He watched, unable to say a word, as she closed the door and walked over to the desk.

Her heat was pounding as she stopped a few feet away. She had thought that she was over this phase, that she could control herself when it came to him. Even if she could convince her head that she didn’t care, she could never hide her feelings from her heart. Buffy looked at her feet when she realized he was staring at her. After an awkward silence she said, “Well hello to you too.”

Angel started when he heard her speak, her voice sounding like a sweet melody. “Oh, uh, hi,” he fumbled to get the words out, “would you like to sit down?”

“No, actually I’d like to stand here all day,” Buffy snapped at him. He looked hurt and she realized that this must be as hard for him as it was for her. “Sorry,” she apologized as she sat, “I’m just a little nervous.”

‘Yeah, right, just a little nervous,’ she thought to herself. She was nervous as hell around him. She didn’t want to bring up that day; he'd thought she had forgotten. She had to talk about it though; Angel might be in trouble. She was propelled out of her thoughts by Angel’s voice; he had been talking to her. “Sorry, what was that?”

Angel looked at her for a moment before responding, “Nothing.” He wasn’t about to repeat everything, since it was mostly composed of uh’s, um’s and many other stalling devices. “So,” Angel said, trying to get rid of the awkward feeling between them, “what brings you to L.A.?”

Buffy stared at him like a deer caught in headlights. “Buffy, what’s wrong?” he asked as he came around and knelt in front of her.

As Buffy looked into his eyes, she felt herself breakdown. Her eyes began to tear up and she bit her lower lip to keep from crying. As a lone tear escaped from her watering eyes, her body was wracked with sobs as she slumped to the floor.

Angel gathered her into his arms and rocked her back and forth, whispering sweet nothings to her as she cried. It felt good to hold her again. He had missed the way her hair smelled, the way she fit into his arms. He had been longing for her ever since that fateful day in November when his life had changed. He wished he had never had to give it up, that there was some way that the two of them could live happily ever after; but happily ever after was meant for fairy tales. It was not meant to be, as the oracles had promised, and he had given up some of the most important things, her and his mortality. Some days it felt like he should just give up entirely. “I’m sorry,” Angel murmured into Buffy’s hair, “I’m so sorry.”

Buffy barely heard his words as she continued to cry. The intensity of the sobs wracking her body has slowly decreased since Angel had pulled her into his arms; she was beginning to feel safe again. Nothing could hurt her here, in the sanctuary of his embrace. She clung to him until the tears had ceased. She looked up and gazed into his soulful brown eyes. She had to do this before she lost her nerve.

Angel looked at her face when she glanced up. Her eyes were puffy and red from crying and there were well-worn tear tracks running down her face. And even though her hair was a mess, he still thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. He smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear. As he let his hand linger amid her soft hair their eyes locked on one another. That look held such intensity that it would light a candle, if a candle were close enough. The two were unconsciously coming closer and closer together.

Buffy was the first one to look away as she stood. “Sorry I’ve been doing the whole crying thing a lot lately,” she said as she looked at him. Angel’s concerned gaze was too much for her; she turned and walked to the window. The sun had set while he had been holding her so there was no danger as she opened the blinds. She stared out along the city street and sighed.

Slowly Angel got to his feet and took a couple of steps towards her. She looked so helpless with her shoulders hunched over, making her seem smaller that she all ready was. He looked at her and asked, “Why, what’s happened?”

She turned and met his gaze, her eyes filling again with tears. She took a deep breath and said, “I remember.”

**********

If Angel had been human, he would have had a problem, for he had forgotten how to breathe. He felt like he was a statue, he could not move a muscle. His mind refused to work as he stood staring at Buffy who was now looking at her shoes. “Oh,” was all that came out of his mouth as he sat in the chair she had previously occupied. “Oh god,” he placed his head in his hands, “I’m sorry Buffy. I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”

She turned to him, tears once again threatening to spill, but she held them back, “Why Angel? We were so happy together.” She turned and stared out the window again. There was silence in the small office as both supernatural beings reflected on the impact of his decision.

Finally Angel stood and walked over to her. He stayed silent until her body began to shake. He reached out a hand to calm her down.

As Buffy felt his touch on her shoulder she spun quickly and backhanded him. Angel staggered from the blow and brought his hand to his face, not in pain, but in surprise. As he looked at her, she spoke, “Don’t touch me.” She had tears running silently down her face, her lips were pursed in anger. “How could you do this to me?” she yelled.

“Buffy,” Angel said, confused, “I thought.”

“Yeah, you thought,” Buffy said cutting him off. “It’s always what you think, or what my mom thinks, or what Giles thinks. What about what I think? I know what’s best for me, not you.” She started walking towards him in a blind rage. Angel knew there was no reasoning with her as he backed up.

“What about what I want.” she continued. “Don’t I ever get any say in my life? First it was ‘Guess what, you’re a vampire slayer’, then it was ‘You’re gonna die’, then, my all time favorite, ‘I’m leaving, it’s for your own good’. Now this gets thrown at me, I would like to have at least some control over my life.” She sat down on the desk and looked at her hands, “Why?”

Angel looked at her with regret in his eyes, “You were going to die if I stayed human.”

“No, not that,” she replied. “Why did you leave me?” she asked in a small voice.

“I left so that you’d have a normal life, you know that,” Angel said as he took a hesitant step towards her.

“Angel listen to me very carefully,” she said as she looked up. She made sure he was listening before she carried on, “I’ll NEVER have a normal life.”

“But,” Angel interrupted.

“No,” Buffy said sternly, “You have to accept that fact. I’ll never be able to have a normal life. I’m the slayer; anyone who I get involved with is going to be in danger.

“I’ve tried it in the past, you know I have. Owen, Scott, and none of them worked out.” Buffy looked into his eyes before starting to pace. Now she just had to get through the hard part.

“After you left, I spent the summer moping, wondering why you left. Then, I got over it and said to myself, ‘self, go try to find the picket fence and kids’. I tried,” she paused gathering courage to continue, “and I got hurt.”

“I know,” Angel said trying to stop her from reliving the pain. At her confused look he continued, “Parker.”

“Yeah, Parker,” Buffy stopped pacing. “How did you?” she trailed off.

“Spike told me as I was being stabbed with hot pokers,” Angel explained, “It almost killed me.”

Well at least his knowing stopped her from explaining. “Yeah, well,” Buffy replied, “torture can do that to you.”

“Not the torture, knowing that he hurt you,” Angel said as he looked up.

“Oh,” was all Buffy said as she looked at the floor. “And you’d think I’d learn after that, huh. But no, I just had to go looking for nice and normal again. This time he was nice, but not so normal.” Angel looked up surprised. “I’m guessing from that expression that you haven’t heard about Riley,” well at least she didn’t have to explain both. A shake of his head and the words ‘not really’ were all she got in response.

“Riley was this nice, and what I thought was normal, guy. The only problem was, he turned out to be in this big top-secret government agency thingy, and they hunt demons.”

“The only problem?” Angel asked, his voice sounding a little hurt.

“Well, no. He was also a boring hick from Iowa who had the personality of a cardboard box.” When Angel didn’t smile, Buffy continued, “And he wasn’t you.”

Angel looked into her eyes and was surprised to find, along with all the pain and confusion, an undeniable love.

“I’ve tried normal Angel,” Buffy said walking towards him, “and it doesn’t work; it never will. All that’s ever worked is you.” As tears started to dam up behind her eyelids, she mumbled, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this right now,” and ran for the door. Angel was too stunned to follow as he watched the only woman he would ever love run into the night.

**********

Giles was sitting on his couch, thinking about the events of the previous couple of days; so much had happened. First, he had found the disturbing prophecy, then Buffy had run off to L.A., or at least he hoped she had. He didn’t think he’d be able to handle it if something had happened to Buffy. As Angel had pointed out, it wasn’t his job to keep her safe anymore, but that didn’t mean he was going to walk away.

Giles stood up and walked into his kitchen to make a pot of tea. He could only imagine what the prophecy meant. Whatever it was, he wasn’t sure he wanted to deal with it. A thousand possibilities were running through his head when the kettle started whistling. He filled the teapot he had set out with water and went back to his books; although he doubted he was going to find anything else.

As the night continued on, Giles got more worried about the mysterious prophecy; there was nothing about it in any of his other books. Around three in the morning, he finally gave up and went to bed.

“I only hope that we find Buffy soon,” he mumbled as he climbed the stairs to his room. He climbed into bed and surrendered to the sweet oblivion of the night.

**********

Xander was sitting on his bed with Anya watching late night TV. A ‘Saturday Night Live’ rerun was on, and the person hosting had a frightening resemblance to Buffy. During the commercials, Xander found it impossible to stop his mind from wandering to thoughts of his superhero friend. He knew he didn’t come off as the most caring person in the world, but he was worried about the Buffmiester. It wasn’t her style to just take off like this, ‘unless, of course, it had something to do with Angel,” Xander thought bitterly.

The show ended and he looked down at his girlfriend who had fallen asleep. He picked up Anya’s feet and put them under the covers and then followed and fell asleep.

**********

It was pitch black outside, and Spike was patrolling in the cemetery, against his will of course. It looked like it was going to start raining, so he decided to call it a night. He had come across a couple of vamps earlier in the evening and it had been tons of fun beating them to a bloody pulp.

As he walked away from the cemetery, he couldn’t help but wonder where the slayer was. Against all of his instincts, he actually cared what happened to the girl; she’d fought through too much pain for her nineteen years. Now she was going through this thing with his sire, it just wasn’t right.

Spike was a block away from Weatherly Park, when someone stepped in front of him. “Well, well, what do we have here?” a cocky voice said from the darkness. “I can’t believe it, William the Bloody all trained like a helpless puppy.”

As the figure came out of the shadows, Spike recognized it as one of his old minions. “Not really,” he replied as he started to wail on the unsuspecting fledgling, “but I am mighty pissed off, maybe you can help.” ‘After all a spot of violence never hurt anyone, anyone being me of course,’ Spike thought as the fight continued.

**********

"Damn!" Willow said as she flopped down on her bed. She and Tara had been trying to turn Amy back into a human being; nothing they did seemed to be working. "I bet this would work much better if Amy was here."

"Well, she is," Tara spoke up from her place on the floor, "in mind if not in body."

Willow gave her a look as she got off her bed. "You know that's not what I meant." As she glanced over at her clock, she realized what time it was. "Oh, it's getting late, we should get to bed," Willow said as she walked over to place Amy back in her cage. Tara stood up and mad a move towards the door.

"I'll see you tomorrow?" Tara asked hopefully.

Willow looked at her, "You don't have to go home, you could stay here," she suggested. She paused and looked at Tara for a reaction. Seeing uncertainty, she continued, "I mean, with Buffy off doing whatever she's doing, it gets kinda lonely. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you slept in her bed. Well, it's not like she's here to complain, not that she would complain, because she's not the kind of person who would do that and."

"Willow," Tara said with a slight smile on her face.

"Yes," Willow replied as she stopped and took a breath.

"You're babbling," Tara reminded her as Willow's face turned slightly red in colour.

"Oh, sorry," Willow said sheepishly. "So will you stay?"

"After your great sales pitch," Tara said, "how could I not"

"Okay," Willow said as they both stood in front of the door, a little awkward. "So you can have Buffy's bed," she said as she walked over to her dresser and pulled out a pair of pajamas and handed them to Tara.

"I'll just go get changed then," Tara said after accepting the star decorated pajamas. She picked up her bag, turned, and walked into the hall.

By the time Tara had come back into the room, Willow had gotten changed and was just getting into bed. Tara walked over to Buffy's bed and placed her bag on the floor. She sat down, looking over at Willow for a minute before following her lead and climbing into bed. She reached over to turn off the light and saw that willow was well on her way to dreamland. "Good night Willow," she said as she turned over.

"G'night," was Willow's reply from the other side of the room. And with that, Tara fell into a deep, peaceful sleep.

Contrary to her appearance, Willow's mind was busy, trying to process all of the thoughts running around her head. All though Tara's presence calmed her somewhat, she was still worried. Buffy's note had not specified where she was going, just that it was important and not to try to find her, she'd call in a couple of days.

It wasn’t so much that she had left that bothered Willow, it was that Buffy was in no condition to be by herself right now. ‘Buffy’s a big girl, she can take car of herself,’ Willow thought as she tossed and turned. ‘But what if she missed her bus to where ever she was going, and now she’s sleeping in a bus station somewhere. And she’ll be asleep and a demon will come and attack her, but she’d be half asleep and wouldn’t be very aware. Then, the demon would win, and she’d be laying dead in the gutter somewhere and someone’s going to find her body. Or what if she flew to where ever, but her plane crashed and it just hasn’t been broadcast yet.’

‘Oh, stop it,” Willow scolded herself as she tried to calm down. ‘Buffy is fine, Buffy is fine,’ she repeated as she tried to fall asleep. Something, deep inside, could not let her believe that; something was wrong.

**********

After Buffy had stormed out, Angel had just sat there for a while before going out to patrol. He had hoped he wouldn’t run into Buffy, she would have gone out to patrol. He had discovered that when she was upset, she felt the need to slay.

As fate would have it, he saw no evidence of the Slayer as he completed his nightly routine. He arrived back at his apartment and opened the door to find Doyle rummaging through his fridge.

“Man, you really need to get some more food,” the short half demon said as he straightened and walked over to the couch. “All I could fine in that poor excuse for a fridge was a Guinness, which I brought over, and a tub of Cookie Dough Fudge Mint Chip ice cream in the freezer,” he complained as he opened the beer and sat down.

Angel looked around in confusion. He was sure he had locked the doors so, “How did you get in?” he relayed his thoughts to Doyle.

“’Delia gave me her key.”

“I never gave her a key,” Angel said, more confused than ever.

“She must’ve gotten one copied,” he said offhandedly.

“So,” Angel asked, “why are you here?”

“’Delia sent me to ask you if you’ve seen Buffy.” Doyle stood up and walked over to Angel, “so have you seen her?” At Angel’s silence he walked back over to the couch and sat down. “What happened?” he asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Angel said angrily as he walked towards the kitchen. He opened the fridge and took out a cup of fairly fresh pigs blood. He walked over to the couch and sat beside Doyle. As both sat drinking in silence, time continued to pass.

Finally Doyle stood up and pronounced, “Well, I’m going to go home now.” Angel didn’t move as Doyle got up and exited the apartment.

With Doyle gone, Angel was left alone with his thoughts. They started out normal enough, well as normal as can be for a 244-year-old ensouled vampire anyway. But inevitably, all trains of thought lead to Buffy.

He could feel her pain, her inner turmoil, for he was feeling the same thing; he kept hurting her when he was trying to keep her safe. It seemed as if everything he did caused her more pain. That was why he left, to stop her pain.

Their whole relationship had been hard, on both of them. He had tried to stay away; he knew he couldn’t accept the cost of being involved with her. He gave cryptic messages and kept to the shadows, but as the fates would have it, he couldn’t stop himself from falling in love with the hotheaded slayer who knocked him flat on his ass.

Eventually, she had had the same reaction to their first meeting and they had engaged in a deadly game; though neither of them had know how dangerous until the night of her seventeenth birthday.

He had trouble thinking back to those horrible months. Not because he couldn’t remember; the memories were all too clear; it was because he couldn’t bear to see the look on Buffy’s face. That look haunted him everywhere he went, his dreams. He would do anything to stop her pain.

After his return from hell, he was wild, but her face still haunted him; he knew he had hurt her, but he couldn’t remember how. As the year wore on and Buffy helped him recover, he tried to hide from her, tried to stay away, but it was useless. That was why he had to leave--he couldn’t lose control again.

Angel sighed as he got up from the couch and walked towards his bedroom. As he turned off the light his mind was filled with thoughts off the blond slayer and what she was doing now. His heart was filled with regret as he finally fell asleep to the sound of soft falling rain.

***********

Buffy stood at Santa Monica Pier, looking out at the moonlit ocean; the salty air and cool breeze assaulted her senses as she silently lost herself in her memories.

She had stood in this exact place, months before, in the bright sun, surrounded by cheerful people. She had been thinking about Angel and all that had happened between them that morning. Cordelia had come looking for her and told her that Angel had killed the demon. That had left her plenty of time to think before she had to leave. It was a lie that she had come to see her father, and everyone knew it.

She had been contemplating just running back to Sunnydale when she felt a tingle in the depths of her soul. She turned around to find Angel walking through and archway in the bushes. As he stepped into the sunlight, she froze, positive that at any moment he would crumble to dust. She was puzzled as he kept walking towards her; she thought that he had destroyed the gem of amara. She watched in wonder as he came a step closer, then another. He stood inform of her and paused before taking her in his arms as their lips met with a fiery passion. She was so surprised that thoughts ceased to form as she was swept away by the kiss. All of the hidden feelings that had been tucked away had suddenly come to the surface. As her mind fought its way through the haze of passion, she realized that his lips were warm, she could feel his pulse, and as they pulled apart he too was out of breath. She had quickly come to her own conclusions; he was human.

Buffy remembered the confliction emotions that had followed, hurt, happiness, confusion, worry, love. That had been an interesting day. That day had been one of the reasons she had come here, one of the reasons she had marched into Angel Investigations, one of the reasons she was here, alone, at Santa Monica Pier.

At some point during her trip down memory lane, tears had started to make their way down her face. ‘Dammit,’ she thought as she roughly wiped the tears away with the back of her hand. She turned angrily and walked quickly away from the pier. As she walked along the boardwalk, away from the haunting memories, it started to rain. At first it was a soft shower, turning the sky just a little darker, but as she got further and further away, the rain came down harder, until it was pounding down and Buffy had to stop running.

“What,” she yelled at the sky, “are you trying to tell me something?” She stood still, looking up at the moon for answers. The rain continued to fall; her clothes were soaked and hanging loosely from her thin frame. Her face was twisted up in rage and pain. “Why?” she asked in a soft voice as she fell to her knees, the pain becoming too heavy a burden to bear. Her tears mixed with the raindrops on her face as she finally let herself cry.

As Buffy’s tears stopped falling so did the rain. She sat by the beach, soaking wet, as the day’s events ran through her head. She knew she never deserved to hurt Angel like that. He had hurt her deeply, but he believed that he was doing it for the right reasons. She had absolutely no right to lash out at him, but she had. She felt terrible about it; it wasn’t his fault that he had to be so damn noble all the time.

She slowly got to her feet and started walking back to the car. She had borrowed it from her dad’s house. She remembered where he kept the keys and she didn’t think he’d mind. She unlocked the door and sat behind the wheel. As Buffy sat soaking wet with her hands resting on the steering wheel, dreadful thoughts were running through her head. What is Angel hated her? What if her told her he never wanted to see her again? As much as it hurt to admit, she held on to the slight hope that Angel might come back, she wouldn’t be able to handle it if she didn’t.

As the car pulled out into traffic, Buffy forced her thoughts from their depressing wanderings; it would do if she died in a car crash.

She finally arrived at Angel Investigation and turned off the engine. “I guess I better go in,” she said to herself as she gathered her courage and got out of the car. She walked deftly into the building and straight into Angel’s office.

**********

Angel awoke to the sound of movement upstairs. He quickly got up from his bed and reached for his ‘handy fightin’ axe’ as Buffy has once dubbed it. The footsteps stopped in front of the door to the apartment. Angel walked up the concrete stairs and placed a hand on the door. He waited, listing for a noise from the other side. Quickly, he turned and opened the door. He was in an attack position, but relaxed a little when he realized it was Buffy, soaking wet and shivering, standing before him. Minutes passed as they both stared.

Finally Buffy spoke, “Are you going to fight me or will you put that down now?”

“Oh, uh, sorry,” Angel apologized as he lowered his arms as stepped back from the door, inviting Buffy to come in. They both walked down the stairs and into Angel’s apartment. As they stood in the middle of his living room, Angel realized that he had neglected to put on a shirt when he had gotten out of bed. He suddenly felt very awkward, “I’ll be back in a second,” he told her as he went to get a shirt.

He reached into the closet and pulled out his black velvet shirt; the same shirt that Buffy had worn that day in November. He thought nothing of it as he pulled it over his head. He paused, trying to sort through his thoughts, before returning to Buffy.

Angel took a metaphorical breath before walking back into the living room.

While Buffy had been waiting, she had walked around the room, when she had come across a shelf. She ran her hand along the spines of the books until she came of one without a title. She looked at the book, as it seemed to beg for her attention. Buffy finally gave into temptation and pulled out the book.

It was an old book with no distinguishable markings. She stared at it curiously as she slowly opened the cover. The first page was blank, but the second was filled with familiar script. She closed the book quickly, not wanting to invade Angel’s privacy. As she placed the book back on the shelf, some things fell to the floor. One landed face up and as she bent down to collect the items, she saw that it was a picture of her. The other pieces of paper that had fallen out were letters, all addressed to her.

Buffy picked up the closest letter to her and opened it. She read it silently and tears began to collect in her eyes. She picked up another and sat down on the floor. The letters were the most heart felt, sweet and beautiful things she had ever read.

Angel’s hand came down on her shoulder as she read. She turned, startled, and looked into his eyes. She lost herself in them for a moment before realizing what she doing. “Oh, uh, sorry. I was just…” she tried to explain as she fumbled to put the letters back into the book, “I didn’t mean to,” she continued but was cut off by Angel’s gentle voice.

“It’s okay Buffy, you don’t have to explain.”

She froze for a moment before she took a deep breath and stood up. “Look,” she started and shot Angel a sharp glance when he started to interrupt her, “I didn’t go snooping around or anything, they just fell out and I saw my name on one of them so I opened it up.” She had to look away as old familiar feeling started to bubble to the surface again. “I didn’t know what they said but when I started reading, I just couldn’t stop and…” she trailed off when she found she couldn’t find the words anymore. The letters have moved her more than anything else had in a while.

“It’s okay Buffy,” Angel reiterated, “You were meant to read them.”

TBC

AN: yes I am finally getting around to fixing this... sorry 'bout that.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 18-Apr-2002 2:41:42 PM ]
posted on 12-Oct-2001 8:01:36 PM by Fresa Chica
Okay, you see, originally this was going to be a trillogy, with the first part being this, the second about the letters and the third... I can't remember, but I never got around to writing the other two. If you really want I can try to do a little epilogue thing explaining about the letters. But then again, knowing how I write it would be about ten epologues long, but if you reeaaalllllyyy want it I could give it a shot.*happy*

Fresa Chica
posted on 21-Oct-2001 5:10:20 PM by Fresa Chica
Okay, since you people out there have been asking for more, I'm going to attempt to write more. I'm warning you that it's been a long time since I wrote this so it may not exactly flow, but I'll try my best.

I'll try to have a new part out by next weekend*happy*

Fresa Chica
posted on 18-Apr-2002 2:42:58 PM by Fresa Chica
Okay so I've started to fix all of this up, I just want to know if there's any interest out there and if people want me to post it or not...

Fresa Chica