And Then There was Quiet

Rating: PG

Summary: Post Bargaining 2. Buffy runs to the only place that's ever been completely quiet.


She sat in the corner of her room with her hands over her ears. Everything here was so noisy, so bright, so shattered. She wondered how anyone could think this wasn’t Hell. She squeezed her eyes shut, blocking out the too bright shaft of light that was thrown across her as Willow opened the door to check on her.

“Buffy, do you need anything?” Willow asked.

She shook her head and drew further into her corner. Willow shut the door but she heard what was said.

“She’ll be okay, Dawnie. It takes some time to get over being pulled out of a Hell dimension. We don’t even know how long she was there. She said Angel was kind of like this when he came back from Hell.”

Angel, Angel, he’d make the noise go away. He’d make the lights dim. He’d make the whole world fade away, just like he always did. She stood up and crossed the room. She placed her hand on the door knob and then stepped back. They wouldn’t let her go, not if they knew where she was going. She rummaged through her dresser and came up with some cash she’d hidden in the back. Her fingers brushed against something cool and metal. She wrapped them around it and pulled it out of the drawer. She uncurled her fingers slowly and looked at the tiny piece of glinting silver that lie in her palm, her Claddagh. She slipped it on her finger and scrambled down the tree. She ran the whole way to the bus station and paid for a ticket to LA. She was lucky. The next bus was just leaving.

She sat in the back of the bus, knowing people were staring at her. Her knees were curled up to her chest. Her shoulders were hunched and she was pulled as tightly into herself as she could get. The bus lumbered away, taking her to the only place she could forget that she’d been pulled out of Heaven.

She walked from the bus station to the Hyperion Hotel. It wasn’t that far to go. She paused in the courtyard of the old hotel. It looked like him, beautiful, elegant, so very old and holding more secrets, more damage then a soul should see. She ran her fingers over the door, pausing, afraid now to go in. What if he didn’t want to take the noise away?

The decision to go in was taken away when a tall, muscular black man opened the door. She glanced up at him and stepped away. When he spoke his voice was soft and kind.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

“An-Angel,” she managed.

“Yeah, he’s here. Come on in and I’ll get him for you,” the man said, stepping back from the door to allow her in.

She walked in, careful not to brush against the man. Touching people seemed to create noise within herself, a noise she couldn’t abide. It was too sharp, too painful. It never occurred to her that she might not be able to touch Angel. He was Angel, of course she’d be able to touch him without it hurting.

She sat down on a funny round couch and resisted the urge to pull her knees up into her chest. She wrapped her arms around herself and sunk back into the couch as far as possible. The lobby of the once grand hotel was deserted. He was here though, she could feel him in every fiber of her being. This felt good. It was the only thing about this world that felt good.

“B-Buffy?” he asked. It couldn’t be her. She was dead, she’d died three months ago. He’d gone through a lot of things to be able to admit that.

She stood and turned. He took her breath away. He was beautiful, just like he’d always been and he did make the lights dim, just by being in the same room. She ran to him, knocking him off balance. He swayed and then braced himself. His arms went around her. She buried her nose in the crook of his neck and he buried his in the crown of her head. This was natural, this was right and real and it didn’t hurt and it wasn’t painful.

“It was so noisy. I didn’t know where else to go. I knew you’d make the noise go, I knew you’d make the lights dim. I knew you’d make me forget I wasn’t in Heaven anymore.”

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