Rating: PG-13. If you watched ‘The Wish’, you’re good to go.
Summary: Suppose Angel avoided getting staked, and then managed to save
Buffy from the Master. The story starts an hour after the worst of the
battle has passed.
Thanks to Semby (who even told me how to keep the wordcount! *HUGS*) and
Sharon, for telling me that I wasn’t demented when I started this, oh, some
27 months ago?
Wordcount: If I did it right, there should be 100 drabbles of 100 words
A.N.: All 100 prompts taken from . Subtitles taken from the 'The Wish'
transcript at buffyworld.com
Feedback: I'd love it. Written for the I Will Remember You Fic Marathon 2008,
held by the wonderful Chrislee.
I. She was supposed to be here.
There are cheers around him.
Tears, too, but not the desperate ones he's used to. Humans won, then. What
Angel retreats to a dark corner,
surprised when the Slayer joins him. "They don't know about you."
It's not a question, but he
still shakes his head. "Giles does." He found out about Angelus.
"He didn't trust me. Giles is the Watcher," he explains at her
The Slayer gives him a cold
look. "Of course he wouldn't."
Do you? he almost asks.
But a teenager calls her over,
and before she reacts he's already slipped back into shadows.
The teenagers hunt for stray
vampires. Loudly. Only fledglings would be caught like that.
Hiding is easy, Angel thinks
self-deprecatingly. Facing the world is not. He still can't feel free, as
if the only thing that's changed is the size of his cage. What he feels is
fear, with humans and demons targeting him on sight. Ironic, that the
Slayer should be the one who might stay her hand.
She doesn’t know yet. How he’s
walked into hell for the hope of her, survived knowing she was coming.
He got lucky once, with her
finding him. It's his turn now.
He hears her from outside the
alley. One heartbeat only, tonight the Slayer will be the only human on her
She pulls out a stake at his
"I'm on your side," he
reminds her, forcing himself not to step back.
The stake points towards his
heart. "Vampires lie."
Slowly, he brings something from
his pocket. Her lost cross burns as he presents it to her….
Taken aback, she snatches the
He closes his fist around the
cross-shaped mark. "I am on your side."
She stares at him. Nods.
Distrustful, but the stake returns to her waistband.
“So the slave has rebelled,” the
vampiress laughs, a tickle of blood running from the corner of her lips.
“Didn’t think Willow had left that in you.” She manages to avoid the
Slayer’s attack again, clutching the wound on her chest tightly. “Look at
you, running to another girl whose stakes miss the heart. Is that a theme,
Angel recoils at the memory.
Punishment for trying to escape - again, Willow had said, and this time
she’d invited everyone for the show.
The Slayer turns toward him, and
if the contempt is better than any pity, it’s not by much.
The Slayer mustn’t know. Not
now. Not ever. She has guessed, of course; the chains, the telltale burns,
the cage, they sketch the story unerringly enough. But no more
details. Never more.
It’s not his pride he’s
safeguarding. It’s not only his pride, Angel amends to himself; but
also this new beginning. Whatever the Slayer thinks of his motives, he
needs her to trust his strength.
The whole of the Sunnydale underworld
maybe have witnessed how his body broke as Willow gleefully tried to the
same to his spirit. He doesn’t care.
As long as they keep it to
By the smirks the quartet
exchange, Angel knows they have recognized him. They advance confidently,
too stupid to fear the Slayer, too young to remember the tales of Angelus.
“Well, guess who joined the White Hats,” one says. “The mistress let you
out to play?”
Angel caresses the tip of his
stake. “Her choices were limited.”
“Hey, guys.” Another walks
toward the Slayer, lured by the cut along her forearm. The fool. “At least
he brought dinner and, damn, she smells good.”
Oh, yes, she does. Angel stands
between them, heedless to her protest, and smiles when the fool screams.
He can feel the Slayer’s eyes on
his back, analyzing his moves like well-trained warriors should. “Anger
blinds you in a fight,” she remarks, watching the fourth vampire burst into
In 1863 he’d idly paged through
a Slayer Handbook, amused at the paragraphs blotted by Watcher blood. One
comes to mind now. “Or it pushes you through the end,” he finishes the
sentence, wiping the dust away.
“How did you....?” She stops
herself, eyeing him warily.
But when he points to a rundown
store and mentions a bandage for her wound, she doesn’t object as much as
"Go. Giles will give you
breakfast." Dawn has come while they combed the sewers. "You need
to eat," he insists at her incredulous look.
"We catch this vamp
Thing is, he needs to
eat. Even the rats look appetizing now, but not with her standing right
there. "I'll slay it for you," he tries.
She cocks an eyebrow.
"You're too weak to hunt alone."
"Try me," he
Her frown deepens but she
finally nods. "The Bronze at nightfall. Be there or I'll hunt you
Angel shrugs. If he is not
there, he won't be anywhere else.
"Take Larry along."
Buffy spares a glance for the
boy before shaking her head. "He'll slow me down."
"You need someone,"
the Watcher insists.
Only his obvious concern stops
her from laughing. "The Handbook forbids civilian intervention,"
she tries to reason.
The boy looks affronted.
So does the Watcher.
"Civilians have held the fort in your absence, Miss Summers."
"And we'll keep doing it -
Slayer or not!"
What's with males and pointless
posing? The vampire may get dusted for it, she's okay with that. But the
kid is human. "You'll live longer if you don't," is her somber
The Bronze is empty now. The few
vampires still in hiding are now dust - but no sign of him. Maybe he’s
dead.... No. Impossible. Her instincts can't be wrong: He's old. One of the
oldest she's encountered. If he can't survive a day in the sewers, then his
claim to protect her was a joke all along.
((- I was supposed to help
She almost believed that.
Maybe it's all a ruse. Maybe he
was the Master's rival in ambitions and now he'll take over. Maybe this is
She sits beside the door and
So be it.
He curses the demon before him.
This fight has drawn out longer
than necessary, but he still cannot deliver the killing blow. His strength
hasn't returned yet, and rat blood barely keeps the hunger away. A loud
hiss escapes him as long claws scrape his side. Before he recovers his
chest burns in tandem. He growls warningly.
He isn't dying here, not after
finally finding her.
It's demon against demon now,
fangs against claws that seem sharper in raw flesh. The sun sets outside,
and that spurs him further. This demon must die soon.
He has a meeting to keep.
She stands instantly, stake
He staggers suddenly, shoots an
arm out to steady himself. That's when she notices the blood. It's dark in
the moonlight, almost black covering his torso and running sluggishly down
his side. "You're hurt," she says stupidly. He falls to his knees
as a reply.
Buffy moves towards him.
Hesitates. He's helpless now. A vampire. Subduing him would be easy. Would
((- You need to eat.))
She drags him into the Bronze,
and her own hands are black when she comes out.
Shouldn't they be covered in
She walks between the awed
teenagers, annoyed that her quarry isn't in sight. "Where's your
leader?" she calls out.
A fatigued figure rises from
beside a sickbed. The Watcher smiles grimly at her approach. "You came
Buffy shrugs. "I need fresh
bandages." He looks around for an empty bed. "No! Just give them
to me. Please." she adds hastily.
"We'd be honored to help
your friend, Miss Summers."
There are questions in his eyes.
Watchers are smart, Buffy reminds herself. Nods. "I'll bring
her." She'll take some unconscious woman from the streets. The vampire
can look for bandages himself.
II. You don't believe I wanna
Two nights after the raid at the
Bronze, once the stories about her abilities have settled and spread, there
can only be one vampire foolish enough to shadow her.
“If you’re going to follow me,
at least show your face.” He steps into the moonlight, and she can’t help a
small wince at his appearance. “You shouldn’t be standing,” she snaps.
Hands in his pockets, he looks
at the ground and shrugs.
“You aren’t going to insist on
that destiny thing, will you?”
He shrugs again.
Buffy glares at him and whirls
around. “Whatever,” she mutters. “It’s your death sentence.”
The demon’s roar echoes like
thunder in the backyard. Buffy groans as her elbow hits the ground, bearing
her whole weight before she can right herself. Frustration fills her. Hours
of study aren’t telling her this demon’s weakness. Aiming for the heart,
brain and midsection hasn’t worked, and she’s dangerously out of ideas.
The demon roars again, fighting
against the vampire’s hold. “Here!” her self-appointed companion shouts,
Buffy locks eyes with him, too
aware that she shouldn’t trust him. Then she clutches her stake and hurls
it towards the exposed left flank.
One last roar, and it’s over.
“What was that?” she finally
asks after the necessary call is made. The Watcher’s kids will take care of
the bodies of the family, as well as the corpse in the backyard. “Some
The vampire watches her with
something that’d be called amusement if he didn’t look so tired. “I thought
Slayers were well-versed in demonology.”
Wyndham and he would be great
friends, Buffy muses. “It’s no species I recognize,” she defends. “And the
left kidney, how’d you know that?”
For once, he doesn’t shrug and
ignore her question. “I told you. I was sent to help you.”
In the last week she’s only seen
him twice more. Both times when she was overwhelmed by a pack of vampires.
“Let me die already!” she shouts the third time.
“You don’t mean that.”
She laughs mirthlessly. “Maybe
the next Slayer will actually appreciate the effort. Thought about that?
Maybe you’re meant to annoy - oops, protect - her!”
She didn’t expect him to
consider the idea. He stands quietly, regarding her, for long seconds. Then
he shakes his head. “They could have waited until she was Called. I
wasn’t going anywhere,” and he laughs just as dryly. “But it was you.”
She is momentarily taken aback
by his resolve. Nobody had been so earnest about choosing her since Merrick
- and look how that turned out. “You don’t want me.”
“Not your choice.” He shrugs, as
if he were helpless against destiny. Aren’t they all?
“Forget it.” She turns around,
and is facing him again. Sometimes she forgets how old he really is, how
powerful. Faster than the average vampire, definitely. “Get down to earth,
will you?” she is shouting again, “It’s me against a Hellmouth. You know
how many humans have been turned since the Bronze burned? Dozens!”
“It’s survival instinct.”
“I don’t care!” If she wanted an
insight into the vampire mindset, she’d take a book. “And don’t forget the
demons trying to take over now that Nest’s gone.”
“You are tired.”
He makes it sound as if she
should take a break. As if she could. And in that moment she hates
him. Hates him more than having become the Slayer, more than being in
Sunnydale. She hates him for not being there when she could have believed
him. “Wrong answer,” comes the mechanical denial. “But you get a
consolation prize for playing. Want the toaster or the mixer?”
“I want to help.”
In another lifetime, the sound
in her throat would have been a chuckle. “Really? Now that’s news.”
He ignores the sarcasm. “But
you’re right. You don’t need a shadow.”
“And so he sees the light,” she
tells the heavens. Once upon a time, she had a flair for the dramatic. It’s
been a long time since she’s used it.
He turns on his heel, and she
reminds herself that this was what she wanted all along. For a mad second
she’s tempted to call him back, when it dawns on her: she doesn’t remember
III. I have to believe in a
“You summoned?” She can’t help
the sarcastic tone. In her book, all Watchers are the same. Sending for her
long after sunrise doesn’t help the notion.
“Good morning, Miss Summers.”
A call for politeness? She yawns
“Ah yes. I understand this is
your resting time, but I’m afraid this complication cannot wait.” The older
Watcher shuffles several sheets of paper, then cleans his glasses and puts
them back on to check an entry in an old book. A Watcher’s Diary.
Buffy sighs. “What’s it this
time?” she asks, already bored. “Apocalyptic prophecy? Portal? Or just
another unbeatable demon?”
Mr. Giles turns around, wearing
a disapproving frown. “Flippancy? I hardly expected such behavior from a
“Yeah, well,” Buffy answers
moodily, “As I’ve told my own Watcher, pick another Slayer if you don’t
like this model.” Not even Wyndham manages to imply so much exasperation
with a single look. “That’s all? Because I am tired.”
“Of course.” Like a good
professional Watcher, he easily slides back into his role. “There’s a high
death toll in demon nests around Sunnydale...”
“You’re welcome,” she interjects
“...in areas you didn’t
“Oh?” She tries to sound
surprised. Damn that vamp.
Wyndham scratches his earlobe
when he’s nervous. This Giles guy takes off his glasses and polishes them.
Must be a Watcher thing. “I feel that total disclosure must be achieved
“And then we paint each other’s
Unlike Wyndham though, this man
isn’t easily distracted. Too much time among teenagers, or too much time in
this war - either have taken away any sense of humor. “When I first arrived
to Sunnydale, I found myself with an unexpected visitor. A vampire.”
She doesn’t have to pretend to
be surprised. The vampire actually went to a Watcher’s doorstep? The fool.
“If this is about how well you
slayed them before my arrival,” she stalls, “spare me.”
Another rub to his glasses. “I
wish that had been the case. But I must admit that the vampire’s tale
She can sympathize.
“By the time I recovered my wits
and attacked him, he’d already run far from reach.”
Not such a fool, then. Just too
trusting. Well, whatever had happened to him in the Master’s lair had
certainly beaten that trust out of him. Except, Buffy mused, when it came
to her. “So? Is there a point to this tea party?”
“I suspect he might be behind
those unexplained killings.”
She blinks. Really, even if she
didn’t know the truth already, this would be her reaction. “Yay?”
“Miss Summers,” The disapproval
is obvious. “I don’t believe you grasp how undesirable this situation is.”
“The situation being someone
doing my job, right?” she challenges. “Sounds pretty desirable.”
“We ignore his motivation!”
Because his words weren’t taken
seriously. She can sympathize with that, too.
“Angelus could well be arranging
his own ascension to power.”
Been there. Accused him of that.
“Whatever.” Protesting further will only make the Watcher suspicious.
“Find, fight, stake. Happy?”
She waits until the demon’s
heart has been pierced. Her hand strays to a stake when the victor turns to
her, vampire face in plain sight. He is not rushing her, she tells herself.
“Giles knows that you are still in Sunnydale,” she relays her message.
Human features return. She
wishes her hand would stop grasping the stake with the same ease.
“Naturally,” he says.
“I didn’t tell him.” Until now
it didn’t occur to her that she should have.
Even in the dark, it’s obvious
that he is surprised. Finally he shrugs. “I haven’t been very
“I’m supposed to kill you.”
He spreads his arms. “Well?”
It’s been weeks since she
actually considered the notion. “It would make my life easier.” She lets
her imagination go through the motions. Would he let her? Would he fight?
Maybe he’d win…. The air catches in her lungs. He’s strong enough.
It takes her a moment to tie his
answer to her comment. “Aren’t you supposed to talk me out of it?”
He stares at her. “You don’t
mean that,” he says. Again.
She brushes it off. After
tonight, she won’t have to listen to him anymore.
“All the Watcher’s kids are
looking for you. If you don’t want to be ashes, I recommend leaving town.”
He doesn’t react to the news;
but besides those first encounters, she can’t remember any strong reactions
from him. “They aren’t exactly the type to question orders, are they?” He
shakes his head. “A real army.”
“For a real war,” she retorts,
and doesn’t tell him how unsettling it had been to find civilians -
teenaged civilians, some even younger than her - fighting in her stead.
“Giles won’t stop until you’re dead, and I can’t cover for you anymore.”
The idea baffles him. “But… the
“Apparently it has enough
warriors already. See, that’s what happens when you dare to defend your
town, the Council won’t assign you a permanent Slayer.”
“They need you.”
“Yeah, well.” There’s nothing
she can do about it. “Wyndham - that’s my Watcher - is expecting me in LA.”
He considers the new information
for a moment, “I’m going with you.”
She opens her mouth to object -
there’ll be a storm if Wyndham finds out. But hasn’t she tried to stop him
already? Yes, and repeatedly. “Whatever.”
“No threats? Warning labels?” He
smiles slightly. “That’s progress.”
IV. You're taking an awful lot
on faith here.
Once in LA she orders him into
the shower. The stench of death was normal in Sunnydale, but she doesn't
need the reminder. He surfaces an hour later, a wet T-shirt in his hands
and soaked old jeans hanging from bony hips. Neither garment could be in
worse shape. "You're dripping," she complains, shoving down the
uneasiness of never having wondered where and how he lived in Sunnydale.
He retreats back into the
"If you'll wear rags,"
she calls out, "might as well steal a vamp's clothes."
His answer is a dark mutter.
"Haven't found one my size yet."
She didn't know vampires could
Silly assumption, really. But
how to tell from the ashes?
His back is to her now, and he's
busy toweling off his hair. Morbidly curious, she counts the shadows of
midnight purple along his spine. There, on his shoulder blade, his
trademark tattoo. If she hadn’t seen it in the Diary, it would be
impossible to tell its original shape. It’s that marred by scar tissue.
“Willow didn’t like it.”
She’s startled by the serenity
of his voice, more so because she can’t help the anger in her own: “I’m
glad we killed her.”
Even winter nights can’t last
forever. Between the trip to LA, the ride to her place and cleaning up what
seemed remnants of every square inch of Sunnydalian sewer system (one last
patrol before heading North. They had time before the bus departed, and it
wasn’t as if saying goodbye to Giles and his tribe had been long or
painful), dawn sneaks up on them almost unexpectedly.
“Oh!” Belatedly, Buffy rushes to
close her curtains. “Guess it’s sleepy time for us creatures of the night -
“Two of us, one bed. We really
should’ve figured out where you’d stay.”
“I’ll take the floor.”
She looks around her room. A
small bed, a smaller fridge, a stove, a table and some chairs. She
definitely isn’t ready for visitors, much less for those who stay overnight
- overmorning? “Good thing you don’t need blankets.” and she’s indeed
relieved. She never saw the point of buying a spare.
He looks at her oddly. “I've had
Right. A cage and chains flash
in her mind. One of these days, she’ll finally learn to watch her mouth
before she opens it. Suddenly she feels shy, “But you can take my pillow.
If you want.”
An hour later she regrets the
offer. He’s asleep, yes, but his hand curl around the pillow so tightly
that by sunset the stuffing will peek out from finger-shaped holes. She
doesn’t know what he’s dreaming, and from the distressed noises he’s
making, she doesn’t want to know. Too quiet to be called cries, too
frequent to be random…. Noises from someone who’s been forced too many
times to keep it quiet.
How long was he caged? Whole
months. No, whole years - ever since Merrick died.
((- I was supposed to help
And what is she supposed to do
He whimpers again, and she can’t
help but compare this side of him to the stubborn vampire who fights
alongside her - with her consent or without it. “I’m….” No, not sorry,
because it’s not her fault. But for the first time she truly understands
what he meant when he said that this wasn’t supposed to happen.
What if they’d met sooner? What if
she weren’t afraid of the Council’s reaction? What if…? “What am I doing?”
she wonders silently, unable to relax. Instead she follows the thinnest
sliver of sunlight peeking between her curtains, and hopes it’ll become
She jumps away from the touch at
her shoulder, already brandishing the stake she usually keeps under her
pillow. (Pillow. Angel. Safe.) She breathes deeply and tries to relax.
“Don’t do that.”
He nods, and he’s already
keeping a good distance between them. Now his survival instincts
kick in. Figures. “I’m going out. I need…. I noticed a butcher’s around the
“Oh.” Of course. He needs to
feed. On blood. From a butcher’s. She can’t help it, she must giggle at the
whole thing. “Welcome to Bizarro World, Act Two.”
There’s an answering chuckle
before the door closes.
She faces away when he takes the
blood bag out. “Sorry,” she hears him mutter and lifts her shoulders in
response. She can tell he’s being a quiet as possible, but her hearing is
too sharp for her own good. “I called Wyndham while you were gone,” she
tries to drown the suckling noises with her own voice. “Told him a vampire
hunter had tracked me down, that he insisted to help me.”
“You make me sound like a
She turns, eyebrow raised and
incredibly thankful that there’s no hint of blood around his mouth.
“Pot-ah-to, pot-ay-to, Mr. ‘You’re-my-Destiny’.”
“You need an identity.” At his
look of incomprehension, she continues, “’Angel, the vampire hunter’ sounds
okay for a book but Wyndham will want more detail. Where you are from, how
you found me out, why you are so freakishly strong - and if we find a handy
excuse for your sunlight allergy, it’d be nice.”
“Or we tell him the truth.”
She stares at him. “Sure, if you
want a gallon of holy water aimed at you.”
“From your reaction, I thought
he’d rather stake me on sight.”
“Wyndham? When I’m there to do
the dirty work?” She laughs. “Please!”
Bigger cities, bigger vices. “Dealer
vamps, huh?” Her eyebrows rise as the money tallies up to five digits.
“Better than your regular ATM.”
“Right.” The reference is lost
on him. “I’m amazed they are in the Slayer’s city.”
She shrugs. “Well, the Council
keeps sending me out of town - apparently some demons don’t like
California. Freaks.” He turns left. “Um. Wyndham’s place is the other way.”
He waves a hundred note. “I need
to do something first.”
An hour later, watching him drop
his old clothes into a metal bin and light them on fire, Buffy agrees. He
“So - Liam.” The Watcher looks
at her new sparring partner. “How long have you been involved in the
She called him Angelus once. A
Gurgh had been sneaking up on him, weapon ready, and the name had exploded from
her mouth as she ran to them. “It’s Angel,” he’d told her, and after having
read the entries about his unsouled habits, she understood the importance
of a syllable.
“Since my family was killed,”
‘Liam’ answers easily and springs away from her attack.
Wesley nods, appeased.
Sometimes it shakes her to the
root, how good a liar Angel can be.
“I can’t believe Wyndham fell
for it,” she says as she sits gingerly on the corner of the one mattress in
his new apartment. Two buildings away from hers. “Does that spell even
“Watchers have speculated for
years - some think it’s the source of the demi-gods of Greek mythology.”
He looks better in his new
clothes, and she’s relieved that he didn’t need her help. It’s been forever
since she enjoyed sifting through colors and styles. Of course, she thinks
looking at the classic black-on-black ensemble, it’s not as if he went to
all that trouble. “Modern Hercules, huh?”
They slip into habits as if
they’d worked together for years. Maybe they are making up for lost time,
she thinks as she carves another stake. He’ll pick her up shortly after
sunset, usually with a paper bag full of pastries. Her neighborhood has an
excellent bakery she’d never have noticed without him.
“This isn’t a healthy diet,” she
pouts one night. “I’ve gained two pounds already.”
He looks pointedly at the
half-eaten donut, then swipes his gaze all over her. “Five more and my job
will be done.”
She almost laughs, but something
tells her that he’s not teasing.
Wyndham doesn’t question Angel’s
schedule. After all, it was his idea that Buffy slept during daylight hours
to take advantage of the nighttime. “I’m tempted to change my own sleep
patterns; nothing like the quiet of night for in depth studies.”
Buffy looks up, alarmed. Ruling
her life is suddenly not enough, must he be there at every turn,
“But somebody has to stand watch
while we rest,” Angel says smoothly, not one hint of condescension.
The Watcher grins
self-importantly. “You are quite right, Liam. Sacrifices must be made for
the better good.”
Does he even notice the irony?
Buffy can feel her Watcher’s
presence behind her. “You’re distracted,” Angel chides, walking in circles
around her to look for a weak spot.
“What’s he doing here?”
Wyndham had been quite relieved
to be replaced in his duties as a training dummy. After a few days hovering
during their training sessions, he uncomplainingly left her to Angel’s
teachings. “A professional hunter has more fighting experience than a
scholar,” he had explained.
“A kitten has more experience,”
she mutters now. “That little….”
“Focus!” Angel hisses
impatiently, and when she takes a second too long, he tackles her onto the
“You can’t let your emotions
blind you,” Angel says from above her.
She rolls them until she’s on
top, tilts her head. “I thought anger pushes you through the end?”
His expression shutters,
remembering when he said those words. What he’d done just before he said
them, and why he’d done it. Buffy refuses to feel guilty at dragging those
memories up. “Only if you work with it, not under its influence.” The
conversation is held in the lowest whispers. To Wyndham, it probably looks
as if they are glaring at each other.
“Teach me, then,” she
“He seems okay. For a Watcher,”
Her first impression of Wyndham
had been just as benign. Book-smart, harmless, too pompous but someone she
could learn to respect as she had Merrick. But then she’d almost died (and
she had the scar to remind her everyday), and it’d been her Watcher who’d
knowingly sent her in without a warning. That was the day he stopped being
‘Wesley’. That was the day she ran away.
And Angel says he’s ‘okay’?
She is easily shoved down.
“He isn’t,” she spits out,
refusing to take Angel’s hand to help her up.
He dares to laugh. That sound he
usually reserves for fledgings and clueless demons.
She can’t help it. She sees red
and in a second she’s on her feet and charging him. He blocks her fist, and
slips away from a high kick. She burns at the ease he shows, at the thought
of her Watcher witnessing every move.
“I’m glad you took my place,
Liam,” Wyndham's voice comes. “What was it you wanted to discuss with me?”
Buffy’s head whips towards
“Just a little test.” The
vampire glances down at her, shrugs almost guiltily. “We’ll try again
Angel brings out the best in her
Watcher. Wyndham is suddenly sharing ideas rather than imparting orders
(partly because Angel kept finding the Achilles heel in those orders), and
Buffy has caught herself almost calling him by his first name.
“I wish you’d been here since
the beginning,” she says wistfully one morning, when they’d returned to her
apartment so close to sunrise that Angel had stayed safely inside. “Maybe
it wouldn’t have been so bad. Maybe….”
He probably waited for her to
continue; but when he asked what she meant, she’d changed her mind and
pretended to be asleep.
Wyndham seems to think that
‘Liam’ is his long lost twin, and Angel doesn’t disappoint. Sometimes,
Buffy likes to think that he’s only playing a part, but one look at his
apartment - at the two walls covered by bookshelves, how he’s organized
them into modern and dead languages - tells her the truth.
More than once she’s found the
two of them in a deep discussion on some arcane matter, different versions
of myths dragged through hours of conversation.
“Who cares where the first
vampire came from?” she explodes one night, exasperated.
It’s almost scary how their
expressions are equally shocked.
She can hear their argument from
two stories below.
“It’s not done!” Wyndham is
saying. That seems to be his favorite phrase; he certainly has been saying
it a lot since Angel arrived.
“So she'll risk her life alone?”
The Council doesn’t have any problem with that notion, and they’ve been in
charge for centuries. In her opinion, Angel’s fighting a losing battle, but
it doesn’t seem to stop him. The Watcher must have said something, because
a “No!” is roared all the way to the basement.
Seconds later Angel is at the
doorway. "Come on. We are going hunting.”
Wyndham pours two glasses of
scotch, shakes his head when she smiles hopefully. Miffed, but hardly
surprised, she sits on the armchair and leaves the men to their ‘emergency
meeting’ - Wyndham’s words when he called her.
“We are thankful for your
Angel takes the glass and tips
it slightly in the Watcher’s direction. “Buffy makes an excellent partner.”
“Ah, yes.” Something is in the
air. Something she won’t like. “I’ve consulted with the Council and they
agree that there’s exactly where our paths diverge.”
Apparently Angel doesn’t like it
either. “Because the Slayer doesn’t need partners?”
Sometimes she’s amazed that
Angel’s true nature hasn’t been revealed yet. Like now. The atmosphere
cracks like lightning; a shiver runs up her spine and screams for
attention. She forces herself into a relaxed stance, but her eyes rivet to
His expression barely changes. A
slight rise of his eyebrow, maybe. “I see.”
‘I don’t care,’ he means.
“Of course, should you choose to
keep fighting, I could tell you where your assistance is needed,” Wyndham
continues, oblivious to the undercurrents. Buffy wants to tell him to run,
and run fast; but she bites her lips - and waits.
“I thought the Council was
concerned with the Slayer, not garden-variety demon hunters.” If he’d ever
smiled like this in Sunnydale, she wouldn’t have hesitated to slay him.
“You don’t have any authority over me.”
”We are not entirely powerless,
Liam. And antagonizing us is, well,” Wyndham says confidently. “You’d
rather stay our friend.”
Buffy remembers vividly the time
she tried to run away. Tried, and failed spectacularly. The Council knows
no boundaries, and one vampire would be easy pickings for them. “Ang-”
Luckily, she catches herself in time, “Liam!” She has no words, so she just
shakes her head.
Angel glances at her, frowns.
Then, suddenly, he’s relaxed again. His body virtually flows into a more
comfortable position and he looks at Wyndham indulgently. “Tell me,
“My name is actually….”
“Did the old boys ever manage to
find the Pergamum Codex?”
Wyndham pales. “The Codex?”
“Or the Tiberius Manifesto,
“You have them?”
“Not yet.” Angel sips his drink
calmly. “But of course, if I cease to work with Buffy, Slayer lore wouldn’t
interest me anymore.”
Wyndham nods, practically
Angel stands up, and she follows
suit. “See that everything’s fixed, friend. We’ll be back tomorrow
They are tracking a Luith, when
it dawns on her. “You really are staying.”
“You keep sounding surprised by
that,” he notes, the tone reproachful but a smile plays on his lips. “Of
course, my contacts are years cold; but I’m sure I can reconnect with
“And after they get the books?”
We? A part of her doesn’t
believe him, but she is already turning away. Her voice is not on
the verge of tears when she tells him to take different routes to look for
the demon, and thankfully, he doesn’t make any comments before leaving.
V. But people were happy.
Their first trip is to a little
town three hours away from Tucson. A warlock has posed as a kindergarten
teacher, and has been trying to turn his students into marionettes.
“There, there,” she hears
Angel’s voice behind her. He’s trapped in a corner of the classroom, a
square of shade surrounded by sunlight, but two little girls are
half-dangling, half-clinging to him. He looks too awkward, bent at the
waist like that; but when she approaches, the girls scurry away to hide in
a corner. “The sword,” Angel whispers, and she belatedly remembers the
dripping weapon in her hand.
“It’s okay now,” she tells the
terrified children, slinging the sword to a corner.
“Do you want to call your
parents?” Angel tries.
Nods, and after giving her a
quick glance, they run back to their hero. Buffy takes the chance to close
the blinds as tightly as possible, even drapes the largest safety blankets
over them. Carefully, Angel herds the girls to the desk and the telephone on
it. “Can you dial your number, honey?”
Buffy takes another blanket and
covers Angel with it, trying not to notice how quickly the children move
away from her path.
Angel throws the borrowed
blanket onto his bed. It may have saved him from some nasty burns; but it
looks ridiculously childish now. Peppered with purple stars, it clashes
against his dark satin sheets. “We won’t have convenient sewers to help us
every time,” he says, obviously not amused by the sight.
“And I can’t always wait until
sunset to stop the bad guys,” she retorts, uncharacteristically staying by
the door. 'This is when he leaves,'> she thinks, 'when he finally
realizes it won’t work.'
“I think it’d be better if….” He
She braces herself.
“We need a car.”
“I’m not sure I can approve,”
her Watcher says.
Buffy stares at him. “You’re
worried about my safety? Because I’ll wear my seatbelt and all, Wyndham.”
“I’ve told you repeatedly not to
call me that.”
“And I’ve told you to get out of
my life.” She can’t help the hostility. This is probably the best thing
that’s happened lately and he’s ruining it. “Guess we’re even.”
He backs away, obviously
disappointed, and faces his second target. “Liam, I trust your intentions
were good; but the Slayer must be discreet. This -“ He points at the black
Plymouth “-is anything but.”
“You sent one teenage girl to
demon hotbeds across the country. Couldn’t think of anything that spelled
Slayer more clearly?” Angel takes the car keys from the Watcher’s hands. “I
bet that demons know she’s arrived before she even makes her first move.”
He’s talking about Sunnydale. He once told her how Willow had boasted about
stopping the Slayer from crashing the plant inauguration - five hours
before she was dust.
Shame she hadn’t staked the
“And not one fake ID at my
disposal,” Buffy adds with a pout. “Buffy Summers is not exactly a common
name, you know?”
“I refuse to do something
Her lips twist at the hypocrisy.
She remembers him leading the team that hauled her back to LA. He told her
mother that she needed psychiatric internment. No, not illegal. “But
unethical is just fine, right?”
Angel looks at her, brow knitted
in confusion. But he doesn’t tell her about Sunnydale, about the whimpers
when he sleeps. Apparently they are even, too.
Wesley flusters, but bravely
keeps on, “I don’t believe that cruising in this monstrosity would protect
Angel is about to protest, but
her arms around his middle freeze him mid-word.
“Buffy?” Both men ask, equally
bewildered if for different reasons.
“But Wyndham,” Buffy says
sweetly, enjoying the man’s near apoplexy, “don’t you see?” She presses
herself against Angel, rests her cheek on his arm. They have never been so
close that she feels the lack of a pulse against hers. It’s unsettling, but
she pushes the feeling away and smiles at her Watcher. “It’s the perfect
Angel catches on quickly; he
relaxes in her embrace and even shrugs adorably. “It is a good idea.
A young couple on a road trip, what could be more average than that?”
She learns to drive soon enough;
but it’s weeks before Angel lets her do it unsupervised. Apparently she’s
just as aggressive at the wheel than with a stake, and terrorizing
unsuspecting drivers isn’t acceptable.
“I can drive during daytime,”
she is pleading now. “I promise, no more tickets. Really.”
Expectedly, Angel shakes his
head. It’s almost infuriating how he keeps the car exactly under the speed
“We need to catch those Bukkas
before the full moon! One lousy ticket can’t slow us down.”
“Good try.” He drives expertly
past a truck, never endangering the side mirror.
Most infuriating, indeed.
Buffy’s sick of the rain and
eager to get to their room and into dry clothes. Why must demons live in
Her assumed name finally
registers. It’s the motel clerk’s wife. “Something awful. Just awful.” It’s
never good when strangers have bad news for her. “We called the
police; but they are completely clueless.”
“Is it Angel?” The lady looks
blank. “Liam, damn it. Is he alright?”
“Oh dear, oh dear. Such a good
Buffy isn’t listening anymore.
She is running, and for the first time in years, she is truly scared.
Mr. Stevens heard a large
vehicle pull up, then a loud fight and by the time he deemed it safe to
look in, the vehicle was long gone. Along with Angel.
Buffy stands in the middle of
the chaos that was their room, trying to make sense of everything. The
Bukka are keeping all clues to their ritual concealed. Would they dare such
a risky offensive?
Maybe. Angel’s the demon
She takes comfort in the fact
that one of the blankets is missing. Because it’s barely 3pm, and the
option is unthinkable.
She’s never hated sunlight so
“Return immediately,” Wyndham
says over the phone. “Liam knew the risks and….” For a second, Buffy thinks
she hears a grieving sigh on the other side. “And we must go on.”
Not an option. But she doesn’t want
to think of the consequences if she disobeys. She still has nightmares of
being helpless against the Council team. “What about the Bukka?”
“Right. The full moon is
tonight.” He must be weighing all pros and cons. “Fine, stay. But I expect
you tomorrow, Buffy.”
“Of course.” Not without Angel.
That not an option. “I’ll be there.”
With him, she doesn’t say.
Angel usually plays nice to
their informants: pats on the back, large bonuses for especially useful
data, maybe even a round of beer at the local bar.
Of course, Angel has never been
under such a tight timetable.
“You see, Steven,” she says as
she corners the bigger man against a wall of his kitchen. He’s already seen
her break through the door with a punch, so he steps back fearfully. “I’ve
been patient with you. Liam said you’re a good boy deep under-“
“I am. I am!” He sounds suitably
“- but guess what? Someone’s
kidnapped my friend.”
Even backed against the wall,
Steven is quick to understand her. “List’s too long, Slayer. Liam made
enemies left and right.”
She nods. One more thing they
shared. “Heard of any who’d go against a master vampire and win?” Angel’s
secret is no good if he dies; she’ll worry about damage control later.
He gapes. “Master…?”
Buffy taps his chin edgily.
“Keep with the program? I still have a long journey ahead and I’m starting
to feel I’m wasting my time here. Am I, Stevie?”
“But you’re the Slayer.”
“Shocking, huh? Now, names and
locations. I’m in a hurry here.”
Suddenly the elements themselves
come against her. A thick curtain lowers between her and the world,
hindering her search. Angel could be anywhere…
…Or nowhere. Just ashes washed
Buffy bites her lip at the
unwanted thought. Think, girl. Think! She just went through the forest.
Steven said to look for a hill with odd ruins on top.
Ruins? No. Those are….
She laughs. Thank Wyndham and
his endless ranting. No, not ruins. Bukka lairs! Angel must have been
With a challenging cry, Buffy
cuts through the rain. Tonight, not even hell itself will stop her.
She starts to wonder if she
hasn’t wasted her time after all. Yes, she ruined the ritual. She was the
good little Slayer and saved the innocent sacrifices-to-be. The Bukka tried
to delay the threat, but Buffy was in no mood to be delayed. Those she
hasn’t killed must be hiding in the forest. Yay her!
Wyndham will praise her at her
return. He’ll ask for details and spend the weekend writing in his Diary.
Even Angel would be proud that she saved the world by herself, but the
thought tastes like ashes.
Yes, the world’s safe.
But where’s Angel?
Full of labyrinthine passages,
these lairs are perfect to retain a prisoner. Wyndham once commented that
Bukka were extremely intelligent; Buffy agrees now. They’d played her from
the beginning, fooled all their informants with false clues.
If Steven hadn’t heard of the
attacks on tourists who visited the ‘ruins’, she never would’ve come here.
And Angel is here.
Call it foolishness, or sixth
sense, or that they are Slayer and souled vampire. Call it destiny, their
destiny, and let irony laugh at her admitting to it at this time.
He’s here, somewhere, and
leaving him behind is Not. An. Option.
He doesn’t react. Buffy
remembers Wyndham’s teachings, that a hurt vampire is an even bigger
threat. So be it. Buffy steels herself and rushes inside. So many wounds….
She nearly falls backwards at
the sound. "Angel! Are you o---?" Silly question. Pragmatism
works better. "The car's waiting outside."
"You drove." He laughs
She laughs too, through relieved
"Hey." He tugs her
pants feebly. "I'm glad you came."
Her hand meets his in the
lightest grip. "Wait 'til you see your car."
She doesn't loosen her grasp
long after his return to unconsciousness.
VI. We really are living in a
She enters his apartment
“I’m not dead, you know.” Angel
is reading on the very comfortable couch he bought two months ago when
Buffy decided that sleeping close to him, nightmares and all, was more
relaxing. Its twin is in her own apartment, and Angel spends many days
Wyndham isn’t aware of this, of
course. He keeps proclaiming that the Council will demote him if they
discover their sharing motel rooms. Buffy would’ve called them herself; but
they might examine ‘Liam’ too closely while they’re at it.
That’s something she won’t risk
- more than she already has.
“That’s up to long and very
boring debate,” she answers, more cheerily.
He closes his book and rises to
his feet to get the bags she’s carrying.
“And you’re still recuperating.”
She bats his hands away and opens the paper bag. “I’m starting to believe
Wyndham actually likes you. He’s even sending ice-cream,” and she holds up
the carton. “Snow-white plain vanilla. God. He really is that
“Or he thinks I’m not up to that
She finds a hefty volume at the
bottom. “A Watcher’s Diary.” Her eyebrows shoot up. “Forget the liking,
he’s actively wooing you.”
He rolls his eyes. “He probably
needs some passage translated to English. See?” He shows her the attached
note. “It’s a good sign, though.”
“Hm.” She walks to the fridge
and deposits the second bag inside. “Hope you like pork - and being slain
by your good signs. Wyndham will so flip if he finds out.”
“Hey. Steven liked us-“ She gives
him a look. “Alright, he was terrified of us. Still a good reason to keep
his mouth shut.”
“How comes you’re the one with
faith in humanity?”
“I met you.”
He sounds so serious it’s
impossible not to blush.
He finds out about her mother
one Wednesday morning. “Mail!” he announces as he opens the door, ducking
to avoid her quarterstaff.
Buffy chuckles, trying to hit
him. Those magazines are wasting paper on her. “Anything on Slayer fashion?
Maybe the trendiest outfit for the next Apocalypses?”
“We haven’t had one of those in
weeks,” he reminds her. Jumps to the side. “And no, this looks like an
actual letter. It’s….” And he pauses. “Your mom’s?”
The quarterstaff falls to the
floor, forgotten. “What?” Buffy snatches the white envelope away and rips
“I believed….” He starts,
“That she was dead?” Her eyes
pour over the letter, then suddenly she gasps and reaches deeper into the
envelope for a smaller card. “Nope. Just went MIA two years ago. 'Dr.
Travers' said I was too unstable for a family environment. That I’d keep
sneaking out until I got in serious trouble.” She waves the card - an
invitation. “Apparently she’s started a new life, and she hopes I’m well
enough to be at her wedding.”
She notices that she has stepped
back when Angel came to her. “Just peachy. Didn’t you hear? I’m getting a
“I don’t see any impediment for
you attending this event.”
Buffy looks at her Watcher with
distrust. “So I tell her that the doctors have discharged me? That I’m sane
again, no more delusions of vampires and monsters.”
“Those were very special
circumstances, Buffy. You refused to see reason.”
Thankfully Angel still is
supposed to be in bed, recovering from their trip to Seattle. She ended up
telling him everything last night, and his anger had been palpable. If he
had come, she doesn’t want to think what he’d have done after what Wyndham
just said. “Fine. Don’t wait up.”
“Come with me,” she blurts out.
“To Delaware?” Angel stops
mid-step, stake hanging uselessly from his grasp. “And do what?”
The vampire they’ve been
following starts edging along the alley wall, hoping to reach the main
street before the unexpected reprieve ends.
“Drive me?” Buffy nervously
fiddles with her hair. “Distract me from becoming a total basketcase at the
thought of facing the woman who birthed me?”
“What will you wear?”
They’ve had this argument for
the last two days. “Whatever you want,” she concedes.
He nods, “Wise decision.” Then
he throws the stake, and the fleeing vampire is dust.
He smiles indulgently at her
expression. "I know, books are bad enough already."
"Not bad," she
retorts. "Just boring."
"Do Slayers have a single
artistic bone in their bodies?" he teases as he places the charcoal on
Buffy rolls her eyes. "Must
have broken it that first year."
Angel frowns deeply, and she
knows that he’s damning Sunnydale for separating them. "I
promise," he makes his voice light. "You'll love this."
This time she smiles
But the next morning, as Buffy
wakes up to a beautiful drawing of her mother, her smile is earnest.
Perfect wedding gift.
The lights are too bright, the
people too pushy. Once upon a time, she'd have loved it.
Buffy sighs. She's trying to
bring back that forgotten self, the one who'd enjoy a new dress…. Maybe
she'll even wear it in her coffin.
She freezes at her own thought.
Will she never fit back in?
"Yeah," she lies,
aware that he's worried. Another sigh. "I don't belong here anymore,
"It's your mother's
wedding," he reminds her.
And Slayer attire isn't proper,
yes, she remembers. A new dress. Get in, get it and get out. Sounds easy,
"No pants," he tells
Buffy rolls her eyes.
"Eighteenth century much?"
Wordlessly he hands her the
dress he chose while she was changing. Her eyebrows rise, high. "Don't
you trust me?"
"With my life," she
answers honestly. "But your wardrobe choices?"
"Way better than
yours, darling," a nearby saleslady mutters to herself.
Angel ignores the comment.
"We'll leave if you don't like this one."
"Fine." She sulks, but
studies the offered dress. A simple, elegant cut in the deepest indigo.
Buried instincts whisper in joy. "Shoes?" she asks impatiently.
"You were right. Happy?”
Given the circumstances, Buffy
guesses she can’t complaint. The women she met at yesterday’s party have
come over to chit-chat; but Buffy lost the habit long ago. Robert, her new
step-dad, also introduces her to his business associates, but they keep
asking about her career choices and her plans for the future and, well,
she’s also lost the habit of planning that far ahead.
One more hour, she promises
herself. One more hour of standing in the gown and the heels before kissing
her mom goodbye and rushing back to Angel.
He’s the one habit she doesn’t
want to lose.
Joyce feels torn. Robert deserves
her undivided attention, true. But Buffy will leave tomorrow.
At least she did come,
and Joyce's heart tightens at the gorgeous woman she's become. But so lost,
too. A mother can always tell.
Somehow Buffy notices her
scrutiny, smiles uncertainly. That's it; her daughter needs her most. But
then the same smile blossoms beautifully. Joyce follows the surprised gaze
and finds a stranger. How did he get through security?
She easily forgives the
trespass, seeing the guarded joy in their greeting.
Lost and found, Joyce muses,
kissing Robert with a lighter heart.
Ah, young love.
She can feel her mother checking
on her constantly. She feels touched, she does; but the hour is up and it’s
time to go.
She steps toward the happy
couple - and freezes.
“Angel?” she whispers, unable to
rein in a smile.
He also smiles and then tugs at
his indigo tie, looking ready to throw it away.
“How?” she asks.
“The invitation said the
reception started at six. I left as soon as the sun set.”
Buffy’s smile drops when she
sees her mother and Robert advancing towards them. “Ready for the firing
squad?” she half-jokes, not feeling touched anymore.
They finally make their escape
after a tortuous half hour of fielding questions and sidestepping the
truth. She leads him outside, where the waves echo around them. “Mom always
said she loved beach weddings. Guess second time’s the charm.”
The sea is tranquil tonight, and
the moonlight softens the rocky piers.
“Where do you want to go?”
Angel’s voice sounds unusually deep. His arm has gone over her shoulders
and she’s resting against him.
There’s only right or left, but
for once Buffy feels that she can do anything, even survive her real world.
“Everywhere. Does everywhere work for you?”
"Thanks for coming,"
Buffy says suddenly, breaking the sound of waves around them. “You’ve been
He shrugs uncomfortably. Joyce,
now Joyce Dyer, is a protective mother and he's not come unscathed from her
wedding reception. "I was nearby."
"With a handy tux?"
He rented it after the
bachelorette party. Buffy's expression, anxious because she knew nobody but
the bride, had decided him. Hopefully the owner won't mind all this sand.
She looks back at the party
further up the shore. "We should go back," she says.
Angel sighs. Parental
inquisition vs. a quiet walk down the beach. "Not yet."
VII. Buffy. Buffy Summers.
He has an image in his head,
vivid and frighteningly intense. He can picture every inch, every angle as
he takes the pencil.
Everything is perfect.
The blank page mocks his
But how does one start on
By the eyes, of course. Bright
as he imagines them under sunlight.
The forehead is next. The shape
of her face, her neck and bare shoulders. Her hair for once free of a
ponytail. He gives her a smile he's seen only in his imagination; and
there, stroke by stroke, the white paper slowly yields into a young girl in
VIII. I kept hoping maybe you'd
come. My destiny.
Quentin Travers at his doorstep
can’t herald good news, Wesley thinks even as he greets the older Watcher.
“Wesley, my boy. I was hoping to
find your Slayer here.”
An inspection of sorts? “She’s
in Sunnydale at the moment. A new crisis has emerged; the Hellmouth does
seem to be quite a quest.”
Travers frowns. “Didn’t the
Council instruct not to approach that area?”
“Surely you heard….”
“Ah yes. Rupert. Always a rebel,
that one, but I admit I was shocked at the news. Alright. Maybe it’s better
to find you on your own - I was hoping for your assistance….”
"I hope my collection was
of service," Wesley continues the charade.
"Certainly. Your treaty on
the Cleveland hellmouth was quite insightful."
Wesley nods politely, playing
along. Both know the Council holds copies of every Watcher's work. Whatever
Travers' game, Cleveland can't be it.
"You know I hold your
father in the deepest regard, my boy. Your mistakes won't reflect on him,
of course. But I'd dislike to inform him of this one before you've
had the chance to rectify the situation." He looks properly regretful.
Here it comes.
"It's about Summers'…
"Ever heard of the Scourge
Buffy looks around the desolate
streets. “I can’t believe people insist to live here. It’s more depressing
than I remembered.”
“People hold onto what they
have,” Angel tries to explain. As if to demonstrate, he takes her hand.
“You were great tonight. All of them are alive because of you.”
“And Giles’ kids,” she admits.
“I was wrong. Having back-up helped.” Before he can boast about his wisdom,
she tugs him towards the one convenience store open. “Now, you owe me some
ice cream, mister.”
“Happy to oblige,” he laughs.
And that’s when the arrow
pierces his chest.
"He is dying."
Buffy stares at the witch.
"He's a vampire! Stakes, fire and beheading," she recites.
"Vampires don't die in fever."
sickness," Tara tells her softly. "And it's spreading so fast I
can't tell the source." A sigh. "I've never saved
"Tell me about it," she
mutters. She holds Angel's hand, so unnaturally hot. The arrow is useless
for information; Tara's healing magic ineffectual. The assassin has long
There must be a way, though.
"I will find it." She
isn't talking to Tara anymore. "But you have to hold on. You have
Wesley takes out the bottle of
whiskey. Miss Raiden has already left with the second half on her pay. The
job is done, she reported happily. The vampire won't trouble the Council
Liam - Angelus?
He's read the Diaries, of
course. He is still horrified by the accounts of a uniquely remorseful and
inventive vampire. The Scourge of Europe, indeed.
He downs the glass quickly.
Liam killed Penn - whom he sired
in the first place.
Liam dragged him from certain
death - most undignifiedly.
Liam helps - his Slayer's words.
Triumph tastes like burning
((- I saved them once
already. Can't they keep their Hellmouth to themselves?))
"I knew Sunnydale was bad luck,"
she whispers softly.
((- Where's the Watcher?
- Mr. Giles died. That's the
reason they called you.
- But they're all kids!
- They are your age, Buffy.))
"I like the witch, at
least." She sighs. "Not that she's much help."
((- Politicians are evil….
- Alright. The mayor’s a new
person - or new demon. I get it. Do I get chocolate-mint-cookie-dough ice
cream if I kill him today?
- You do.
- And a pony?
"It was just a joke,
He still doesn't laugh.
So this is despair. Countless
times fearing that she’d fail and the world would end, and it’s the loss of
one person, one!, which is about to break her.
She doesn’t have any options;
Buffy knew that even as she started driving back to LA. She isn’t the one
with the contacts, always happy to leave the shades of gray to Angel. And
now she’s all alone.
So she barges into Wyndham’s
apartment, the stench of alcohol barely registering. “I’ll tell the truth
and you - you….“ She starts crying. “You have to help me. Ang… Liam - no. Angel’s
Wesley Wyndham-Pryce is
okay. For a Watcher. Too shortsighted and chained to Council tradition, but
his friendly exchanges with Angel gave her a new perspective.
But he’s failed her. Again. And
until this moment Buffy never realized how much she’d started to trust him.
"You?" She knew as soon as she mentioned Angel's plight. Wyndham
was never able to dissemble. Her hands fist at her side, but she reins
This is too much. If she starts,
she'll never stop.
"He's a vampire!" he
grounds stubbornly, retreating in fear. "You betrayed me."
Buffy laughs. He dares talk of
"What was in that
arrow?" she asks again.
No broken bones. Not one drop of
blood. Questions. Threats. She follows through and sets on fire one of his
He is a Watcher, and yet he
never understood what a Slayer really was. He is scared. Until now, it
never crossed his mind that the girl in love is a thousand times more
Soon enough the story pours out.
She smiles when she hears about
the cure. "That's all?"
Wyndham narrows his eyes.
"No, you won't." He'll never understand. "I forbid it!"
She breaks his nose for that.
She sends Tara away, and the
older girl retreats sadly, sure that she wants to say her goodbyes in
private. She’d be right; this is goodbye. Just not for the reasons Tara
“Remember when you insisted it
was all Destiny?” She laughs at the memory, and takes the knife from her
boot. “You could be so stubborn. How did you put up with me?” She passes
her hand over his sweaty brow.
“Shh. Before it ends, I have one
thing to tell you.” She leans in and steals their first kiss. “I believe.”
There’s barely any pain.
He's home again. Mother's food
at the table, sweet milk from the stable. He opens his mouth to thank her…
…for choosing him.
"Drink!" He's on Darla's lap, swallowing the unknown world she
offers. He dances with her, kisses her, licks her skin like a babe. Cold
and salty. "Angel…." she moans softly…
…he tastes the name from Buffy's
lips. (Angelus never more.) He's kissing her under the sun. All sins washed
away... All warmth leaving her…
He wakes up, the taste of her
blood fresh in his mouth. Underneath him, Buffy breathes shallowly.
Happiness shatters before it
"Drink!" she orders,
pressing her slashed wrist against his mouth. She almost breaks when
nothing happens, but rationality wins. Her free hand takes the knife, stabs
him between arm and shoulder. Pain finally rouses him, blind instincts
taking her offer.
"Drink!" Softer now.
Suddenly he abandons her wrist,
pulling her fiercely into his lap. There's no recognition as he tilts her
head to the side. Her small cry of pain doesn't move him; instead he holds
her body steady, drinking deep.
It'll be over soon.
It's okay. If anyone has a right
to her life, he's always been it.
| Fiction Index | Home
Page | Back |