SUMMARY: Post-Chosen. 'Time changes everything. Or does it?'
DISCLAIMER: This is a not-for-profit work of fanfiction. Any characters recognizable from
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series belong to Joss Whedon and his
associates. No infringement is
intended through the use of any of the Buffy or Angel characters. Any additional characters, for what
they’re worth, belong to me.
SPOILERS: Chosen/Home and casting for AtS S5
My fic home: Twin Flames (www.twinflames.co.uk)
and by permission elsewhere.
If you’d like to host it, please ask me first.
is always appreciated: firstname.lastname@example.org
DEDICATION: To Calla, for her
wonderful encouragement and great beta work. Thank you.
A/N: I got the idea for this fic after reading a post by Margot le Faye.
Thank you, Margot, for the idea and for the permission to use it. You are a
babe… but we already knew that.
The music pulsed, throbbed in her skull. As Buffy danced close to her young
lover Marc, his hand pressing her tightly against him, all she could feel
was sweat and lust.
And a faint tingling that told her a vampire was nearby.
Marc gestured towards the bar in the universal “you want a drink?” move,
and Buffy, nodding yes, decided to stay on the dance floor to try and
pinpoint the vamp. She always dressed the part... dressed as bait... long
blonde hair worn loose, a tiny top, skintight pants.
It didn’t hurt that Marc liked it too.
Turning, she slowed her dance, moving as sensually as possible, moving to
attract. She felt the vamp move towards her and in an instant -- it hit
her. Angel. Turning, panicked, she pushed through the dense crowd as
quickly as she could, but she wasn’t fast enough. He grabbed her, turning
her toward him, saying nothing. He stared down at her, his face a mixture
of disbelief, anger, hurt... and longing.
Buffy glanced up through her long bangs, concentrating on looking anywhere
but directly at him. Frantic, she kept her head down, not wanting him to
see her face. He couldn’t see her face, *mustn’t*, because then he would
She had been retired by the Watchers Council... the newly formed Watchers
Council, at age 26. She had done her duty, ably, selflessly, Giles had said
-- she had more than served the world. At first, she turned retirement
down, telling him, via email of course, that it wasn’t right, the world
couldn’t live without a slayer. But as she typed those words, she realized,
she’d forgotten again, it having been ingrained in her for so many years to
the contrary, that she was no longer “one girl in all the world.”
She had located and interviewed 50 girls, sending 16 onto America to train
and fight with the eight slayers left behind. Yes, she was no longer the
only one, or one of two, when she included the spirited and amazingly
capable Faith. A slayer could have a future now, and Giles wrote that if
anyone deserved a future, it was Buffy. She had sacrificed so much in so
So, Buffy retired and wept for the years lost, the loves lost. Angel.
It wasn’t as if she hadn’t been with men since she left California. She had
had several lovers and they had been that... loving men. Men who treated
her well, who were fun, who didn’t question her odd hours. Who didn’t ask
for, nor expect, a future with her. After the debacle with the unsouled
Spike and his... attack on her, she had decided that a cleansing
relationship or three was necessary.
She didn’t like being with men who weren’t Angel, but since Willow’s death
in 2004, there was little hope of a resolution to the clause in his curse.
She had no doubt she would return to him, none at all, but she saw his
point about giving up sexual love. Sex wasn't everything, but it was that final
communion, that most intimate expression of feeling, and she wanted to feel
that. Angel had left her so she could live, and she would return to him
having made an “informed” choice. She would never tell him how informed it
was, but she knew she would likely never feel this again, she’d certainly
not connect with Angel again in that way and she needed to live this part
of her life.
At 26, she was done with it and ready to go home.
Her final assignment, “should she choose to accept it” (she had rolled her
eyes at Xander’s email, laughing as she knew he had when he had typed it),
was to travel to St. Helena off the coast of Africa. She was in Namibia at
the time, so it really made sense for her to be the one to go; it was
impossible to get to and she was, well, the only one remotely near it. It
was odd that a slayer had been called there; typically they lived near
“mystical convergences” as Giles had put it. But here, on this volcanic
island, lived Selma, a girl who had never left the island, would likely not
leave the island, but who had in fact been called, had received the power
back in 2003 when Willow had done the spell and who, at the very least,
needed to know, to understand, and to choose. Buffy carried with her the
spell releasing the power, should the slayer not wish to have it. They had
found out, tragically, that it was crucial to remove the demon-magnet
quality that slayer power instilled in the girls should they chose not to
follow their calling.
It was a difficult trip. The only way to the island was by boat and they
had hit a terrible storm, the nine-day crossing becoming thirteen. More
than once, Buffy had seriously believed that this last journey as a slayer
would somehow be her final journey in life. But the storm had lifted, the
much damaged ship dropped anchor off the coast, and Buffy had tendered to
the tiny dock and jumped up, a small duffle over her shoulder containing
everything she owned, grateful to set foot on solid land for the first time
in seemingly forever.
She was informed that the ship would return to Namibia the next day,
needing repairs that could not be carried out at St. Helena. The next boat
out would be in 4 weeks time and, after her initial shock at the three week
delay, she decided to enjoy the island... a place where she was sure she
would never return.
Her room at the boarding house, the only one in the small community of
6,000, was comfortable, if spare. The people were friendly and, thankfully,
as St. Helena was a British “colony,” everyone spoke English. She had
purchased a tour book, a pamphlet really, in Walvis Bay, before boarding
the cargo ship, and decided to see the sights. These mainly consisted of
Napoleon’s house (he had been banished there after his early exile to, and
escape from, Elba, the book said) and his original tomb, before he had been
dug up (eww! her inner-Cordelia said) and moved to the Invalides in Paris.
She climbed to his house often during her stay there. It sat high atop the
volcanic mountain and was surrounded by wildflowers. It reminded Buffy of
the Alps, although her trip there had been a fiasco, what with a pack of
Darmosh demons terrorizing the small town of Trumpsel and her having only
several days there to begin with. Margriet, who owned the boarding house,
told her that despite its beauty, St. Helena had not been as “green” when
Napoleon lived there. That the volcano had been inactive for a long time
and the flowers had sprung up more recently.
Time changes everything, Margriet had said. Buffy smiled politely in
Almost everything, she thought.
Selma, surprisingly to her, had no trouble believing in vampires and
demons, nor that she had been called to fight them. She had felt the surge
of power and, having grown up in a “superstitious” culture, believed in the
cause. Buffy spent several days with her family, getting to know Selma and
allowing Selma’s parents to get to know her. Selma’s mother’s aunt, an
Englishwoman, sent word vouching for the existence of the Watchers’ Council
and assured Selma’s parents of the great honor of such a calling. How she
knew this Buffy didn’t know, nor did she ask.
Selma told Buffy that the hardest thing about leaving St. Helena, would be
leaving behind her beloved David, her soulmate, the man she was sure she
was to marry. But she said she knew it was the right thing, even if it
meant sacrificing her greatest happiness. Buffy was uncomfortable when she
had said that. Selma was 17, seemed very much in love, and Buffy could
relate only too well.
When Selma and David disappeared a week before their scheduled departure,
she could understand that too.
“You don’t seem too concerned, Buffy. About Selma’s gone missing.” Margriet
said. Margriet, like everyone else in this small community, knew exactly
what was going on. There were no secrets here. Buffy had found out several
days into her stay, that within about one hour of “the mysterious blonde
girl’s” arrival on the freighter, everyone seemed to know of her existence
and, within two hours of her introduction to Selma’s parents, all seemed to
know why she had traveled there in the first place.
Buffy stared into her cup of lukewarm, sweet coffee. “I’m not,” she said.
“I was seventeen once… and deeply in love.”
Margriet chuckled. “I find it surprising that you would be the one sent
here, you’re being not that much older yourself. But I understand. That
young love is a strong one.”
Buffy smiled at Margriet. “It is,” she affirmed.
“So why do you seem sad, dear? You’re going home, back to your family I
assume. Maybe back to your man?” Margriet asked gently.
Buffy, cornered, took a small sip of the candied liquid, delaying her
answer. “I am. But... he’s ... well, he’s still the one and always will be.
But I’m not sure we can be together. There are ... extenuating
Margriet patted her hand, knowingly. “One thing I’ve learned in life is
that some things are meant to be and some things aren’t, and there’s
nothing you can do about one or the other.” Margriet smiled and, standing,
put another pot of water on to boil.
“Now. Let’s have some fun. Have you ever had anyone tell your fortune?”
Buffy had never liked having her fortune told. It was too similar to the
whole slayer prophetic dreams thing and ... well, they were never happy,
peppy, of the good.
Margriet stared into the cup at the tea leaves, looking glazed over,
“Your love, he is well," she said. "He is... a strong man, yes?
Very brave. A fighter. He fights for you.
“He is sad to be away from you. Your love is true, real. He feels that.
“You gave him a gift of life and he gave you one back. Ah, that must mean,
children, yes?” Margriet smiled, pleased with herself. “Well, that’s very
nice, isn’t it, dear?”
Buffy smiled uncomfortably.
“He is.... lacking a foundation. Maybe that would be you?” Margriet asked,
smiling. “His soul is without anchor with you gone. When you return, you
will be that anchor for him... No, that’s not it. I think you will give
that *to* him. It is your last gift to him. Or it is your first gift to
him. His life for yours, yours for his. Again. I’m sorry, love, I’m
unclear.” Margriet set the cup down and, seeing Buffy's face, cried,
"Oh, dear. Are you alright?"
Buffy sat with tears running down her face and, turning quickly, said,
"I ... I'm going for a walk. Excuse me please."
When Buffy arrived home an hour later, she heard Margriet preparing dinner
and decided to delay the announcement of her return by hiding in the
lounge. Margriet had a small but eclectic book collection and Buffy
searched desperately for something to take her mind off her jumbled,
confused, tea-leaf thoughts.
“I think I can help you, dear.” Margriet said from the doorway. Buffy,
startled, knocked her head on the bookshelf as she stood up.
“You might think I’m just a fanciful old woman,” Margriet said plainly.
“But I believe. I know there are things I don’t understand and, because of
that, I’m open to things that don’t make sense. Do you want to tell me
Buffy shook her head. “It’s too hard, Margriet. And I’m sorry I ran out of
here. You were just... it’s crazy. You wouldn’t understand,” she said,
Margriet moved and sat on the sofa, patting the cushion next to her for
Buffy to sit.
As Buffy joined her, Margriet stroked her cheek. “Try me, love.”
It was, as it turned out, surprisingly simple. Annoyingly, frustratingly,
maddeningly simple. A spell, an old tribal spell, that would prevent a soul
from being stolen from its rightful body. Apparently, soul stealing had
been a common curse among Margriet’s Batsi people, a way to threaten others
and keep power amongst themselves. Family members would cast the spell on
each other to prevent the theft; it wouldn’t save their lives, but it
would, at least, allow them to die at peace.
Selma and David had not been found when the freighter returned. Buffy,
having already stayed considerably longer than she had planned, decided
this was Selma’s way of saying no to her duty. She left Giles’ address with
Selma’s embarrassed and worried parents (after all, it was a small island,
“Where had they gone?”), entrusting Margriet with the power release spell,
telling her to contact Giles if Selma changed her mind.
She hugged Margriet at the dock, thanking her with many tears for her help,
knowing she would never see this precious woman again, this woman who had
given her Angel the most incredible gift of his and her entire lives. The
safety of his happiness, something he so clearly deserved.
And hopefully, given what she had learned in Paris, a life together.
Her route was by ship to Cape Town and then plane to Amsterdam, then London
to visit Dawn on her semester abroad, then New York and finally, Los
Angeles. She emailed Giles from an internet café in Cape Town, letting him
know she was all right, about the delay and about Selma’s disappearance.
She assured him that she had checked the island out and thought it was love
and not demons that were responsible for her “gone missing-ness.”
She sat on a bench at the edge of the Victoria & Albert Waterfront,
overlooking the water, hoping Angel would still want her, still be happy to
see her when she got back.
Amsterdam was fun, Buffy took a risk, went to Smokey’s and got stoned. It
was odd, she’d never done that before, but what the hell, she was in
demon-free Amsterdam. She visited the Rijks and Van Gogh museums, seeing
paintings she’d only heard about from Angel and seen in his books. She
bought post cards for him and a poster she hoped wasn’t too dorky for Dawn.
She met a guy, Michel, who showed her the town and was, thankfully,
incredibly respectful. He took her dancing in the red light district and
then on a canal boat tour. He wanted more from her, but she no longer
needed sex from other men; she hoped she would soon be making love to
Angel. Michel kissed her on the cheek when they said good-bye, exchanging
email addresses. Buffy knew she’d never speak to him again.
She was happy.
Dawnie looked beautiful. Her shoulder length hair glistened as they sat in
a pub near her dorm at the London School of Economics. She was so different
now. So.... grown up.
“What’d ya expect?” Dawn asked, laughing when Buffy commented on it.
“I don’t know. Email, even emailed photos, doesn’t really convey how much
someone has grown.”
“Well, you know, that’s what airplanes are for. They bring you home so you
can actually see the people you love *in the flesh*,” Dawn replied.
Buffy was filled with guilt. “Dawn –“
“It’s okay, Buffy,” Dawn said, her hand resting gently on Buffy’s arm. “I
get it. I was teasing. It was a bad joke. But we missed you. All of us did.
Buffy looked up, hopefully.
“He missed you too, Buffy. He didn’t want me to know, or, well, I guess he
did because as you know he can be a stealthy motherfucker –“
“Dawn!” Buffy was shocked.
“Oh, sorry. That’s right, I’m supposed to be fifteen here, not twenty.
Sorry, I forgot!” Dawn snapped.
“Dawn, I – “
“Anyway, as I was saying… Remember, Buffy, grown up, or semi-grown up Dawn
sitting here.” Dawn smiled but Buffy could tell she was hurting. “He used
to pop up when it was pitch dark out, lurking around the house, Hemery,
around my dorm at UCLA. At first I was totally freaked, but then I realized
who it was... and I knew it was okay.”
Buffy smiled. One thing about Angel, he was always a lurker. And it warmed
her heart to know that he was following and checking up on Dawn. Although,
she really wouldn’t have expected anything less.
“You haven’t written to him at all?” Dawn asked.
“It was just... It was too hard, Dawn. I mean, I needed to do all this on
my own. And it was -- well, easy isn’t the word I’d choose -- but when he
was gone, I mean, really gone, I had no choice. When he came back and
wanted to get back together -- at least, I think that’s what he wanted,
what with the First and then everything happening so fast and...”
“Your point?” Dawn cut her off. Boy, her sister could ramble. Like Willow,
she thought sadly.
Buffy took a deep breath. “I knew if I wrote to him, he’d write to me. He’d
want to know what was going on and then he’d say something sweet and I’d be
on the next plane out of here, back to LA, and then bye-bye curse and hello
“But – can I tell you a secret?” Buffy asked, grinning.
“Yes, yes!” The seemingly 15-year-old Dawn clapped, bouncing up and down,
Buffy swallowed. “I think I found a way to have bye-bye curse and bye-bye
Dawn’s eyes widened.
Buffy wasn’t sure why no one ever questioned it. Why no one questioned the
fact that during the battle with the First, she had received a mortal wound
and then, through sheer force of will, got back up and continued to fight.
She herself hadn't given it a second thought until the fall of 2005, when
she was hit by a car in Paris. Not tapped. Hit. She was crossing Rue de
Rivoli at twilight and the taxi had come out of nowhere. She was thrown 20
feet, (or six and a half metres as they liked to tell her) into oncoming
traffic and then hit by a bus. For all intents and purposes, she should
have been not only dead but in-several-pieces-and-dead. A hysterical bus
driver had wept over her body, promising her a multitude of things in
French, while shocked onlookers called emergency services via cell phone
and spoke in hushed tones. Or so she was told.
The doctors were amazed when she awoke two weeks later, her only remaining
injuries being a broken arm, four broken ribs and several large bruises. No
brain or lung damage as had been expected. A miracle, they exclaimed. She
nodded numbly and called her, by then extremely worried, semi-boyfriend
Simon-Claude to come get her and left the very happy doctors and the evil
(evil in a hospital sense, not in a demon sense) hospital, and spent the
next two weeks recuperating in Simon’s apartment.
She had had lots of time to think. After two days of playing nursemaid,
Simon-Claude had to return to his job at the publishing house (“while h’I
‘ave one still” he said in his adorable broken English) and she thought
about her life. Near death experiences caused one to do that, she thought.
Going over one’s life was just the right thing to do.
But it was painful. She thought about her relationship with Willow, her
dear Willow, who had died in the closing of the Cleveland hellmouth, in
June of 2004. Willow, always so brave, especially when she had been messed
up big time with all the magic. Who always worked to do better. Had Buffy
told her she loved her before she died?
She remembered her painful return from heaven. And Spike who, although evil
at the time, seemed to love her. Or at least care for her. Or at the very
least was sympathetic to her, in his own way, when no one else was. She had
been so confused by their whole pre-soul relationship…. why she’d stayed
even when he hit her.
She remembered Tara who, even while estranged from Willow in what could be
characterized as a “truly awful, Buffy-worthy breakup”, had worked so hard
to help Buffy make sense of Spike. To figure out why her aura was
Cosmic sunburn she had said.
But now.... Buffy wasn’t so sure.
As far as Giles knew, she wasn’t living in one location. To keep everyone
safe, and to prevent visitors, she was intentionally vague about her
whereabouts. Her Swiss bank account hid from where money was withdrawn;
she’d chosen that bank specifically because of that. Her cageyness pissed
her father and Xander off, but Giles, at the very least, seemed to
understand it. He had been young once, he said. Leading a vagabond life,
before attending the Watcher Academy. Giles encouraged her to be selfish,
requesting only that she stay in touch via email, so he could give her her
“assignments” and know she was okay.
But Buffy loved Paris and had pretty much settled there. It was so exciting
and beautiful. She was learning French, but was far from fluent. She found
that Parisians in general were unsympathetic to non-French speaking Americans.
Young Parisian men, on the other hand, were more than happy to speak to her
in any language she wanted.
She had met Simon-Claude at Crème, the nightclub of the moment among the
20-something crowd. He was fun and sweet and had amazing friends. They
seemed like a French-speaking, non-demon related, all male Scooby gang. He
said they were crazy people; Buffy loved them.
They thought she was living in Paris on some kind of weird study abroad
program where you designed your own curriculum (this explained her lack of
classes when she had none, or bizarre choice of classes when she decided to
take them). She would go on expeditions to various places for her American
“independent study” classes, so she could gather research for various
“assignments,” thus explaining her frequent several-week long
It was better if they didn’t know about her real life. Safer.
Old habits die hard, she thought.
After two weeks of lying around, Buffy decided to talk to Rubin, the Tara
of the gang. From their conversations (if one could call them that... Buffy
speaks bad-French, Rubin speaks broken-English), she had the feeling he was
a witch. He had studied her so carefully when they had met, she had ended
up stalking him for days, thinking he was someone who had wished her ill.
But when she had seen him doing some things, or rather *men*, she *knew* he
wouldn’t want Simon to know about, she decided he was okay. At the very
least, he was worth basic trust.
She “ran” into Rubin (read: she’d been following him for hours) at a
patisserie near his apartment in the 6th Arrondissement. After getting a
coffee and joining him at his table and catching up, she casually raised
the concept of auras and did he believe they could be read. She said she
had read an article online in an American fashion magazine that said you
could find out all sorts of things about a person this way. She was both
intrigued and thought it was ridiculous.
Rubin looked at her strangely and then invited her to walk over to the
Luxembourg Gardens. It was there he accused her of lying to him and also to
Simon-Claude, saying she had all sorts of secrets. He said he could tell
she was a good person and that he wished her no harm, but that clearly she
knew what he was, and he wanted to know what she wanted.
So, she came clean. Told him all of it. She was waiting for him to say she
was crazy, but instead he took her hand and led her back to his apartment,
saying that to get a “deep” reading, it was best if he were in his “sacred
space.” The cynical Parisian Buffy was thankful for her slayer skills,
knowing she could kick his ass if he tried anything, but instead he sat her
on the floor of his living room, handed her a lit white candle, held her
other hand, chanted something in French and stared at her.
Eyes widening, he looked confused and said the chant again.
“C’est pas possible,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
Clearing his throat, he pressed his eyes together, struggling for words.
“You are, you seem...it is impossible, what I see. I see you are human...
you are not demon or vampire.” Buffy’s eyes widened at that one. Could he
distinguish that based solely on her stories of her past? She decided to
let it go for now.
“But I see strength, I see you carry your soul, it is correct, yours, but
you ... you not will die, Buffy. Je comprend pas,” he said shaking his
head. “I will try again...”
Buffy’s eyes filled with tears, and she grabbed him in a hug. “Thank you,
thank you. I thought as much, but I needed to know. I’ve wanted to know for
so long. I thought something was wrong with me.
“ Merci. Merci beaucoup, Rubin,” she said smiling, wiping away her tears.
He looked shocked, and pulled away from her. “No, I not speak correctly.
Your soul, your body… You will not die, Buffy. I do not understand it.
Buffy continued to smile. “Non, non, Rubin. C’est bon. Je suis très
heureux... heureuse? Whatever.
Rubin was sad that she did not understand. She did not understand that she
would watch everyone she loved die. He shook his head at her.
Buffy laughed that *he* didn’t understand, that yes, this wasn’t good news.
But in one instance it was.
She kissed him on the cheek as she was leaving. He never saw her again.
“I have a secret too.” Dawn confided. “And, by the way, since when do you
wear so much makeup?”
Buffy did her best to look admonished, but she knew she was overdone. It
was intentional. How could she explain the fact that without makeup, or
even with normal makeup, Buffy looked, well, the same age at which she had
died. The same age as Dawn currently. And that she would look that way,
“Sorry, anyway. I have, well, news. And an apology. I’m not actually
supposed to know this.” Dawn looked guilty. “I kind of, well, read Willow’s
diary after she died.”
“Dawn! What were –“
“Listen to me! This is important. Willow sent it to me to give to you if
something went wrong in Cleveland. I was going to give it to you when you
got back. I wasn’t supposed to open it, I know, but I wanted to ... well, I
guess a part of me was curious. Buffy, she was so insistent that I make
sure you get it. Her letter to me mentioned it at least 5 times.
Apparently, she tried to email you, but the letters kept getting returned
“I was in India and my account got maxed out –“
“I know. And she knew too. That’s why she sent it to me. Anyway, she had
been working, well via email, for the most part – you know it’s weird, I
don’t think anyone had laid eyes on Angel’s team since before you left --
“Dawn!” Buffy admonished. “What are you trying to say?”
“Oh, sorry, anyway, she was working with Wesley and Fred, who’s the girl
who works for Angel, on how to close the Cleveland hellmouth. There were
some ... well...issues and I’ll let Giles explain all of it because it’s
confusing, but whatever, after she died...” Dawn swallowed back her tears.
“After she died, I just, I just missed her so much. I hadn’t even seen her
since my birthday the year before, when I went to visit everyone in Oregon,
and when they went to Cleveland, I was already at Aunt Ginnie’s in Buffalo
for the summer and...”
“It’s okay, Dawn.” Buffy grabbed her hand, squeezing. “I miss her too.”
Buffy reached across the table and took her sister into her arms and they
held each other and cried for the friend, the best friend, they had lost.
In the end, Dawn hadn’t told Buffy the contents of Willow’s diary, rather,
she gave it to her when Buffy walked her home at the end of the night,
saying she had brought it to England because she couldn’t bear to leave it
behind. Dawn had been so upset by the whole exchange and, to be truthful,
Buffy was barely keeping it together, that their conversation had turned to
Dawn’s new maybe-boyfriend, Ian, who was, as she put it, an Irish hottie.
Every blessed inch of him.
Once Buffy got over her shock at Dawn’s new sex life (God, she hoped it was
new), she tried to be the supportive sister, but in the end, she was
thankful to return to her hotel room. It had been a lot to take in. When
Dawn returned home at the break next month, she promised they would finish
catching up. For now, though, Buffy sat on her bed with a diet Coke and
opened Willow’s diary.
It chronicled Willow’s life after Tara’s death, her pain at trying to end
the world, her recovery in England, life with the First, her fling with
Kennedy, and the battle that had taken Spike away.
Then there was her life after Buffy had left. Setting up a new Council of
sorts with Giles, Wood and Xander. Willow’s efforts and research with Dawn
for the first month, and then alone after Buffy’s father had returned to
America, having been seriously told off by his eldest daughter when she
caught up with him in Spain. Faith’s and the new slayers’ crazy stories,
both funny and heartbreaking, as they scouted the U.S. and elsewhere,
cleaning up “problem” spots.
Buffy began to cry as she read about Willow, in her few spare hours a week,
researching in secret, ways to anchor Angel’s soul, to give to Buffy and
Angel as a “present” when she got back.
Several months passed with no entries at all and then Buffy read the last
Well, if you’re reading this, you’ll know that I’m a goner. Now, don’t cry.
I mean, I guess you can cry a little, I’m your best friend, or I was, I
mean I still am... UGH. After all these years, I’m still a babbler! But
anyway, I’m writing this, and hopefully, you’ll never see it, but I didn’t
want to enter this fight without telling you certain things.
First, you are my best friend. And I want you to know that I’m sorry. I
know that our last year in Sunnydale, things were really strained among us
all and I am so sorry for my part in that. I’m sorry that I let my feelings
for Kennedy, which I hope you understood were because I missed Tara so
much, but still it’s no excuse... I’m sorry that I let those feelings make
it seem like I turned against you. I never told you about it, but Tara kept
visiting me. And I knew she was the First, but she sounded so much like
Tara. I just wanted it to be Tara so badly. Like your Mom.
But I am sorry. I always believed in you and believe in you now. You are an
amazing person and I mean that in the non-Slayer sense of things. You
*know* I think you are an amazing Slayer, but it is Buffy the person who
has made such an impression on me. The person who loved me even after I
tried to destroy the world, after I ripped you out of heaven, who told me
you loved me even after the First. I couldn’t have survived, emotionally,
without you. And you were always there for me. I’m so sorry I wasn’t always
there for you. I hope you know that I love you, because I do. And I always
If you are reading this letter, you’ve also read the whole diary, so you
know that I never found a way to anchor Angel’s soul. I’m really sorry for
that. But on the plus side I didn’t research everything I wanted to. Just
so you know, I looked in Parkman’s Compendium, Regyne’s Appendices IV-IX
and also did extensive research in the old Romany texts and exchanged lots
of emails with various, what I like to call, New Age Romanys (not New Age like
crystals, rather, a group of younger gypsies who are frustrated with their
elders’ attachment to vengeance). There are a lot of other places to look;
on the back cover of this book, you’ll see a list of texts I was planning
on reviewing, but never got to.
Anyway, I’m writing not only to say goodbye, but also to tell you that I
know about Angel. And that I kind of found out inadvertently. So don’t be
mad at them.
For the past month, I’ve been working with Wesley and his assistant Fred,
who incidentally, no longer work with Angel (I never got the whole story
there - apparently, Angel just took off in the dead of night, leaving
everything to Wesley, saying he had to travel or do something - in any
event, they are in touch by email too - say, is Angel with you? Just
teasing. Is he?). I came to L.A. a few days ago to go over last minute
things and, long story short, Wesley and I got very drunk (well, he got
very, I just drank enough to find out he’s a good kisser and don’t tell
anyone! I told you that) and before he passed out he mentioned the shanshu
prophecy. I had no idea what he was talking about and Fred (also drunk,
also a good kisser and THAT was sublime) said, “Oh, you know, when Angel
gets his redemption, becomes human?” I didn’t let on that that was news to
me because she seemed to think I knew all about it.
Anyway, after we all went to bed (alone!) -- I hope you don’t mind that I
was curious -- but I went downstairs to look it up in Wesley’s notes. I
know I’m evil, going through his stuff. But according to his files, Angel
will fight in the End of Days battle and shanshu which means become human.
Wow! His other notes from April of 2003 said that Angelus had told him that
you knew all about it. So I guess he thought you had told us all too. Anyway,
I just wanted to let you know that I know and that I am so, so happy for
you. I knew something like this would happen. You must be so happy!
If you are reading this, I love you Buffy and, despite everything, I hope
you know that I wish you every happiness and hope you can forgive me for my
lack of support before the fight with the First. I understand if you can’t,
but I do love you.
Have lots of babies with Angel. I know you’ll be so happy and romantic and
will grow old and grey together with lots of grandchildren. I’ll keep watch
over you all from heaven. Blessed be!
Buffy turned over in bed and cried.
The music pounded in her head. She’d always loved the loud trance ToGo
played, but right now with Marc, Angel and all her thoughts, she thought
she’d throw up at any minute.
“Buffy?” Marc said, handing her her drink as he returned from the bar. “Qu’est-ce
qui se passe?”
Buffy continued to stare at
the ground. Angel’s hand remained on her arm, still cool, still a vampire.
Burning a hole in her skin.
“Yes, Buffy. Qu’est-ce qui se passe?” Angel asked, his voice menacing.
Buffy was silent. She should have known that, despite her request to the
contrary, he would come looking for her, but still... now that he was here,
she was… paralyzed.
“Je m’appelle Angel.” Angel
addressed Marc. “Et vous êtes?”
“Marc.” The two men shook
Okay, this was all just too fucking civil. Buffy peaked at the two from
underneath her long bangs. Angel glared at Marc, Marc just looked confused.
Buffy felt tired. Buffy had had it with the lies, the hiding.
She looked up, raised her head and met Angel eye-to-eye, daring him to look
at her. It was time to finish this.
“I just had a letter from her, Dawn,” a broken-hearted Angel stood on the
front stoop of the Summers’ L.A. home.
He didn’t want to be having this conversation with her, but it was either
Dawn or Xander. Giles was visiting family in England and Faith was with two
other slayers fighting evil in the Congo. Dawn was definitely the lesser of
“Yeah?” Dawn said.
Angel studied her face. Dawn was never a good liar and she seemed to be
hiding nothing. If anything, she just looked sad.
“Can I come in?” he asked quietly.
Dawn, clearly well trained by Buffy, said nothing, but stepped aside and
waited for him to enter. When he didn’t, she actually looked surprised.
Angel wondered at that. The door closed in his face and he stared at it for
a moment until she reappeared holding her purse and sweater.
“How about taking me for coffee?” she asked brightly, leading the way out
of her father’s house to Angel’s car.
Buffy had extricated herself from Marc, explaining in French, embarrassed
because Angel spoke the damn language and thus could hear her lying to her
boyfriend, that her older brother was visiting from the States and she had
forgotten he was coming and that she’d see him tomorrow.
“Isn’t he a little young for you?” Angel snarked, when they got to the
street. “How old is he - is he even 21?”
Buffy’s temper flared, how dare he play *that* card. Him. “He’s 20 and yes,
he’s too young for me, but if you look at me, really look at me, I may be
30, but how old do I look to you anyway?”
Buffy grabbed his arm and dragged him over to the nearest streetlamp,
raising her face to him.
She was beautiful. Just as beautiful as the last time he had seen her and
as soon as he saw her in the light, he understood.
She looked the same. She looked exactly the same. He reached out to touch
her cheek, shocked as she pulled away from him.
“How?” he asked, mystified. “You’re still human. I feel it.”
“Angel... I’m sorry. I know I probably -- oh, forget it, I know *for sure*
that my letter hurt you but, well...” Buffy looked around. The streets were
teeming at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night. This was not the place for the
heartfelt Buffy and Angel conversation. Spying the river a block away, she
took his hand. “Wanna take a walk?”
The December air was crisp and Buffy pulled her coat tightly around her as
they walked along the Seine. She told him she understood now why he’d left
Sunnydale when he did. She understood that, while the curse had been an
issue, that the aging thing was also a big deal and that it would have been
so, so hard to be a couple consisting of an elderly woman with a seemingly
25-year-old boyfriend. And she knew how hard it would have been for him to
watch her die. She knew he loved her the way she loved him. Loving him was
forever for her and it was wrong for him now. He would soon be among the
living, the mortal, and he should have everything he had wanted for her.
Children, grandchildren... and, in an odd way, death.
He deserved all of that.
“How?” he asked again.
She thought for a moment. “I’m not totally sure. I know when I came back,
when Willow brought me back, something was different. Spike knew it too.”
He bristled at Spike’s name, she saw it. She guessed it would always be a
sore point for them.
“But Tara -- Willow’s girlfriend? The one who died? -- had said it was just
a molecular thing. But then, I was in a horrible accident – I’m fine,
Angel. Really,” she said, patting his arm, trying to dispel the horror on
his face, “And I didn’t die. Didn’t even come close. Which made me remember
that during the First battle, I was stabbed, clean through and lost a ton
of blood, but again, didn’t die.
“When I had the accident a few years ago, the doctors had admitted me as a
20-year old woman, which made sense because I looked it. They were quite
surprised when they learned the truth but chalked it up to healthy living.
Then I had a friend read my aura and he confirmed what I thought…
“I was on my way home – on my way to you -- when I found out about the
Shansu or Sanshu or whatever it’s called – and I just couldn’t believe it.
But then again, the Powers that Be were always playing with our lives...”
she said bitterly.
She smiled up at his beautiful deep brown eyes as her own filled with
tears. “But I’m so happy for you, Angel, so happy, even though I’m sad
about what this means for us. But if anyone deserves this reward, it’s
Angel pulled her close. “That’s why, Buffy? Why you didn’t come back? I
thought it was the curse, but then I got your letter and found the anchor
spell in it so ... I thought you didn’t love me anymore. I couldn’t believe
it. I just didn’t want to believe it. I had to see you to know. Dawn, she
didn’t know where you were. You had just disappeared. I couldn’t find you.
Oh Buffy, I love you so much.” Angel wept, his face in her shoulder.
Buffy held him tightly for several minutes and then gently pulled away,
wiping her own tears. “But you see why it has to be this way, right? What’s
good enough for me is good enough for you. I won’t settle for anything less
Angel smiled gently, and stroked her cheek. “ I understand Buffy. What’s
good enough for you is good enough for me.”
He leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her lips. “How do you know about
Buffy looked down at her hands. “Willow. Wesley told Willow before they
went to fight in Cleveland. I honestly think he didn’t mean to and then,
Willow…” Buffy looked
sheepish. “Well, Wesley, Fred and Willow got pretty drunk - I think they’d
just snapped - pre-battle stress - and Wesley mentioned it and after they
all went to bed, Willow went through his desk, found his notes and wrote it
all in her diary. She thought I knew already. Apparently, your lovely demon
twin told Wesley that you had told me about it when we met up after I ‘came
back.’ But anyway, she wrote me this letter and sent it with her diary to
Dawn, just in case she didn’t survive the battle and then she... didn’t.”
Angel pulled her close to him again, holding her tightly. “Oh, love. I’m so
sorry. I never wanted you to know. Or, well, I never wanted you to know it
was for me. I thought you’d feel so guilty.”
Buffy looked confused as Angel led her to a bench. Sitting, he took her
hands and continued. “Buffy, I have something to tell you. And when I do,
you may not want to be with me anymore, but…. After you left, I... well, I
met someone – not romantically – but I met someone who needed me and I left
the office to Wesley and took some time off to help this person. I was so
shocked by the whole situation that I just left until I could figure out
how to deal with it and how to tell you about it.”
“Was it Cordelia?” Buffy asked, swallowing.
“Not romantic, Buffy. Pay attention!” he said, a small teasing smile on his
face. He kissed her forehead, and then took a deep breath before
“Buffy, it was... Spike.”
“WHAT? That’s not possible. I watched him –“ she said, jumping up.
“Love, sit down,” he said, pulling on her arm. “Let me tell you the whole
He told her about finding the Scrolls of Aberjian years earlier at Wolfram
& Hart and then, not knowing when the prophecy would occur, trying to
live as if he hadn’t found them. Deciding that redemption had nothing to do
with rewards, but rather with the quality of one’s life, what one chose to
do with one’s time.
He told her about her death and letting her go and how hard it had been to
do that and how it had broken his heart when she had come back because he
knew, he *knew* that he’d still lose his soul if he were around her.
But then he told her about Connor, his dear babe, whose existence no one
knew about. Because of the gift of a new life he had given his son, he knew
he’d never truly be content again. Feeling assured of that, he had returned
to Buffy, ready to die for and with her, his soul’s only love.
She had sent him away and he had understood. After all, she was only doing
what he had asked her to do in the first place. Living her life, her way.
It had hurt, he’d be the first to admit it, that she wanted to spend her
last hours with Spike, but he believed, and rightly so, that she wouldn’t
die in this battle. He’d had complete confidence in her.
He cried when he’d gotten her letter telling him Spike had died. He had
loved Will, as much as he’d made him crazy. As upset as he had been, he’d
wanted to meet Spike’s soul, wanted to help him. Because like Buffy had
said, he more than anyone understood that the demon is not the soul is not
the demon. Because Buffy, more than anyone, had taught him that.
He got the opportunity late one evening in early September 2003, a month
after Buffy had left for Europe. There had been a small knock on his new apartment
door. Other than Wesley, Gunn, Fred and Lorne, no one had known he’d moved,
but there stood Whistler with a lost Spike, a broken Will, who had turned
up human. Whistler had said to him cryptically, “It wasn’t supposed to go
down like this. Nobody saw that Slayer coming,” laughing at some internal
joke. Saying that, despite that, this was meant to be. That perhaps, in
light of things, this was better after all.
Angel had gone back to the half-vacated Hyperion and left a note for Wes,
leaving everything in his care, including Wolfram & Hart, and took off
with Spike to New York.
He had introduced Spike to the world of vampirism in the late 19th century
and now in the early 21st was introducing him to, bizarrely enough, the
human world. Angel understood what had happened, realized that the battle
with the First was the prophesized End of Days and that by wearing the
amulet Spike had gotten “Angel’s” redemption. Angel chose not to tell Spike
what had happened, knowing the guilt would overwhelm him, but encouraged
him to seek Buffy out and give her the life that Angel had wanted her to
But Spike refused, convinced that while Buffy loved him she wasn’t in love
with him and Angel was proud (and not a little relieved) when Spike said
that he, William, as he now called himself, deserved better love than that.
Spike then told him that unlike himself, Angel didn’t deserve better. And
that he would go to his grave in 50-60 years, royally brassed off if Angel
and Buffy weren’t together. And he’d come back and gladly haunt Angel if he
didn’t make it right.
And then he vanished. Angel had gone on patrol as he did every evening and
had returned to find Spike and all evidence of him gone... save for a note
thanking Angel for his help and asking that he not come looking for him,
requesting that Angel move on to other people in need and leave his “dear
William” to completing the lifetime that had been interrupted by Angelus.
Angel had returned to LA, but not to Wolfram and Hart, rather spending his
time fighting evil one demon at a time. He kept in touch with Wesley, held
onto the Hyperion, lest Buffy try to contact him, and lived one day at a
He told himself he wasn’t waiting for her to come back. He told himself he
was sure she’d come back to him. Some days he was sure she wouldn’t. But
he’d leave it in her hands, take whatever decision she’d make.
Until he got her letter.
Telling him she wasn’t coming back, that she was happy now, retired, and
had decided to stay single. That it would never work for them, but he
should have the life he’d always wanted for her. That he deserved that.
That if he really loved her still, he’d go out and do that. Live the life
he’d wanted for her.
“So what are you doing here then?” Buffy asked. “Why’d you come?”
“I’m doing what you asked.”
Buffy looked up at him confused.
“You wanted me to live the life I wanted for you.”
“Right. I got that. I wrote that - I remember.” Buffy said sadly. “So why
are you here?”
“Because, Love,” he said, stroking her cheek, “the life I always wanted for
you was a life with me. I know at times my actions may have seemed to
suggest otherwise, like when I left, but I can’t do it anymore. I love you
Buffy. I loved you in Sunnydale, in L.A., mortal and, now, immortal. Near
you. Away from you. I loved you and I love you. I will always love you.
“When Spike showed up, my heart broke because I would never be human for
you and still, I can’t give you sunlight or children. But I came to offer
myself to you for your lifetime. I can give you... forever,” he said,
amazed, “if you want that. It’s all that I have, but it’s yours. And if you
don’t want it today, I will be here for you tomorrow. I will be here for
you always. The reason I came is to tell you that.”
“Angel –" Buffy said, tears streaming down her face, as she placed her
hand above his heart…his heart that no longer beat and never would again.
“I’m sorry about Spike, your sanshu. I don’t know how you can forgive me.”
“Love, I wanted to be human *for you*. So we could share our lives together.
All I ever wanted was you. However I could have it. However long you wanted
Buffy looked up at him, smiling slightly. “How’s forever? Does forever work
He answered her with a kiss.
After a moment she pulled away.
And taking his hand, she led him home.
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