Written for IWRY marathon 2013
Characters: Buffy. Angel
Disclaimer: Joss created this wonderful universe. I’m just playing.
A big thank you, Jo, for inspiration, beta work, and most of all, patience.
Summary: The title says it all.
“It’s me, Angel,” he said, holding his arms down and out to his side in a gesture that was non-threatening.
“I don’t believe you.”
Buffy had her crossbow aimed at the vampire. She wanted to believe him but she couldn’t allow herself to. Angelus was a master at deception. There was no way she could trust him.
The vampire spread his arms out further, his hands empty, facing her.
The slayer’s heart ached at her name on his lips. Her lover’s face stared back at her, his eyes pleading for her to believe him.
“There’s nothing you can say to convince me. You have all of Angel’s memories. There’s nothing he knows that you don’t.”
“Wait. If you do this, Buffy, you’ll die. It’s a trap. But the two of us may be able to make it through.”
Her heart was pounding and her hands were sweating. She tightened her grip on her weapon.
“I know it’s a trap. I was lured here on false pretences. There are no hostages in the basement. There never were.”
“Buffy, please. They wanted both of us here. Together we are strong. They want to destroy us.”
“And who are they, Angelus? Who are these mysterious people? Where are they?”
He pointed to the doors at the end of the room. “Behind those doors are the monsters that do their bidding. They work for the Senior Partners. They’re the ones that want demons to rule the world. I think they must be demons too. Perhaps a higher form of demon.”
Buffy snorted her disbelief. “You’re a demon. I know you want to rule the world. Not making a case here, Angelus.”
“Buffy, listen. They’re going to overpower us.” He sniffed at the air. A look of realisation crossed his face. “Gas. They mean to kill you.”
She interrupted him. “Not before I kill you first.”
The slayer watched as the vampire’s shoulders slumped. He shook his head. And the next minute he was attacking her. Her crossbow flew from her hands, and his mouth was on hers. The kiss was savage at first, and then it turned soft and gentle.
He pulled away, picked up the crossbow and tossed it to her before distancing himself. She caught the weapon, stunned at what had just happened.
“Listen to me, please. We have to work fast. If we attack whoever’s behind the doors then we may stand a chance.”
“I don’t believe you.”
She raised the bow and focussed her aim.
“Kill me then. But you have to hurry. The gas.”
“If I kill you then what have you achieved? You say we need to work together to get out of here.”
“Kill me. I understand now. Once you are dead they will force me to turn you. I won’t do it.”
“They can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do.”
“You don’t know them like I do. Kill me. Now. Do it!”
Buffy was no longer sure that it was Angelus standing before her. She wavered on the edge of indecision. Was this another of Angelus’ tricks? Why would he give up if he was Angelus? Was this really Angel? Her head began to spin. And it wasn’t just her mind. She could feel a weakness coming on. He was right. They were using a gas…had Angelus kept her talking long enough for her to succumb?
Suddenly, he lunged at her, his game face on.
Instinct kicked in. The bolt left the bow with a twang. Her aim was true. The wooden tip pierced his heart.
He managed to utter one word. “Buffy.”
And he was gone, turned to dust.
She reached out a hand as if trying to halt his body’s disintegration. Tears coursed down her face. She knew she would never see his beautiful face again, and whether it was Angel wearing it or not, she was bereft. Buffy sank to her knees, weeping, and passed out.
Sensation was the first thing he became aware of. There was light. It enveloped him, it soothed him. It brought him peace. With that thought he realised he had form. Bringing up his hand, he studied it. His hand was as he remembered it. He flexed his long fingers. They worked just fine. When he turned his head, the light blinded him. He brought his hand up to his face and tried to see through the gaps between his fingers. It was no use. The light was too bright. He turned away from it and tried to study his surroundings. There weren’t any. It was as if he stood at the centre of the universe; a universe made of light. Was this the afterlife? Was this heaven? He thought he was destined for Hell.
This is in-between.
There was a voice in his head, and it wasn’t Angelus’. He squinted against the light. There was nothing and no one there.
“What? Who are you? Where are you?”
I am sorry. Is this better?
The brightness of the light dimmed to a more acceptable brilliance. Angel turned around. The light no longer hurt his eyes, and he could see. A man, if he was, indeed, a man, stood there. He was the source of the light. He glowed. It was impossible to see his features clearly, but Angel knew he would be beautiful.
“Who are you?”
The question you should be asking is who do you think you are?
“What? Where am I? Is this purgatory? Or is this some sort of torture dreamed up in Hell?”
The man laughed. It was a pure sound; it played like a chord of music.
This is not Hell. You do not belong there. As for who I am?
The light emanating from the creature became even less, and Angel could see that yes, indeed, the other was beautiful.
You know who I am.
“I know what you are. What would the likes of you want with me?”
I’ve been watching you your entire life.
“How did that work out for you?”
You showed courage. Tenacity. Even in the face of incredible odds, and under the weight of crushing despair, you persevered. Time and again you picked yourself up and gave it your all.
Angel was surprised. His time as Angelus never got a mention. He thought it should.
“Yeah, I did great. The Scourge of Europe.”
The World’s champion.
“Flawed. Useless. I couldn’t even save my friends.”
Do not diminish their sacrifice. They gave of themselves freely.
There was truth in what was said. Angel’s guilt had run rough shod over the fact his friends had wanted to be at his side. It had been their cause as well as his. He remained silent, at a loss. The other watched him, quietly, until Angel couldn’t stand the scrutiny.
“I can never make up for all the harm I did as Angelus.”
A sword is forged in fire and beaten into shape by the smith. You were honed by the deeds of the demon.
“So? What now? I’m ash. Killed by the slayer. The world is better off without me.”
That is not for you to decide. You have work to do.
“And how, exactly, am I to do that?”
You will have form when you awaken. You will be as you were meant to be.
“A demon with a soul? That is my destiny? You’re a bit late with the news. Already been told.”
Haven’t you been listening? You are the sword, a weapon forged in the fires of evil. And it is time to put to use the sword.
“Why now? What’s changed?”
My brothers are winning the battle. The scales are out of balance. They tip towards destruction.
Angel pounced on a word. “Brothers?”
You know them as the Fallen.
The word resounded in his head. The Fallen were beyond powerful. They were the angels thrown out of heaven for daring to defy the Lord. How did an ex demon factor in all this?
You will be reborn. You will have the tools to do what is necessary. You will continue to fight for the side of Light. The world and its people need you. Come now.
The man opened his arms and waited for Angel to step into them. Angel hesitated.
“Are we dating now?”
I will bestow upon you a small portion of my Grace. You will have the strength and abilities you had as a vampire, and more. You will be more than human.
Angel blinked. “What? Instead of Angelus I’ll have you riding my back?”
You will be your own man. I do not intend possession. You will simply have some of my power. And you will find even that small amount will suffice.
“There’s no point. Buffy is dead. Poisoned by gas.”
The other smiled, and it felt as if he was looking into the sun.
I see you have priorities. Buffy is not dead. She sleeps.
For Angel there was no other choice. The world was in peril, and if Buffy was still alive, then he was willing to take a chance. He stepped forward and into the waiting embrace. “Who are you?”
Feathers, cool and soft, enveloped him. The arms had become wings. Angel heard the name Uriel. He had no time to wonder that the angel of Repentance and Salvation had chosen him to be his champion. He faded away.
It took a moment to wonder why she wasn’t dead. Buffy opened her eyes and rolled over onto her side. She blinked at what lay beside her. She blinked some more. Her mouth opened in a silent oh! Reaching out a trembling arm, she laid her hand on the black-clad leg of her ex-boyfriend. Sitting up, she patted his leg. There was no response. Buffy felt her eyes brim over. Angel wasn’t dust.
What just happened? She thought. She saw him turn to ash.
As her eyes travelled up his body she noticed something amazing. His chest rose and fell. He was breathing. Her fingers found his wrist. He had a pulse. The sob that had been building in her throat forced its way out.
When he didn’t stir, she shook him, hard.
“Angel! Wake up!”
He began to stir. Buffy stared at his face. It was beautiful as a vampire. But now, alive, he was magnificent. Tearing her gaze away from him, she looked about. They were in the same room as before. The pounding on the doors, however, had fallen silent. When she turned to look back at him, he was staring up at her, a confused look in his eyes.
Her smile was wet with tears. She paid them no mind. He was alive. Here. Beside her. It was all that mattered.
“Angel. You’re alive.” She pointed to his chest.
He sat up quickly and felt at his heart. A brilliant smile graced his lips. His eyes were full of wonder.
“I am alive.”
The doors began to shake. The monsters outside the room had begun a new onslaught.
Buffy leaned across and kissed him.
“I don’t know what just happened, Angel, but we need to get out of here. Do you think you are up to it?”
She didn’t think it could, but his smile grew even wider.
“Anything is possible.”
Buffy was concerned. “You’re human now. Let me take the lead. I won’t lose you again, Angel. I won’t.”
“Don’t worry about me, Buffy. Look after yourself. I’m more than human. I can hold my own.”
“What?” She felt his forehead. “Is there some brain damage?”
He drew her fingers to his lips. “Trust me. I’m fine.”
She did trust him, though she still wanted that explanation. Another thought occurred to her. “Are you like a male slayer now?”
He got to his feet, bringing her up beside him. Pulling out the sword he somehow always managed to materialise out of his coat, he said, “Tell you later.”
Buffy and Angel rushed the doors.
ANs: The angel Uriel. The Archangel of Repentance, and also the archangel of Salvation. I thought it appropriate.
Here is what Wiki had to say:-
Uriel is often identified as a cherub and angel of repentance. He "stands at the Gate of Eden with a fiery sword", or as the angel who "watches over thunder and terror". In the Apocalypse of Peter he appears as the Angel of Repentance, who is graphically represented as being as pitiless as any demon. In the Life of Adam and Eve, Uriel is regarded as the spirit (i.e., one of the cherubs) of the third chapter of Genesis. He is also identified as one of the angels who helped bury Adam and Abel in Paradise.
Stemming from medieval Jewish mystical traditions, Uriel has also become the Angel of Sunday (Jewish Encyclopedia), the Angel of Poetry, and one of the Holy Sephiroth. Uriel is depicted as the destroyer of the hosts of Sennacherib.
He checked the doors of Egypt for lamb's blood during the plague. He also holds the key to the Pit during the End Times and led Abraham to the West.
In modern angelology, Uriel is identified variously as a seraph, cherub, regent of the sun, flame of God, angel of the Divine Presence, presider over Tartarus (hell), archangel of salvation, and, in later scriptures, identified with Phanuel "face of God". He is often depicted carrying a book or a papyrus scroll representing wisdom. Uriel is a patron of the Arts.