YearsContactFictionIWRY 2013



Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

Author:  ashes at midnight (ashes1753 @livejournal)

Website

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Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy; I am merely using these amazing characters to satisfy my beast of a muse.

A/N: Written for the 2013 IWRY Marathon. This story has been in my head for a long, long time, since at least 2010. This story is rated M, mainly for darkness and violence, but also for a bit of language.

Read, review, but most of all enjoy!

Thanks to Scribes1015 for betaing this for me



Never Let Me Go

Chapter 1


Buffy was in the fight of her life, against the vampire that had stolen her heart.

She ducked as the sword swung towards her, feeling the rush of air as it rustled her hair, passing just inches above her scalp. She breathed a small sigh of relief before jumping high into the air. Raising her own sword in front of her she retaliates with a hard swing of her own weapon. Angelus stepped back laughing mockingly.

“Come on Buff!” he taunted her mercilessly, lunging forward again his steel sword flashing in the dim, afternoon light. Buffy parried the thrust hastily and pushed him away, backing up and circling him silently.

He smirked, “I thought you were better than this?” he said in mock disappointment.

“I am,” she snapped at him, rushing forward again and attacking him with the ferocity of a Slayer, of a creature whose only purpose was to kill.

He laughed again.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a dark curtain move and Xander appeared, holding a broken and bleeding man close to his side. The figure was hunched over in agony, blood is splattered across his face and shirt and he is clutching his twisted hands to his chest as his whole body shakes with pain.

It’s Giles.

At the sight of her broken and bleeding Watcher Buffy felt her body stiffen. A switch turns in her mind, and a red haze fills her vision as man and boy stumble hastily through the door and out into the sunshine.

No longer is it merely Buffy and Angelus fighting. It is now Slayer against Vampire, in a fight that would determine the fate of the world.

Buffy set her jaw, gritted her teeth, her eyes narrowing in anger. “I’ll kill you for what you did to him,” she hissed as she stepped forward and kicked out savagely. Her foot hits Angelus in the middle of his chest, making him stumble back a step, his eyes opening wide in surprise at her sudden attack.

But he recovered quickly and snarled at her angrily, his lips twisting up. “You’ll pay for that Buff,” he growled angrily, his voice barely human.

He lunged towards her again, his sword carving through the air. Buffy backed away, desperately keeping her sword up and swinging, anything to keep his from piercing her flesh.

Both of them are breathing hard, Angelus from habit, Buffy from exhaustion.

Desperation takes hold as for the next few minutes both of them kick and punch, trading blows and swiping at each other with their swords, attacking and defending.

Buffy gasped for breath, jumped out of the way of Angelus’s sword and stumbled to the floor. She looked up at him as he glared down at her. Suddenly he grinned, a sadistic hungry, smirk appearing on his face. He chuckled softly as he raised the sword above his head.

Buffy swallowed loudly, gripping her sword tight and tensing in fear, ready for anything. 

Angelus started to bring the sword down, fully intent of slicing her apart when he suddenly stops. His eyes widen and he gasped hoarsely, the sword stopping inches from her chest as his whole body stiffens in pain. He raises a hand and clutches desperately at his chest. A bright, pure, golden light fills his eyes and he takes an awkward, stumbling step back.

Buffy’s eyes widen in disbelief. Angelus screamed in anger and pain, his back arching as he threw his head back. His sword clattered harmlessly against the stone floor as he fell to his knees, crumpling like a marionette whose strings have been snapped, taking a deep, shocked breath.

Buffy scrambled to her feet, gripping her sword tight she took a step towards him, looking down at the shivering, traumatized vampire with a mix of shock, disbelief and relief. She knew, without any doubt that the vampire kneeling at her feet was no longer Angelus, he was Angel again, his soul pulsing deep inside his chest. She didn’t know how, or why, but at this moment that was the least of her worries.

“Angel?” she whispered softly, taking another step towards him.

Angel’s head jerked up and his eyes widened. ‘Buffy! What’s going on…I can’t, I can’t remember,” he moaned, looking around in a blind panic, his eyes wide. “Where am I, I feel…” He licked his lips and looked up at her. “Lost…”

Buffy sniffed as a few tears gathered in the corner of her eyes and started to run down her cheeks. She brushed them away desperately. “It doesn’t matter now, Angel. It doesn’t matter,” she told him quietly, fiercely, as she knelt down and grabbed his hands, helping to pull him slowly to his feet.

He stumbled slightly as she wrapped her arms around him, holding him close, the sword in her hand now hanging loosely from her fingertips. Angel looked down at the top of her head, shocked at the intensity and tightness of her embrace. After a few seconds he began to relax, smiling slightly and placing his arms around her waist.

Buffy’s thoughts are filled with warm, happy memories; everything was going to be ok. Angel was back, she didn’t have to kill him. Everything was going to be fine. She was certain of it!

Then she heard the soft rumbling, like a vortex. A portal.

Against her best intentions she opened her eyes a crack, peering around Angel’s broad shoulders. Her eyes widened in horror. It was too late, the demon Acathla had been awakened. Even now she could see the portal opening wide, the bright blue and red flashes of light and power within the dark vortex making her nervous. The raw power of the portal attempting to pull them in. She clutched Angel tight, digging her nails into his black shirt and keeping him close.

She felt him tense. “Buffy,” he whispered weakly, “What’s wrong?” His voice was small and full of worry.

She licked her lips. She knew what she had to do, his blood would close the portal. It was the only way for her to save the world. She took a step back, slipping out of his embrace. “Angel,” she asked softly, “Do you trust me?”

He blinked at her in confusion, then he set his jaw. “With my life,” he said with reverence, looking her straight in the eye.

Buffy sobbed and nodded with determination. “Close your eyes” she whispered, blinking back the tears that threatened to fall.

He looked at her for a few seconds, his eyes flicking over her face, trying to sense what this was all about. Then he slowly closed his eyes, trusting her completely. That simple gesture was enough to set her off, and hot salty tears started running down her cheeks in earnest. She set her jaw, gripped the sword in her hand in a tight white-knuckled grip and pulled it back.

She hesitated for a split second, sending a quick plea to the Powers for Angel to eventually forgive her, before grabbing the sword with her other hand. With all her strength she thrust it forward. Straight into the centre of his chest, sliding right between his ribs and missing the lungs by inches, ploughing clean through to the other side.

Angel gasped, his eyes opening wide in shock. He turned accusing eyes at her and she saw the pain and betrayal in them. She choked on another sob and took a step back as she covered her mouth with her hands.

“Buffy?” Angel whispered again, wavering on his feet as he looked down at the sword jutting from his chest. He looked up at her again and then slowly extended an arm towards her. “Buffy?”

She couldn’t take it anymore. With a harsh cry of anguish she jumped forward, avoiding the sword in his chest she wrapped her arms tightly around his chest and held him tight. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she chanted over and over. “It was the only way, the only way,” she babbled into his ear as she continued to cry softly.

Angel sagged, his blood now dripping down his chest and pooling into a puddle on the tiled floor. He didn’t say anything, just turned his head slowly and regarded the vortex with a mixture of confusion, and then acceptance.

Finally he sighed, “I know” he said, raising his hand and smoothing her hair. “I know…”

The portal had widened now, almost two meters in diameter it towered over their heads, it had gotten louder and was now a roaring sound in their ears, blue flame was whipping out of the swirling mass of energy. Buffy’s hair and clothes fluttered against the harsh wind that swirled around the room. She wrapped her arms more tightly around Angel’s waist and held on tight.

Angel seemed to sense something was wrong at that moment. He looked down at Buffy, then he looked towards the portal. His eyes widened. “No!” he suddenly shouted, he grabbed her upper arms and tried to pull her away, “Buffy! No, No!” he cried desperately.

Buffy just held him even tighter, turned her head and leaned against his solid chest.

Angel was getting desperate now, panicking even, as he struggled to pry Buffy away from him. The blood that continued to flow from his chest was making him weak, making it hard for him to concentrate and focus. He could feel his vision darken and he sagged against her as he struggled to remain conscious. Despite all this he knew, without any doubt that he didn’t want Buffy anywhere near him at that moment. He wanted her as far from him and this portal as possible.

“Buffy!” he yelled again, “let me go, let me go dammit!” he shouted, and tried to push her away.

She shook her head again. “No Angel, no! I let you go once, I’m not letting you go again!” To prove her point she raised her legs and wrapped them around his waist. Clinging to him like a tick.

Angel made a desperate sound in the back of his throat as he stumbled back a step. “That place…Buffy, you don’t belong there,” he pleaded, trying to reason with her as he put his hands on her hips and tried to pry her off him. It was no use, his palms were sickly with his own blood, he was weak, and struggling to stay upright.

She looked up at him. “Neither do you,” she whispered, silencing him.
“Face it Angel,” she told him in a determined voice, “where you go, I go.”  Effectively ending the conversation, she turned her face away and leaned her head against his shoulder.

He fell silent. He couldn’t hear her heartbeat anymore, the roaring in his ears had become almost deafening, the power from the vortex pulling them both in slowly. He wrapped his arms more tightly around the Slayer in them and held her close. He could feel her shaking and smell the fear radiating from her skin despite her determination to be with him.

Blue fingers of pure, raw power started to wrap themselves around them. They stung and burned as they slowly pulled them both towards the portal. He felt Buffy shiver in his arms.

Buffy muffled another sob against his shoulder as she shook in fear. “Angel,” she whispered tentatively.

“Yeah?” he asked, his voice equally as soft.

“Never let me go?”

“Don’t worry,” he murmured in her ear. “I wouldn’t dream of it,” his voice was thick with emotion.

With those last words still lingering heavily in the air, the pull of the vortex became to much. It swallowed them both, dragging the two lovers deep into the portal. Angel’s blood had worked and sealed the demon Acathla behind them, stopping the portal from swallowing the whole world.

In the sudden silence two small little clangs could be heard throughout the now empty mansion. Abandoned in the centre of the room, a meter from where Acathla now stood peacefully, were two small silver Claddagh rings.

 

Never Let Me Go

Chapter 2

Xander Harris was shaking in fear. After getting Giles out of that dreadful place he had stumbled down the road, flagged a passing car and asked the driver to get them to the hospital as fast as he could.

But he couldn’t let Buffy deal with this alone, and so as soon as he checked Giles into the hospital, he had rushed back to the mansion; he couldn’t hear any fighting, or shouting. This could mean one of only two things, either Angelus had killed Buffy, or Buffy had killed Angelus.

He always thought of himself as a glass-half-full kind of a person, and was severely hoping for the latter. So, thinking positive thoughts, and squaring his shoulders resolutely. Xander took a deep breath, opened the front door and stepped into the hall.

He saw them in the middle of the room, their arms wrapped around each other. He was about to step forward and help Buffy when he suddenly noticed Angel’s eyes; they were full of tears. Then he noticed the swirling portal behind them and his eyes widened. He noticed Buffy’s arms wrap around Angel’s torso and hold him tight. He saw Angel try and push her away.

That’s when he finally realised what was happening.

Buffy and Angel were being pulled towards the portal, and Buffy wasn’t letting him go. “No,” he muttered to himself in shock. He took a step forward just as there was a blinding flash of blue light and Angel and Buffy were pulled into the portal. The light faded and the first thing he noticed was Acathla, looking exactly like a normal statue again, the sword one again buried in its chest.

He started forward, walking across the room towards the demon. He heard a soft crunch under his foot and stopped. Lifting his foot off the ground he looked down and noticed two silver rings, he frowned and picked them up. Once he got a closer look he froze, he would recognize Buffy’s ring anywhere, she and Willow had talked about it a few times, and she had never taken it off. The other, slightly larger but identical ring he presumed was Angel’s.

Angelus had kept the ring on, turning it around and using it as a reminder about everything the demon hated about the soul, and the blond Slayer. He swore and curled his fist around the two rings. Ducking his head he shook it frantically. Buffy was in hell…and it was all his fault.


(v)

Hell, Day One.



The first thing she heard was screaming. Harsh, pitiful cries of pain. The second thing she heard was the sound of her racing heart, beating frantically in her chest.

She took a deep gasping breath, and that’s when she realised that the painful screams were coming from her own throat.

She stopped as soon as she realised what she was doing. Sucking in another quick lungful of air she tried to open her eyes, before realising they were already open. It was pitch black, making no difference at all, she couldn’t even see her hand in front of her face. “Angel…. Angel?” she gasped, shifting around slightly, trying to sense him.

She heard a muffled groan from within the darkness and turned her head. She reached out blindly, searching. Moving her hand back and forth frantically. She sat up, and clutched her head as the sudden movement brought forth a wave of dizziness. Gritting her teeth she inched forward, dragging herself along the hard, rocky ground.

Finally, after a few minutes of frantic sobbing she touched a piece of leather. Crying out happily she shuffled forward, grabbing at his arm and gripping him tight as she moved closer. “Angel,” she whispered again, her voice cracking again as she sucked in a deep breath.

“Buffy?” he croaked, his voice a harsh grunt that was full of pain. She heard him groan softly and hiss as he tried to muffle the pain his movements toward her caused. She sniffed and started to cry as she pulled him towards her.

“Ahh!!” he screamed in pain. She felt him stiffen in her arms as his wounds scraped against the rocky, dirt floor.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she whispered as she hugged him. His whole shirt was sticky and matted with drying blood, the sword was gone, buried in Acathla’s chest and keeping the portal to this dimension closed. But the wound was still bleeding sluggishly. She grabbed his shirt and started ripping at it blindly, tearing strips and tying them around his chest to make a pressure bandage.

He groaned again and reached for her, grabbing at her thighs and waist and clutching her close. “Buffy….” he moaned again, “what happened? I can’t remember…” he trailed off, “I can’t remember.”

“Shhh….” she whispered, raising her palms and cupping his cheek. She pulled his face up towards her and kissed him softly. “It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter ok, I’m here now.”

Angel kissed her quickly, clinging to her desperately, with all the strength he could muster. After a few minutes Buffy pulled back reluctantly. She took a deep breath and then laughed shakily. “I can’t see a thing,” she muttered softly.

Looking around carefully, he found he couldn’t see anything either. “Neither can I,” he admitted as he shifted his weight restlessly. 

Buffy felt him move away from her and heard a shuffle as he slowly got to his feet. She followed his lead, reaching out to grab his arm. She stretched the other hand out, moving it back and forth in front of her face, trying to feel anything. They moved around like that for a little while, shuffling forward slowly over rough rock and soil. Finally Buffy's palm touched a rough, patchy surface and she almost jumped out of her skin. “There’s a wall here,” she whispered out of the corner of her mouth.

She felt Angel move, his shoulder brushing against hers as he placed his hand beside her. “Hmmm…a cave?” he muttered. He moved slowly, keeping his hand on the wall as he walked forward. Buffy kept her hands on his arm, not wanting to lose him as she let him lead them through the darkness.

“Can you see anything?” she asked quietly as he lead them forward.

He is silent for a couple of seconds. “Maybe, come on,” he whispered quietly. She felt his hand move out from under hers and he grabbed her palm. He held it tightly pulling her forward. It’s slow and painful, Angel stumbles every few steps and he grits his teeth against the pain. Buffy continues to look around frantically, trying to see.

Time passed with no meaning; they could have been wandering for hours, or even days. Neither of them was sure.

Finally Angel stopped, surprising them both as he uttered a soft. “Oh.”

“Angel? What is it?” Buffy asked quietly, looking up at him, just making out the faint outline of his nose. Of course, she thought.

“I can see,” he whispered, with a smile.

Angel turned his head back around. “We’re getting close,” he murmured. They started walking again, and few minutes later the light is even brighter.

Buffy could finally make out Angel’s features. She increased her pace, walking beside him now, glancing up to look at his face.

He felt her eyes on him and looked down. Buffy sucked in a startled breath, blood was flowing down his face from a cut across his forehead but that wasn’t the only thing that was different. His eyes were dark and haunted; she could see his pain and distress. She sniffed and swallowed painfully, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze.

Still holding hands, and walking a little faster they turned the last corner of the tunnel.

The light blinded them, they raise their hands to shield their eyes. Angel’s eyes adjust first and he takes a step forward, his eyes widening at the horrifying sight that welcomes them. His mouth drops open, and behind him he hears Buffy gasp in shock. He swallows painfully, and reaches out blindly toward his Slayer. Buffy clutches his outstretched hand, pulling it to her chest and moving toward him until she is pressed against his side. They are both shivering in terror, holding tight to one another as they looked down into the valley below. 

They are standing at the entrance to a very large cave. Taking a step forward, towards the rocky cliffs edge Angel looked down, and then up. The cave was set deep into the rocky face of a large mountain range. High above them towering black peaks rise high into the sky, which is blood red. Dark clouds gather in the distance as lightning flashes and crackles across the sky. The moon shone brightly from the east.

Far below them, in the valley, fires burned brightly, devouring everything in their path. Forests of large dead trees stretched for miles and miles, not a living thing in sight.

They were the only ones.

Buffy closed her eyes in pain. “So this is hell,” she murmured.

Angel wrapped his arms more tightly around her and buried his face in her golden hair. A single tear rolling down his cheek.


(v)

They made their way down the side of the mountain. The hard jagged rocks cutting into their palms, ripping their clothes and skin, making them bleed. When they got to the bottom of the slope they stumbled and fell, both of them weak from blood loss.

Down in the bottom of the valley the air was thick with smoke and ash; it clogged the air making it difficult to see, and breathe. Buffy started to cough, so she ripped her shirt and tied a strip of fabric over her nose and mouth. 

They walked and walked, the soles of their boots quickly burning and falling away from the hot, and sharply jagged ground. They walked through the dead forest, the trees bending in all around them. Buffy stumbled and slumped against the nearest tree. She brought a hand to her mouth and coughed again. Angel stopped and quickly moved to her side, he pulled her into his arms, lifting her up and carrying her as he resumed his trek through the valley.

When Buffy had finally stopped coughing, and calmed down she leaned her head against Angel’s shoulder. The vampire was silent; his chest was aching, both from the wound, and with the knowledge of what he had done.

He remembered now, the rush of warm, human blood through his dead veins, the sound of Jenny’s neck snapping under his fingers, of Giles screaming as he broke his fingers… it had all come back to him as he and Buffy made their way down the mountain.

He started to shake. Buffy shifted in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck. She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “It’s gonna be ok,” she said softly to him, “we’re gonna be ok”

He stopped and set her back down on the ground, shaking his head and stumbling away. He put his hands over his face and sat down on the ground abruptly, turning his face away from her. Buffy bit her lip and stumbled over to him, she wrapped her arms around him as she knelt down beside him.

He leaned into her warm embrace. “I remember,” he whispered, “I remember what I did…” he choked on the last words and turned away again, unable to deal with the look on her face.

She is silent for a few seconds, tears forming in the corner of her eyes. “It wasn’t you Angel” she told him softly, “it wasn’t you.”

Angel shook his head mutely, unable to voice his thoughts. He didn’t agree with her at all, he knew what he had done; he felt the thrill and the pleasure as he killed and tortured. But he kept silent; he couldn’t bear to see the look on her face when he told her the truth that the demon would always be a part of him. He took a deep breath to calm himself and turned towards her, he hugged her, pulling her towards him, crushing her body against his. He leaned his head down on her shoulder and closed his eyes.

Buffy bit her lip and ran her hands through his short, dark hair. He was worrying her, he had never acted so distressed before, he was always so in control. She swallowed and looked around her. They were kneeling on the hard rocky ground in the middle of a dead forest.

In the middle of hell.

She started to shake and clutched him tighter. Maybe Angel has a right to be concerned she thought to herself.

(v)

Sunnydale

Xander sat on the couch in Giles living room, wringing his hands together as he looked around at the others nervously. Willow was sitting on the ottoman across from him, a bandage across her forehead. Oz perched on the armrest, his arms around her shoulders.

Cordelia stood behind them, her arms crossed over her chest, tears streaking down her cheeks. Giles sat on the other ottoman, his hands bandaged and broken. He leaned forward and placed his elbows on his knees. “Would you mind saying that again,” he asked softly, unable to believe what Xander had just told him.

It was dark now; soft moonlight was filtering in through the open window. Xander looked away and cleared his throat loudly, shifting in his seat. “Buffy,” he told them again, “she…she followed Angel, into hell.”

“You mean Angelus,” Cordelia whispered softly, wiping at the tears on her cheeks.

Xander shook his head. “No. It was Angel,” he told them forcefully. He turned towards Willow, his eyes showing his sadness. “The curse worked, it was Angel.” He shook his head again and looked down at his hands resting in his lap.

“You should have seen him,” he said softly, choking back a sob. “He was trying to push her away, but she wouldn’t let go, and then…and then they were gone,” he muttered softly.

A feeling of dread crept up Willow’s spine and she shivered. She looked around at the others, noticing the stunned looks on their faces she knew was also on hers. “Buffy’s in hell?” she gasped softly, her voice raspy and full of tears.

Xander nodded quickly, refusing to look up at his best friend. Cordelia shivered and ran her palms over her arms. Giles looked down, took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose with his bandaged fingers.

“Good lord,” the librarian muttered under his breath.

 

Never Let Me Go

Chapter 3

Three months later…


Lightning flashed across the sky as thunder rumbled. Rain poured down, drenching the town of Sunnydale and creating puddles of water at the edges of the road. The few people that were still out at this late hour rushed around, holding umbrella’s or coats over their heads as they ran for home.

Up on the hills overlooking the town, the mansion was dark and imposing. A cold, dark structure, abandoned once again.

The vines and roses were overgrown, the windows were shattered. The door was hanging precariously on his hinges. Inside was trashed, the couches were overturned and slashed, and the table lay broken against the slate floor. The walls were covered in graffiti tags, the local kids wasting no time making the place their own once it was abandoned, they had done their best to make it as inhabitable as possible. The kids had quickly gotten bored though; now it lay quiet, the wind whistling through the hall, the ribbed curtains blowing in the breeze. Lightning crashed and inside the mansion the whole place lit up with a white light before fading abruptly as the lightning fizzled out. Thunder rumbled and the ground started to shake. A bright white light appeared on the floor, and two bodies fell from a portal above the ground.

Both of them were completely naked, lying on the ground and shaking with terror and hunger. The man lifted his head, looking around with wide eyes, he bared his teeth and snarled with human teeth. The woman beside him sat up and pressed her body against his, looking around also.

Both of them were filthy. Covered in dirt and blood, the woman’s waist-length hair hung limp and was full of grease and grime, forming dreadlocks that curtained her features as it fell around her. The man’s dark hair was ratty, falling to his shoulders, a full dark beard covered his chin and jaw, making him look older than his physical appearance.

With a soft snarl the man got to his feet, tugging the woman up beside him. She turned her head around as well.

The wind howling all around them, a window banged against its frame, startling both of them. They crouched, terrified, their faces shifting, teeth becoming pointed and sharp, eyes golden as ridges appeared on their foreheads.

This place was strange, and noisy, and both of them were scared. Memories filled their heads, screams of pain and terror. Hot objects and burning fire. This place was new, new meant pain and neither of them wanted that.

The woman hissed quietly, her yellow eyes looking keenly into the darkness. She spotted the door swinging on its hinges, and the dark sky beyond. The smell of woodlands and wild animals making her nose twitch with anticipation.

Without another thought she headed in this direction. The man, standing beside her snarled, and seeing her intentions followed, watching her back as she kept her eyes to the front, keeping an eye out for any threat.

They ran through the woods, feet pounding as they ran as fast as they could, eyes sweeping the darkness.

A deer bounded away, its eyes wide and terrified, its heart pounding in its chest. Both of them turned, quickly in pursuit. The chase was swift, the deer’s legs flailing in the air as they brought it crashing to the ground.

The deer screamed pitifully, its cries filling the air, both vampires snarled, ripping into the deer’s flesh, draining it quickly. As the deer stilled they both raised their heads, golden eyes glinting in the moonlight.

Their eyes met, and with a soft growl of pleasure she threw herself across the body of the dead animal and ploughed into the man, crushing her lips to his, cutting them against his fangs. He growled and returned the kiss, passion becoming their only concern. Soft growls and animals’ grunts filled the clearing as they clawed at each other, nails and fangs scraping flesh and opening new wounds, he grabbed her hair in his fist and savagely jerked her head to the side, his yellow eyes glinting in anticipation before he bent down and sunk his teeth into the side of her neck. She gasped and moved into his touch, nipping his neck with her fangs and drawing blood as well.

He fell backwards, landing on his back in the grass, she grinned down at him and leaned over him, their body’s moving together in a rhythm as old as time itself. She placed a hand on his chest as she moved up and down. She gasped, and arched her back her whole body shuddering with pleasure. He grunted, thrusting his hips up a few times as she came down from her peak.

With a sigh she fell forward, laying on his chest. He turned and wrapped his arms around her, keeping her pressed against him. A soft rumbling started in her chest and she started to purr, his eyes flickering closed as he stroked her hair.


(v)


The next morning the clearing was silent, both of the vampires were gone. The dawn sending them scampering back to the mansion.

An early morning jogger, taking a short cut through the woods stumbled across the deer, screamed shrilly and fell to the ground. She quickly recovered, and pulled out her cell phone, calling the cops. She sighed as she closed her phone and put it back in her pocket. “I hate Monday’s,” she muttered to herself as she crossed her arms over her chest.


(v)

Giles cleared his throat and glanced at the four teenagers who were looking at him expectantly. They were in the school library, it was the middle of the day, lunch time and Giles had just finished telling them about the deer that was found in the woods, it had been on everyone’s lips when he walked into the staffroom ten minutes earlier to get his sandwich. “Do you think it’s a demon?” Willow asked quietly.

“Its quiet possible,” Giles explained, “wild bears rarely come so close to town. The creature was found with its blood gone, normally I would say something like that was the work of vampires but…”
“But vampires don’t go after animals when there is a town full of people not half a block away,” finished Xander.

‘Exactly.”

“And it’s not a werewolf,” Oz added, “it’s not the full moon for another two weeks.”

“So what do you want us to do?” Cordelia asked bitterly, “we’re not Slayers.” Giles frowned sadly as Willow and Xander looked at her angrily. “What? We aren’t. I don’t mind helping, but we can’t do the stuff she does.”

“I know,” Giles said, trying to sooth the cheerleader. “I’m going to go into the woods tonight, with my crossbow, see if I can find this demon,  but if any of you want to come with me I could use he assistance.”

“I’ll come,” Oz said with a casual shrug.

Willow smiled at her boyfriend. “I’ll come too,” she said, as Xander agreed as well.

Finally Cordelia sighed and rolled her eyes. “Whatever, it’s not as if I have anything else to do anyway.”

The rest of the day passed quickly, the Scooby’s went to their classes. Giles sent a book order. As he was finishing, and was about to file the receipt he opened a drawer in his desk and froze. Inside the drawer was a stake, left in the library by Buffy after some fight or another. He had put it in the drawer, away from prying eyes and had forgotten about it.

He stared at it. Slowly he reached into the draw and pulled the stake out, he swallowed the sudden lump in his throat, got up and walked out of his office and into the library. He opened the metal gate, and placed the stake inside the cupboard with Buffy’s other weapons.

Never again would his Slayer need the weapons of her calling. But if he and the others wanted to survive they would. It looked like Sunnydale was in their hands now.


(v)

Giles and the rest of the Scooby’s, lugging weapons, walked into the woods. Cordelia held the flashlight in one hand and clutched a stake in the other as she followed Oz and Willow, Xander walking beside her, with Giles behind them.

The woods were silent except for the wind, and the chatter of a bird as they walked past. An Owl hooted softly and they all jumped in fright. “This is ridiculous,” Xander muttered, “there’s nothing here.”

As soon as the words left his mouth there was a crash from the bushes in front of them. Willow gasped and raised the crossbow as Giles pointed the tranquilizer gun towards the sound. Something big was moving through the woods towards them.

With a snarl Angel appeared in front of them. His human face curled up in a snarl, his mouth and chin smeared with blood. He was naked. Willow squeaked and averted her eyes as Cordelia raised her eyebrows, impressed.

He growled angrily and took a step forward. Behind them another snarl answered him and they all turned around in horror. “Buffy?” Willow gasped, her eyes opening wide. “Good lord,” Giles breathed, staring at his Slayer. Like Angel she was naked and covered in blood. Her blonde hair mattered with dirt and twigs, her arms and chest splattered with blood. She was filthy. A feral snarl ripped through her teeth and Giles raised the tranquilizer gun frantically.

Before she could move he quickly shot off two rounds, both of them hitting Buffy in the shoulder. Her snarl turned into a whimper of pain and she stopped, reaching up she tried to pull them out but the drug inside was designed to knock out a demon ten times her size and she slumped to the floor instead.

Angel’s snarl turned even more enraged. Keeping her eyes on his face Willow desperately shot her crossbow at him, it missed but gave Giles enough time to turn around and shoot the vampire with the tranquilizer gun as well. Like Buffy, he dropped to the ground quickly.

Willow let out the breath she had been holding and started to hyperventilate. “Oh my god,” she whispered softly.

“What the hell just happened?” Cordelia snapped. She hit Xander in the shoulder with the flashlight. “I thought you said he got his soul back.” “Oww!” he yelled, “he did!”

“Seems a bit growly to have a soul,” she huffed.

“Buffy’s a vampire,” Willow said sadly, “Angel wouldn’t turn her, not ever.”

“What if he didn’t have a choice?” Oz asked, “What then?”

“Who cares, they’re vampires. We should dust them. You know that’s what Buffy would want, rather than have a vampire running around wearing her face.”

“No,” Giles said quietly, cutting off the teenagers. “Let’s get them to the mansion, it’s abandoned now and out of the way. We need to find out what’s going on before we stake either of them.”

“What about…” Cordelia waved her hand vaguely in the direction of the vampires, “….the nakedness.”

“Xander, go home and grab something you think will fit Angel. Then go to Buffy’s house and grab something for her. The rest of us will meet you at the mansion.”

Xander nodded and quickly ran off as the others stood around and looked down at their charges. 

“So who’s holding what?” Cordelia asked with a smirk. Oz glanced down and then pulled a quarter from his pocket. “Wanna flip for it?” he said.


(v)

His arms full of clothes, Xander raced around the back of Buffy’s house and up the steps to the porch, knocking quickly on the door. He shifted quickly from foot to foot before the door opened and he rushed past Joyce. “Sorry,” he said quickly, “I just have to pick up something,” and he raced for the stairs.

His mind raced frantically, trying to make up some excuse as he dumped the clothes on the bed and started searching Buffy’s draw for a top and pants. Joyce stood in the doorway and crossed her arms over her chest. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Um, er…” He grabbed a dark coloured shirt and put it on the bed. “Um…we need some clothes, for some….demons,” he winced as soon as the words left his mouth.

Joyce’s face turned white. “Demons?”

Xander didn’t say anything as he found a pair of pants, picking them up off the floor before grabbing the other pile of clothes and heading to the door. As he walked past, Joyce reached out and grabbed his arm desperately, looking straight into his eyes. “Is Buffy back, is she home?” Joyce asked.

Xander swallowed the lump in his throat. “I…I can’t say anything, we don’t know yet.” And he walked out the door. He headed down the hall and then stopped, turning back around he found Joyce staring at him sadly, her hands clutched to her chest.

“I’m sorry,” he said before he headed down the stairs.


(v)

Willow snapped the metal handcuff around Buffy’s wrist, leaving the vampire chained to the wall. On the other side of the main room Giles and Oz did the same thing to Angel. Once both vampires were secure, still out cold from the tranquilizers the Scooby’s moved to the middle of the room to regroup.

Willow couldn’t take her eyes off Buffy, it was heartbreaking to see her friend like this, not only because she was a vampire but because of the state she was in. She was dirty, covered in filth and unbelievably skinny. Angel too was in bad shape. “What do you think happened to them?” she asked softly.

Giles shook his head slowly. “I don’t know,” he said, “I’m more concerned about how long it’s been.”

The teenagers looked at him. “What do you mean?” Cordelia asked.

“Hell dimensions, most other dimensions actually, run on different times then earth. It very well could have been months like it has been here, or years.” He paused and turned his head back towards the vampires. “Or it could have been centuries”

Willow froze, her eyes widening. “Centuries?” she whispered.

“Most likely,” Giles said softly.

The front door opened and Xander slipped inside, his hands full of clothes. “I got them,” he said, breathing hard, “Joyce saw me though,”

“What did you say?” asked Giles. “Xander,” he snapped as the boy remained silent.

“I know! But I couldn’t think of anything else to say.” He muttered coming up to them and dumping the clothes on the ground.

He looked over at the vampires lying on the ground. “Ok, so how are we gonna get them in the clothes?”

Cordelia shrugged. “I can, you know, help dress Angel if you guys are two chicken,” she said with a cheeky grin, causing Xander to turn around and glare at her. “What? I’m kidding, scheesh!”

The guys helped Angel, and the girls helped Buffy. Only just managing to get the vampires into the clothes before they started to stir. Both of them growling softly, and tossing as they came to. Xander only just managed to jump out of the way before Angel came fully awake, snarling and swiping at him with his hand.

Xander stumbled as he got out of the way and swore loudly. Giles steadied him as they all took a couple of steps backwards, watching the vampires warily.

Angel stopped snarling, and just looked at them. Then he slowly looked down and touched his shirt, confused at the fabric.

Buffy growled softly and opened her eyes, staring up at the ceiling, she got up quickly and looked around frantically, her hair whipping around her face. From the other side of the room Angel turned his head towards her, a snarl bursting from his lips.

He jumped to his feet and started towards her, only to be brought up short as the chain pulled taunt. He growled and tugged at the chain, but it was secured tight into the wall and the vampire didn’t have the strength to pull it out.

From the other side of the room Buffy did the same, with the same result. She leaned forward as far as she could, her arm stretched out behind her, but the chain wouldn’t budge. Finally she relaxed, stared at Angel from across the room and let out a quiet, pained whimper.

“Buffy,” Willow said slowly, “Buffy it’s Willow.”

Her friend didn’t even acknowledge her, didn’t even seem to hear her, as she just continued to look at Angel. “Why doesn’t she respond?” Cordelia asked, crossing her arms over her chest. “That’s just rude.”

“I don’t think she can,” Giles tried to explain, “I don’t think either of them can.” “Why?” asked Xander, “What’s wrong with them?” The Watcher frowned. He had a fair idea what had happened, he has seen what years of pain and torture could do to the human mind. He wasn’t about to tell the teenagers though, not until he was certain nothing could be done. “I don’t know,” he said instead, staring at Buffy sadly, “But I will.” 

 

Never Let Me Go

Chapter 4

Hell, Day Five.


Buffy coughed loudly, she couldn’t breathe.

She hunched over and covered her mouth. Angel held her, whispering soothingly as she bent forward and spat out a hunk of black sludge. She sobbed and put a hand over her mouth. ”Gross,” she muttered, before she started coughing again.

It was getting worse, as the hour’s past she could feel her body getting weaker. She hated it. “Angel” she murmured weakly, before she started coughing again.

“Ssshhh, darling” he whispered, stroking her cheek. “Don’t speak.”

“I’m dying,” she told him, looking up at him through hazy, fever bright eyes. “It’s this place” he said to himself, “Only the dead can survive hell.” She started coughing again, tears streaming down her face as her whole body started shaking. Angel wrapped her in his arms, holding her against his chest. “What am I going to do?” she said to herself. He glanced down as he continued to stroke her hair “I…” he paused, “I think I know a way…” “How?” she asked, glancing up at him hopefully.

He looked away, unable to meet her gaze.

“Angel?” she managed to choke out between coughs, “tell me, please.”

He swallowed the lump in his throat and bent down to kiss her softly. She looked up at him in confusion. “I could always make you a vampire,” he said, almost cringing from the words as they left his lips.

Her eyes opened wide and she stared at him in complete shock, never would she have thought to hear those words from him. He wanted her to stay human, how many times had they argued that she deserved a normal life, a normal boyfriend, someone who could take her into the light and live?

She swallowed. “A vampire?” she said quietly, “But Angel, I wouldn’t be me.” She was wondering why he hadn’t thought of that. He knew what would happen if she became a vampire, she would cease to be her, leaving her body with a demon inside.
He shook his head slowly. “I think it would be different here,” he tried to explain.

“How?” she asked quietly.

He sighed and sat back on his heels. “It’s because we’re in hell. You can’t leave this place. It is for the dead, their souls are trapped here. Your soul will have nowhere to go, it will be stuck here too.” He reached out and put a finger to her chest, “in here.”

“It’s a risk, I don’t know if it will work, but you’ll die if you don’t, and then…” he looked Buffy straight in the eye. “Then your soul will be stuck here regardless, forever, without a body, no hope of getting out.”

Buffy’s eyes widened and she grabbed his upper arm, squeezing it tight and sat up a little straighter. “That’s you’re plan?” she hissed, “you want to find a way out?”

“Don’t you?” he countered. “You don’t belong here Buffy.”

“Neither do you!” she said forcefully. “Don’t I? After all the things I’ve done?” he shook his head. “This is the place I'll end up Buffy, but not now, not with you here with me, I’ll be damned if I let you suffer because of me.” “If there is a chance to get out I’m gonna take it, and for that I need your soul here.”

“What if it doesn’t work?” she asked sadly before she started coughing again. When she pulled her hand away it was covered in blood, a trickle running down the corner of her mouth.

Impossibly, Angel turned even paler. Buffy watched his face as a mirror of emotions flashed across his face. She looked down at her hand before wiping it on her pants. “Angel, I’m ok,” she whispered. He shook his head sadly “You’re not Buffy, you’re coughing up blood, I’ve known too many people who have died from that.”

“I’m a Slayer, Angel, we’re tougher than the average bear.”

He gave her a look, not getting the reference but understanding what she was trying to say. “I know that Buffy, but even you can’t survive your lungs starting to rot.”

Buffy flinched at his cruel words and looked away. The harsh landscape stretched before them, fires burned in the distance, thick black smoke clogged the air. “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to stay here either.”

“I’ll get you out of here Buffy, I will.”

She looked away again. “Ok, she whispered, “but don’t turn me until the very end.”

He blinked back tears before wrapping his arms around her, kissing her softly. They sat on the hard earth wrapped in each other’s arms, neither of them in any hurry to move. A few minutes later Buffy had to pull away as she started coughing again. Angel held her as she shook, rubbing her back soothingly. When she continued to cough he stood up and took her into his arms and started to walk again.

It was getting late and soon they would need to find shelter. For the past five days they had managed to find shelter under a dead tree or bush, or even beside some rocks that offered a little protection from the wind. Angel insisting on taking watch most of the time, Buffy needing more sleep then he did, but even he couldn’t stay awake all night.

Hell was not like earth. A moon shone in the sky, and followed a path across the sky, but a sun never appeared. Tree's grew, but they were different from the ones on earth. They were twigs and bark, no leaves in sight. Fires burned on the ground and in the sky, thunder and lightning seemed to be everywhere.

It was strange and scary, but Angel didn’t have to worry about the sun.

After a while she stopped coughing, relaxing into his arms. He heard her breathing start to slow and even out as she fell asleep.

He kept a look out, finally spotting a rocky outcrop jutting out past the trees, in the rock was a cave.

Carefully he walked up the rocky hill, holding Buffy close he walked toward the small cave. He peered in, his nostrils flaring, searching for anyone inside. He couldn’t smell anything and cautiously walked inside. The cave was empty. He put Buffy down on the ground, watched her for a seconds then walked back outside to grab any wood he could find. A fire would keep them warm tonight.

His head was full of thoughts, Buffy was dying. He knew it, he couldn’t kid himself anymore. He stood outside the cave and wiped the sudden tears in his eyes.

In a few days she would be worse and then he would kill her, make her like him, all so he could save her soul and make sure she could get out of here. “I love you Buffy,” he said to himself as he scrambled down the small hill and walked towards the trees.


(v)

Hell, Week Two.


They had spent the last few weeks in the cave, it was small and isolated, and there was wood nearby for a fire. After that first day they quickly found out that they weren’t the only ones here. Demons were everywhere. The place was primitive, with technology common centuries before. They had carts that were pulled by ox-like demons, only with scales and talons. Some demons wore clothes in various styles of cotton, wool and leather, while others went naked.

Most importantly they had weapons, which Angel and Buffy discovered after they had crawled out of the cave and up the cliff, hiding in some bushes as a troop of soldiers marched past. Exchanging glances Buffy and Angel kept out of sight, not speaking to each other until the demons were well out of sight. “What type of world is this?” Buffy asked, “Soldiers?”

Angel shrugged. “The Army was very important back in the day, they acted as law enforcers as well as their military duties.”

A few days later a huge, hulking demon ambushed them as they were coming out of the trees not far from the cave.

With an angry snarl Angel killed it, and drunk his blood, making himself sick as a dog for days. He made a mental note to avoid that species of demon in the future.

They also managed to find a relatively clean water source, where they could finally wash the blood off their skin and Buffy could drink a few sips of water. But she was weak now, every breath she took sent her into a coughing fit.

It was time.


(v)

It was night time, and inside the cave Buffy looked up from her place beside the fire as Angel walked back into the cave, looking even paler than usual. Dust covered his skin and hair and made him look older then he appeared. She smiled up at him, then winced as she started coughing again.

Angel knelt down beside her, wiping her sweat soaked hair back from her forehead, “Are you ok?” he asked her softly.

She sighed softly, “I’m ready,” she whispered.

He swallowed, his eyes showing his distress. “I don’t want to do this,” he whispered, a lump in his throat.

“There’s no choice, I can feel it Angel,  I’m dying. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to be stuck in here forever. I don’t want you to be stuck here alone,” she cried desperately.

He leaned down and kissed her slowly, both of them savouring the contact before he pulled away, He took a deep breath then settled beside her. Buffy sat up and curled up against him. Slowly he brushed her hair back from her neck, holding her close. He started kissing her neck as Buffy kept her eyes closed.

His face shifted and he took a deep breath through his nose, her scent filling his nostrils. He could feel the veins in her neck pulse underneath his lips, his body started to react. He was hungry, he was half starved already and the smell of Buffy’s potent Slayer blood was testing his control.

He hesitated for an instant before he carefully sunk his fangs into the side of her neck. The sharp fangs sliding in easily, the blood spilling out of the wound and into his mouth. He moaned quietly despite his best intentions and clutched her even tighter against him as he slowly drank her blood.

Buffy gasped quietly before relaxing, getting weaker with every gulp he took.

He pulled his mouth away, licking his lips before bringing his wrist to his mouth and opening a vein with a quick slash of his fangs. Blood flowed and he quickly pressed the wound to Buffy’s mouth. “Drink,” he told her.

She closed her lips around the wound automatically, seeking any moisture she could. The blood flowed down her throat and she gasped, the tangy liquid tasting strange to her tongue, but she kept drinking anyway.

Angel kept his wrist pressed to her mouth until it had healed.

He settled her in his lap, smoothing her hair back and holding her close as she slowly died. She stared at him her big hazel eyes looking up at him in complete trust before they slowly started to darken. “I love you,” she whispered before her eyes closed. Her chest stilled and as the last breath left her lungs a single tear rolled down Angel’s cheek and splattered onto Buffy nose.

“Please god, let this work” he whispered over and over, praying for the first time since he had been a small boy. The irony of praying to a god while in hell not lost on the vampire. “Please, make her right, let her soul be hers.”


(v)

Hour’s past as Angel sat on the other side of the fire from where he had laid Buffy down in the dirt and loosely covered her with earth. He was starting to lose hope. Had he done it right? It had been years since he had turned another, what if he had forgotten something?

He was staring at her, unblinkingly when suddenly her hand twitched. He froze, his eyes focusing on the small movement. “Buffy?” he said quietly. Her whole arm moved and her eyes snapped open. She sat up with a harsh scream, her face shifting into the vampire’s true face.
“Buffy!” Angel yelled this time, desperately.

She turned towards him, a snarl on her face and for a second he was worried, but then within the yellow iris’s he saw her soul shining through. She threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his waist and sobbed into this shirt. “Oh Angel,” she whispered over and over.

“Sshh, sshhh. It’s ok.” He murmured soothingly, clutching her tight, putting his chin on the top of her head. He couldn’t believe it had worked. He couldn't believe she was still Buffy. She pulled back and looked into his eyes. Her forehead was rigid, her eyes bright yellow, he could see the points of her fangs under her lips. He reached up and slowly stroked a hand over her face. “You’re beautiful,” he murmured.

She sucked in a gasping breath and slowly her face changed back to human. “You think so?” she asked in a small voice. He nodded and leaned forward, kissing her.

He held her for a few minutes, just letting her get her bearings, then she leaned back and looked around, her nostrils flaring. “I knew you could smell, see, and hear better but this is amazing, and I’m hungry.”

“Did…did you want me to get you something?” he asked quietly.

She shook her head. “I can do it. I’m no damsel that faints at the sight of blood,” she said as she stood up.

Angel smiled and followed her out of the cave. They walked down the rocky outcrop and into the small strand of dead trees, they picked their way over the dead branches and walked further away from their makeshift home. Angel took the lead and every now and then he pointed things out to her. Showing her how to distinguish smells and sounds, how to tell what was another predator and what was potential prey.

The ground was rough, nothing green was in sight, the wind picked up and dust and dirt started blowing up from the ground creating large dust clouds, making visibility low.

Suddenly Angel stopped, his head turning to the side and his nostrils flaring as he caught a new scent. “Do you smell that?” he asked her quietly.

Buffy followed his actions and nodded. “What is it?”

“A demon,”

“Can we eat it?” she asked, matter of fact.

For a second Angel was jolted out of reality, and he had to remind himself that Buffy was a vampire now. He turned his head towards her, still silent.

Buffy seemed to realize what she had said and winced. “Sorry,” she whispered.

He shook his head. “No, no don’t be, I need to remember you’ve changed.” He looked right into her hazel eyes, seeing the relief in them at his words.

“Yes, we can,” he answered her question, “It tastes a bit like goat. You’ll like it.” She snorted in amusement and he grinned, knowing what she was laughing at. “Not often you’ll here that when you go out for a meal.” “No, never.”

He chuckled and led her across the plain. Both of them keeping low to the ground. They crouched behind a boulder and waited for the demon to come into view. It was slightly humanoid, but not. Its head was elongated like a deer’s, it had large horns coming out from the top of its head like an antelope, but it’s eyes were facing forward, it had fangs and it was scaled. It walked on two legs, its hands were humanoid and it even carried weapons. It walked on cloven legs, its tail whipping out behind it like a lizard.

Angel adjusted his grip on his broadsword and shifted his weight to his other foot, ready to spring forward. They only had one sword between them, but neither of them were worried. With a glance at each other they both jumped over the boulder and headed towards the demon, their faces changing.

The demon turned towards them, a growl forming in its throat. It raised its battered sword and turned towards him, focusing on him.

While it was distracted Buffy ducked around and came up behind it, with a snarl she pounced on its back grabbing its head and wrenching it upwards, digging her fangs into its neck. The demon cried out, its sword arm going limp.

Angel stepped forward, grabbed its arm and wrenched the sword from its grip before stepping up next to it, grabbing its shoulders and biting into the other side of its neck. Both of them held the demon tightly between them. It’s blood flowing down their throats.

A demon isn’t a vampires usual fair, and this type of demon wasn’t even seen on earth. But it provided sustenance, enough to get by. Buffy growled softly, and dug her nails into the demons skin.

They drank until its blood stopped flowing, then let the demon fall to the floor. Buffy licked her lips looking at Angel as he did the same. He bent down and retrieved the demon’s sword, handing it to Buffy. “Are you ok?” he asked her quietly.

She nodded, “yeah, I’m fine. I can do this.”

He stepped forward, wrapped his arms around her waist and bent down to kiss her.  He could taste the demons blood on her lips, and feel its lifeblood coursing through her veins, keeping her here, alive next to him.

“I’ll be here with you, I’ll always be here with you,” he said to her.

“I know,” she murmured, reaching up and putting her arms around his neck and wriggling against him, “I’m looking forward to it.”

 

Never Let Me Go

Chapter 5

Hell, Year Twenty Five

The air was thick and humid, the ground scorching under their shoes. Slowly they trudged across the rocky earth, both of them were dirty, they hadn’t eaten in days. They were weak, and half starved, but neither of them would give up.

They had been in hell a long time, half a century by Angel’s reckoning.  In that time they had wandered far from the little cave where they had first made their home. They killed demons, and stole their clothes and weapons.  There was an awful lot of black, and a little too much leather for Buffy’s liking.

They had a tent made from the skins of demons they had killed, and they would move from place to place. She wore a long floor length leather coat over a pair of black leather pants and a dark blue crop top. The only thing that had survived the years was her silver cross necklace. Angel wore boots, dark pants, his belt buckle, a dark shirt he had stolen from a demon twice his height, and a black leather jacket.

Sometimes they would stay a few days at a place, sometimes they would stay longer. They met demons they could talk to, and found that most just simply wanted to live the best they could. Some would try to kill them on site, vampires not being particularly popular. They always made damn sure never to mention that they had their souls, and for the most part they learned to fake it.

“How much longer are we gonna be walking for?” Buffy asked as she trudged along, Angel at her side.

“Not much further,” Angel answered. He looked around and jerked his head to the right, where the ground sloped up into a hilly range. “How about we go in that direction?” he offered.

Buffy nodded in agreement and they headed in that direction. It took a while, the hills were further away than they originally thought, but eventually they made it.

When she got to the top they stopped, and looked down at the ancient stone buildings that resembled the towns of old. She remembered the first time they had stumbled across this shadow of civilization, they had been ecstatic, until realizing that they were the lowest on the food chain.

Demon’s ruled here.

That first time they had stayed only a few days, before moving on. Now they looked down at the little town, and contemplated the possibilities. It was small, located in a valley with hills bordering two sides with a desert on the others. “It looks like Sunnydale,” Buffy whispered quietly, “except, you know….everything.”

He smiled at her sadly. “You miss it, don’t you?”

Buffy nodded, “I even miss the Hellmouth, shocker I know,” she added at his disbelieving look.

Walking side by side they headed down the hill and entered the town. It was larger than the one they had passed through all those years ago, with houses and other buildings that make a town, a town.
As they walked through the main street there was a commotion, and a door to one of the buildings was thrown open and a demon tumbled out onto the dirt.

Angel grabbed Buffy’s arm, and they stopped where they were, watching in amazement as another demon appeared in the doorway then jumped two feet, landing on the demon in the street. The fight was quick and brutal, with the first demon ending up dead, its neck twisted at an unnatural angle. It was harsh, and brutal and left the vampires reeling from shock. His killer looked up, glaring at them. “What are you looking at?” he asked roughly, his voice a growl.

“Nothing,” Angel said quickly, pulling Buffy away before she could open her mouth and say something sarcastic. This demon was not one he wanted to mess with, it had killed the other demon without any effort.


That moment cemented their need for anonymity, the importance of blending in. But it didn’t stop them from receiving attention, both of them were attractive and looked human. Demons of both sexes weren’t exactly shy about expressing a carnal interest. Angel shrugged it off and dodged the advances with a bored look, Buffy blushed and stuttered, until she learned to give as good as she got.

They got a small place to live, and jobs doing odd work for others. But for the most part they kept to themselves, only calling a few in their apartment building ‘friends’. The demons, after those first few weeks where curiosity got the better of them, chose to ignore them, and let them live without too much hassle. 

Their apartment was small and cozy and suited them just fine. With a few touches is quickly turned into a home. For the most part they could forget that they lived in hell, until they walked outside the door and were confronted with the harsh reality of their predicament. The fact their next door neighbour had a tail didn’t help matters either.


(v)

Standing at the top of that same hill, on a different day Buffy turned her head and smiled at her husband, the wind whipping her hair around. “Home sweet home.”

He wrapped an arm around her waist and kissed her. “I can’t wait…” he whispered suggestively against her ear.

She smiled slyly at him and they both headed down the hill. They walked through town, saying ‘hi’ to those they recognized before stopping at the door to their apartment building and walking up the narrow rickety stairs to their small apartment. The main room had a small kitchenette and living room, managing to squeeze in a small table and chairs in the corner to eat. On one side was a door to the bedroom and adjoining bathroom.

Buffy dumped her backpack on the table and reached inside. She pulled out a large glass jar full of thick red liquid, blood. Licking her lips she carried it to the fridge and put it beside the half empty jar before closing the door.

Every couple of day’s they would walk out of town, hunt and find a demon who wasn’t quite as fast or as agile as the rest and take them down. They used their swords and then their teeth, drinking as much as they could and collecting the rest in a jar. They tried not to drain the demons in one go if they could help it. A demon was considerable larger than a human, his blood more potent and strong, though not nearly as adequate for a vampires diet as human blood.

Neither of them wanted to gorge and give into the bloodlust, they drank just enough to quench the hunger, then they saved the rest for another day. It kept fresh in their little fridge and insured they didn’t have to go hunting every night, they could use the night for more important….interesting things.

Buffy walked back into the living room and sat down beside Angel who was sitting on the couch watching her. He smiled and moved his arm so she could curl up beside him, her head on his shoulder and her arm wrapped around his waist. They held each other tightly.

Every night, just before they went to bed for the day they would sit here on the couch, sometimes they would sit silently, sometimes they would talk about the past and the friends they had left behind. Well, Buffy’s friends. Angel didn’t think he could claim such a thing, especially after the last six months he had spent in Sunnydale…terrorising the population didn’t really lend itself to making friends.

Buffy snuggled up against him with a small sigh. “I thought about Willow today,” she said.

“And?” Angel murmured against her hair.

Buffy sighed. “Do you think they’re ok?” she asked, “What do you think they’re doing?”

He leaned his head against hers. “I don’t know, I suspect half of them are married now, working hard to pay off the mortgage, with 2.5 kids.”

A small smile played across Buffy’s face. “Can you imagine Xander with kids,” she asked softly.

“Poor kids,” Angel deadpanned, causing Buffy to slap his arm playfully.

“Do you think him and Cordy are still together, after all these years?” she asked next.

Angel paused, thinking it over. Eventually he shook his head. “I don’t know, Buffy. People change, High School is…High School. It isn’t the end.”

“I never thought they were right together,” Buffy admitted, feeling guilty for saying it. “They're too different, they could never make it work. I hope Xander finds someone he loves, I hope Cordelia does too.”

“We did,” Angel said slowly.

She tilted her chin up so she could look him in the eye. “We aren’t that much different now though, are we?” she said softly.

Years had passed, and Buffy had long ago come to terms with being a vampire. She hadn’t wanted to leave him, she hadn’t wanted to be trapped in hell for all eternity. If that meant being a vampire then she was prepared to live with the consequences. Every now and then she would remember what it was like to eat ice-cream on the beach, walk in the sun with her friends or feel the pounding of her heart in her chest. But all she had to do was look at Angel, at the man she loved and she would soon forget what life was like before.

She put a hand on his arm. “It’s ok,” she said, “You did what I wanted, I could never leave you here alone.”

He looked away, not convinced. With a sigh Buffy sat up and twisted so she could face him. She put her hands on his cheeks and turned his head gently so he was looking at her again. “I love you,” she whispered, her heart in her eyes for him to see.

He smiled, and bent down to kiss her softly.

As always, even after all these years a quick peck soon turned into something much more heated. The two vampires growled, and purred softly against one another. Their passion fuelling the fire within. Eventually Buffy pulled back, laying a steady hand on Angel’s shoulder as he grinned and made to move forward. She laughed and stilled his movement, standing up slowly, “Come on,” she said, holding out her hand to pull him to his feet. He smirked at the look in her eyes and let her pull him to his feet before they headed into the bedroom to finish what they had started.


(v)

Hours later they lay together in bed, their legs tangled together. Buffy lying half on top of him, her head on his chest and her arms wrapped around him, both of them were sound asleep.

A loud crash sounded through the room and they both shot up, their faces shifting reflexively. Standing in front of the door was a huge demon that had to bend to fit in the room.

It growled and bared its teeth. Angel growled again and jumped out of bed, Buffy following him. They attacked the demon, but even their combined effort was of little effect against this demon. He was huge, wide as well as tall and with muscles as wide as Buffy’s shoulders. She was tiny compared to him.

With a swing of its huge arm he knocked her off her feet and sent her crashing through the wall into the living area. She moaned as she lay on the floor, struggling to get back to her feet as blood poured down her face from a large cut. She looked up and snarled at him, baring her teeth. 

Angel growled and attacked, catching the demon by surprise as it was still looking at Buffy. Their swords were in the other room, so all he had to use was his teeth, which he did, biting into the demon’s arm and drawing blood. The demon howled in pain and turned around, grabbing him around the neck with his other arm and lifting him into the air. Angel wrapped his arms around the demons wrist, thankful that he didn’t need to breathe as the demon choked him.

Buffy scrambled to her feet. “Angel,” she cried running towards him. She punched and kicked the demon, but her fists did nothing to him, it didn’t even wince. Slowly it turned its head and stared at her. Buffy paused, looked up at him and swallowed. The demon grinned and hit her again. This time she didn’t get up.

Angel snarled again and the demon turned his attention back to him, he was still in his arm, his feet dangling a foot off the ground. The demon brought him in close. “It’s about time you two had what was coming to you.”

At Angel’s shocked look the demon chuckled. “What? You think we didn’t know what you were? That we couldn’t smell the souls as soon as you walked into this city. We were waiting, time is no issue here.”

Angel coughed, “The perfect time for what?” he managed to wheeze out.

The demon grinned. “For you to finally be of use,” he said before he smashed Angel’s head against the wall, rendering the vampire unconscious.


(v)

Sunnydale


Giles met the others outside the mansion the next morning. In his hand was a paper bag with two, one litre containers of pig’s blood. Xander had his arms around Cordy’s shoulders, the tall brunette had her arms wrapped around herself as she shivered in the morning sunlight. Willow squinted up at him. “How did you sleep?” she asked him tiredly, hiding a yawn behind the back of her hand.

“Not very well at all, I’m afraid,” he admitted, “How about the rest of you?”

The teenagers all shook their heads.

“I was too worried,” Willow said.

Giles nodded and looked up at the big wooden doors. He gave a huge sigh and slowly pushed the door open, wincing as it creaked on its hinges. They all slipped inside, Oz closing the door behind them.

They all stood silently, shifting from foot to foot and moving restlessly as they decided what to do. From the doorway they could see straight down the centre of the entranceway to where Buffy and Angel were chained to the walls. Both of them were on their feet, the demon visage plain for all of them to see as they stared at the humans intently.

They hesitated, then walked down the length of the hall, ignoring the soft growl that rose from Angel’s throat. Giles stopped, put his bag down and pulled out both containers of blood. Angel stopped growling and both vampires focused all their attention on him.

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Giles?” Oz asked quietly.

The Watcher nodded as he took a step forward. “Yes, I’ll be fine,” he assured them, while trying to assure himself.

He took a deep breath and walked slowly forward, both vampires shifted on their feet to keep their eyes on him. Suddenly they took a step towards him, the chains rattling. Giles stopped, his heart thundering in his chest and took a deep breath to steady his breathing. “Careful, Giles,” Willow whispered from behind him.

He turned his head from side to side, looked at the chains, judged how long they were and how far he was from the vampires, before taking another step forward. He put one container down and then took a few more steps closer to Buffy and put down the other. Then he slowly backed away. Both vampires continued to watch him, then they slowly turned their heads and looked at the containers in the middle of the room.

Angel’s nostrils twitched and he was the first to move slowly across the room towards the containers, the chains clinking with each step. He grabbed the container in his hand and brought it up to have a smell. He growled softly and used his teeth to get the lid off. Then he tipped the container up and drained it, blood running down his chin and staining the collar of his shirt.

Buffy watched silently, licked her lips and then did the same to her own container of blood.

“Giles,” Willow said slowly, suddenly realizing something.

“Yes, Willow.” The Librarian asked.

“Is that human blood?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“GILES!” Cordelia and Xander yelled in shock.

“Why would you give them human blood?” Xander asked in disbelief.

“It is a vampire’s natural food source,” Giles reminded them all, “Also, I thought the added protein would aid in healing them.”

“Is that why they are like this?” Cordy asked. “They haven’t been drinking human blood, but Angel wasn’t crazy before…well not before he went evil anyway.”

Giles shook his head. “Madness is enhanced by lack of food and nutrients, but no, time is the biggest factor here. Time and the horrors of hell.”

“But, you think it will help them?” Willow stated.

The Watcher nodded. “I do, I hope at least, we’re going to need all the help we can get.”

Buffy whined quietly and they all turned their heads. The blonde vampire had wrapped her hands around the chain and was tugging it repeatedly, trying to wrench it out of the wall.

“Uh, Giles.” Xander muttered in concern.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “It’s secure.”

Buffy pulled at the chain again, taking a step forward until the chain was pulled taunt and her arm was stretched out behind her. She grunted softly as she pulled again. The metal creaked and a small puff of stone dust fell away from the wall. Buffy snarled angrily and pulled again.

Suddenly there was a sickening snap as her shoulder dislocated. She howled in pain and leaned forward. There was a scraping sound and the end of the chain came out of the wall. It clattered to the ground with a clang.

Cordelia gasped and hastily backed away, hiding behind Giles. Giles and the others froze, not wanting to attract her attention. But Buffy wasn’t interested in them, she didn’t even look at them. Instead she walked straight across the room, dragging the chain behind her. She went right up to Angel, snuggling up to him and wrapping her good arm around his waist. Angel made a contented sound in the back of his throat, running his hands over her body. They slowly crouched down on the floor, oblivious to the human’s watching on curiously.

Angel put his hand on her dislocated shoulder and before anyone could react, he pushed it back into place. Buffy yelped and then quietened. The two vampires pawed and caressed each other, making sure that the other was ok.

Giles licked his lips nervously and turned his head slowly, motioning to Xander to get the tranquilizer gun.

Xander nodded, and slowly backed away, getting the gun from where they had set it down by the door before walking slowly back to Giles and handing it to him. Neither vampire had moved, instead they seemed to be even more focused on one another. “This would be a good time to use that,” Oz deadpanned as a soft moan escaped Buffy’s lips.

Giles raised the gun, checked that it was loaded with darts and shot both vampires in quick succession. There was a moment of uncertainty as both vampires snarled and turned towards them, before falling over, the drugs in the dart getting the better of them.

Giles sighed and put the gun down. “Come on, let’s get her back in the chains before she wakes up.”

“Maybe we should chain them together this time?” Willow offered, “I mean, they’ve been together for however long they were in hell…they probably don’t know any different.”

“Maybe it will make them calmer?” Oz mused, “Maybe it will help…”

Giles thought about what the teenagers had offered, and then nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, that is a good idea,” he said as he picked up Buffy’s chain and started to secure it to the wall beside Angel’s.

 

Never Let Me Go

Chapter 6

Hell, Year One Hundred

The years had passed in a blur. Deep in the dungeons under the city the two vampires huddled, naked and shivering. Eyes locked onto each other from either side of the bars of their cell.

They had been here for the past hundred years, fighting for their lives side by side in the fighting arena above, fighting demons for the chance to live another day. They had lasted a century already, the record.

After being knocked out by the huge demon; who they later found out was called Ralph; they were put in chains and taken to another city. They weren’t the only prisoners, but they were the only vampires. The other prisoners were demons, and in much worse shape.

They were chained to the back of a cart, and pulled along behind it. The journey took a few weeks, with both vampires starting to lose control by the time they entered the city.

 Like the little town they had lived in they were the odd ones out, looking up in awe as the old buildings towered above them.

They were locked in a dungeon, in a cell barely big enough for them to fit. They curled up against one another, their backs against one row of bars, Angel’s legs resting against the other. The dungeon door creaked open and they looked up, peering through the bars to the demon that was walking towards them.

He stopped when he was in front of their cell and looked down at them, its red eyes amused. Buffy sat up straighter and looked the demon in the eye. “What are we doing here?” she asked.

“You’re here to fight,” it growled around a mouth full of sharp teeth. “We haven’t had a pair of vampires in the arena for a long time, the crowd will be pleased.”

Buffy frowned but Angel was beginning to understand. “An arena?” he stated. “Like a Gladiator.” Buffy’s eyes widened in sudden understanding.

The demon shrugged. “I don’t know what a Gladiator is.”

“What if we lose?” Buffy asked.

“You die.”

“What if we win?” Angel countered.

The demon snorted. “A vampire hasn’t won for ten centuries,” it said in amusement.

Angel raised his chin. “Well, looks like we’ll be the first won’t we?”

That first battle had been brutal, they had been pitted together against two other demons, also lovers. Afterwards, when the ground had been soaked with blood, and the demons were lying dead on the ground Angel and Buffy stood silently, all around them the crowd cheering in excitement, the bloodlust making the air heavy with animosity. Yellow eyes glinting in the moonlight Buffy and Angel had stared at each other, hating it. 


Each fight passed in a blur, and soon months turned into years, years into decades. Still they remained unbeaten. The demons pitting them against harder and harder foes.

Each time the betting went up, the demons expecting the vampires to finally fall. But they underestimated how much Buffy and Angel meant to one another, how much they would actually do for one another. Buffy had followed him to hell, had let him turn her into a vampire, a little demon wasn’t going to get in her way from being with him, not now, not ever.

Eventually it took its toll. Madness was slow, worming its way into their minds one little strand at a time until eventually they lost their minds completely.

They no longer cared about getting out of hell, or seeing their friends again. The world shrunk until all they saw was each other, and the threat each new demon was to their mate.  All they cared about was each other, the only words they knew were each other’s name.

But a deal was a deal, and as long as they were winning they wouldn’t be killed. Not that it stopped the demons from doing other things. They tortured them, both physically and mentally until they were both broken shells of what they once were. They were tortured in front of each other, the other one helpless to stop it.

The demons also took great pleasure in humiliating Buffy in any way they could. Making her painfully aware that in this world, she was the weak one. She hated how it made her feel.

Each time they would make Angel watch, chains around his arms and legs, a collar around his neck. One time they only had a guard to watch him and Angel had broken free, killing the demon that was hurting her. Now they made sure he couldn’t do anything but growl angrily.

Afterwards they were thrown back into the dungeon and Buffy would curl up in his lap, her head on his chest. In the relative isolation of their cell she would give in and cry, Angel keeping his arms protectively around her and giving her any support he could.


(v)

 
The latest battle was over, Buffy and Angel stood victorious as they always did. They were both covered in blood. As the spectators watched the two vampire’s moved toward each other, embracing before they started to lick the blood off each other’s skin. Watching from the stands high above two demons looked down at them, faced with a dilemma they had never encountered before.

“A contradiction, if ever I saw one,” the older demon hissed around pointed teeth, rubbing at the horn that jutted out from the tip of its nose.

The other grumbled under his breath. “Are we going to just let this continue? They’ve slaughtered countless of our kind. When are we going to put an end to this nonsense? Just kill them where they lie.”

The other demon turned its head and eyed the other with disdain. “Have you no honour? We may be demons but we take our vows seriously. They are in the arena to fight, it is dishonourable to kill them outside of it.”

“Fine. What else can we do? It is humiliating to us and the crowd to see a pair of vampires win against our kind.”

“Then we must get them out of the arena, but we can’t kill them.”

The two demons fell silent as they contemplated the possibilities. Musing over the options they could take and quickly dismissing them. Finally after a few minutes the younger one huffed and shrugged its shoulders. “I still think we should kill them, save on the tax.”

The older one shook its head slowly, lost in thought. “No,” it said, “We need to get them out, and I think I have the perfect solution.”

“What?” The demon grinned, showing its teeth. “Why, we send them home of course.”

(v)


Buffy and Angel were huddling together when a group of about ten guards walked into the dungeon and over to their cell. They were all various types of demons, scales and skin, big teeth and fangs, some even had horns and one even had a tail that ended in a fork. The later, the captain opened the door, holding it open as a few demons walked into the cage and prodded the vampires with their swords, making them move.

Both vampires snarled and tried to attack, but the guards overpowered them, and dragged them out of the dungeon, up the stairs and dropped them off at the feet of the two demons who were responsible for all the fighters in the arena. 

Both vampires looked up at them from their positions on the floor, gazing up at them through hooded, swollen eyes. Slowly Angel got to his feet, licking the blood from the corner of his mouth. He stood with his eyes lowered, hunching over submissively before he pulled Buffy to her feet beside him.

The former Slayer was shaking, she was hungry and weak and the blood she could smell from the cut to Angel’s cheek wasn’t helping her control at all.

The older demon stroked his chin with a scaled hand, its bright green lizard-like eyes staring at them unblinkingly.  “I know neither of you can understand me, I’m afraid we broke you a little too much.”

All around him the other demons chuckled.

Buffy hissed, baring her teeth.

The demon bared his own fangs in return. “None of that now,” he said to her. He turned to his companion. “Are you ready?”

The other demon nodded and stepped forward.

Sensing something was going to happen both vampires took a step backward. Their attention on the new threat standing in front of them.  The demon grinned, liking the reaction.

Slowly he started to chant a spell. A blue light flowed around the vampires. Scared, her eyes wide Buffy wrapped her arms around Angel’s waist and pressed herself against him. Looking around frantically. Angel snarled and tried grabbing at the light, thinking it was solid. His hand passed right through as the light continued to enclose them.

The demon continued to chant, the spell coming to a climax with a rush of power and a flare of bright white light. When their eyes cleared the two vampires were gone.

The demon smiled and brushed his hands down his chest in satisfaction. “That worked out better than I expected,” he said, impressed with himself. “I’ve never done that spell before,” he admitted as the other demon turned to stare at him. “They could have ended up in heaven.”

The other demon shuddered. “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!” he said.

(v)

Sunnydale

Three weeks later…

A few weeks had passed since Buffy and Angel had returned from the hell they had been in, and the improvement was insignificant. Neither of them could communicate, and as hard as Giles and Willow tried they couldn’t even get Buffy to acknowledge them. She didn’t know them, they were strangers to her, a threat, and potential food.

They had lost count of the number of times they had had to tranquilize either one, or the other after they had tried to attack them. Curiously, it was Angel who seemed to have the best control. Buffy was much too quick to anger and attack them, either with fear or anger. Angel only attacked them if he thought they were going to hurt Buffy. Proving to the Scooby’s that they still cared about one another, despite the madness.

It wouldn’t last forever though, each night the friends grew even more worried, not only for Buffy but also, in association for Angel.

Xander didn’t share their concern, until –surprising everyone- Cordelia pointed out that, “If Angel dies how long until you think miss –I’m-a-natural-blonde- follows him? You already saw her follow him to hell, she’ll follow him into death as well.” After that he was as concerned as the rest, even if it still didn’t change his opinion of him.

Finally, after yet another day that ended with both vampires snoozing on the floor, darts in their chests and arms Giles thought it was time to finally take matters into his own hands. “I think it’s time we told Joyce,” he said, as the teenagers gasped and looked at him in shock.

“But…” Willow started to say.

Giles shook his head. “She needs to know what’s become of her only daughter, and maybe it will be the trigger Buffy needs to remember,” he tried to explain. “If not, as least she has a chance to say goodbye.”

As he closed the door behind him the Scooby’s all looked at each other.

“I have another idea,” Xander said suddenly before he rushed out the door.

“What the hell is happening?” Willow cried, “this is Buffy we’re talking about, we can’t kill her.”

“She’s not really Buffy now though, is she? She’s gone, she doesn’t even pun anymore. Maybe it’s for the best.” Cordelia said sadly.

Willow shook her head angrily. “No, it will never be for the best, we can’t give up on her.”


(v)


An hour later there was a knock at the door. With a grumble Willow got up from her seat on the couch and went to open it. The others all stayed where they were.

On the other side of the room, away from the windows that was letting in the warm midday sun. The vampires huddled in their corner, paying little attention to the humans present.

As Willow and Giles led Joyce into the mansion, Buffy’s mother gasped in shock. “Buffy,” she whispered, her eyes wide as she stared across the room at the two vampires crouched in the shadows.

Buffy and Angel turned their heads around at the sound of the new voice. Angel growled softly but Buffy stared. Very slowly she rocked back on her heels and stood up. Her eyes never leaving her mother’s face, an array of emotion coming and going on her face. She took a small step forward.

Giles grabbed Joyce’s arm as she made to move towards her daughter. “Don’t Joyce,” he said quietly. “She isn’t Buffy, not the one you knew.”

Joyce stared. “What happened to her?” she glanced at Angel quickly who slowly stood up and watched her silently. “What happened to both of them?”

“Time, and Hell,” he admitted.

Joyce looked at him in shock “Hell?”

Giles nodded, “They’ve been back for a month now, we haven’t seen an improvement.”

“An improvement?” Joyce asked in concern, she turned back to look at her daughter. “What do you mean, why isn’t she saying anything?”

“She can’t” Willow said quietly.

“They haven’t said anything since they got back,” Cordelia added helpfully.

“Their minds are gone, Joyce,” Giles said soothingly, his hand still on her arm. “We don’t know what to do, they aren’t getting better. You were our last hope.”

Joyce started to cry, the only time any of them had seen Buffy’s unflappable mom cry. “No, there must be something else you can do, you can’t give up on her. I thought you were her friends.”

“We are!” said Willow, shocked, tears forming in her own eyes.

“There is nothing we can do Joyce, this is something she has to do herself. We can’t get through to her, nothing has worked. They are too damaged, to raw.”

Joyce buried her face in her hands and turned, putting her forehead against Giles shoulder and started crying in earnest. The Librarian frowned in sympathy and put his arm around her in what he hoped was a soothing manner, patting her back awkwardly.

At that moment the door banged open, and Xander rushed inside. Both vampires jumped and snarled in response, yellow eyes suddenly appearing.

Joyce gasped in horror at the sight as Xander rushed forward. “Sorry, sorry,” he muttered, “but I just thought of something.”

“What?” asked Giles.

Xander grabbed Joyce’s hand and dropped the pair of Claddagh rings into her palm. “Their rings,” he explained as Joyce just blinked at him.

On the other side of the room Buffy took another small step forward. There was something happening, someone new was here, someone she ought to know. She frowned as she tried to grasp at the memories that buzzed through her mind faster then she could grasp at them.

She struggled, a small whine escaping her throat. It was right there, just out of her reach. She frowned and narrowed her eyes as a memory formed. Joyce wrapping her arms around her and telling her she loved her as they sat on the couch staring at a burning candle.

She took another step forward. “Mom?” she whispered into the silence. “Mommy?”


(v)

Sunnydale

Two months later…

Buffy and Angel sat on the couch in the living room of the Summer’s home. Their Claddagh rings glinting on their fingers. It had been a few months since Buffy had called out to her mom, a few hard months of pain as she slowly brought herself back from the brink of insanity, dragging Angel along with her.

As Buffy started to heal, and remember, she helped Angel do the same. The tall vampire had a harder time of it, Buffy was his only real connection to the world. The only thing that kept him from reverting to the animal he had become. He struggled, the centuries he spent as an evil demon taking their toll. Every day was a struggle, the hardest was learning to speak again.

The first time he picked up a book and could make out the words he started to cry. With Buffy at his side he found it easier. They got through it together. Eventually becoming the people they were before. 

They eventually told the Scooby’s, and Joyce what had happened to them. How they had been forced to fight for their lives, and tortured.

“What I don’t understand,” Giles had said, cleaning his glasses, “is why you turned Buffy, you we’re the one to do that weren’t you?” He accused, putting his glasses back on.

Angel swallowed the lump in his throat, glanced around at the accusing stares and nodded.

“Why?” Joyce asked, her voice quiet.

“Because I was dying mom,” Buffy said, an edge creeping into her voice as she took Angel’s hand in hers and stared at her friends defiantly.

“Did you want to be a vampire Buffy? How did you know you would keep your soul?”

“Because if she had died in heaven her soul would have been trapped there for eternity, I…guessed that if she was a vampire her soul would stay with her, it had nowhere else to go,” Angel explained.

“That was an incredible risk to take” Giles admitted, not liking it at all.

Angel shrugged and Buffy squeezed his hand again. “I wasn’t gonna let him stay their own his own,” she said.

“And I wasn’t going to leave her their either. She was dying. If I hadn’t turned her she would have died within months.”

Willow looked at both of them, her eyebrows narrowed. “How long were you there?” she asked, suspiciously. They had been very careful to not mention that little detail yet.

Angel and Buffy looked at each other. “I lost track after about 50 years.” He admitted, knowing full well it was a great deal longer than that.

Buffy looked at her mother as Joyce gasped in shock. “See mom, nothing to worry about. I’ll be around for a great deal longer yet.”

“We’re glad you’re back.” Willow whispered.

“So am I,” Buffy admitted. She looked at Angel and smiled. “Oh, and guys,” she asked.

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for not giving up on us.”

A/N: Thanks everyone for reading, hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you liked it enough why not leave a review and make my day, I know you want to.
Until the next story,

xxx

Ashes

 

 

 

 

 



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