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Summary: This story takes place after "Innocence," "Phases," and "BBB." This is a story about what would happen if Angel's soul was restored. Although there is some action, this is mostly an emotional piece.
Disclaimer: Characters in this story are based on the television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is copyrighted by Twenty Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. No infringement is intended in any part by the author, however, the ideas expressed within this story are copyrighted to the author. I have taken certain creative liberties with the characterization of Buffy.
Author's Notes: Idea of Angel owning a small cross to control urges is the property of Rebecca Carefoot and is used with permission.
Special Thanks: to Jenny, JL, and JennyW for ideas and contributions to this fanfic and to Tracey, my Beta Reader.
Buffy Summers laid comfortably asleep in her bed, dreaming of the person (vampire actually) that she most wanted to be with. In her dream she was in a graveyard fighting the evil demon, Angelus, that now controlled Angel's body. Angelus swung a punch hitting Buffy in the ribs.
"Kill him, Buffy. You have to do it." Someone whispered in the wind. Buffy stopped fighting and turned astonished to find Angel, the soul of the real Angel, standing behind her. "Pull out the stake and stab him."
Angelus stood as if frozen in time as the couple spoke. This was a dream after all. Buffy said, "Angel, I can't kill him, you... I can't."
"It isn't me, Buffy. You have to kill him, I'm not in control any more. He is going to kill all of your... our friends. He is going to hurt you Buffy, and I can't stop him. I can't stand to see that happen," he reached up and caressed her cheek, "I want you to kill him."
"But If I kill him, I'll kill you too. Then there's never any chance of getting you back; I'll lose you forever. " Buffy sobbed as she reached out for one of Angel's hands.
"I'll always be with you, Buffy. Killing my body is for the best, for everyone. I didn't belong being alive before, I was only there because of a curse, a punishment." He smiled sadly. "The only good thing about the curse was that it allowed me to met you... " He pulled his hand free and lifted it to her face and gently traced her features. "And love you. I don't belong there now. It's time for that body to die. I want you to kill me." Angel could see the pain in Buffy's face and attempted to draw her close for comfort.
"NO!" Buffy screamed, pushing him away. "I won't do it Angel. I don't care what you say. I'm not giving up on the chance of getting you back. I won't kill you, I wont' do it."
Angel started to insist again that Buffy kill him, but Buffy was so distraught she awoke herself out of the dream. "Angel, Angel, no, no, Angel," Buffy screamed as she awakened.
Buffy jolted straight up in her bed. Her lungs and heart were racing, she wouldn't do it, no matter what Angel wanted. She wasn't going to permit him to have a death wish.
"I'm glad you're dreaming about me, sweetheart," a satirical Angelus said from inside Buffy's room. He was inches away from her, sitting on her bed.
Buffy knew she would have to fight him once again, fight the body of the one she loved. This time, the odds didn't look too good. She couldn't reach any weapon and he was hovering over her. Perhaps I can just talk him into leaving. I don't think he's going to kill me, now. "What are you doing here, Angel?"
"Just watching out for you, honey. We wouldn't want any dangerous vampires hurting you, now would we?" Angelus asked with a laugh. He reached for Buffy's face, but she jerked her head away from his touch. "Oh, don't be that way, baby. I'm sure we can make it better than the last time." Angelus grinned from ear to ear. Seeing the look of pain and embarrassment on Buffy's face at the mention of that night was ecstasy for him.
That comment tore at Buffy's heart. She knew it wasn't really Angel talking, but it felt like it. This added to her own insecurities about sex made her feel like crying, but she wouldn't give him the satisfaction. Buffy insisted that she keep her cool. "What do you want? I'm trying to sleep here if you didn't notice."
"You're cranky tonight," he said tauntingly. "Maybe my little surprise tomorrow will cheer you up."
"What surprise?" she asked in a cold voice. "Look, just leave me and my friends alone."
"Ohh, don't worry. You'll love it."
With that Angelus backed away from Buffy's bed and climbed out the window. Buffy waited until the fiend leaped back in to the darkness from which he came. Slowly watching his form melt into the night sky, a panic stricken Buffy realized she had to check on her mother right away. She feared that her surprise was going to be a dead mother. With a heavy heart, Buffy turned to her nightstand and began to dial up the numbers of her dearest friends, making sure they were all still among the living. Upon finding that they were all okay, Buffy flopped back in bed and thought to herself, I'll just have to find a way to restore him before he has a chance to do anything else, Buffy thought to herself. She was not letting Angelus win, nor was she giving up hope that she and Angel would be back together, soon.
In the library of Sunnydale High School, Buffy sat with her friends pouring over dusty old books. She had told them about her dream and her encounter last night. They all agreed that they needed to step up their efforts to find a way to help Angel. Xander was reading a book entitled "The Romani People" and Willow was pouring over "Spells and Curses." Buffy's book was a watcher diary, one of the time period in which Angel was originally cursed.
Xander agreed to help halfheartedly. He really couldn't understand why Buffy didn't just stake Angel. Xander considered it doubtful that they would find anything anyway, but he continued to look.
Buffy stared at the handwritten pages as she scanned. She came to a part mentioning Angel and read more intently. "One particularly evil vampire, Angelus, has begun terrorizing several of the young girls in the area. He's murdered two of the girls' mothers and a puppy." Tears began to roll down Buffy's face. She couldn't handle this. Is this what he's going to do to me? He wants to drive me crazy like Druscilla and these girls. How could I fall in love with someone so truly evil? But, this isn't Angel, Buffy. You have to separate them in your mind for your own sanity, Buffy thought in her jumbled head. She tried to read more, but just couldn't. She shoved the book away from her and curled her knees in to herself. She kept seeing Angelus teasing her, and then Angel begging her to kill him.
The others were too absorbed in their own research to notice Buffy's pain. Willow kept flipping pages of the tattered spell book, not really sure what she was looking for. Then her eyes focused in on the title of one spell. She froze dead as her eyes bulged. This was it. "Guys, guys," Willow leapt from her chair knocking it to the ground. The crash and the desperation in her voice jarred everyone from their book-induced trances. "Spell, good spell, oh, very good spell..." Unable to find the words, Willow resorted to pointing rapidly at the title of the page of her book. She tried to pull herself back together and get it out. "I've got it. I really think this is it!!!"
The others immediately turned their attention to the red headed girl, but they were too afraid to get their hopes up.
"You think you've found a spell that will work, Willow?" Giles asked.
She nodded and began to read "Spell to return a lost soul to a body." She looked up to see her friends' reaction. "Wouldn't you say Angel's soul is lost?"
"It depends on how the spell was intended," Giles replied.
Buffy was already practically on top of Willow. "What does it say we need to do?" she asked trying to conceal her enthusiasm.
Willow frowned as she read it. "I think we have to read these words near Angel, and then it works. I really don't know," she sighed in frustration. "It's kinda vague."
"No," Giles said examining the book further, "We don't say it. A witch has to. This is a book of witches spells."
"But, but it was perfect," Willow responded with a frown of disappointment. "Sorry to get everyone's hopes up." Willow had so wanted to help Buffy get Angel back. She knew every false hope was like turning a knife in Buffy's gut.
"But we know a witch," Xander piped in, happy to be useful. "Amy! Amy could do this for us." He really didn't want Angel's soul restored, but he wanted Buffy to be happy. As much as it pained him, he knew that this was what Buffy wanted. Xander was willing to do anything for her happiness, including forsaking his own.
"Do you think she would?" Buffy asked with great excitement in her voice.
"Hold on here. These spells were meant for very powerful sorceresses. Amy doesn't have the power to do something like this," Giles said.
"She had enough power to turn me into a rat," Buffy said hopefully. Giles' pragmatism was not taking this from her. She was getting Angel back.
"And to make the entire town go crazy for me," Xander added.
"Yes, but her spell backfired. She doesn't really know what she's doing. We couldn't be sure the spell would work at all. And even if it did do something, we have no idea what kind of side effects this could have."
"Well, it's worth a try don't you think?" Buffy asked. Then she noticed the look on Giles' face. "Please, Giles" she begged.
"You can talk to her about it," Giles conceded realizing that she would do it anyway.
"I'll talk to her," Xander offered. Buffy nodded happily. She was going to get her Angel back.
"In the meantime Buffy," Giles added handing Buffy a piece of paper, "this is a spell to keep Angelus out of your house. Do it as soon as you get home today. We don't want him trying to deliver his 'present' before we're ready for him."
Xander escorted Amy into the library where the others were waiting. "Let me get this straight," Amy said in a sarcastic tone. "Vampires are real and Buffy here is a 'Slayer' who goes around killing them."
Xander nodded. "Big shock, you'll get over it," Buffy said.
"And Buffy loves a vampire and wants me to give it a soul, because..." she said making the story sound completely unbelievable.
"Deal with the reality of the situation," Buffy said.
"Really, Amy. I know it's hard to believe, but all of this is true. We really need your help," Giles added, hoping that the voice of an authority figure would add credibility to the ridiculous story.
"Sure," Amy said, raising her eyebrows. She still did not believe any of this. Willow handed her the spell book and showed her what they wanted her to do.
"This is a very powerful spell. It's very old too. I'm not sure I can handle it," Amy said.
"But will you try?" Buffy asked pushing her.
"Umm, yeah, I'll try. But, I'll need the 'vampire' here when I do the spell, otherwise it won't work."
Buffy nodded. "We need major plannage for that part." She suddenly became aware of the presence of another person in the library.
"I think I can help with that part," Jenny Calendar said emerging from the shadows.
"What are you doing here?" Giles asked in an obviously rude tone.
"I'm just trying to help. Angel wants to hurt me for what my people did to him. He really hates me now."
"Imagine that," Buffy said under her breath. "Guess the list of those people is getting a little crowded huh?"
Ms. Calendar suppressed the urge to cry at Buffy's biting comments. The girl had no idea. Angel hated her for being a Romani; Giles hated her for not being honest with him; Buffy hated her for letting her boyfriend turn into a demon; and her people hated her too for not doing her job. She was all alone now, but this was a chance for her to redeem herself, at least a little. "Angel will come after me tonight. He follows me around every night, watching my house and waiting for the right time to strike. If I stay here, he'll show."
Buffy shrugged. She didn't want Jenny around, but she had no qualms with using her as bait. "Tonight then?" Amy asked. They all nodded.
"Question," Xander asked, "What happens if the spell doesn't work? We've got everybody Angel hates in a room for him all packaged up."
"It will work," Buffy said adamantly.
"Still, it couldn't hurt to be prepared," Giles added.
"I'll get some stakes," Xander said, almost gleefully. As he left the room, visions of Angel dust danced in his head..
The group sat in the library, hoping that Angel would show. Buffy hated waiting. Xander stood near Willow twirling his stake, actually hoping that the evil vampire didn't show. He had hated Angel before he turned evil, now he really wanted the guy dead, although, technically, he already was.
His hopes were not realized. Angelus jumped down from the second story directly behind Ms. Calendar. He quickly pulled the gypsy woman near him and bared his fangs.
"And I thought I was suppose to be supplying the gifts. I couldn't get your mom for you tonight Buffy, someone locked me out of the house, but this one. Well, how nice of you to bring me a present," Angelus said in his jokingly evil tone.
"Uhhh, now would be a good time, Amy," Giles yelled. The girl, a little startled by the appearance of an actual vampire, pulled herself into reality and started chanting. As she chanted the room began to swirl with light, and as she neared the completion of the spell the light entered the body of Angelus.
The vampire screamed in agony and dropped to the floor. Time froze, everyone just stood and watched, not sure what was happening. Buffy was praying that Angel was all right. Xander hoped that at last his undead rival was finished. Jenny, Giles, and Amy hoping it would work for their own safety.
Angel withered on the floor as his soul came back. Everything that made Angel the being that he was before Darla bit him came back with a vengeance, his personality, his thoughts, free will, and moral obligations. He cried in agony as he was bombarded with thoughts and visions of what he had done while the demon was in full control of his body. Flashes of dead girls, blood, and helping Druscilla passed through his head in an instant. He could vividly remember everything that had happened and he saw it all right then. He looked around at the faces staring at him, faces of disgust and repulsion. Angel closed his eyes in pain. He hadn't been looked at like that in a long time, but he knew what those looks meant. Then he looked towards Buffy, hoping for one glance of compassion. He saw the same expression on her face, fear. Even she was ready to pounce on him. Angel's heart ached worse than it ever had before, to see that look from Buffy was beyond torturous. Buffy was the only human who had ever seen him as anything but a monster. She was all he knew of true love, and all he cared about. Now... now she looked at him with the disgust a hideous demonic beast deserved. Why hadn't she just killed him like he had asked? Why didn't she just kill him now and end it all?
"Anybody gotta clue how we're suppose to know if dead boy's back to normal?" Xander asked still clinching his stake.
Realizing what he had done, what was happening, the way Buffy was looking at him; it was all too much for Angel to handle. His body began to convulse, his guts knotted and gagging, he threw up. Pure blood flowed from his throat, his head churned and tears mingled with the pools of blood forming on the ground.
"That's going to be a mess to clean up. Dibs on not cleaning it up," Xander nodded his head towards the red pools forming under Angels chin. Buffy stared at the body convulsing on the floor and knew it had to be her Angel. She was sure. She ran up to his side and put her hand on his back. She too began to cry and her tears merged with his. When one of the hurling fits was over he turned to Buffy. The look of fear was gone from her face, there was even a hint of empathy. Still it hurt, because when he looked at her he saw a flashback. He saw his sweet love in his apartment crying, asking if she had been good enough. Crying because... of the horrible... things he had said. "You got a lot to learn about men kiddo, but I guess you proved that last night." He had made fun of their night together; he had torn her apart. Angel started riding his body of more blood.
"It's okay Angel, it's okay," Buffy whispered, rubbing her hand up and down his taunt back, trying to calm him. "I'm here," Buffy sobbed. Her tears washed the blood from his trembling lips.
Angel glanced again at the faces in the room: Xander, so eager to kill him, and Jenny Calendar, terrified of him. He couldn't stay in that room a moment longer. Angel stood up and bolted for the door. He was gone before Buffy could get out another word.
"Do you think it worked?" Giles asked.
"It worked," Buffy said confidently. "He's devastated by what's happened."
"Well, then what do we do now?" Willow asked hoping to be able to help Buffy. She knew this was hard on her friend.
"We don't do anything. He's hurting and I'm going to go find him."
Angel ran out of the library. He wasn't really sure where he was going, he just had to get out of there. As he ran he saw Buffy's face: that look of fear. He saw her crying in his apartment. He heard over and over in his mind "You know what the worse part was? Pretending I loved you. If I had known how easily you'd give it up, I wouldn't have even bothered." I said that to Buffy! I crushed my love with words like that. She loved me, she trusted me... and I... How can she ever forgive me? How can I ever forgive myself? He just wanted to curl up into a ball and die.
Somehow Angel managed to find his way to his loft. He wasn't really sure how he had gotten there, but he was standing outside of the door. He turned the key in the lock and flung himself into the room. Filled with self-hatred and angry energy, he seized a crystal statue and hurled it against the wall. It shattered in to a million pieces. He stood looking at the wall. The anger, the fury and the hate drained from him. He collapsed to his knees and began to sob into his hands.
The room just brought back more thoughts of Buffy and what he had done to her. He could even smell her in the room. He looked at where she had stood, when he... I can't handle this. I... the things I said to her... I...
Calm, Angel, calm, he thought. An idea struck him and he began ripping through drawers. He pulled out a small velvet lined box and opened it, revealing a small golden cross. It had been years since he had felt the need to wear it, but he needed it now. Unfastening the clasp, he put it on and grimaced at the instant pain. Not enough, I'm sure it used to hurt more than this, he thought. In reality the physical pain was the same, but it just didn't compare to the pain in his heart. I have a box of stuff here somewhere in case unwanted guests show. A wooden cross, I think I have a wooden one. Angel began frantically searching again.
He didn't find the large wooden cross he was looking for, but he found something even better: a bottle of holy water. Pleased that he kept some of thus stuff around in case of an emergency, he opened the bottle. This will make the pain stop. This will begin to make up for what I did to Buffy. Still, he knew it wouldn't. No amount of torture he inflicted upon himself could make up for what he had done. Yet, he laid his arm straight out and poured. He screamed out in pain, but continued to pour. His arm began to smoke and bubble. He had to stop, he couldn't handle the pain anymore.
Laying the bottle on a table, he fell onto his bed in pain. He held his sore arm and cried. Buffy, I'm so sorry. How, how could I have done this. How can I ever be near you again, after what I've done? He just curled up on the bed and wept.
Buffy wasn't exactly sure where Angel had gone. He would probably wander the city in the dark, trying to forget the pain. Buffy had done this herself on several occasions in the past few days. Still, it was doubtful that she could find him that way. She decided to head for his apartment; he'd have to turn up there eventually. She would just wait until he did.
Standing outside his door, she wasn't really sure what to do. Should she just break in? She decided maybe she should check and make sure he wasn't already there.
"Angel," she whispered as she knocked on the door. There was no response. She reached for the doorknob and was surprised to feel it turn without forcing it. Opening the door slowly, she peaked her head around and whispered again, "Angel?"
As he lay in his bed, Angel heard the noises outside the room. He knew immediately who it was. She came for me. Her voice, she doesn't sound mad. Angel's thoughts raced. Maybe things were going to be okay, but then reality rushed in. You can't be near her. Even if she doesn't hate you know you are a danger to her. You've hurt her enough already. You need to make her forget you. Angel knew he had to force himself to do the last thing he wanted, scare Buffy off.
Buffy was surprised to see Angel laying on the bed. "Can I come in?" she asked, not really waiting for an answer.
"Get out of here, Buffy!! I don't want you here. Go away and stay far away, is that clear?" Angel yelled with all of his strength, then control was lost, he choked, "You're never to see me again! Get out." He turned his face to hide the tears.
Angel's harsh words crushed Buffy's heart, but then she realized what was going on. Angelus wouldn't warn her about himself. Only her Angel would try to protect her. This was actually a way of showing her how much he loved her. Buffy walked into the room and sat down on the bed next to Angel. She placed her hand on his tear streaked cheek.
"Didn't you hear me, Buffy? You have to get out of here, now!" He sobbed, no longer trying to hide the tears.
"Angel, don't. It's over with now, don't make it worse," she said compassionately as she ran her fingers through his hair.
"It will never be over, Buffy. I'm a vampire and that will always be. There will never be a time when I'm not worried that I'm going to change again, or that I'll hurt you. You can't be near me. I don't ever want to put you in a situation where I could possibly hurt you again." "Angel, we've been through this before."
"That was before... I... hurt you so much," he said in a barely audible voice.
Buffy shook her head. "It doesn't matter. Nothing has changed. We play with danger every day, remember. Vampire things, slaying... any of this coming back? I knew beforehand that you had a demon in you, a demon that had done a lot of evil stuff. Okay, now I've witnessed that demon firsthand. No, it wasn't pleasant and it hurt, but I still love you. I feel much safer with you, here, than anywhere else. Even when Angelus was attacking me, I wanted you to hold me and make it all better. You're a risk I'm willing to take in my life." Buffy smiled, wiping away his tears with her finger.
Out of the corner of her eye Buffy noticed the burn on Angel's arm. She leaned back to examine the wound closer. "What happened?" she asked innocently.
"Noth. . . nothing," Angel turned away ashamed.
Buffy stood to find a bandage and bumped the nightstand containing the holy water. Her eyes widened and she turned around to face Angel. "Angel, what did you do?"
"I needed to Buffy."
"Angel, you could have seriously hurt yourself. What were you thinking?"
"Can we not talk about this?" he whispered. He was in enough pain, physically and emotionally, without Buffy scolding him.
Buffy nodded, it wasn't what was important. She perched on the edge of the bed and took his hand. "Angel, I want to talk about us."
"There is no us, Buffy. We can't be. What happens if I get happy again? What if we get too close and I snap? I won't risk hurting you."
"We don't know how this spell that Amy cast works. It isn't like the Romani curse. It isn't meant to torture you; you don't have to be in pain anymore. It could be unbreakable."
"Or it could wear off in a couple of hours. Buffy, you don't know."
"Well then we need to find out more about the spell. We, us, together. No matter what happens, I want you in my life. We'll work through any problems together. That's what a relationship is about. You help me; I help you. Right now I want to help you."
These words touched Angel. Here was Buffy, after all that he had done to her, sitting on his bed begging him to stay a part of her life. After all that had happened, she still loved him. When he looked at her, all he felt was love in his heart. She was right, they could make it through this together.
Buffy and Angel went to the school, hoping that Amy and Giles had left the book in the library. Buffy had to force the door, but she was use to breaking into places. Call it a personal hobby. Angel was reluctant to go in, so Buffy reached back and grabbed his hand. He followed her lead towards the library. As they neared the library it became apparent that someone was still in there. The lights were on and there were occasional voices.
"I guess they're still here, " Buffy whispered. She started to walk into the library, but Angel stopped her. He leaned up against the wall and closed his eyes.
"Buffy, I can't go in there," he said almost under his breath.
Buffy turned to him gently. "Of course you can, you're invited, and besides it's a public building anyway."
"I don't mean that... I can't, Buffy. I can't look those people in the eye after... what I've done to them," he said in anguish.
Buffy understood now. "They're our friends, Angel. They'll understand," she whispered to him in a sympathetic voice.
"They'll understand??? Buffy, I attacked Willow and was going to feed off her as a present for you. How can she forgive me for something like that?"
"Angel, she will. It will be hard, but she will, just like I did," she tried to comfort him.
"Did you see the way they looked at me before? The hatred in their eyes, Buffy. I can't... go through that again." Angel stared into space as tears formed in his eyes.
Buffy felt his pain, she loved him so much and it tore her apart to see him hurting so much. "Did I look at you that way, Angel?"
Angel stared into her eyes, "Yeah, yeah you did."
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
Angel shook his head, he couldn't believe how understanding she was being. She felt guilty for looking at Angelus in a frightened way.
She swallowed, carefully weighing her words, "I don't care what they think, Angel. You and I are going to go in there and get the book. I'll be with you the entire time, and if any of them says anything, they're going to have to deal with me," she said in a hard tone.
Angel nodded. He was so afraid to go in there. Seeing those people again would just bring up more feelings of guilt and self-hatred. He was terrified to face them, but he would do it for Buffy.
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