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Summary: An alternate version of "Becoming."
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Willow, Xander, Oz, Giles, or any of the characters contained in this story. These characters are the copyright of Joss Whedon, the WB, and Mutant Enemy. Also, scenes were taken directly from Becoming that I did not create, but that were written by the creators of Buffy. No infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Also, I would like to thank my researcher for all the help she's given me. If you would like to contact me, email me at zephyr4682(at)hotmail.com or email her at Pixie5482(at)aol.com I appreciate your comments and feedback.
"He's doing this to torture me, Wil. He's been playing games with my emotions for too long, and the time has come to end it." There was a long pause. Buffy stared at Willow across the table. "I'm ready to kill him." She slammed her book shut.
"But, Buffy, are you sure? I mean, there is a chance that we might...that you might..."
"What, Willow? Cure him? That he might overcome his dark side with love and come crawling back, the same old Angel that I fell in love with? I don't think so." She smiled sadly. "Besides, what kind of life could we have had? I'd always be worried that he might lose his soul again. And then there's the problem with jobs, and housing, and... and kids."
Giles walked into the room, carrying an armload of files. "I really don't think we should worry about this just yet. It appears that the problem on hand is Angelus. It seems that since he lost his soul, he's regained his sense of whimsy. He's obsessed with torturing Buffy." He pushed his glasses back up to the bridge of his nose.
"Yeah, well, now it's our turn for payback." Buffy replied. She and Willow got up and followed Giles to his desk.
"What are you saying?" Giles asked confused. Buffy handed him a sheet of paper, her eyes full of desire.
"The curse. This is it."
"Looks like Ms. Calendar was trying to replicate the original curse, to restore Angel's soul again." Willow smiled, unafraid to conceal her hope. Giles was stunned as his eyes skimmed the page.
"She said it couldn't be done."
"Well, she tried anyway," Buffy reminded him. "And it looks like it might have worked."
"So he killed her..." Xander piped in from across the room. "Before she could tell anyone about it. What a prince, huh?" Cordelia ignored him.
"This is good, right? I mean, we can curse him again." Giles pushed his glasses up again.
"Um, well, this certainly points the way, but...the ritual itself requires a greater knowledge of the black arts than I can claim."
"Hi! For those of you who have just tuned in," Xander interrupted as he stood up. "Everyone here is a crazy person."
They all looked at him, unsure of the point he was about to make.
"So this spell," he started, as he walked to the end of the table. "Might restore Angel's humanity? Well, here's an interesting angle..." He looked at Buffy. "Who cares?"
Buffy couldn't believe her ears. Could this possibly be her friend Xander? She knew that he never liked Angel, maybe even hated him sometimes because he was still in love with her, but could he seriously not consider her feeling?
She could feel tears begin to surface behind her eyes, but she fought to keep them back. She didn't want to appear weak.
"I care," she replied quietly, looking directly at Xander. He seemed unmoved, almost as if he was expecting to hear her say something along the lines of that.
"Is that right?"
Giles was quick to intercede, hoping to stop the oncoming traffic of a much unneeded fight.
"Let's not lose our perspective here, Xander." Xander put his hands up in defense.
"I'm Perspective Guy. Angel is a killer."
"Xander!..." Willow glanced sharply at him. She couldn't believe that at one point, she had actually been in love with him. She had seen his dark side a while ago, but that was because he was possessed by a wild hyena. That was different. But now he was fine...and he was mean.
"It's not that simple," Buffy tried to explain. Xander was relentless.
"What? All is forgiven? I can't believe you people!"
"Xander has a point," Cordelia chimed in.
"You know," Xander yelled at her. "Just for once I wish you'd support me..." The truth dawned on him. "And I realize right now that you were, and I'm embarrassed, so I'm gonna get back to the point...which is that Angel needs to die."
"Curing Angel seems to have been Jenny's last wish." Giles pointed out, meekly.
"Yeah, well, Jenny's dead." Xander shot back. Giles lost his temper.
"Don't you ever speak of her in that tone again!"
The two began to argue heatedly for a second or two before Buffy finally separated them.
"Stop it! Stop it!" she screamed, her voice cracking with emotion. Willow pulled her aside.
"What do you want to do?"
"I don't know," she sighed. "What happened to Angel wasn't his fault." Xander overheard them.
"Yeah, but what happened to Ms. Calendar is."
Buffy and Willow stared at him, doubtful of whether they were just having a hearing problem, or if Xander really was saying such horrible things.
"You can paint this any way you want. But the way I see it...is that you want to forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so you can get your boyfriend back."
"I am so going to fail finals, Wil. There's just no time to study." Buffy said into the speaker. She reached deep into her closet to pull out her duffel bag, losing the phone under some shoes.
"Oh shoot. Willow, hang on! I'm coming!" She yelled to the floor. Extending one arm, she stretched he hand into the depths of her shoes. Finding the phone, she replaced it by her ear, this time, holding it with her hand instead of letting it rest on her shoulder like she did before.
"What happened?" Willow questioned.
"Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. I dropped the phone in my closet. I was trying to grab my duffel bag," She threw a bottle of holy water into the corner of her bag.
"Are you going out tonight, again? I thought I was supposed to help you with your chemistry."
"Well, I'll do a couple of sweeps and then I'll stop by."
"Oh, okay. Could you believe Xander today? I mean, what was his problem?"
"Yeah, Xander was pretty much being a..."
"Jerk?" Willow finished for her.
"Willow!" Buffy was shocked. "Where did you learn that word? My God. You kiss your mother with that mouth?" Smiling, she threw some crosses into her bag.
"Well, he deserves it. I mean, talking to you like that. Who does he think he is? It's not his decision. It's yours. I mean, what do you want to do?"
Buffy walked to her desk and pulled out a couple of stakes. She sighed. "I don't know. I don't know what I wanna do..."
Buffy's voice trailed off as she sighted the Claddagh ring in the bottom of her drawer. She hardly heard Willow's voice on the other end of the phone.
"Buffy? What is it? What happened?"
"I'll...I'll see you in a little while, okay?" Buffy wasn't sure if Willow had answered her, but she hung up anyway.
Reaching her hand in to the drawer, she pulled out the ring and gazed at it. Two hands, symbolizing friendship, held a heart that represents love. On top of the heart rests a crown, the sign of loyalty. All the things that she cherished most with Angel, now gone in the evil wake of Angelus. And she had to be the one to kill him.
Buffy fingered the cross around her neck. Another gift from Angel. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't take her mind off of him. The way he smelled, or the way his eyes reflected the moon in the darkening night. The way his kisses tasted of forgotten dreams. How his skin glistened after a late shower, and his hair hung wet over his eyes. All these memories clouded her mind, blocking away all other thought. How was she ever going to face him? She may be strong, but she didn't have that much courage. To murder the one person that she loved more than life itself...God, she just hoped that Willow would be able to complete the curse before that.
Buffy shook that images from her head and brushed her hair from her eyes. Now she had an even bigger problem to solve...chemistry. After all, being the slayer didn't exempt her from finals.
She looked over at Xander.
Jeeze! she thought. He's on the fourth page! I'm still on the second! They should seriously consider banning chemistry from the face of the Earth...or at least for those who battle the forces of evil in the Hellmouth every night.
"Tonight...Sundown...At the graveyard." Buffy's head jerked up to see the mysterious figure standing in the front of the classroom. The woman pulled back her dark hood to reveal the gruesome face of a vampire.
"You will come to him. You will come to him or more will die." The vampire spread her arms wide and the classroom began to fill with smoke as she ignited, the sunlight setting fire to her flesh.
"Tonight!" Frightened, students jumped from their chairs, screaming, and fled from the room. Buffy just watched as the vampire exploded in a cloud of ash. Her eyes began to mist as they filled with tears and she bit her trembling lips. Ms. Calendar had tried to stop the evil that was plaguing Angel, and he had killed her. He was after her friends now. First he killed Teresa, then several attacks on Willow, threats to her mother, and the endless taunts and insults to her. It was like a disgusting and torturing escapade, a game of cat and mouse. Only problem was, this cat had bigger teeth.
"She said more would die. I have to go." Buffy told Giles. Kendra advanced forward.
"Den I should go wit you." Buffy faced her, concern hiding faintly behind her eyes.
"No. I need you here...just in case. I can take care of myself. And look, as long as Angel's fighting me, then he can't do this end-of-the-world ritual thingy, and that's a good. Will, what do you think?" Willow fished through some of her papers.
"I just want to cross-check..." Buffy stopped her.
"We don't have time. If this is gonna work, it has to work now." Willow began to worry that maybe somewhere along her lines of research, she messed up. God, what would happen if they began the curse, and it was wrong? What if it turned Angel into a frog, or a sheep, or something. What if it didn't work? God, what if it did. Willow knew that, no matter the outcome, she had to try. Besides, she had gotten the hang of this stuff. After all, she did help to exorcise a ghost.
"Okay. Then I need maybe half an hour once we're all set up."
"Which means you just have to hold Angel off. Don't let him close on you. If the curse succeeds, you'll know." Giles tossed a book to Xander. He was quite alarmed at Buffy's decision to go through with completing the curse. Angelus was a monster, and he would kill Buffy in an instant if he knew what she was up to. For the first time since the battle with The Master, Giles was worried that Angelus might kill her, thereby causing him to fail in his duty to protect her. Over the years that they had spent together, he had actually generated a fondness for Buffy. Her style and unique ability was unlike any her had ever seen before. He just hoped that, for once, her emotions would get the better of her judgement.
Cordelia looked at Buffy. "Why don't you just wait here to find out if it worked? See if he phones you." Buffy shook her head.
"I can't risk him killing any more people. I better go." Xander watched her as she turned to leave.
"Be careful." Buffy turned to him, surprised that he would still want to talk to her.
He couldn't believe that she was actually going to try to save him. It wasn't going to change anything. So Angel gets his soul back, he falls in love with Buffy again, they hook up, and it's back to Mr. Demon-Destroy-the-World. Wonderful. Why was he the only one who saw what would happen?
Kendra stopped Buffy and handed her a very sharp stake. "Here...In case de curse does not succeed, dis is my lucky stake. I have killed many vampires wit it. I call it...Mr. Pointy." Buffy smiled at her.
"You named your stake?" Kendra seemed a little embarrassed.
"Yes." Buffy's smile broadened.
"Remind me to get you a stuffed animal." She took the stake from Kendra. "Thanks." Buffy turned to leave.
"Watch your back." Kendra called after her. She had an awful feeling about tonight.
Buffy walked cautiously around the headstones. Angel was here somewhere... waiting. She wondered what he would do. Would she even have a chance to stall him, or would he jump out and kill her, not waiting for a fight? She prayed that he would try to tease her a little before fighting. And she prayed that Willow would be able to complete the curse before he killed her...or she killed him.
Buffy stopped as Angelus stepped out from the shadows.
"Hello, lover. I wasn't sure you'd come." Buffy smiled to herself. Yep, it looked like he was going toward the tease.
"After your immolation-o-gram? Come on, I had to show. Shouldn't you be out destroying the world right now?...Pulling the sword out of Al Franken or whatever his name is?" Angel shrugged.
"There's time enough. I wanted to say good-bye first. You are the one thing in this dimension I will miss." Buffy bit back her tears.
"This is a beautiful moment we're having. Can we please fight?" Angel looked surprised.
"I didn't come here to fight."
"No?" Buffy could almost touch the sarcasm behind her words.
"Gosh, I was hoping we could get back together. What do you think? Do we have a shot?" Buffy glared at him. Certainly Angelus would have to try harder than that. Angel noticed that she wasn't buying it.
"Alright. We'll fight." He charged at her and the two began to fight.
Giles opened his book of Latin and began to read.
"Quod perditum est, invenietur." Willow looked to the pages in front of her.
"Not dead, nor not of the living, spirits of the interregnum, I call."
Buffy punched Angel, but he brushed it away. She turned to hit him, but this time he grabbed her arm. When she tried to punch him again, he grabbed her other arm and threw her away from him.
"Jeeze, is it me, or is your heart not in this?" Buffy pulled Kendra's stake from it's hiding spot in the waistline of her pants.
"Maybe I'll just go home, destroy the world."
"Well," she started, as she swung her head to brush the hair out of her eyes. "I think Mr. Pointy'll have something to say about that. Come on. Let's finish this. You and me."
Angel's eyes glanced swiftly at the stake. He knew she would kill him if he didn't do something. And he hadn't lived for over two centuries to see some slayer keep him from a third.
"You never learn, do you?" He laughed, trying to hide his nervousness. "This wasn't about you. This was never about you."
Buffy slowly lowered the stake as she realized his plan. Hatred and fear began to spread through her heart. Oh God. He was after her friends. She dropped the stake on the ground and began to run back to the school. Behind her, she could hear Angel call out.
"And you fall for it every time!" At that moment, she hated him so much that she almost turned around to kill him. But she knew that she'd never be able to help her friends on time. She prayed that Kendra would be able to hold them off until she got there. In a way, she doubted that. Kendra was a good slayer and everything, but she wasn't familiar with the vampires around Sunnydale. If Angel was behind the whole thing, then Druscilla and Spike were probably involved too. And if there was one thing Buffy was sure of, Kendra couldn't handle Dru.
She ran as hard as she could manage in high heels. God, for once she wished she hadn't worried so much about fashion. Suddenly, she lost her footing and tripped. Buffy could feel her feet lose touch with the ground as her body was propelled forward. She could see the pavement rush up to greet her as her cheek slammed down hard. She slid for about a second before coming to a stop, a second before the pain set in.
She struggled to her knees, all the while cursing herself. Now she'd never reach her friends in time.
God, she prayed. Take care of them.
Willow read from the computer printout in front of her.
"Let him know the pain of humanity, gods. Reach your wizened hands to me. Give me the sword...Gods, bind him. Cast his heart from the evil realm..." Something didn't feel right. Willow couldn't tell what it was, but all of a sudden, she felt very tired, but full of strength. She couldn't explain it. All of her senses were coming alive. And her intuition told her that if ever there was a time when Angel needed his soul most, it was now.
Buffy bit her teeth as she saw the blood on her hands and knees where her brand new pants had ripped. It seemed silly, but she couldn't help thinking about how much she had paid for them.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the soft chuckle behind her. She lifted her head and stared straight ahead, terrified of that sound.
"You know, I've always enjoyed the sight of blood. Gets me kinda...oh, I don't know...excited."
Buffy leapt to her feet, ignoring the pain, and stood, prepared to fight. Angel was smiling at her.
"You know," he started, as he glanced to his side. "I think I got my soul back. I actually do feel something for you." Buffy's heart skipped a beat, and for a second, she was caught off guard. She lowered her clenched fists slowly. God, had Willow succeeded? Buffy looked directly into Angel's eyes. She laughed insider her head.
Yeah. Like if you look into his eyes, you can tell if he's back. She shook the thought away. Pay attention, she chided. He may be back to his old tricks.
Angel took a few steps toward her. "Oh, now I remember what I feel," he stared at her, his eyes piercing her soul. "Hate."
He grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her up against a parked car.
"Loathing," he pushed her hard, pressing her shoulders to the window and stared into her face, cold and unrelenting. "Passion." Saying this, his lips met Buffy's. For a brief instant, all was as it had been. All was right, all was safe in his arms. She could feel her heart begin to beat fiercely, the way it had when she looked over her bed to see him laying on the floor next to her. The way it had when she dressed his wounds, when he dressed hers. The way it had when she could feel his body, damp and warm, on top of her. Nothing was more sacred.
But this was not right. It wasn't Angel holding her. It was Angelus.
Buffy tried to pull away from the kiss, but Angelus held her fast. Terrified, she could feel his face begin to change. His teeth extended and sharpened, putting slight pressure on her lips. His forehead and nose became wrinkled, and felt rough on Buffy's skin. This had happened before. She kissed him, he changed, she found out he was a vampire. It's what started this whole mess.
Angel broke the kiss and stared into her eyes, his teeth showing slightly.
"Now," he half whispered, "as you so eloquently put...let's finish this."
Giles watched Willow carefully. Channeling powers of the black arts was dangerous, maybe even fatal, as was the case with Eigon. Four of his friends had died when Eigon returned, and Buffy had been in serious danger until Angel came to save her. It seemed only right that they try to save him now. Jenny had wanted that.
"Return...I call on..." Willow had no chance to finish. Her eyes took on a vacant look as she stared into the Orb in front of her.
"Willow?" Giles called, worried. Suddenly, she began to chant in Latin. Giles struggled to interpret the speech.
"Te implor, Doamne, nu ignora aceasta rugaminte." Willow mumbled.
Giles labored over the translation. "I implore you Lord...uh...do not...do not ignore this request."
"Nici mort, nici al fiintei..."
"Neither dead, nor of the living..."
Xander took a step forward. "Uh, Giles,... is she supposed to do that?"
"Xander!" Giles hushed him with his hand. "I want to catch this."
"Lasa orbita sa fie vasul care-i va transporta, sufletul la el."
"Let this...Let this Orb be the vessel that will...that will carry his soul to him."
Buffy could feel Angel's breath, hot upon her neck. This was really it. The end. She had faced this situation before with The Master. But before, she had Xander to help her...and Angel. She could hardly believe that the man back then, and the demon in front of her were the same.
Angel slowly let go of her shoulders and moved his hands to her exposed collarbone. He ran his fingers lightly over her skin, feeling her pulse beat faster and faster. Here was her lifeline, her essence. So fragile...so perfect. He was almost sorry to see it end. After all, what kind of fun could he have if there was no one left to torment? Well, he'd just have to make it last as long as he could.
With one hand stroking her neck, Angel moved his other hand toward her wrists. Quickly, he gripped both of her wrists tightly and held them above her head, against the car.
Buffy had no strength left to fight him. She just wanted everything to stop, all the pain to go away, and another person to take the responsibility. Kendra was the slayer now, not her. And somehow, she caught herself in this position. She just wanted to live past fifty. She wanted to graduate from high school, graduate from college. She wanted a real job, a real, solid relationship, she wanted kids, and perhaps grandkids. She did not want to die by the hand of the one person she was in love with most.
Angel looked at her for a moment, his repulsive face inches from her own. Slowly, without ever touching her, he moved his face down the line of her neck, down past her shoulders, down...down...
Buffy stared straight ahead and began to cry. So this was how it was going to end. This was his final way to torment her.
She could feel his hand moving all around. Up, under her shirt, searching... exploring.
Angel locked eyes with her.
"You know, I remember the last time we did this."
"Asa sa fie! Asa sa fie!" Willow yelled forcibly, her voice filling the whole of the library.
Giles, caught up in the excitement, threw his glasses on the table and raised his voice to her heard.
"So it shall be! So it shall be!" Xander half smiled. He never saw Giles get excited.
Buffy let out a sob of fear. "Don't...stop...please Angel...don't..." He bared his teeth once more and moved toward her neck. His teeth were cold on Buffy's skin. Angelus opened his mouth wide. Running his tongue lightly over her neck, he bit down fiercely...
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