By Jessi Knorr
Page 1 of 3
Summary: Ten years in the future, Angel regains his mortality but loses his memory. Can Buffy remind him?
This is the first part of The Memories Series.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be. They're Joss', aka The Devil. I own Sage, Summer, Tia, Cora and all the other weird people, plus the plot.
Author's Notes: Set a decade into the future; Angel was given back his mortality by Willow, but as a side effect of the spell, it erases his memory. All of it. "Memories Recalled" details a twenty eight year old Buffy's struggles when Angel appears for the first time in eight years with two girls, his with another young lady. She tries to avoid him, but when that fails, she tries to get him to remember his past and theirs together so she can reclaim the only real love of her life.
The familiar mists surrounded his half naked body, the dew collecting on his skin and sprinkling his hair. He knew this scene, this dream. Like in most, the air swirled in small circles before flowing into the form of a slender young lady. Her cottony dress blew around her body and her blonde hair blew in the same direction. He so desperately wanted to go to her, talk to her. But he knew he wouldn't able to move. The girl seemed to float off the ground as her lips moved. She was talking but no sound came out, no sound could be made.
He read the girls' lips perfectly, deciphering what she was saying. "Angel? What ever happened to us?"
He tried to respond, but nothing in his body would move, only his eyes. When he didn't say anything, the girl looked sadly to the ground and disappeared back into the mist.
"No, don't go!" he finally yelled. But instead of the mist filled void, he was back in his bedroom; his body was covered in a light sweat.
"Daniel?" asked a faint, wafting voice. The raven-haired young lady beside him moved beneath the sheets and her face poked out from the hole in the comforter. She sat up when seeing Daniel awake and sweating. "What happened?"
"It's... it's the dream again. The girl, the mist... " Daniel squeezed his eyes and pulled off the blanket.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to take a walk. You get some sleep Cora, you've got a long flight in the morning." Cora nodded and slipped back into her dreamless sleep as Daniel left the room in his sweatpants. He walked down the small series of carpeted steps and stopped outside another door. Inside was a pair of beds, two small bodies wrapped in their blankets. Summer and Tia, his daughters of 8 years. The only thing they'd inherited from him was the eye color and the stubbornness. Maybe Summer had his integrity too. Summer... why did that name suddenly strike him as more than his daughter's? Daniel shook his head and walked down some more stairs, to the kitchen, through that and into the parlor. One door led to the front of the house, the other to the backyard. He slipped through the glass plated entranceway and out into the warm spring night. The velvet black sky was dotted with clusters of stars, like glitter on a piece of dark paper. The water in the pool lapped softly and cast soft reflections around the deck. An owl hooted somewhere in the distance and a dog howled somewhere beyond that. He looked back to the sky: a bright full moon illuminated parts of the shadows that surrounded the enclosed part of the backyard. Beyond the pool was his neatly kept garden of assorted flowers and trees, all set out around a bench that could be used for romantic purposes. It was where he'd taken Cora for their first date, after he'd fallen in love with her. Now eight years later, he still hadn't proposed to her. Daniel could see she was getting weary of him but she still hung on. But for what? For the sake of their daughters? She never said.
Daniel rolled has shoulders to try to loosen the tense muscles and padded to the side of the pool. In the faintly lit water, his handsome face and brawny torso filled the slightly broken surface. His chest was wide, his arms strong, and his shoulders broad and rounded. His eyes were a deep chocolate, his short, spiky, black hair tasseled from his restless sleep, his thin lips were spread in a casual expression. His face was a small oval, more squared at the chin and the faint stubble of facial hair was often evident on it. Daniel gave a deep sigh and stuck his right hand into the water enough to just penetrate the surface. The ripples distorted his reflection and he allowed them to wave off in circles as he stood up.
He gave his hand a shake to dry off the water and stood there once again, gazing to the full moon. His back, in the light that came from the lights outside, now sent the image into the water of the skin pulled taut over the muscles and shoulder blades. On the right blade was the tattooed image of a cat-like animal with wings, holding an 'A' in its sharp talons. Daniel lowered his head from the heavens, and without turning fully around, gazed back to the blue pool. When he first found himself on that strange hill so long ago, he'd staggered around a small town, trying to find any clue of who he was. Deciding he couldn't find a name, he'd settled on one that came floating up from some unconscious part of his cloudy mind, Daniel Cooper. When he'd gotten into a small room at a hotel and looked himself over in the mirror, he'd discovered a rather harsh sunburn blazed across his back on which was the tattoo, full and there. But Daniel had no idea where it could possibly had come from, where he'd gotten it.
Within the days to come after he'd gotten more into his life, a flush of recollection enveloped him for what seemed like hours each day, reliving his childhood. From the time when he was about 16 until his age he was certain was around 21, it was filled with a strange black cloud that hung on him. Strange thing was, Daniel had no idea what could have gone there. But about a year ago he'd started having dreams. Of this girl, very beautiful. In all she had flowing blonde hair, in all they couldn't speak. Or they could, they just couldn't hear each other. And in all, the blonde mystery girl called him a name that especially got him. 'Angel'. Why would she call him 'Angel'? Maybe the dream girl thought Daniel was her guardian angel? Or that possibly it was a piece of puzzle that represented the dark space, that he had another name and life where he'd gotten that sunburn and tattoo and in which she was part of?
Daniel gave a small scoff and chuckled to himself. He was getting delusional. He'd seen the best psychiatrists in the San Francisco area, perhaps in all of California, and still he was haunted by these visions. And he had the money to see the best one in the whole world; no one would deny the Bay Area's richest man help. But none of them had the answers. Maybe if he found out who this girl was, he'd be able to actually find out what she was doing plaguing his mind. Daniel gave another snort, in doubt of his real sanity, and trudged back into his fair sized estate to get some well needed sleep.
The three stood in a most unnerving silence.
"Can you run that by me again Will?" Buffy asked her redheaded roommate, pulling out of Angel's embrace. Willow looked down again at the ancient book in her hands to make sure she'd read the passage correctly.
"Well... there seems to be a... time limit, on this, if you will." Willow finally said.
"On my mortality?" Angel questioned with his brows knitted in confusion.
"On your memory. I'm sorry I didn't see this before, really I am. It says here, said subject upon whom the Mortality Incantation has been preformed shall loose all anamnesis of his past life within a day of the spell being cast and his mortality being returned. So basically... " Willow stopped to look at her book again with guilt in her expression. "You have 20 hours together before Angel looses all memory of this. He won't remember what he did, or rather what Angelus did, who we all are. Not even his own name."
"But there's a way to reverse this, right?" the former vampire asked.
"You see, that's the big let-down. With the Mortality Incantation, the demon's banished to the deepest pit of the Netherworld, where he wouldn't be able to get free even if we wanted him-it to. So if we do reverse the spell and restore your vampirism, there's no way the demon can get back and we would have to get you... bitten again. You'd loose all hope of getting your soul back again, and even if we didn't get you bitten by another vampire, you'd either collapse because the one thing that held you this long in this reality is gone or you'd combust because of your exposure to sunlight. I'm sorry. I was really stupid, this is all my fault."
"Willow, it's not, " Buffy said softly to her guilt filled friend. "There are always strings somewhere. I was the one who... suggested we go though Giles' stuff to... find out about them. We didn't know what we would find."
"And... of course, I was the one... who got Giles... and then who made Xander nearly die from the Black Burn, Oz's lanthropy almost permanent... Giles was right, I'm not cut out for this kind of work. I never was and never will."
"Willow, you're one of the best wiccans I've ever encountered, " Angel offered. "And I've seen a lot. You've helped us for the worst things we could get into. You unsealed the Box of Gavrok; you helped us bind the hellmouth again; you restored my soul. And I'd never be able to show you how grateful I am for that. Never."
"Yeah, but I've done more bad then good! If it weren't for me Giles wouldn't... have gotten... " she let the comment drift into the sunny summer afternoon. "Well, you have 20 hours left together. I don't want to screw it up anymore. I suggest you two... do anything you've ever wanted and take in the best while you can. I'm sorry, truly." Willow snapped the book belonging to the former watcher closed and sulked off into the day lit campus of UC Sunnydale, leaving the Slayer and her once undead boyfriend to their day.
"It's not her fault. We all told him to move." Buffy said quietly.
"But it was too late, " Angel added sorrowfully. "Let's go. She's right, we've got to spend the day to the fullest. Make it a day to remember, even if I never will." Buffy took his hand in hers and they walked off across the street.
They did make it a day to remember: using up the morning and half the afternoon at the beach outside town. They'd gone swimming in the ocean because Angel had pushed Buffy in off the small sand dune that over looked the water first, built a sandcastle afterward that was pretty crappy in the Slayer's eyes thanks to an immature graduate who had tried to edge past Angel to get to her, and then gone looking in the canteen for cold cream because the vampire had produced a rather ugly sunburn being out in the light for the first time in two hundred and forty years. They'd shopped in downtown Sunnydale later and went through the ridiculous number of novelty shops, just joking about the things on display. They'd sifted through three whole racks of sunglasses, the Slayer saying she needed a new pair, and she still remembered how weird Angel looked in the ones that were five sizes way too big. They had settled on a matching pair of ray bans and went around the rest of the day browsing the Beanie Baby retailers. About an hour after sunset, they'd retired back to the mansion to do something they hadn't ever been able to do, with the exception of Buffy's 17th birthday, even if they hadn't known about Angel's curse.
For four and a half-hours they savored the taste, smell and feel of each other, not having to worry if Angel would covert to his alter ego afterward. They slept in each other's arms for another two hours then, at the Slayer's request, went outside to spend their remaining two hours together under the stars. When they were outside, Buffy had fallen asleep within the first fifteen minutes. Angel left her to sleep in the lawn chair they'd been sitting in, kissed her wet hair, and walked to the cliff that over looked the town below.
This was where he'd nearly killed himself one Christmas. The events of that year, two before, were still a little blurry to him, having been disoriented upon his return from the demon dimension. He still didn't know who, or what, had actually brought him back, but he was thankful. Thankful for everything he'd been blessed with and allowed to cherish once more. He was of course forever in debt to Buffy's friends, the 'slayerettes'. Especially to Willow for finding the spell to restore his soul, and later his newfound humanity. The others, Oz, Xander, Giles, were all so comforting to him even when he'd maimed and caused them harm during his six months trapped by his surfaced alter ego. He was more or so entitled to Buffy for actually having faith in him when he was evil and upon his return to earth. Even before that, for just loving him. He never thought he'd know the love of a real woman after he'd been turned so long before. But he did and he was grateful for every second of their commitment to him. Angel shut his eyes and nostalgically reflected on his entire life, the first 27 mortal years then the 240-some immortal years following. A smile touched his lips as he remembered the many follies Buffy's second so called watcher Wesley faced; getting creamed at the ascension... *What an idiot. Glad he went.* Another grin formed as he recalled the many jokes and quips Xander always made, the innocent comments of Willow often on some difficult prophecy, at the innocence of the tight wound group of friends. The four of them, all teenagers. Only one was truly destined for a short death but the remaining still wanted to assist, to help her out. Then there was always Giles, the English librarian/watcher. And Cordelia, poor, snobby Cordelia. Brushed with infatuation when she met Wesley, ignored when she'd left for Los Angeles. Only the lord knew what was to come of her.
Angel sighed and shook of the forthcoming retrospect, the sadder reminisces. Of those who were destroyed assisting the Slayer, and especially by his own hands. *This could be gone at any time. Don't waste your last thoughts brooding.* Replacing the upsetting images, he pushed in thoughts of the past few months since he'd gone back to Sunnydale. The fall of Buffy's only other father, as her biological father was divorced from her mother, by the talons and teeth of a Hell Beast released through a weak gap at the Hellmouth. They'd attempted to bind it back, but Willow had fumbled, and the creature had Giles in its grasp before they could react. Angel still saw the flashes of blood, the splatter of organ tissue, the sound of tearing flesh and fabric, the crunch of his skull as the Beast crushed it. And the look of pure, undeniable torture Buffy's features were creased with. The Thing didn't even see the large spear she was holding until she'd driven it through its chest for the tenth time, only then finally releasing the corpse of her watcher.
The former vampire squinted against the visions and once again replaced them with images of the day gone by, finally being able to see his true love in direct light without having to ignite and turn to a dust clot. He was of true flesh, warm again, with a hunger for real food. Being able to feel his heart beating and his chest heaving as he chased the Slayer through Weatherly Park attempting to recover his stolen wallet was a very new experience. Being able to feel her without the barrier of clothing was as well a new experience, or one that wouldn't result in him attempting to maim and kill her afterward.
He finally opened his eyes to the peaceful view of the first faint rays sun rising over the Pacific, barely lighting Sunnydale below. Angel glanced at his watch. Five Thirty. *How has it been an hour?* Something thumped softly in his head, against his temples. It grew with each second, but stopping before it reached headache status. Angel felt his brain, part by part, being cloaked in a thick darkness. He soon couldn't talk, couldn't see. Couldn't breath. He also felt his knees buckle uncertainly. Angel fell to the soft earth and dug his nails into the soil. He moaned softly and thought of one last thing before he finally fell to the ground. The portrait of Buffy he'd drawn in the park earlier that afternoon, the soft cheeks, her deep swirling eyes, the fullness of her soft, pouty lips. Then all was gone and he hit the ground of the cliff.
*But of course, that was 8 years ago. Life goes on... Unfortunately.* Buffy Summers thought as she scrawled out an appointment card for the elderly Ms. Bellows and then in her schedule book. She'd been daydreaming all day of her former years, the time when she was a youthful Slayer of 16. When she bypassed 25, the Council, whoever the bastards were, had rewarded her with a plaque, a letter of congratulations and her being relieved of her duties. In secret, of course, as she couldn't very well reveal to her son that his mommy won school awards by day, killed icky things at night. *First Slayer, then secretary. There's something to put on your resume: Former jobs, accomplishes, awards; Slayer of the undead, killed everything from mummies, to the Mayor, to my vampiric boyfriend, got "Class Protector" award at senior prom.* Buffy smiled ruefully and bid the old woman goodbye. As the hag staggered to the front of the lobby of her doctor's office, the door came flying open, pushed by a small boy with short black hair and green eyes, a rounded square face and high cheekbones in a jacket donning the Anaheim Angels logo and his school bag.
"Sage, hold the door for Ms. Bellows." Buffy sermonized her son. He raced back to the closing door and held it for the woman.
"Oh thank you Sage. Such nice manners."
"You're welcome Ms. Bellows. See you next time." He replied in his small, third grader's voice as politely as possible. She smiled a toothless grin at him and slowly made her way out. "Hi Mom." Sage greeted, finally slumping into the nearest chair and pulling off his pack.
"Hey kiddo. Listen, once Aunt Willow and Uncle Oz finish up here, we're all going out for ice cream at Dickey's," Sage's eyes lit up and he beamed hopefully. "They asked if you'd want to come but I said, 'Oh no, he doesn't like ice cream', so we're all going out. You have to drive yourself home tonight." Buffy joked playfully.
"Please Mom? Please?" Sage pleaded,looking at her with wide and near teary eyes.
"Well... " he brought out the big guns,the Puppy Pout that she always had used to reduce her watcher,mother or other higher power,to mush. *Where did he learn that?* "Okay. But only if you finish your homework."
"Yes!" Sage threw his hands up in triumph, getting polite smiles from a few of the other partons in the office. He picked out a large textbook from his bag with a piece of paper and a pen sticking out of it. Before getting to his third grader's math, he jolted up. "I forgot, Tia and Summer are coming up. I saw them with their daddy in the Junk Shop." Buffy nodded knowingly and looked down her appointment book. The Cooper twins, 3:45. Their mother Cora usually went in with them, but she was away on some business trip so she'd told her boyfriend, the kids' father, to take them in. Sage and the two were best friends but oddly enough, Buffy had never seen their dad.
The door swung open again. Tia Cooper,her dark hair up in an expensive looking pair of clips and wearing a midlength white and pink skirt and matching blouse,sauntered in casually and waved to her schoolmate.
"Hi Mrs. Summers!" she greeted Buffy.
"Hey Tia. Where's Summer?"
"She tripped on the stairs. Daddy's bringing her up." Buffy smiled at the sweet little girl as the door to their right came open, revealing a medium height young man with red hair and a goatee. The nametag he wore on his white coat read "Oz Rosenberg".
"Tia. What's up? Where's your sister?" Oz greeted the girl with a high five.
"She fell." They disappeared back into Oz's office, engaged in a conversation about this and that. Through the office door across the lobby, Buffy saw the other doctor, same height as Oz, darker red hair. Her heart shaped face was bright and her coffee eyes cheerful. Willow Rosenberg smiled at her friend and turned back to the papers that were on her desk. Buffy sighed happily and hunched over her paperwork when the front opened again. Summer limped slightly while she crossed the carpet to Oz's office. The secretary waved, she waved back, and went in. Buffy went back to her work but looked up when a large, rather well-built young man in black stepped through the entrance. She blushed slightly, noticed she was staring at his torso and tried to focus on her work, unsuccessfully as the man came over and giving up when she sat in his shadow.
"Daniel Cooper I presume?" she asked, not looking up.
"Yes. I was just wondering how long this will take, because I have to get out of here by four."
"It should only-" Buffy brought her head up and stopped. Her heart stopped along with her words. *No. No! It can't be him!* There he was, looming over her, the one man in all the world who could make her have a heart attack like this, who would make it both cry out with joy and sorrow in the same instant. He was older and had aged like most do in a decade, but otherwise he was exactly the same. Same hair, same fashion; leather duster, black jeans and silk shirt, same dark swirling eyes. The same eyes she lost herself in so many times before... She was so lost in dreaded thoughts she didn't notice that she'd collapsed onto the carpet.
"Are you all right miss?" Daniel ran over to her and took her by the arm. Buffy pulled away and quickly as possible got to her feet.
"Yeah, I had a... bad lunch... food poisoning... " she clutched her head and stomach fakely. She was never able to pull one by him before. Could she do it now? By the way he kept his hand on her arm, no. Buffy quickly pulled back again and picked up the phone on the desk. She punched the first speed dial button and waited. "Oz? I'm sorry... I got food poisoning from that... squid. I'm going home. No, I'm not going to be able to make it." She slammed the receiver into the cradle, avoided Daniel as she sidestepped him, grabbed Sage by the arm and pulled him out, his homework and all. The other patients watched the door bang shut, the doctors stepped out in time to see her breeze out. Willow looked to her desk and saw her reason for panic. Oz didn't see him, despite being five feet from Daniel, and brought the twins back in. Daniel creased his eyebrows and glanced around her desk then at the garbage with the empty Chinese cartons stuffed inside.
Buffy sped home faster than laws permitted, particularly in the steeper parts of San Francisco where she lived with Willow and Oz. Their tiny three story house sat perched on a hill that over looked the bay, and you had to make sure your car had the parking brake on or it would go rolling away. She gunned the car up the sloping road and screeched to a halt three inches from the garage door. They stopped with a large jolt and Buffy cut the engine. Sage peeked up from his spot on the floor in the back of their Sunfire, his books scattered out all around. His black hair was a mess from the bumpy ride and he watched with worry as his mother slammed the door and hurried into the house. He just made it inside before she disappeared on the second landing.
"Mom?" he yelled up. Another door slammed, which shook the house and knocked down a picture from the mantle above the television set.
Buffy slammed closed her bedroom door and collapsed on her unmade bed in a fit of tears. Her mascara was running heavily and her eyes were red and itchy from crying all the way home. She had seemingly forgot all about the impressionable eight year old boy downstairs. All that mattered was that she was more wigged than she ever had been, and more in shock than ever before. Angel was back. Not only that, but he had accompanied one of her best friends' children into the office. She knew Cora had a long time boyfriend, but how could she, for eight years, not have known it was him?
Her throat constricted around the wail that rose out of her lungs at the memory of him. Everything was such a mess, just when her life was the way she wanted it to be... Much like the beginning of senior year in high school, when he'd come back from Hell. Only she now was older, and she had more than overwhelming emotions holding her down.
Buffy cried into her pillow for several more minutes and pulled her head up. Across the room, in the mirror that stood perched against the opposite wall, was a strong, vibrant young woman who had been reduced by jelly by a man. *Not just any man,* she reminded herself. Twelve years ago, he wasn't even a man. Now that he was back...
Buffy let out the saddened wail and fell back onto the wet pillow. She wasn't even sure that he knew who she was. If he did, wouldn't he have done the exact same thing as she had? Somehow, Buffy's loose left hand found its way over the side of the bed to the table and the brown book that lay on it. It was about the size of the typical journal, that's what it was, and the pages were yellowed and curled with age. Considering it was nearly 200... Buffy cracked the book open to the part where the red velvet bookmark stood out of it and stroked the charcoal sketch there with her fingernails.
On one side was written text with the title "ANGELUS" written elegantly across the top. On the other side was the sketch, a tall and shadowy figure half hidden by the long shadows cast by the buildings around it. If you looked closely, you could distinguish the features of the man. If that. Below it read the date and name of the artist, as well as the same title as the opposite page. Below that read 'found with artist corpse'. Buffy felt more tears bubbling to the surface but forced them away. She marched across the room with book in hand and forcefully placed it between two others, which belonged to her now dead Watcher. The tears overpowered her will at all the swarming memories of the past decade and came spilling out, quickly wetting down her face again.
Buffy reeled back to the bed and fell onto her back. She quickly curled into a tight little ball and despite the sobs, fell into a distressed sleep.
"Mom?" Sage whispered into the room, cracking the door open to peek in. He found his mother sleeping with black streaks down her pillow. Her face was hidden from him, but he ignored it. Creeping through the gap, he double checked the Slayer and went towards the bookshelf, careful not to step on a loose floor board beneath the light brown carpet. Tall for the tender age of eight, Sage reached easily to the middle shelf and pulled a red tin box out from behind the little pink pig and knocked it off. The toy made no sound as it smashed into the floor. Sage mentally wiped his brow as he stooped to pick the Poker up. This time, he bumped into the shelf and knocked several books loose that tumbled out with dull thuds. His gaze instantly went to Buffy, who whimpered in her sleep and turned to face him, eyes still closed.
Sage held his breath as he went to retrieve the tomes. He snapped shut three and went for the forth when he found himself reading the first passage.
March 10, 1997
The Slayer Has Arrived
... And by the Powers is she a cocky one. Ms Summers is the most troubled person I've ever met. She doesn't follow rules and examples, she doesn't listen to me, she has had two students at the high school stumble onto her secret, while both are friends I am still extremely wary of their ability to... keep quiet. And her abuse of English as a language baffles me, for lack of better wording. I shall have to check in later, we're currently in the midst of investigating the Harvest, where the Master Vampire calls a vessel from which it draws its power.
To say Sage was confused and overwhelmed was an understatement. Flipping further through the book, he found it stopped almost a year later, on January 19 1998. Buffy whimpered again on her bed, almost as if she sensed him. He read through the first few lines and closed the book. He pushed them all back into the bookcase, he didn't know which way they went but he just stuffed them in, and hurried out of the room with the red tin box, careful not to startle his sleeping mother.
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