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 Angel's Secrets

Fanfiction Archive

Once Again

By Amy Mina
amymina(at)yahoo.com

Page 1 of 5
Summary: Buffy fights to break out of a coma and return to her friends.
Disclaimer: Characters such as Buffy, Angel, Xander and others belong to Joss Whedon and the WB. The few characters that I have made up such as Marissa and Jeff belong to me.
Dedication: As I do with every story, I am dedicating this. This story goes out to my best friends, Angela and Alicia. You guys have stood with me where some friends would never go. You're the best friends a person could ever ask for.
Author's Notes: *The story takes place in the year 2004.

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Part 1

Xander took in a deep breath before entering the room. He pushed open the white door and quickly scanned what was inside. As many times as he had come here, it had never managed to shock him at how bare this room was kept. His eyes settled on the bed in the corner of the room. There she was, as still as always. He slowly walked over and took her hand. She didn't change her reaction, he hadn't really expected her to. He looked at her lying on the bed, her blonde hair, long and shiny. The nurses had been taken good care of her. He took another breath and started his practiced speech.

"Buffy? Buffy, I know you probably aren't listening to me. Heck, you probably don't even know or care that I am here. I just came to give you some news. Cordelia and I are getting married. Yep, it's been a long hard road, but I love her very much. She wanted you to be her maid of honor, but obviously, you're in no state to do that right now. See you again soon."

Xander got up to leave and dropped her hand. He began to leave when his conscience stopped him. He turned around and quickly walked back to Buffy's beside and picked up her hand again.

"Buffy, I know you're in there some where. You haven't spoken a word since the day Marissa was born. Ya, yours and Angel's daughter. She's growing up into a beautiful girl. She has the coloring of Angel and your face. She's got your attitude. I haven't seen her in a bad mood yet."

With still no response from Buffy he continued. "I remember the day she was born. All of us had thought that you were doing just fine, Angelus wasn't having any effect on you. As soon as Marissa was born, well, they only word you have spoken since then was her name. That was it. Giles still curses those watchers for not sending you any help. They knew that with your attachments to Angel, you wouldn't be able to kill him. At least they are trying to make up for it now. They are making sure that Marissa has a good home."

"Your mom and Giles have been married for-well, let's see-four years now. They are expecting their first child, actually, children." He let out a laugh. "She's having twins. Giles' is so proud. He always wanted children to instruct in the ways of life. Once the scooby-gang broke up, he had no one else to lecture. Now he's going to have two."

"Willow is engaged to a young man from Virginia. His name is Jeff. He's a nice guy. A total change from Willow. Not really outgoing, but he is a Baptist. Her Jewish background forbids them from getting married, but they are going to anyway. He has a good job with the army. She'll be well cared for. We were so afraid that after Oz died, she wouldn't bounce back, but she did."

Xander looked down at the ground for a minute, debating whether to tell Buffy the news or not. He could feel his hand shaking. Looking at her, he still saw no difference in her expression. The best move was to tell her everything that had been going on. He knew that after this visit, he wasn't going to be able to come back again. It was getting to hard to desire a change in her, and then being disappointed every time.

"Buffy," he started, trying to keep his voice from cracking, "he's gone. The person I promised to never mention again is gone. Angelus was defeated, and we are now free again. You especially. We all know you feel guilty about what happened to Jenny and Oz, but that wasn't your fault. Gosh, I couldn't have killed Cordelia if she was turned into a vampire. Come back, Buffy. Please, just return to us. You have a little girl, waiting to meet her mother in England. Every time I hear from her, it's "Uncle Xander, is my mommy okay yet?" She needs you Buffy, just as much as you need her." He dropped her hand and stood up. "We have done everything for you possible. It's time for you to stop all of this brooding and come back. Please, Buffy. We miss you, so very, very much. Especially Angel. A minute ago I said Angelus had been destroyed. Well, he has. Angel is human again. He is a living breathing human, and he has become my best friend. He still loves you Buffy, and he wants to help in anyway he can. He wants to help you raise your daughter. Please, if for no other reason, fight for the sake of the family that wants you."

Xander turned around and left the room. Slowly closing the door, he made his way back down the hallway, towards the exit. Not once did he look back, but his tears had blinded him by the time he got to his car.

Inside the hospital, the message Xander had just preached was getting through to a young woman, now fighting to return.

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Part 2

Xander turned off the engine to his car. Somehow, he had managed to make it back to his apartment without having any problems on the road. Taking in a few deep breaths, he tried to calm his emotions. When he thought that he could enter his apartment without letting his roommate, Angel, know he had been crying, he got out of the car.

Xander walked up the stairs to the second floor and pulled out his keys. He entered the apartment quietly, hoping that Angel wouldn't hear him right away. Xander shut the door behind him and went to go see where Angel was when he heard a loud crash from the kitchen. Following the crash was a string of words that Xander couldn't even understand. He walked in and found Angel reaching towards the counter, trying to reach for his cane.

"Angel?" said Xander. Angel's head shot up quickly.

"Xander, you're home." He still tried to reach for his cane, not sure where it was. Xander stood still, knowing Angel would resent his help. Angel had just gotten his driving license less than a year ago when a drunk driver met him head on. Angel had survived, but had lost all sight. He was still learning to live without a sense that he had used for over 240 years. Angel finally found the cane and moved towards the sink. "I'll clean this up."

"Let me help," said Xander.

"No," replied Angel, almost shouting at him. Xander backed up and left the room. Even though Angel needed more help than the normal human, he still had his pride, and Xander understood that. thought Xander. Not only had he lost his sight, he had lost the woman he loved and had to live with the guilt of what he thought he did, even though it was Angelus. Xander sat down on the couch, his knees shaking. He didn't want to think about it right now, it was too hard. But the thoughts came, quickly and intensely. All he could see was the look on Giles' face at Miss Calendar's, Yanna's funeral. All he heard was Willow's screams when she discovered the outcome of the brawl between the werewolf and the vampire. Oz had saved her. Xander remembered the pain Willow felt, he felt the same type of pain when Buffy had fallen into her coma. The worst thought of all of these was the look on Buffy's face that never changed. Knowing that whatever Angelus had done, to him, that had been to worst. Xander laid his head in his hands and took a few deep breaths.

"Xander?" came Angel's voice. Xander looked up and saw Angel standing in the kitchen doorway. "Are you okay?"

"Fine," he tried to convince Angel. It didn't work, Xander's voice just kept cracking.

"Are you thinking about me again?" asked Angel.

Xander and Angel had only been friends for three years, but they opened up to each other like they could to no one else. Angel knew how sad Xander felt about his friends and their demise. Xander knew how Angel felt guilty for everything that had happened. Xander often believed that the now 246-year-old ex-vampire thought about suicide, but he would never admit up to it. He tried to reassure Angel the only way he knew how. "No, Angel, I'm thinking about Angelus. That wasn't you."

Angel gave him a bitter smile and awkwardly moved to the recliner chair across from Xander. Once he was settled down, he turned to face where he thought Xander was. "Xander, we've had this discussion before. It was my fault. I agreed to become a vampire, therefore inviting the vampire in."

"Angel, you need to get past this guilt. You won't be any help to Buffy if you don't."

Angel's face brightened at his thoughts and love for Buffy, then darken when he remembered who had put her in the Sunnydale Mental Clinic. "How is she?" he questioned.

Xander raked his hand through his hair, wishing he could give him better news. "No change, Angel."

Angel let out his breath he had been holding in expectation and hope. It was getting so hard just to sit in the apartment every time Xander went to visit her and listen to how there was no change. If only he could go . . .

"Angel, man," said Xander, "I think we should bring your daughter to live with us. I'll help take care of her. She wants her family."

"She wants her mother."

"You're her father."

"Would you want me for a father," said Angel, intensely. "I was a vampire for over two-hundred years. I ran around Europe killing people for no reason. I even reverted here, and the only reason I didn't kill Buffy was because she was pregnant, and I KNEW the child was mine."

"I know," said Xander, but Angel went on, taking no notice.

"I never knew I could have kids. Not once did anyone tell me that the slayer was the only one vampire could have kids with, something about power and stuff like that. I mean, how many vampires actually even kissed a slayer much less . . ."

Angel was silent for a minute, thinking to himself. He knew that the pregnancy had been unexpected by everyone. Discovering that vampires and slayers could have children together was a shock. Vampires couldn't have children with humans or with other vampires, but when it came to slayers, there was an exception. Xander looked at Angel, and saw him starting to cry. He felt pity for him, and walked over laying his hand on Angel's shoulder.

Angel cried for a few minutes, and then sternly wiped his eyes with his sleeve. He slowly stood up, grabbing Xander's arm to make sure that he didn't fall over. He made his way to his bedroom, slowly walking and taping the cane as he went.

Xander shook his head. Angel was definitely in one of his brooding moods that he had such good practice at. An attitude of eighty years takes awhile to change.

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Buffy, encouraged by Xander's words and speech, began to resurface. The person everyone used to know as Buffy, began to fight back. As Buffy began to fight against the body that had kept her prisoner for over five years, doubts began to assail her. Did she really want to return from this place? Here she had no worries and no pain, she didn't need to fight against her feelings, she didn't have to remember.

As Buffy began to fight, one by one she had to face the pain, and hate, and the fear. The guilt and pain of knowing what had happened to the people closest to her, the regret at falling away from her daughter, the fear of returning and facing Angel. That was what had made her leave the world of the living in the first place, to keep from facing the pain. But before she could face the pain of maybe returning to a live and human Angel, she had to work through all of the pain that Angelus had caused her and the guilt that she carried. But she would fight . . . she would fight hard.

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Willow held back the tears as she laid the flowers on the grave. Today, Oz would have turned twenty-four. He had such a good life ahead of him, once you overlooked the werewolf problem. She slowly stood up to head back to the car where Jeff was waiting for her. Sure, she didn't have the same feelings she had for Oz while they were dating. But he was her first and only real boyfriend besides Jeff, and he saved her life.

Willow let out a quick sob and then held the rest back that quickly wanted to follow. She remembered the scene in every detail, the screams, the blood... oh, God, the blood that came as Angelus drunk every bit of life left out of Oz. Even as a werewolf, his blood was found tasty by the vampire. She remembered the triumphant look on Angelus' face as the body of Oz was dropped to the ground in the filthy alley. If Buffy hadn't shown up when she did, if she hadn't been pregnant, Angelus would have killed her. Five months later, Buffy fell to her coma, and Willow wondered if she would ever feel whole again. Escaping to college to get away, Angelus backed off of Buffy's friends, no longer seeing a reason to torment them, or maybe just no longer caring. With in a period of nine months, from the time Angel reverted, she lost her computer teacher, Oz and then Buffy. Even though physically Xander was still there, in her mind, she lost him too. Her love for him disappeared soon after Oz's death. Giles was worse off then any of them. He felt all of this on his head.

It was no wonder that when the school packed up Miss Calendar's things, they were all given to Giles. Jenny had no relatives or other friends nearby. But, poor Giles, he hadn't been able to go through it, and until 2001, just three years ago, it sat in a dark corner of the library. Giles didn't want to see it, it reminded him of the guilt that he carried until the day he and Mrs. Summers were married. Willow went through it on a break from college. When Willow had found the disk, that had been the hardest decision she had to make. With Giles' help, they turned Angelus back to the good side. She would never understand how Giles' could agree to her request, maybe because they hoped it would bring Buffy back to the land of the living, who knows.

Of course, it was easier to say you forgive someone then to actually do it. Angel asked her time and time again if she forgave him, and she always gave him the same answer. But in her heart, she had been lying. I wasn't until the car accident when he lost his sight that she realized he had lost almost as much as the rest of them. That was when Willow was finally able to drop her past quarrels with him and move on. He had become her trusted friend.

By the time Willow returned to the car, she was crying hard. Jeff just walked up to her and held her tightly till she stopped. He was always there to support her through everything, even when he knew about her past. 'Buffy,' thought Willow, 'will you ever return to us?'

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