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 Angel's Secrets

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Saved by... What?

By Cryptic

Summary: Buffy has a run-in with Angelus.
This is the first part of The Via Dolorosa Series.
Disclaimer: OK, guys, like you all know Buffy, Angel and all the other characters belong to Joss Whendon, Mutant Enemy etc. I'm simply "borrowing" them for a story of my own.
Author's Notes: This story takes place after Angel has lost his soul and is transformed into his alter ego Angelus.

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Part 1

She was walking in the rain and thinking...It was just another one of those nights when she would go patrolling and killing vampires, which was her job actually...Or at least the closest thing to a job she was ever going to have...But something felt different, something was definitely wrong... And she knew just what it was...

"Oh, Angel," she whispered, "Why, why did it have to end like this? Why? After just one night of passion...If I only knew..."

"That's a sight that truly breaks my heart... That's if I had one..." he had followed her all the way from the cemetery and was approaching with a slow, creeping pace. "A pained slayer...Not anything you get to see every day... So, what's up, lover, broke a nail??"

She had to gather all her strength not to burst in tears. That was just what he was trying to do - make her weak, make her vulnerable...No, this wasn't her Angel - this was just a monster that had his body, his voice, his smile, his eyes. His wonderful, intense brown eyes which she loved so much...

She quickly turned around and delivered a kick that was supposed to knock him over but he had her figured out and ducked low so that her foot hit the empty air above his head. Before she even got a chance to realize what was happening he had already pinned her to the wall and was pressing his body onto hers, his weight holding her down.

This was so Angel... -he always knew what she was going to do next... Well this time she wished he hadn't.

"So, that's it", she thought, "This is how it ends..."

She closed her eyes waiting for his fangs to pierce her skin. She felt him kissing lightly her neck, just where her pulse was beating... Tender kisses, just like Angel used to do when they were alone in her room, just like that night in his apartment...

She felt tears streaming down her face... She didn't care anymore. She was going to die anyway.

"Buffy..."he whispered softly.

Her eyes flung open... She stared right into his - just a few inches away from her forehead.

"Angel..."she murmured disbelievingly.

This couldn't be, this was not real - her brain was prompting warning messages faster than her conscience could process...Even so, she didn't care if it was real or not...She simply wanted to be with him, feel his caresses, his kisses.

He leaned forward, as if reading her mind once again, and started kissing her - slow and gentle at the beginning and then growing more and more passionate, proving that he was still the one to make her head spin and her knees tremble...

"Oh Angel, it has been such a long time", she managed, panting heavily after the kiss was finally broken. "I thought I'd lost you forever."

He stepped away laughing - his eyes full of disgust and a kind of mocking amusement at her deceived expression.

"Come on, Buffy, you didn't actually think that it was going to be that easy to get him back, did you??But if you miss him that bad I am sure we can work something out..."

He grinned at her seductively.

This was more than she could bear. She started hitting him blindly, not giving a damn whether she really harmed him or not...

She soon recognized that he was in a better shape than her as she was almost beaten up and felt a sharp pain in her right arm, notwithstanding the fact that she could barely move her left one and it took all her strength not to pass out on the spot.

"Go on...Finish what you have started!", she hissed at him and closed her eyes waiting for the inevitable to happen...

But it didn't - he simply disappeared into the night... Poof and he was gone...Just like that - no last contemptuous words, nothing.

She gathered all her strength to stand up and head for the library - tears of humiliation streaming down her cheek...

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Part 2

"Where the hell is she??It is almost midnight - she had to be here an hour ago..." Giles was really getting nervous.

"Giles, there is definitely something important that is keeping her - probably some demons, vampires...or maybe homework"

"Homework?! Willow, I appreciate you trying to calm me down... but we are talking about Buffy here... Homework is just a dictionary definition for fruitless efforts to her..."

"Yup, I agree with Mr.Bookworm on that..."

"Xander, stop being such a dope...You don't even know what a dictionary is!", Cordelia was really pissed off this time...

"Wow, great to know who your real friends are - not that I've expected it...", a familiar, tired voice spoke from behind.

"Buffy, where the hell have you been??We've been worried sick about you...Oh, god, what has happened to you?"

Giles had never seen Buffy look so beaten up ad defeated in his life.

"Angel", she said, answering all his question with one word.

.

After her wounds had been attended to, Giles decided to call it a night and let the assembly go, with Buffy safely placed in Willow's bed as her mother was in LA 'til Friday.

Things had been pretty different for a month or so after Joyce had finally come to terms with Buffy's night activities. And now she trusted her enough to leave her alone for more than a week, not without a great deal of fear though. Willow was really glad Buffy's mom couldn't see her now - she would have been more than terrified. Something had happened, something more than just a night's rendezvous with Angelus...Buffy had never looked more depressed and humiliated in her life.

"So, Buffy, what happened - there was something more than just a fight, right?" Willow asked after they had finally been left alone.

"I guess you can say so..."

"And??"

"He got me right where he wanted me..."

"What do you mean??"

"He fooled me again. I don't know what had got into me - to believe him like that... To believe that the Angel I once knew could come back to me...", Buffy was still sobbing when Willow finally spoke.

"He's gone, Buffy, he's gone and he'll never come back... You'll have to accept that sooner or later. And the sooner, the better."

"I know, but it was so real I could almost sense his love. As if it was Angel, as if he was back..."

"But he wasn't and he'll never be. You have to move on, Buffy. You have to start going out, and at least try to forget...But there is something else that seems very weird - if things were so bad how did you manage to escape?"

"That is definitely the weirdest part... Just as I could swear it was all over he simply disappeared. Vanished as if he was never there in the first place."

"Odd... I thought his life's goal was to slowly drain your blood..."

"Well, it's not like he has a life... or something"

"Come on, Buffy, you know what I mean."

"Hmm, I guess he decided on introducing me to a whole new world of suffering" Buffy's voice sounded not as gay as she intended it to. She gave a little tired smile, wondering if she had managed to convince Willow...She didn't know the answers herself but she was sure it was all for worse. Anyway, she didn't want to think about that now.

"Well, it is still strange..."Willow could feel that her friend was completely exhausted and it was time for them to go to bed. Actually it was almost time for them to get up, but...

"Willow, could you please switch off the lights! I am tired - had to fight my super powerful ex-boyfriend, not mentioning Snyder, remember!"

"Sorry...", there was enough time to question Buffy later and Willow really needed to get some sleep herself.

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Part 3
Meanwhile in a mansion in the other end of the town...

"What the hell had got into me... I was that close to killing her" - Angel was roaming around the place angrily. "She was ready for me, really ready... DAMN IT"

"Damn what... ?" Angel hadn't realized that he was talking out loud when he sensed Spike coming in...

"Rolling in, that is...", he thought smiling viciously... Things were pretty different since Spike was chained to the wheelchair and Dru was left without the attention she deserved...Hmm, he had enjoyed giving her what she needed and making Roller Boy mad for some time... but he quickly got bored and what is more he was bored with her...because she wasn't what he needed, she wasn't... Buffy...

"Hey,brooding guy, I asked a question here...Damn who?" said Spike.

"None of your damn business. That's who.."

"Shhh, naughty, naughty boys... Fighting again...", Dru had come from behind and was stroking Spike's hair. "Mummy doesn't like it when you fight."

She came waltzing towards Angel and put her hands on his head. "No, not her again... You're thinking about her... About that slayer...What you, you kill her... Mummy likes the look on her face - sweet...sweet..."

"What is it dear? What are you seeing??" Spike was intrigued.

"Hmm... pain...wait, wait...you, you... let her go... Why, baby, why??"

"Isn't it obvious - he...loves her... Poor Buffy wrapped Angelus." Spike was really enjoying the look on Angel's face... he found it - his weakness - the Slayer... And he was gonna make him pay... This was getting interesting...

"Love her??!!", Angel had finally gathered up his nerves. "What could I possibly love about her... Her hair?" He pulled Drucilla close and started gently brushing her hair with his fingers.

She murmured voluptuously.

"Her skin??" he traced with his fingers Dru's skin while she smiled at him. He looked at Spike loving his frustration and the sense that he could do nothing to stop him while he was playing with his love...

"Her lips??" he gave her a deep kiss violently - she seemed to like it...but he couldn't bring himself to stop thinking about Buffy - her hair, her skin, her sweet smell... He pushed Dru aside tiredly...

"Then you might consider it a favor that I've sent a few of the new recruits to take care of her..." Spike looked directly into his eyes innocently... He got terrified from the look Angel had - rage, pure, unrestrained rage...

"You did what?? I am gonna kill you for this..." He looked as if he was actually gonna do it. "You stay here and don't do anything till I'm back! Understand!"

"Why should I bloody take orders from you...?"

Angel rushed over and grabbed his shirt.

"Cos I'll bloody kill you, that's why? No one does anything to Buffy... no one but me"

"Convincing enough..."

Angel was already gone...

"Hmm, forgot to tell Lover Boy that they ain't gonna strike before sunset... Do you think he'll figure that out on his own" Spike smiled wickedly as he kissed his honey.

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Part 4
Minutes before sunset in Sunnydale High.

"But Principal Snyder, it wasn't my fault that the man got hit by a car... I just coudn't leave him lying on the street now, could I ?"

"Very convincing Miss Summers - a man, hit by a car just before your chemistry test... Do I look stupid to you??"

"Yes, no... i mean no you don't... but it really..."

"That's it... It's over Miss Summers - your days in Sunnydale are through... You are expelled."

"But, but you can't... I, I,... my mother..." Buffy struggled to keep the tears from falling. He had no right, no right to judge her, to humiliate her after all she had done to save him, the students, the town.

"You've been messing up my work ever since I got here and I've been watching you Summers and I finally got you - you spoiled, little brat... you..."

Before he got the chance to finish, something or rather someone grabbed him by the collar and pushed him to the wall.

"You don't talk that way about her you hear me... No one talks like that about my Buffy... No one makes her suffer but me... No one." Snyder was experiencing a close encounter with one really mad vampire who seemed ready to beat the shit out of him.

Buffy had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn't dreaming... Was that really Angel sticking up for her? - he looked as if he was going to kill Snyder... Snyder was the scariest monster ever but still it was her job to save him.

"So Miss Summers I suppose this, this... criminal is your boyfriend" Snyder was back on the track...

"Surprisingly quickly" Angel thought. "I must be getting old"

"Actually ex-" Buffy was obviously ready to fight again.

"Come on lover, I don't remember us actually breaking up... Especially after that amazing night... Come on, Buff, I know you remember - wet, steamy, you screaming my name..."

"Hello... - don't think this is the right time to discuss my love life..."

"Our love life, dear..." He smiled contentedly as he remembered every little touch and kiss...

She could read his mind as she flushed and felt her heart speed up as the memories rushed over her. Keep control over your emotions she said to herself...this isn't him, this isn't the Angel you knew...

"Sorry to remind you but that wasn't you... It was Angel - the kind, caring Angel who loved me, who was ready to sacrifice his life for mine..."

At least she gave Snyder enough time to clear off, not that he looked as if he appreciated it.

"You think he loved you, Buffy, don't be silly... He never loved you, not the way I could..." There was no use hiding his feelings. He knew he loved her and hated himself for it... but he just...couldn't stop... They were going to be great together if only she could let him... if she could understand how much he needed her.

They were interrupted by a group of vampires attacking from behind. Buffy took the front three and Angel - the rest. It was quite easy to deal with them as they were so young and inexperienced...

"Bloody William - always sending the green ones do his job. I'll have to deal with him after this." Angel was starting to get bored and he quickly stabbed the last one of his attackers...

"Really enjoyed it here, lover, but you see I have some unfinished business to attend to so I'll give you a little time to make yourself pretty for our next rendezvous..." He killed the vampire that threatened her and raised her chin with one hand as he held her hands above her head with the other.

"Not that you need it...You always look so beautiful" He started kissing her slow and gentle until he could feel her drop in his arms and shake with emotion. He broke the kiss unwillingly and disappeared into the night before she could say anything.

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Part 5

"Prophecy,prophecy of... of... undying faith... something... Giles, what was that again??" Xander looked perplexed, reading books wasn't exactly his specialty. He just couldn't understand those bookworms - what could possibly offer a 500-page brick that a two hour movie couldn't surpass.

"Uh... Prophecy of the undying love, Xander - you spell that with C. P-r-o-p-h-e-c-y..." Giles lifted his head from a book and looked above his glasses.

"It may come as a shock but I believe I know how to spell it... Giles."

"Hey,Buffy, what happened??" Willow was the first one to spot the slayer who had silently entered the library, obviously deep in thought.

"Well, let me see: first I got expelled from school, then... Do you want a detailed explanation cos I don't think the time will..."

"Snyder again... Don't worry, Buffy, I'll take care of that..." Giles had left the book on the table and was approaching rather worriedly. " I think Angel took care of that..." She still coudn't believe what had happened.

"Angel? What was Angel doing there in the first place??" Xander was beginning to sound like the Spanish inquisition..."Are you two dating again??"

"Xander, stay out of this!!" Cordelia was getting tired with Xander's obsession about Buffy... He had to finally make a choice because she wasn't going to wait for him forever.

"No, Xander, we are not dating... He, he just appeared... I can't explain it either... I"

"So, what exactly happened??" asked Giles.

"Well, he sort of... stuck up for me... Almost tried to kill Snyder..."

"Who can blame him!" Xander smiled to Buffy apologetically...

"And??" Giles gave the boy an annoyed look.

"That's it... I mean he didn't do anything... at least anything violent..."

"That's weird - Angel not being violent, I mean..." Xander looked at her rather sheepishly...

"It was almost as if, as if he..." Buffy couldn't bring herself to actually say it - it was impossible, absolutely impossible..."He..."

"Loved ya...", an unfamiliar screeching voice finished her sentence.

.

The gang turned around to face a strangely dressed, funny looking little man accompanied by an even stranger dark guy dressed in a rug resembling table cloth...

"Excuse me this isn't a public library... And how did you..." Giles was definitely taken aback.

"Who are you??" Buffy asked the funny looking guy. "And where do you know Angel from?" "I'm his friend...", he looked around. "About the only one he still has. You see, things weren't suppose to happen like that... You two were just supposed to be together... but not really together..."

Buffy coudn't help but blush...

"Oh, and by the way - my name is Whistler - I am the one who brought him here... He learned everything from me..."

"Obviously, not everything...", Buffy thought..."Angel would never put purple shirt on top of a brown suit... Thank god..."

"He was quite captured by your charms... and I can see why"

"Get to the point!" The other man growled.

"Oh, sorry... Where are my manners - this is Trajan - Yana's cousin..."

"Who's Yana??" Xander whispered.

"You knew her by the name of Jenny Clendar." The man answered in a strong Romany accent.

Giles's head immediately shot up. "Jenny...", he whispered softly.

"So why are you here...both of you?" Buffy was growing tired with this constant chatting.

"Hmm, you tell her..." the Romany spoke in a low voice.

"You have to excuse him", said Whistler, "He still doesn't believe it... but we're here about the prophecy... WE think it's you..."

"Me... what??"

"Uhh, the prophecy..."

"Well, I haven't deciphered that yet" Giles sounded almost ashamed." It is in ancient Greek... something about the undying love..."

"Yes, the love of Orpheus and Euridica... It's a Greek myth except it is not really a myth..." The Gypsy sounded quite well informed.

"Excuse me here... but what do these Orpius and Ulrica have to do with Angel and me??"

"It's Orpheus and Euridica and it is a legend... He was a shepherd who had supernatural powers... I mean he could sense things, he saw things... in the future..."Giles voice came from a distance.

"Just like Buffy" Cordelia remarked.

"Yeah, just like Buffy... And one day he saw the one he loved - Euridica get bitten by a snake... But he couldn't prevent it from happening - he was too late... So she died... - she was the most beautiful and charming creature ever... And he couldn't live without her -that's why the Gods gave him the chance to go in the kingdom of the Death and take her with him if she wanted to... SO he did... but in the last moment she hesitated between her love and immortality and that costed her her life... And his eventually, for he couldn't live without her."

"Yup, and the prophecy tells that their souls would return in 10000 years to try and be together for eternity... or this would be the End of Days...", Whistler finished. "so to the point we think the love that cannot die - that's you and Brood guy... so we have to get you to unite in two days or the earth will be doomed."

"UHH??" Buffy really couldn't follow this strange guy's thought... How come they were the ones in the prophecy...

"You see, I am here because the curse is still active...", the Gypsy continued. "I mean Angelus suffers because he still loves you which cannot be possible if your love wasn't the undying one... It took me a lot of time to admit it... But he loved you so much that his soul grappled to assume control and the love defeated the demon but Angel as you know him wasn't that strong...Unfortunately..."

"Oh, please you don't really expect us to believe this fairy tale, now do you?!" Xander knew he wasn't that bright but one thing was clear even to him - once a vampire, always a vampire - there was no way to change that except with stake in the heart... That happened to Jessie and by the way... why would anyone want Angel back... after all he had done to Miss Calendar, to Buffy... What was about that guy that made people go crazy... and especially a certain vampire slayer...

"Well there is only one way to find out if what we assume is true..." Whistler gave the gypsy a quick look.

"And that is??" Buffy was getting rather impatient.

"... You."

"Excuse me?!"

"What he means is that only you can tell us if this is really true", Trajan explained, "And that is by answering one simple question... You need to think about that carefully so take your time..."

"Go ahead. What is the question?"

"Do you still love Angel, after all he's done? Can you forgive him or rather imagine a life time without him??" The Romany glanced at her with interest and curiosity

"Now we don't need an answer right away... but the sooner, the better..." Whistler just couldn't help to have the final word.

"I don't think she needs time on that... Right, Buff," Xander was positive of one thing: "Of course she doesn't love him... I mean how could she... after all he did... No one can... Sorry guys but you'll have to look for your Eu-something elsewhere."

"Shut up" Cordelia hissed.

"No, he is right..." Buffy answered, still weighing up in her mind the possibility of a life without Angel. "I don't need time... I can tell you right now..."

Everyone in the room stared at her, including Oz who had just come in and was trying to understand what exactly was going on.

"I can imagine a life without Angel..."

The two prepared to leave... The eyes of the gypsy emitting an "I told you so" message quite visibly... Xander was barely restraining himself from shouting euphorically.

"... but strangely enough I can't imagine myself in it..." Buffy finished - her gaze fixed to the ground. She knew this was sick and wrong - to love him in the same way after all... but she coudn't help it... She wasn't herself lately - pining away from grief and a kind of unexplainable sadness...She almost let him kill her... Twice! And she had to admit to herself that deep inside her soul she wanted to be with him so bad that even death seemed a fair enough option.

Whistler looked around triumphantly.

"He is a murderer, you know..." Trajan murmured.

"This isn't him... I mean this is not the Angel I know... and love."

"Damn right this isn't him.I've been trying to explain it to him... in vain... But we are going to get our Angel back... So what's the agenda for today?" Whistler seemed to be unaware that it was almost tomorrow already.

"Well, first we have to get Buffy back in school, which is also important..." Giles voice came from behind a big pile of books.

"That can wait..." Whistler's tone made it clear that no actual suggestions were welcomed. "Of course you understand that we need to save the world first, otherwise this just won't be an issue...So I suggest that Trajan stays here with you to help you with the translation of the ritual... and I will walk Little Lady here home... She probably has a lot to ask me."

"Oh, boy" Buffy thought..."Another sleepless night with a chatter box who dresses like a...hm lets see - no living analogy found!"

"O.K. Lets go... Whistler."

They were already walking for five minutes or so when Whistler gave in to the pressure and spoke first.

"Go ahead - ask me what you've mused upon the whole way up to here!"

"O.K. - so how did you get to know Angel?"

"Well, when I first met him he was far from what he is now - he was just a hungry, homeless person in LA who happened to feed on blood... But I can show it to you..."

"Excuse me??"

"I've asked the Gypsy a favor - this is the Ball of Sarahn - it keeps all the lost memories... We can use it if you want to... I mean if you're not too tired, too..."

"Go ahead" This guy had a big big mouth and it was already getting on her nerves.

Whistler threw the ball on the street so that it broke and all of a sudden they were no longer in Sunnydale but in some strange place...

.

"Where are we?" Buffy asked.

"That's LA... not one of the most prestigious neighborhoods though..."

"And where is Angel?"

"Hmm you see those two over there - that's me and Angel... He is eating rats there... not very good for the digestion...Oh how I used to love that shirt... that's just seconds before he destroyed it...

Buffy was still blinking disbelievingly... This was Angel, this tramp was her Angel... She felt the tears once again threatening to fall from her eyes - she could see how much he had changed during the last few years...and she intuitively knew the reason for this change.

Suddenly they were at another place - a place she knew - her former school...and there she could see herself, her last day at school...

"Uhh, what are we doing here?"

"You mean you still don't see?"

"See what?? Oh, yeah - remind me never to put on pink again."

"No - there - in the car with the darkened windows!"

Now she could see it... It was him... It was Angel looking out from a window from the distance... Looking at her with those beautiful eyes, full of pain and guilt...

And again they moved in time to another place - she recognized her old room and saw herself crying after one of the many fights her father and her mother had... But now she was able to see him - outside the window, silently listening, devouring her with his eyes... he was crying because she was... her pain was his ... She always knew that there was some special connection between the two of them...

"See here I had to use all my strength to restrain him from rushing in and comforting you..." Whistler continued talking on and on but Buffy simply wasn't listening to him anymore. She could no longer hear or see anything but Angel's face - full of pain, full of her pain.

She saw other more familiar moments... and even had the strength to laugh when he said that he wanted to be like Whistler but not dress like him. She loved that Angel - the gorgeous, witty Angel... and she coudn't wait to have him in her arms again.

Finally they were back on the street near her house.

"I think you've had enough for today.So sleep on it and we'll see each other tomorrow... at 8 o'clock in the library."

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Part 6

"Hi, guys, what's up?? Translated the spell??"

"Oh, hi, Buffy... Yes, yes I believe we did... Of, of course I owe a lot to Trajan here - I wouldn't have managed it without him..." Giles smiled at the gypsy thankfully.

"So, what's my job for today - slay some, burn some, get some asses kicked?" Buffy sat on the table tossing a book in her arms.

"You may want to leave the book... we'll need it later..." Giles eyes followed the book worriedly...

"O.K. So what now?"

"Now you get to pay Angel a visit... You'll need all of your charms to convince him to meet you in the Bronze at 10.00 p.m. tomorrow... We don't care how you do that - cheat, lie, drag him... - just get him there... I know you can do it!" Whistler grinned at her.

"At least one of us is sure of it..." Buffy mumbled. "So I'll be gone."

"Are you sure you don't need back up..." Xander was really concerned. "He may become dangerous... that is - more dangerous than he already is."

"I think I can handle it but thanks anyway."

Buffy was just about to leave the school building when Willow caught up with her.

"Buffy, what happened last night.You look... changed, more confident."

"I saw him - I mean the past. But it doesn't matter anymore - it was a trick - The Ball of Sarahn or something. However, I know one thing for sure... He's the one, Will, some wait for him all their lives and I I've found him. And I'm sure as hell not gonna let him go, ever again. So wish me luck."

"Well, good luck... And, Buffy, be careful!"

"I will."

.

Part 7

"Come on, baby... This is no place for us? Don't you get it - Angel loves the slayer - period." Spike was trying to make Drucilla understand that they needed to go before either Angel or the Slayer got them killed.

"He will return - you'll see. She won't be able to keep him - no one keeps him, not me, not her, not any gal." Dru gently touched Spike's face and leaned over to kiss him.

"What a heartbreaking sight... Get over with the badinage and tell me where your Buddy is!" Buffy had broken in through the sewage system and was now standing in front of the startled couple.

"If you are referring to Angel - he is not my buddy and by the way weren't you supposed to be dead by now?" Spike raised a questioning eyebrow.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you but... hey wait a minute - you sent those guys to kill me... You were responsible for it all?"

"Excuse me... I was responsible for it all... I wasn't the one who gave Angel that one moment of true happiness and turned him into my worst nightmare, now was I?"

Buffy couldn't help but blush as her thoughts rushed to the moment when she felt the happiest in her life. And that gave Spike enough time to grab Dru and make a beeline for the sewer while Buffy was so surprised by the fact that he could walk that she barely made any move to stop him. Anyway Spike wasn't exactly the priority... SO she headed for Angel's apartment, figuring that that was the next best place for him to be.

And she was right...

The End

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