Rating: R for now?
Content: Mostly B/A at first but not for too long (sorry anyway), C/X but eventually C/A friendship and more.
Summary: Angel comes back from Hell, and things go AU pretty much from there.
Spoilers: for Buffy up to first episode of season 3, Anne. Also Buffy meets and starts dating Scott Hope. Pretty much will be an Alternate take on Season 3 Buffy, but I’ll be picking and choosing things from canon to include with my own twist.:
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask, please.
Feedback: Please. And constructive critiques welcomed.
Marilis stood in the shadows waiting and watching.
The girl known as the slayer stood in the center of the mansion having a silent conversation with herself. Marilis did not care about why the slayer was there, or why she delivered a trinket to the floor with shaky breath and then left without looking back. The girl was nobody to her but the foolish and childish heart who’d given her heart to a demon. And that love gifted the monster by freeing him of the soul.
The old gypsy’s thin lips curved into a small smile, the vampire’s freedom had been short and his own plot had been turned against him. He’d had his soul restored by a young witch moments before the slayer sent him into a hell dimension where his soul would cause him more torment than the century he’d lived trapped with it on this earth. It gave Marilis pleasure to know, that a demon and a monster such as he lived with their curse tortured in hell. There was no more fitting end to a monster’s life.
Her smile faded when a flash of white blinded her eyes. The sudden magical energy didn’t shock her or surprise her, but she had hoped it would not come to pass. He belonged in hell, he belonged in endless torment. A form fell from the fissure opened in the air and plummeted to the hard floor of the mansion, almost in the exact spot the slayer had stood.
Marilis looked upon the naked figure in disgust and loathing, he was wet with sweat and he shook but she did not care why. He was a vampire. A monster.
And she hesitated to move.
Her husband stood behind her, his hand softly cupped her shoulder and squeezed. He said nothing to her, just told her in the motion and his loving touch that he understood her doubt but she must do what they’d came to do. Marilis closed her eyes and said a prayer to the slain daughter of the Kalderash clan and his most recent victim, Yana, as well. She prayed and hoped the clan’s decision was the right one and stepped forward.
She would do has they wished. She motioned to her husband and her brothers behind her with her hands. They moved forward to the monster and her heart skipped with fear, what if the seers had been wrong and he wasn’t as weak as they’d expected? It was a futile fear, her mind knew, they’d been right about his return from hell, they were right about his physical state and they were right about what they the Kalderash must do.
Yet Marilis didn’t breath until she met her husband’s wise eyes, and saw that they had the chains around the demon’s wrists and held him tight. She motioned with her hands again and her sisters stepped forward, lit the herbs and candles and handed her the runes. She tossed them to the ground and took the orb out of a pocket in her dress.
She let one more moment of doubt cross her mind, stated her distaste for what she was about to do the spirits above her, the ones that had set this decision in motion by bringing the vampire back. Then Marilis cleared her mind and did what had been decided.
She chanted, she evoked centuries old gypsy magic and she anchored the demon’s soul. But Marilis wasn’t done, she moved as close to the vampire as she could dare, watched as her husband and brothers twisted tighter on his chains and she ordered the creature to look her in the eyes.
She felt cold.
And she spat into his face. “Monster,” she said to him and watched his face. He was still slick with sweat but was shivering. She took pleasure in his pain and the confusion in his eyes.
“You see and hear me, I know you do vampire. You don’t yet know that this is real. Or what is real. You won’t know what is real and what is illusion for days and weeks to come. And I hope you never do but I am not naïve.
“There are plans for you monster, beyond the Kalderash’s control. With that in mind a decision was made to anchor your soul. We cannot chance again that the curse will be broken by your own arrogance again. I do not understand these Power’s interest in a monster like you but it is not my place to judge them.”
“But it is my place to curse you. And cursed you are monster! The choice to anchor your soul is not a gift, vampire. You are still a demon, still a killer, still a monster. The soul gives you only a taste of humanity but it does not gift you with humanity. You will forever crave blood, forever be a creature of violence. Your soul it makes you nothing special, nothing unique. All it makes you is neither demon or human. You don’t belong. You are nothing. And shall always be in the eyes of the Kalderash. And in this way our vengeance is fixed to last and you shall remain always a monster.”
Marilis finished her words and then turned away from the monster. She joined her sisters in the shadows and waited again. This time for her husband and brothers to free the monster. Her duty was done and she would not look back. The soul was now anchored to the monster – he was forever cursed.
Warm, Buffy thought, as Scott’s lips pressed against his and she returned the kiss. This is warm and warm is nice she decided, and smiled as they pulled apart breaking the chaste kiss.
“So, that was the end of our third date,” Scott said, taking a half-step backward
Buffy smiled a bit wider. “Yep, three. Three dates have been had.”
“Which presents the question…” Scott trailed off. “Will their be…”
“A fourth?” she asked and then she nodded. “Four is a nice number.”
“It is.” Scott smiled. “This is good, and tomorrow is school.”
“Monday. First day of the school week.”
Scott nodded. “And I’ll see you there?”
“I will be free during the time known as lunch.”
“Yes,” Buffy said.
Scott gave her a smile. “Are you sure you don’t need a ride home?”
Buffy nodded. “I’m fine. I have to stop by the school, it’s close by and I like walking in the sun,” she explained, adding silently to herself, especially since I usually walk in the moonlight.
“Sunshine is good,” Scott said.
“And warm,” Buffy said with a self-satisfied grin.
He got into his car, waved at the others standing between his car and Cordelia Chase’s Corvette and sent Buffy one last smile before driving off.
“Wasn’t that just the most pathetic goodbye, I’ve ever seen.”
Buffy winced and turned toward Cordelia. “What?”
“You were counting your dates and are you two even speaking in English? It’s just so…”
“Romantic,” Willow piped in, her body leaning towards Oz but her eyes on Buffy. “I think it’s romantic.”
“Me too,” Oz said agreeing with his girlfriend and taking her hand.
Buffy smiled, Willow and Oz were so right together. They looked so comfortable and everything seemed so easy, despite the fact Oz was a werewolf. They had a nice relationship and it made Buffy happy for Willow.
“It’s nice. Scott’s nice,” she said glancing toward where Scott’s car had been, thinking that she wanted a nice and comfortable relationship with a nice boy. And Scott was just the boy for her needs.
“I guess it must be nice not having to wonder if he’ll go all evil and blood-thirsty.”
Buffy tensed at Cordelia’s words, and she heard Willow and Xander instantly step in to veer the subject away from Angel. Oz, piping up to echo Willow and Cordelia huffing but not saying anything more.
But it was too late. Buffy’s mind was on Angel. Not on their past but on the present. On the fact that he was presently in the mansion, probably still crouching on the floor in dirty pants and covered in grime. Angel was back in Sunnydale, back in her life and she didn’t understand.
She’d said good bye to him at the place where she’d thrust a sword into his chest and sent him to hell. Then ten days later she found him while patrolling in the woods. He’d been wild and naked, he’d look at her without any recognition and tried to fight her. He’d been easy to knock out because he was weak and shaking.
He was stronger now. He trusted her now, at first he’d been defensive readying to attack her to defend himself. Angel had seen her as a danger to him and it weighed on her conscience because he should. Hadn’t she sent him to an eternal torment in hell? Which brought her back to the why of it, the confusion of it and the how of it. How had he returned? She couldn’t ask Angel, the most he’d said was her name, and a thank you for the blood she brought to him, to help him get stronger.
She had spoken to Giles, pretending it was just a dream, which Giles thought was natural due to her grief. He’d had no answers, just theories and everything he’d said about the demon dimension hadn’t boded well for Angel’s psyche.
But Angel knew who she was. He could drink out of the plastic canisters she brought to him. He was still Angel just unfocused, weak and to Buffy a very confusing presence. One she was pushing to the back of her mind, keeping at a distance until he was stronger, until she could figure out what was going on, until she knew he was going to be okay. He was her responsibility, it was her responsibility to take care of him and to make sure he wasn’t a threat to anyone in Sunnydale.
Yet she hadn’t told anyone he was back. In fact she kept on with her goal of moving on and letting her past with him go while the days past by. It’d been the longest week of her life.
Buffy jumped when Willow’s voice, followed by her hand on Buffy’s arm broke into her thoughts.
“Thinking about your guy?”
“What?” Buffy stared at her best friend, how had Willow known? How was she going to explain.
“Scott, the kiss, the upcoming fourth date…” Willow trailed off with a dreamy sigh.
“Oh. Scott. Yes.” Buffy managed to say praying that they took her blushing to be about being caught daydreaming about her new boyfriend and not about her fear of being found for keeping such a huge secret. “I like Scott,” she said.
“Well, as entertaining as Buffy’s love life is…not,” Cordelia said, gaining Buffy’s attention. “A question was posed Buffy, are you sure you don’t want a ride to the school. I’m going that way.”
Buffy met Cordelia’s gaze and pondered the offer. Now that Angel was on her mind, she was wondering how she was going to manage to stop by and see him. Giles wanted her train, her mother wanted her home for dinner and that left little time for her to try to do her homework and patrol. Maybe she could go by the mansion before heading home for dinner? And if she took Cordelia up on the ride she’d get to the library faster. Maybe she could – should – talk to Giles about Angel?
“Limited time offer, Buffy,” Cordelia said punctuating her sentence by opening her car door.
“No thanks, Cordy. I really do want to walk in the sun,” Buffy heard herself say. She wasn’t ready to tell Giles, less time with Giles meant less time to feel guilty about keeping secrets.
“Suit yourself. Actually you could use some sun, your midnight hours are showing. I mean you have no color.”
Buffy looked at her arms worried that Cordelia wasn’t just trying to get on her nerves and instantly defended herself. “I have color.”
Cordelia made a noise with her tongue meant for Buffy but then dropped the subject by turning toward Xander. “We are not going to say goodbye like two dorks. Understand?”
Xander agreed with a nod, and soon he and Cordelia were kissing. Buffy felt like a deer trapped in headlights, it was just so gross watching Xander swap saliva with Cordelia. Finally she made herself turn away and shared an eye roll with Willow. She really didn’t understand Xander’s relationship – which was a term she used loosely – with Cordelia. They never got along and yet their were always pawing each other. Their relationship had none of the ease or common ground that Willow had found with Oz.
Yet there was the fact that Cordelia actually put up with a certain amount of persecution from her friends by dating Xander. Basically, Buffy realized she’d just never figure out Cordelia Chase.
Suddenly, Buffy’s mind caught up to what was going on in the parking lot of the diner where they’d all just had a group lunch date. Why were Cordelia and Xander kissing goodbye?
“You two aren’t going to go hang out at Cordelia’s?”
“I have loads of homework and cheerleading routines to practice, I need to have everything down to show the squad at the morning practice before school,” Cordelia explained.
“And Oz’s going to drop me off, since I live closer to Will’s than Cordelia.”
“Dingoes are practicing at Devon’s today,” Oz said.
Willow sighed. “So, no more Oz time for me today.”
Buffy felt deflated and she sighed. “How is a slayer supposed to live a vicariously normal life of fun and dating if you guys don’t… have fun. I was feeling so much better about my busy-ness thinking all of you would have a good old fashioned lazy Sunday with the smoochies and stuff.”
Willow, Oz and Xander gave her a sympathetic look but Cordelia broke the moment. “Well, meeting for lunch for a big group date was…well, let’s never do it again.”
She got into her car and shot Buffy one last look. “Last shot for a ride, Buffy?”
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Suit yourself.” Cordelia started her car and barreled out of the parking lot.
“And yet again living in the same neighborhood as Willow saves my life,” Xander said as the four of them gaped at the empty air left in Cordelia’s wake.
She shook her head at Xander and waved goodbye to Willow and Oz. And the sun shined down on her as she walked toward the high school but her thoughts grew darker and more confused with each step.
All she had wanted was to go on with her life. To have as much normalcy as she could muster up for herself in the craziness that was her life as The Slayer. She’d found her way back home, she was dealing with her mother’s worry and ignorance about her calling, she’d gotten things back on track with Willow and Xander. She even liked talking with Cordelia about fashion when they got stuck at a table together at lunch or The Bronze and she’d met a really nice guy with a nice smile.
She’d taken the steps to move on past Angel and all the love, pain and fear that had come with their relationship. Yet he’d come back, he’d returned from a hell dimension and their was no evidence to show how or why and as well as she was pretending nothing had happened she knew it had.
And she knew should tell Giles about it. About his state of mind, and it’s slow improvement and about how she’d found him. And ask him what to do, Giles would have answers about what to do about Angel’s return. And that was what frightened her. She wasn’t ready to hear Giles’ concerns or questions about Angel’s return to Sunnydale.
It was still so new, it was still a shock to her system and she wanted to know more. She wanted to hear Angel say more than just her name, she wanted him to look at her the way he used too. A part of her wanted things to go back to the way they had been before her birthday, before everything went so wrong and she knew it was stupid and wrong.
But it didn’t stop the ache in her chest, and the pain made her angry. Furious really and another part of her wished that it had never happened, whatever it was…and then she hated herself.
Because how could she wish Angel away?