|It's About You
Author: The Raider PM
Post-S1/Pre S2. With the Master defeated, Buffy tries to return to a semi-normal life. Still scarred from her brief experience with death, she wants nothing more than to forget the entire incident and move on. In the midst of it all, a confession from a certain ensouled vampire changes everything... ON HOLDRated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Drama - Buffy S. & Angel - Chapters: 3 - Words: 8,608 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 12-25-12 - Published: 11-20-12 - id: 8721158
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sorry for the long wait in between updates, I was really throwing all of my energy into one of my other stories, and this one got left behind for a little bit.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the characters. They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
As he pushed the doors to the library open, Angel could already tell that there was no-one else in the room except for himself and Giles. Sitting at the table that stood in the center of the room, the Watcher continued to flip past pages of some ancient volume that had just recently arrived. Looking up, he smiled at the vampire, a struggling sign of the trust that was beginning to develop between the two of them.
"Ah, Angel, I trust that you received my message."
"Yeah, I did. Giles, I…I don't think that you want to know what happened down in the cave." He answered, his pockets still stuffed in the pockets of his jacket. "And I wouldn't ask Buffy about it."
"Really? How so? I can understand that her confrontation with the Master had to be extremely difficult."
"She died down there, Giles. It was only for a few moments, but she was still dead. I don't think…I don't think she's taking it that well." Absorbing the information, the Watcher leaned back in his chair, not saying a single word as he let his thoughts flow through his mind.
"So the prophecy did indeed come true then. How did you revive her?"
"Xander did, we were only a few minutes away from her when the Master bit into her. If we had only been a few minutes earlier, I…I could have stopped it."
"Do you really believe that? A prophecy isn't simply undone. It's decided upon by Fate to happen, and there is no being on this Earth that can truly defy Fate itself."
"Except Buffy. She's still alive, the prophecy didn't kill her."
"Are you sure? She could be experiencing some kind of shock regarding the entire affair, and as a result, the emotions that are building up inside her could be more than what she could handle."
"She's the Slayer, you're saying that she can't handle it?"
"No, the Slayer can handle it, the sixteen year old girl inside her can't." Giles answered, looking up at the vampire with a mixture of disbelief and slight annoyance. "You can't tell me that you didn't think about that. Angel, she's more than just a girl, the single girl in all the world. She's isn't completely oblivious to feeling stress or shock. She's a human being at heart."
"And that's what's killing her."
There was blood everywhere, covering every possible substance, flooding the entire room in the process. Starting to make her way through it, she could see numerous bodies floating through the red liquid, their clothing stained and wet. As she walked past them, Buffy avoided looking at the bodies, the fear of recognizing anyone running through her mind. She had no weapons, and she could feel nothing underneath her that could substitute as one.
"Welcome, Slayer." Stopping, she could hear his voice snaking through the room, leaving no corner untouched by its sound. Again, fear spread through her senses, making every bone in her body instantly on edge. She looked, her eyes and mind frantic to find a place to escape to, simply to be out of his reach. But every wall around her was the same simple color, with no door in sight, the smoothness of the room offset by the dark red color of blood covering the floor.
"Thinking of leaving so soon? But you only just arrived." Turning around, she found him standing against the wall, a smile on his blood-stained lips. "And we have so much to discuss." Closing her eyes, the Slayer tried to wish him away, wanting nothing more than to simply leave the memory of him locked away forever in the back of her mind.
"Trying to make me disappear?" He said, his voice almost directly in front of her now. Still, she kept her eyes closed, trying to fight back the massive amount of fear she felt circling through her entire body. For a moment, she felt pain as the vampire's fangs bit into her neck…
Waking up, Buffy felt sweat covering her body as the nightmare continued to overtake her mind. Just like the previous nights, there was no-one else in her room, and everything was utterly still and quiet. Grabbing the pillow behind her, she let her head fall down atop of it, feeling her heart wanting to explode inside her chest from the stress she felt.
"Nightmares?" Turning her head, Buffy wasn't surprised to find Angel sitting outside her window, his face unreadable in the dark light that had engulfed the room.
"That obvious?" She replied, letting her hands fall to the sheets covering her body. "What are you doing here?"
"I was in the neighborhood. Figured I'd stop by." He answered, swinging his legs over the side of her window-still.
"You always seem to be hanging around."
"I like seeing you." Looking at her, he flashed her that grin that she had seen a few times before, the gesture making her smile as well.
"Can't imagine why. Really, I've got bed-hair, don't I?" She said, reaching to make sure her hair wasn't in some weird misshapen form.
"No, it looks fine."
"Yeah, I'm sure." Buffy answered, dripping her voice in sarcasm. "So, do you really want to tell me what you're doing here?"
"Wanna take a walk?"
As they walked through the otherwise abandoned cemetery, the Slayer and the Vampire were silent, their hands shoved into their pockets as protection against the chilling wind that circled through the night. It was almost summer now, but it seemed as it fall had come early, wiping summer completely off the calendar. The moon lighting their path, the two continued through the night, simply enjoying each other's company.
"Would you like to explain why you asked me out this particular evening? We haven't seen any vamps, so I can't imagine that its because you wanted me to patrol with you."
"I thought that maybe you should get out for a while, see how everything is at night without it being infested by the hordes of Hell."
"I'm touched, really I am." She answered, keeping her pace steady with that of Angel. As she walked, she pulled her jacket a little tighter around her chest, not wanting to catch another cold from being out in the chilly night.
"Buffy." As he said her name, she glanced over at him, her attention still obviously fully on the night surrounding them.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"About what?" She asked, stopping as the conversation continued.
"You dying." As the words left his lips, Angel could see the emotion in the Slayer's eyes beginning to run wild. The pain of that night was obviously still fresh in her mind, a realization that was only added to by the nightmare he had witnessed her having.
"I'm fine." She answered with, turning her gaze to the ground in the process.
"Anyone can see that you're really not."
"Are you calling me a liar?"
"No, I'm not. Buffy, you need to talk about this." She still wasn't looking at him, and as she slowly turned away from him, he could already sense that those emotions inside her were beginning to overwhelm her thinking.
"I'd rather not."
"Right about now, all those feelings inside of you, everything you're feeling about what happened down there, it's going to start piling up, making you feel differently. You may be a Slayer, but you can't survive that. No-one can."
"You know that from personal experience, or are you just reciting a planned speech?"
"Maybe I do, maybe I don't. Look, you can talk to me about it. You may not want to talk to anyone else about it, but we have something in common." As he finished his sentence, Angel watched as she perked up her ear as she continued to listen to what he had to say, the Slayer otherwise remaining completely silent. "It's been centuries since it happened, but I can remember every single second of what it's like to die."
"Do you? I had no idea." She answered, crossing her arms across her chest in the process. Looking back at her, the vampire gently grabbed her shoulders and turned her around, forcing her to meet his eyes.
"Just tell me." Almost immediately, he felt something inside her change, the sadness he had seen in her eyes giving way to uncontained anger.
"Tell you what? How I felt when he bit me? How it felt to be so close to something that I feared?" She started, pushing his hands off of her. "How every night he's there in my dreams, haunting me, killing me? What do you want me to tell you about exactly? Tell me!"
"And you know what's really funny? You of all people wanting to know how I'm feeling. You want to know what's in my heart? Is it because yours isn't even beating?!"As the words flew into him, Angel was silent, wanting her to get as much emotion out of her body as she possibly could. "Is that what you want? To know how much I hate being the Slayer? How alone I feel? How I feel as if no-one understands everything I have to go through, that all they want from me is to show up and kill every single demon that they come across?"
"Buffy, it's alright."
"No, it's not!" She answered, curling her fingers into fists and slamming them into his chest. "NOTHING IS ALRIGHT!" Still, silent, he let her hit him, and eventually gathered her into his arms once the tears started to flow down her cheeks. Her head buried into his shoulder, the Slayer let the weakness in her soul show, not caring to hide the pain she felt inside.
For one moment, she stopped being the Slayer, and was instead, simply a hurt, sixteen year old girl.
A slight breeze was blowing through the air outside the school. A few leaves were rustling, seeing as fall was gradually beginning to set in. As the school bell rang, the students of Hemery High School quickly exited the building, the excitement of the up-coming dance, now only two weeks away, already in full swing amongst the students.
They really don't know how dangerous their lives really are. Angel thought to himself, looking out through the battered and dirty windows of the equally antique car that Whistler had loaned him. The messenger had as much a taste in cars as he had in clothes...an extremely poor taste at that.
He continued watching as one group of seemingly normal fifteen and sixteen year girls exited the building and made their way down the concrete stairs that led down to the parking lot. Among them was a sixteen year old with shoulder length dirty blonde hair. She was rapidly sucking on a lollipop that she shifted between holding in her fingers and leaving it in her mouth.
"So Buffy, have you decided who you're taking to the dance?" One of her friends asked, pushing a few strands of her own mane of brown hair out of her eyes.
"No. I figured I'd let 'em fight over me just a little while longer." She replied, taking the sucker out of her mouth once again. As her group of friends began to disperse, she waved at them, and told them to call her later. Then, she quickly slipped out of her jacket, and sat down upon one of the benches that surrounded the entrance to the school.
She's the one. The Slayer. Angel mused to himself, turning away, and starting the car. No use in hanging around any longer than he had to. Especially considering how strict the Los Angeles Police Force was. They'd just love to bust someone who looked like he was in his late twenties hanging around a school full of sixteen year olds.
Before he rolled up the window, he allowed himself one last look at her. She was just sitting there, waiting for someone, probably her parents, to come pick her up and take her home. There was a certain sense of beauty about her. Rolling up the window, Angel knew that this girl was different. Somehow, she was different.
"Your father called today." Joyce said, her gaze still focused on the sink full of dishes in front of her.
"What did he want?" Buffy answered, continuing to tap her pencil against the spiral notebook before her, an open math-book not very far away.
"He wanted to ask if you would be interested in spending the summer with him in L.A." Raising her head, the girl looked at her mother with a look of surprise filling out her eyes.
"What should I tell him? I don't think I need to tell you I'm not looking forward to returning his call."
"I guess you could tell him yes. I don't really have any plans for the next few months."
"Fine." As the word left her mother's lips, Buffy could hear the slight disappointment that was present in Joyce's tone.
"Are you ok with that?" She asked, dropping the pencil onto the notebook and watching it roll off in quick succession. Setting a dry dish onto the counter beside her, Joyce turned her head in order to address her daughter.
"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"
"I don't know, you just seem disappointed."
"Really, I'm fine with it. It might be good for you to go somewhere else for a while. Fresh horizons, they say."
"Where did they ever say that?"
"Where it comes from isn't the point, it's the idea that counts."
"Not in the court of law, it doesn't." Sighing, Joyce turned to face her daughter fully as she set the wet towel she held in her hands down onto the counter.
"Have you always been this witty?"
"That's what they keep telling me."