***NOTE: A few of you have already read parts 1-9 of this fic on my site or ff.net...but the parts that I will be sending out now are the rewritten ones. I had planned on finishing this fic now that my others are complete, but when I reread it to reacquaint myself with the story, I was completely dissatisfied with the completed parts. There were about a billion mistakes and a lot of it was just poorly written. So I decided to rewrite...or maybe better phrased as revise...parts 1-9 before starting new ones. The storyline is exactly the same, and maybe half the wording is, but I added some new paragraphs, rewrote a few parts, corrected bad wording and mistakes, etc. Bottom line, its still the same story, just written a little differently. And in case anyone is looking to read the un-revised parts that were previously available, I've taken them down from both my site and ff.net. The parts will get reposted as I revise them.***

Title: Forever Begins Again - Part 1 (rewritten version)

Author: Isis Blue

Feedback: Very much appreciated, it seems to be the only thing that keeps my muse happy: vagabond_angel@comcast.net

Disclaimer: Do I look rich to you?...that'd be a no then. I'm just borrowing.

Rating: R-for adult themes of drugs, abuse, etc

Pairing: B/A (major pair), but also W/O, X/C, Gi/Jo

Summary: Total AU (i.e. no vamps, no slayers, just regular humans)...Angel breaks up with Buffy after their high school graduation. Years later he returns to reclaim his lost love.

Spoilers: None.total AU.but ships from the show are used.and I did sort of vaguely reuse a few of the less supernatural storylines from the show.

Distribution: my site (Vagabond Soul), ff.net, BA_Fluff list, and LoD & Starrkitty's Archive if they want it, anyone else, just ask first.

Author's Notes - I started this quite a while ago, and then stopped working on it when I got completely sucked into writing 'I Dreamt of Someday', but now I've come back to it. This was the 2nd fic I ever started, and even with the re-writing, its still a bit raw.

AN2: The first maybe 7 parts of this fic have little actual B/A interaction.for a good reason.but the pair is still the focus despite that. Just thought I'd mention that.

AN3: Not beta'd, blame any mistakes on me!

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Part 1

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It had been a long day for Angelus "Angel" Malloy. The flight from New York to California had seemed incredibly long. Then he had to deal with getting a rental car, retrieving the few belongings he had out of storage, moving everything into the small apartment he'd rented, and trying to get at least a little settled in. Yes, it had definitely been a busy day, but busy also meant that he had things to focus on. Things that would keep him from thinking about her. Now, though, he found himself sitting on one of the few pieces of furniture he owned, exhausted, and wondering about her, Buffy Summers.

Five years. It had been five long years since he'd last seen her, or heard anything about her for that matter. When he left Sunnydale a few weeks after their high school graduation, he had cut all ties to home. It was for the best, or at least that's what he had thought back then.

Sunnydale had been left far behind when he went off to Columbia with the intent of becoming a writer. It had taken a little longer than he'd expected to graduate from college because of the semester abroad spent in Ireland, but he looked back fondly upon his college years, or at least most of the times. There had definitely been some bad times, but overall it had been a great experience, and he'd learned so much about writing, the world, and about himself.

The most important thing, though, that he learned in college was that he couldn't stop loving the girl he left behind. He had tried, of course, to forget about her. There had been dates with other women, some he had even been with intimately, but no one could compare to his Buffy.

After trying so hard to move on for almost three and a half years, he finally realized that as long as he lived, his heart would always belong to her. That personal revelation was what had led to his decision to return to the town he grew up in, the town where he had met the one girl who could make him weak in the knees. He didn't know if it was the right thing to do. How could he? But he knew he had to try, had to see if he could win back her love. She was the only thing that completed him.

So that's why he now found himself back in Sunnydale, trying to start his life there over again. It wasn't going to be easy. He knew that. But he was determined to do whatever it took to correct the wrongs he'd committed in the past. Maybe he wouldn't be able to do it. And maybe he would. Only time would tell.

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Staring out the window, Angel sat in the ratty second hand chair he'd purchased and remembered the girl who forever held his heart. His eyes wondered to the various boxes scattered around the messy apartment. On top of one, the yearbook from his senior year of high school peaked out. The temptation to see her smiling face got the best of him so he reached over and pulled out the book. Leaning back in his chair, Angel ran his fingers over the cover before opening it.

As he flipped through the pages, he couldn't help but laugh at some of the pictures. There was one of Xander goofing off by hanging upside down from a tree, another of Willow sitting at a computer, then one of Cordelia doing what she did best which was making herself look pretty, and also one of their class advisor, Mr. Giles, sitting in the library. So many memories and he cherished them all.

And of course, there was Buffy, or rather pictures of him and Buffy together. Back then, one would have been hard pressed to find a time when they weren't together. And since they were two of the most popular kids in school, there were plenty of pictures of them in the yearbook. It also helped that one of the best friends, Willow had been the editor.

He smiled at the pictures: one of them at a pep rally, one as Prom King and Queen, another of a stolen moment together in between classes, and the picture that went with the Senior Superlative for "Best Couple." The two of them had definitely not been wallflowers during their high school days. For a long time he thought they'd be together forever.

But then came the acceptance letter to Columbia. At first all it meant was that he'd be heading off to one of the best schools in the country. And his academic record had helped him get accepted on a full scholarship. It was one of the best things to ever happen to him.

Then the doubts came. What would he do about Buffy? He was going to be moving half way across the country while she remained in Sunnydale. Those thoughts plagued his mind for months until he knew what he had to do. For as long as he lived, Angel knew he would never forget the night that he had broken his beloved's heart.

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~begin flashback~

They walked in silence back to Buffy's house, glad that they had decided not to drive to the post-graduation party. Alcohol and driving did not mix. Angel hardly said a word during the mile walk from Willow's house.

"So did you have a good time at the party?" Buffy asked, and got no response.

"Hello, earth to Angel, anyone home?" she questioned with a wave in front of his face.

"Huh? Did you say something?" replied Angel.

"Uhh, yeah. What's up with you?" she said with concern.

"Nothing," shrugged Angel, trying his best to hide his emotions.

'You don't have nothing face, you have something face. Tell me what's bothering you," Buffy prodded.

"Why don't we sit down on the porch. There is something I want to talk to you about." He gestured to the stairs in front of Buffy's house.

As they sat on the porch Buffy's stomach began to do cartwheels. She'd known all night that he had something on his mind. Angel was usually the life of the party, but tonight he'd seemed off in another world. He looked like he was really nervous about something. There was only one thing she could think of that would make him this quiet and nervous and she dearly hoped that her suspicion was right, that her dream was about to come true.

From the first time she met Angel three and a half years earlier, Buffy knew that he was her true love. Their first encounter occurred shortly after her move to Sunnydale with her mother. They'd bumped into each other at the video store one night and sparks had flown. Hell, fireworks had erupted. Not long after, they became an inseparable pair. But she had known from that first meeting that he was the one, the one she was meant to spend forever with. And tonight would be the night. He would ask her to marry him tonight. She could think of nothing more she wanted in the whole entire world than to be his wife.

"I've decided to leave for Columbia early," Angel stated in a cold, flat voice, breaking the silence around them.

"W-what?" she managed to squeak out in response.

"They have a summer program I can attend, so I'm leaving in 2 weeks." His tone remained steady as he spoke.

"I don't understand. When did you decide to do this and why did you never bring it up with me?" she questioned forcefully.

"I've been thinking about it for about a little while. This program is a chance to help me get a good start on my writing career and I have to take it," Angel replied trying to maintain the coldness in his voice.

"Oh....I-I guess I understand. That doesn't mean I like it," she muttered and then thought for a minute. "My classes don't start until the end of August maybe I could go with you and spend the summer there. It would give us more time together."

"Buffy.I've been doing some thinking," Angel started as he stood up and walked a few feet away from her. "We're both starting college soon, you at UC Sunnydale, and me in Columbia..." he ran his hand through his hair knowing he had to force the next phrase out of his mouth. "I think that we should see other people."

"WHAT?" Buffy screeched at the words he'd just spoken to her. A million thoughts ran through her head. This was no where near what she had been expecting. It was a continent away from the marriage proposal she wanted and thought she was going to get. "You're breaking up with me?" she spoke softly as tears begin to stream down her cheeks.

"It's for the best," Angel stated flatly.

"You mean it's best for you. That way you can go off to college and have all the fun you want with the trampy little co-eds," Buffy shouted, anger coursing through her voice.

"Buffy, don't. I just think this is what needs to be done. I'm not doing this to hurt you," he said, his voice beginning to waver slightly.

"Oh really? You could have fooled me. That's exactly what you are doing. God! I was so stupid. I thought you were going to ask me to marry you tonight, but instead I get the royal brush off so you can be free to get your happy on. How could I have never seen what kind of person you are? How could I have wanted forever with you?" she spat out at him, barely containing the rage that was building within.

"I'm sorry. I never wanted to hurt you. I'm just trying to do what's right," Angel explained. He tried not to let the pain he felt for her show in his voice. Marriage. If only she knew how much he wanted that with her. He wanted to take her in his arms, tell her how sorry he was, how much he loved her, but he couldn't. This needed to be done. He couldn't make her wait four or five years for him while he was away. She deserved to be free, to be happy, to live like a normal girl, not one who was tied down to a boyfriend thousands of miles away. She'd never be free unless he did this.

Buffy saw him take a step towards her and fought to keep control of herself. Part of her wanted to launch her body into his and beg him not to leave her, and another part wanted to plant her knee squarely into his crouch. At the moment, she wouldn't have minded seeing him in an extreme amount of pain.

"Don't fucking touch me! I don't even want you near me!" she screamed at him.

"Buffy, please-"

"I said get. the. fuck. a-way. from. me!" she replied, jaw clenched, fire blazing out of her eyes.

"I-I'm sorry," Angel stated softly before he turned to walk away. "I didn't want to hurt you," he added, but only he could hear those final words.

As he walked away he heard Buffy begin to sob. Guilt and pain seeped through every part of his body. He'd just destroyed everything he had with the love of his life. How could he have done this to her?

The sensible part of his brain told him that he did it because it was the only thing to do. But just because he'd broken up with her didn't mean that he would stop worrying about her welfare. He couldn't just walk away and leave her like that, not with the type of people that could be found lurking around in Sunnydale. So he quickly ducked behind a tree and watched her, making sure that she'd remain safe for however long she stayed out on the porch.

Buffy watched as Angel walked away. The anger that had initially driven her was beginning to wane, being replaced by mind numbing shock. Whatever she had expected from this night, the actuality had never crossed her mind. It was just starting to sink in that Angel, her Angel, her soulmate, had left her. That he had turned his back on her and everything they'd had and walked away.

Finally she couldn't hold it in any longer and fell to the ground, violently sobbing. She pulled her legs up and wrapped her arms around them, rocking herself ever so slightly. The events began to replay in her head which only caused her to cry harder. The only thought that her mind could grasp was that Angel was gone.

Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. Her eyes whipped open hoping to find Angel's beautiful brown eyes looking down at her, but instead she saw her two best friends, Willow and Cordelia, standing in front of her, with Oz and Xander a few feet away, looking concerned. Not knowing what to say she just put her head back down onto her knees and continued to cry. She couldn't have stopped even if she wanted to.

Angel watched her until he saw that she was in good hands. She was safe, at least he would know that. Slowly, he walked home, fighting a constant battle against the urge to go back to her, to tell her that he was wrong and that he did want to marry her. But he couldn't. What he'd done was for the best. No matter how much he had hurt her, and hurt himself, he'd done the right thing. He was sure of it. Someday, just maybe, he'd be able to return to her, and he hoped that if that day came, she'd still love him and be able to forgive him.

~end flashback~

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Tears flowed down Angel's cheeks as he remembered that night so long ago. The hurt he had caused her still rattled him. But there was nothing he could do to take it all back. He didn't know if he would want to anyway. Part of him still believed it had been the right thing, but another part told him otherwise. Funny how almost five years ago he was so sure that it had been the right choice, and now.well he wasn't so sure about it.

When he first left, he thought that, eventually, he would be able to stop thinking about her, worrying about her...loving her. But in the five years he'd been away, he hadn't been able to do any of those things. And that's what made him wonder if he'd done the right thing that night.

It was also part of the reason he was now back in Sunnydale, a place he swore he would never return to all those years ago. About a year and a half ago, he had realized that he would never be able to move on with his life until he came home and saw her. Even if he found that she was now happily married with a baby on the way, he would at least know that she was happy. That was all that he'd ever wanted for her.

Looking at the clock, Angel sighed and returned the yearbook to the box. The trip down memory lane had been emotionally exhausting. There wasn't anything he could do about Buffy at the moment, so he opted for some much needed sleep instead. But soon, he would find out if there was possibly room for him in Buffy's life.

As he laid down to go to sleep he sent a silent prayer to whatever higher being might be listening that she would someday forgive him.

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TBC.feedback is loved and appreciated!