DISCLAIMER: The characters of BtVS and AtS are not mine, nor do I take any credit for them. This story is strictly for my own amusement. I do not own BtVS or AtS!


Hey everyone! I'M BACK! (or to new readers…hello!) I don't know about you all, but I'm just dying to get back to posting fanfic again! I miss this site!

So I was going to wait until I completely finished this story before I started posting it, but I'm too antsy to wait! I want to share now! But I have gotten a good chunk of this story done, so I feel pretty comfortable in posting this as a WIP. I do hope you will all enjoy it.

The reason I enjoy fanfic so much is that I get to correct what went wrong on the show. And one of those things (in my opinion) was Angel's decision to turn back time and return back to a vampire following the events of IWRY. This story aims to correct that.

Most of the story will be completely AU from IWRY and onward, though there will be some instances where I follow canon, but it will be with my own twist. Things may not happen exactly like on the show, or at different times.

And now, enough of me rambling on, because you don't want to hear me ramble on, right? Enjoy!


PROLOGUE

-APRIL 28, 2000-

"Buffy?"

Doyle's voice sounded distant as the car door opened. I knew he was talking to me, but I couldn't bring myself to respond to him.

"Buffy, did you hear me?"

"Buffy, let's go inside, okay?" Cordelia was speaking now.

I heard them, but I couldn't move. Couldn't speak. Couldn't think, at least not about anything other than Angel. I kept picturing Angel's face as the portal swallowed him whole. I kept hearing the sounds of my screams, a sound so foreign that I hadn't been entirely sure it was coming from me.

And now, I couldn't speak at all, my voice too hoarse.

"Okay, this is bad. Doyle, can't you like, carry her or something? She can't sit out here all night in the car."

"She's in shock, Cordy."

"I know, but she still can't sit out here all night."

I felt Doyle wrap an arm around me, which snapped me somewhat out of my trance. I got out of the car, allowing him to lead me up the steps.

Inside the office, I sat down on the couch, and Doyle sat beside me.

"It's going to be alright, Buffy," Doyle said in his soft, Irish lilt. "We'll get Angel back."

"I'm calling Willow," Cordelia announced.

"You want a little whiskey or something?" Doyle offered. "Might help calm your nerves."

But I didn't want whiskey. I just wanted Angel.

Sometime later, I woke up in Angel's bedroom. I didn't know how I got there. I couldn't remember coming downstairs at all. I just wanted to go back to sleep. Sleep was a welcome relief from being awake. When I was awake, I'd replay the scene over and over in my mind. Angel reaching for me. Me screaming. The portal closing and Angel vanishing.

But sleep was elusive. Each and every time I'd drift off, I'd wake up again, realizing seconds later that nothing had changed. Angel was still gone.

"How long has she been like this?"

Willow? When did Willow get here?

"She's been sleeping on and off for a couple of hours," I heard Doyle say.

"And when she's awake, she's not all that responsive," said Cordelia.

I heard footsteps, then Willow sat on the bed. "Buffy? Hey, it's Willow."

I turned around, facing Willow, and looked up at her with what I'm sure must have been puffy, bloodshot eyes.

"Hey. Cordelia called me. I came as soon as I could."

I sat up, rubbing the tears from my eyes. "Angel's gone, Will."

Willow threw her arms around me, rocking me as I cried on her shoulder. "I know, but don't worry. We'll figure out a way to bring him back. Everything will be alright. But for now, let me take you home, okay?"


CHAPTER 1 – A BRIGHT SPOT IN A DARK WORLD

-FOUR MONTHS LATER-

Life is unpredictable.

One day, I was a normal teenage girl. The next, I was a girl with a destiny.

One day, I was in love. Another day, I was heartbroken.

And one day, a miracle happened. A miracle so wonderful that it almost felt like a dream, that it couldn't actually be happening. But it was.

Five months later, it was taken away from me. Just like that. Like a light going out.

Just gone.

The days are hard. The nights are harder. I think about Angel all the time, but especially at night when I'm trying to fall asleep.

I think about how warm his skin would feel against mine. I was always used to it feeling cool before, but the warmness was a welcome change.

I remember how I'd place my hand on his chest and feel his heartbeat, and how that beating heart would lull me to sleep sometimes. A constant reminder of how he was alive, he was human.

When I close my eyes, I can see his face in the sunlight. I can see him squinting his eyes, and smiling at the simple joy of just being able to stand in the sun.

I think about how we'd crash after a long night of patrolling, then wake up the next morning in a tangle of limbs and sheets, making love until Angel finally convinced me to go to class.

The nights are the hardest. I can't stop thinking about Angel.

I can't stop missing him.

Awake still, I get out of bed and walk down the dark hallway to the bathroom, because I have to go pee…again.

It's funny how one small decision can change your life completely. Not that I'm complaining about it though.

I finish up in the bathroom, then head back to my room, hoping I didn't wake up Mom. I'm awake though, and there's no sleep to be had for me tonight. But I close my eyes anyway and place my hand on the tiny belly bump that has just started to form.

I never even got the chance to tell Angel I was pregnant.


It was my mom who first realized it, even before I did.

I can still remember the look on her face when she caught me in the bathroom. I was hugging the toilet for the third time that week.

"Oh my god," she had said, standing in the doorway, her hand over her chest. "You're pregnant, aren't you?"

"What? Mom, no." I stood up, wiped my mouth with a tissue, and flushed the toilet. "I just feel sick. Probably just a stomach bug." I walked to the sink to rinse out my mouth.

"You've been feeling sick all week."

I looked at my pale reflection in the mirror. Behind me, Mom continued to stand in the doorway, her gaze fixed on me. "I just need to eat something, that's all."

"When was your last period?"

"I—I don't know."

"You don't know? Have you not been keeping track of it?"

I turned around to face her. "No, Mom! I haven't been keeping track of it! I've had a few other things on my mind lately!"

"Just give me an idea, Buffy. I don't need an exact date. Are we talking a couple months here?"

I shrugged. "I don't remember. It was…a while ago."

"Was it before Angel left?"

I nodded. Just the mention of his name made tears well in my eyes. I moved back to the toilet and sat down on the seat.

"I can't believe I didn't realize this sooner. You've been sick almost every morning, you sleep all the time…"

"Mom, I'm not pregnant. I'm pretty sure it's just stress."

Mom kneeled down to look me in the eye. "Honey, I know you're still a teenager and you like to think that you're invincible and that these things can't possibly happen to you. But I'm telling you, as great and wonderful as condoms are, they're not always a hundred percent effective."

I didn't make any kind of response to that. I didn't think it was necessary for my mother to know that we hadn't exactly used a condom every time. The conversation was already uncomfortable enough.

Mom touched my cheek and gave me a smile, the way she always used to do whenever I was a child and was feeling under the weather. "Why don't you go back to bed and get some rest? Okay? Eat a few crackers too. That'll help. I'll be back in a little while."

She suddenly stood up and turned around to leave.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to run to the pharmacy to pick you up a pregnancy test." Mom walked out the door.

"Mom, I really don't think I'm…pregnant."

But as I looked at myself in the mirror, I started to wonder if maybe I was.

A half hour later, I was sitting on the toilet seat again, staring at the plus sign on the test. Even though logically, I knew how it happened, it still took a moment for the news to sink in.

Oh my god.

I'm pregnant.

I'm pregnant.

I'm pregnant with Angel's baby.

It just didn't seem possible for there to be a life growing inside me at that moment, a bright spot in a world that had suddenly and without warning become so dark.

Angel and I made a baby.

Pregnant?

I almost couldn't believe it, but there it was, the pink positive sign on the test. The irrefutable proof.

I was pregnant.

Mom started rapping on the door. "Buffy? Are you okay in there?"

I didn't answer. I just kept staring at the plus sign.

"Buffy? Did you take the test?"

When I still didn't respond, the door opened and Mom came in anyway.

"Buffy?"

I showed Mom the test. "It's positive. You were right." Suddenly, I burst into tears, and Mom knelt down and embraced me tightly.

"Oh, honey, I know it feels like the end of the world. But it's not, I promise." Mom pulled away and moved a strand of hair out of my face. "When I found out I was pregnant with you, I was absolutely terrified. I didn't know how I was going to do it. But I did. And having you turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. And I think I did a pretty good job." Mom smiled at me, and I sniffled in response.

"Everything's going to be okay. I'm going to help you, alright? It's going to be a huge adjustment, I know, but it'll be okay and we'll get through it."

"That's not why I'm crying," I sobbed, and I felt the tears well in my eyes once more. "I just wish Angel was here with me. This is his baby, too."

"Oh, honey, I know. I know you do." Mom put her arm around me and hugged me again while I cried into her shoulder.


A/N: Oh wow, look at me writing angsty stuff! I know it's pretty sad, which is definitely new territory for me in writing, but there will be happy moments too! I promise! And just in case anyone is worried, let me just go ahead and reassure you that Angel is okay. In fact, he'll be in the next chapter…

On a related fanfic note, my Buffy/Angel story Worth Fighting For has been nominated for a fanfic award! I'm so excited! Voting ends June 22nd so please go vote for my story! You don't have to vote for anything else, just WFF! See my profile for the link!

Okay everyone, until chapter two! :)