Title: Scourge Of Duty

Author: Tomy

E-mail: brdf@sympatico.ca


Disclaimer: Joss et all owns em, I'm just borrowing em. They get the big bucks, I get a little fun.

Spoilers: Begins right after the BtVS episode Bring On The Night and the AtS episode Rain Of Fire. Things will drestically change from there ;) Everything up to those episodes to current is fair game.

Summary: Everything changes for Buffy when Angel turns up on her doorstep broken and bleeding.

Rating: PG13 now, will more than likely turn to R *g*

Feedback: Always welcome.

Authors Note: This fic idea has been annoying me for weeks. TONS of love and thanks to Asp for the quick beta and the title. I might continue this, depending on the muse and the reaction. I'm still working on Burning Crosses as well.


Scourge of Duty
by Tomy
It's funny the things that you think about when you have time.

I look at the girls sitting around me and wonder what they would have done in my place. If one of them had been called instead of me. If one of them had been the one Whistler had shown to Angel. If he would have accepted. Hell, if she would have lived long enough to meet him.

Maybe they all would have accepted him. They have Spike. But then again, they see how we interact with him. They see the end result of years of struggle; of us trying to find our stations in life.

It's never been easy, I guess that's all part of the Sacred Duty thingy. Granted, everything in my life goes against the Slayer's Handbook. I've yet to see it - I'll have to ask Giles one of these days - but after meeting Kendra, and these girls, I should never have survived.

I have a vampire to thank for my life; many times over. I can't help thinking about my start as a Slayer on the Hellmouth as I watch these girls trying to learn from Giles and me. Giles and I learned so much from one very special vampire. A vampire that risked his life time and time again to save mine. Who took the time to teach me about vamp psychology, about rank and about tactics. Let's face it, who better than the Scourge of Europe, the most feared and revered vampire, to teach me how to survive. I once heard it said that you have to know your enemies to defeat them. That it takes an evil mind to know one.

Angel sure has that covered.

I'm worried about Spike. Spike has always had a grace about him, he's a definite predator, but with his mind in the state that it is, I don't know if he can take care of himself. I can't help but wonder if Angel went through the same mental agony that Spike is. Angel's soul surrounds him, it's visible for all who were looking to see. It's in his eyes, in his movements. Spikes isn't so clear, isn't so open. Which might be a blessing in disguise. Angel once told me a bit about his life, about how Darla abandoned him after the gypsies returned his soul. Angel is also so much stronger than Spike - mentally as well as physically. Maybe that's why I can't leave Spike, despite everything that he's done. I keep thinking about Angel, about the tone of his voice as he tried to explain himself. Something he really didn't need to do with me.

I know, they are two completely different men. I shouldn't be comparing apples to oranges. But, ever since I met Angel, ever since we fell in love, I can't stop myself from comparing him to very man I meet - Giles excluded for some odd reason I have yet to figure out.

Angel always said that I was full of life, even when things looked dire. These girls don't have that. I want to give them the feeling of life, of wanting so desperately to win, the knowledge that I would win. Granted, the beating I've taken has not done anything for morale. I've been down before, but never out.

But there's no connection for them. I knew I had a bond with Giles the first day I acknowledged him as my Watcher. I had a connection to a normal teenage life with Will and Xand. I had a connection with my freaky world with my - what did I call him that night...? Oh yes - 'my cradle-robbing-creature-of-the-night-boyfriend'. I still remember the smile on his face when I said that. That he knew I was teasing, that I accepted him for what he was, and more importantly - who he was - - is.

God, it's been so long since I last saw him, spoke to him. I didn't realise how much I miss him, how much of me he still holds, until he showed up on my doorstep last night. He was bleeding severely from a neck wound, his spirit was broken, much the same as mine. We stood in the doorway, staring at one another for a long time. Taking in the sight of each other, of the wounds and bruises. I'd never seen him injured like that before - and it scared me. Scared me more than my own injuries.

I vaguely heard Giles calling from the dining room, really didn't hear much until I heard Giles' 'My God' from behind me. It broke whatever spell that had held us in the doorway. Angel was quickly ushered in, Willow grabbing a chair for him, her eyes wide in horror. Here we were, possibly the two strongest warriors for the good side, injured badly, stinging mentally and physically, yet unable to take our eyes off one another.

"What did this to you?" My fears increased at Will's softly spoken question. Even Xander is shocked enough by Angel's haggard appearance to remain quiet. The girls have no idea who is sitting in their midst. I wonder if they'd freak. Or, give me the same look Kendra did when Angel was first mentioned to her.

'You mean Angelus. I've read about him.' Could she have said so little, and so much at once.

Angel shifts in the chair. I wonder how he found the strength to drive here. He clears his throat, obviously in pain. "I came here to ask Giles if he's run across this before." Gingerly Angel pulls out a piece of paper from his inside jacket pocket, and unfolds it. It's a sketch of a demon, one he obviously drew himself. Giles reaches over the table to take the paper out of Angel's shaking hand. I don't believe I've ever seen his hands shake before. My fear inches up a notch. I'm sure Angel can sense it, just as his agitation is wearing on me.

"Dear Lord." Both Angel and I look up at my Watcher. His eyes are wide as he glances from the page back to Angel. "H- have you come across this demon?"

"He just stabbed me with my own knife before pitching me off a building."

Okay, that explains the injuries, but not his... aura. He's hurting, badly, his body language is screaming it at me, and it's not just from the physical. I don't think he'd be here if it were just that.

I decide to take things into my own hands - before Angel collapses in my dining room. I look to Willow. "Can you fix him something to eat?" She nods, understanding immediately what I'm asking, and that I don't want the girls to know yet. Grabbing his arm, I help him up. "You need rest. We can talk about this in the morning." He nods, leaning gently on me as I take him upstairs to my room. The room downstairs is quiet, I'm assuming the girls are talking in hushed tones. Angel sits tensely on my bed as I tend to his wounds, silent. I can feel him watching me. When our eyes meet, his expression causes me to blush. I know I've tended to him many times in our years together, but I haven't been this close to him in too long.

"What did this to you?" he breaks the silence.

I'm grateful for it. "The First is back." He jolts at my news. "It let loose this Uber vamp to help kill the potential slayers."

Angel snorts, "No wonder my senses were going nuts down there."

The smile slowly spreads across my face. I can't help it. "What about you?"

He runs a tired hand through his hair before speaking, collecting his thoughts I assume. "We knew something was coming, but we had no idea it was going to be this bad. That ... monster has killed so many." He looks at me, his eyes filled with something as close to total despair as I have ever seen from him. My skin grows cold at the expression. "It's raining fire in LA." He says it so calmly.

"It's what?" It takes a minute for what he just said to sink in. Then I sit quickly on the edge of the bed - before my legs give out completely. "Do you think maybe it's all connected?"

"It's possible." He shrugs, then winces as the movement pulls on his neck.

"There's something else."

He looks at me, almost startled. Then a genuine smile crosses his face. It holds the love, affection and familiarity I've missed so much. "I can't keep anything from you, now can I?"

Willow chose that moment to walk in carrying a large mug in her hands.