Remember Me?

By Eleri McCleod

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Discaimer: We all know who created the Buffy characters and the Slayer's world. And we all know that it wasn't me. But thanks to Joss Whedon for letting me play in his world.

Author's notes: Critique, critique, critique! Enough said. Thanks. I wrote this one a long time ago, but it's still one of my favorites.

Season: This story occurs between "Ted" and "Bad Eggs."

Summary: A new vampire comes to town in search of the Slayer. Unfortunately, the Slayer doesn't know who she is.

(c) October 1999, Eleri McCleod

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Prologue

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The moon shone bright overhead, illuminating the pale shapes of the headstones. Crickets chirped and owls hooted, ignoring the two figures moving silently through the cemetery.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Angel's gentle voice broke through the stillness.

Buffy glanced up at the vampire at her side. "Who needs dates?"

"What?"

"You heard me. Who needs a boring old movie-type date when they could be walking in the moonlight, holding hands with a gorgeous guy, waiting for evil things to stake?" She looked around, automatically searching for said evil things. "Life just doesn't get better than this."

He stopped moving, chuckling. "Only you." Buffy halted also when their connected hands wouldn't let her go any further. "Only you could see our strange lives in such a positive way." He tugged her closer, other hand coming up to gently cup her cheek. "You're amazing."

She gazed into his eyes, mesmerized by the love shining in them. "I'm not the amazing one," she whispered, leaning into his body. "I'm the Chosen One. I *have* to do all of this. You do it because you want to. That's more amazing than anything I can do."

He smiled down softly at her. "If that's what you want to think." Then he lowered his head the rest of the way to meet her warm lips. Something seemed to expand in his chest, filling him, making his throat go tight. He never failed to be thrown by the depth of his feelings for this girl, this Slayer. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her tight against his body, knowing that he could never have enough of her.

Buffy let the emotions pour over her, washing her in Angel's love, his tenderness. Her eyes fluttered open as he slowly ended the kiss.

"I told you," he whispered, stroking her face. "Amazing."

She smiled up at him. "You're just prejudiced." Then her Slayer senses kicked in. "Duck!"

Only Angel's lightning fast reflexes and Buffy's warning saved him from becoming dust as the vampire behind him fell forward and lost his grip on the tree branch he swung, caught off guard by their quick reactions.

She grabbed the vamp's arm and yanked him over her hip into a headstone. "Angel?"

"I'm okay. You keep this one, I've got his buddy." Angel vamped out as he moved to meet the other vampire.

"You know," the Slayer said quite calmly as she began pummeling the vamp in front of her. She started with a left hook. "I'm really getting tired ..." straight leg kick "... of you guys interrupting ..." knee in gut, uppercut to jaw "... my smoochie moments." Roundhouse punch. "We don't get that many of them ..." flying kick with a chaser of crescent in-to-out "...and you seem to stop all of them." She paused, taking in her handiwork. The vamp was sprawled on the grass, staring at her in fear. "I know this doesn't help you any." She pulled a stake from her belt. "But I feel better."

She moved over the vamp, stake at the ready, totally unprepared for the vicious kick to her chest he delivered. Buffy stumbled back, tripping over the vamp's broken tree limb. "Hey!" she cried indignantly, unable to maintain her balance. "You're not supposed to do -"

Her words were cut off by a sharp crack, the crack of her skull smashing against the edge of a gravestone.

Angel turned at the unexpected sound. "Buffy!" he cried, seeing her lie unmoving.

Buffy's vamp smiled evilly. "Just the way I like Slayers." He moved over her, unconcerned with the struggle continuing behind him.

Growling, Angel gripped his vamp by the throat and threw him against a tree ten feet away with a conveniently placed branch. The vamp let out half a yell before dusting the grass around him.

He whirled to face the other vamp, deadly soft voice carrying easily across the short distance. "Get away from her."

The vamp jerked around, petrified, eyes searching for his buddy. Not seeing him, he focused on the enraged vampire before him. "Angelus."

"You don't really want to mess with *me*, do you?"

The vamp didn't even answer, just turned and ran.

Angel grabbed up the Slayer's dropped stake and threw it after the fleeing figure, neatly impaling him. A moment later all that remained was a dust cloud floating gracefully to the ground. "I didn't think so."

"Buffy?" Devamping, he ran to kneel at her side, one hand moving to feel for the pulse in her throat, the other resting gently on her chest over her so-generous heart. He was glad, in that moment, that he didn't have to breathe because the fist tightened around his chest wouldn't have let him, even if he had wanted to.

"Come on, Buffy."

His eyes closed involuntarily as he felt the strong beating against both hands. "Thank you." He didn't know whom he was speaking to, but anyone listening seemed good enough.

Ever so gently he pulled her onto his lap, cradled in his arms. "Come on," he repeated. "Open those beautiful eyes and smile at me." With his right hand he felt carefully over the back of her head for blood. He didn't smell any, but that didn't mean it wasn't there. Finding nothing but a large lump, the fist around his chest loosened some more. "Okay. A little better," he told himself aloud. He stroked her cheek softly. Whether to bring her around or to comfort himself, he wasn't sure.

A low moan escaped Buffy's lips and her brow tightened in pain.

"That's it, come on. Come back to me." He kissed her forehead and looked down to see her eyes open and on him. "Hey. How you feeling?"

Buffy stared at him. "Okay, I think. My head feels like someone's pounding on it with a hammer, but other than that I'm just peachy."

"You hit a headstone on your way down." She looked pale to him. He cupped her face and tilted it to the moonlight. "Blink a few times. I need to watch your pupils." She did. He was relieved to see them contract a little with the light from the bright moon, but he wanted another test. "How many fingers?"

She gave him a weird look. "Two. Are you done now, Doctor-boy? I feel fine." She pushed away from him and started to stand up.

A little hurt by her coldness, Angel didn't help as she made her way to her feet. She just got the crap beat out of her, he told himself, disgusted with his lack of understanding. Give the Slayer a little slack, man.

She took a deep breath and sat on the headstone that had done its best to crack her head open. "Now don't take this the wrong way, especially after your, uh, doctor bit, but, um, who are you?"

He could only stare at her, eyes wide.

"I mean, I'm grateful and all, but I do like to know who's groping me."

She's serious, Angel thought. "You don't know me?"

She snorted. "Deaf a little? Duh, I just said that! Maybe *you* need your head checked." She looked Angel up and down quickly. "Believe me, I would know if I'd met you before."

"Uh, Angel. I-I'm Angel." He felt his legs give way and leaned against a nearby gravestone.

"Angel, huh? Okay, cool." She finally focused on their surroundings. "Eew. Why am I in a cemetery?" She jumped off the headstone, on her face a look he'd seen numerous times on Cordelia's.

Buffy glanced at her watch. "I've got to get home. My dad's gonna kill me!" She turned to go.

"Buffy, wait!" Angel was at her side in a heartbeat. She blinked at him, wondering how he could move that fast.

"Dude, lay off the intense-pills, okay? You got your thanks, now I have got to go."

He put a hand on her arm. "What year is it?"

"Duh," she gave him a classic Cordelia "Loser" look. "1995. What year is it where you live?" She yanked her arm away and started to go again.

"It's 1997," he quietly told her back. "You're not in LA. You're in Sunnydale." She has no memory of the past two years. No memory of *us*, he told himself, in shock.

"Now I'm *really* out of here." She backed away this time. "You are just a little too psycho for me." He is gorgeous, she thought. Too bad he's a schizo.

"Buffy, look at the markers." He pointed to a headstone from 1996. Then to another. Then to one from 1997.

She gave him an appeasing look. "Okay. I'm looking, I'm looking, I'm loo..." then it sank in "...king." She turned to him, eyes wide, a lost look on her face. "Wha-?"

"It'll be alright, Buffy," he reassured her. "Let's go see Giles. He'll know what we should do." He slowly walked over to her, as if trying to calm a skittish horse. She might not know who she was, but she still had all the power of the Slayer.

She stared at him. "Giles. I guess that name's supposed to do the meaning thing with me." Buffy felt her heart trying to pound bruises into her chest. She frantically searched her mind and came up with nothing. The man in front of her was no more recognizable than he had been all of five minutes ago. And this 'Giles?' Not a even flicker.

"Okay. Let's, uh, le-let's go see Giles." She swallowed and stared at the hand Angel was extending towards her. Slowly, her hand moved to take it. Why are you doing this, she asked herself, not understanding why she felt she could trust him. A small shiver of reaction went through her at the contact. Oh. That's why. Her eyes flew up to meet Angel's and she knew he had felt it too.

He gave her a gentle smile as he squeezed her hand. "It'll be alright, Buffy. We'll make it alright."

She knew the words were supposed to be comforting. They did anything but. Buffy took one last look around the cemetery then allowed Angel to lead her away.