Title: Always On My Mind

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Some of the dialogue is based on the fantastic TV show 'Cold Feet' which ended this week. It gave me this idea.

Spoilers: None that I know of.

Distribution: I don't see that anyone would want it, but feel free to take it! Just let me know where it's going please.

Notes: It is set in the future, after Angel has become human. But will they get their happy ending?

A/N: Special thanks to Kristin, my beta reader.

"Hello, I'm sorry we can't get to the phone right now. Please leave a message after the tone." Her voice said again. Buffy O'Connor spoke, "Angel it's me. I'm stuck in traffic, can you pick Matthew and Charlie up from school? Call me back as soon as you can." She hung up and slotted her phone back into its place on the dashboard of her black Cherokee. She flicked her shoulder length blonde hair over her shoulder as she drummed her polished pink nails on the steering wheel.

"Oh come on." She complained to the line of cars a mile long on the motorway. Her two children were expecting her to pick them up from school in an hour and she couldn't get hold of Angel.

Angel. Even his name sent a shiver down her spine. One of excitement, happiness and longing. Even after all the years they had been together, the longing was still there. She figured it was from all the years they were forced to be apart.

The phone suddenly rang shrilly and she clicked the receive button. "Hello sweetheart." She answered. "Hey gorgeous." Angel's voice answered. "I'm stuck in traffic, can you pick Matthew and Charlie up please?" she asked him. "Oh, of course." Her husband answered, "How did the meeting go?" She smiled, "Fantastic." "Feel a celebration coming on tonight?" "Book for our restaurant, invite everyone." Buffy said, referring to the restaurant Angel proposed in. "Will do. See you later." He replied. "Love you Buffy." "I love you too Angel." She said, and hung up.

The traffic began to move and she put her foot on the pedal. Buffy spotted a road going off on the motorway up ahead, she could change routes and go home via the back roads. The cars moved again, she indicated right and pulled out. She never saw the truck coming.

***

Angel strolled along the path leading to his children's school. It was a warm day and he took his jumper off so he could feel the rays of sun on his arms. He could never get used to it, being able to walk in the sunlight. It was an amazing privilege he would never take for granted. After being a vampire for over two hundred and fifty years, you don't get used to being human all that quick.

He opened the gate to the school and waited for the bell to go. The door opened and children spilled out. A small dark headed boy came running out and looked around. "Daddy!" he cried and flung himself in Angel's arms. "Where's Mummy?" he asked. "She got stuck in traffic. She will meet us at home, where's your sister?" Angel replied. "She was behind me." he said. They waited until all the children were out and there was still no sign of her.

Angel took Matthew's hand and led him towards the school when Charlie's teacher came to the door. She looked upset. "Mr. O'Connor, could you come in please?" she asked him. "What's she done now?" Angel whispered to his son, who shrugged. They followed her in and went to the head teacher's office. Charlie was sitting outside. "Dad." She said, standing up, "What's going on?" Mrs. Miller, the head teacher opened her door and looked at the puzzled family. "Mr. O'Connor, the hospital has just contacted us. Mrs. O'Connor has been in a car accident. They want you to go there straight away." Angel looked at her for a beat before sweeping his five year old son into him arms and shouting for Charlie to follow him.

He ran out of the school and down the road to where he had parked his car. Charlie jumped in and strapped her younger brother in. Angel started the car and put his foot on the pedal. "Dad, I'm scared." Charlie said. "So am I."

***

`There was the sound of pounding feet on the echoing floor and the swinging door burst open. "Sorry I took so long." Xander said, out of breath, with Anya behind him, "How is she?" "They won't say yet." Willow said, wringing her hands on her shirt. Angel was standing by the window gazing out. The door opened again and Dawn hurried in. "Any news?" she asked. Willow shook her head. They all took seats except Angel.

"Where are Charlotte and Matthew?" Xander asked up. "She doesn't like the name Charlotte." Angel said absently. "There're next door, at the neighbors." Angel suddenly froze before he walked toward the room where they were working on Buffy. He walked down the corridor and found a window to the room she was in. She was lying in the middle, with swarms of doctors and nurses running around, putting tubes into her and trying to stop the bleeding. A high pitched ring filled the air and they seemed to grow more frantic.

It took Angel a minute to realize it was her heart monitor. He brought his hands up to the window and placed his palms flat on them. He willed her to fight. "3, 2, 1 and. *shock*" a doctor called. "Come on, come on." A young nurse pleaded, watching the monitor, hoping for the heart line to move up and down again. "Again!" The doctor demanded. They did it three more times. "We've lost her." the doctor said sadly. He looked up and met Angel's worried gaze. The nurse stepped forward and pulled the tube out of Buffy's mouth.

Angel stood and looked at his beautiful wife's still body, usually so full of life. She was covered in blood, and there was a huge cut across her forehead that looked really deep. His heart was beating, but in so much pain, he wondered when it would stop. He walked back in a daze.

They were all standing, clinging to a friend or partner. Angel stood looking at them for a second before shaking his head. "No!" Willow cried out, before she and Dawn hugged as they cried together. Xander looked shocked as Anya buried her head into her hands. And Angel just stood and watched.

***

"There he is!" Charlie said, standing up from Mrs. Peter's old and worn out sofa. Her dad walked up the driveway and rang the door bell. She and Matthew ran to the door. "Thank you Helen," Angel said to the elderly lady. "Anytime." She answered. He stepped over the fence and lifted Matthew. "Is Mom all right?" Charlie asked. Angel opened the door and walked in. "Matthew, go upstairs and play, will you?" he asked. Matthew nodded and ran up the wooden stairs.

He took his daughter's hand and took her to the sofa. "Mommy was in a car crash. A truck hit her from the side as she pulled off of the motorway." He explained. "She had head injuries and massive internal bleeding. She passed away half an hour ago." There was a beat before Charlie laughed. "Charlie, she died." he said. "No, no she didn't." She said, standing up, "This is a story, right? Like the ones Uncle Spike used to tell, about the baby in the coal bin?" She was shaking. "No, it's not a story." Angel said. "Yes it is!" She said, her green eyes flashing. Just like Buffy's eyes. "I'm so sorry." She was silent for a long time. "Are you going to tell Matt?" she finally asked. Angel nodded, before his daughter's knees gave way and she burst into gut wrenching sobs. He wrapped his arms around her and held her as she cried.

***

Willow placed a bowl of cereal in front of Charlie. "Eat." She said. Matthew was already devouring the bacon and eggs. "I don't want to." She said. "Mom can't eat, why should I?" Willow nodded, "I understand." She took a seat next to the grieving ten- year-old child. "How can you? You still have a Mom." "I had to watch Buffy and Dawn lose your grandmother, just as I'm seeing you. I don't understand the pain, but I know how it goes." Willow answered. "Where has Mommy gone?" Matthew asked.

***

Angel stood in front of the mirror, trying to knot his tie. "You want help with that sweetheart?" A voice asked, small arms sliding around him. "Yes please." He smiled. Buffy moved around him and quickly knotted the tie. "You have to learn to do that one day." She said. "Maybe I like you doing it." he insisted. She nodded and tucked his shirt in. "You're good to go." He took a deep breath and turned around. "You ready?" Xander asked from the doorway. "Yeah." Angel said and walked to the door, he turned back. The room was empty.

***

"How is Mommy getting here?" Matthew asked. "They bring her body in a car." Charlie answered. Willow stood holding Charlie's hand outside the church and Xander held Matthew's. A car pulled up and the door opened. Willow let out a little cry and let go of Charlie's hand. She ran towards the car and flung herself into the arms of the occupant as soon as he got out. "You made it." She said. "Of course." Giles answered. Everyone came down to greet him. A sound of another engine met their ears and the car with Buffy's coffin pulled up. Sadly, they all filed into the church.

***

"Now, Willow wants to speak." The minister announced. Willow got up from the front pew and took her place behind the microphone. "Buffy was my best friend." She started, "I first met her when she was sixteen and she started Sunnydale High. We shared so many things together, our first loves, our losses, our hopes and dreams. I miss how we used t...to..." She paused and looked away. "I ca...can't." she faltered, tears pouring down her cheeks.

Xander stood up and went and put his arm around her. "Buffy was a beautiful person, inside and out." He said, "And the best thing is she didn't know it. I miss her so much. We all do." He led Willow back to her seat while she sobbed on him. Giles stood up and took his place at the front. "Buffy was like my daughter. I cared for her very deeply. The only thing that gives me peace of mind is, she died happy. I know that for a fact." He looked at Angel and smiled, "Buffy was a hero, no matter how she saw it."

***

Angel stood in front of the crowd. "You know, there is one person who would really, really enjoy this. But she can't be here." He paused to look at her coffin, covered in flowers. He could see her standing next to it, in her short summer dress she used to wear. She turned to him and smiled. "But I can see her, and if you can't, just look into our daughters face." He paused and looked at Charlie who smiled through her tears. "She made me better than I am without her. Without Buffy I wouldn't even be here. Thank you sweetheart, I hope you can rest now."

***

"I wish they would go." Angel complained to his wife. Buffy tilted her head to one side, "Yeah, me too. I like it when it's just us two." Angel sat on the queen size bed. "Honey, I can't do this without you." Buffy kissed him gently, "Yes you can."

There was a soft knock on the door and Willow popped her head inside. "Angel, are you ok?" she asked. The dark haired man looked up. "Yeah, I'm fine." "You've been gone for ages. People are getting worried." She said, closing the door behind her. "I…its better when I'm alone. I'll come downstairs now if you like." He stood up with her as she went back out. He turned to see Buffy smiling sadly at him from the bed.

***

"Food is in the kitchen." Angel called, as he mingled through the guests. "How are you doing?" Giles asked him as he went near the elderly Watcher. "I've been better. How about you?" Angel replied. "The same." Giles said with a nod. "When are you going back to England?" "In a few days. I'm staying with Willow." Giles answered.

He took his glasses off and gave them a half-hearted rub. "They don't feel you are grieving properly." Angel raised an eyebrow. "And how am I supposed to act?" Giles looked away, "I guess there isn't a set way to grieve." "Yeah, you're right. So why don't you let me do it my way?" Angel snapped. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that." Angel quickly apologized. "Quite understandable." Giles said handing him a glass of whiskey.

***

Willow paused and pulled her red hair up into a quick ponytail, not bothering about neatness before pushing the trolley further down the aisle of the supermarket she was shopping in. "Oh!" she heard her best friend squeal as she came gliding next to her trolley. She never could just push it.

She turned to see Buffy pick up a packet of cookies. "Look, it's those banana cookies I love." Buffy threw a packet in her trolley. "Did you know three millions people buy these every year, but I'm the only person I know that likes them? What's with that?" Willow blinked and Buffy was gone, her trolley included. Willow took a shuddering breath, a wiped a tear away. She took another step forward before stopping and weeping, ignoring the stares of people passing.

***

"Bed time." Angel called to Matthew. Charlie was already asleep. "Don't forget his medicine, unless you want to wake up to another coughing fit." Buffy reminded him, passing his with a basket of washing.

"What would I do without you?" Angel asked with a smile. "Just fine." She answered, going downstairs. "Matthew!" Angel yelled again, "I meant it the first time." ***

"What the hell are you doing here O'Connor?" An irate voice called. Angel put the phone down and turned to face his boss. "I'm working." Angel said. "Go home." He said in a softer voice, "You need time to grieve." "I will grieve in my own time." David dropped a heap of memos in front of Angel and picked one up, "Look, The Witterton case has been dropped due to the fact Mrs. Witterton was in hospital at the time of the supposed attack. 'Buffy doesn't like hospitals. They really scare her.' And you have made sixty calls home in the past day. May I ask why?" Angel stared at him for a moment. "She recorded the answering message." "Go home." David said.

***

"Can we keep this?" Charlie asked, holding onto an ornament. "We can't keep everything." Angel answered. "Yeah, but she liked it." Charlie argued. Angel nodded and put it in the 'keep' box.

"I won in the race today, Dad." Charlie announced. Angel looked up, "Why didn't you say anything?" Buffy had been helping her train for weeks. It was against the fastest girl in the school, and Charlie had been desperate to win. "I just did. Anyway, I'm going to Carrie's now." She stood up and gave him a kiss before going out to the girl who lived two doors away. Angel sat watching the door for a while where his daughter had just been.

"Angel, don't throw those clothes away. They are perfectly fine." Buffy demanded, her hands on her hips. "Weren't you looking where you were going?" Angel asked her. "I mean, how big is a truck?" Buffy shrugged, "It came out of nowhere." "You always were a crappy driver."

***

"How many have you done?" Anya asked her husband's best friend. "Nine, you think that's enough?" Willow replied, referring to the potatoes they were peeling. There was a loud, constant banging at the door that made them both jump. Willow walked over and opened the door quickly. Angel was stood there, his eyes red and puffy. Willow nodded understandingly and held her arms out. He stepped into them and sobbed into her small frame. Willow rubbed his back gently, "It's ok. Shh."

***

"I miss her so much sometimes; I don't think I can go on." Angel told her, as they sat on the bench in the garden. "I know what you mean. I broke down in the supermarket, it was like she was there, I saw her, then she wasn't." Angel nodded, "It happens all the time. I talk to her too. Do you think I'm crazy?" "Not at all. I do it as well. Mainly when I can't decide whether I should buy something or not and she always tells me too." Angel smiled. "I bet she does."

***

The End.

Please give me feedback!

A/N: If you are still confused at the end of this to how Angel and Willow saw Buffy as some people said they were, they are simply seeing her in their heads.

Jade-Hamn@bushinternet.com