Looking at the people around him, all eyes staring at him expectantly he suddenly felt a momentary hate for them all. Not for who they were but for what they were expecting of him.
How could they place such a burden upon his shoulders?
He knew within his heart from the very core of his soul that he could not give them what they all wanted, for he did not have the answers which they were seeking……he did not have the strength to help them, or her.
Seeing her, wrapped in the arms of another had brought him a pain the likes of which he had never incurred before.
"I don't see how I can be of any help to you" he said finally, he would not feed them lies in order to make them feel better. They had to face the truth that stared them so blatantly in the face.
Buffy Summers was gone.
"Surely there must be something that you can think of Angel" Dawn cut in her voice sounding so hopeful it made his gut clench painfully along with his heart.
How could she hold so much faith in him when he had lost it in himself?
He sighed and raked a hand through his hair thinking of the unfairness of the situation. He turned to lock eyes with Giles and could tell that his thoughts mirrored his own.
"It briefly crossed my mind that maybe we could curse them, Buffy, Willow and Xander" he spoke softly and winced at the look of anguish that crossed over Dawns face.
"But the grief, how would she be able to live with herself knowing what she had done……how could we do that to her, to Willow and Xander" she sobbed seeking comfort in Spikes arms when he came to stand beside her.
"I'd rather see her dead than for her to kill herself with the pain" Riley cut in and Dawn turned to glare at him making him bow his head and look away.
"How can you even say something like that" she responded angrily her voice shaking.
"Because it holds some truth in it" Giles whispered and everyone turned to look at him, the watcher removed his glasses and cleaned them slowly replacing them on his nose and glancing about the group.
"The thought that it may come to this has occurred to me before" he stated after a long pause, hating the looks that he received from some of the people stood here but knew that they would understand once he explained.
"Buffy is a protector of the Hellmouth……of the world, knowing that she had been the cause of everything she had fought against that she had gone against everything that she had believed in and had protected" he stopped to let his words sink in.
"Perhaps that would be a worse punishment than death" he finished.
Angel clenched his fists tightly thinking about the woman he loved and the fact that the one person who had she had looked up to as a father figure could discuss her death so calmly.
"No" he said in the silence that followed Giles's words.
"I won't stand by and let you kill her Giles, nor do I want to watch her kill herself with remorse……there has to be a better way" he spoke with conviction.
And with a determination that astounded him he was certain he could find that better way.
Buffy Summers frowned as she looked upon the woman stood before her, she had amassed a great many powerful allies it was true but that did not mean she always liked what they had to say.
"Need I remind you of whom you are speaking to Latish?" she snapped at the auburn haired seer.
"I never forget my place my Lady" was the calm response, for all Buffy's strength and intimidation the woman stood before her was one of few who would never cower before her.
"But you asked for my council and I told you what I saw……your supreme reign will come to an end unless you do something about this chosen one……this Angel"
Buffy scoffed and bit back the sarcastic remark that longed to spring from her lips. Latish was one of the most powerful seers she had, if Angels presence caused such discomfort with her then she knew there to be truth behind her words.
"I did not amass such a reign with any thought to give it up so easily" she interjected after a moments thought.
"Is there a way I can prevent this from happening Latish?" she asked quietly, any other option she had available she would gladly take if it meant she could hold on to her power.
"Would you be willing to sacrifice your sire for this" the seer responded and Buffy felt a flutter within her stomach.
She thought of the man who had breathed eternal life into her, who had held her in his dark embrace and opened her eyes to the world in which she now lived.
"I don't know" she answered truthfully.
"Then perhaps there may be a way in which you could hold onto what you want to keep, an option my Lady which I think may interest you" Latish stated smoothing her hands down her pale blue robes.
Buffy sat and eagerly awaited what she would say.
"Your option involves the chosen one"
Buffy sat up straighter at this, what could the outcome of her reign possibly have to do with Angel?
"It is the only option you have" Latish said her eyes taking on a bright glow.
Buffy watched in fascination and the pupil and the iris slowly faded away leaving nothing but a glowing whiteness which meant that her seer was tapping into immense dark forces.
"You want me to kill him" she asked slowly stating the first thought that entered her head.
"No my Lady, the path states that you turn him"
Latish felt her human vision return to her and as he surroundings came into focus the first thing she saw was her Lady and the smile she wore upon her face.
"Then let the fun begin" Buffy purred
Angel was never really big on smoking, it reminded him too much of his days as Angelus.
But inhaling the smoke into his lungs slowly he decided at this moment he didn't really care, it wasn't as if they could kill him anyway so why dent himself when it eased some of his strain.
"Never thought I'd see you do that again" a sardonic voice which he instantly recognised as Spike cut in behind him and he mentally cursed.
"What do you want Spike" he asked his face fixed into a displeasured frown at having had his solitude so rudely interrupted.
"Same thing as you I'd wager" was the smooth reply as the blonde jammed a cigarette into his mouth and lit the end, inhaling on the smoke with a flourish.
"They seem to take the edge of don't you think" Spike asked coming to stand next to him, smiling when Angel remained silent for it was a sure sign he agreed with him but did not want to admit it.
"What am I going to do Spike" Angel asked suddenly and unexpectedly.
The blonde haired vampire thought for a moment then turned to regard his companion.
"Do you still love her?" he said finally and Angel turned his face away from him giving a slight nod as he took another hit from his cigarette.
"Then what do you feel in here that you must do" Spike said holding a hand over Angel's heart.
"I can't loose her Spike, I walked away from her once and I've had to live with that everyday……but to give me the odds that I find myself with now its just too cruel" Angel said shakily his voice coloured with emotion.
"What would you do if it were Dawn" he asked the blonde.
"I don't know, I suppose my first thought would be to curse her but then……" Spike suddenly stopped mid sentence.
"The trails" he said suddenly (by the way in my version Spike has already done the trails to regain his soul, he did it for Dawn)
Angel looked at him in confusion.
"I undertook the trails to regain my soul when I fell in love with Dawn……what if we did the same to Buffy, Willow and Xander" he stated.
"But you have to want to take the trails for that to work Spike" Angel sighed.
"What if we chipped them, do what Riley's commando guys did to me……make it so that they can't kill anything" Spike said slowly after a short pause.
"Not much fun being a Vampire with no soul when you can't kill anything……perhaps we could reason with them" he finished and Angel snorted.
But a part of him hoped that Spike could be right, because even though it sounded ridiculous he knew that he could not kill Buffy nor would he wish to force a soul upon her.
But perhaps if she wanted went willingly to get her soul he would be able to help her, to try and show her how she could deal with the pain.
Or he really would have to admit that the woman he loved was lost to him.
Well I would just like to say how sorry I am for neglecting my work but I've had so much stuff going on you wouldn't even believe, but now I'm back ready to write and with a lot of new ideas for chapters and also a few new stories in the works. Just want to thank everyone who stuck with me and this is for you guys!