Title: What Is To Be

Rating: R (for violence and sexual content)

Author: Annie aka mjaw

Setting: End of this seasons Angel. Angel/BtVS crossover.

Pairings: The basic ones. Though NOT Buffy/Angel (so very...dated) ;)

A/N: Hope this will have your approval! This is, after all, the so called "end". Better get it perfectly right. Please, let me know regardless. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! This has not been based on any form of spoilers pertaining the actual ending whatsoever.

A.M.L, Annie.

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What Is To Be


By Annie


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One year later.


It was dark where she was. It was pitch black and when she suddenly stumbled she drew a sharp breath in fear of falling without ever stopping, afraid of being swallowed by the night. She was lost, though she knew she had headed out in search of something. If she could only find it...

She stopped and listened as she thought she had heard a noise behind her.

There was only silence.

What was this place?

It smelled of earth and rock and age.

She carefully reached out a hand and soon it touched the rough surface of a stone wall.

A cavern.

Yes, she could smell water. Not much further.

She steadied herself and began to move forward again, listening to the rhythmic thumping of her pulse in her ears and the slight scratch of her feet as she placed them tentatively on the ground with each new step.

The suddenness of light stinging her eyes made her freeze and raise one hand to shield her face from the unfamiliarity of it as her sight quickly adjusted. She squinted, lowering her arm again as she stared at the well in the cavern floor before her. The water in it glittered invitingly and she realized how incredibly thirsty she was.

She must have been walking for hours.

The light came from below the still surface and as she approached it a ray shot up and gently graced the ceiling. She furrowed her brow as she tilted her head back and looked at the spot on which it now rested. There was an "A" carved into the stone and around it glowed a white ring. It was as though the light imbedded itself into the carving of the latter, circling within its dents and crannies and making it shimmer.

She sunk to her knees, her eyes once more going to the water and her throat drying up even further at the thought of letting the liquid slide over her tongue. Bending forward she plunged her hands deep beneath the surface, letting the coolness of the water envelope her fingers before she cupped her palms and brought both of them as a bowl to her lips.

She drank greedily but deeply, her eyes closed and her mind filling with growing dizziness.

She didn't know where the sudden urge came from, but it overpowered her completely and before she had a chance to truly react she had thrown the last of the liquid away from her with a yell of disgust and as she opened her eyes they grew wide with that very emotion.

The well was glimmering red as the blood it now contained rippled from her movement. The coppery taste stuck to every single cell of her mouth and she stared in abhorrer as she scrambled backwards.

The light had been extinguished, but an eerie residue seemed to linger against the walls and she could still see her surroundings as she got to her feet.

She blinked and then raised her gaze to the ceiling again.

The "A" was smudged in a very strange way and the ring had turned black.

Suddenly the surface of the blood gave way for something. The darkened shape of something now bopped calmly on it and she eyed it in suspicion before it hit her. She recognized it and it wasn't a something at all - it was a someone.

She was by the edge in the next instant, reaching out her arms and grabbing the shoulder which was all that was really showing. Pulling the body forcefully to her and dragging it up, the legs still in the thick liquid as she rolled it over and stared down at the pale face of someone gone forever.

But he was there...

Oh, God, let him be okay. Let him live.

She was trembling as she bent over him and let her hands gently stroke his cheeks, his brow, his hair.

Open your eyes. Look at me. Spike...

He coughed and stirred slightly before he did as she pleaded and eased his eyes open. They looked at her in wonderment, disoriented for a second before he smiled and reached up one hand to slide it over her cheek.

"Buffy," he whispered and she returned the smile as the tears that had been building ran over.

Suddenly he was lifted into the air and she was thrown away from him with such force that she lost her breath when she hit the ground.

"It is upon us," he said and she heard the sound of her own scream as he burst into flames.


The backdrop of the high French window before which she stood illuminated her petite form and made her seem unearthly. Her head slightly bowed as if in prayer, though her eyes were open. Staring down at the street below - unseeing. Had someone walked by the doorway and thrown her a glance they might have thought them vacant, but if they stopped, if they stood there for a while and watched her they would see how her gaze suddenly flashed with something close to anguish.

Willow had been studying her for nearly fifteen minutes, standing in the doorway of the large drawing room and as always feeling unsettled that her friend's resource of immense instinct seemed to fail her whenever she detoured into the state she was in right then. There had been no sign whatsoever that Buffy knew she was being observed.

The Wicca worried about the Slayer, but the former had given up trying to talk to the blonde about anything related with the town in which they had shared so many milestones of their still young lives. Buffy simply smiled and shook her head that it was their past, and that they shouldn't dwell. Sunnydale was gone.

Willow knew what that meant, and what was really gone. But she caved in as she could always see the daunting pain somewhere behind the light in the green of the other's eyes. She couldn't push something that might ultimately do more harm than good, and so she chose to let it all lie...

Still, she had come there with a purpose and so she silently entered the room, approaching her friend to stop right by her side.

"Buffy," she said, voice soft as she placed a hand on the other's shoulder. "Buffy," she repeated and the blonde blinked before she turned her head lazily to meet the redhead's gaze.

"Willow?" she asked and Willow smiled at that.

Where do you go? she wanted to ask. To what place does that state take you that is so hard to get away from?

But she held her tongue stubbornly and instead she said:

"I've been looking for you. Dawn's here."

At these news Buffy seemed to be brought in full back to reality and she gave Willow a surprised look before she asked:

"She's here? When did she get here?"

"Half an hour ago," Willow replied. "I..."

"Half an hour ago?!" Buffy interrupted. "It couldn't possibly have taken you that long to find me, this house isn't THAT big! I thought I asked you to get me straight away, Will."

"You did, I just..." Willow tried, but Buffy merely gave her another skeptical look before walking passed her and heading out of the room. "...didn't know if I should disturb you," the redhead finished quietly, pausing for a second before she slowly followed in the other's wake.


Two hours later Buffy smiled brightly at her sister and the younger returned it before going back to the book she was reading with great interest. The reunite had been a happy one and now Buffy had an air of calm and joy about her that had been missing for a long time.

"Anything good?" the blonde inquired and Dawn nodded intently, this time not letting the page go with her eyes.

Buffy kept the smile on and continued through the large living room, out onto the terrace of the Victorian inspired building which was the home of Giles and consequently also the current home of Dawn, when the younger Summers sister was out of school.

It had been Buffy's own idea since she wanted her sister to finish her education as well as have a spot on the Earth that could serve as some sort of haven, a point of safety. Buffy, on the other hand, had given up the thought of roots and she had let the wind carry her wherever it wanted for the duration of eight-and-a-half months.

It had been hard to be away from Dawn, but since her sister had told her understanding of the Slayer's need to keep moving she hadn't been able to relinquish the need and thus she had traveled. She had seen the world... And in every city she had subconsciously looked for marks left behind by the hands of history as it wrote the tale of the Scourge. She had wondered, walking the streets, if she in that moment was putting her feet at the same spot as him... Had he seen that mountain? Had he gone swimming in that lake? Had he chosen the road she was choosing?

Every step of the way he had somehow, everyhow, been there with her. She hadn't been fully aware of it, not at first... But as the weeks grew into months she came to sense him in a way that was close to eerie.

In the back of her head was a constant whisper that she refused to acknowledge because if she did she was sure to lose her mind, one way or another.

It said that if she merely waited she would see him again. That he wasn't lost to her, not completely.

Last summer had gone by in stillness. She had enjoyed the fact that she no longer had to shoulder the cape of the slayer alone, that she could finally raise her head and actually see a horizon approaching, bringing her a fresh start. A life in the human realm where she could pretend, for a brief few hours a day when she went shopping or for coffee or for a simple walk, that she was your typical twenty-three year old woman.

She wouldn't label this everyday "normal" because it was such a fluty word. What was normal to her was a world where the creatures of the underworld figuring in comics and horror movies and series on TV were as much part of reality as birthday parties and being stuck in traffic and sleeping late Sunday morning.

However, the fact that she no longer had to deal with the demon part of society as a duty made her life that much easier. She still went fist-to- face if she needed to. Sometimes a late-night patrol worked as pure therapy for her strained nerves and it was good to blow off some steam. Just because she didn't HAVE to stand as the single slayer of the world anymore didn't mean that the slayer side of her had gone dormant. It was still very much alive within her and she treasured it more now, because it had made her journeys simpler. She never had to fret over her own safety; she could go wherever she felt like going.

It was in large part that side of her that one day had given her the tingle back, though. That undeniable sense of him. There was an enormous difference to it though, one that she couldn't quite put her finger on, and one that she hadn't tried to make out properly since she had discarded the feeling after that first day.

The hope that lived in her heart was too hurtful already. To kindle it would be burning a whole straight through her chest and she couldn't permit herself to for even a second consider what it could mean.

Being in England at the moment that the feeling of him hit her with full force hadn't helped the matter as she began to see the shadow of her bleached blonde on every street corner. She saw his reflection in the mirror as she brushed her hair, which seemed utterly ridiculous as he had never had a reflection for as long as she had known him. She felt his body next to her as she was about to fall asleep, his arms around her, his nose nestling against the nape of her neck. And the missing of him grew into a longing she could not bare.

She had to leave. She had to occupy her thoughts with something other than him. And so she went out to discover what she had thought for so long she would never get to experience. A planet that held wonders so beautiful she hadn't even grasped their concepts before actually being able to see them with her own two eyes.

Two months ago she had begun to dream a dream so haunting that it eventually drove her back to England. She had been back two weeks and in that time she had discussed the contents of the dream with Giles, who was rather puzzled as to its meaning as well.

She had dreamt it again the night prior, but this time there had been a new attribute to its already elusive contents. She had never seen the "A" smudged or the ring around it turned black before. And Spike... He had never spoken before.

Now she put the tray she had been carrying down on the glass table by which Giles sat. The terrace was bathed in soft light, sifting through the leaves of three tall oaks standing on guard out in the yard. The shade was nice as it was an unusually hot day and Buffy poured herself some of the lemonade contained on the tray before taking a seat opposite her Watcher.

"Everything okay?" he asked after a short while of silence and she smiled again, nodding.

"Now that Dawn's finally here," she said and he smiled back before closing the book he had been reading and taking to eyeing her for a few moments, then he said:

"I appreciate that you want to be strong for everybody. I have always admired that quality in you, and you know that. But perhaps the time has come, now that you're back, to speak of what is on your mind."

"What do you mean?" she asked, her smile growing slightly stale as she took a sip of the sweet liquid and Giles hesitated, then answered:

"I can tell you're still grieving, and you are in full right. But perhaps by talking about him... it might ease..."

"Stop," she cut him off, clenching her jaws together and the smile being nowhere to be seen as she stood. "Please. Just stop."

She put her glass down on the table before she turned and walked back inside.

"Buffy," Willow said, making the other turn back around just a few steps through the door and Buffy shook her head.

"I don't think there's anything to say," she said at the rather pleading look on her friend's face. "He died. Everybody does."

"And I think there's a lot more to say than that," Willow stated. "You can't just shrug your shoulders and act like you're okay. Giles is right, you need to talk about this. If you don't process your loss, then..."

"Like you did with Tara?" Buffy bit off, looking regretful at once and reaching out a hand to take the other's in a tight grip. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean it to sound so harsh."

"I know," Willow assured, still looking rather pale.

"I don't need advice on how to deal with death," Buffy said. "I've had my share."

"I know that too, but..."

"Please," Buffy shook her head. "Please, let it go. I can't..." Her voice broke and she released Willow's hand before she turned and hurried out of the room.

Fighting the tears she quickly ascended the stairs and went straight to her room, opening the door and walking through it before she slammed it shut and began to pace. Clutching and un-clutching her hands, gritting her teeth and still having her eyes fill with tears.

There was a gentle knock on the door and she turned to the doorway since the door was still standing open wide. Dawn looked at her empathically and Buffy smiled tryingly, though her lips were trembling from the effort of holding back the sobs and her throat was beginning to ache.

"A letter just came for you," Dawn said, entering the room and Buffy raised her eyebrows as she swallowed hard and the tears were forgotten for the envelope her sister reached out to her.

Buffy was grateful to the younger in that moment, not only for the distraction - but for knowing when to push and when to simply stay quiet.

The Slayer took the letter and looked at the sprawled letters forming her name and current address at the front of the envelope.

"Angel," she said before turning it over and quickly opening it.

Bringing three folded sheets out of it she unfolded them and walked over to the picture window to sit in the armchair standing there. Dawn waited for a few seconds before coming to the decision to leave the older alone, walking back downstairs.

Buffy began to read and the further she got the more disconcerted she was.

Dawn and Willow looked up from the cards they were playing when the Slayer half an hour later walked into the living room. She stopped before them with a look on her face they hadn't seen in a very long time - clear determination.

"I have to go to Los Angeles," she stated.