Precious Memories

Summary: Angel takes on Angelus in his mind Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffy and Angel, and I'm just using them Spoilers: Season Seven finale of Buffy and Season Four finale for Angel, with several other referbacks scattered all over the place Author's Notes: This story alternates between being told from Angel and Buffy's POV, and is set in an alternate history after the conclusion of Season Four of Angel- Gunn hasn't had his legal upgrade, Harmony isn't Angel's secretary, and Spike is nowhere. Feedback: Feel free

ANGEL

I may never know for certain why I did this.

I mean, why would I need to call Willow and Buffy? Wolfram & Hart could probably do this for me on their proverbial coffee break, and Fred would be perfectly happy to trek through my mind.

But then, it all comes down to that one fact: I want someone I trust when it comes to a matter of my soul and Angelus, and Fred doesn't know me as well as Buffy.

I sat in my desk, waiting for them to arrive. I had heard about the destruction of the Hellmouth, and was just hoping that everyone had survived it. Thankfully, Sunnydale had been evacuated early on, but I knew the Scoobies would have remained behind to handle it. All I knew for certain was that Buffy and Willow were alive, that Xander had lost his eye, and that Anya and Spike were both dead.

There my knowledge stopped.

I just hoped that was everything major. I had privately decided to ask about the rest the first chance I got to, but I wasn't sure when that would be.

"Hello?" a voice said from the door. Looking up, I saw Willow and Buffy standing there, watching me. If possible, Buffy looked even more beautiful now than she had when I last saw her.

"Hi there," I said, simply nodding at her. "Hey, Buffy."

"Hi," she said back to me. Not very talkative- I suppose that kiss back in Sunnydale made things between us a little awkward, especially given that nothing's really changed between us. Maybe I shouldn't have brought up the matter of Spike... "So, what happened to you?"

"Oh, the firm?" I said. "The Powers That Be handed it over to us all as thanks for saving the world."

"Ah," Buffy said. "Wonder why they never give me anything good?"

I didn't know what to say to that. Once, they had given her something good- that day when I was human. But then I threw it all away, just for her sake.

Not certain what to say to her, I turned to face Willow. "I need your help."

"Well, sure thing!" Willow smiled, as she and Buffy sat down in the leather seats opposite me. "So, what's needed from me?"

I sighed a little. This was going to be the really difficult bit.

"Well, as you know, Angelus recently broke free again," I began.

"Technically, I wouldn't call it 'break free' from what I've heard," Buffy put in. "As I hear it, Wesley decided they needed him."

"Yeah, but it wasn't his first option," I said, brushing the topic off to the side. I didn't feel like going into the details. "Anyway, now I'm back, I guess I've...gotten tired of having him so close to the surface."

"Yeah?" Willow asked.

"Well, I found...actually, Wesley and Fred found... this spell," I said, pulling out a large book that had been lying in an open drawer beside me. "It was used a long while ago as a method to drive out possessions," I began to explain to Willow. "The possessed person entered their own mind along with a companion to ensure they have a bit of help, and to provide a focus point for them to return to their real bodies, finds the demon, and the two of them drive it out of the body. It can then- theoretically, at least- be killed."

"I see," Willow said. "And you want me to cast this spell on you and send you in to fight Angelus?"

"Basically, yeah," I said.

"Question?" Buffy said suddenly. "No offence, Angel, but you've got a whole building full of guys with magic experience. Why do you need Willow?"

"I need someone whom I can trust with my soul," I said, simply.

"And why am I here?" Buffy asked.

I sighed a little. This was the part I was worried about. "I want you, Buffy, to be my companion in the mental realm."

"Oh," she replied simply. I have to admit, I'd been expecting something a little more from her than that. "So, when do we begin?"

"Whenever Willow's ready," I said, passing her the book. She opened it at the page where I'd placed a bookmark, and her eyes rapidly skimmed over the writing, noting the ingredients in particular. "How long?"

Willow looked up. "Well, I assume you've got a full stock of magic ingredients here, right?"

"Yeah," I said. "You can saw this for Wolfram & Hart- if they haven't got it, it doesn't exist."

"Well, in that case, with Wesley and Fred helping me set this all up, give me a few minutes, and I'll have you ready to boot out the lodger," Willow grinned, as she walked out of the office.

Buffy and I just stared at each other for a little bit. Somehow, it seemed to me that the recent events in our lives had damaged our already- remote possibility at a second chance. After all, I was in charge of a massive law firm, and she had to find the new Slayers. Joining forces to find them wasn't an option currently- one wrong move, and she'd be staking Angelus.

Maybe I shouldn't have asked about Spike while I was in Sunnydale. Or maybe it was just the simple fact that all my reasons for leaving her still remained...

"So..." I said, unsure as to where to begin.

"I'll just...um...go now," Buffy said, getting out of the seat and heading for the door again.

As she left, I was suddenly struck by a sensation of déjà vu. That second time the Mohra demon had attacked, after I'd smashed its jewel with my clock... Buffy had just walked out of my office then, too.

Privately, I thought of the other reason I'd requested she be my mental guide. I hadn't told anyone this, apart from Gunn, Fred and Lorne, but Wesley was almost certain that, with Angelus gone, I would still have all my vampire qualities, but maybe with an increased resistance to stakes, sunlight and crucifixes, and also, my soul would become...

Permanent.

Either that, or when I had my 'moment of happiness', I'd become a completely blank shell and then turn to dust.

But then, that was another reason why Willow was here. To, if the need arose, see what she could do and bring back my soul again.

I could only hope it wouldn't be necessary. You can only have your very self torn out of your body so many times before it gets boring, and I'd passed that stage long ago.

*****

A few minutes later, everything was set up for the spell. Buffy and I had moved the leather chairs opposite my desk into the centre of the room to face each other. Willow had drawn a circle around us, and a larger circle around that. It had been made with a powered crucifix and sprinkled with holy water, which would prevent Angelus, when he got out of me, attacking either me or Buffy or the others.

Around the circle, Willow, Wesley, Gunn, Fred and Lorne had taken up the required positions, all armed and ready to take on Angelus. Gunn was holding a sword, Welsey had a rifle loaded with wooden bullets, Fred had a crucifix and some holy water in a bottle, Willow had chosen a crossbow, and Lorne had gone for an Izmar dagger.

"A what?" Fred had asked him when she saw it.

"Izmar dagger, Fred," Lorne said simply. "Should Angelus try to attack me, if I stick this into him anywhere, he'll be immobile for several minutes."

I sat down in the seat, my elbows on my knees and my hands held out in front of me. Buffy positioned herself in front of me, staring directly into my eyes. Willow began to chant the spell, but by this point I wasn't listening. I was just staring into Buffy's face again. Even if this didn't pay off... even if I failed and got killed by Angelus... at least I got to touch Buffy and look into her eyes one last time.

"Ready?" I asked her.

"As I'll ever be," she said back.

Then, a brilliant white light blazed up in my face.

BUFFY

Well, that was certainly bright. I mean, the portal that Glory opened that I, well, to put it bluntly, died in, was bright, but that was a great deal brighter.

However, the scene in front of me when I opened my eyes was certainly not quite what I'd been expecting. I'd heard all about Faith's little trek through Angelus' mind, and I'd experienced Willow's journey through mine, but being the intruder was a lot different.

The sight in front of me wasn't very remarkable either- just some old alleyway behind an old building. There seemed to be several people in a pub on one corner, but I didn't feel like going in. It sounded like they'd all drunk way too much more than they should have, but I didn't really know for sure. Besides, I wouldn't be going in there to check it out. Ever since that incident with the beer and the cavemen, I've never really enjoyed alcohol.

Just then, I noticed someone walking out of the pub. It was a young man, wearing a greenish- yellow waistcoat, white trousers, high socks- or stockings, I suppose-, black shoes, and had shaggy hair that reached down to around his neck. He seemed to be looking at something in the alleyway, but I couldn't see what.

Then, I suddenly saw what he was looking at. A young woman, very beautiful, with blond hair, in a long, elegant yellow ball gown, rather like the one I once wore for Halloween. As she turned towards the man, I suddenly recognised her: Darla.

Angel's sire.

"NO!" I yelled. I didn't know what was going on, but I couldn't let it happen! I ran forward, desperately reaching out to grab the man's shoulder...

...and my hand passed through him.

"It's just a memory," a voice said behind me. I spun around, and saw Angel, standing behind me.

"Who...?" I asked, indicating the man.

"Watch," he replied simply. "We have to, in order to progress further."

So I did. As I watched, the man walked up to Darla, and stood in front of her.

"This bit's become a little hazy over the years," Angel said. "Still, given what happened afterwards, I suppose it was only to be expected."

"Huh?" I asked, looking around.

"There was a bit of stuff about walking her home and her showing me the world and all that originally," Angel said. "Still, there we are."

"You?" I asked, looking back at Darla. Now the man had been bitten on the neck, and was...oh, gross...drinking blood off her breast.

"The point of this is?" I asked Angel, turning around to face him.

"Look," Angel said.

"But..." I said.

"Just look, please," Angel said.

I did. Looking back at the man and Darla, I saw that he'd finished drinking and had fallen down onto the ground. Then, I saw his face.

It was Angel.

I couldn't believe it. Gaping, I spun around to face Angel. "Then...what we just saw...?"

"Yes," Angel said, simply. "That was my siring."

I just looked back at the body in front of us. Lying, there, his eyes gazing up into space, he seemed almost...human.

"I would be," Angel said. "After all, Angelus hasn't even been born yet, technically."

I faced him again. "How do you do that?"

"What?" Angel asked.

"Read my mind!" I yelled at him.

"We're in my mind, Buffy," he said simply. "I can detect your thoughts as though they were my own."

"Ah," I said simply, as I stared down as Angel's dead form. "So, what are we doing here? I mean, where's the point of seeing you dying all over again."

"We're going over some of my darker moments as Angelus," Angel replied. "It's the only way."

"'Darker moments'?" I said, looking back at Angel. "Define 'darker moments'."

"Not everything," he replied. "If it was, we'd be here for ages. We're simply going to see some of the basics that came to the front of my mind after recent events. Me killing my family, siring Drusilla, killing Holtz's family, taking on the Beast ..."

"Back up a minute," I said, holding up my hands. "Holtz? The Beast?"

"Oh, sorry," Angel said. "Holtz was a vampire hunter who tried to hunt Darla and I, and we punished him by killing his wife and baby son and siring his daughter, whom he staked. The Beast was one of our more recent enemies- he contacted me in 1789, after he killed a whole heap of people in Prussia. He and I fought for a bit, and then he asked me to take out some priestesses who were going to banish him. Only a vampire could attack them."

"You declined, huh?" I asked, smiling a little. Angelus had hardly ever got on with anyone, even when they were technically on his side.

"Well, let me put it this way... He kicked my ass and then got banished," he replied.

"Ah," I said.

"We're moving on," Angel said, looking behind me.

Turning around, I say a large glowing light heading towards the two of us.

ANGEL

Looking ahead of me, I saw what we were heading for. A large mansion, made of stone, with a few trees standing around it. It was night, and the windows had all been boarded up, and there was a young girl standing at the door. She was rather pretty, with dark hair and an earnest, caring face.

"Who's that?" Buffy asked, indicating the girl.

"It's Kathy," I said, bowing my head a little. "My...sister."

"Your sister?!" Buffy said, looking at me. "You never mentioned you had a sister!"

"It's painful," I admitted. "Look."

Coming up the path that led to the main door was...me. It reminded me of the time that Faith had taken Angelus into his mind and he'd seen me at times.

It just really freaked me out, seeing myself walking around in front of me.

Just than, Kathy looked up form behind the door, and saw me...no, Angelus... walking towards her.

"Hello, Kathy," Angelus said, standing in the shadows underneath the trees.

"L-Liam?" she asked, looking at Angelus with tears in her eyes.

Beside me, Buffy looked at me with a small smirk on her face.

"'Liam'? Your name as a human was Liam?" she smiled at me. I suppose that she just wanted to take her mind off what it was we were doing.

"Please, we need to see this," I said, looking back at Kathy and Angelus.

"Yes, Kathy," Angelus said, smiling at her. "It's me."

"C...come in," Kathy said, opening the door at once. As Angelus walked towards her, she kept on staring at her. I could barely take this, but I knew I couldn't do anything. "Are you...an angel?" she asked, looking up at Angelus.

"Something like that," Angelus replied, smiling at her.

Than he vamped out.

Before Kathy could even scream, he'd placed his hand around her mouth and was biting her neck.

"Oh my god," Buffy said, watching the scene unfold. She looked over at me, a sudden thought occurring to her. "Do we have to watch you kill the rest of your family?"

"No," I assured her. "I never got on with my father even when I was alive, and my mother was more of a nonentity to me, really. Kathy..." I sighed, remembering those old times. "...was about the only member of my family who would have actually cared if I'd fallen off a cliff. So, she's the only member of my family I actively mourn."

"Oh," Buffy said, staring at the sight in front of her as Kathy collapsed. "Did her calling you her angel have anything to do with your name?"

"Yeah," I said, looking up into the air. Privately, I'd taken the name of Angel when I'd started to try and redeem myself to honour Kathy's memory. A futile effort, I know, but I hoped she'd appreciate her brother helping to save the world under the name she'd given him.

"We're moving on," I said, as the white light suddenly covered us again.

*****

Now, we were standing outside an old-style convent. It was dark, very hard to see, and there was a young woman standing outside it. She was wearing a nun's brown habit, but the hood was pulled down. Her hair was black, and her face, although attractive, had a slight degree of insanity about it in the eyes.

"Dru, huh?" Buffy asked, as she looked at the face.

"Yeah," I replied. I wasn't proud of Drusilla. She had been one of the few victims of Angelus that he had bothered to sire, mainly due to her ability to see into the future. Privately, I made a note to check up on that and see if I could find out why she'd acquired it all of a sudden.

"Hello?" a voice said suddenly. As Buffy and I glanced round, we saw Angelus walking up towards Drusilla. He was wearing a priest's black robe and white collar.

"What the?" Buffy said, looking back at me, with what might have almost been a small grin on her face.

"Angelus posed as a priest while tormenting Drusilla," I explained. "Whenever she came to confess, I was in the priest- hole, and said things to torture her. However, this is the first time she ever saw my face."

"Hello, father," Drusilla replied meekly. "I-I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

"No, no, of course not," Angelus smiled at her. "So, I understand you are a new member of our order?"

"Yes, that's correct," Dru smiled up at Angelus.

"Well, may I be the first to congratulate you?" Angelus smiled. Then, his face shifted into its vampire form. "Even though it only lasted less than a day."

Drusilla almost screamed, but then Angelus covered her mouth.

"I've always hated the screams," Angelus said, as he leaned over her. "I prefer the food itself."

Then he bite down onto her neck. As he drank, Buffy and I turned away- we didn't need to watch that.

"Disgusting," Buffy said to me. "I'll never get why you vamps do that."

"Even after your fight with Dracula?" I asked.

"Huh? Oh, you heard about that one, huh?" she said, looking a little ashamed. "Well, you know, very ancient guy, and all that, and he has taken out a great many more Slayers..."

"I know it wasn't your choice," I interrupted.

"Oh," she said, simply. Then, we both felt something begin to move us away form the convent. "Here we go again," she said simply, as we both vanished.

BUFFY

Overall, while the first three locations we visited during our trip down memory lane were relatively interesting, this third one was rather dull. It was simply a small house, not all that large, with a few lights in the windows.

I glanced over at Angel. "The Beast, or Holtz?" I asked him.

"Holtz," I replied. "Ah here I come now."

I turned around, and there, walking up the path towards the house, were Angelus and Darla. Both were wearing their usual outfits, and I had to confess, both looked about as mean as they ever did.

"Backstory here?" I asked Angel.

"Holtz has been trying to take down me and Darla for months now," Angel explained. "We decided to torment him a little, but not kill him. As Darla put it, he was almost like family to us."

I stared at the house. Angelus had just knocked on the door. "You really killed a lot of people you like, huh?"

Angel didn't answer. Just then, the door opened, to reveal a small girl standing there. She had to be only about seven or eight, and here she was, facing two of the most brutal killers I've ever known.

Man, why did I agree to come on this trip?

"Hi there, little girl," Angelus said to her. "Could you take us to your mother?"

The girl looked up at him. "My father told me not to let strangers into the house while he's away," she replied. She had a rather sweet little voice, in its own way.

Angelus grinned at her. "We're not strangers. Your name's Sarah, isn't it?"

The girl nodded. Angelus smiled at her again. "We know you're the apple of your daddy's eye."

Darla spoke now. "Would strangers know that?" The girl shook her head.

"May we enter now?" Angelus asked. Sarah nodded. And that one act doomed her forever.

As the two of them walked in, Darla took Sarah's hand. "I'll be giving you a special treat later," she said. "Promise."

Just then, a woman entered the room. Looking up at her, Angelus smiled. "Ah, Caroline," he smiled at her. "We can only stay a moment, but we have a message from your husband."

Caroline looked a little surprised at that, but didn't bother to ask about it. "What was it?" she asked Angelus.

Darla then knelt down in front of Sarah. "I'll give the message to her," she said to Caroline. She turned to Sarah. "Close your eyes. I have a surprise for you."

Sarah closed her eyes.

Darla vamped out and bit her on the neck, ignoring all her screams of pain.

Caroline began to run towards her daughter, but Angelus grabbed her and pulled her round to face him. "I have to give you a message from Mr Holtz, you know," he began. Then, his face took on its vampire form. "Actually, never mind, I'll do it myself," he said. Then, he bit her neck.

Just as he began to raise his head, a cry could be heard from further into the house. A baby, I realized with mounting horror.

"Can you do something about the noise?" Darla asked Angelus. "That baby probably wants its mother."

"Well then," Angelus suggested. "Let's send the kid to its mother. Now, do you want to do it, or shall I?"

I looked over at Angel. "Which one of you did it?" I asked him.

"Darla," he replied simply. Then, he looked up. "Only the Beast left."

At that moment, we were pulled up in the familiar sparkling white something as before, and our surroundings vanished.

*****

When we materialized this time in our destination, the location was very different from the previous ones. In this case, there wasn't a single building to be seen anywhere around, but there were a great deal of bodies. Walking among them, however, was one character that was very much mobile, and looked both very annoyed and ticked off.

Angelus.

"What's his problem?" I asked Angel, looking at Angelus as he stared around the bodies.

"Mostly, he's just angry that he can't get a decent meal here," Angel explained. "He's trying to get to Vienna, but he can't go all that way without something to eat, and he isn't finding anything eatable here. He had a certain fondness for Prussian women, as I recall."

"Yuck," I said, looking back at Angelus.

"Ah, there it is," Angel said, looking ahead of Angelus. I followed his gaze. Standing there was something that looked like the traditional goat- legged, red-skinned, horned Devil, but on major steroids and made of rock. It was just throwing another corpse away into a bush, and then turned around to face Angelus.

"You're here," it said, in a voice that sounded like it was coming out of a rough layer of slime.

"Yeah, I'm here," Angelus replied, glaring at his opponent. "And who are you? Just, I have to say, you've deprived me of a very good snack, and I really feel in the mood to just kill you now."

"You couldn't," the creature replied. "I am too strong for you to handle."

"Really?" Angelus replied. "I wouldn't like to bet on it, I've taken on a few tough guys in my time. So, who are you anyway?"

"I have no real name you could understand," the creature replied. "You may refer to me simply as 'the Beast'."

"The Beast?" Angelus asked. "Not very imaginative."

"It is not in your favour to insult me, Angelus," the Beast replied. "I have staged this entire massacre solely for your benefit, you should know."

"Really?" Angelus grinned, looking at the bodies that were littered around him. "Well, you know, not quite as extreme as I'd go, but when you consider my sunlight weakness, this is a very good bit of work you've got here, Beastie old boy."

"I thought you would appreciate this, Angelus," the Beast replied. "You and I are more alike than you would really know."

"Oh, really?" Angelus asked, looking at the Beast. "Well, one question. What was the point of this whole thing?"

"I require a favour from you, Angelus," the Beast said.

"Oh, I see," Angelus said, as he leant back against a tree. "Well, get talking."

"I am being hunted by a group known as the Svea Priestesses," the Beast began, as it faced Angelus. "I cannot touch them, and my master lacks a suitable vessel to use against them, but..."

Angelus raised his hand up. "Let me guess, a vampire could?"

"Exactly," the Beast replied.

"And what happens if I refuse, that 'Master' you mentioned takes over my mind and destroys me?" Angelus continued.

"No," the Beast replied. "The Priestesses approach us even as we speak. If you do not stop them now, I shall be banished from this dimension. Now, your choice?"

Angelus walked up to the Beast, and stared at him, straight in the face. "No way, sucker."

The Beast walloped Angelus in the face. Blood spurted from his mouth, and I thought I saw a tooth come out as well.

"A foolish decision, Angelus," the Beast said, as it walked over to stand above him.

"So?" Angelus replied, coughing a little. "You said yourself that you were going to be banished soon. What do I care about what you think?"

"I can still destroy you," The Beast said, picking Angelus up by the throat and holding him in the air.

"Like to see you try," Angelus replied simply. Then, without any warning, he kicked the Beat in the face. It didn't do much damage- I guess his hide was as tough as Faith had said it was- but it still made the Beast reel back, clutching its face a little.

Angelus was released from its grip. Hitting the ground, he rolled back and got up, facing his opponent. "That hurt?" he asked simply.

The Beast looked up, wiping his mouth as he faced Angelus again. "I have taken stronger blows than that and lived, Angelus," he replied. "But you have achieved more than many have done when facing me."

"Yeah, and I'll kick your butt as well!" Angelus yelled, launching himself at the Beast again. The Beast grabbed him and threw him into a nearby tree. Angelus, although wounded, still managed to get up.

"You are a worthy adversary, Angelus," the Beast informed him. "We should combine our strengths. We need not be enemies."

"Really?" Angelus answered, as he dusted off his shirt. "Well, I'm sorry, but I just don't like taking orders. And something tells me that I'm only gonna be third place in this organization, which I ain't prepared to tolerate."

"It is your loss," the Beast replied. Then he walked over to Angelus, grabbed him by the throat again, and hit him in the face. "If you had, you would live."

"Here's where it gets pretty hazy," Angel told me, as the surroundings began to blur. "I was pretty disoriented at this point, and can't fully recall everything that was said." I noticed that Angel was right- the only thing that could be clearly heard was the wind whistling around the trees, although the Beast was still talking.

Then, suddenly, he dropped Angelus and turned around to face some figures walking towards him. There were three of them, all women, and all in dark purple robes carrying long wooden staffs. I saw their lips begin to move, but then, everything suddenly went black.

"That was because I passed out," Angel informed me. He looked ahead of us. There was a door standing there, with one simple word on it;

ANGELUS

"Not much," I commented.

"He probably didn't feel like putting a lot of bother into it," Angel said. He opened the door. "Let's go."

ANGEL

On the other side of the door, there was absolute carnage. It was set up in the style of a town from the nineteenth century, but one devastated by a terrible disaster. Several buildings were burning, and those that weren't were getting pretty close to it. People were running from one building to another, all of them screaming and looking terrified.

"Yikes," Buffy said, as she watched the scene from beside me. "What is with all this?"

"It's Angelus' ideal world," I said. "He always loved it when he stirred up something like this."

"Oh, boy," Buffy said, as she stared around her. "So, he'll be at the epicentre of all this?"

"Most likely," I said. Looking around at the few buildings that weren't burning, I noticed a large cathedral standing near the town centre. "He'll be in there."

"Reasons?" Buffy asked me.

"He always likes to hang around in churches," I said, as we began to walk towards the church. "He felt like he was defying God when he was in his house."

"He could really use a psychiatrist, huh?" Buffy mentioned, as we reached the doors. "He's got one complex psyche in that head of his."

"True," I said. Then, just as we were about to enter I stopped her. "Buffy, don't forget. Angelus will probably look like he did the last time he was awakened, so if you want to help, hit the me with the black pullover, not the me in the green one."

"Check," Buffy said. "Angel, relax, I've taken on Angelus before. What could he hit me with that I can't handle."

Who knows? I wondered to myself. In the mental plane of existence, and with him having a certain degree of command over the mind this time, Angelus may be able to hit Buffy with anything he could imagine.

However, I decided that I wouldn't worry until I knew for certain what Angelus could do. So, with a determination to stop him once and for all, I kicked the door open.

There, in front of the alter, in a position of mock prayer, stood Angelus. As I'd thought, he was wearing my usual black coat, trousers and shoes, and generally looked exactly like the me I'd seen in the mirror in Pylea. The only difference between him and me was that I was wearing a green jumper, whereas he had on a black one.

"Angelus," I said simply, to attract his attention.

He looked around from the alter, and smiled at us when he saw who it was.

"Ah, it's you two!" he said, grinning at Buffy and I. "Mr Goody-Goody and Miss I'll-Never-forget! I've been waiting for you guys!"

"Huh?" Buffy asked, looking over at me. "What does he mean by 'Miss I'll- Never-Forget'?"

I'd frozen briefly. I couldn't believe it. I knew what Angelus was referring to, but I didn't know he'd try and use it.

The Day That Never Happened, as I thought of it to myself...

She can't know, I thought as I looked over at Buffy. I can't let her have to remember what she may never have again...

"I don't know," I said simply, as I looked away from her. I was afraid that, if she saw my face, she'd realise I was lying. Then, brushing that away, I looked back at Buffy. "Shall we take him on?" I asked, nodding my head towards Angelus.

"Thought you'd never ask," Buffy replied, as she reached into the air. Instantly, a large sword appeared in her hand. For a brief moment I couldn't understand what had happened, but then I realised how it worked- since we were in my mind, all we had to do was imagine something and it would appear. How Buffy knew that I didn't know, but then I recalled Willow mentioning that she once had to enter Buffy's mind to get her out after Glory had kidnapped Dawn.

Following her example, I reached out and willed a sword into my hand as well. Now, with us both armed, we faced Angelus, ready to rumble.

Smiling at us both, he got up off the floor and turned around. Holding out his right hand, a sword appeared in his grasp. Bringing it down into a combat position, he vamped out, glaring at Buffy and I.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," he said, grinning at me.

"This time, it's for real," I informed him, as I raised my sword as well. "Either you leave, or I do."

"Bye bye," he smiled at me, as he suddenly leapt towards me, the sword pointing directly at my heart.

Then, just as it was about to strike, Buffy struck his sword with her own. The sudden shock of the attack knocked Angelus back, throwing him directly into one of the pews near us.

Looking up at Buffy, he glared at her with a sudden rage in his eyes. "Get lost," he told her.

Buffy vanished.

Horrified, I spun around, staring at Angelus. "Where...?" I asked, dreading the answer.

"Don't worry, she isn't dead," Angelus grinned at me, as he got back up and dusted down his coat. "I've simply sent her somewhere where she'll see what you've fantasized about lately."

"Oh god..." I said, as I realised what he was referring to. The fantasy that the shaman, Wo-Pang, had created when he was removing my soul. Me defeating the Beast, making peace with Connor, and...

Making love to Cordelia.

In recent times, I couldn't believe that it had been in my fantasy. Sure, I did have feelings for Cordelia, but I've come to realize that it just couldn't quite work out with us. No matter how often I denied it to myself, whatever happened to me, no matter how many women I met, Buffy would always be the only one I ever truly loved.

"Just for that, I'll decapitate, stake, and throw you into the sunlight all at once!" I yelled at him, as I thrust at him with my sword. Angelus parried the blow, but it was a close call. He struck again, resulting in each of us having our swords just underneath each other's throats.

"What have you got against me, loser?" he asked, as our eyes locked.

"Well, let's see," I said, as I privately tried to run over combat strategies. "Killing Kathy, butchering countless innocent people, some of whom thought you loved them, tormenting Buffy constantly, nearly feeding on Faith, trying to kill my friends, and you just really piss me off." With that, I kicked him directly in the chest, throwing him back onto the ground.

"Do you always say that last bit?" Angelus asked me, as he swung his sword, trying to hit my head. I ducked just in time.

"Well, it's true enough," I replied, as I struck back at him. Inwardly, I was pleading, hoping that the Powers that Be could hear me.

Please, let Buffy see the truth. Let her see that she is still the one for me...

BUFFY

Shaking my head, I glanced around me at my new surroundings, trying to work out where I'd gone. Wherever it was that Angelus had sent me, it certainly wasn't very interesting. There was just blackness all around me as far as the eye could see, apart from one thing- a door right in front of me.

Deciding I wasn't interested in whatever the door had behind it, I turned around and tried to find a way out. However, no sooner had I walked a few steps, the same door appeared in front of me.

"I'm not in the mood for this, OK?" I told the door, as I turned around and walked away from the door again. However, I'd only walked a few steps, when the same door appeared in front of me again! Sighing, I decided that I didn't have the time to keep on trying to a void the door, and opened it.

The scene in front of me left something to be desired, in my opinion. Angel was tied down in a cage, with some man in a long red robe standing over him, and watching him from outside the cage were Wesley, Gunn, Fred, Lorne, Cordelia, and some boy that I couldn't quite identify. Then, something in Angel's memories spoke to me, with what I assumed was the boy's name; Connor.

Angel's son.

"Son?" I asked nobody, as I stared at Connor. Then, I quickly returned my attention to Angel. If I was going to get out of this, I assumed I would need to see what Angelus wanted me to see.

Just as I started to watch Angel, the robed man standing above him whipped out a curved knife and tried to cut off Angel's head!

"NO!" I yelled, as I dived forward, even though some part of me knew I couldn't do anything, this was only a memory, Angel must have survived...

Just before the blow struck, Angel grabbed the man's arm and held it up long enough for Wesley and Gunn to get in and keep the man occupied, while Angel freed himself. Then, just as Angel began to talk to the man, the man suddenly stabbed himself in the gut.

"Yuck," I thought to myself, as he collapsed onto the ground. As I watched, Gunn began to remove the man's robes to find some clues, but then stopped as something very unusual was revealed to be on his skin.

Writing. Lots of it.

As I watched, the man's robes were all taken off him, and the writing became a lot clearer. As Wesley read the writing with a torch, I heard Lorne talking.

"Is there any part of this guy that doesn't have writing on it? Ah, actually, I don't want to know."

"Can you translate it?" Angel asked Wesley.

"Part of it," Wesley replied, as he examined the writing with a magnifying glass. "It's all about the Beast."

"So that's why we couldn't find anything written about the Beast in the books, these jokers are walking around with it written on their asses!" I heard Gunn say as I stared at the writing. It reminded me vaguely of Chinese, but I wouldn't really know, having never read any of that. I heard Wesley make a comment about some kind of weapon that could destroy the Beast, and then I suddenly noticed something else to freak me out- Cordelia's eyes turned white and she started to give the location of the weapon! As she told them of the sword's location Angel looked over at Wesley, smiling at him.

"Do you hear that, there's a sword," he said, smiling at him. "A sword to kill the Beast and, you wanted to turn me into Angelus by having an evil Shaman cut off my head. Not that that wasn't a swell plan too."

"Sorry," Wesley replied simply, as he began to walk up the steps from the cellar. Just as he was walking, Angel grabbed his arm.

"Was that an apology?" Angel asked.

"I was careless, made a mistake that almost cost you your life," Wesley replied. "Would have made pulling you out of the ocean a big waste of my time."

"Yeah, that would have been a drag," Angel replied.

"What is the point of this, Angelus?" I asked, looking up into the sky. There was no reply, so I just continued watching the scene unfold in front of me.

Now, things weren't as interesting. Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and Connor were walking around in L.A.'s sewers, trying to crack all kinds of puzzles that came up in front of them. I was mainly worried when Angel and the others had to run through the room with the wooden stakes firing out of the wall, and I couldn't help but wince as Wesley got the wooden spike through his hand. Then, as Connor and Wesley went one way, Angel and Cordelia went the other. When they found the large shimmering ball that I assumed held the sword they were looking for, I couldn't help but be amazed at it, when I saw it in Angel's hand.

"Suits you," I said to him, even though he couldn't even hear me. Then, suddenly, the ground around the ball burst into flames!

"ANGEL!" Cordelia and I yelled at the same time- both of us were on the same side of the fire, and Angel was on the other. Then, with no prior warning, Angel leapt through the flames, grabbing Cordelia and landing both back in the passageway. Looking at the flames for a minute, I was distracted, but then I glanced back and saw the two of them, staring directly into each other's eyes.

Cordelia sounded like she was almost crying as she began to speak. "We could have died, and I wouldn't have had the chance to tell you I'm sorry for what happened between me and Connor."

"Between you and Connor?" I said to Cordelia. Of course, nobody heard me.

Cordelia, naturally, was still talking. "I thought it was the end, and I felt lost... and frightened. I wanted to be with you, and I couldn't."

"'Be with you'?" I said, looking at the two of them, with a suspicion nagging in my mind. Cordy and...Angel?

Cordelia continued talking; I thought Angel had just said something, but I'd missed it. "You need to know that I can look back and see every horrible thing you've ever done as Angelus and it doesn't matter any more, because when I'm with you, all I feel is the good you've done as Angel. I know I've hurt you. I know I don't deserve forgiveness."

"Cordy, I don't care what you've done in your past either," Angel replied, with a look on his face I'd only seen once before- when he was talking to me, on the night when Angelus was born again.

"I don't know if this is right Angel," she replied, weeping a little.

"Stop talking," Angel said.

"Okay," Cordelia replied.

And then they kissed.

I wanted to kill them both. Angel, for getting over me when, even after Riley and (God help me) Spike, I still wasn't over him, and Cordelia, for feeling those wonderful lips pressed against hers, when I had been dreaming all about those for so many years, No matter who I dated, whatever happened, Angel was always constantly the only one for me.

Just then, the scene jumped, for reasons I couldn't be sure. Now, it showed Angel and Cordelia standing in a bedroom. Angel was wearing the clothes I'd seen him in earlier, but Cordelia had changed into some kind thin blue thing that appeared ready to fall off.

She looked over at Angel, who was staring out of the window. "It must be hard for you. Watching people be so happy for what you did, yet you can't go out yourself."

Angel let the curtain fall, and looked back at her. "There's nowhere I'd rather be than here with you."

Then, the two of them started to kiss again. However, just as it started to get serious, Angel pulled back. "Wait..."

"Angel," Cordelia said simply. "Whatever the reason or excuse, we're here, together. Everything is as it should be for once and we've waited long enough."

Then, the two of them continued.

And Cordelia began to pull off Angel's shirt, and the two of them moved towards the bed.

"He's dead," I said, as I turned around and walked away from the two of them. How could Angel do that? He left me solely to prevent the two of us losing control and releasing Angelus again, and there he was, making love to a woman who could once have been used to define 'rich, conceited, self- centred jerk' in the dictionary, after he'd once told me that he 'couldn't move on'.

I didn't care how I got out of there- all I cared about was getting out of here, getting back to the church, and then killing Angel and Angelus.

"WAIT!" a voice yelled from behind me. Turning around I saw, standing there, one man I'd only seen briefly, but had expected to never see again.

Angel's old friend, Doyle.

ANGEL

"Damn it!" Angelus yelled, as he thrust his sword towards the place where I'd been standing only a few seconds before. "Would it kill you to stay put for a moment?"

"Yes, actually," I replied, vaulting back and slashing my sword over his chest. He winced, but he continued to keep on striking me. Privately, I was trying to think of something- without Buffy here, Angelus and I were fairly even, and in this kind of fight, when anything we knew of could be used, there was no telling what he would hit me with.

"Getting tired?" Angelus asked, as he launched a punch at my face. With my only available hand, I managed to catch it.

"Far from it," I replied, as I twisted his arm around and thrust him towards the wall.

"Well, try this," Angelus smiled, as he raised his eyes to the ceiling and shut them. Suddenly, behind him appeared a large demon with horns, a face that made most demons I'd fought look pleasant, and lots of muscles. Even though I'd only seen pictures and his statue, I knew who it was.

Acathla. The demon I tried to raise shortly before regaining my soul for the second time.

"Not bad, but two can play at that game," I replied, as I raised my head, shut my eyes and concentrated. Instantly, facing Acathla was the Judge, the demon that Spike, Dru and, briefly, Angelus, had resurrected to try and kill Buffy. He and Acathla, although remarkably different, were still fairly evenly- matched, and a fight between them wouldn't work out to be something you'd want to see.

As I had thought, the two demons instantly charged towards each other and began to furiously struggle. They didn't hang around in the church for long, though- the Judge launched one punch that was so powerful it threw Acathla right through the nearest wall. Fortunately, Angelus and I were both on the same side of the wall, so we weren't interrupted from our fight.

"Great," Angelus groaned, as the Judge walked out of the church, keeping Acathla constantly occupied. "That was just great."

"Well, you know what they say, Angelus," I said, as I took another stab at him with my sword, which he barely managed to parry. "You can't let a demon do a vampire's work."

"You're dead," Angelus growled, throwing me back, and nearly into the sun.

"Haven't been alive for nearly two and a half centuries," I replied, as I leapt back up and over Angelus, landing right behind him. "So, there's no point in stating the obvious."

"Can't you cut out the bad jokes?!" Angelus yelled at me, as he swiped at my chest again.

"Well, lemme think. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...no," I replied, parrying Angelus's blow and knocking him back. "You see, they may not be great, but I haven't been making jokes for practically since I got my soul back, and I just fell like making up for lost time, even if not in a very good way."

"God, will you SHUT...UP??!!" Angelus yelled, as he struck at me again and again with his sword. "Your jokes are almost as bad as that Xander's!"

"I'll tell him you said that," I replied, as I struck at his arm, scratching it badly. "And I think he'll be very annoyed."

Inwardly, however, I was still getting worried. Where was Buffy?

BUFFY

"You can't be Doyle," I told the apparition.

"Ah, so you remember me," he said, grinning at me. "Wasn't sure you would. I mean, even taking into account the temporal paradox factor, you barely saw me for a few minutes."

"What?" I asked, staring at him. "What do you mean, 'taking into account the temporal paradox factor'?"

"Simply something you don't remember," Doyle replied, looking at me with a sadden expression on his face. "In fact, nobody else remembers it apart from Angel."

"Remembers what?" I asked. "And what are you doing here?"

"I'm here as an emissary, Buff," he replied, trying to straighten out his coat sleeves as he talked to me. "The Powers have sent me to prevent you making a mistake."

"What's that?" I asked.

"Killing Angel because of a hallucination he had that was generated by that shaman you saw," Doyle explained. "If you went around killing people because of something someone made them see that you didn't like, where would anyone ever get? Besides, you don't know two things."

"Them being?" I asked, starting to wonder what he was talking about.

"One; as Angel's soul was being torn out of him, he called out your name," Doyle stated simply.

I didn't think that really made up for him being so stupid as to lose it in the first place, but I still couldn't help but fell glad at the news. "And the second thing?"

"This," Doyle said, waving his hand in an overly dramatic gesture. Suddenly, in front of me, appeared Angel and I, walking in his office. Just then, a large, green demon with a jewel in its head and wearing samurai armour crashed through the window.

A Mohra demon.

"This?" I asked, looking back at Doyle. "I remember this, Angel killed it in seconds."

"Watch," Doyle said simply.

I looked back at the image in front of me. I realised just what Doyle mean by watching- this wasn't the way it had been. Angel was looking at the demon like he didn't have a clue what it was, and he certainly wasn't even trying to smash his clock into its jewel, like I remembered him doing. In fact, he just briefly struggled with the demon and then Angel and I were thrown onto the ground, the demon escaping out the window. As I watched, Angel and I then headed down into the sewers and began to follow the demon, Angel sticking to the sewers while I tried to locate it above.

"Is this some kind of joke?" I asked, looking over at Doyle.

"No. Keep watching and all will become clear," he said simply.

"You knew Angel too long, Doyle," I said. "You're sounding as cryptic as he does." Nevertheless, I kept on watching the images in front of me, until Angel faced the demon. I saw him fight it, and then its blood mixed with his. And then...

"Ohmigod!" I said simply, as I saw Angel, standing above the demon's body, breathing. Not looking like he was breathing to make everyone else comfortable, but because he needed to. I heard, faintly, the thumps of his heart, and stared at him as he, and I, realized what had happened to him.

He was alive.

The scene shifted again, now showing Angel talking to Doyle and Cordelia as he ate food in the kitchen. I even heard him as he said, "I love chocolate but-URGH- not, as it turns out, yogurt."

I couldn't help but laugh a little (He looked so cute when he had yogurt on his nose!), even though I was really getting puzzled. If Doyle was telling the truth about this having happened, why was this all completely fresh to me?

I glanced over at him, and saw that he was smiling as he looked at the scene in front of him. That was all the confirmation I needed- he was just grinning too wildly for this to be a fake.

Looking back, I saw me standing on the pier. Then, as my other self turned around, I saw Angel walking into the sunlight, the usual flames not covering his flesh and clothes. He took the other me in his arms, and we kissed.

Then, the scene changed again, showing Angel and I drinking tea in his apartment. Even though we agreed to take it slow, the second my other self's hand touched his, I knew this was going to get x-rated.

"Um could you possibly not watch this?" I asked Doyle.

"Buff, I'm a ghost. I don't even have any sexual impulses that could get me turned on by this!" Doyle pointed out with a slight grin on his face. "Right..." I said, turning back to the images. As I watched everything, I just got constantly amazed by everything that was happening in front of me- who'd have guessed that Angel and I together could pull off that many moves? As we fell asleep in each other's arms, I couldn't help but close my eyes as well, trying to remember what had happened.

Afterwards I watched Doyle coming to get Angel, telling him about the Mohra demon, and Angel refusing to wake me up. Then, I watched him and Doyle as they struggled desperately with the Morah, and Angel got himself beaten half to death. I watched as the other me came to his rescue, killing the demon in the end and holding him in my arms.

The next cut was on Angel talking to two strange looking creatures, begging for my life after learning of his helplessness and something coming called the End of Days. He even offered his in exchange, and then the creatures told him the only way was to swallow the day, erase it from history. I nearly fell apart when I saw the pain in his eyes that nothing of the wonderful hours he and I had spent together would be real afterwards.

Then I was back in his apartment, watching him come back to me, telling me what was about to happen. I watched myself crying in his arms, his tears falling on my shoulders, the clock ticking and then...

We were back in his office, Angel wearing the most confused expression on his face after killing the demon with one blow. I saw myself leaving him, not knowing anything about it.

"Oh my god..." I said, as I stared at the figure of Angel, slumped into his desk, staring after me. I glanced over to Doyle. "He gave up everything he ever wanted... for me?"

"Yep," Doyle said, looking back at me. "Can't say I don't sympathise. I once gave up my only real chance with a girl to save her, although it worked out better for him than it did for me. I mean, I'm dead and he's still alive...ish."

I ignored him. I looked back at Angel. I couldn't believe that I'd just thought of killing him earlier- after he'd given everything just to keep me safe.

"I need to go back to him," I said, looking at Doyle.

"It's done," he said, as he reached up into the air and waved another hand. Instantly, the large church where Angelus had been was in front of us, except now it had a large hole in its side. I decided to ask about that later- right now, I had to help Angel.

Reaching out into the air, I felt the sword I'd been wielding earlier return to my hands. I glanced back over to Doyle. "Care to kick vampire ass?"

"Don't have any pressing engagements up with the Powers right now," he replied, as his skin suddenly turned green and black spines suddenly poked their way out all over his skin. "Besides, I've always wondered what Angelus was like."

ANGEL

"WHY...WON'T...YOU...DIE!!!!" Angelus cried, as he struck at me again and again with his sword, blows that I only barely managed to parry.

"Because you win then, Angelus," I replied, as I got in a good strike of my own, scratching him on the arm. "And I'll NEVER give you that satisfaction!" I yelled, as I kicked him right between the legs.

Suddenly, the door burst open. As both Angelus and I looked around, we saw who it was- Buffy, wielding her sword, and...

Doyle??!!

However, I didn't have the chance to perplex about what Doyle was doing here. Buffy suddenly said the four words that I'd always secretly longed to hear.

"I'm sorry I forget."

She knew about the day.

And she forgave me.

Running over to me, not caring anymore about the presence of Angelus, she threw her arms around me and kissed me with a fierce intensity that I never thought I'd feel from her again.

"WHAT?!" Angelus yelled from beside me. "But...that vision..."

"Was utterly pathetic," Buffy replied, as she pulled away from me and we faced Angelus again. "You failed to take into account the little detail that Angel gave up everything he ever wanted just to keep me alive. If that's not love, than somebody in this mind really needs therapy for being the world's biggest idiot."

"Now then," Doyle said, as he walked up behind Buffy and I and pulled out a crossbow from the air. "I believe you've been an unwanted lodger of this mind for far too long. Goodbye."

And he fired the crossbow into Angelus's shoulder.

It didn't kill him, of course- it wasn't even remotely near the heart- but it knocked Angelus off- balance. Before he could pull it out, I had jammed my sword into his heart, and Buffy had thrown him into the sunlight that streamed in from the hole, following it up with a swipe that took his head right off. As we watched, he turned into dust, vanishing into the wind before our eyes.

"Well, that went well," Doyle said.

I looked over at him, grinning a little. "Good to see you again, Doyle."

"Yeah. Good to see you too," he replied, as he began to fade away. "Now get going!" he yelled, shortly before he vanished.

BUFFY

"So, shall I get us out of here?" I asked Angel, holding out my hand for him.

"Please," he replied, taking it. "Angelus awaits."

I smiled at him as I felt his hand in mine again. Then, I concentrated hard on reality. On everyone in the room where our bodies were, on the building where the room was, on all the friends that were waiting for me back around what used to be Sunnydale...

And then I found myself opening my eyes.

I looked around me. The spell seemed to have gone according to plan. Angel was sitting opposite me, both of us in the same leather seats we'd been in at the start, Angelus was standing in the larger circle, a puzzled expression on his face, and Wesley, Willow, Fred, Gunn and Lorne were all waiting to attack.

Looking over at Angelus, I couldn't help but get a little freaked out. I mean, there he was, and Angel was sitting right opposite me, at the same time...

It was giving me a slight headache.

"YOU!" Angelus yelled, as he saw Angel and I stand up. "You're DEA- AARRGGHH!!" he cried, as he hit the holy barrier surrounding us.

"Powered crucifix sprinkled with holy water, Vamp-Boy," Gunn said, holding his sword up and pointing it at Angelus's heart, occasionally raising it to his throat. "You can't touch us as long as we're on this side of the line."

"How does it feel to be helpless, Angelus?" Willow asked, as she raised her crossbow and pointed it at his chest. "To be surrounded by most of Angel's friends, all of whom are now able to kill you without any fear of killing him?"

Angelus didn't even answer the question. However, the look of terror on his face, something that Angel hadn't shown no matter what kind of situation he was in, was more than enough to answer the question.

"Bad, is it?" Fred put, stepping forward, her crucifix in one hand and her squirt- bottle filled with holy water in the other. "Well, take it from me, it's going to get worse." And she sprayed the water into Angelus's face.

"AAARRRGGGHHH!!!" Angelus screamed, staggering about the circle, his face clutched in both hands as steam rose from all over it.

"Shall I?" Gunn asked as he looked over at Angel, his sword in one hand. He had already got it pointing directly at Angelus's heart, and was looking at Angel with a slightly pleading look on his face.

"No need," Angel replied, reaching into one pocket and pulling out a stake. "Sharpe here's been waiting to take out Angelus for months."

"Sharpe?" I asked, looking at him.

ANGEL

"Hey, you named your favourite stake Mr. Pointy," I pointed out. Then I looked towards Angelus, who had turned around to face me. His expression was priceless- utter terror.

"No..." he croaked; his throat had been badly scarred by the water.

"Yes," I said simply.

Then I leapt towards Angelus, driving the stake right into his heart.

In front of my eyes, Angelus screamed, and crumpled into dust.

It was done. After all the atrocities he'd committed, the mental struggles I'd had against him ever since I got my soul back, Angelus was finally dead.

Forever.

Crouching down onto my knees, I stared at the small patch of particles that were all that remained of my evil self. "Stay down," I told it simply, like it was a dog that needed telling off.

It was only when I got up and saw everyone else in the room staring at me that I realised just what I'd done. In my haste to take down Angelus, I'd forgotten about the holy barriers that had been surrounding Buffy and I...

And I had jumped right through them like they were nothing to me.

Which, since it seemed that Wesley and Fred's theories were correct, they actually were now.

Buffy came walking towards me, her face simple bafflement. "How...?" she asked me.

"Actually, it's obvious if you think about it," Fred pointed out. "I mean, the crucifix and the holy water and that is only really effective against the demon in the vampire, and since Angel doesn't have one in him anymore, then, well, they're not really any kind of deterrent to him."

Buffy continued to stare at me, although I noticed that she looked a lot happier now. "Any other bonus to a lack of Angelus?" she asked Fred, as she continued to look at me.

"Well, Wesley and I think he'll be able to go out in sunlight a lot more than before, about half an hour at least, before burning up," Fred continued, as the others began to put their weapons away. "I mean, the sunlight only really burns the demon, which, as has been said, isn't there anymore. It should lengthen as his body gets used to it, though. Oh, and the stakes need to be in him for at least two minutes before he'd dead, and there's a fairly good chance that his soul is permanent-"

After that point, I kind of didn't catch anything else Fred said, since Buffy began to kiss me so fiercely I was almost afraid that she'd make a meal out of my mouth. After she broke off, I looked at her with a grin on my face. "So, do you want to try again?"

"Were you once the king of brood?" she replied, a grin on her face.

"So, yeah," I replied, as I kissed her on the lips again.

"Wait!" Willow said. "We don't know if it'll work. For all we know, when Angel has his moment of happiness, his soul could leave and he could turn to dust!"

"No worries," Wesley put in suddenly.

"Huh?" Lorne asked, as he slid his Izmar dagger into his pocket

"Lilah recently told me about one very interesting room that Wolfram & Hart put together lately," Wesley explained. "Whenever anyone enters it, their bodies are frozen in their current condition- a human could remain there for a century and never age a day. Also, if Angel's soul does leave him, his body will be frozen in its current state, and won't turn into the usual dust. It's just around the corner, the third door on the left."

"So, we go there?" Buffy asked, her arm around my shoulders.

"You go there," Wesley confirmed.

Buffy and I looked at each other, a wicked little grin in her eyes. Then we ran for the door, and headed for the room.

BUFFY

As Angel slammed the door behind us as we entered the room (Which looked utterly unremarkable, apart from the frozen clocks scattered about the place), I was already on the bed, looking up at him.

"How's it feel to have lost Angelus?" I asked, as he lay down beside me.

"Odd," he replied, as the two of us began to kiss again. "But in a good way," he added, as we pulled each other's coats off.

A few seconds later, we were both naked and under the covers and kissing harder and more passionately ... oh God... Angel was amazing... I could die in his arms ... oh God ... oh God... I love him so much... Angel...

*****

A few hours later, we were awakened by a knocking on the door. On the other side, I heard Willow's voice.

"Buffy? Um, look, is everything OK in there, or do I need to re- cast a curse?"

I looked down beside me. Angel was sleeping there, looking as peaceful as I'd ever seen him.

"It's good, Will," I called back.

"Great!" Willow said. Then I heard another voice from outside; Lorne's.

"So, when you say 'good', I guess I can safely assume it's not good for us to come in?"

"Got that right, Lorne," I smiled, as I gently kissed Angel's lips again.

"Ah," a third voice said; Fred's. "Well, we'll just leave you alone now, huh?"

"If you don't mind?" I asked.

As I heard them walking away, Angel woke up and looked at me. "So, it worked?" he asked me, smiling.

"It worked," I smiled back at him. "So, what do we do now?"

"Well, I was thinking of inviting you and the rest of the gang to join the group we've got over here," Angel replied, smiling at me.

"Um, would that involve working for you?" I asked. "Just, well, I'm really not sure I could deal with my boyfriend being my boss."

"Oh, no worries about that," Angel smiled back at me. "I recently had the command structure rearranged so that everyone on the senior staff is equal in status position. Nobody's inferior to anybody else; the only time anybody's in full command is when somebody's issuing a battle plan."

"Perfect," I smiled, as I kissed him again. Kissing him really was great fun. Then, a thought occurred to me. "I don't need to know anything about law, right?"

"Nope," he replied, smiling. "We're only lawyers in name. What we do with the office is up to us."

"Great," I smiled, as I snuggled up against him. Finally, everything was all right with the world.