Title: Fly Away
Rating: R for language
Summary: Rewrite of The Wish (btvs s3) canon up until the fight in the factory. Written for dawnm for the Back to High School Ficathon. Requirements at the end.
Distribution: Want take have, just tell me first.
Feedback: I'd love some.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never mine pout

Chapter One

-Buffy-

I'd die, and that's a real possibility, before I'd tell them this but I've never seen this many vamps in one place. I'm not even going to hazard a guess about how many there are. I don't have the time. Everything has boiled down to punches, kicks and stakes. I'm detached though. I always am in a fight. It's like my body goes into slayer mode and my mind takes this vacation somewhere else. I learned how to do it three years ago. It seems longer then that but the lectures were easier to sit through, easier to hear if I wasn't really there. A lot of things are like that.

I'm kind of impressed with by the wanna be slayer gang here. And that's another thing I'll die before admitting to them. I think we lost the girl, I didn't catch her name and the guy, Larry, earlier to some of the vamps. I just hope we don't have to deal with them rising. I'm gonna recommend they incinerate the whole place if we get out of this alive.

The red headed guy they call Oz, the short one, dude is like my size only without slayer skills and he's kicking some ass. He managed to dust the red head vamp that seemed to be a favorite of this Master. And the old guy, the watcher, Jeeves, let's just say it's nice to see a watcher getting off his white English ass and do something for a change. I'm so used to the asshat Richard in Cleveland it's surprising to see a watcher do anything besides watch and criticize.

Then there's the fucked up vamp. I don't know what his damage is. He's weak but his rage seems to make up for it. He's getting some payback out here and helping our cause so for now no stakey stakey. Ouch, shit, way to not duck, Buffy. Let's try a little more with the focus a little less with the internal ramble.

I swing my legs up from my position flat on my back and wrap them around a vamp's neck. I flip him to the floor behind me and leap to my feet, slamming a stake through his heart. With a shrug I pick up the two by two he hit me with. It's always a nice distraction to the vamps when you hit them in the head with something hard and let's face it, in this crowd I'll take any distraction I can get.

Out of the corner of my eye I see the Master turning tail and running. I laugh bitterly and start shoving through a mass of panicked humans and equally panicked vamps. I'm almost to the door the Master went through when a hand grabs my wrist. I twist on my heel and a stake stops centimeters from Jeeves' heart.

"Buffy, let him go. Look around you" he says.

I glance around the factory. It looks like chaos on the surface and it is but the vamps are shoving the people around forming a wall between them and Oz and the fucked up vamp. They're following their Master's lead and getting the hell out of Dodge. I jerk my arm and Jeeves holds on tight. I'm impressed the old guy has some strength. Not that I couldn't put him down with a flick of my wrist but I give him props for trying.

"Let me go. Did you call me down here to scare the vamps or to kill them?" I say.

"Buffy, you may be able to continue with the battle but Oz, myself and the other fellow are weary. We've lost two friends to this and we need to fall back and regroup. The Master has lost a large portion of his following. He'll stay under the radar for a few days at least" Jeeves reasons.

I jerk my arm away from him with ease. "Doesn't matter now. You've wasted so much of my time I'll never catch him" I say whirling on my heel. I pause and glance around at the damage we've done. There are a lot of bodies but there's more dust.

Jeeves pushes past me and starts checking the pulse on some of the bodies. I watch as Oz does the same. The fucked up vamp just kind of cowers in the corner and watches me. It's creepy.

"I've got a girl who's alive!" Jeeves shouts out.

Hip hip hurrah for you, I wanna say. I don't because rude much. Oz scurries over and feels for the girl's pulse. He brightens noticeably at the idea of finding anyone alive in this massacre. Jeeves picks the girl up.

"We've got to get her to the hospital quickly" he says.

"You coming?" Oz asks.

"Nah, I'm more with the dusting then I am with the life saving. I'm going to head back to Jeeves' place, wash some of this grime off, but hey props to you on the slaying. It was a good job taking down the red- head. I'm pretty sure she was the second in command," I say.

Oz gets this odd look on his face that I can't place. He nods slightly. "She was my girlfriend, before..." he trails off.

Jeeves clears his throat and interrupts the stiff silence. "Take the young man over there with you. Make yourself at home. I have extra clothing in the bureau and sandwich things in the icebox" he says.

I start to say something about Jeeves really not wanting to give a vampire an invitation to "make himself at home" but I stop. It's not like I can't take blood sucking boy if I have too. He's a weak as a new born kitten.

I start out of the factory and Vamp boy follows behind me. Joy.

"What do you want?" I stop and snap at him.

"I don't really think they're gonna want me around when they find out what I am" he says.
"What makes you think I do?" I snap and start walking again.

He shrugs and falls back behind me. I steel myself against feel pity for him. He's a monster for Christ's sake. I don't feel pity for monsters, I kill them. It's easy to forget he's a demon though when he looks at me with those eyes. As far as eyes go, his are good ones to have, deep, dark brown and haunted. I've never seen anyone with such haunted eyes. Okay, Buffy, demons remember not date material. Of course with the kind of date material I pick, he might better. Hell if the date sucks, maybe not the best word to use with a vampire in question, at least I can kill him.

"I don't exactly have anywhere else to go" he says.

"Oh come on isn't there a moldy crypt in need of a new occupant" I say.

"I had an apartment when I first came here. I had art and sketches and furniture. I'm sure it's all gone now" he says almost wistfully.

I think I'm beginning to get the picture now.

"Yeah, you die and the landlord tends to clear things out" I say.

"I didn't die here. They didn't turn me" he says.

Color me surprised. I figured any vamp going through the abuse it looked like he had been going through was a fledgling.

"So what happened in there? You were their bottom and you got tired of it? Decided the tops had it better?" I say. I stop and turn, waiting for him to catch up to me. If we're going to have a conversation, I like not having to direct it behind my shoulder.

The vamp cocks an eyebrow at me. "You know about S&M?"

"Yeah, you got a problem with that?" I curl my lip at him and cross my arms defiantly over my chest.

He drops back into submissive mode. I guess it's something he learned during the whole caged up thing. "No, I'm just surprised. And I wasn't a bottom. That indicates willingness and I fought against everything they did to me, especially at first"

The last is said in such a whisper that I almost don't catch it. I nod and we keep walking.

"So you're out, free. Wanna tell me why you haven't split, tried to find a fresh meal? I don't think your stupid enough to try and make a meal out of me" I say.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you but I don't bite, not anymore" he says.

I snort. "Yeah right, you're all reformed now. I've met a lot of vamps since becoming the slayer. I've killed a lot more. I've never met one that's reformed" I say.

"I'm the only one" he says.

"And what fucking miracle reformed you?" I ask.

We're in front of Jeeves' apartment. I hesitate and dig out the key that Giles gave me earlier. I glance at blood sucking boy and shrug. If Jeeves' invitation of "Make yourself at home" was enough for him to come in I'll deal with him if he does try to attack anyone. I unlock the door and step inside. I glance behind me.

Fucked up vamp hesitates on the threshold and then steps inside. He lets out an unnecessary breath, almost like he's relieved.

"What do I call you? Cuz in my head your Fucked up Vamp and somehow I think maybe I shouldn't call you that out loud" I say.

"Angel, my name is Angel" he says.



-Angel-

She's in the shower right now and I'm sitting in Giles' apartment looking around and being supremely uncomfortable. My stomach rumbles, reminding me how hungry I am but I'm used to dealing with the hunger. I haven't been properly fed since the Master caught me two and a half years ago. At first the hunger was one of the hardest things to deal with but I found out Willow enjoyed it when I gave in to my primal instincts and let it drive me crazy. So little by little I learned how to deal with it. I don't like it but I can go for days, sometimes even weeks without blood. Willow's tested my limits, trust me.

I listen to the water run in the shower. I can hear when she's under the spray because it sounds different pounding on her body then it does on the tile. I remember seeing her sitting on the steps of her high school in Los Angeles. I don't know what happened. I don't how she went from that innocent, little girl to the hardened, cynical woman she is today. Somehow I know this isn't the way it's supposed to be. She's not the person she's supposed to be and neither am I.

She doesn't take long in the shower. She emerges dressed in a pair of sweats and a tank top. Her wet hair is in its thick braid and I remember how it looked loose shining golden to rival the sun. To be honest, that one little memory of her is what kept me sane, or as much as I am, during these two years. I knew looking at her that day that she was my destiny. Now, I don't know.

"You know, you don't look so good" she comments.

"Yeah, two and a half years of torture will do that to you" I say dryly.

She just nods and goes to rummage in the fridge. She comes back in the living room with a sandwich. She glances at the couch and the two chairs and shrugs. She sits down on the opposite end of the couch. At least she didn't choose the chair completely away from me. She probably figures she's got a better angle on staking me from the couch. She's guarded and stiff. She's got a stake stuck at the small of her back in the waistband of her sweats. Not quite ready to believe I don't bite yet. And I don't blame her. She shouldn't trust me, no one should.

I'm almost grateful when Giles and Oz interrupt the silence that is much too awkward.

"Oh, Buffy, glad to see you made it back safely and you made yourself at home" Giles says.

"Yeah, it's homey. Did you incinerate the factory?" she asks.

"No we were rather afraid it would catch some of the other nearby buildings on fire. We did however place an anonymous call to the morgue" Giles says.

"Oh this is good. We don't know how many of those people they turned. I wasn't paying attention to the people they were attacking, were you? You might have just left the Master an entire army to rise. This is great. Tomorrow evening I'm going to have a morgue to clean out" Buffy says. Disgust fills her voice. She gets up, shaking her head. I can hear her mutter under her breath.

"Can these people get any stupider?"

Most likely, Giles and Oz can't hear her.

"Yes, well, we got the girl to the hospital on time. The doctor believes she will be just fine in a day or two. In any case, I'm going to bed. It has been a long night and in the morning I will have to call Larry and Nancy's parents in the morning and explain to them why their children are dead" Giles voice cracks just slightly as he says this. He clears his throat.

"Buffy there is an extra bedroom upstairs. And you, I didn't catch your name" Giles says.

"Angel," I say.

"Angel, you may sleep on the couch" he says.

"Oh, no that's alright. I've got somewhere to go. Thank you though" I say. I'm not ready to explain myself yet and I can't risk the danger of open windows.

"Very well then and thank you for your help, Angel. Our losses would have been much greater without your assistance" Giles says.

It makes me feel guilty. I'm a vampire, not worthy of the appreciation I'm getting and if he knew what I was, it's not likely he'd be as grateful. I lower my gaze and nod. "You're welcome" I whisper.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for this watcher to figure out what I am, who I am and give Buffy the order to kill me and she'd do it. The Buffy I saw sitting on the steps in the sunshine, she might have argued. Not now, she's been molded in submission much the same way I have. We just reflect it differently.

Giles walks up the stairs to where I presume his bedroom is. Oz nods at us and walks out of the living room. That leaves Buffy and I staring at each other across the room.

"I'm going to go" I say.

"Where will you stay?" She asks.

It feels like my heart leaps in my chest. I forgot what being around her feels like, almost like being alive. I swallow hard and shrug. "Like you said, moldy old crypt somewhere" I say.

She nods and the heart that leapt falls. I took curiosity and turned it into caring. I was wrong she doesn't care. She's not the girl I saw in the sunshine and somehow that's crushing, like finding out Father Christmas doesn't exist. The dream I held for two and a half years was just that, a dream and in its place is this cynical, nonchalant, hard woman.

-Buffy-

I couldn't sleep. Jeeves is sawing logs in the house and I'm sitting out here in the courtyard watching stars that I can't see through the smog in Cleveland. It's kind of nice. I sit cross legged on the paving stones by the fountain and bend at the waist, resting my forehead on the cool stone. I blow my breath out slowly. I'm still keyed up from earlier tonight. I can't explain it. Yeah I always get itchy after a fight but I generally wind down after a shower. This-I don't know it's different. There's this spot at the base of my spine that tingles and pulls at something deep inside of me

In any case I can't sleep so I'm out here doing who the hell knows what. Honestly, I'm thinking about the fucked up vampire, Angel. What kind of fucked up name for a vamp is that? And what's his story? I mean okay maybe he was oppressed or being punished or whatever by this master but he had a free for all buffet with the humans running around like chickens with their heads cut off. He never touched them. In fact he even defended them. And then all that crap he said about being reformed. Vampires don't reform. They're demons shoved inside corpses, evil demons. I know all this. It's been drilled into my head since I was fifteen years old. So why the hell didn't I stake this guy?

The council is pretty clear on how things work, slayer meet vampire, dead vampire. Not much room for error there. And yet there's a vampire walking around tonight probably murdering people because of me. I shove up from the cool stone paving and land nimbly on the balls of my feet. I jog out of the courtyard intent on finding the vamp I let get away. I came here to stop the body count, not increase it.

The weirdness I've been feeling all night stays with me as I walk down the street and turn into the park. I stop near the playground, tired of the game we're playing.

"Alright, whoever you are, I'm tired and I really don't have time for this. Show yourself" I say to the empty night air.

Why doesn't it surprise me when he steps out of the shadows? I bow my head and pinch the bridge of my nose.

"Why were you following me?" I ask.

He shrugs, sticking, for the most part to the deep shadows of the trees. "It's a long story and I'm not really sure your patient enough to hear it without staking me."

"Oh for God's sake, I could have staked you a dozen times without breaking a sweat in Jeeves' apartment" I say.

"His name is Giles" Angel says.

"Yeah, whatever" I roll my shoulders and crack my neck carelessly. That tingly tugging feeling is getting stronger.

"He's-he was supposed to be important to you" Angel says.

I arch an eyebrow at him. "You know I think whatever they did to you in that cage has driven you sort of insane."

"No, it's just-I know what was supposed to happen. He told me what was going to happen and then something went wrong, something changed and you never came" Angel says.

Ok, so at least I know what the bullshit he was spouting about being reformed was all about. He's insane. I know sustained torture can drive a human insane but I thought vamps got off on it. I mean pain, sex, blood, those are supposed to be the things they live for.

"Look, Vamp boy, I don't know what the hell you're talking about but the more you talk the less I believe. I'm going to give you a five second head start because truthfully, shape your in you won't even be enough to work off this itch I've got" I say.

"Give me a chance to explain myself, then if you want to stake me I'll play whatever game you want" Angel says.

Well it beats sitting in Jeeves' living room listening to him snore all night. I walk over and sit on one of the swings. Angel watches me wearily from the shadows. He steps from the trees and begins to pace in front of the merry go round.

"You asked me earlier what miracle reformed me. It wasn't a miracle, it was an atrocity, the final atrocity in a string of so many. I fed on a girl about your age one night. She was a favorite of her clan, the gypsies. When they found out-as payment for my sins they cursed me with my soul" Angel says.

"I thought gypsies were more vengeful then that. I would have gone with a sharp stake through the heart" I say.

Angel shakes his head. "When you become a vampire the demon takes your body, but your soul it goes somewhere else leaving you free to kill, maim and torture with a song in your heart, no conscience, no guilt. It's an easy way to live. You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done and care." He catches and holds my eyes for just a moment when he says that and I begin to suspect the haunted look in his eyes has nothing to do with whatever torture he endured in that cage.

I swallow hard. "There are a lot of people with souls walking around doing evil things" I say.

Angel nods. "People have their own kind of monster, maybe that's why it's so hard to believe in vampires and demons because they still haven't dealt with the human monsters. And yes people with souls do horrible, awful things to each other. It all depends on the soul. I wasn't a good man when I was human but I was a kind man. I wasn't evil. I couldn't have done the things I did as a vampire. It's not in my soul to do that."

I press my fingers to my temples and sit there swaying gently back and forth trying to process what this vampire is telling me.

"Why doesn't the council have any records of this?" I ask.

"When I got my soul I stopped killing, I stopped feeding on humans. I guess I dropped off their map. They have no interest in a vampire that doesn't act like a vampire" he says.

"So that's it, boom, bang you get a spanking new soul and all the sudden you switch teams?" I ask. I launch myself up from the swing and Angel skitters back into the shadows, completely hidden in the dark.

"Oh for God's sake, did I mention I could have staked you at least a dozen times already? You know whatever. I really don't need this shit. I'm just passing through, trying to kill a master vamp, do Sunnydale a favor and get the fuck back to Cleveland where I belong" I say.

I whirl on my heel and stalk off. As I do I swear I hear Angel whisper "Except that you don't." Whatever, I keep walking. This is getting too weird, even for me. Somehow I know Angel isn't following me this time. He's still standing in the shadows and the tingling tugging feeling fades the further I get away from him.

-Angel-

I watch her walk away from the shadows and the feeling of almost being alive fades the further she gets from me. I can't stand it. It's like dying all over again so I follow her back to Giles' house at a very safe distance. My stomach rumbles again and I'm reminded that I'm either going to have to go back on rats soon or come up with some means of buying blood from the butcher shop here in town.

I'm standing outside her open window. I close my eyes and listen to the sound of her breathing, the rush of her blood, the pound of her heartbeat. Her heartbeat is much too loud, too strong, for someone her size.

"Back to stalking her, I see" a voice says.

My eyes snap open, expecting to see the Master or one of his minions. I'm surprised when I find it's the badly dressed demon that set me on this path in the first place.

"Whistler, I'd say it's good to see you again but it's not" I say.

"You're looking worse for the wear there" Whistler says.

I cringe at his observation. I'm sure he's right and I can only imagine how Buffy must see me. "What happened? She was supposed to be here and I came and waited. She never showed up" I whisper.

"We didn't see it coming. I don't know happened but she went to the Cleveland Hellmouth instead" Whistler says.

"And I was left here to play Puppy to the vamps" I say.

"Sorry 'bout that, man, really" Whistler says.

"So what now? Are you sending me somewhere else?" I ask.

"No, we're trying to make this right, pulling all the strings we can. Some strings just don't wanna be pulled. Powers sent me. Wanted you to have this" Whistler says handing me a fat manila envelope.

I quirk an eyebrow at him and take it warily.

"Go ahead and open it, s'not gonna bite" Whistler says.

I open the envelope carefully and pull out a thick wad of cash, and a set of keys.

"You've still got an apartment. All of your things are still in it. We manipulated a few things, figured we owed you that much" Whistler says.

I nod and swallow hard. "Thanks" I force myself to say but Whistler is gone and in his wake he leaves the smell of cheap scotch and cheaper cologne.

It's getting close to dawn when I finally leave her window. I stop by the butcher on the way back to my old apartment and get enough blood for a couple of days. I'm almost surprised when the keys to the apartment work. I keep expecting the rug to be pulled out from under me.

The apartment is exactly the way I left it, albeit a bit dustier. It doesn't matter. I'll have several hours of brilliant sunlight to clean it. I glug one large plastic container of blood while the other is warming in the microwave it takes the edge off the hunger gnawing at me. I drink the second container a bit slower. When I'm finished I poke around a bit. Gratitude washes over me when I realize the water is still on and it's hot.

I strip off the ragged clothing I'm wearing and toss it in the trash. I turn the water as hot as it will go and wait until it steams up the small bathroom. I step under the pounding, scalding spray and let it sluice over my head and body. I watch as the dirty water swirls down the drain. I unwrap a new bar of unscented Ivory soap and breathe in the smell of it. Yes unscented has a smell, it's just not strong enough for humans to detect. I scrub my hair three times with shampoo before it feels clean and then I stand under the shower until the water runs cold.

I pull black sweats and a white wife beater out of the chest of drawers and put them on. My sculpture is still in its glass case, my sketches are still framed on the walls. I close my eyes against it all and the last two years overtake me. I crumple on the floor. Tears clench my throat tight and flood my eyes, washing down my cheeks. She's here. She finally came.

It's broad daylight outside. I can smell it. I'm tossing and turning in a bed that's too soft. The blankets keep getting twisted around my legs and they feel heavy. I finally give up and get out of bed. I lay down on the rug near the couch curled into a ball. It's not long before I'm sound asleep. It doesn't surprise when she haunts my dreams. She has for as long as I can remember, even before I saw her. I don't know how or why except that Whistler was right so long ago. She is my destiny.