DISCLAIMER: Buffy and Angel etc. belong to Joss, I wish they were mine!
DISTRIBUTION: My site Wtss. Or please ask!
TIMELINE: 5 years post Not Fade Away
SUMMARY: Six years after Buffy's final battle, Angel finds her in an institution in L.A after thinking her dead for two years. Frightened and alone, the slayer is but a fraction of the girl she used to be, and can only be spoken to through dreams. With no one left to turn to, and no grip on reality, will Angel be able to come to her rescue, or will he lose her yet again?
DEDICATION: To Jennie... Happy Birthday for eleven days ago sweetie... or you can just pretend that today is your birthday, so that means I'm not late
AN: Okay this is a little out there, but I had to write it. It is very angsty, so be warned.
AN2: So I was going to wait until I completed the fic before posting it, but I came to realize I suck at doing that. Pls don't be mad
AN3: / denotes dialogue taken from the show, and italics denote flashbacks
FEEDBACK: Because it's so crazy and out there, I NEED it, so please?
White walls. They were her safe haven, her home. The feel of the cool, rough, cement under the palms of her hands made her feel protected, whole. Like she was something, like she was someone. The mere thought of something cold was familiar in her world, a world where nothing was the same.
There was no explanation. No reason why something cold against her warm skin felt like a missing piece to her splintered soul. She wouldn't even try to find the answers. What was the point when she didn't even understand who she was herself?
She used to be the girl that everyone depended on. So strong, sweet, funny and beautiful. But now, only those that knew and loved her would be able to see that girl, that slayer. But those loved ones were all gone. Dead, and in the cruellest way imaginable.
But she no longer understood cruel, she was beyond that. After everything she'd seen, experienced, touched, tasted, and cried for... she finally fell.
A shadow of her former self, Jane Doe was one of the most difficult patients the doctors in the institution had ever dealt with. She would barely eat, wouldn't listen, wouldn't do anything other than shout poorly constructed sentences in which to everyone around her, added up to nothing.
Her waken hours were spent dealing with each minute as though it lasted an eternity. Pounding her fists against the wall, until it was stained with her crimson blood. The same cool wall that bore some kind of a resemblance to a normalcy she'd long forgotten.
Jane would then beg them to kill the demons. To help her rid the world of vampires. That was the only thing they could distinguish, well that and what the doctors thought were names being shouted at random. The worst thing was, she slept through the day, and was always awake at night. Which in turn made their job so much more difficult.
Early mornings on every single day, as dawn approached, and the golden rays of the sun peaked through the window near the ceiling, yet did a poor job of providing her room with any real light, everything she had gotten her hands on would be torn to shreds. Then after she'd battled her inner demons for the day, Jane would collapse into a fit of tears, unable to comprehend the pain.
Once she had cried herself beyond the point of exhaustion, Jane would find her way over to her bare mattress and lay there. Curling up into a ball, and rocking herself to sleep.
When she was lost in her dreams the doctors saw a different girl. One that was silent, unaffected by the darkness that ruled her world when she was awake. One thing they noted was that she was content, truly happy even, as she was talking to an angel.
No one visited, no one knew her to care. Well that was at least until the nurses discovery that day.
As the blonde slept, the grey haired nurse conversed with the doctors about a returned phone call. One that she had originally placed in search of any remaining family about three months ago when the slayer had first been brought to their institution.
When she spoke to the man she only knew as Angel, she never told him the real way she had come across his number, that it was in the worn book the police had found on her. No, she told him that she was referred to his agency as they dealt with the... paranormal was the way she had put it.
Margaret the nurse knew that there was something paranormal about her, the girl that to this day, had no name. She was strong, quick, and if you pushed her too far, would break your limbs, possibly even your neck.
The nurse never advised Angel of that though, she couldn't scare him away without finding out why this blonde was so strong. Instead she let him believe that Jane was just a little confused.
Angel was pretty sure that she wouldn't be too pleased about him doing this. Going in and trying to rescue another slayer that had most likely suffered the same kind of torment that Dana had.
But then again it was his city, and there was no way that Buffy could stop him. Even if he wanted her to.
It bugged him more than he thought possible that Buffy hadn't trusted him, because really what was so bad about what he'd done? So he'd taken over Wolfram and Hart, he had after all defeated them in the end. He wasn't evil, why couldn't she have seen that?
Why couldn't he have found a way to show her that they hadn't turned him? Why didn't he do something other than let her leave him with a promise of someday? Why did he find out about her death from Spike of all people?
They were questions he asked himself all the time, and they really got him no where. Nothing would bring her back. He'd tried and didn't succeed, and still to this day he hadn't managed to find a way to put it behind him.
When Darkness crept over the sky Angel made the drive over to the institution.
He hated places like this. It was so depressing that people had lost their grip on reality so much so that it came to the point of them having to be locked up, in what he could only describe as a cold and empty cell. Living with nothing but their own guilt and remorse over what they could never truly understand.
But most of the time, it wasn't their fault; Angel knew that first hand, Drusilla being the example. The things he had done to her, driven her to the point of complete madness, and for what? His own amusement.
Shaking the thoughts away, reminding himself that it wasn't him, it was Angelus. He continued his walk down the hospitals halls, if that's what it was, a hospital. Either way they always reminded him of Buffy, of how much she hated them.
Without warning something passed through him, almost knocking him off his feet, that all too familiar tingle at the base of his spine. Oh no it wasn't, there was no way, so he just needed to put her behind him once and for all, and forget.
Forget just like she had forgotten him before she died.
Walking up to the reception, he tapped the small bell that sat in the center of the marble counter, and waited. All the while pushing away thoughts of a blonde that had driven him to the point of complete madness from forbidden love alone. That's when Angel wondered, why was it that he wasn't the one that was locked up in one of those cold and empty cells himself?
The way he had loved her, had sent him crazy time and time again. And yet there he was, a visitor, instead of an in-patient.
They walked slowly towards her room. Margaret telling him the tale of this slayer, that they weren't exactly sure what it was that had happened to her, only that everything that came out of her mouth, made no sense at all.
"No, no, kill... all dead." The screams had already started for the night, and Angel felt his heart go out to the girl. Her call was so primal, like she was meant to stop something, or save someone. As though something had stood in her way and now she was paying for it. If only he knew what and who.
When the nurse opened the door Angel stepped inside. He took note of the fact that the lights had been switched off, and the room was almost pitch black. Had it not been for the sliver of moonlight streaming through the small window that offered them a limited view of a few glistening stars, it would have been hard for anyone to navigate their way through the room. Anyone but Angel. Or any other demon with the bonus enhanced vision working on their side.
"She doesn't like the light." Margaret said as she noticed Angel looking up towards the ceiling.
As that didn't seem to be a problem for the vampire, he ventured in a little further, stopping only when he'd reached the center of the large square room. Angel could make out a small blonde huddled into a ball in one of its corners. Her hair covering her face, and her arms wrapped tightly around her legs, which were pulled up and secured against her chest.
He took a few steps closer, and tried to distinguish her ramblings. "Cold, cold, BURN. Kill her; kill them all, dead, dead, DEAD!" She continued to chant, jerking back into the corner each time she felt it. That weird tingle at the base of her spine, the confused slayer had no idea what it meant. Nor did she want to. Whenever she felt something, it was always bad, and she had to attack. Attack and kill, wasn't that what she'd been taught?
She thought as much, but sometimes her memory seemed to have a sick obsession with playing tricks on her.
The frightened slayer didn't realize that with each step Angel took to get closer to her, she was pulling away; unaware of what was going on.
"What's her name?" He whispered to Margaret.
"Jane Doe." Margaret replied "Not real original, but this girl's a mystery." She said as she took a few steps back, waiting for the small yet so strong blonde to lunge at them. Margaret had been a victim of her attacks before, and that was her reason alone for closing the door behind her as she stepped out leaving Angel alone with her. Being the private investigator that he was, Margaret was certain he would be able to defend himself.
"Jane." Angel whispered, as he crouched down beside her. He reached out placing his hand on her elbow, trying to gently unravel it from around her legs so that he could see her face.
"No, no, name, no, no... GO AWAY! Fire, burn, KILL. Killed them... dead, all dead." She sobbed burying her head deeper, afraid to look up. What if it was another one of those evil illusions, where she swore till she was blue in the face that he was there, he who could not be named? Her stupid sick memory wasn't so good anymore, and she couldn't put the pieces together. In fact even thinking seemed an effort. When things wouldn't make sense, she would begin pounding her fists against her brow, unable to contain her frustration. Much like she was now.
Angel paused a moment, waiting for her to calm herself again.
There was something about her, something so familiar, and something that for no reason at all; Angel just couldn't put his finger on. Her voice, why was it that when she spoke, even though it was in hysterics, it made him feel so... he didn't know, but he could have sworn it sounded just like...
"Daw... dead, all... all dead. I killed, me, me, me... bad slayer." She continued to mumble, unable to even say her sister's name, or was it that she had forgotten that as well?
"Who, who is dead Jane?" He asked, wanting to know what it was about her voice, a second ago he could have sworn that... no he couldn't go there, wouldn't, Buffy was dead, not here, not like this. Even though he wasn't sure which he'd prefer. Alive yet suffering like this, or peaceful in heaven, where she deserved to be. He knew instantly which scenario he preferred "No Buffy's dead." He didn't even realize he'd said it aloud, until he heard her reaction.
"Name, name, Buff, name... dead." She said pulling her face up and out of its hiding place between her knees.
That was it. The icy ring that had circled his heart the day he'd heard of her untimely death suddenly tightened. So much so that he felt his heart explode into a million little pieces. Frozen solid, unable to will himself to move, Angel couldn't even think straight.
Seconds later when the shock wore off, the realization finally set in and he quickly jerked his hand away. "No, you're dead, you're dead." He kept repeating as his head shook from side to side. How could this be? How could Buffy be right there? And like that, in the state that she was. This wasn't real, this wasn't happening.
"Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead..." Buffy continued until she broke out into uncontrollable sobs.
Angel now kneeling on the floor beside her, gently reached out again, and gingerly glided his outstretched fingers across her cheek. He didn't even bother to pull away when she flinched because he had to know what this was; he had to make sure it was real, that she was real.
When he made contact the realization hit, and a single tear found its escape, gliding down his pale cheek. "Buffy." He choked out. She was really there, really alive, and really sick.
Something suddenly struck her. Familiarity or fear, neither could be determined. It was the way he said her name that must have triggered something within her, because the blonde snapped her head straight up to his, finding herself staring into his dark eyes. "NO! DEAD!" She howled, and when Angel reached out to comfort her, she pushed him away, knocking him flat on his back from the one blow alone.
She scrambled to her feet, her hands and knees slipping on the marble floor tiles as she did. Her bruised palms skimmed over the rough cement rendered walls as Buffy searched the room for an escape. But there was nothing, and in there, she also had nothing to defend herself with. No stake, no holy water, no weapons that had they been presented to her, instinct would have prevailed, and she would know exactly how to use them.
Banging her fists against the wall she started screaming, her first tantrum as the doctors would say, for the night. "Vampire, kill, kill vampire, kill." she shouted over and over until two men in white coats burst through the door and flicked the light switch on. Charging into the room, they tried to get a hold of her to sedate her. "No, No, vampire, kill." She spat squinting from the harsh lights above, as she struggled for release while they laid her down on her bed.
"No, no." Buffy wailed as she kicked in all directions, missing the men each time.
Margaret then walked in, after having witnessed the entire display from the monitor in the nurse's quarters. With a syringe in hand she headed straight for Buffy.
"What are you doing?" Angel asked, every part of his body telling him to pull the two men away from Buffy and break their necks for harming her.
"She needs to be sedated; this will knock her out for about an hour." She said as she stabbed the needle into Buffy's upper arm, the one that one of the men had a firm grip of.
"Don't." Angel demanded, but it was too late, the needle was already in, the sedative now flowing through her body, and her eyelids slowly fluttering closed.
"She'll be up in another hour; we need to give her this one to wear her out, so she's not too rambunctious for the night." She laughed, and then watched as he slowly approached Buffy on the bed.
Once the rumble of the vampire's growl reached the two men's ears, they moved out of his way, and Angel gently eased himself down on the bed beside her. He didn't touch her for a moment, scared of disturbing her when she looked so peaceful. Instead he just watched, amazed that she was alive, and deeply saddened that she was here, in the institution, the only thing resembling her former self... her undeniable beauty.