Disclaimer: Joss owns it all… damn him.
I am so, so, so, so, so, SO sorry for taking so long to post this last chapter. I haven't had access to my computer for the past weekbecause of work and my birthdayso i couldn't put it up. I am so sorry.
Here it is; the final chapter.
Angel turned to where Jack was still sitting, seemingly frozen.
Jack stood, looking around wildly for a way out. In the confusion, no one noticed Lilah slipping out a side door, a disappointed look crossing her face. Angel ran forward and leapt up to the floor where Jack was. He punched him hard in the face, then snapped the bracelet he'd taken of his arm around Jack's wrist. Jack's eyes widened and he began to shake his head wildly, denying what was happening.
Buffy tried to watch what Angel was doing but was distracted as some demons decided that now that they were free, they could take down the Slayer. She took a blow to the back and almost collapsed, still worn out from her tussle with Angel. She reared up and kicked an unfortunate demon between the legs then ran to the wall and picked a good sized sword. She swang it warningly and advanced on the still downed demon. She decapitated it and moved onto the next, slicing it open with a flick of her wrist.
There was a large growl from the corner as the demons began to fight amongst each other and Buffy looked up in time to see Wesley and Cordelia coming into the ring from the direction of the holding area. So that's how Trepkos got a hold of the key. Go Wes with the knowledge. Both held weapons and were heading towards Angel slowly, cutting down demons as they went. Against her will, Buffy was impressed. Wesley had come a long way from the girly watcher she knew before and Cordelia had also changed dramatically. Granted, Buffy knew this already, Angel had told her, but it was another thing to see it for herself.
The fight was over fairly quickly after that. Buffy took a few more hits and killed a few more demons before the rest retreated and left the ring, going through the front door and out into the night. She frowned a little but remembered most of them were peaceful and were only going home to their families. The one who weren't, littered the floor around her.
She could still hear the sounds of fighting and glanced up in time to see Angel punch Jack in the face, breaking his nose. Blood spurted everywhere and Jack clutched it unable to fight off Angel as he lifted him into the air and threw him over the side of the barrier and into the ring. Jack began to scream and Buffy realised with a shock, why. He wore the bracelet. As he fell past the red line, his body burst into ash, rather like a vampire and Angel and Buffy watched with a mixed set of emotions. At least Angel didn't kill him directly, she thought.
She looked at the scattered ashes for a few moment before looking back up to Angel who was staring at her, trying to gauge her reaction. She gave him a small smile and a nod of understanding. She'd have killed him too if he'd done anything to Angel. He nodded back to her and jumped down from the above level. He walked over to her, ignoring Cordelia and Wesley. Angel missed, but Buffy didn't, Cordelia's put out look and she decided Cordelia needed to be reminded of who Angel's heart belonged to.
Angel came to stand before her and looked into her eyes and Buffy could see a small amount of shame and a large amount of satisfaction in the chocolate orbs. He was ashamed of what he did, but didn't regret it. She reached up and caressed his face lightly. 'Let's get out of here,' she said softly and he nodded. He reached for her hand and drew it to his lips, kissing her palm lightly, then pulled her closer. He pushed a piece of hair from her face and looped it behind her ear.
Smiling slightly, he lowered his head and grazed her lips with his, then rested his forehead on hers, eyes closed. The world disappeared for a few blessed moments and Buffy wanted to stay where she was, held safely in Angel's arms, for the rest of her life. She reached up and cradled the back of his head her hand tangling in the soft strands of hair. She smiled and pulled away.
'Come on, big boy, we gotta go,' she said playfully, taking his hand and guiding him towards an impatient Cordy and a smiling Wesley.
'Is everything okay?' Wesley asked as they approached. Buffy glanced at Angel then back at Wesley.
'Everything's peachy,' she drawled and remembered the key. She stepped forward and punched Wesley playfully in the shoulder, laughing when he flinched. 'Nice going with the key, Wes. At least someone around here uses a brain.'
Angel and Cordy both protested and Buffy cut them off. 'Angel, you ended up here, need I say more? Cordy, well, what can I say about you? Thanks for having enough brains to grab the spare bracelet when Jack wasn't looking.' Buffy hadn't forgotten about the argument about Cordelia's place in Angel's life. She winced. They were gonna need to have a big talk after this.
'Thanks Cordy, for doing whatever it is you do and helping to get us out of this. I appreciate it,' Buffy finished truthfully, deciding to give Cordy that small concession. After all she did just help save their lives.
The bitching could be put on hold for another day.
Buffy stepped out of the shower at Angel's place and wrapped the enormous towel around her wet form, tightly tucking the end in. Wiping away the condensation which had fogged the mirror, she touched the lip Angel had spilt when he'd backhanded her. It was already healing nicely. I deserved it anyway, she thought. I shouldn't have started on him like that. I couldn't seem to help it. All her old issues seemed to come out as she was fighting him and they seemed to take over.
Exiting the bathroom she found some clothes lying on the bed along with a note in Angel's beautiful flowing handwriting.
I found these in amongst my things when I first came to L.A.
Thought you might like to wear them home. They should still fit.
She put down the note and quickly dressed, surprised her old clothes did indeed still fit. Leaving the room, she heard him moving around somewhere in the apartment and followed the sounds to his kitchen. He was cooking something and she watched entranced as he moved effortlessly.
Angel was cooking Buffy something to eat when he sensed her behind him. He turned and saw her standing in the doorway, dressed in the clothes he had left for her. He smiled at her and motioned her to a chair around the table. He placed some French toast in front of her. 'Eat,' he ordered and relaxed when she picked up her knife and fork and began to tuck into the food with gusto. He sat down across from her, content to watch her eat.
She raised her eyebrows and he smiled and shrugged. He liked watching her. Was that a crime? When she finished he put her plate in the sink and returned to his seat. Buffy was the first to break the silence.
'Thanks… you know, for the food,' she looked down, 'And the clothes.'
'I couldn't let you leave in the clothes you came in, Buffy. They were beyond repair. I would have given you some of my clothes but,' he smiled, 'I never seem to get them back.' She blushed and looked down. 'And I knew you had to be hungry.'
'Yeah,' she said softly. 'Anyway, thanks. I don't deserve anything from you after what I said-'
'I understand, Buffy,' he assured her. 'I hurt you. I know that,' he looked down. 'I didn't want to leave you, Buffy, but I had to. For your own good, for my own good. We couldn't have stayed together, not then. Too many things were going on and us… us complicated things. I left for you to have a normal life, yes, I admit that, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt me to see you with someone else. I left you to have a normal life and to see you having one, hurts me more than I ever thought I would.'
Tears leaked from Buffy's eyes as she sat listening Angel's speech. All she wanted was him. Didn't he see that? 'I still love you, you know, I can't stop. I told you I can't change.' she said so softly he wouldn't have heard it if he hadn't been a vampire.
'I love you too Buffy, I never stopped. It was never a question of me not loving you, it was a question of how much. Did I love you enough to give you what you deserved, a normal life? I did what I thought was right.'
'What about what I wanted,' Buffy sat up straighter and spoke louder. 'I'm a slayer Angel. I'm never going to have a normal life, never going to settle down with Average Joe because I'd probably get him killed. Don't you see that? My only chance of a normal- well, slightly normal- relationship was with you. You're the only one who could make me happy,' more tears rolled down her cheeks.
'I'm also the only one who could hurt you. Angelus taught me that. One day there will be a time for us, Buffy, but that time is not now. We will be together one day, count on it. I will come for you when it's all over.'
'When what's over?'
'Everything,' he replied and pulled her into searing kiss, a kiss she felt even inthe darkest partsof her soul.
He was right…of course. Their time was not now, but it was coming. They'd be together someday, come hell or high water. Until then, they'd keep in touch, call, write… anything.
She left for Sunnydale that night, feeling more hopeful than she had in a long time.
Yay! I finally finished. Thanks to everyone who reviewed. Much appreciated. Hope you liked the end. Let me know.