Nine am. That meant at least another nine or ten hours of sunlight. Probably more, but Buffy would call it ten at the most just to be on the safe side. Ten hours until the sun sank and Angelus emerged from his mansion, injured and furious and baying for her blood. How far could she get in that time?

In the end she just couldn't kill him. God knows she'd tried, but after she sank her blade into his chest she couldn't bring herself to push him into the vortex that would consume him. Instead she'd ripped the sword from his body and thrown it, coated in his vampiric blood, into the portal, closing Acathala's mouth and saving the world. From his position on the floor, Angelus watched, growling and cursing Buffy but too weak to attack her. After driving a final kick into his ribs, she'd left the mansion.

As she walked into the daylight she felt completely lost. Who could she go to? Her mother was completely out of the question: she'd made it perfectly clear that Buffy shouldn't return home. How could she go back to her friends after passing up yet another opportunity to kill Angelus? How could she ever look any of them in the eye again, knowing that she'd let the monster who had caused them so much pain live? She couldn't. Staying in Sunnydale was no longer an option. She had to get out.

With only a small bag of clothes in her hand and a last look at her friends to sustain her, she'd headed to the bus depot and bought a one way ticket to LA. The city had two major attractions for her. The biggest one was that it was enormous; Angelus (or anyone else who might want to track her down) could probably search for years without finding her. As well as that it was the next bus scheduled to leave the station, and a speedy escape was top on her list of priorities.

"Anyone for the 9.15 to Los Angeles? The 9.15 to Los Angeles is leaving now."

Buffy jolted out of her seat and grabbed her bag. She hurried outside and handed her ticket to an impatient bus driver, who glanced at it briefly and nodded before waving her onboard. Settling herself down in a window seat, she felt something close to relief at the thought that she would be gone soon. As the bus pulled away from the station, only one worry gnawed at her. She desperately hoped that Angelus would be enraged enough to bypass tormenting her friends and begin hunting for her straight away. If he decided to go after them first she wouldn't be there to save them.


Angelus ripped off his shirt in one smooth motion. His lips peeled back revealing wicked looking fangs as he inspected the damage. The wound wasn't anywhere near as bad as he thought it would be. It hurt like hell, but it would heal soon enough, and until then it wouldn't hinder him too much. As soon as he got some warm blood in him he'd be ready to face another night. He didn't relish the thought of hunting with a gaping hole in his chest, but he no longer had Dru to bring him something young and tasty.

He dropped onto the sofa and lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling. He knew he should sleep to aid the healing process that was already beginning but it would be pointless to even try; he was too furious to rest. Only the knowledge that he couldn't take on Buffy in his current state kept him from descending into the sewers and hunting her down.

"Bitch." He snarled, playing over the events of the day in his head. Who'd have thought that she'd actually manage to stop him? It shouldn't have happened. He was two and a half centuries old and she, by the definitions of her society, hadn't even reached adulthood yet. Slayer or no, he should have bested her. The saving grace was that she'd had the chance to kill him and failed to carry out her duty. He'd lain at her feet, not exactly helpless but closer to it than he liked to admit, and she'd walked away. He still had some measure of control over her, even if it was small, which meant that she could be soundly punished for snatching away his victory.

On top of that was Spike's betrayal and his escape with Drusilla, but he'd have to deal with that whelp later. Far more pressing was the need to find Buffy and extract his vengeance. His lips curled into a cruel smile as he began to formulate various ways to torment her. He didn't know exactly what he was going to do yet but it would be long and painful and would make what he'd done to Dru when she was a mortal look like a day in the park.

Turning onto his side, he forced himself to shut his eyes. If he wanted to have fun with his Slayer tonight he'd need to spend the rest of the day resting and healing. Thoughts of Buffy, broken and damned, drifted idly through his mind, lulling him into a deep sleep.


Dear Willow,

I'm sorry.

Buffy paused, unsure of what to write next. Several pieces of paper were spread out in front of her on the greasy table. Although they were addressed to different people they all bore the same sentiment. Dear Giles, I'm sorry. Dear Xander, I'm sorry. Dear Mom, I'm sorry. Dear Jenny, I'm sorry. Dear Angel, I'm sorry.

She just didn't know what else to write. It seemed that all she knew how to do was apologise and self castigate. Not that it mattered. The letters would never be sent, they were more for her benefit than anyone else's. She'd heard somewhere that writing letters like this was supposed to be therapeutic, but so far it was doing nothing to ease the suffocating guilt that weighed down on her.

"Hey sweetheart!" The café owner, even greasier than his tables, called from behind the till. "This aint a library, buy a cup of coffee or get out."

Buffy blushed and gathered up the pieces of paper quickly, shoving them deep into her bag. She stood and, head down, began to hurry to the door, but as she reached the café owner she paused. "Excuse me." She murmured, stepping up to the till.

"What is it, sugar?" The owner leered at her, openly ogling her body through her loose fitting clothes. A wave of anger rose within Buffy but she bit it down quickly.

"I was wondering if you had any jobs going?"

"Well…" He actually leaned over the counter to get a better look at her, his eyes raking over her chest and then down her legs. Her fingers itched with the urge to curl into a fist and slam into his face but she managed to control herself. She needed the job and the money. "For you," He said, eyes returning briefly to her face before continuing their exploration of the rest of her body. "I'm sure we can find something."

"Thanks." She said, doing her best to smile sweetly.

"I hope you don't mind late nights, all I've got is then 10 'til 6 shift."

Buffy grimaced. "Don't worry, I'm used to the night shift."