Title: The Ghosts of the Grief-Filled Mind

Canon: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Disclaimer: I do not own Btvs or Ats. Duh! Joss has his creepy little fingers buried deep into those little cookies.

Genre: Angst/Supernatural

Characters: Buffy, Angel, Cordy, Doyle, Faith, Dawn, etc…

Pairing: Buffy/Angel mainly, with a Cordy/Doyle undertone…

Timeline: Post The-Gift

Summary: After she dies, things move on, but Angel sees little ghosts and what-ifs in every corner. Only, he's not the only one.
Notes: Some of my grammar sucks, but I do try.

Two in the morning and the beeping horns in the belly of LA add steam to the smog that covers the city at night. From the balcony he watches as the people go along at night just as they do in the daytime when the sun can run all of the vampires back into hiding. He watches this and wonders when things went wrong.

//"I want my life to be with you!"

"I don't."//

Angel brushes the thoughts away with a shake of his head when he closes his eyes. When he opens them he expects to see the normal night life, the normal things an unusual vampire will watch for. The ants walk along and from high up in the Hyperion Hotel, he can see Her.

He closes his eyes and counts slowly down from ten. He opens his eyes and all he sees is the normal nightlife. He takes a step back from the edge and turns around but has to stop when he sees Her again, only this time she is laying on her back, on his bed with her feet toward the headboard. He closes his eyes again and holds them tightly, clenches his fists and wants her to go away (needs her to stay) but can't seem to make up his mind.

"Come to bed Angel," he hears in her soft alluring voice as if she's had a hard patrol and wants him to come and hold her.

"You're not real," he states as if that will make her go away.

"It's not use, Angel. You're going to hold me," she pouts playfully and nods as if she has made up her mind and that's all there is and he is kidding with her.

"You're not real. You're not here. You're not real," he states again. And this time when he opens his eyes and sees nothing of her. But he can swear on her grave that he smells her sweet perfume.

//"Was it good for you too?"//

He goes to his desk and pulls out a drawer, taking out a black box. Opening it up there is a silver Claddagh ring and he wishes she still had it.

"It's not use, you're going to," and she is back on the bed. He can't help but look this time, and there's a silver Claddagh on her finger. It's not in the box anymore.

Why is she haunting him? Penance.

//"Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It's been one hundred at three years since my last confession,"//

Cordelia Chase is filing. It's her job, next to answering phones. And it pays really good because she knows Angel is a sap and understands that she can't be perfect. She places the latest job on file and thinks unconsciously how many more jobs they've had since Angel started grieving, he needs the fight but she makes a comment to herself that makes her sound shallow and uncaring.

She isn't but she needs the buffer of Queen C.

"Good morning, Cordy," she hears and she almost says "Good Morning" back before she realizes that no one is there. But this happens all the time and she just turns back to her work.

She moves away from the ghost in her mind.

"Geeze Luiz, Queen C. Where is the room for Queen B." Cordy doesn't speak, just thinks to herself. 'Go away, away, from here begone,' But it never works, and the ghosts is still there.

"That's the wrong file," the vision says, and Cordy nods to herself, yes it is, but she leaves it there in spite of the spirit or demon or whatever. Who is she to judge Queen C? NO, it, it's an it, she thinks. But it has Her voice and mannerisms and kind ways that infuriate the Queen of Sunnyhell High.

"'Delia," she hears and her head snaps up. Doyle? But it's just another ghost, "Aren't you gonna introduce us?" He asks in that lilt of Irish that Angel never had around her, and he walks up and puts his elbow up on petite little Buffy-ghost. She watches this not amused in the fakeness of this haunting as Buffy glares and pushes his arm off, pinning him with a Do-it-and-Die glare that freezes him in place. He looks over at her with a puppy dog set of eyes that doesn't work on her anymore

And she squeezes her eyes shut and pushes her ears in, really, really hard, and then opens her eyes up. They're gone now but she sees the file is no longer in the wrong file, so she takes it out and sets it on the counter and sits in the stool seat and stares at it and into nothing.

//"Hungry and Horny, B?"//

She jerks up, the bars letting slats of light through. The other girl sits on the bed, a red frou-frou shirt of dark blue jeans, her long blonde hair coming down over her shoulders.

"You shouldn't cry, F." her imagination tells her, and the imprisoned girl wipes away tears that aren't there, only they are and Faith gets so mad.

"Go away," Faith mutters. She's asleep, yeah, that's it. She's dreamt of B before and this is no different. Only, the wetness feels real and she always wakes up by now in this one.

"What's the matter, little sister? Don't you love me anymore?" the voice asks. Faith tries not to look but she can't not look and she does in the end. There's a teasing smile on her face and then it changes into a more serious. "Just the Chosen Two, right?" she asks, and Faith shuts her eyes hard, and opens them but She is still there. "Just one now," and there is a sadness and Faith knows she is seeing things, going wacky, shouldn't spend any more time alone.

But she doesn't trust anyone anymore.

"I'm here Faith, you can talk to me you know. I'm still here." And Faith bangs her hands on the bars because B shouldn't be here anymore. She's dead, dead and not coming back. Faith doesn't know if she is mad because B left her alone or if B left without her.

A guard comes over.

"Can I go outside, now?" Faith asks in her rough-and-tumble voice and the guard lets her out. Everyone is warry of the girl with incredible strength and a no-nonsense attitude. Most are afraid of her. All are wary. All wonder why she has to have her own cell because her roommates always try to strangle her.

The premonition or whatever doesn't follow her, but stays on the bed. The guard doesn't see her so Faith doesn't bother looking back. She goes to the bars and does some pull-ups. And one hundred and ninety four, there is another apparition.

"Wanna go for some fries?" she hears from the apparition what she heard so often when they got the munchies mid-patrol back in Sunnyhell, and the bars break under her hands. There is blood but she stands there staring at nothing because Faith knows she ruined everything she touched-the bars included. She wishes she could take it back but doesn't admit it to herself.

"You should get that looked at," the apparition says aloud, almost looking apologetically at her. Faith says nothing until the ghost goes away and there is a small puddle of crimson life at her feet. Only it is her own, and once upon a time this would have scared her.

"Why?" she hears, but she isn't sure who spoke it, the apparition, the guard coming over to see what is the problem, Buffy (who is dead-sex feet under), or Faith herself.

Walking in your own home is supposed to be safe. He knows it's not

//"Do you promise to love, honor, and protect her? Share the good times and achievements as well as the hard times and disappointments? Keep her in sickness and in sorrow and to be faithful to her forevermore?"//

Angel comes downstairs before the moon goes down. He will begin his hunt as soon as he can. But he stops at the middle of the stairs, grips the walkway handle almost to the breaking point.

There is a puddle of sunlight in the middle of the lobby and he can see what is obviously his Bu-the ghost that is Buffy because Buffy is dead-lover. She's blonde and smiling and looks so happy in her white cotton dress. There is a little girl, maybe six years old that looks like his little sister Kathy who he killed with the snap of a neck when he drank from his mother and brutally tortured his father. It's little Kathy the only one he loved before Buffy. Then there is a younger version of Dawn and she is cradled in Buffy's right arm. They are on the ground and smiling together and its then that he realizes their ground is snow.

He shivers because its cold, and they look up.

"Come on over, Angel," he hears in the lovely purr that she says his name, like a prayer from God's daughter herself.

"Yeah, hurry up Liam," demands the little brogue ruglet that died two hundred and thirty six years ago at seven years old. The little apparition-Dawn says nothing but giggles and waves her hand for him to come.

"You're not here, you're not here," he mumbles because he cannot bear to say D-(Dead) unable to talk to him if he called her on the phone.

"The snows not as cold as it used to be," he hears from a mouth so like Her's and the beast inside him whimpers. When he opens his eyes he sees only what he should see but he swears on Her grave that the snow has chilled him to the bond.

Cordy comes in for work and they ignore tired, haunted look and don't ask questions. They are almost afraid at what the other will say.

It isn't until later that he whimpers again because Spike comes by drunk as could be, whimpering that // "I'm counting on you…to protect her."// he failed and he promised and why won't his sire stake him and why do they haunt him so?

And Angel closes his eyes and tries not to see what he doesn't want to…


Well, I got this idea really suddenly and since I am on a roll, I did it.