Title: A Beginning or an End

Title: A Beginning or an End?

Author: Goldy

Email: thegoldoneb_a@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: Gee, let me think… the first word that comes to mind is Joss. The second is, Whedon. But a guy like that would never keep Buffy and Angel apart would he? You bet he would…

Synopsis: *Cough* speaking of keeping two particular people apart…. It actually isn't like that… exactly. Basically, Angel shanshus only to find that Buffy is dying. A nice happy fic, really. Although, I'm warning you right now that there is no happy ending on this one. I was thinking about making it happy, but I wanted to see if I could make anyone cry so I went with the downright cruel. So, don't read if you like happy endings.

Rating: PG for the angst

            The fight was over. As expected, the good guys had one. But this wasn't an ordinary fight. This was the fight to end all fights. This was the most important fight in the history of the world.

For some, it was a new beginning and for others it was an end.

            Angel, the one vampire in the entire world with a soul, was starting on his new beginning. He had selflessly fought, ready to end his own life, for the lives of others. For this, he gained his humanity and a second chance at life. But Angel didn't notice that he had a heartbeat. He didn't notice the sharp sounds of oxygen he had to struggle to take in. He didn't notice how warm it suddenly was. In fact, Angel was oblivious to everything and everyone around him. He didn't hear the sounds of celebration or the cries of despair.

            Angel could only feel one thing. His slayer. He could feel her through the link that they had always shared. But the link was becoming weaker and weaker with each passing second, and as much as Angel didn't want to believe it, he knew what it meant.

            He ran around frantically, trying to find her, realizing that with each passing minute the chances of saving her were becoming slimmer and slimmer. Then, he felt her presence more strongly and turned around to find her literally lying in a pool of her own blood. Heart pounding, Angel ran to her, not even noticing his own battle scars.

            It seemed to take Angel years to get to her. When he did, he sat down and pulled her as gently as he could into his arms. For one terrible moment it seemed as if Angel had truly lost her, but then her eyes fluttered open and Angel could breathe normally again.

            "You're human," she choked out smiling at him.

            Angel felt tears pooling at his eyes. She had noticed the thing that he hadn't. The thing that he had been waiting for for so long. The thing that meant nothing if she wasn't there to share it with him. Figures. Buffy was dying… and she was happy for him.

"I'm going to go get help," Angel said noticing how much his voice quivered. He didn't want to leave her, but he didn't know how else to save her.

            Buffy smiled again at him. Although, this time, noticeably weaker. "I'm going to die, Angel, nothing can save me."

            Angel shook his head feeling tears slide down his cheeks, "Don't say that, Buffy! You're going to be fine. I'm going to go get help and you're going to be fine," Angel protested angrily even though he knew that she was right. "You'll be fine."

            Buffy felt her lip quivering, "Let me go, Angel."

            "No! NO!" Angel yelled, not really angry with her, but furious at her nonetheless.

            "I've already died twice. It's finally my time. Let me die where I've wanted most," Buffy spoke calmly and despite what she'd always imagined didn't feel any fear. She was finally going to have her peace.

            "You can't leave me, Buffy. I'm human. We can finally be together," Angel told her happily as if that could give her the strength to carry on.

            Buffy started crying. "I'm sorry," she ran her hand down his cheek and through his hair. "The fates were always cruel to us, Angel."

            "How am I supposed to go on without you?" Angel yelled. Why didn't she understand that *she* was his reward? Why didn't she understand that she had to go on? Why was she just giving up so easily?

            Buffy sniffed and took a deep breath. She could feel how much it hurt her lungs and she wanted to let go so badly. But she needed to hold on a little longer. Just a little longer. "You have to. You deserve this more than anyone does. Live a long happy life, Angel, don't ever forget me, but don't hold back because of me."

            "I can't do that."


            "Promise me, Angel! Promise me…" she begged.

            Angel looked down at her bloody and tear streaked face and he felt the hopelessness grow inside of him. The life that they might one-day share had helped him face his ugliest moments. Now, that was gone, and she was asking him to go on. "I love you," he whispered brokenly.

            Buffy cried harder, "Don't do this. Don't make this harder on me."

            Angel felt wetness on his face and realized that was his tears, "I promise," he finally said. He didn't know if he could keep that promise, but he would do anything Buffy asked him to.

            Buffy choked back some bile she felt coming up her throat. 'A little longer,' she thought desperately. "Kiss me," she whispered, wondering how much time she had left.

            Even though Angel was crying so hard he could barely see her, he bent down and pressed his lips lightly against hers. Although, Buffy was on her last few breaths she deepened the kiss trying to memorize how warm he felt. When Angel pulled away he could see that Buffy was fighting hard to stay alive.

            "I love you so much," he sobbed knowing it was time to let go.

            "I love you, too. And Angel?"

            Angel leaned closer as her voice was getting weaker and weaker. "I don't have any regrets," Buffy smiled feeling peace closing in on all sides and beckoning to her. "Dying in your arms is the only way I thought I would ever go."

            "Don't go," Angel begged brokenly one last time.

            Buffy closed her eyes; "I'll be waiting for you."

            Angel's eyes widened and he knew that she was gone. His love. He life. She was gone. And this time she wasn't ever coming back. A peaceful smile played across her lips and it almost seemed as if she was having a nice dream. But Angel couldn't feel her anymore. He felt empty. Like he was missing part of himself. He remembered the last time that she had died and how he had felt like this. But then she was back and he had vowed never to leave her again.

            And now she was gone again. And he was supposed to live out his reward without her.

            Sobbing hysterically he buried his head in her neck and clung to her planning never to let go. He would have stayed there until he met his end but he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around to find Giles staring at him. Instead of the hate that Angel was so used to seeing in the watcher's eyes, he only found sympathy and regret.

            "She's somewhere better, Angel," Giles said softly.

            Angel nodded and painfully stood up to find all of Buffy's friends starring at her with silent tears coursing down their cheeks. He joined them. Somehow knowing he wasn't alone in his pain made him feel a little better. Although, not a lot. It tore Angel up inside that Buffy had selflessly given up her life for others and didn't get a reward for it. It hurt even more to know, that he could finally be normal, and *she* was gone.

            With one last cry of anguish Angel wondered how he was ever going to keep his promise to her. 

            THE END

A/N: PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!!! I swear that I still love B/A, but I was away from home and felt a sudden urge to see 'Becoming.' So, I wrote this as a substitute.