Chapter Twenty-Two

They opened Angel's room up and took her to the bathroom, Spike still holding her in his arms as she cried into his shoulder and Willow turning the water on, drawing a bath for her. It was quiet, no one knew what to say to her, what they could say to comfort her, to make her feel better. She thought back to her experiences with Tara, but no… It wasn't quite the same thing.

She turned the water off when the tub was filled and helped Spike undress her.

"I can take care of this. Maybe you shouldn't be here." Willow said to Spike.

"It's nothing I haven't seen before." He tried to joke but Willow shot him a look. "I'm not here to see her naked, I'm here to be her friend."

She could tell he was being sincere and did not protest to his being there after his comment. Once she was undressed, they lifted her into the tub, Spike keeping a hand on her back to keep her propped up and not allowing her to sink into the water. The tub was filled with dust, presumably Angel's remains, and although she had no more energy left to cry, she sat there, in the water, staring off into space, unaware and uncaring of what was going on around her.

They lifted her out of the tub, drying her off and because they couldn't find anything else, dressed her in one of Angel's shirts and a pair of his boxers. Sitting on the couch as Giles prepared the bed, Willow forced her to drink water, afraid that she was going to dehydrate, but all it did was allow the tears that would have fallen to appear. They brought her to the bed and laid her down, pulling the covers up and waiting until she finally cried herself to sleep, occasionally calling out for him.

Giles motioned for them to join him by the couch, and Spike and Willow walked over to him.

"I don't know if she will come out of this. But someone should stay with her."

"I will." Spike said. "That way if someone comes to find her someone will be there to protect her." Willow looked apprehensive about leaving her alone with Spike.

"I'll stay too. She'll need a friend when she wakes up. I want to try and help her through this." Spike nodded, knowing that she was doing the right thing.

"I'll sleep on the couch; it's closer to the door. Willow, you can stay with her in the bed." Willow nodded and Giles said goodnight, taking one more look at Buffy as she lay there and then opened the door and left.

Spike grabbed a pillow and laid down on the couch, wondering how they were going to get her to pull through. Spike had seen the arrow but he hadn't thought about jumping in front of it, and when he saw that Angel did, he realized that things were going to be different. Angel really was a champion, he sacrificed himself for the one person that he loved and although Spike was willing to help Buffy, he wasn't able to man up and jump in front of the arrow, fearing the consequences. To him, it proved just how much and just how deep, the bond that Angel and Buffy had, and he felt foolish for ever trying to stand in the way of it. He closed his eyes and tried to find rest, his body was exhausted.

A few hours later

Buffy awoke with a start, sitting straight up in the bed and trying to catch her breath. Her heart felt as though it was beating faster than it was suppose to. She looked to her right, hoping that the events were just a terrible dream, that he would be there, asleep next to her, but all she saw was Willow, sleeping peacefully.

Quietly she got out of the bed and walked to the window. It was still night, and the new moon meant that there was little to illuminate the sky, only the gentle glow of the city lights. She opened the curtain a little more and wrapped her arms around her stomach, trying to hold herself back, to try and get comfort wishing that they were his arms, wishing that he hadn't tried to be the hero, because if he didn't he would still have been there with them. She starred off into the darkness, the tears starting to form once again and fell down her cheek as she closed her eyes.

They made it back to his apartment after escaping from Spike and Drusilla at the docks. She was wet from jumping in the water and the cool night air froze her skin. They stood in the room and he noticed she was shaking.

"You're shaking like a leaf, "He commented, watching her closely.

"Cold." She stammered, rubbing her arms with her hands.

"Let me get you something." He rummaged around, pulled out a dry shirt and a pair of pants, and handed them to her as she sat on the bed. "Put these on. Get under the covers, just to warm up." He turned his back giving her privacy. "Sorry."

She moved her arm and winced as she came across a cut on her shoulder.

"What?" He asked, worried.

"Oh, um… It's okay. I just have a cut or something."

"Can I… Lemme see." He turned and she looked over her shoulder to see him looking at her.

"Okay."

He lowered the straps of her tank top down, her shoulder now bare as he leaned down and inspected it. She felt her heart beat wildly as his hand grazed over her bare skin, "It's already closed. You're fine."

"You almost went away today." Her voice solemn.

"We both did." He responded and watched as she started to sob, the tears forming in her eyes.

"Angel… I feel like I lost you… You're right, though. We can't be sure of anything."

"Shhh. I." He started to say as she turned to face him, his hand still touching her bare skin.

"You what?" She looked up at him, his eyes full of love.

"I love you. I try not to, but I can't stop."

"Me, me, too. I can't either."

"Buffy, maybe we shouldn't…"

"Don't. Just kiss me." She said and he leaned down, kissing her passionately as they began to explore each other. The parts of each other's bodies which had always been covered, always seemed forbidden, now at their fingertips. He made love to her, passion filled, blissful love, unaware of the consequences that it would cause. They lost themselves in the moment and she gave herself to him, fully and completely, surrendering herself to the love that she felt for him, and the love that she knew he felt for her.

"You went away today…" She whispered to her reflection, her hand touching the windowpane, feeling the cool glass under her hand, wishing that it were him. "I've lost you."

Spike had heard some rustling and sat up. His eyes first glanced at the bed to notice that she was gone and then he turned to the window and saw her standing there, gazing off into the unknown, her hand resting on the glass window. He could hear her talking to herself and he could only imagine how much pain she was feeling right now. He was blaming himself, this would have been a much easier ordeal if he had jumped in front of that arrow instead of Angel, at least then she could be with him, but he shook his head, it just wasn't meant to be. But he couldn't imagine that she was suppose to be this torn up either, that she disserved to be this miserable. He lay his head back down, he would listen, not watch, allowing her some privacy, some space to mourn but still listening to make sure she was safe.

But she didn't stand for much longer, instead, she walked back to the bed, got under the covers and tried to fall asleep. Her eyes were tired from crying and when she closed them, they stung. Her whole body felt numb but the stinging told her that she was still alive, alive and all alone.

Meanwhile, in another dimension

"Welcome, Angel." He turned hearing his voice being called. He had no idea where he was. The room was white, everything around him, white. 'So this is what it's like… To truly be dead and not in the hell dimension being tortured,' he told himself. Looking around trying to find the source of the voice.

"Who is there?" He asked. "What's going on?"

"Do you remember what happened?" The voice continued.

"Buffy, she was being attacked, my goal had been to go into that and protect her, to make sure she came out alive. I didn't want to be alive without her around and she can do so much more good than I can. So I jumped in front of the arrow and I allowed it to hit me instead of her. I guess it was suppose to hit me the whole time. But after that, the events get pretty muddled. I remember her there, with me, talking to me, crying. I assume they killed him but I can't remember anything else." He responded, still unsure as to who he was speaking to.

"We have never seen a warrior with so much love for another. Willing to sacrifice everything so that they could live. You were brave and through your sacrifice, the Immortal was killed, and his plot to destroy humanity thwarted."

"Destroy humanity?" Angel questioned.

"For the past three years, we have been observing the Immortal, tracking him. He was summoning up a few of the evil powers and plotting to create an apocalypse, to bring forth hell on earth. Many have tried and none have succeeded. Thankfully he was stopped before he could, but there are others, others who are working with him who are going to try and fulfill his final wishes."

"And Buffy?"

"She is a necessity, she must be around to stop the next war."

"Will she live?"

"I cannot tell you that. I am only an informer, sent from the Powers that Be."

"Is she… Is she okay? Will she be okay?" The voice did not say anything but before him a cloud appeared and through it he could see that it was night, and he was shown his room back in Los Angeles.

Spike was sitting at the couch, watching her from his seat. Willow was still asleep in the bed. He looked closer and he saw her form, clad in his shirt and underwear standing at the window, her hand pressed against it as though she was trying to reach out to something to take her away from there.

"You went away today… I've lost you." He heard her whisper as the image moved closer. He could see her eyes through the reflection of the glass. They were red from crying and the tears continued to stream down her cheeks.

He felt his entire body ache, if only he could hold her, be there and dry her tears.

"She is broken." The voice said. "Unwilling to fight, she has become a lost soul among the living. Everything that she wanted for her life is gone, taken from her in one brutal act. In her mind, she blames herself, but it was all part of her destiny. Your destinies have been intertwined and will remain so. She cannot fight the next battle without you, she won't be able to survive much longer without you."

"So she is going to die?" He asked.

"No. We are sending you back, as a human. Your powers will be maintained, your strength, but you will no longer be immortal. The two of you will fight side by side, and we bestow upon you the job of keeping her safe. You will protect her and we will send you messages of things that are to become in order for you to carry out your task."

"When? When do I go back?" He could feel the happiness fill his body. He would finally be able to be with her, to really be with her, to give her the life that she disserved, the life they disserved together.

"Once your strength has been restored, we will send you back. Until then, you can only watch. We will be in contact in the near future. Good luck Angel." The voice said.

Angel looked around, the room that was once white had been transformed and he was standing in a replica of what looked like his room back in Los Angeles. It was only a matter of time, he would need to rest up and gather his strength back quickly so that he could return to her. She was after all, his and only his, it just took him awhile to realize that even the powers had intended for it to be.

A/N: I was planning on waiting to post it but I didn't want to deprive anyone who was thinking that Angel was gone forever! I hope that you enjoyed reading this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it! I am hoping to do a sequel but I will not be able to start it until after Tuesday at some point. The story will be longer and more involved... There will be more than one evil. I just though that this story centered predominantly around the Immortal so it should end with that battle. Anyways thank you to everyone who has been reading it and leaving comments! I love you all for that! Please let me know what you have thought about the story as a whole and what you think about a sequel! Thanks again!