I don't kill characters in my anime stories. But for some reason, I feel free to go all ax-murderer in the Buffyverse!

Anyway, I wrote this largely out of curiousity. I wondered how the rest of the season might have gone if Buffy made a different choice that night in "Passions". This takes place as she's fighting Angel(us). In this story, that one line is where things start changing.

Hope you enjoy. This story has taken days out of my life and I'm just glad I finally have it written.

By the way, please tell me if I need to up the rating. This story gets way dark, and it might even be out of "T" range. Please let me know.

"Are you going to let your old man just burn?"

Buffy froze, and risked a glance down at the floor below.

The fire was raging out of control…and her Watcher was in the middle of it.

She had a choice to make.

Let Angel run and get Giles out…or kill Angel, and Giles along with him?

Buffy felt herself start to shake. What kind of choice was that?! Her former lover or her Watcher?! How could she make that choice? If Angel ran, others would die. Maybe others she knew and cared about.

But if she waited much longer, Giles would die now.


This thing, this vampire she had pinned to the wall, was not Angel. He was a demon, a demon who had already claimed one victim that night. She remembered how broken Giles had sounded over the phone. Miss Calendar. Dead, just like that. She remembered how petrified Willow had been when she'd come over, how she'd shook as Angel threatened her so casually. He'd been willing to sacrifice an entire mall full of people.

No…sacrifices have a purpose.

Buffy swallowed, knowing that she was making the hardest choice of her life.

Then, she turned away from the body on the ground, and faced Angel with murder in her eyes.

Are you going to let your old man just burn?

"Yes," she said. "I am."

She saw Angel's eyes widen in surprise, and took her chance. She let him go, but only long enough to hit him across the head with her pipe. Leaving him stunned, she vaulted over to the floor below, flipped over the remains of the table, and snapped off one of the legs. Her adrenaline was pumping so quickly and rapidly that she didn't even notice the flames that licked her hands. Whirling around, she renewed her pursuit of Angel. The vampire was only just recovering from her blow, but he managed to raise an arm to block her downward thrust with the stake. There was a sickening sound as the wood went straight through his hand and out the other side. Angel gritted his teeth in pain, but he was alive.

Buffy kicked him in the stomach, sending him backwards and ripping her stake free. Angel hit the other end of the walkway, almost tumbling into the flames.

Buffy advanced, slowly, raising her stake. She grabbed him by his shirt front and held him there, wanting her face to be the last thing she saw.

"Close your eyes," she whispered, and plunged the stake home.

Angel collapsed into dust.

Buffy stood, trembling with exhaustion, as the remains of her former love settled over her. The stake clattered to the floor as her nerveless fingers gave.


Something in her mind brought another thought to her attention. She remembered, and leapt back to the ground and ran to Giles. Numbly, she dropped down next to him and shook his shoulder. "Giles…Giles, c'mon. We've…we've gotta go…we've gotta run…"

He didn't move.

"Oh my god…oh my god…"

She was crying now, shaking Giles again and again. "Giles, no, please…you can't leave me like this…I can't do this on my own…"

But her Watcher did not stir. He did not even draw breath…and Buffy knew she'd come far too late.