Chapter 18: Moving on
After the first slayer tried to kill the gang, everything had been quiet in the Hellmouth. But something was about to happen, Angel could feel it.
Angel laid on the bed, Buffy nestled securely in his arms and sleeping soundly. He watched her breathe in and out with a small smile playing on his lips and he just enjoyed the moment of peace. But he had to get up even though he surely didn't want to. Carefully he untangled himself from her limbs, trying not to wake her he slid out of the bed and smiled at her sleepy grunt of protest. He pressed a soft kiss to her forehead and quietly walked out the bedroom to the great hall where he added few logs to the fire before making his way to the kitchen. He stopped at the door when he saw a strange man going through his fridge, almost half way inside it.
"And you dare to call yourself an Irish man, there's not a single bottle of beer in here. Being a vampire is no excuse", the man said with an Irish accent and turned to look at Angel. Angel looked him up and down, not really thinking him much of a threat but you never know.
"What are you?" he asked and the man raised his hands in surrender.
"Hey, a fellow might take offense on that tone of yours. I'm not a vampire, since I can just walk in here uninvited", he said slightly defensively. "You don't smell like human."
"I'm human", he said and sneezed violently when spikes appeared from his skin. "On my mothers side", he added.
"I'm Francis Doyle. Just Doyle, don't call me Francis", he said and offered his hand. Angel just looked at it little suspiciously and Doyle rolled his eyes. "This is no trick. I was send here to get you. Well that didn't sound reassuring. Man, you gave me the worse headache in months", he said and went through the cabinets finally finding a bottle of whiskey. "This is really the good stuff", he said to himself and poured a glass before drinking it in two gulps.
"I get these blinding, head-crushing headaches which are caused by the visions sent by our very own Powers that be", he explained and poured another glass. "Powers that be what?" Angel asked and Doyle just shook his head.
"Let's just say they are the good guys. Any ways, I was sent here to... guide you. Thanks to the Powers, I got the front seat in seeing your little soap opera with the slayer. Never thought that would happen, vampire in love with the slayer. Well, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with the girl, they get a roll in the hay and boy turns into the worst evil son of a bitch this planet has seen, boy wreaks havoc in the Hellmouth, boy gets his soul back, girl sends him to Hell, boy comes back from Hell, boy and girl dance around each other like couple of teenagers with a crush but no balls, they get back together, boy is going to leave the girl but doesn't cause he gets his soul anchored. I'm happy for you, buddy, about the permanent soul I mean, but you are chosen to be a warrior for the good, you are meant to help people", Doyle said and drank down the glass of whiskey.
"I help people", Angel protested. "Okay, so you kill demons, but you don't help people directly. Sunnydale really isn't that big of a place, crappy selection of bars, you are supposed to be in Los Angeles, helping people, saving lives, trying to get your redemption."
"Even if I believed you, I can't go to Los Angeles", Angel said falling into brood mood. "Yeah, the girl", Doyle stated absently and poured yet another glass.
"Shouldn't you go easy on that stuff?" Angel asked as he watched him drink it down. "Only thing that helps with the headaches." He placed the glass down to the table and turned look at Angel.
"I'll let you think about it. But are you sure you want to throw away your chance for redemption because of a girl?" "I'm not leaving her again", was Angels answer, he knew the only way he was going to leave Buffy was if she told him to leave. Doyle spared one last look at Angel and left.
Buffy woke up in an empty bed but she could feel that Angel was still near. Slowly she got up and slid into one of his dress shirts that still laid on the floor. She breathed in his scent on the shirt and smiled as it surrounded her, then she rolled her eyes at herself.
She walked into the main hall but headed to the kitchen when she heard voices. She was about to make her presence known when she heard the unknown man start to talk about her and Angel. When he said Angel was going to leave her, tears sprang to her eyes and she had to lift her hand to her lips to not to cry aloud.
She listened to the conversation without making a sound and the tears juts increased when she heard Angel say that he wasn't leaving her even for his redemption. She slid into the shadows when the man stepped out of the kitchen and walked past her without noticing her. For a moment she just stood there trying to gather herself and after wiping her tears away, she stepped inside the kitchen. Angel spun around and looked at her in surprise.
"Buffy." "Angel", she breathed back, it was an old habbit even though they had been practically living under the same roof for nearly a year.
"I thought you were still asleep", he said and smoothed back her hair. "Yeah, I was but then I woke up in this really big bed and I was all alone in it."
"Sorry." Buffy smiled reassuringly and cupped his cheek. "You really should stop apologizing about everything", she said and pressed a soft kiss to his lips that soon turned into more passionate. She finally pulled away and took few steps back to clear her head. Angel could see that something was bothering her and he was almost afraid to ask.
"Who was that man you were talking to?" she finally asked and Angel froze. "He was no one", he tried to dodge but Buffy wouldn't let him.
"It didn't sound like nothing to me." "How much did you hear?" he asked in almost a whisper.
"That he knows about us... And that you were going to leave me in those sewers! But I'm not getting into that now, what I want to know is, what was he talking about a redemption?" Angel looked down almost in shame, he shook his head before answering:
"It's not important." "It sounds like something important to me. Angel, please", she said and lifted his gaze to hers by taking a hold of his chin.
"He said I was supposed to be in Los Angeles, helping people so I could get my redemption. But I can't leave you, I can't leave you for anything. Only if you tell me to go, only if you don't want me, otherwise I just can't, every moment away from you feels like my insides are being attacked by wild dogs, I can't live without you anymore", he said and placed his hands around her face. Tears were glistering in her eyes as she watched and listened to him.
"Angel, you need this, it is important to you to get your redemption. You need to go to Los Angeles", she said with a shaky voice and his face fell, was Buffy telling him that she didn't want him anymore. Seeing his face and eyes change, she pulled him back to look at her.
"Hey, don't even think about it. You're not getting rid of me that easily, if you're going to LA, I'm coming with you. Maybe I could transfer to UCLA", she said with a small forced smile.
"But Buffy, what about your friends, your mother and the Hellmouth?" he tried to protest but she shook her head and placed her finger to his lips, silencing him.
"LA is only two hours away. I'm not going to ignore my duties in here but I can live in LA and slay here too, it's been quiet in here besides Adam. And my friends and mother will still be here even if I'm not. It's not like we wouldn't see each other anymore and there's those nice little inventions called telephone and internet. I'm not gonna let you waste your opportunity for redemption just because you love me", she said with a tone that left no room for arguing.
After a long silence he looked at her eyes studying them intently and asked softly: "Are you sure? I don't want you to ruin your life because of me."
"Angel, I love you, I want to be with you and this is something you need to do. I'm not doing anything I don't want to do", she reassured him and pulled him into a gentle kiss.
Angel walked into a dim lighted bar and soon spotted Doyle nursing his drink. Angel made his way to him and sat in the chair next to him.
"Okay, I'm coming to LA but I need to know a little bit more than you told me", he said and Doyle smiled. "So, what happened I'm not leaving her?" he asked and Angel send him a look that might have send someone else running.
"I'm not. She's coming to LA. The only reason I'm doing this is her", he answered and earned a grin from Doyle. "Someone's whipped, but hey, with a girl like that, it's no wonder." Angel gave him a look and he decided it was best to quit yammering and go straight to business.
"Okay, so what you wanna know? But keep in mind I don't know all the facts either so I can tell only what I know."
"So how does the thing work, I roam the streets of LA and wait for a damsel in distress?" Angel asked and Doyle laughed shortly.
"No, it's more like with Batman, you wait for the bat signal, which in this case is the skull crushing visions I get", Doyle answered and yelled in pain before almost falling down the stool. Angel managed to catch him before he fell and kept him on his feet till Doyle seemed to recover. First Doyle swallowed the remains of his whiskey and turned to Angel.
"Like that. It was your damsel, some blond chick, maybe in college, in a cemetery and a big ugly demon." "That's not much help, this is Sunnydale, there's several cemeteries. Anything more pacific?"
"The demons face looked like a squid, red and blue. It was night, there was a mausoleum with a eye on it", Doyle answered and Angel nodded before getting up. "I think I know where that is", Angel said and left through the sewers since it was still daylight.
The scooby gang was gathered at Giles' place and everyone was looking at Buffy expectantly. "What was it you wanted to talk about?" Willow asked.
"May I interrupt? I must say this now that I can remember it. We went back to the Initiative, Xander, Angel and I. It appears that there was no sign of Riley and the body of Adam was gone. Do you believe the government would be foolish enough to try to put Adam back together?" Giles said and Buffy shook her head.
"I don't think they could do that, professor Walsh is dead and the power source is gone. And I think that Riley was taken by the government guys... or one of the demons got him, which I doubt since they didn't get to the secret lab", Buffy answered and everyone seemed satisfied.
"Well, do continue. What was it that you wanted to talk about with us, it sounded important", Giles encouraged. Buffy twisted her hands nervously and turned to look at the others before jumping to her feet and pacing the room. Finally she stopped and turned them.
"Okay, guys... I'm moving to LA. With Angel", she managed to say and waited for the reactions.
"What!?" was the first reaction coming from Xander.
"Buffy, I must protest", Giles stammered and removed his glasses.
"You're moving? Away?" Willow asked with a small slightly confused voice and took a hold of Tara's hand for comfort.
"Angel needs to go to LA to get his redemption, to be a warrior for the good and to even the scores between what he did as Angelus and what he is now", Buffy explained but others didn't seem satisfied.
"So why don't he just leave to LA", said Xander, not even trying to disguise his hostility towards Angel. "Where he goes, I go", said Buffy sternly looking at Xander almost like a challenge.
"But Buffy, you have a duty to protect the Hellmouth, you can't just leave here, the Hellmouth needs you, you can't ignore your calling", Giles said calmly even though he was feeling anything but. Buffy turned to him with a small reassuring smile.
"It's not like I'm leaving the country, LA is only two hours away. I'm not ignoring anything, I will come here regularly to slay and all that. If you need me, I'll be just a phone call away and I will visit and we'll keep in touch in other matters than slaying. But Angel needs me and he needs to do this, it is his chance to be something big, to make a difference and to be something else than the scourge of Europe trapped with a soul and helping the slayer." Willow got up from the couch and pulled Buffy into a tight hug, tears glistering in her eyes.
"I'm gonna miss you so much. But I understand why you have to do this", she said and gave Buffy one of her bright smiles that wasn't dimmed by the tears in her eyes.
"Don't cry, Will, you'll make me cry too. You're my best friend, it's not like I'm leaving for good, it's just LA, I still visit and we can call and e-mail even if there's nothing real to say", Buffy said, tears rising to her eyes as well. Buffy turned back to Giles.
"And I'm still gonna need your help with the books. Oh boy, my phone bill is going to be murder." Giles gave her a small smile and after polishing his glasses, he gave her a fatherly pat on the shoulder.
"Yes, well, I do believe there is much to slay in Los Angeles as well. I'll wish you good luck and do remember to keep contact and be careful. And we will discuss this further before you and Angel head off. When are you going?"
"I'm not sure, it all happened so fast. And I still have to break the news to my mother", she said her face twisting into a frown.
Buffy went to her mothers house and she couldn't stop fidgeting. After seeing how nervous she was, Joyce offered her a cup of tea but Buffy didn't know if she could digest anything.
"Mom, you better sit down", she said and guided Joyce to sit on a couch. After a long moment of pacing the floor, she turned to her mother and just said it.
"Mom, I've been thinking of transferring to UCLA." A bright smile spread to Joyce's face and she jumped off the couch pulling her into a warm hug.
"That's wonderful, honey." Buffy looked at her in confusion, this wasn't the reaction she had been expecting. "I'm gonna be moving with Angel", she added carefully and Joyce's smile fell.
"So it was Angel who talked you into this", she said and pulled away. "No. It was me who spoke Angel into moving", Buffy quickly corrected but Joyce didn't seem to believe her.
"Honey, I know you don't like me saying this, but he's just not right for you. You need someone normal and closer to your own age. You can't let him control your life like this." Buffy's face turned more cold and she folded her arms in front of her.
"Yes, mom, I don't like it when you talk like that. I'm old enough to make my own decisions, I love him, I tried not to but I can't help it. He's my life and my world, he isn't controling me and do I really have to go into the normal and a slayer don't match speech again?"
"But, honey, I just want you to be happy", Joyce tried and placed a comforting hand on her arm. "I am happy, mom. Angel is what makes me happy. Without him I can exist but I am only living when I'm with him", she said with a single tear falling from her eye and Joyce's face softened. She pulled Buffy into a tight hug and tried to keep her own tears away.
"Remember to visit and call. I expect you to keep better contact than you have for the last school year", she said and Buffy pulled away to look at her. A smile irrupted to her face and she assured her: "I promise."
Just after sundown Angel made his way to the cemetery with a battle axe hid in his duster. It didn't take long till he heard a loud scream and quickly he ran towards the sound. A small blond girl was cowering on the ground as a large demon approached her. Angel whipped the axe from its hiding and attacked the demon. But to his surprise, the demon spun around and a set of large hooks appeared from its knuckles and it managed to cut him in the chest. Angel growled and swung the axe cutting the demon in its arm. It was the demons turn to growl.
The fight was short but fierce, the demon scraped a deep wound across Angel chest and he barely managed to keep his vamp face down. He kicked the demon in its stomach and cut its hand off with one swing of an axe. He swung again, cutting the head off and the demon fell to the ground with a loud thump.
That's when Angel noticed the crying from behind him and he forced himself to calm down. He turned around and looked at the girl with gentle eyes before making his way to her. He offered her a hand which she took after a moment of hesitation and he pulled her to her feet.
"You really shouldn't be out at night, especially at the cemeteries", he chided. "I... I... just took a short cut", the girl stammered between sobs.
"It's okay, just in the future, stay away from cemeteries at night", he said and turned to leave but the girls voice stopped him.
"Could... could you walk me home?" she asked hopefully and Angel nodded waiting for the girl to show the way.
Buffy was waiting for Angel to come home and once he stepped through the door, the first thing she saw was the deep cut in his chest.
"Angel!" she yelped in distress and quickly made her way to him. "It's not as bad as it looks. I'll live", he assured her but she would have none of it and lead him to the couch, sitting him down before rushing to get the medical box.
"There's really not any danger of infection", he tried to protest as she started to clean the. "Humor me", she said dryly. She kept cleaning the wound and he hissed as it stung.
"You are such a baby, I bet you didn't even blink when you were cut but now you cry out at the little sting", she said with a smirk playing on her lips.
"I'm gonna get you for that", he replayed. "I bet you will", she answered the smirk never leaving her lips till he grabbed her shoulders and she let out a loud shriek as he pulled her into his lap.
"It's already healing", he said before pulling her into a passionate kiss. Their hands roamed each others bodies, till Buffy placed her palms to his shoulders and pulled away.
"You need to feed so you'll heal more quickly", she said and made her way to the kitchen despite the growl of protest coming from Angel. After a few minutes she returned with a cup of blood and handed it to him. He was about to place the cup to the table, he still wasn't comfortable at feeding in front of Buffy but she stopped him.
"It's okay for you to eat in front of me. It doesn't bother me", she said and sat down to the other end of the couch. Feeling self conscious, he started drinking from the cup but once he noticed that Buffy wasn't even paying attention to him, he regained his confidence. He drank down the blood and placed the empty cup to the table.
"I told the others that we're moving to LA", Buffy said and turned to him. "How did they take it?"
"Fine, there was some tears involved and reminding of my calling and duty but I think they understand. But mom surprised me, I think she's starting to accept you. But hey, who could resist your dark, broody looks", she said with a smile playing on her lips and he grabbed her leg, pulling her across the couch before lifting her to his lap.
"Really?" "Yeah, it wasn't your cryptic personality that first caught my eye. Even though it did keep my attention too", she said back and leaned down for a kiss.
"But mom did make me promise to call frequently and visit", she said before leaning into another kiss.
A week later the gang was helping Buffy and Angel back their stuff into the car, or more like Buffy's stuff since Angel only had two bags.
"Are you sure you two will fit into the car after all Buffy's luggage?" Giles asked and earned a gentle slap from Buffy.
"Remember to call as soon as you get there", Willow said and pulled Buffy into a tight hug. "I will, and we'll see each other next Friday", Buffy said laughing but her voice was still emotional. She looked at the gang and her mother and she couldn't stop the tears from rising once more.
"I love you all", she said and hugged everyone of them in turn. "Be careful", Giles said gently and gave her a small controlled smile. As she went to hug her mother, he made his way to Angel who was waiting by the car.
"Keep her safe, will you", he told him fatherly and Angel nodded. "With my life", he answered and Giles nodded appreciatively.
"Okay, we have to go. I'll call as soon as we get there and we'll see on Friday", Buffy said and started to pull back. Buffy and Angel got to the car and pulled off the driveway. Buffy sighed deeply and closed her eyes. After a long silence she opened them and turned to look at Angel.
"I guess this isn't really riding into the sunset, just to another battlefield", Buffy said with a smile as they passed the Sunnydale sign.
A/N: Thank you to all of you who have been reading this story and special thanks to those who left reviews. This story has come to an end since this was the last chapter, I'm thinking of a sequal but I'm not sure yet, maybe after I've managed to finish the sequal for In full body and mind, I have plenty of ideas for it but I just haven't managed to get them in writing.
And to Brandi Rochon, when I wrote chapter 17, I wasn't sure myself what happened to Riley, I was thinking I guess he's still sitting there. But it would have been a bit cruel so he just mystically disappeared.