Title: When the Sun Falls
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Everything belongs to the wonderful man known as Joss Whedon.
Summary: When Buffy gets mortally wounded and sick, it's up to the AI team and the Scoobies to save her. This is the second book in my Gealach Gorm series! BA, WO, XA
Note: Well, here it is! The second book of my Gealach Gorm series. I want to thank all my fabulous reviewers (Especially MacKenzie Creations, who reviewed all my chapters). Hopefully, this book will be as good as (if not better than) the first. I don't want to be stuck in that 'First Book/Movie/Whatever is Good, but Sequel Sucks' thing. Please review. I want to know what you think, because I'm very scared about the way this first chapter turned out. Yikes.
***IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Buffy's hallucenations are in italics.***
Anyway, let's get on with the story (cross your fingers).
* * * * * *
Dust flew into the sky as Buffy plunged her stake into the offending vampire's heart. She brushed herself off, and called, "You can come out now."
"I wasn't hiding. It hit me," Xander said, poking his head up from behind a tombstone.
"Sure it did." She laughed.
He just glared at her. "Remind me again why Angel's not here doing this with you."
"Because Angel's not here yet. He's not coming back until tomorrow, remember? Hey, if you want to go spend time with Anya or whatever, feel free. It's not like I can't handle everything here by myself."
"I know you can, but we haven't had much time to hang out lately."
"True. So how goes life in the parents' basement?"
"Sucks. How goes college life?"
"Yeah. All these...classes and stuff to remember."
"Isn't that what you signed up for?"
"I wasn't counting on demons popping up every hour."
Xander looked at her funny. "We live on a Hellmouth, Buff. If high school taught us anything, it should be that demons and vampires and witches and Inca mummy exchange students will come. A lot."
"I know, but I thought if we were farther away then it wouldn't be so bad."
"It's not as bad, but still... Hey, none of your professors are giant bugs, right?"
"No, Xand, I don't have any buggy professors. You really can't get over Ms. French, can you?"
"Hey, I was almost the father to her evil mantis-y spawns. Would you get over that?"
"Well when you put it that way..."
Buffy smiled and glanced up.
"Demon at twelve o'clock!"
"That's more of ten o'clock."
"Whatever. Demon up there!"
She sprinted across the graveyard. The demon was roughly five foot eight and was wearing a black cloak. She couldn't see it's face, except two yellow eyes. They seemed to stare through her and she shivered. This beast sent a cold feeling down her spine. She sent a roundhouse kick flying its way, but it dodged it, slinking backwards. It moved like a cat, light on its feet and quick. Its hand darted out from beneath the cloud-like robe. Its fingers were long and skinny and its nails were pointed and sharp. This creature was lethal. It tried to slash her, but she danced backwards. She made the wrong move and was sent toppling over a tombstone. The demon found this very advantageous. It glided over to her and bent down. Once again, its clawed hand slashed out. This time, it made contact, slicing a long cut across her abdomen.
"X'lo miktaa lenktat," it hissed and dissapeared into the darkness.
"Buffy! Hey, Buffy, are you alri..." Xander stopped when he saw the gash.
"Fine. I'm fine. It's not the worst I've ever had. Help me up."
He did, but said, "Buff, that looks pretty nasty. Why don't we go get you bandaged up?"
She rolled her eyes. "I'm fine. But if it'll make you feel better, fine gauze me up."
He helped her walk back to the apartment she now shared with Angel.
"Where do you keep the first aid kit?" he asked as he looked around the new space.
"Angel's desk, third drawer down on the left."
He nodded and she eased herself down into a chair. A moment later, he came back with the little white and red box.
"Here." He handed it to her and she rolled up her shirt to her navel.
"I'm telling you, that doesn't look good."
"It's fine. Just a little scratch," Buffy said as she dabbed an alcohol-soaked cotton ball to clean the area.
"Just a little scratch," he scoffed. "Yeah."
"Shut up and hand me the Neosporin, some gauze, and the tape."
He obliged. When she finished, she headed into the kitchen and Xander followed.
"What do you need?" he asked.
"Water," she said, motioning to the glass she pulled from the cabinet. "I'm hot."
"Hot? It's like sixty-five in here. Are you feeling alright?"
"I told you, I'm fine."
He snuck up from behind her and placed his wrist on her forehead.
"Buffy! You're burning up."
"Told you I was hot."
"No, I mean fever burning up."
"Probably just a cold or something."
"You're the Slayer. You haven't got sick since that one time in our junior year."
"So? I can get sick. It just takes a...a..." She shook her head and placed her hand over her eyes. "A lot."
"Maybe you should go lay down, just in case."
"Let me get my..." She closed her eyes and placed her hands on the counter. "Water."
When she turned to head for the fridge, her knees buckled. She tried to right herself against the kitchen table, but her hands failed her and she went crashing to the floor.
"Buffy!" Xander tried to catch her but fell short. He had to settle for scooping her up. He carried her to the bed and then went in search of a phone.
Minutes later, the Scoobies were gathered at the apartment. Giles was reading and Willow was pacing.
"Uh, guys?" Willow asked. "I think we're forgetting someone."
Xander did a quick head count and looked back at her with a confused expression. "Who?"
* * * * * *
Angel scrambled up into the main office searching for his keys.
"Hey? What's the rush?" Cordelia asked when he bumped into her.
"I've got to get to Sunnydale."
"You can't wait until tomorrow?"
"No. Something's wrong. Something's... Buffy may be hurt."
"How do you know?"
"I can feel it."
"Are you sure it's not just bad tuna?"
He glared at her. "Have you seen my keys?"
She swooped them up off her desk and handed them to him. Without another word, he hurried out of the office.
"You're welcome!" She called just as the phone rang. "Angel Investigations. We help the helpless. How may we help you?"
"Cordelia? It's Willow."
"Willow! Hi! What do you need?"
"It's Buffy. She's really sick, and we're not sure what's up."
"Oh. That's just...oh."
"Is Angel there?"
"He just left, actually."
"Left? Left? He can't leave! Buffy needs him!"
"Calm down. He's on his way to Sunnydale. He said he could feel something was wrong, or something like that. Anyway, he's coming."
Willow let out a relieved sigh. "Thank you, Cordelia."
"I didn't do anything. But, you're welcome."
Angel's knuckles were white as he gripped the steering wheel. He was terrified that something bad had happened to her, and he hadn't been there to stop it. He shook his head in frustration. He knew she wasn't dead, thank goodness, because his feeling got stronger as he got closer. But she could be wounded or sick or laying alone in some graveyard and nobody had noticed she wasn't home yet. He said a silent prayer, hoping this bad feeling was just that, a bad feeling and that Buffy really was fine. Still, he stepped on the gas pedal a little harder. He was already pushing the speed limit, but he didn't care. The only thing that mattered was that he got to Buffy.
* * * * * *
Willow was sitting on the bed holding a wet washcloth to Buffy's head when Angel got there. His thoughts had been illogical the entire trip, but now looking at the woman he loved laying in their bed, her face twisted in anguish, he couldn't formulate a single thought. Everything left his mind. When Willow saw him, she stood and left the room, knowing the two needed to be alone. Angel walked to the bed and fell to his knees. He took Buffy's hand in his own and kissed it before holding it to his forehead. Her hand was over heated and it was making his sweat, but there was no force in this dimension, or the next, that could make him drop it.
"Angel?" Her voice was light and raspy.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm here."
"Angel, d-did someone call you?"
"No. I just knew that you needed me."
She smiled, or tried to, and said, " Thank you. Can you give me that shirt?"
She made a slight motion directing him to where she meant and he nodded. When he picked up the shirt, he realized it was his shirt. He handed it to her and she smiled in thanks. She managed to sit up and pull the covers off of her.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"I want to change," Buffy informed him.
"Let me help you." Angel sat down beside her.
He gently tugged her shirt off and his hands brushed the fevered skin of her back.
"You're burning up!"
"Why does everyone keep saying that? I'm freezing."
"Buffy, that's not good."
"Just help me change."
As she turned to him, he noticed the large bandage across her stomach.
"Let me see."
He peeled back the gauze and ground his teeth together when he saw the broad, red gash.
"It's not bad."
"Not bad? Not bad? Who did this to you?"
"I t-told you. A demon."
"What demon? Where can I find it?"
"I-I don't know. It was, um, big and wearing a black cloak. I didn't see much. Check with Giles. H-he said he was going to try to find out what it was."
After he helped her ease out of her jeans, he slid the shirt over her head. He had to admit, even considering the circumstances, seeing her in his clothes gave him a great deal of pleasure. He lowered her back down on the bed and pulled all the covers around her, but she continued to shiver. He tenderly stroked her hair and said, "I want to talk to Giles now, but I'll be back soon, okay?"
She nodded feebly. "Okay."
"I love you."
"L-love you, too."
Angel stood up and went into the kitchen where everyone was gathered.
"How is she?" Willow asked.
"She's burning up, but she says she's freezing."
"That's not good," Xander said.
"No." He turned to Giles. "Have you seen her stomach?"
"Y-yes. I believe whatever did this to her, used a-a poison of some sort and used the incision to get it into her."
"What is it, then? The demon? The poison?"
"I'm not quite sure at the moment. But I-I'm looking."
"Keep looking. When did this happen?"
"Tonight. On patrol. Buff saw the thing and went after it. Next thing I know, she's laying on the ground with thaton her stomach," Xander said.
"So if this was a poison, it wouldn't have had much time to settle in yet, right?"
He looked back to Giles. "Please, hurry."
While everyone was so wrapped up in their conversation, none of them noticed a yellow-eyed creature materialize in the bedroom, next to Buffy. Unfortunately for her, she had her back to it and since she was sick, her Slayer senses were on the fritz. Its clawed hand stretched out and sprinkled a deep green powder over her. It watched as the powder dissolved against her skin, and it's eyes seemed to laugh as it slunk back into the shadows and disappeared. About that time, Angel came back into the room.
The door creaked open as the demon that wore the face of her lover made its way into the room. He smiled a cruel smile and his sharp fangs gleamed in the dim light.
"Hey, Buff. How've ya been?"
"No," she said and Angel's eyebrows drew together in confusion.
Angelus advanced towards her.
"Why? What did I do?" By this point, tears were streaming down her cheeks.
"Buffy, come on. Talk to me. What's wrong?"
"What did you do? You set me free. Did I ever properly thank you for that?"
"No! It's not true! You're not him..."
"Who? Buffy, you're scaring me."
Angelus sat down on the edge of the bed and Buffy scrambled to the other side, only to find her back, literally, against the wall.
Angel's heart fell as he watched as Buffy tried to get away from him. "You don't...," He shook his head. "Do you want me to leave you alone?"
Angelus reached for her with the hands that she had once loved to hold in her own.
"Go! Get away from me! Leave!" she screamed at him.
Angel fought back tears as he walked into the kitchen.
"What's wrong?" Willow asked upon seeing him.
"She's not making much sense, but she told me to get away from her."
"Buffy would never do that."
Angel didn't get to reply before he heard Buffy yell for Willow.
The red head gave him an odd look before going to her best friend.
"Hey. What's wrong? Why are you crying?"
"He's back," she said between sobs. "He's back."
"Who? Who's back?"
"I-I don't know."
"Buffy, wait here."
Willow stormed up to Angel shoved him against the wall.
"Wha-? Willow? What's going on?"
"What are you playing?"
"What? I don't know what you're talking about."
Willow rolled her eyes. "I know what you're trying to do."
"Oh really? I don't even know what I'm trying to do. Or at least what you think I'm trying to do."
"How did you do it? Black magic? Did the spell not work after all?"
"How did I do what? I have no clue what you're talking about."
"Don't act all dumb and...Angel-y. You're not him."
"No. You're not."
"Then who am I?"
"Oh, you know who you are."
"No, Willow, I don't. Who am I supposed to be?"
"You're sick, Angelus. I don't have time for this. My best friend is lying in there and--"
"Wait. Did you just call me Angelus?"
"Yes. That's your name."
"That's not me, that's the demon. Willow, I'm not Angelus. I'm Angel, soul fully intact."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure. I'm just as scared as you about Buffy."
"Oh. Well, heh, I feel stupid."
"Why did you think I'd lost my soul?"
"Buffy, she said 'he is back', meaning Angelus, and I just kinda assumed that it was true."
Angel turned to Giles. "Theories?"
"I-it sounds like she may be...hallucinating."
"Hallucenating? Because of the possible poison?"
"It very well might be."
"That's good. That narrows it down. Look at all the demons that make people hallucinate. Or poisons that make people delusional. Just please find something."
Angel nodded and poked his head in the bedroom. Buffy was laying on her side, facing out, and her eyes looked like she was following something across the room and back.
Angelus paced back and forth in front of her.
"What's wrong, Angelus? Too afraid to make a move?"
"Just waiting for the right time, love."
"Waiting for the right time? Translation: You're scared. I mean, you had to tie me down so I wouldn't hurt you."
Angelus growled and slapped her across her face.
Angel watched as her head snapped to the side as if something had struck her. He couldn't watch anymore.
"You look after her, I'll read," he told Giles.
The former Watcher walked into the bedroom and sat down in a chair across from her.
"I could take you at any moment, untied or not."
"Oh really? Exactly how many people did you kill last time? A couple here and there for food, oh let's not forget Willow's goldfish."
"I took the life of the pathetic Gypsy."
"Jenny Calendar? I'm pretty sure she didn't go easily. Either way, it was for a good cause, not completely in cold blood."
Giles leaned his head back and closed his eyes. Jenny.
"Good cause? There's no such thing."
"Yes there is. She was trying to bring you back."
"You brought me back. Jenny was trying to kill me."
"Jenny was helping. This isn't the real you, Angel is the real you."
"Angel is pathetic, sniveling, and whiny. You're only saying that because you love him."
"That's right. I do love him."
"Hate to tell you, but he never loved you. Not really."
"He did. I know he did..."
"Who's opinion are you going to take? Mine, where I know every thought he's ever had, or him, who's a better actor than all of your so-called 'movie stars' put together? Hmm?"
"He did love me."
Angelus rolled his eyes. "Believe what you like."
"What are you doing, anyway? Talking me to death?"
"You want to fight? Fine." He reached across and snapped the restraints on her wrists. "Let's fight."
Giles watched as Buffy moved across the room sparring to an imaginary partner.
"I should have stopped you. It was my fault she died, and I couldn't stop you."
"Gee, Buff. You must feel real bad. Let's keep that going. The worse, the better."
"You're a monster!"
Giles looked at his Slayer. She blamed herself for what happened, and he had acted like it was. How could he have been so stupid?
Angelus threw Buffy back into the bed and pinned her down.
Giles stood when he saw Buffy launch herself across the room and onto the bed.
"Xander?" He called. "I-I believe you should watch her for a little bit."
"Are we on guard duty now?" Xander asked coming into the room. "Should I get out my gun and shine my shoes?"
Giles glared at him. "Just make sure she doesn't get hurt."
"How could she get hurt?"
"I'll kill you!" she yelled and both men turned. She was thrashing around, as if someone was strangling her.
"Question answered. Okay. I'll watch her."
Xander took up Giles' previous post. He watched as she turned on her side and drifted off to sleep.
Angelus drifted out of the room and Buffy was claimed by sleep.
Xander watched her for ten more minutes, just to make sure she wouldn't start hallucinating about bungee jumping before he went back into the kitchen.
"Are you sure?" Willow asked, looking up from her computer.
"Yeah. Like a baby."
"Good. She needs it."
"Do you think... I mean would it be safe for me to...see her?" Angel asked.
"As long as she doesn't obtain conciseness, you should be fine. However, if she begins showing signs of awakening, leave the premise imediately. She seems to react the worst to you, understandably," Giles said.
"I will," he promised and silently left the room. Even Xander felt bad for him.
Even though she looked exhausted and sad, Buffy was still breathtakingly beautiful, Angel noted as he knelt beside the bed. His heart ached for her. She was suffering and he couldn't make it stop. He couldn't even be around her unless she was asleep. He wanted so much to kiss her or pull her into his arms and make the pain go away, but he couldn't for fear of waking her. She stirred slightly and whispered his name and he froze, thinking he was caught, but she settled back down. This time, with a tiny content smile on her face. But Angel didn't relax. In fact, he had to ball his hands into fists to keep from stroking her smooth skin. The temptation to touch her was too great, and it didn't lesson any as he looked on. Finally, he got up, ready to leave, when she began whimpering.
"Don't leave me."
She knew he was there? How? Could she feel him the same way he could feel her? He couldn't stay, not now. It would only make it worse, should she wake up.
He closed his eyes briefly and when he opened them, she was curled up in a ball. She looked scared again. Before he realized what he was doing, Angel leaned down and gently touched his lips to her shoulder where her shirt had slipped off, leaving the silky skin exposed. However, when he heard her sigh, he abruptly pulled away. Her eyes were still closed, but didn't look so asleep anymore. She was waking up, which meant it was time for him to leave.
Before he left completely he whispered, "I love you."
Buffy awoke to an empty room. She could have swore Angel was there with her, watching over her, but it must have been her imagination. She brought her hands, which were covered with sleeves of Angel's shirt, to her nose and inhaled his scent. Angel was gone, she reminded herself. In his place was a vicious killer. Buffy stood and hissed. The slit in her stomach was raw and it hurt. She closed her eyes and imagined what everyone would tell her to do. Rest. She laid back down and pulled the sheet up to her waist.
"You're awake. I was beginning to think you were going to sleep all night. Well, I guess it's all morning now," Angelus said as he stolled into the room.
"Please, leave me alone."
"No. You don't get how this works. I torture you. I hurt you. I kill you. Simple and clean. There's no 'I go away because you politely asked me to' in there."
"She's talking again," Angel said from the kitchen.
Everyone, except Giles who was still looking for the demon, gathered in the hall to hear what she was saying.
"There's not even a little bit of you left? Nothing that still cares?"
"Are you trying to guilt me into giving up? Because, let me tell you, I have no soul, therefor, I have no consience. Thus, no guilt."
"I'm not trying to guilt you into anything. I-I just want to know there's hope."
Angelus leaned down so their faces were inches apart. Had it been Angel, she would have kissed him, but not this man. Never this man.
"There's no hope. I'm going to kill you, and your friends. Probably your friends first, and I'll let you watch them die."
"I've heard that before."
"Why is this happening? What did I do?"
"See, this is what I hate most about you. 'Why is this happening to me? Don't you love me?" he said in a mocking voice, then added, "Blah blah blah. You whine way to much."
"I hate you," she said through clenched teeth.
"Oh, you hurt me so much. You don't think I've heard that one a dozen times before?"
Buffy reached for the stake on the bed side stand.
Despite the pain in her abdomen, she pinned Angelus to the floor, stake hovering above his heart.
Angelus shifted out of his vampire face into his human one, the one that Buffy adored so much. He was the world's greatest actor, and mastered Angel's guilty look perfectly. Had Buffy not been here the entire time, she would have thought she was looking at Angel. He looked up at her, fear and love (a look Buffy never thought he could possibly pull off) in his eyes.
"Buffy?" He said her name in the same husky, yet sensitive, tone Angel always did.
She knew that it wasn't him, the man she loved, though she couldn't move that one fraction of an inch and kill the creature in front of her. The way he looked at her, said her name, it was all too much.
"Stop it," she commanded. "Stop it!"
Angelus snickered and rolled her off of him. She cried out at the pain it caused her. She managed to crawl back to the bed before Angelus struck her hard in the stomach, right on her gash. She yelled and tears began streaming down her face.
As Angel listened to all this from the hall, he was filled with rage and sorrow. Rage, because he wanted to find and kill whatever did this to her, and sorrow because he couldn't help her.
The cloaked figure once more returned to Buffy's room. Its eyes glowed bright in pride of its work. The Slayer was freaking out by images that weren't there. Who would have thought? He snapped his fingers and the theoretical Angelus disappeared. Now was the time for his grand finale. She was weakened from her wound, and from her delusions. The demon glided over to her and waved his hand over her face.
"L'kna jagna plouse," it whispered and disappeared.
After a few minutes, Angel realized it was too quiet. Something was wrong. He cautiously walked into the room and spotted Buffy. She was laying on her back, eyes closed, one hand resting on her stomach, the other to the side of her. Both legs were down straight. Maybe she had fallen asleep, he thought. He warily approached her. She was so still. He dropped down beside her and gently touched her arm. Upon realizing what had happened, Angel uttered, "No."
To Be Continued...
A/N: Don't worry, this isn't the end for our faithful Slayer.
Or is it...?
You'll just have to wait and see. And review, so I continue.