Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the vampire slayer or any of the characters mentioned in the cannon I do however own the plot and any characters that I created.
A/N: hey everyone this is my first completed Buffy/Angel pairing it is only a one shot in fact it is my first one shot ever so please let me know what you think and I hope that you enjoy it.
Constructive criticism is welcome.
FOR WANT OF A BETTER LIFE
Buffy smiled the first smile that felt natural since her return from L.A a month ago, and the person responsible for this smile was Riley Finn, her normal, safe, sweet, dependable, human boyfriend.
Life seemed to be looking up for Buffy lately her relationship with Riley was going well and there didn't seem to be a thing to put him off and make him run screaming in the other direction, which in Buffy's book was a plus, after all how many human guys be able to handle even a quarter of the things she as the slayer had to deal with; the answer not many.
Riley had taken her out on a picnic something she had never done, or if she had it was so long ago that she didn't remember. The reason she knew was because everyone had been wordlessly worried about her reaction to 'fighting' with Angel when she was in L.A and no one wanted to see her being all mopey Buffy.
The only problem was that she couldn't bring herself to fully enjoy herself, sure she had had a good time but she couldn't help thinking that Angel had wanted to do this with her give her the normal life, and take her on a picnic. Even though she had tried to push it from her mind and for the most part succeeded, but it prevented her from amercing herself in the moment like she wanted to.
Buffy fell back on the bed that she called her own in the dorm room which she shared with Willow not that she saw much of her now that she had found Tara. The Scooby gang had grown much further apart this year and Buffy found herself feeling very alone most of the time the close companionship that she had had with these people had faded, it had started ever since her accidental release of Angelus two years ago, where upon she hadn't been able to bring herself to kill him as the hope that her gentle boyfriend would be returned to her burned in her heart.
In fact Riley seemed to be the only up point in her life right now and Buffy hated the thought. After Angelus she cringed at the thought at being so dependent on one person for happiness, as she had done with Angel and that had been Angelus's ticket into her head, not that she ever really let him see how much he effected her, but she had a feeling that he had known anyway. Buffy turned her traitorous thoughts away from that dangerous direction.
Two weeks later…
Buffy walked through one of the twelve Sunnydale graveyards her senses on high alert as she patrolled. It was odd this was normally one of the more busier graveyards and yet lately vampire slaying had been getting steadily slower for the last two weeks and that was something that just didn't happen in Sunnydale, not with the hellmouth just sitting there waiting for some big bad to slip past the latest slayer and open it and ensuring hell on earth. It lead Buffy to believe that her latest nemesis was planning something and whenever they planned something it never meant anything good for her.
Adam now there was a Frankenstein tale it was worse than when those guys chopped up dead girls to make one 'perfect' girl and she thought that she would never think something was worse than that but the taking over the world part was definitely worse than what that girl would have been doing had those guys succeeded.
Buffy sighed giving up on her patrol it seemed that the demons weren't going to bight tonight and as much as that bugged and made her feel that all was not well on the hellmouth…as well as things can be on the hellmouth she knew that staying out all night would accomplish nothing but trying not to fall asleep in class.
Thinking of class Riley had become Mr. Needy of late. It seemed like he couldn't bear to be parted from her for more than a few moments at a time and he was fast becoming insecure about her strength it was as if all of a sudden he couldn't stand the thought that he needed his girls protection and no matter how hard she tried to tell him that every mortal needed her protection it just didn't seem to be enough for him as if he felt that he couldn't measure up. And it made her worried Angel had also felt unworthy of her affections, for different reasons and that had ended with him leaving so that she could find a normal life. Buffy had to keep from snorting every time she thought about a normal life…she couldn't even remember what a normal life felt like and as the slayer she would never know again.
Buffy stopped on her trek back to the University someone was watching her, lurking in the shadows waiting for the right moment to attack her she could feel it all the way down into her bones something was about to take a drastic turn for the worst.
The next moment Faith stepped out of the bush's realising that she had been discovered.
"So B you didn't call you didn't visit I'm hurt." Faith said as stopped in front of the first slayer.
"I didn't think you'd want me to, besides I thought I'd done enough by giving you some long needed beauty sleep."
Faith laughed throwing back her head slightly before throwing a punch at Buffy's face that was blocked by Buffy's forearm as she brought it up to defend before throwing a punch of her own.
"I came by to tell you how much I wanted to change but then seeing you again just kind of made me mad all over again, seeing you and remembering your perfect life with the friends and the family it just got my juices going again you know." Faith said as she threw a punch that sent Buffy stumbling backwards a few steps before she recovered enough to block the next kick and answer with one of her own.
The scuffle kept going like this one of them gaining the advantage only to lose it again as the other took control. An unknown amount of time went by as the sister slayer's let loose on each other neither of them in the mood to hold back…or so it seemed.
At some point the two slayers hands collided with one another and everything stopped as the two girls momentarily lost control of their bodies as a light headedness came upon them making them drop to the ground hands still clasped as they felt a sharp but smooth tug before the world seemed to go dark and the two slayers passed out.
Faith was the first to awaken and she looked at Buffy and saw her body Faith smirked she hadn't thought her plan would work so well or so easily. Gently taking hold of the back of what was her hand careful not to touch the device that was hidden in her palm, she gently and carefully removed it from around Buffy's fingers and once it was completely removed Faith ran off into the night to make sure her plan succeeded in its entirety.
Buffy woke up a half hour later with a pained groan as her head swam slightly. She slowly and careful brought herself up and it was then that she noticed that she was wearing leather jeans…she never wore leather jeans in fact she hadn't even been wearing anything in the colour burgundy.
Buffy brought up her hands and noticed the black permanent marker that coloured in her fingernails and a real terror struck Buffy there was only one person she knew that wore black permanent marker and she had just been fighting her before all the weird stuff happened.
Buffy forcibly calmed herself and made her way to the public toilets not being able to stop herself from grasping on to the wall of the public toilets before walking into the closest one using the wall for some support.
Buffy pushed herself from the wall with closed eyes as she leaned against the sink not wanting to see if her assumptions were correct. Buffy opened her eyes and had to put a hand to her mouth to stop her scream. There staring back at her was Faith not the blonde hair and hazel eyes that she knew as hers but the brown wavy hair and chocolate brown eyes that belonged to Faith a face that she had come to hate.
The brown eyes stared back at her mirroring her terror but that wasn't enough to convince Buffy that it was really her that she was seeing. Buffy slowly moved the fingers that covered her mouth and had to clasp her hand tightly back on her mouth to muffle the cry that had tried to escape her lips.
Calming herself down Buffy removed her hand her eyes following it progress in the mirror. Buffy took a few deep breathes 'Ok I am in Faith's body, it's not the end of the world, I'll just go to Giles he always knows what to do.' With that thought Buffy ran from the public toilet block and ran as fast as this body would let her, it was rather sluggish and not anywhere near as fast as she could normally go and Buffy realised that it must be because she wasn't used to moving in this body the weight was different, the angles were different even the taste inside her mouth was different.
Buffy finally made it to Giles's with dirt smudged on her face and stained slightly on the pants from tripping over her own feet more than once.
Buffy opened the door and was relieved to see the hole Scooby gang gathered but then her breath caught in her throat as she saw herself sitting there on her boyfriends lap their hands intertwined and she knew that she didn't have much of a chance but still she had to try.
"Faith." Giles said cutting her off his tone cold and unfamiliar.
"Giles listen it's me Buffy, that's Faith over there." Buffy said pointing to herself.
"Ahh yes Buffy told us about your little trick with the hand of Gemini but fortunately she was able to remove it from you before any harm could be done all though I do think it is rather strange that you would come here and try to play it off as if the switch had actually happened." Giles said taking off his glasses and cleaning his leans.
Buffy looked around her heart tearing a bit more at every word that left Giles mouth. She looked around at her friends "Will…"
"Don't call me Will only close friends have the right to call me that." Willow said righteously angry for her friend.
"Sorry this Xander ain't bighting." Xander said flippantly with a solid glare that spoke volumes on how much he hated Faith.
Buffy could feel her eyes tearing and her heart completely come undone. "I suggest you leave now." Giles said quietly but no less coldly as he picked up the phone.
Buffy knew what Giles was going to do, he was going to call council and if the council got a hold of her she'd be dead, they didn't tolerate rogue slayers that killed innocence's with no desire to make things right.
Buffy ran from the house her body feeling cold and empty as if the blood had stopped pumping through her veins but she knew that wasn't true because she could hear it roaring in her ears as she ran faster tears falling from her eyes and small chocking gasps coming from her lips. Not stopping when she fell down countless number of times in her tear blinded run.
Buffy soon found herself in her room at 1630 Revello drive, where she stood quietly now tears still running down her face but the pain of the betrayal seemed to have closed up her vocal cords which she was silently glad for it wouldn't do to have her reputation soiled even if she wasn't in her own body.
Buffy grabbed an overnight back stuffing it full of all the things she wanted to take with her, Mr Gordo, some clothes that would fit and look good on the body that she was forced to wear and the few things that Angel had given her over the short few years they had been in constant contact with one another.
As much as she wanted to get back at Faith, Buffy knew that she had to leave Faith was a wanted felon in Sunnydale so every moment she spent here was dangerous. Buffy knew it was dangerous but she took her bank card planning on using it only once or twice to get out of here and then when she had secured a job she'd open up a new bank account as someone else.
Buffy sighed in relief as the bus pulled into L.A. Disembarking Buffy stepped off the bus with a confidence of someone who had lived in L.A her whole life, something you needed to have if you wanted to keep all your possessions. Buffy grabbed her bag and a smaller bag that held her favourite weapons and few that were too expensive to want to have to buy herself, included in that bag was Mr. Pointy a stake she never used but kept in memory of Kendra her first sister slayer.
Buffy made her way through the busy streets of L.A being sure to steer clear of the Hyperion not wanting to deal with the chance that Angel might not recognise her, her friends she could survive but if Angel couldn't see through the body to see her, she'd die, she'd just collapse and die.
Buffy turned down a street and into an alleyway that lead to a bad part of the town a place that she had gone when she was here the last time she ran away. Buffy stopped at a red door and knocked three times short and quick and soon she was greeted by a voice she knew well.
"What do you want."
"You must be Gunn, I need a new ID…the whole works."
"And just what makes you think I would know anything about that?"
"Anne sent me, says to say that if you help me out the debt you owe her with be called even." Buffy said bighting her lip to keep from smiling.
"Anne! Why didn't you say so?" Gunn said throwing open the door and letting her in.
"So the whole works huh…sounds like you're running away from something."
"I guess so." Buffy said with a shrug, looking Gunn over, he still looked the same as ever and he didn't seem like he was doing to badly.
"Well then do you have any particular preference for a first name?" Gunn asked as they walked.
"Not really as long as it ain't dumb." Buffy said with a smile, she'd saved Gunn's life once and the man had been a good friend ever since, Buffy had always thought it a pity that she could keep in contact once she went back to Sunnydale.
"So how long should this take?" Buffy asked as she sat down.
"For a friend of Anne's two hours max." Gunn said walking out the room to get started.
Buffy leaned back and closed her eyes she had nothing else better to do so she may as well get some rest before she continued her journey.
Two hours past quickly and Buffy found herself shaken awake.
"So are you going to stay in Los Angeles, Miss Tanner?" Gunn asked with a grin as he handed Buffy her ID, bank card and birth certificate.
Buffy blinked as she looked at the name on the ID 'Miss Holly Tanner' as she thought about Gunn's question she knew that she probably shouldn't if she wanted make sure that she didn't run into Angel but the idea was just too tempting to turn down.
"Yes, yes I am."
"Well in that case I can get you a job at a bar, just to start out mind and you can find something you like better later once you get settled in, and we'll put a deposit down on an apartment for you, it'll be falling apart though but you can find something better when you can afford it." Gunn said happily leading Buffy over to the computer that was in a back room so that she could choose which apartment she wanted.
Buffy smiled when she saw the one that she had rented out last time on the list and so chose that one. It was in a spot that was far away from the Hyperion and according to Gunn close to the bar she was now working at.
One month later…
Angel sat in his office brooding he felt terrible, had ever since the day that never was. He wished that he hadn't made Buffy believe that all they'd done was fight but it was better than her remembering what they had for one single glorious day no it was better that she be able to move on without having to feel the loss of what they had shared again.
Angel looked up as Cordilia entered his office without knocking. "What's the crisis?" Angel asked seeing Cordy's agitation.
"You've been doing nothing but brood since Buffy left and frankly I'm sick of it go get her, apologise, explain what happened, something anything as long as you see her." Cordy said walking forward and dumping what he recognised as one of his going away bags on his desk apparently already packed.
"Cordy I can't ju…"
"No were all in agreement on this and as much as I'd prefer little miss slays a lot stay away from you and you from her, I can't stand to see you so upset, so get going the team is not going to take no for an answer on this." Cordy said.
"Now look here Cordy I am your boss…"
"Don't even think about throwing that line mister, get out that door and out onto the road to Sunnydale before we kick you out." Cordy said her foot tapping against the floor of his office whilst he looked at her.
Angel didn't need to be told again he swooped Cordy into a hug before grabbing the bag and walking out the door and was surprised to see all the relieved faces at the sight of his exiting with the duffle bag.
Angel smiled at their concern before getting into his car and driving down the highway, once he reached the outskirts of the city he'd be able to make Sunnydale in half an hour…if he broke every traffic law known to man…which he intended to do.
It had been one whole month to the day since Faith had began the charade of being Buffy Summers and Faith was ready to take B's body and run.
The only problem with that plan was that Faith wanted to begin her life again. Hell the only reason she had taken B's body was because in her eyes Buffy had the perfect life The slayer could have.
But one month of being Buffy Summers and Faith realized that Buffy had a worse deal then she ever did. Sure she had been alone for basically all her life, but she had never had to deal with the feeling of being surrounded by people and yet feeling so totally and utterly alone, until now.
Faith couldn't be sure because she wasn't really B but from what she knew of B and what had been discovered by living as B was that Angel had been what made Buffy able to cope with all the freakiness that her life held. He had been her rock and once he had left Buffy had lost a huge part of herself and the loss just kept getting bigger and among the losses was her will to be her own person and not let people rule her life and make her decisions for her.
This had become painfully obvious to Faith the moment she first set eyes on Riley, Buffy's G.I. Joe wannabe boyfriend. It no longer surprised Faith that B had left without much of a fight, no fight at all really she had made a small effort and then left.
Faith had given Riley a test drive before dumping the whiney, jealous, insecure asshole and she completely expected Buffy to thank her when she found her and got her body back.
Yeah that's right she was looking for Buffy even though she knew that upon finding The slayer she could except to get the worst beating of her life. She was willing to risk it because her want of a better life for herself as herself outweighed the cons of Buffy beating her ass into the ground.
Her progress was limited and hindered by Buffy's friends and family because she didn't want them to find out that she wasn't Buffy. Not because it would make them feel bad, but because she would be locked up and the key thrown away while they searched for Buffy but that's not what held her back what held her back was that once B was found and their bodies switched back she would be handed over to the watchers council where she would be executed and B would be stuck here forced to live the life of a slave or a puppet, and that life was fit for no one especially someone as important as a slayer…The slayer. Faith corrected herself.
Faith wasn't stupid she knew that Buffy was The Slayer and she was A slayer; as she liked to put it as Buffy held more power than she ever had and always would. Another reason why she had taken B's body with the hopes that the power would stay with the body but it hadn't and she knew why. It was because the power was reinforced by the persons soul and once upon a time she might have been deemed worthy to harness such power on her own but she had ruined any chance she had by having a weak soul and succumbing to the darkness and betraying her calling out of jealousy and spite. Her soul was tainted and so was her mission but she was now determined to spend the rest of her life earning B's forgiveness and respect and the right to be a slayer.
Faith knew that Buffy had run away before and none of the Scooby's had any luck finding her and that B had come back all on her own. So it didn't surprise her that she was having no luck in finding her sister slayer. She had called her contacts from her home town they had tracked her bankcard for a bus ticket to L.A but after that B had fallen off the face of the planet and Faith had been impressed despite herself that her goody, goody sister knew how to disappear better than most criminals.
She was pretty sure B had taken on a new ID…and a good one at that…she couldn't find anything on Buffy, so she'd had to rely on pictures and there were an uncountable amount of people that matching her description in L.A alone and Buffy had probably moved on from there by now.
Faith looked up in surprise as she heard a knock on the door to Revello Dr, she was there alone as Joyce had to go on a date even though 'Buffy' had come to visit her for the 2nd time since Faith had taken over Buffy's body, the first time Joyce had been called in to go to work for an emergency, but Faith suspected that she was just avoiding Buffy for whatever reason.
Faith got up from the couch facing the glowing T.V to answer the door as another more instant knock sounded. She pulled the door open and froze. 'OH SHIT!!!' the only thought running through her head.
Angel took a deep fortifying breath, he was going to tell her everything he had fought with himself all the way to Sunnydale and Angelus had seemed more then amused and had laughed out loud when he had decided to tell her everything even though the powers that be would be very mad at him but he believed that Buffy deserved to know everything that happened that beautiful day they spent together.
Angel felt his heart catch in his throat when he laid his eyes on the first and only woman to have ever captured his heart. It only lasted for a second before he frowned slightly confused. The woman standing in front of him looked like Buffy but her scent of Vanilla and strawberries was faded and seemed to be being replaced with the scent of wildflowers.
Angel's eyes widened when he focused his senses and found that even though it looked like Buffy was standing in front of him she felt further away then when he had been in Los Angeles. He flared his nostrils taking in a deep breath of air absorbing the scents on the woman in front of him and his eyes flashed golden as the scent of a soul that was not Buffy's reached his nostrils and he rushed at the stranger wearing Buffy's body his hand closing around her neck whilst they were still in motion; they came to a sudden forceful stop when Buffy's back slammed into the wall.
"Who or what are you?" Angel snarled.
"I don't know what you're talking about man." Faith chocked out clutching at Angel's hand as it tightened its grip around her throat restricting her airflow.
Angel growled the sound rumbling threateningly from his chest and his face changed into the hard ridges that were the only physical proof of the demon inside him whilst he held his soul.
Faith looked into the golden eyes and knew that she had lost and that the gig was up. "Alright. Alright…let me breath and I'll tell you everything I know." Faith gasped out.
Faith let her hand drop from Angel's as he relaxed his grip enough for her to breathe without difficultly but not releasing it. She drew in a couple of much needed breathes of air. "As far as I know B has left town a month ago and hasn't been back since."
"Faith." Angel stated letting his hand drop. "What happened and what is everyone doing to find her and swap you back?" Angel asked rubbing his hand through his hair and his face returning to its human visage.
An amused gleam entered Faith's eyes making Angel feel uneasy. "Well as for what happened; that was all me, but as for everyone hah; I am looking for B all on my lonesome…" Faith was cut off by a loud roar that came from Angel.
"What do you mean you are looking by yourself?! Why aren't the others helping, don't they care what's happened to her?"
"Whoa. Hang on their Angel man, it's not a case of whether they care what's happened to her…its more they don't know anything's happened to her." Faith said with a small indifferent shrug conveying how much it didn't bother her that the slayer wannabe's couldn't tell the difference between Buffy and herself.
"No…No its' not possible!... I left Buffy with people who care abo…"
"Angel they didn't notice; not when I first came to them in Buffy's bod' and not throughout this whole month of me playing at being Buffy. I'm sorry big guy but the people you left her with only see B as an apocalypse fighting tool." Faith said as sympathetically as she could find it in herself to muster up for the vampire in front of her which wasn't much seeing as it was his stupid choices that had landed Buffy in the position she now found herself in.
Angel stumbled back from Faith a hand clutched to his head "No, no! I left so she could have a better life without…a normal life…a life she could only have…without me…" Angel fell back against the wall a hand still clamped to his head as he felt a sharp stab of guilt hit him over and over again as the words Faith said made it clear that Buffy was not being treated like he thought she would have been sunk in the pain of it consuming him.
The pain kept getting worse and Angel fell to his knees grasping his head in both hands. "BUFFY!!" Angel screamed and his eyes flew open and a strange light swept over his eyes only to disappear a moment later.
Faith watched with concern and an ever growing sense of dread as Angel fell to the ground his hands clasped to his head as if to keep something in and the pained scream had made her jump but also sounded oddly familiar to her ears and her heart clenched with fear as she saw a sliver light pass over his eyes.
Faith stood motionless for a moment as she watched Angel's body which was crumpled and lying motionless on the carpeted floor of Buffy's mum's house, before she hesitantly moved towards him.
Faith was leaning down her arm outstretched and was just about to place her hand on his shoulder when he moved quicker than Faith could even register and she felt herself being thrown forward and her head slammed against the wall Angel had just been leaning against.
She heard the plaster crack and fall away from the force of the blow to her head. The blow left her disorientated so she didn't put up any resistance to the forceful hands that roughly turned her around so that her back slammed against the wall making more of the plaster fall away.
"Ah. Damn Angel man. What the hell?" Faith said with a grimace raising her hands as close to her throbbing face as his hands pressing on her forearms to keep her angst the wall would allow.
"I had a soul and now I'm free that's what the hell."
"Ha ha very funny Angel man but I'm not…" Faith began but stopped as her eyes focused on Angel's face for the first time since she had been slammed into the wall. And Faith felt her blood run cold as she looked at the cocky arrogant face that she had only seen once except this time the eyes sealed the bargain as there black depths stared at her and they held nothing but confidence but also a soulless feel to their black depths that had not been present before and Faith felt a shiver of fear run through her before she squashed it with sarcasm. "Oh great just my luck when I want Angel to lose his soul he fakes it and when I rather he didn't he does."
Angelus smirked he scented her fear but she didn't need to worry he wasn't going to kill her. At least not whilst she was in Buff's body but he probably would after he had made them swap back, as no one was allowed to hurt Buff but him. It was his right as her mate.
"Where is she?"
"Who?" Faith asked still feeling a little dizzy.
Angelus rolled his eyes "Don't play coy Faithy, you won't like it when I'm mad."
"Oh…I don't know…" Faith gulped when Angelus placed more pressure on her forearms so that they were pushing cruelly against the bones making Faith wince in pain.
"I'm serious! I've been looking but B is remarkably good at hiding. The only thing I know is that she bought a bus ticket to Los Angeles with her bank card and then she just fell off the face of the earth…I think she got a fake ID." Faith let out a quiet sigh of relief when the pressure on her arms was let up.
"Well who knew my little Buff knew street smarts." Angelus said admiringly with a chuckle. He never would have pegged Buff as the type. "Come on." Angelus said more seriously and pulled away from the wall his fingers curling like vices around her arms effectively pulling her along with him. He thought it ironic that soul-boy had come all the way to Sunnydale while Buff was already in Los Angeles he had thought that something inside of him was telling him that he was getting further away from Buff then closer but soul-boy hadn't been paying any attention being too busy on worrying about what to do.
Faith knew that it was probably a stupid thing to do but she dug her heals in and struggled to get away until she was slammed against another wall; the one closet to the door.
"Are you trying to get me to kill you Faithy. All you had to do was ask and I'd gladly oblige." Angelus mocked crowding her.
"Sorry big guy nothing that bloody. I just don't go places with strange guys unless I know where we are going…and generally I'm the one doing the leading."
"Where going on a road trip to Los Angeles." Angelus said. He paused suddenly and looked Faith over before speaking again. "How did you do it Faithy?"
Faith knew immediately what Angelus was talking about and deciding that just telling him what he wanted to know was probably the safest route for her in the long run so she told him. "The hand of Gemini, the mayor left it for me."
"And could this hand of Gemini return you to your original body?"
"Yeah it could, if Giles hadn't smashed it to pieces to 'stop' Faith's plan from happening. It was way too easy to fool those jokers, they didn't even question my story." Faith said shaking her head in disbelief.
'Typical of the white hats trying to save the day but instead dooming their supposed friend and saviour to a life of being someone else. Oh well I know a witch who would swap them back for a few hundred bucks.' Angelus thought.
Angelus pulled Faith out of the wall and outside into the night and into the car that had the darkest tinted windows Faith had ever seen.
Faith yanked herself out of Angelus's grip and he let her. Faith pulled open the door and stepped into the car, closing the door behind her with a slight slam and to her surprise she couldn't see out the windows the tinting was to dark. "How does Angel see out these things?" Faith muttered to herself.
"His eyesight is superior to yours." Faith jumped slightly at the sound of Angelus's voice coming from the driver's seat beside her.
Angelus smirked as he felt her surprise and started the engine.
"Why are we going to L.A B probably left there ages ago?"
"Cause." Angelus answered knowing it would annoy the normally brunette slayer.
"Care to elaborate." Faith demanded.
Faith scowled at the sadistic demon and refrained from slugging him. Instead she shrugged "Whatever. Wake me when we get there." Closing her eyes Faith allowed herself a couple hours rest; she wasn't really planning on sleeping not when 'the scourge of Europe' was sitting next to her.
"Valued customers the time is now 5:30 and this store has closed please finalized your purchases and make your way to the nearest register, on behalf of the team at Koltex we'd like to thank you for shopping at Target and trust you'll call again, good evening." Buffy smiled and stretched her arms out over her head, her dark hair falling in her face making her scowl. She had taken a straightener to it that morning and already the dark brown locks where curling again.
Buffy stood up from her seat, she had been working at the fitting rooms for the last 5hours and she was glad to be getting out of here.
She had landed a day job two weeks after moving to L.A. working at Target as a casual 5days of the week at the mall called Koltex was a good way to earn easy money; most of the time you where paid to be bored and even though it could be mind numbing when it was slow the staff more than made up for it. They were forever getting into some kind of mischief behind the managers back.
Buffy walked down the street to her apartment to have a shower and get cleaned up for her night job at a bar that started at 8 and she knocked off at 12. Then after that she'd go on a quick patrol; she didn't normally seeing as this was Angel's town and he had his business to take care of what goes bump in the night so she'd just dust the odd vamp or demon that confronted her or she came across; and that worked in her favour as no rumours were going around about The slayer being in town. She was only going out tonight because she had felt Angel leave; in the direction of Sunnydale.
She felt extremely nervous that Angel was going to Sunnydale, it made her wonder if her so called friends had finally figured out what had happened and if they hadn't why was Angel going down and would he realise what had happened. The latter one was the one that made her the most nervous, it was that one thought that made her keep out of Angel's way if she felt him coming close to her she ran the other way.
Buffy entered her apartment building and sighed when she saw the tacky sign swinging in front of the elevator 'out of order.' Buffy groaned with annoyance and headed for the stairs, that elevator was nearly always out of order. She climbed the three flights of stairs before coming to her floor.
Walking down the hall Buffy walked to the door at the other end of the hall the number read 306, pulling out her key which had the same number engraved on the key ring she fitted to the lock and turned.
Shutting the door behind her Buffy plopped her small carry bag on a chair before heading to the shower letting the steamy water wash her cares away at least for the moment and relax her stiff muscles.
Buffy stepped out of the shower wrapped in a towel her hair clinging to her back the steam from the water completely reversing the effects of her straightener.
She laid out her uniform for her job at the bar before slipping into some jeans and shirt before heading into the kitchen to check out the fridge. Buffy sighed as she looked in the fridge pulling out the empty juice bottle before closing the fridge, she had forgotten that she needed to go grocery shopping as her fridge was empty and her cupboard wasn't much better. Buffy shrugged and grabbed the phone and dialling the number for Dominos pizza.
She sat down and flicked on the T.V waiting for her pizza to arrive. Buffy let her mind wander as she watched the moving pictures on the screen not really thinking of anything just relaxing.
It was all too soon that Buffy found herself on the streets of L.A again this time heading for 'The Dive' a small time bar that did pretty well but was in a poor part of the city.
"Hey Holly. Glad to see you're here where really busy tonight so quickly put your stuff in the back and come do your tables." A small pretty red haired woman called Tessa yelled over the noise. She had become Buffy's first friend, the woman had immediately gravitated to her the moment she had stepped through the door and the two had been good friends ever since.
"Yeah sure thing I'll be out in a mo'" Buffy called as she entered the locker room and put her bag into the one with her name on it before locking it and stuffing the key in her pocket.
Buffy came back out and grabbed a pad and a pen from a bench and walked over to her section of the bar. Stopping in front of a large group of males that were regulars at the bar Buffy smiled. "What can I get you tonight Ken?"
"A round of Burban would be great Hol'"
"Sure thing I'll be back in a moment with your drinks." Buffy dodged the good natured hand that was aimed at her ass with a smile Ken was always a big flirt and a tease and it had become customary for him to slap her ass as she left after Buffy had managed to dodge the first one he'd tried to lay on her.
Buffy grabbed the glasses needed and filled them before picking up the tray with a practiced ease as she walked confidently back to the table not spilling a drop as she placed the tray on the table and handed out the glasses and picking up the old ones before depositing them at the bar.
The rest of her shift went on in the same manner taking orders of all sorts of alcoholic beverages and meals. Tessa had left two hours after her shift had started and with a quick good bye Buffy had been left alone for a good half hour before the next chick showed she was someone who Buffy didn't know and honestly didn't want to she had a bad feel about her.
Buffy was more than glad when her shift was over and she quickly grabbed out her bag and exited the bar.
"That bags bigger than the one you normally bring."
Buffy turned and smiled "Yeah I'm staying over at a friend's tonight Marty." Buffy lied smoothly. Marty was the owner of the bar and from the looks of it he was taking a break before going back inside, not that he had to do much but he liked to be there most of the night to make sure nothing terrible happened, like the bar getting trashed.
"Well have a good night Holly." Marty said before entering the smoky bar.
"Yeah you to Marty." Buffy said before hefting her bag on her shoulder and heading out into the night gripping a stake in her hand.
Buffy fell back onto her bed with a groan it was 4am and she had only just gotten in. It was amazing it was as if the whole population of vampires and demons had some sort of sensor that told them when Angel had left town 'cause they had been out in droves tonight.
She had almost thought that she'd be over powered there was that many but as usual her instincts had pulled her through practically unscathed but one demon had gotten a good swipe at her and she had had to wash and bandage her side with a gauze padding to help absorb and stop the bleeding after getting under the shower again to help clean her wound, and it had caned.
Despite the pain and discomfort from her wound Buffy soon found herself asleep.
Faith looked around the crumbling abandoned building that they had run to a few seconds before the sun rose over the sleepy town of L.A Angelus was sitting against a walk humming what sounded like an old nursery rhyme but she could be mistaken.
"Where you going Faithy?" Angelus asked as she headed for the hole in the wall that they had used as a door.
"Out." Faith said not bothering to look back.
"Just be back before sunset."
"What are you my father? You sound like a whiney old man." Faith shot over her shoulder just as she existed the building hoping that Angelus wouldn't be angry over the comment when she got back.
Faith wandered around the streets for a little while before ducking behind an alley and into another deserted building where she settled down and closed her eyes having not slept the entire ride to L.A or last night and her body was telling her that she needed to sleep now.
Faith fell asleep in a couple of minutes her subconscious was far from peaceful. She found herself standing in front of a huge mall everything obscured except for a red and white target, she then found herself whisked to a small bar 'The Dive' written across the roof. No sooner had she taken that in then she was outside a large old building then whisked up flights of stairs to suddenly be standing before a room door numbered 306…
This same sequence played over in Faith's mind before she jerked awake her breathing coming in gasps before she smiled 'Gotcha B.'
Faith walked out the door and sighed with relief when she noticed that the sun had yet to set completely she had been asleep for a long time.
She entered the abandoned building that Angelus was hiding from the sun in just as the sunset over the horizon the last splashes of light disappearing.
"I almost thought I'd have to track you down Faithy." Angelus said stepping up beside her.
"Yeah yeah save the melodramatics' I know where she is." Faith said turning to leave Angelus following her.
"How'd you figure that out after all this time?"
"Handy thing be prophetic." Faith said with a shrug as she walked looking out for the apartment building in her dream.
"That's it." Faith said pointing to the building before walking across the road. Her eyes surveyed the room eyeing the out of order sign handing over the elevator before her eyes saw the doorway next to it with a sign saying stairs.
Faith took the stairs two at a time wanting to get there as quickly as she could when she finally reached the floor that was in the three hundreds Faith walked down until the number 306 was in front of her.
"She's in this one." Faith said quietly.
Angelus grabbed her arm and whispered harshly "Let her know I'm not Angel and you'll wish you never heard of the name Buffy Summers."
Faith nodded a little worried for her sister slayer but knew that the girl could take care of herself.
Angelus knocked on the door smartly and waited.
They didn't have to wait long before they heard a chain move and hit against the door and it swung open revealing Buffy who looked at them warily.
"Faith." She greeted.
"Hey B." Faith said a nervous half smile on her face.
"Can we come in Buffy?" Angelus asked his best Angel face on.
"Yeah sure come on in." Buffy said stepping back and allowing her two guests to come in. When she had shut the door Buffy swung round and punched Faith in the face watching with satisfaction as she fell to the ground. "I feel better." Buffy said with a shrug as Faith got up with a smile.
"I'm glad." She said a sarcastic hint entering her voice, she was however glad that the older Slayer hadn't beat the hell out of her.
"So I know why you're both here but I don't see why I should." Buffy said standing back and leaning on a wall.
"Because you're a kind understanding person." Faith said hopefully.
Buffy rolled her eyes "Yeah that's why I hit you."
Angelus moved forward forcing himself to think like Angel and he place a hand on her shoulder making her look at him. "I know your angry and I know they hurt you when they didn't realise but you shouldn't stay like this, I promise we'll work this out when your back in your own body."
Buffy looked away from her ex and over at her body as Faith looked at her pleadingly and she sighed "I suppose you want this to?"
"Yep I want to start a new life, as Faith Malloy not Buffy Summers."
"Why couldn't you have decided that a month ago." Buffy groused before she smiled brightly. "On the bright side I miss looking in the mirror and seeing me."
"So you'll let us change back."
"Yeah why the hell not all I have to do is disappear again and that's not too hard."
"I wouldn't let you Buffy." Angelus spoke up.
"Yeah like you can control me." Buffy muttered before smiling. "So let's do this…do you even know how?"
"Yeah come on it's a short drive from here."
15minutes later Buffy and Faith were facing each other in the middle of a painted white circle as a black haired witch prepared herself to change them back.
"You ready?" the witch asked.
"Just do it already."
"Return." The witch said clearly pointing at them. And Buffy and Faith's world rotated and they were once again looking at each other except this time they were staring at the others body instead of their own.
"That's it?" Faith asked before chuckling when the witch nodded "Hah big guy you parted with a few hundred bucks for a word." Faith said before they left.
Back at Buffy's apartment Faith took her leave. "Well I'll be seeing ya oh and Buffy I'm sorry." Faith said before she left through the door and down the hall.
Buffy blinked "I wonder what got into her." Buffy wondered as she looked at the closed door before her eyes returned to Angel only to look at him in surprise as his face had shifted into the hard ridges and golden eyes of the demon.
"It's been a long time lover." Angelus said grateful to be dropping the soul-boy act as he came forward his hands circling Buffy's shoulders and moving down her arms. "Too long."
Buffy turned confused eyes on him "Angel what did, did you just call me lover?" Buffy asked as he lowered his head to her neck taking in deep sniffs before nuzzling her neck with his face his sharp fangs scratching against her tender skin stopping to suckle at her scar making her gasp even though she knew that this thing wasn't Angel.
"Who gave you the big happy." Buffy asked trying to pull his head up without success not trusting him so close to the pulse that thudded in her neck.
He wrapped his arms around her bringing her closer ignoring her question rubbing himself against her almost erotically "I missed my scent on your body." He muttered his tongue licking her neck tasting her confusion and fear.
"What happened to Angel?!" Buffy said strongly trying to push the muscular demon away but she ended up moving with him as his arms refused to let go and they ended up tumbling to the floor both struggling to be on top until Angelus used his superior weight to his advantage and rolling her underneath him before pinning her there.
"Yes lets' talk about your soulful lover, that left you, I never would have left you Buff." He said his face reburying itself in her neck his face returning to its human visage as he licked the scar again.
Buffy snorted in disbelief "What are you talking about you left me and tried to kill me." Buffy said struggling to get her hands free so that she could pull him up from her neck it was weirding her out that he was being so gentle.
"Kill you no. break you a little yes, I tried to see how you'd react to being dominated when you met the real Angelus for the first time and you put up a fight so I knew I'd have to break you down lover but you were far stronger than I imagined and it drove me crazy."
"You mean when you where telling me how bad in bed I was." Buffy grumbled still struggling with her hands.
"That's right lover it was a lie of course and when I tried to kiss you. To dominate that hot little mouth of yours you pulled back and I could tell in your eyes that you wanted to slap me."
"So you wanted me to be your little slave." Buffy spat before groaning as he nibbled at her scar with his blunt human teeth. "Stop that."
Angelus pulled away from her neck licking his lips "That's mine you know and Angel hated it 'cause it was mine. He left you and that hurt but not so much as when he tried to take the day that never was away from you. I saw in your eyes what Angel missed. I saw that you let him believe that you had forgotten, seeing his need to have you forget everything that happened and so you left after hurting him in return."
Buffy's eyes widened in surprise 'How the fuck did he know that! No one knew that except her.' Buffy watched as Angelus's eyes widened suddenly and he leapt off her and she took the opportunity to climb to her feet.
"God damn it stay down you ass, I'm not done." Angelus fell to his knees his hands clutching his head. Throwing his head back Angelus roared before his body slumped and Buffy ran over to him pulling him up and leaning him against her stroking his face and hair.
"Angel?" Buffy asked softly as his eyes fluttered open.
"Buffy, is it true what he said?" Angel asked his hand going to her cheek as tears ran down her cheeks.
"Yes I don't know how he knew, or why he cared but yeah I never forgot not even for a moment. I wanted to tell you when I opened my eyes again when my memories were supposed to be gone but as I looked into yours I could see the hope you had that I'd forgotten and I gave you that, as much as it hurt I gave you that." Buffy said wanting him to understand her reasoning. Angel closed his eyes as pain shot through him knowing that he hadn't wanted to notice that she remembered after all if he had really wanted to he would have, should have spotted it if Angelus had.
"Angel please forgive me!" Buffy pleaded pressing her forehead against the side of his face.
Angel's eyes shot open and looked at her in surprise before he moved taking her in his arms and holding her tightly to his chest. "Buffy what are you talking about you have nothing to be sorry for, if anything I owe you a few apologies! One for leaving you alone with people I thought cared for you at least enough to realise that you weren't you and second for trying to take away that beautiful day and third for never giving you the choice in the matter." Angel said between pressing kisses into her hair.
"Angel what are you saying?" Buffy asked looking up at him tears still glistening in her eyes as a hope began to burn deep in her eyes like he had seen before he had broken up with her and on the day that was supposed to have never been rekindle in her eyes.
"I'm saying Buffy that I'm not leaving you again." Angel said firmly making sure to look her directly in the eyes trying to convey that he truly did mean it.
"But Angel all the reasons why you left are still there." Buffy said not wanting to give in to her foolish hopes to soon.
"Buffy I wasn't happy when Angelus took over, I was shocked and deeply depressed and Angelus used that to get to the surface."
"So are you trying to tell me that the clause in your curse has changed?" Buffy asked getting excited despite her inhabitations.
"I believe so otherwise Angelus wouldn't have been able to come back when I had found out what had happened, I don't know how and I don't know why, but I do know that I'm glad."
Buffy groaned suddenly and Angel looked at her surprised and Buffy obligingly elaborated. "You do know that this means that I'm going to be stuck being research girl for weeks on end. Don't you?"
Angel laughed before leaning in and kissing her in a long sweet kiss. "That's probably true but the sooner it's all figured out the sooner we can re-enact that day." Angel said a lecherous smile on his face making it impossible for Buffy to wonder which day.
Angel and Buffy stood in the uproar that was Giles's house, Angel more surprised than Buffy who whispered "I told you we should have just nicked off and left them wondering." Angel just couldn't believe that what Faith had told him was an understatement the friends that he had left Buffy to were not the same people as he remembered and he couldn't believe that he hadn't seen this coming after what happened with Angelus and it made him wonder just how blind he had become after his stay in hell.
They had told them what had happened and none of them believed it. After a few minutes of disbelieving silence they had all started talking their outraged voices getting louder which brought them to their present situation.
There was silence suddenly as Willow turned accusing eyes on her. "Why didn't you tell us Buffy, I mean we could have helped…" Willow was cut off a hurt look on her face when Buffy snorted and Angel let loose a soft growl of anger at the audacity of the young Wicca in trying to blame Buffy.
"Oh but Willow I did try and tell you, all of you in fact! You were all sitting in this room and I pointed to my body and said but that's not me and none of you believed me, I had to run off so that I didn't get captured and killed by the watchers council that Giles was so eagerly calling."
Giles spluttered trying to come up with some sort of defence for the council but Buffy cut him off. "No they would have killed Faith without a second thought and you know it, she was; is a rogue and the council doesn't except things or people that break their rules." Buffy said getting angry and annoyed with the conversation.
"But Buffster you didn't even…" Xander began but was cut off when Angel let out a loud angry growl and everyone's attention was turned to him as his game face was in place and he had Riley by the throat an angry growl erupting from his chest. Buffy placed her small hand on Angel's arm feeling the angry twitching strain to the muscles there as she ran her hand soothingly up and down his arm. "Angel baby come back to me, he's not worth it ok, just relax." Buffy said softly her voice soothing.
Angel glanced down at her before letting go of the boy who had dared to try and pull Buffy away from him and into a hug. Angel dropped Riley to the ground and pulled his Buffy into his arms his face shifting back as he calmed down his eyes still glaring at Riley as Buffy allowed him to keep her to his chest possessively.
"Don't Riley, just don't ok, you are just as guilty as the rest of them in this!" Buffy said as Riley looked at her with pity in his eyes as if he had done no wrong.
Willow looked back and forth between Buffy and Angel her eyes widening in stunned disbelief.
"No, Buffy you can't be serious! You know that you can't, so why risk…" Willow stopped surprised when Buffy grabbed Angel's hand from around her waist and walked towards the door.
"Hey where are you going?" Willow said hurt that they weren't listening to her.
"Willow I am not listening to this, I'm not I know what happened in 1998 and I know that it put 'you' through hell but things have changed and I'm not positive that I can live here full time when I know that you couldn't tell the difference between me and Faith abducting my body." Buffy said stopping reluctantly knowing that if this wasn't settled know it would drag on for month's possibly even years.
"Buffy what do you mean things have changed? Has something happened?" Giles asked eyeing the two carefully.
Buffy felt a growl rise in her chest but she stopped it and calmed herself down before speaking. "I am not discussing this with you. I am telling you I am not living on the hellmouth. I will come once in a while to check up on the place because it's my duty and I'll stay for a while if there's an apocalypse but apart from that I'm gone." Buffy said a stubborn tilt to her chin that most in the room recognised as a sign that she wasn't going to compromise on the subject.
"Buffy! You can't just…" Xander began only to silence himself when Angel gave him a golden eyed look that sent his blood running cold.
Buffy sighed and closed her eyes asking for patience "I'm not saying that I will never be able to forgive you but I am saying that it won't be now and it most definitely won't be in the near future but I am leaving and I am leaving tonight with Angel." Buffy said looking from one person to the other that had gathered at their request, well Riley came on his own, with a steady look before turning to go.
"Buffy!" Giles called just as they were about to open his door to walk out into the night.
Buffy turned back to look at the man she had considered a father and she felt his betrayal the deepest but she didn't show it, to show weakness now was to throw herself to the wolves.
"Where can we reach you, in case of an emergency?" Giles asked feeling a stab of pain as he saw the tell tale signs of sorrow on the woman he considered as close as his own blood.
Buffy thought for a moment before looking at Angel questioningly and smiled when he nodded his head slightly in silent agreement to the unspoken question she was asking him.
"Just call the Hyperion, leave a message and they'll fill me in." Buffy said before Angel opened the door and like a true gentleman of his time stepped back and let her exist first and he was about to leave as well when he paused and without looking at the Scooby's he spoke in a threatening tone of voice.
"You try and contact Buffy without probable cause or try and guilt her into doing anything I will hunt you down and show you the closest thing you will see to the true Angelus whilst I carry my soul, that is a promise." Angel said and the whole room seemed to grow cold around the Scooby's as the voice wasn't Angel's it was the deep dark tones of Angelus and if Angel had of been looking at them they would have seen that his eyes for a moment a brief moment seemed to empty and become devoid of the life that the soul gave them as the true Angelus rose for a brief moment to protect their mate.
Angel joined Buffy in the car sliding into the drivers' seat putting the key into the ignition.
"What kept you?" Buffy asked her hand sliding into his.
"Nothing just had a little talk with them that's all." Angel said squeezing her hand as the car purred to life and he pulled away from the curb and headed out of town. They had just past the 'you are leaving Sunnydale' sign when Buffy looked over at Angel again.
"We are going to make this work this time?" Buffy asked an insecure look on her face.
Angel pulled over so that he could focus his whole attention on Buffy. He put a hand on her cheek his thumb stroking the soft skin of her cheek affectionately the love he held for her shining from his dark eyes. "Buffy I promise you that no matter what we'll make this work, even if we have to fetch an orb of Thessulah and a witch on standby and have you tie me down. Buffy I promise you that nothing will make me leave you again."
Buffy kissed his lips softly and sweetly a pleased a smile gracing her beautiful face making Angel gasp softly glad that he had been able to make that smile appear on her face again, it was a smile he hadn't seen on her face since the day that wasn't really never was, that was something that puzzled him and he planned on seeing the powers that be about it. He looked over at Buffy from the corner of his eye as he started the car and this time he'd ask Buffy if she wanted to go with him from now on he'd try and remember that she wanted to have at least some say in what went on in her mostly controlled life, and in any case if anyone could convince the powers that be that it was in their interests to cooperate with them it would be Buffy Summers, his Slayer.
A/N: Well that's it let me know what you think? I personally like the way I've left the ending but if you want me to go into some of the stuff that happens in L.A just to wrap it up a bit better let me know.