Her Choice

Summary: Buffy's had enough of Angel deciding things for her. She's grown up and it's time he learned that.

Timeline: Season 4 BtVS, 1 AtS – just after 'I Will Remember You'. It goes slightly AU after that for both shows. Most important, Doyle doesn't die! At least not for good.

Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

A/N: In response to a TtH forum challenge, Buffy And Doyle by TimeShifter:

**i would like to see a fan fiction with a Buffy and Doyle pairing. You can do pretty much anything you'd like with it. Doyle doesn't have to die or he can. Doesn't matter. Have fun with it.

Bonus Points if Buffy tells Angel off for interfearing**

Chapter 1: Letting Go

Buffy left Angel's office after he killed the Mohra demon, a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. They had the chance to be together and he gave it up. And for what? The stupid idea that it would save her life? She was the Slayer for crying out loud! This was almost as stupid as his decision to leave so she could have a normal life. 'No more!' she vowed to herself. She wasn't ever going to make the mistake of giving him her heart again to trade off for the next crisis that came along.

She didn't know why she was allowed to remember when it was just supposed to be Angel, and she didn't care! She was tired of him treating her like a little girl who needed to be protected. Where was that attitude two years ago when it could have actually done some good? If he had managed to maintain his distance instead of letting her fall in love with him, then things might be so much better now.

Not that she really blamed him for Angelus…much. But seriously, he never asked any questions about the curse in the almost hundred years he lived with it? Now that she wasn't looking at him with love's blinders, she wasn't sure that she liked what she was seeing. Guess the good thing about this visit was it helped her to grow up a little and set this fairy tale fantasy aside for good.

Too caught up in her stormy mood, she ignored the slight ping on her spidey senses, telling her a demon was nearby. "Hey darling, big meeting already over?" she heard the Irish brogue of that shorter guy, Doyle, from behind her.

"Yeah, guess so," Buffy replied half-heartedly as she turned. Looking at him closer now, she realized that he was pretty attractive – not that she was in the market or anything. Buffy knew he was Angel's friend and would probably take his side in the matter, so she didn't really want to explain it.

After spending some weeks with the king of broodiness, Doyle knew that this visit had the potential for disaster. Especially when Angel admitted he didn't even talk to Buffy herself when he was in Sunnydale. Then he looked at her closely and saw she was troubled by something. "What's the matter? You can tell ol' Doyle about it," he offered in his most charming manner.

Giggling slightly, Buffy gave him a grateful smile. "Thanks, but I'd rather not talk about it right now. Besides, you'd probably agree with Angel," she finished gloomily.

Doyle shrugged, not sure how true that assumption would be. There were a lot of things 'his' Champion did that had the seer scratching his head, wondering why the Powers made him work with the vampire. "Maybe, maybe not. Depends on what it is. How 'bout this? Let's go grab a bite to eat. I was supposed to go with Cordelia, but she got a call for an audition and left me all alone," he tried to look pathetic, earning him another giggle from the upset Slayer.

They went to a small diner and, even though she didn't tell him what was bothering her, she did tell him about the rest of her life and he returned the favor by telling her things that he hadn't told Angel or Cordelia about yet – or just barely told them before Buffy came along.

There was just something so comfortable between the two of them that made it easy for them to open up. For Doyle, he appreciated that she already knew he was part demon and apparently didn't care, except to let him know she knew. He had guessed since she dated a vampire, she might not be so quick to slay, but he wasn't entirely sure if Angel was a fluke or not. And for Buffy, the cheerful nature of Doyle was in such sharp contrast to her ex, that it made it hard to see him as a substitute to confide in, even if they both occasionally spoke with the Irish brogue – although Doyle's was stronger and didn't sound as forced.

A few hours later, when Buffy got up to leave, they exchanged info so they could keep in touch. Feeling much better about the day, Buffy gave the seer a tight hug goodbye, thanking him for cheering her up. Oh impulse, he said that he'd come visit her the next weekend…as long as nothing supernatural came up. And so began the semi-long distance friendship of Doyle and Buffy.


A/N: Next…quick conversations over the months.