To Hell and Back
Setting: Season One
Rated: Adult for language, Adult Situations
Summary: Angel didn't go to Hell alone
Spoilers: Becoming, Dead Man's Party, Faith, Hope & Trick
(some dialogue used from the actual transcripts from Becoming, Dead Man's Party, Faith, Hope & Trick )
All characters owed by Joss & Co.
Buffy paced the library as Giles read the printout she and Willow had discovered on the disk Jenny Calendar had left before she died. This was exactly what she needed. A way to get Angel's soul back and end this nightmare at last.
"She said it couldn't be done." Giles said as if talking to himself.
"Well, she tried anyway. And it looks like it could work." Buffy told him, hope shining in her eyes.
Xander looked angry. "So he killed her... before she could tell anyone about it. What a prince, huh?"
"This is good, right? I mean, we can curse him again." Cordelia asked.
Giles was still staring at the paper. "Um, well, this, um... certainly points the way, but... the ritual itself requires a greater knowledge of the black arts than I, I, I can claim."
Willow spoke up for the first time since they came to Giles with the printout. "Well, I've been going through her files and, and researching the black arts, for fun, or educational fun, and I may be able to work this."
Giles began shaking his head. "Willow... channeling... such potent magicks through yourself, it could open a door that you may not be able to close."
"I don't want you putting yourself in any danger, Will." Buffy looked at her friend with concern.
"And I don't want danger. Big 'no' to danger, but I may be the best person to do this."
Xander stood up. "Hi! For those of you who have just tuned in, everyone here is a crazy person. So this spell might restore Angel's humanity? Well, here's an interesting angle: Who cares?"
Buffy glared at him. "I care."
Xander threw his hands in the air. "Is that right?"
Giles tried to calm everyone. The last thing they needed was another argument about this. "Let's not lose our perspective here, Xander."
Willow looked at Xander, disbelieving what she was hearing from him. How could he be so cold?
"I'm Perspective Guy." Xander claimed. "Angel's a killer."
"Xander..." Willow began, ready to begin her usual 'Xander you're wrong' lecture.
Buffy shot him down quickly. "It's not that simple."
"So, what?" He looked disgusted. "All is forgiven? I can't believe you people!"
Cordelia watched the fight begin. "Xander has a point."
He spun around and raised his voice at his girlfriend. "You know, just for once, I wish you'd support me, and I realize right now that you were, and I'm embarrassed, so I'm gonna get back to the point. " He looked at the rest of them. "Which is that Angel needs to die."
Giles stared at the paper. "Curing Angel seems to have been Jenny's last wish."
"Yeah? Well, Jenny's dead." Xander told him.
The paper crumbled in Giles's fist as he approached the boy. "Don't you ever speak of her in that tone again!"
Xander wasn't willing to back down on this. "Can't you hear what I'm saying?"
Buffy jumped between the two of them. "Stop it! Stop it!"
Both males shut up and simply glared at each other for a moment. Buffy turned away and went over to Willow looking for support. Giles continued his pacing.
Willow asked quietly. "What do you wanna do?"
Buffy just sighed. "I-I don't know. What happened to Angel wasn't his fault."
Xander snorted from his side of the room. "Yeah, but what happened to Ms. Calendar is."
Both Buffy and Willow turned and stared at him in disbelief.
Xander just glared back. "You can paint this any way you want. But the way I see it is that you wanna forget all about Ms. Calendar's murder so you can get your boyfriend back."
Buffy, refusing to listen to anymore of his jealous remarks, turned and stormed out of the library.
Xander stormed out of the library again. He was doing that a lot lately. It had been a week since Buffy had found that stupid spell to restore Angel's soul and every time he tried to get them to see reason it was a fight. Buffy was only interested in getting Angel back and Willow was ready to channel some dark magick to help her. Giles was too caught up in his 'this was Jenny's last wish' thing to see the truth.
Angel wasn't what was important here. The important thing was that the lunatic in his body was getting ready to bring down Hell on Earth. Even if they restored his stupid soul, there was still the matter of his evil children to deal with. And what happened the next time Buffy gave Angel a happy? The nightmare would start all over again and who would he lose then? He wasn't willing to lose any of his friends just because Buffy couldn't get over the fact that her boyfriend was gone.
After pacing the halls and calming himself down a little, he turned back to the library. Buffy was going to meet Angelus in the graveyard even though he had pointed out that it was probably a trap. But of course, she never listened to him. Willow was going to try the spell. A spell that required channeling dark arts that she had no way of controlling, but again no one was listening to him.
He saw her walking out as he was going in. "Be careful." He told her.
She gave him a cold look, but nodded. "I will."
Buffy walked through the cemetery, looking around for her ex to show up. She hated this. She knew he wasn't Angel, but he still wore her lover's face and without the body there was no way Angel could return. She just hoped Willow could do the spell. She didn't want to have to dust Angelus. She was still pissed at Xander over his refusal to understand how hard this was for her. But as usual he was too jealous of Angel to see anything else. All he did was yap on about how Angel needed to die and how this was nothing but a trap.
"Hello, lover. I wasn't sure you'd come." Angelus said stepping out from behind the mausoleum.
"After your immolation-o-gram? Come on, I had to show. Shouldn't you be out destroying the world right now, pulling the sword out of Al Franken or whatever his name is?"
"There's time enough. I wanted to say goodbye first. You are the one thing in this dimension I will miss."
"This is a beautiful moment we're having. Can we please fight?"
"I didn't come here to fight."
"Gosh, I was hoping we could get back together. What do you think? Do we have a shot?" He looked disappointed by her glare. "Alright. We'll fight." He rushed at her.
Cordelia watched as Willow got everything set up to restore Angel's soul. She didn't like this. Xander was right. This whole thing smelled of a trap. But again the Oh Mighty Buffy wasn't listening to her friend. No, she just ran out straight for it. God, hadn't she learned from her past yet? How many traps had she walked into? She had pretty much gift-wrapped herself for that Master guy. Then after that she got a warning to come out and play and they had all been ambushed by the Anointed one while she was off chasing her tail.
She gave a quick glance around the room. Willow was playing the good little witch and chanting something over a crystal bowling ball. Giles was pacing nervously and Xander just stood in the back, fuming. Kendra looked bored. Cordelia tried to keep from looking too nervous. This all just felt so wrong. Then she saw it. A vampire coming out of the stacks. Before she could even scream, it attacked Xander from behind. The main doors flew open and more vampires strolled in.
Kendra swirled into action as Giles yelled at her. "Get out! Go!"
Cordelia looked around, torn. Xander was fighting off the vampire. Kendra was fighting off two. Willow was scrambling for cover. She looked on in horror as the vampire broke Xander's arm and he cried out in pain. His eyes boring into her. "Go!" He shouted, attacking the vamp with his good arm.
Cordelia saw the opportunity while they were all busy and did the only thing she could. She ran.
Buffy threw another punch at Angelus, pulling back slightly. She didn't like the idea of hurting him too much. He grabbed her arm and threw her to the ground. She knew he wasn't going to kill her. He had had opportunities before and never taken them. He seemed more interested in taunting her, hurting her with the memories.
"Jeez, is it me, or is your heart not in this?" Angelus mocked her. "Maybe I'll just go home, destroy the world."
"Well, I think Mr. Pointy'll have something to say about that. Come on. Let's finish this. You and me."
He just chuckled darkly. "You never learn, do you? This wasn't about you. This was never about you."
The realization hit her like a truck at fifty miles an hour. It was trap. A trap to get to the others. Quickly, she turned and started racing toward the school.
"And you fall for it every single time!" He called after her, making her feel like a fool.
She ran with every bit of speed she possessed, passed the flashing lights of the police cars that were parked at the entrance. God, please don't let me be too late. She chanted in her head as she rushed down the hall to the library. Throwing open the door, she froze. The place was in shambles. She saw Kendra laying in a pool of blood. Quickly she checked for a pulse and felt the stinging of tears as she found none.
Buffy looked up at the police officer in the doorway, holding a gun on her. She raised her arms as another one ran into the room. "Look, I didn't do anything."
The first officer ignored her and rushed over to Kendra. "This one's dead."
"What about up there?" The second asked, looking toward the mezzanine.
Buffy looked up to see Xander's unconscious body on the floor behind the railing. "Xander." She muttered, praying he wasn't dead too. Her eyes frantically searched the room for the others.
The officer suddenly seized her when she tried to move. "Get her out of here!"
"Wait! Just see if he's okay! Please!" She begged as she was pulled from the room. "Please. You don't understand."
"You'd do well to keep your mouth shut, missy."
She was just about to explain, what she didn't know. She couldn't tell them about the vampires. But before she could speak Snyder walked up to them followed by two more officers.
"But I didn't do anything." She tried to reason with them.
The little troll principal snickered. "Why do I find that so very hard to believe?"
"You know this girl?"
"Buffy Summers. If there's trouble, she's behind it."
"You stupid little troll. You have no idea!"
"Attitude problem. Serious."
Buffy turned imploring eyes to the policeman. "Look, I just wanna know if my friends are okay."
The officer ignored her pleas and got out his handcuffs. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and..."
Buffy didn't have time for all this. She glanced over her shoulder, and without warning punched the officer in the face. She grabbed him by the neck and pushed his head down, flipping him over onto his back. Snyder immediately took a shocked step back. Knowing he was too much of a coward to try anything, she turned and ran down the hall, ignoring the police yelling at her to stop.
She never stopped running until she was out of the school. Her heart pounded in her chest as the gunfire exploded around her, but she had to get out of there. She couldn't help anyone if she was in jail.
Xander hated hospitals. He had spent too much time in them as a kid. He looked down at the cast on his arm and desperately wanted to take one of the painkillers they had given him, but he needed a clear head. Someone around here needed a clear head. Giles was missing and that meant he was probably taken by the vampires. Willow just woke up from her coma and immediately decided to try the spell again. What the hell was wrong with everyone? The doctor's told her she had head trauma. And she wants to go and perform a complex, dangerous spell in her hospital bed. Yeah, that made perfect sense. Oz went along with her idea and even though Cordy disagreed, she gave in too. They were both going to get her supplies while he was supposed to find Buffy and tell her to stall.
This was insane. He turned and walked slowly out of the emergency room doors.
Buffy walked purposefully down Crawford Street. She had a lot to do. She couldn't stop and think now. Couldn't think about the angry words her mother had shouted at her, telling her that if she left not to bother coming back. She couldn't think about that weird guy Whistler's words telling her that Angel's blood was the only way to close the portal. Couldn't think about the strange alliance she had made with the enemy so he could get his girlfriend back.
All she could do was react. She didn't want to think anymore. If only Willow's spell had worked this nightmare would be over now. But Willow was in the hospital. Thankfully she had come out of the coma, but she would be there for the next few days for observation. A few days would be too late. This had to end tonight. She had to stop Angelus or the world was doomed. And that meant killing him and killing him meant Angel would be gone forever. She hated this.
She almost had a heart attack when Xander jumped out of the bushes at her. "Xander!"
He gave her a very nervous smile. "Cavalry's here. Cavalry's a frightened guy with a rock." He held up his rock to illustrate. "But it's here."
Buffy was thankful for the support, but she wasn't about to risk his life again. God, he already had a broken arm. She couldn't lose anyone else. "You're not here to fight. You get Giles out, and you run like hell, understood? I can't protect you." She pulled the cloth off the sword she had taken from the library. "I'm gonna be too busy killing."
"Now, that's a new look for you."
"It's a present for Angel."
Xander stopped walking. "Willow, um, she told me to tell you..."
"Tell me what?"
He just looked at her for a second and turned away. "Kick his ass."
She felt all her hope fade away in that second, but what did she expect? Willow was in the hospital and Angelus had put her there. Why would she want to help him? She just prayed she had the strength to go through with this and that Spike wasn't trying to double cross her. Either way, it ended tonight.
Xander followed behind Buffy, feeling like shit. He had lied to her. He knew he was doing the right thing. He had seen that look of hope in her eyes and knew in that second that she would stall and risk everything for the chance of saving Angel. He didn't know who he hated more right now. Her, for her blind love and devotion that ignored all reason and got people killed or himself for lying to get her to do her job.
Standing in the doorway, watching as the fighting started to break out, he knew he had done the right thing. Angelus was already starting the ritual. If she could stop him before he finished it, they would be safe. Even if Willow's spell worked, which he doubted, Angel would come back and they'd have to hear the story of how he bravely saved the day until he wanted to kill himself.
Turning around, he rushed off to try and find where Giles was being held, hopefully still alive. He had looked through most of the downstairs, but still nothing. He was glad he had a stake when a vampire jumped out at him. He couldn't believe he had reacted that fast and dusted it, but he was running pretty high on adrenaline right now. Pushing open another door, he saw Giles tied to a chair. He felt sick at the condition the man was in, shirtless and covered in blood.
The Watcher slowly lifted his head and looked at him like he'd never seen him before. Xander didn't have time to waste, he immediately began to cut the ropes.
"Can you walk?"
Giles just turned away from him. "You're not real."
"Sure, I'm real." He touched his chest in an effort to prove it, being careful not to inflict more pain on the man.
"It's a trick. They get inside my head, make me see things I want."
He looked into Giles' face. "Then why would they make you see me?"
The reality shone bright in the Watcher's eyes. "You're right. Let's go." He groaned as Xander helped him out of the chair. As they hurried out the front door, Xander could hear the clanking of swords. Spike and Drusilla were fighting with each other. He took a quick glance behind him and saw Buffy wasn't fairing too well. She needed help.
Getting Giles down to the end of the driveway, he turned. "Get to the hospital." He gave him the keys to his car. "I borrowed it. Sorry."
Giles looked unconcerned about the grand theft auto. "Where are you going?"
"She needs help. Go. I'll be fine."
"No. Good lord, you're hurt as well." He looked at the cast.
"Souvenir from earlier. Now go before you bleed all over the street. Willow's doing the spell. She needs help."
He paled. "Is she all right?"
"Head trauma, coma, now trying a dangerous soul-giving back spell? I'm thinking, big no! Go, she's in room 126. Hurry!" He turned and ran back up the driveway, jumping out of the way when a car crashed through the garage doors. A black Desoto screamed down the driveway and crashed through the gate never slowing down.
"Well, that takes care of them." He muttered, going inside the house. He looked around for a bigger weapon and saw a sword laying on the ground. Quickly, picking it up he stepped into the room where Buffy was about to kill Angelus. Suddenly the vampire groaned in pain and collapsed on the floor.
He wondered if Buffy had just killed him or if the spell took effect. The air in the room was whirling and that probably wasn't a good sign. Over the rising wind, Angel's sobs were heard.
"Buffy?" The vampire cried. "What's going on? Where are we? I-I don't remember."
"You're hurt. God, I... I feel like I haven't seen you in months."
Xander just stood there and watched as the lovers reunited. A low rumbling was beginning to vibrate through the room and Buffy's eyes went wide as she looked at the large stone statue in horror. He suddenly remembered his History teacher's comments earlier that week as he read some passage someone had written...
"…Bottom line is, even if you see it coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we? Helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are."
He rushed over to them. "It's opening!" He shouted above the growing noise.
"Angel's back." Buffy looked very happy.
"I know, Willow's spell must have kicked in. We need to close this thing."
"You knew?!" She shrieked. "You said Willow said to 'kick his ass'!"
He just nodded, preoccupied with the large portal that was now visibly growing. "Yeah, well I didn't think it would work. Now, how do we close it? Giles said…Giles said…God, what did Giles say?" He was starting to panic.
"Blood. It needs blood." She repeated what Whistler told her, but she wasn't going to sacrifice Angel now that she had just gotten him back. God, if she had only known about the spell.
"Right. Angel's blood." Xander looked at the still confused vampire who was watching them. Without warning he raised the sword and delivered a vicious swipe, removing Angel's hand at the wrist.
Buffy gasped horrified at the blood spurting from her lover's wrist. "Oh my God! Xander, are you crazy?!" She shouted. She was not about to let Xander kill Angel now that he was back. They just needed to find another way to close it.
Xander ignored her screaming and grabbed the dismembered hand and tossed it into the swirling vortex, but nothing happened. "That was a sacrifice of blood!" He said to the rock. "What more do you want?" He suddenly looked down at the sword that was protruding through his stomach. How did that get there? He thought getting dizzy.
"How about that?! You lying bastard!" Buffy shouted and pushed him.
He didn't have time to think as he fell into the vortex.
Angel wondered what was going on. Images were floating through his mind quickly. All the people Angelus killed, all the things his evil self had done, awakening Acathla. Oh God, the end of the world!
"Come on Angel. We need to get the hell out of here!" She was pulling him. "We'll find Giles and figure out a way to close this."
"My blood is the only thing that can close it." He told her. "A good amount of it. More than a hand. Maybe an arm."
"Your arm?" She looked disgusted.
He hugged her, knowing what he had to do. "I love you. I need to do this. We don't have much time."
"No! You can't! I won't let you go again!"
"I have to. Besides, Harris is in there and he won't survive on his own." He pushed her out of the way and jumped.
Buffy screamed. "NO!" She tried to reach for him but he was gone. The vortex was suddenly sucked back into the rock's mouth and it's jaw closed. It was over. She had lost Angel. She had killed Xander in a fit of rage. She had nothing left.