Leaning back further on the couch Angel kept his eyes focused on the fire in front of him, his thoughts consisting of Buffy, what if she had been right to worry about what was happening, she was the slayer built to fight the demons that walked the earth, every night she had put her life on the line to keep their population down and out of no where her life had changed, she could no longer fight, she was just a normal girl, she really was helpless now her strength had been taken.
A loud knock sounded through out the room forcing Angel to look away from the fire and in the opposite direction.
Pushing himself up from the couch he headed towards the door, slightly hoping Buffy would be on the other side, he was worried about her, the more he thought about what was happening the more his need to be around her intensified.
Pulling back the heavy wooden doors Angel was shocked to find Giles standing there, his face a mixture of worry and guilt.
"Giles…can I help you?" he finally asked, at loss what to say to Buffy's watcher.
Stepping back so the other man could enter Angel waited until he was stood in his home before closing the door, the sounds bouncing off the walls more then it should have.
"Buffy's in trouble…" Giles finally said, making sure to keep his eyes on the vampire stood across from him.
Trying to keep his nerves calm Angel turned away from Giles and began walking to his leather coat that had been thrown on the back of the couch he had moments before been sitting on.
"Where is she?"
"In a house not far from here," Giles told him, his voice giving away the urgency he felt to get moving.
Pulling his coat on Angel checked to make sure the stake he usually carried was still in his pocket before turning to look at Giles, his eyes focused completely on the other mans face, "What's going on Giles?"
A full minute passed where no one spoke and each second that passed Angel was finding it harder and harder to keep his worry and anger at bay, he knew something was wrong the moment Giles had shown up at his door and dam he wanted answers.
"It's a test the watchers council set, if the slayer reaches her eighteenth birthday she will be disabled and entrapped with a vampire who she must defeat in order to past the test…I injected her with a vial that takes her strength," he paused, his eyes sinking to the floor as his shoulder sagged, "I never wanted to hurt her."
Angel listened to every word clearly, his mind creating images of everything Giles had said, him stabbing Buffy with needles, her face as she tried to fight the vampire…her eyes closing for the last time.
Snapping out of the trance he had been in Angel found himself in front of Giles before he knew what he was doing, "How could you do that to her, she trusted you!"
"Believe me when I say I hated every minute of it, do you think I liked lying to her? Seeing her in distress when all along I knew what the course of it was." Giles said back, his eyes watering with unshed tears.
Holding back the urge to hit the other man Angel spun away from him and towards the door, his hand stilled on the door knob, "If anything happens to her I will never forgive you," he said turning to look over his shoulder at the man he thought of as Buffy's own father.
Not waiting for a response Angel pulled open the doors and walked outside, knowing Giles was following behind him.
The car came to a stop with the sound of crunching gravel underneath the tires.
Angel was out of the car within a second and entering the house while Giles had yet to register what was happening.
The house was dark and quite but Angel could smell the scent of blood as soon as he was stood just inside the door, inside he was praying it wasn't Buffy's.
He heard Giles behind him, turning he looked at the other man, "Stay close and keep quiet,"
With that said Angel began making his way through the ground floor, his senses on alert, he knew people where here but he didn't know quite how many and he didn't want to put Buffy in any more trouble then she already was in by giving away his position.
Soon he found himself faced with a closed door, he waited a moment to listen for any sounds that anyone was on the other side, satisfied with the quite he opened the door and made his way down the stairs that lead to the basement, all the while his muscles tight just waiting for a fight.
Reaching the bottom he found no vampires but instead Joyce, who was tied and gagged to a chair, walking quickly over to her he knelt down and began untying the ropes that kept her immobile.
Giles followed his lead and removed the gag from her mouth.
"Where's Buffy, is she alright?" she asked as soon as the material was freed from her mouth.
Angel removed the rest of her ropes with quick speed, standing he helped her up, "I'm going to find her, but you and Giles need to get out of here."
Shaking her head Joyce looked at each of them, "I'm not going anywhere until I know my daughter is safe!"
Trying to keep his patience Angel took a deep breath, he knew this must be hard on Joyce but each minute they stayed down here, the less time Angel had to find Buffy.
"Joyce I know you're worried about Buffy, but its to dangerous for you two to be here…you know Buffy would say the same thing," he told her gently before turning to look at Giles, his tone changing when he spoke to him, "Get her home safely,"
Without another word from him he turned and began making his way up the steps, he didn't get further then two steps before Joyce ran after him, reaching out she grabbed his arm, making him stop and face her, "Look after her Angel,"
"I will," he said to her softly, his own emotions on the edge, turning he ran the rest of the way up the stairs his feet soundless as they touched each step.
Not stopping he stalked through the hallway until he reached the steps leading to upstairs, he was about to make his way up them when he heard something behind him, turning with lightening speed he reached out and wrapped his hand around the vampires neck.
The fledgling tried breaking the grip he had on his neck but Angel pulled his stake out and finished him off before he could cause too much commotion.
Before the vampires ashes could reach the floor Angel had reached the top of the stairs.
The second floor wasn't any different then the bottom, it was still dark and quiet but Angel could sense that something had happened on this floor, trying to block out his thoughts he began making his way through all of the rooms.
Rounding a corner after checking most of the rooms Angel stopped dead in his tracks, there was a pool of blood on the floor and it smelt fresh, panic started to grab at him at the sight.
Continuing down the hall he had to hold back the urge to scream Buffy's name, he so desperately wanted to hear her voice telling him she was alright, but the deadly silent atmosphere only scared him more.
The scent of more blood caught his attention, following his nose it lead him to a closed door.
Not caring he might make noise or give away his position Angel grabbed the handle on the door and flew it open, at what he saw made him want to close the door and pretend none of this was happening.
There on the single bed was Buffy, her eyes closed, the collar on her top stained with her own blood from the puncture marks on her neck.
Almost falling into the room Angel crept closer his eyes not wanting to believe what he was seeing, reaching up he went to turn on the light but found it to be broken and inwardly he was thankful, he really didn't want to see her any clearer.
Stopping next to the bed he lowered himself to his knees, "Buffy?" he whispered his voice almost choking on the name.
He knew she wouldn't respond but it didn't stop him from saying her name once again, ever so slowly he reached out and ran his fingers softly over her face, she was cold to the touch which was like a sledge hammer to the gut.
He didn't have to press his fingers to her wrist to know her heart wasn't beating.
Angel couldn't tell you how long he sat there watching her, but at some point he had broken down and cried for one of the only times in his life, Buffy…his Buffy was dead…and he felt like it was his fault, if only he hadn't let her go home alone, if only she had came to him…there were to many if only.
Leaning forward he pulled her so she was facing him so he could place both arms around her and hold her to him, he so desperately wanted to feel her heart beating through her chest, to feel her warm check against his, to hear her breath once more, but she remained the same.
Out of no where a bright white light appeared before disappearing a second later, opening his eyes Angel pulled his head away from hers to look around.
In the door stood Kralik a camera held to his face where he took another picture, which made Angel's eyes feel like they were burning.
Blinking at the sudden change of light Angel took a quick glance at Buffy once more before placing her the way he had found her and getting to his feet, Kralik was going to die tonight there was no doubt in Angel's mind about that.
"Why so sad?" Kralik asked, a smile on his face while he took another picture, "She will be up and about in no time."
The words hit Angel like a fist would have, the air he didn't need being taken from him so fast it hurt his chest.
"You turned her?" Angel asked already knowing the answer, but needing to hear it anyway.
Pulling the camera away from his face Kralik looked fondly at Buffy's body, "Such spirit in that slayer…I hope she stays that way."
Seeing red Angel threw himself at the other vampire, knocking them both out of the room and into the hallway.
Laughing Kralik let Angel pull him to his feet, "There's no need for the attitude, I'll share her with you…after all she is mine now."
Growling Angel morphed, his face becoming that of a vampires, "She'll never be yours!"
With that Angel began taking his anger out on Kralik, his fists breaking open the vampire's skin.
Even if he wanted to Angel couldn't have stopped, he had never hated someone so much as this… this monster had turned Buffy into the one thing she feared of becoming!
Minutes passed as Angel kicked and punched his emotions away, he only stopped when his arms began to hurt and his eyes were so watery he couldn't see out of them, falling back he sat with his back against the wall, his blurry vision on Kralik's broken body, even through Angel had broken most of the bones in the vampires face he was still smiling, wiping the tears away which resulted in blood being smeared over his face Angel took a deep breath, he felt broken himself.
Sitting there in silence Angel closed his eyes for a second, still not believing what was happening, why had things played out like this? Why could Buffy never be happy?
Opening his eyes slowly, Angel locked them with the vampire who had taken the only thing he loved away.
Reaching across he pulled the camera out of Kralik's hand, turning it around in his hand Angel took a moment to stare at it before bringing it to his face and taking a picture of Kralik's broken body.
After a couple of snaps he placed the camera on the floor next to him where instead he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his stake, there was a slight look of panic as Kralik spotted the piece of wood, taking joy at the look Angel took a mental picture of it before getting to his feet and pulling Kralik up to stand so they where facing each other.
With more force then needed Angel plunged his stake into the vampires heart, with a scream Kralik turned to dust before Angels eyes.
Standing completely still Angel closed his eyes for a moment before turning and walking back into the room Buffy was in, the stake was held securely in his hand.
He stopped when he was seated on the edge of the bed, his eyes on her face before looking at the stake, would it be better to just kill her now?
But Angel remained as still as a statue, he couldn't bring himself to do it and he didn't know if he ever could, even if she did rise? Would he be able to stop her… he just didn't know.
And what if he did do it now and they found a way to curse her?
Sighing he dropped the stake to the floor and turned towards her, needing to feel her he moved up so he could place his head on her chest his ear over her silent heart, who was he kidding? There is no cure for her, his was just a fluke made especially for him.
No matter what happened from this point on, the Buffy he loved was gone and it was never her fault, it was his and everybody else's.
Taking a deep breath that he didn't need Angel closed his eyes tightly, the tears fighting their way to the surface screaming to be released, obeying them he cried silently on her silent body, his hands gripping her almost pleading for her to come back to him, his prayers went unanswered as he laid there crying.