Wow! This chapter was hard to write. I had it done in three different ways at least. And none of them fitted what I wanted. In the end, I merged those three versions and voilá!
Anyway, I know I left you hanging there with that unhappy, although necessary, chapter. So now it is the time for the healing to start. There is a much needed confrontation ahead. Also, I know you are really waiting for major BA. So…
Something wicked this way comes!
I hope you enjoy.
Angel parked his car and propped his head against the wheel. He was still healing from what he had witnessed that morning. He knew he couldn't keep what he discovered from Buffy and imagined the truth would be devastating for her, but he still felt his inside tossing and turning with all her pain and the emotions he was feeling.
He had wanted to stay with her, but he decided the best thing he could do to help the frail woman he had been holding was to dedicate his time even more to her case and bring justice to her and the other woman. That was the spirit he carried with him to his office, where he found an agitated Faith.
"Angel, thank God! Where were you?! I tried your cell phone…"
"Faith, calm down. The battery of my phone is dead. What is the rush?"
"The rush is that Mr. Hart is waiting for you… in your office."
Angel looked from Faith to the door of his office and breathed hard. Whatever Mr. Hart wanted, today was not the right time to ask anything given the state of his mind. He opened the door to his office to find his boss looking through the glass window behind his desk. He turned around when the door opened.
"Angel, my boy. I was waiting for you."
"Sorry, Mr. Hart. I was attending to a client and my cell phone…"
"Is the client Buffy Summers?"
"I think we have to talk about this case."
".Is there a problem with it?"
Mr. Hart sat in the chair in front of Angel's desk and made a gesture for Angel to assume his place.
"Well. Angel. I know the Harris from a long time."
"Look, Mr. Hart… Their son hurt many people and I am taking this case…"
Mr. Hart lifted his hand to silence Angel.
"Let me finish. I remember their boy playing with my son and my daughters. Do you know that they came here so we could defend their son?"
"No, I didn't."
"Yes. You were on vacation back there. We didn't take the case. You know why?"
"I didn't believe their son was innocent. At the time, there was no way to prove his involvement with the case or the claims of the young woman you are defending now."
"So, you just left it like that."
"Yes. And for that, I will never forgive myself. You know why?"
"Those… monsters… continued to attack women. Maybe if I had addressed the situation for more than a friend's case, the women that died could have been saved and that girl you are representing wouldn't have gone through what she did. I spent part of last night looking to my daughters while they slept because I realized that they could have been one of those women since they were friends with the Harris's son and sometimes went to those parties. What I am trying to say is that this office will back up everything you do and need to bring those men to justice. If you find it necessary, you can transfer your cases to any other lawyer in this office. You can use every resource we have. William already told me he will help you if needed."
Angel looked to Gabriel Hart without knowing what to say. He had a bad story with his brother because of his ex, but he couldn't deny that Gabriel Hart was one of the most ethical man he ever knew. Angel finally found his voice, cleared his throat and thanked the support.
Buffy Summers was scared. She looked up to the strange building in front of her while her mother talked to a woman in front of it. The woman had a soft and kind voice and looked at the little girl.
"It's Buffy, right? My name is Gwendolyn Post. I am the Principal of the school."
Buffy hid behind her mother when the woman mad a grab for her arm.
"Buffy, honey. It is your first day in kindergarten. You were so excited."
"Yeah, sweetheart. Go with Mrs. Post."
Buffy took the hand the other woman was offering. Her mother kissed her and left telling she would be back to pick her up. Mrs. Post took her to her classroom. The teacher there welcomed her as well as the other kids. She pointed to where Buffy should sat, which was near a red head girl and a black haired boy. When the teacher turned away, the girl looked at the Buffy.
"Hi, I'm Willow."
Buffy slowly drifted back to consciousness and the first thing she felt was the warm feeling of the sunrays over her skin. Then, everything she now knew Xander and his friends did came back. She fought the lamp that formed in her throat and blinked several times, but in the end the tears came again. She cried for herself, for her sweet friend Willow. The girl that was a genius. The girl that had received job offerings from Microsoft, Samsung and Google. The girl that had been in doubted on what to do. The girl that was so generous, bright and cheerful.
"Oh God! Oz."
Buffy had the urge to heave again. Oz, Willow's fiancé, was doubly devastated with her death because the woman he loved had inexplicably committed suicide and because of the suspicions that something happened between them that drove Willow to kill herself. He would be yet again devastated when he knew of what really happened.
Buffy was realizing just now the monster Xander truly was. Maybe she and Willow had chosen not to see that during their friendship when Xander broke Willow's doll, pulled Buffy's hair or made fun of kid's disabilities. He had met Riley and Forrest during the last year of high school, but hadn't really been friend with them because he decided to travel abroad when he was not accepted in any college.
When Xander came back, he sometimes displayed a resentful behavior towards her and Willow, mainly on the college thing. He always masqueraded that with funny jokes so they ignored it. Then, he mixed with Riley and Forrest more and more and the parties started.
Could she and Willow have avoided it all if they had been better and more attentive friends to Xander? That was the thought that plagued her mind a lot before, but now she could feel nothing beyond hate. No. No, she was not blaming that on herself and Willow. Xander had destroyed too many lives without caring. He didn't deserve her forgiveness at all, but she also knew she deserved to go on.
Was this new thinking and her anger a sign? A sign that maybe it was time to confront her past. To seek the help Drusilla had talked about. To be whole again. Finally, Buffy opened her eyes seeing the sunny day outside for the first time since the despair started in her life months before. That sunny day told her that despite bad things, life goes on. It always has. It always will. Maybe it was time for her to heal. She knew just what she had to do to start living again.
"Angel. Your mother is on the line."
Angel was working on Buffy's case when Faith called. He stayed with Buffy that morning until she slept. Then, he left to his office, where he found his boss waiting for him. When he left, he opened Buffy's file so he could prepare his strategy for court. Right now his desk was full of papers scattered around. He picked the phone to talk to his mother.
"She did WANT?!"
Angel parked his car near the police station and run inside the place. Some of the officers around complimented him, but he was eager to arrive at Kate's office.
"Where is she?"
"Hi, Angel. Nice to see you."
Before Kate could respond, the door of the office was opened and a very furious Buffy spoke behind them.
"Angel, what… what are you doing…"
Buffy glared accusingly to Kate.
"You called him! You delayed me purposely?"
"Yes. So, sue me. You are a victim and witness against that man. You can't see him without your lawyer. You wanted to talk to him alone. Given the violent nature of the subject I can't abide to your wishes."
Buffy glared at the police officer.
"Kate, excuse us. Can I speak with my client… alone?"
Angel used his convincing smile so Kate could get out of the office so he could put some sense in his client's thick head.
"Fine. I'll give you 10 minutes."
When the door closed behind Kate, Angel turned around to find Buffy glaring at him. For a moment, to kiss her was the only thing that came to mind. She was standing defiantly at him ready to defend her point.
"Are you… are you out of your mind?!"
"No! Angel. I am not. I need to talk to him."
"Why?! You don't need this right now. Especially right now!"
Angel guided Buffy so she'd sit in the office couch. He sat in a chair in front of her and held her hand.
"Buffy, why you didn't call me? I am your lawyer, do you understand! If you go in without me, his lawyer can use that against you!"
"How?! You do realize that you came to a police station to talk alone with the man who raped you?!"
Buffy jumped when the word for what happened to her was said. Angel knew he was being too crude, but he held his ground so to make his point clear.
"You were trying to do it without me! His lawyer can tell the jury you wanted what he did. He can accuse you of being in love with this man as they did before. They can tell you came here to offer to drop out the case if that man stayed with you, marry you or something. This can invalidate you as a witness."
"No, buts Buffy! "
"Angel… I have to Angel. I need to tell him what I think of him. What he did…"
"Buffy, you don't have to expose yourself to this. You will only get hurt. That man doesn't care for what he did. Why do you want to put yourself in danger? I now It is horrible, I know…"
"No! No Angel. You don't know! You don't understand ok. I thought… we thought he was a friend and he did what he did to me, Willow and all those women. He took more than my virginity. He took my friend. He took Oz's soon to be wife! He took Willow's parents daughter! And you know what?! I've been living in fear so much that I considerate to move to someplace else so I'd never see that man again. But… But I don't want to… but I don't want to live in fear. I don't want it to rule my life anymore! Not anymore. For that to happen, I have to do this. "
Angel dropped his head when Buffy ended her passionate speech. She wanted to go on and she thought that talking to the man who betrayed her friendship and trust could be a start.
There was a desk and two chairs in the room. Buffy sat in one of them, while Angel stood in one of the room corners. Holland, Xander's lawyer, had been called and was also present in the room. Angel could feel Buffy's tension every time she looked up to any sound outside. Some minutes passed before Kate's arrival in the room bringing Xander Harris, who was shoved in the other chair. Xander smirked when he saw who his visitor where. He looked up to Angel and gave him a half smile.
"So, why do I have the honor of your visit, dear Buff? Did you come back for… let's say… more?"
Buffy held Xander's gaze, although she was trembling in fear.
"No. I came to see the man responsible for the death of my friend."
Xander put his hand on his chest and spoke again mocking the situation.
"Me! Oh! What do you want Buffy? That I say I am sorry?"
"No. You are… you are beyond that. I just want to know why?"
"Why?! Because of the rush. The conquest. I was the master."
Buffy gave a small smile. Angel's insides twisted with the confidence that was coming from Buffy. He could still remember the first time Faith saw the man that assaulted her. She had hidden behind him in fear. Then, here is Buffy holding her ground. He finally understood why she needed this confrontation.
"So, you decided that to conquest was to force you and those bastards you were friends with on women, including your two close friends? To use drugs? That was the rush. That was the way you found to be the master. You are pathetic!"
"I may be pathetic, but it was me that fucked you for the first time!"
Xander licked his lips. Angel made a move to the table, but Buffy surprised him by laughing.
"Yes. That is it. You… you fucked me, Xander! Against my will. I didn't… didn't love you. I could never… never love you. I didn't give in to you freely. I bet that hurts you, doesn't it? You know that you didn't conquest me or any other woman at all. You know, don't you? That was why you kept doing it, isn't it? They never remembered. That was why you recorded your monstrous actions and latter tried to blackmail them, isn't?"
Buffy didn't know how she was saying what she was saying, but she knew she had to put all that pain and frustration out. She looked to the man she thought was a friend and realized she never truly knew him.
" You… you will be jealous when you find out that I married someone! You didn't ruin me, Xander! I will fall in love and I will make love one day… and that will be my first time. That you didn't take from me… because I don't love you. Such a master you are, isn't it?! You couldn't get laid using your charms, which you didn't spend time enough to develop, so you forced yourself on me and Willow?!"
Xander's eyes bulged when he realized that Buffy was not hidden in fear. He looked to Angel, who had already realized that Buffy got under his skin and was ready to defend her if needed.
"So, you decided to bring a real man here? Your… knight in a white horse?"
"Who? Angel? No. He is just my lawyer. And I damn fine one. He will put you in jail for life. But… why are you asking? Do you think that he is a man? Do you think that he has what you don't? Do you think that he can have any woman he wants without forcing them? I do agree with you on that."
Xander took his hand from the table and looked to the door. He was not waiting this from Buffy. Angel could see the other man was nervous and at one step from explode. And so he did.
"I LOVED YOU BITCH! I loved you and I had to see you dating everyone but me!"
"You. Loved. Me? No! No… you never loved me! You are a sick bastard who uses drugs to get laid with women that wouldn't want him in the first place. You are a pervert who records what he do to blackmail people. You don't know what love is! You destroyed Willow's life. You caused great pain to her parents. You allowed Oz to be under suspicions from almost everyone. You destroyed other women's lives. I want you to rot in hell! You are beneath me!"
Buffy jumped back when Xander made a grab for her and Angel pulled her behind him. Xander advanced on him, but Holland got in the way.
"Alexander! Stop! Stop! If you touch her things can get worst."
Holland turned around and looked at Angel.
"I'm going to file a complaint against your client. She came here to harass my client."
"Do it. Just give me one more chance to beat you on court, Holland."
The commotion caused guards to arrive in the room with Kate, who ordered the angered Xander to be taken back to his cell. Kate glared at everyone in the room, but didn't say anything. She walked towards the room door and motioned for Holland to leave. Angel breathed hard and turned to Buffy who just stood there with lost eyes. He walked towards her and put his hands on her shoulders.
"Are you ok?"
She just shook her head affirmatively.
"We better go."
Angel drove to his mother's house with Buffy by his side. They didn't speak with each other beside the necessary words. Angel was still angered that Buffy had put herself in a situation that could have caused her harm because Xander could have hurt her pretty badly.
His mother was at the door the moment Angel opened it. Buffy had yet to react fully to anything.
"Oh my! Are you ok?"
"Yeah. Everything is alright. I arrived at the station in time to prevent further damages. I'll take Buffy upstairs so she can rest."
"Sure. Buffy, do you want something to eat? You left without eating anything."
"Please, mom. Prepare something and take upstairs. I need to talk to Buffy right now."
Buffy was too tired to fight Angel's hold. She just left him take her to her room. There, she sat in her bed, while Angel stood.
"Look, Buffy. I know that you can make your decisions, but I am your lawyer and when it comes to this case, you have to listen to me."
"I know, but I had to… I had to see him with my eyes. He killed… he killed Willow, Angel. He may not have done it personally, but he drove her to do it."
Angel crushed down in front of Buffy.
"I know, Buffy, but I am just trying to protect you from more heartache right now. I can't let you do as you please, you understand? I hope something like today doesn't happen again."
Angel held her hands and realized she was shaking.
"You are shaking."
"It's nothing. It will pass. It just… I can't process everything yet, but I am feeling free you know. It is like a huge weight was lifted."
Angel put some of Buffy's hair behind her ear. They were so close that Buffy could smell his cologne. When their eyes finally met, they held the contact as if there was something splendid in each other eyes. Angel swallowed hard because that strong urge to kiss Buffy, to sample her lips, came back with full force. He had to get up and get away from her. He just didn't find the will to do so. Before his brain fully processed his actions, he leaned and kissed her.
AN.: Wow! Finally!
Yep! Now you will have to wait for the next chap.