So, let the "Worlds Apart" sequel-ish-ness begin! My inspiration for this first installment was that crossover phone non-conversation between Buffy and Angel in canon "The Freshman"/"City Of". It got me thinking. If this were the "Worlds Apart" universe, there's no way Angel would have hung up without saying anything.
Disclaimer: I'm not Joss, so they aren't mine.
Now then, if you have already read "Worlds Apart", you are cleared to read this fic. Enjoy!
"Hello?" said Buffy.
"Angel!" Despite how disgruntling her first week of college had been so far, she couldn't help feeling her spirits lift at the sound of his voice. "You're still coming here for the weekend, right?" she asked, feeling suddenly apprehensive. She didn't know how she'd be able to get through the next couple of days without having that to look forward to.
"Of course," he said, and she could hear his smile in the way his tone softened. "I can't wait."
She smiled as well. "Me either." But then she frowned. "Why'd you call the home phone? Did you lose the number to my dorm?"
"What? No, I tried there first. Your roommate answered. She said you were out."
Buffy puffed out her cheeks and exhaled loudly at the thought of her overly perky, obsessive-compulsive roommate.
"Everything okay?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said. "I mean, there's nothing end-of-the-world-y, or anything, it's just…"
"College life not exactly what you expected so far?"
"Okay, it is not fair that you can even do that near-telepathic perceptive thing over the phone," she said with a falsely indignant pout.
"Tell me what's up," he said.
"Oh, just a lot of stuff. For starters, I never really thought college would be so big. It makes me feel so tiny and it doesn't help that I can't find anything without a map yet. Plus, there are all these clubs and societies and things that I don't know anything about, but I feel like I'm the only one who's lost. Willow and Oz are both completely at home already."
"How are your classes?"
"They're okay, mostly. We haven't done a whole lot in any of them yet—pretty much just looked at the syllabus. But I'm definitely never leaving registration this late again."
"I tried to get into this film class without realizing that I had to be signed up for it before actually attending the class, and the professor decided that publicly humiliating me would be less distracting to the rest of the students than just asking me to leave. I think he must be related to Snyder."
"None of the other professors are like that, are they?"
Buffy smiled at the mixture of anger and worry in his tone. "No. A couple are pretty strict, but they're not bad. It's all just kind of overwhelming right now, and not because of classes. Xander's still off on his see-the-country road trip, so my supply of goofy, mood-lightening friendly humor has dried up. When I was getting my books, I nearly concussed the Psych TA, who only remembers me as 'Willow's friend'. And then yesterday, I went to see Giles, except that he had a lady-friend from England over, which resulted in major awkwardness, and I came home today to find that Mom decided to use my bedroom as a storage space for her gallery stuff, but she doesn't even think there's anything wrong with that because she 'didn't move anything'. Then, on top of all that regular life unfun, I also lost a fight to a vamp last night—probably the vamp who turned this nice freshman guy who was gonna be my equally confused study buddy for Psych."
"You lost the fight? Are you hurt? Do you want me to come sooner so I can help you take them out?"
"No, you don't have to—not that I don't appreciate the gallant offer. She messed up my arm a little, but my dignity took the worst of the beating. It was only one regular vamp with an intense evil upperclassman complex, plus her team of seriously lame minions. I can take 'em. I was just off my game last night 'cause of all this stuff and then having to stake the one new almost-friend I made." She sighed. "I miss you."
"I miss you too."
"So. I told you about my moderately craptastic week. Now it's your turn." When he didn't reply immediately, her heart sank a little. "I'm guessing yours wasn't great either."
"I couldn't save the girl in Doyle's vision," he said.
Buffy opened her mouth to speak, then closed it. Suddenly all of her woes seemed trivial, and yet he had listened to and cared about all of them, not minimizing their significance or attempting to supplant them with his own. She felt a rush of affection for him that was so strong it was almost painful. "I love you."
"Not feeling particularly deserving of it at the moment."
"What happened?" she asked, wishing she didn't have to wait until Friday evening before she could act on her impulse to hug him tightly.
"She found out what I am, and she ran. By the time I could follow her, it was too late."
"You can't save everyone, Angel."
"But Tina was someone I was supposed to save."
"What killed her? Vampire?"
"Did you get him?"
"Then you just saved all the people he would have killed in the future. That could be anywhere from one person to thousands. I'm sorry you couldn't save Tina, but maybe all those future victims were the ones you were really meant to save. Their lives don't mean any less just because you don't know who they are."
"I know one of them," he said.
"What?" said Buffy, surprised. "What's she doing in L.A.?"
"Trying to be an actress."
Buffy tried and failed to suppress a snort. "The talent show sophomore year didn't cure her of that ambition?"
"How did she wind up as almost vamp food?"
"The vampire was Russell Winters. Powerful businessman with a lot of connections. He used his ties to the entertainment world to find and prey on struggling young actresses who have no one to turn to."
"And you staked him?" said Buffy admiringly.
"No, I walked into the thirty-second floor boardroom of his office building in the middle of a staff meeting an hour ago and kicked him through the window."
Buffy grinned. "Okay, you do know that when you pull off a kill that awesome, you're allowed to have a bragging tone when you tell me about it."
"I'll keep that in mind."
Angel made a noise that made Buffy think he was probably grimacing. "Right now he's going through this phase where he rides a motorcycle and wears a lot of leather. He says it creates the right image for a demon hunter."
"Uh-huh," said Buffy slowly. "Should I be amused or disturbed?"
She giggled. "He hasn't been stealing your leather jackets to make his shiny new wardrobe possible, has he?"
"No, he bought his own."
"Good. I'm the only one who's allowed to steal your clothes."
Angel chuckled. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Have you told him that there was nothing wrong with all those crisp suits he used to wear, except maybe the amount of starch he was using on them?"
"Doyle's already making enough fun of him about that for the both of us. He'll wear him down eventually."
"Pfft. Doyle's one to talk, the hideous clothes he wears," Buffy scoffed. "You know, I'm suddenly wondering if your good dress sense is actually good dress sense or just luck, since everything goes with your favorite color anyway."
He laughed. "You caught me. Although a guy does tend to get an idea of what works and what doesn't after two and a half centuries," he said. "Especially when the whole point for more than half of that time was literally to dress to kill," he added ruefully.
"True," said Buffy. Upon glancing at the clock on the kitchen wall, she sighed. "Well, I should probably go make another attempt to figure campus out so that I can be remotely the savvy college girl who is capable of showing her boyfriend where everything is when he comes to visit, like I was planning to be."
"If it helps, I'd be just as happy to spend the weekend with lost and overwhelmed Buffy as I'd be with savvy college girl Buffy."
She smiled. "It does."
"Thanks for calling. And for just…being you. That was exactly what I needed."
"Anytime," he said warmly. "I love you."
"I love you too. I'll see you on Friday."
Okay, originally I didn't have a final author's note, but now I'm writing one. One reviewer voiced concerns over the fact that Tina still died despite the fact that Angel has known Doyle for months now in this version and Wes was helping him too, and so forth. If this were a proper sequel, I would have actually written that part out (and I might go back and do that if my muse feels like it). However, despite the different circumstances, I would have kept the end result the same, with Tina dying. I think that was a very important thing to happen so early in Angel's L.A. experience. There are plenty of ways Tina, who was extremely paranoid and skittish, would have become suspicious enough of Angel to go running even without seeing Doyle's note about her on that table. For instance, she could have opened Angel's fridge and seen all the blood in it and freaked out, or something like that. Wesley would be on his "rogue demon hunter" kick at this point, which, while confined to the L.A. area in this version of events, still means he doesn't necessarily spend the majority of his time hanging out with Angel, so he easily could have missed the whole thing with Tina.