Disclaimer: They still aren't mine. *le sigh*
Okay! This is my 2011 IWRY ficathon entry, which I am now posting here for your enjoyment. After a forum conversation a few months ago, I started wondering what Buffy and Angel's relationship would have been like if she'd met Angelus first. So this fic is my idea of how that would unfold. It is completely finished, so I will be posting new chapters in fairly quick succession. Each chapter title is a different line from the fantastic song "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers, which, to me, seems like it was pretty much written for Angel.
And now, without further ado, here's chapter one:
I. When There's Nowhere Else to Run
Buffy stood slightly apart from the others congregated in the kitchen, her arms crossed, glaring in the direction of the locked door that led to the basement. It was a very lucky coincidence that her mother was out of town this weekend; Giles's and Miss Kalderash's apartments weren't large enough to be good places to chain up vampires, and Willow, Xander, Cordelia, and Oz wouldn't really be able to explain it to their parents, but it was crucial to do it within a home, where none of the other vampires would be able to get in to stop them. Still, while glad to be able to provide such a handy solution, Buffy was deeply uncomfortable with the thought that there was a vampire in her basement. Especially this vampire.
"Are we sure we really want to do this?" Oz was saying uncertainly.
"We're sure we'll never defeat the rest of them if we don't," said Xander. "It's like Terminator II. We need one of them on our side."
"Buffy killed Luke, the Three, and the Master last year without doing this to any of them," Oz reminded him. "And we captured him, didn't we?" he added, jerking his head in the direction of the basement.
"Yeah, and nearly died," said Cordelia heatedly. "And Buffy actually did die fighting the Master, so that really doesn't seem like a strategy we should reuse. Plus, if you think I'm going to keep risking—"
"We don't have a choice, Oz," said Buffy, loudly enough to break up the argument and prevent one of Cordelia's tirades about always being the bait.
"Do you think Angelus is really the best choice for this?" asked Willow. "I mean, Darla's the oldest. Doesn't that mean she's the strongest?"
"Not by much. Angelus is their leader. If we get him on our side, the rest of them will be crippled and we'll have an ally who knows all of their weaknesses."
"Assuming that this actually works and he wants to help us, of course," said Giles, removing his glasses and beginning to clean them slowly on a handkerchief.
"Rupert's right," said Miss Kalderash. "This ritual has never been performed, so there aren't exactly any success stories we can go by. I went through it as carefully as I could to get rid of any loopholes or exit clauses—old Romani magic can be tricky sometimes, but I still can't guarantee that it'll work. Besides, even if it does, no one knows what kind of person Angelus was before Darla turned him. If he wasn't a good man, then restoring his soul might not make much of a difference."
"And if he was, it could make too much difference," said Willow, looking troubled. "Two and a half centuries of sadistic, bloodthirsty evil-doing? That can't be an easy burden on anyone's conscience. What if this destroys him?" Her voice had grown quieter and quieter so that she ended her last question on a whisper.
"Then we're still one vampire down with just four to go," said Buffy, her tone making even Xander shiver.
"Buffy," said Giles, a sharp edge of reprimand in his voice. "I know what Angelus has done just as well as you do—"
"You didn't see what he did to Kendra," Buffy interrupted through clenched teeth.
"No," said Giles heavily. "I did not. But that does not change the fact that we are not doing this to punish him. We're doing it because we need his help. Never forget that the soul—the man he used to be—is not responsible for the actions of the demon that took his place. He is as innocent as he was the day he died. In truth, it would likely be far kinder to slay him now than to do this to him, but, as you say, we have no choice."
"Great," said Buffy. "Then I can put him out of his misery once I'm done killing his friends."
"He may very well want you to," said Giles, putting his glasses back on.
At this, Buffy finally turned to meet his eyes, but she had no reply.
"Okay," Willow cut in somewhat shakily. "Are we ready to do this? I brought all the supplies you asked for, Miss Kalderash." She plucked at the top of a brown paper bag sitting on the island next to her with her fingers.
"Good," said Miss Kalderash. "Then we can get started."
In response to these words, there came an animalistic roar of fury from the basement, which made Willow, Cordelia, and Xander jump.
"I'll go make sure he stays put," said Buffy before striding out of the room.
"Janna, are you sure you can do this?" asked Giles, gently grasping her upper arm. "This ritual is rather advanced magic."
"I'll be fine, Rupert," she said with a soft smile, which then turned rather mischievous. "Just don't stop worrying, okay? It's kind of sexy."
Giles coughed and blushed, while the grins that had been sported by Willow, Xander, and Cordelia (and the hint of one in Oz's eyes) as they watched this exchange all vanished and were replaced with grimaces of revulsion.
Yes, you read that correctly. Jenny is not called Jenny in this fic. If her people had never cursed Angelus, she would never have needed to use an alias to keep Angel from suspecting who she was, which means that she's still Janna Kalderash, and the only reason she came to Sunnydale was for the teaching job and the Hellmouth. Also, Xander's belief that this plan will play out like Terminator II is probably my favorite thing about this chapter.
P.S. To you "Season 9" readers, I am deeply sorry for the obscenely long posting delay. My only defense is that real life got very busy and stressful (with transferring schools and then lots more school and work than I'm used to) and the Harry Potter and Doctor Who fandoms distracted me. However, I am happy to inform you that the next episode is currently half-written, and I will try very hard to finish it by the time I've posted all of the chapters of this fic. After that, I plan to work on the next chapter of "The Slayer and His Vampire".