Rewarded takes place as an alternate Angel season 5 ending.
Obviously I don't own these characters, we all know that.
If some of the lines don't follow cannon, they may be from another story I've written.
Enjoy, or not, but thanks for reading!
Angel limped into his apartment, exhausted from the mundane routine of unlife and needing some serious downtime. His shirt was half unbuttoned when the hairs on the back of his neck stiffened and he felt a presence materialize behind him.
He slowly turned, not really caring what it was, he was too tired and depressed to care anymore. His eyebrow raised as his eyes fell upon the beautiful woman standing there, her hair was dark, black and shimmering in the glow surrounding her. Eyes blazing purple, skin white as snow, her dress the same purple as her eyes, made more of light than cloth.
"Super hi-tech security my ass" Angel muttered to himself.
The woman smiled at him, "Champion" she breathed, her voice high and whimsical.
Angel sighed, 'So not in the mood for this', "Yeah, so I've been told. What do you want?" he demanded, hoping whatever it was would be quick, he just wanted to go to bed, the hell with the universe.
"It is not what I want Champion, It is what you want" she answered still smiling.
'Great, a cryptic intruder, perfect. I hate my life.' "Oh…Ok then, I want…you to leave. Thanks for stopping by, don't come back." He said turning away and heading for his bed.
"You are broken Champion." She said to his face. He jumped when he realized she rematerialized only inches in front of him. He sent her a very annoyed glance. "You're not leaving are you?" he asked defeated, "Fine. How may I help you?" he asked, voice dripping with false politeness.
"It is I who will help you" she replied, tracing her hand along his shoulder. He shrugged her hand off and moved backwards, giving himself some distance between them.
"Well you've come at a bad time; See I don't need any help at the moment. Try again when the apocalypse rolls around." Angel glared, hoping she would take a hint and leave already.
He was sick of playing the games the Powers That Be sent to him or was it The Senior Partners…it was too hard to tell the difference anymore. He's lost so much already, why should he keep spinning that wheel? As with gambling, sometimes you need to know when to just throw in the towel and take what you got left.
"I was sent here Champion, by The Powers That Be. They understand your losses, and your gains. They wish to reward you for what you have lost."
He turned and looked directly into her eyes, "Then bring them back." He demanded. "Cordelia, Fred, Wes, Gunn, Lorne, Doyle, hell even Spike…they didn't deserve to die, not for the likes of me."
She frowned, eyes shinning with sympathy, "I'm sorry Champion, that I cannot do. Once a life is gone, it is gone."
Angel was infuriated by that, "Bullsh*t! I've seen people come back! I came back from Hell! There is no gone! Ever hear of…" He raged at her.
She merely raised her hand and Angel felt his voice disappear. He was startled as his mouth worked but no words exited. After a moment of trying he gave up and shut his mouth, crossed his arms across his chest, surrendering to her for the moment, but still royally pissed about it.
"Your friends are where they need to be. Some are in the ether, some work for the Powers now as messengers, others reborn to the world. What I give to you is overdue. Something you have fought for and won." She stepped forward, her hand extended, palm facing him.
He tried to step back but realized he was immobilized. 'Crap' his mind raced, eyes searching for an escape.
She paused only an inch above his heart. "This gift cannot be given unless it is accepted." She said to him, reading the panic in his eyes.
"What is it?" he asked, his voice granted back, trying to buy time. "I don't remember ordering anything."
The woman dropped her hand, "Champion, I understand your weariness. I am not here to harm you. There are no stings, no clauses, no one will be harmed. I cannot tell you more. Do you accept? Or shall I go?"
For the first time, he really looked into her eyes, and they spoke to him, more than her words. Her strange purple eyes drained the fear, exhaustion and anxiety from him, he felt relaxed for the first time in ages.
Never breaking eye contact, he nodded, "I accept." He spoke softly, the anger gone from his voice.
She smiled at him, her whole body glowing in a soft purple light. She raised her hand again and placed it over his heart and shut her eyes.
He felt power surge into him, for a moment he was horrified as he felt the curse that held his soul shatter. He gasped and fell to his knees, agony sweeping over him, but as fast as it was felt it was gone.
Angel felt a peace wash over him, a warmth he hadn't felt since his heart first stopped beating centuries ago. He sucked in an unnecessary breath, and slowly rose back to his feet.
"What…what did you do?" he asked confused. He knew he was still dead, he felt no heart beating in his chest.
"I rewarded you your soul." She simply stated.
His brow crinkled in confusion, "I …I don't understand, I already had that."
She shook her head, "No Champion, you had a curse. Yes your soul was inside your body, but it was not yours to keep. It was a prisoner, caged in darkness, exposed to the evil of the demon inside you. That is why you suffered so." She said as she ran a hand along his cheek.
He swallowed hard, the lump in his throat would have made in impossible to breathe if he had needed to.
"It cannot be lost now. Your soul is restored, resting as it should be, no longer a foreigner to its own body. It can no longer be tainted by your demon." She finished.
A single tear rolled down his cheek, he hadn't realized how painful his existence had felt with his soul cursed to him. The decades erased his memory of what true peace felt like, the constant guilt and remorse of his demon's actions no longer swirled in every corner of his mind.
"Th…Thank you." He finally was able to speak through his emotion, looking directly into her eyes.
"You have earned this Champion" she said as she smiled.
A humorless laugh escaped his lips, "I don't feel like I have" He said honestly, "All the things I've done."
"No Champion, not you, your demon. Do not confuse the two."
He looked down, and then nodded.
She stepped closer to him, her light shinning brightly, but not painfully. "What you desire most shall be granted to you." She told him with a smile, and then she simply vanished.
Angel was left standing alone in his apartment, all thoughts of sleep now extinct.
The elevator door clicked open, and if Angel's heart had been beating, the sight in front of him would have stopped it.
"Buffy?" Angel whispered as he stared wide eyed at the young blond Slayer as she walked out of the elevator and into his apartment.
"Angel?" Buffy asked looking into his eyes, a desperate longing rousing within.
Both stood staring at the other for a long moment, fighting emotions and memories. They slowly walked towards one another, stopping less that a foot apart.
"Hi" he finally managed to say, looking her up and down, drinking in her sight, and savoring the smell of her scent, vanilla and honey.
"Hi" she repeated back, nearly drowning in the warm chocolate pools of his eyes. Energy passed between them, as strong as it always was, inching them closer.
A moment later, Buffy wrapped her arms around his waist, intending a friendly hug hello. However the energy between them intensified and the chaste hug quickly became a passionate kiss.
In an instant she was on her tip toes, arms latched around his neck, while his arms encircled her tiny waist.
Suddenly Buffy leapt up, wrapped her legs around his abdomen and pulled herself as close to him as she could get while staying a separate being.
His hands travels along her back, her arms, her shoulders and tangled in her hair. Angel backpedaled towards the bed, when he reached it; he practically tripped and fell backwards onto it, too engulfed in passion to be paying much attention to such minor details as his surroundings.
Everything in Buffy's mind that wasn't currently involved in Angel was suddenly gone. Dawn, the new Slayers, her job everything disappeared as her desire for the vampire she was kissing increased beyond her control.
Angel felt like his world just ended, and he was left alone with the one person who he still loved, and he was just fine with it.
Within seconds, clothes vanished from their bodies and they knew nothing but the touch of each other.
Buffy slowly awoke; she smiled to herself and snuggled further into her pillow. She had the most wonderful dream last night, a dream of her and Angel finally together again.
She knew such dreams were foolish to think about, if they were to be together intimately, he would lose his soul. That was not a thought she wanted to cloud her wonderful dream with, so she flushed it away.
After a few moments, she became aware that her pillow felt odd, she opened her eyes and glanced down at it. Curious as to why her normally blue cloth and down pillow was now pale skin surrounding flesh and bone. 'Huh?'
'Did I take home one of the guys at the club?' 'No' she realized, the chest she was laying on hadn't yet drawn in a breath, nor could she hear a heart beating beneath her ear.
'Did I kill someone while in the heat of passion?' She did have a tendency to get a little rough sometimes, but what could she do? It wasn't like slayer strength could be turned off.
Fear crawled up her spine, and she began to wonder if her dream had really been one or not. Slowly she tilted her head to look at the face of the man she was laying atop. Her eyes widened when they fell on Angel's sleeping features.
'O God! What have I done!' her mind panicked, 'His soul! He's going to loose his soul!' She slowly began to slide off of him, preying to not wake him, incase his soul was already gone, she really didn't want to be face to face with Angelus while completely naked.
Angel shifted in sleep, his arms wrapping tightly around her body, pressing her closer to him.
'OK, maybe he hasn't lost his soul yet, I doubt Angelus snuggles in his sleep.'
She looked up again at his face, her heart filling with love as she watched him sleep.
He never looked so peaceful before, not that she caught him sleeping very often, but the few times she had seen him, he was restless.
His dreams seemed to consist of nightmares, constant reminders of the things his demon had done with his body in the past, even sleep for him always had been a sad and broody experience.
She watched him for a few minutes, wishing she could hear his heart beating beneath her ear and to feel his chest rise and fall with breath. She never told him she remembered the perfect day they had shared, his one day as a human.
In heaven she had seen it, been able to relive it over and over. When she returned to earth, she had forgotten it. It wasn't until she saw him again, the night he called her and they agreed to meet, that the memory came rushing back.
When she remembered, she hated him for it. He had thrown away the one chance he had for a normal life, for them both to have a normal life, for what?
*How can we be together if the cost is your life, or the lives of others?* He had told her that doomed day, with only seconds left ticking away on the clock.
'News flash Angel, I died anyways. Your sacrifice didn't save me. It only took the one good thing to ever happen to us away. It took the one thing we both wanted. You didn't save my life, it only cost you yours.' She had said bitterly to him when she saw him again.
She had felt responsible for his continued torment living as a vampire cursed with a soul. Not only that, but she felt even more horrible about flaunting Riley in his face, knowing that to Angel, only months before, she had been his again.
Needless to say, they had both said bitter things to each other, neither finding the solace they had sought out from one another, and they left more broken then they were before the meeting.
Buffy quickly pushed those thought away so she could focus on the crisis at hand. It suddenly occurred to her that they had been asleep for hours now, the last time he lost his soul it happened right after their passion had ended and they had fallen asleep.
'Maybe he isn't going to lose his soul' she thought hopefully, then her mind took another path, a darker path, 'Does that mean he wasn't happy? That I wasn't good enough? He doesn't really love me anymore?' Her brow furrowed as she felt herself shrink under her own self doubts.
She looked around the room, suddenly realizing she had no idea where she was or how she had gotten there. She looked down at Angel and decided it was time to face the fire.
"Angel?" Buffy asked as she looked up at him from her position in his chest.
"Hmm" the vampire mumbled sleepily.
"Where are we?" Buffy asked looking around the unfamiliar apartment.
"My apartment" He mumbled.
"In LA?" She questioned.
"Yeah" He replied.
"In Wolfram & Hart?" She asked suddenly uneasy.
"Umm hmm" He mumbled again.
"Evil incorporated?" She stated.
He opened his eyes and looked at her, "Buffy, What's wrong?"
"How did I get here?" She looked at him, demanding an answer.
"The elevator" He answered casually.
"No, I mean I walked out of my house in Rome intending to go shopping, and suddenly I was walking into your apartment in LA…" she said quickly.
"Oh" He whispered, suddenly realizing her dilemma.
She sat up at looked at him accusingly. "What did you do?"
"Me? I didn't do anything! You just walked in. I…I thought you came here…on purpose." He defended.
"I was kidnapped…I had no intentions of coming to the Evil Empire in LA." She thought for a moment, "If you didn't, then what brought me here?"
"I don't know…I…" Angel's eyes widened as a thought occurred to him, "Oh…I…think I might have…brought you here….but not on purpose!" He defended again.
Buffy's eyes narrowed and her jaw locked, the words forced out her clothed mouth. "Explain. Now."
"A ahh…A representative of the Powers came, to reward me…" He began,
"I am not a reward!" She gasped while cutting him off, offended at the idea.
"I know your not" He quickly appeased, "She said I would get…." He trailed off, shifting her gaze away from her.
"Get what?" She prodded
"I would…get what I most desired" he whispered just loud enough to hear.
"And you wished for me?" She asked baffled.
"Yes…No…I…I don't know. I didn't actually wish for anything…she just disappeared…I thought she would be back, give me time to think about it…" He answered truthfully.
"And you didn't put two and two together when I walked in suddenly?" She asked obviously.
"I…I was just so…happy to see you…It never occurred to me…" He said back.
She pushed herself off of him and to the side of the bed, wrapping a sheet around herself, and sat there trying to remember what was going on.
Angel moved to the opposite side, giving her space to fume, and quickly pulled his boxers back on.
His eyes suddenly widened as a though occurred to him. "Oh God" he whispered. "No, no, no" he got up and quickly moved away, collapsing into the furthest possible chair from her, slumped over, his head cradled in his hands.
"Angel?" she asked concerned. "What's wrong?" then she suddenly remembered his curse. "Oh God, Your curse! Your soul!" She hurried over to him, ready to knock him out if Angelus attacked her.
"Curse is gone." He said flatly from his curled position, "The messenger, she gave me my soul…to keep, that was the reward."
Her jaw practically fell open, "You…huh? What?" How? When?" she demanded, 'Could we have been together before this?'
He mumbled, "Last night, right before you arrived."
A smile slowly crept along her face, "So this is permanent, no more…Grr?" she asked for loss of a better example.
He shook his head, "I'm still a vampire Buffy. I guess this doesn't really change anything."
"What!" she nearly yelled at him, "How can you say that! Angel this changes everything!"
He shook his head avoiding her eyes, "No, it doesn't. I still can't give you a normal life…" he would have continued but Buffy cut him off.
"So help me Angel, if the words sunshine and children come out of your big mouth…I'll…I'll stake you." Even with him looking away from her, she could tell there was a brooding grimace on his lips.
She stepped forward and looked at him closer, wet streaks shown on his face and she realized he was crying? "If you can't lose your soul…why are you crying?" She asked, suddenly regretting cornering him earlier.
"I'm so sorry Buffy, I didn't mean…we shouldn't…I shouldn't have…Oh God what have I done?" he buried his face in his hands again, he was shaking.
"Angel? Please…tell me what's wrong." She begged. Seeing him like this was tearing her up inside.
"You. You being here. This is wrong. This never should have happened…I can't tell you how sorry I am." He hadn't looked at her once since he left the bed. He couldn't.
'How sorry? Was I that bad?' she thought sullenly. 'He regrets sleeping with me this much?'
"You were kidnapped by magic. You had no control. I took advantage of you. Oh God…its rape…mystical rape…I raped you…" he ranted quietly to himself, horrified.
Her eyes widen as his words fell on her ears. 'He thinks he raped me!'
She needed to put a stop to this, fast. "Angel you didn't rape me." She said to him as she put her hand on his shoulder.
Her touch caused him to flinch away. He didn't react to her words, she wasn't even sure he had heard them. She quickly moved in front of him, and sat across his lap to prevent him from fleeing again.
He seemed stunned, "There is a stake in the top drawer… I won't stop you." He said still not meeting her eyes.
"I'm not going to stake you." She said as she placed her hands on his cheeks, wiping the tears away with her thumbs, and forcing him to look into her eyes. "You didn't rape me Angel. I was brought here against my will, true. But that's as far as the mystical went. I'm not under a spell. I chose to be with you. You didn't do anything to me that I didn't want you to do." She smiled and ran a hand through his hair, "In fact, I don't think you've done nearly enough yet."
She finished by drawing him into a gentle kiss.
But he still was hesitant; He broke away after a moment, and looked into her eyes, searching. "You're sure? Not under a spell? Because I can…" his lips were sealed by her lips. As she kissed him again, she breathed, "I've never been more sure."
She knew he was still not entirely comfortable, she pulled her lips away and sighed loudly, resting her forehead against his "Only you Angel can take a gift like this and find a way to brood about it." She pulled back and looked out the window, "As for that a normal life talk, it's not for me. I tried it; with normal people…it doesn't work. It's too hard keep up with the lies I have to weave around the whole 'I Slay' thing. Hell, even with Riley and Spike, they knew and accepted the Slayer thing, but…it just never worked out. I tried to love them…I just couldn't…not enough I guess."
"Why not?" he ventured. She turned her head and looked at him, he was watching her intently.
"Honestly?" she said looking into his eyes, "Because…you still hold my heart." She whispered.
He looked stunned. He opened his mouth to say something, but quickly shut it again.
She looked away, afraid he would say he didn't love her, or that he had met someone, or that he just wanted to be friends. He didn't say any of them, "I wish I didn't." he finally whispered, looking down.
She looked at him, hurting.
"I'm the last person who should have it…God Buffy, I…I tried so hard to keep your heart safe, and I end up being the one to bruise and tear it the most…I don't deserve your love." His tears resumed.
Tears filled her eyes as she felt his pain, "Angel, we didn't choose to love one another. We even tried to fight it, remember, but we can't. You make me out to be some superior being when it comes to this relationship, but truth is, I've done just as much, maybe more, damage to you."
He turned to her confused.
"I stole your soul and then I killed you. Doesn't get much lower than that." she clarified.
He shrugged, "I tried to do the same to you."
She shook her head, "No. Angelus did, not you. I had a soul when I did those things to you…"
"You can't blame yourself for that Buffy. Neither of us knew about the loophole in the curse. And when it comes to Acathla…that wasn't your fault. You didn't have a choice; The Slayer did what needed to be done, to save the world. That fact you chose the world over sparing me, had never made me more proud." He said running his fingers along her cheek. "It let me know, that no matter the circumstances, if the world is in jeopardy, you can and will do anything to save it. That's my girl, that's my Slayer, and it only makes me love you more."
She had tears sliding down her face; his words struck her to the core. She remembered a talk she had years ago with Riley, now he didn't know her at all. "That's why I could never love anyone but you, you've always see me for who I am. You've seen me at my best, you've seen me at my worst and you never once looked away." She said to him, a moment later she leaned down and her lips melted with his. They let all the bad in the past slip away, leaving the road to their future clear and open.
After a few minutes he removed his lips from hers and moved to kiss other parts of her face and neck, to give her a moment to breathe. She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, 'Not like he needs to breathe', halting his cool kisses, and whispered into his ear, "Bed. Now please."
He chuckled, easily lifting her into his arms, and eagerly obeyed her commands.