We've Lost Her

Author: Nitrowugs

Warning: This is not a happy story and it does not end on a positive note. Buffy hates Angel more than she ever loved him. If this offends you, you might not want to read this story.

Rating: PG for off-color words and violence

Pairings: None actually, mention of C/A; B/A confrontation

Feedback: Please. Constructive criticism is always welcomed and appreciated.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with BtVS or AtS. (Characters, plots and dialogue from the shows are borrowed with no infringement intent whatsoever.)

Distribution: Please ask and let me know where it's going.

Written: 09/28/2011

Summary: Six years after he left, Angel visits Sunnydale, a visit he'll never forget.

A/N: I realize that this is a departure from my fics that usually have a happy B/A(us) ending. I've just got to stop watching AtS reruns; all sorts of bad ideas pop into my head when I do.

Part 1

Buffy wasn't getting any better; she wasn't getting worse, how could she, but she definitely wasn't getting any better. Willow and Xander were more than concerned, they were scared nearly out of their minds. It's not as though they were afraid Buffy would harm them, or anybody else for that matter, they were afraid that if they didn't do something, and soon, they would lose their friend forever to the darkness that they could see steadily overtaking her.

Since the death of her sister, Dawn, five years ago, it was as if darkness was slowly and steadily consuming Buffy's soul. She was cold and distant with everyone, her friends and strangers alike. Giles and the two of them had done all that they could think to do, nothing had worked. Buffy was less than a shadow of the person that they used to know, that they used to call friend.

They would still do anything for her and they knew that if they were ever in trouble, Buffy would give her all to save them, but that is where the friendship ended as far as Buffy was concerned. She didn't hang out with them any more, she barely spoke to them, or anyone else for that matter, unless it was absolutely necessary.

All of her time was spent training, researching, patrolling and planning battle strategies. They didn't know what she saw ahead that required her to be so prepared, but whatever it was, they were afraid of it, and so was Giles. He had asked her once if she had come across anything in her research that they needed to prepare for and she had given him a curt "No." without further explanation.

Dawn's death hit Buffy harder than anything else she had ever had to face, even the death of her mother. Though she never spoke of it, they knew that she blamed Angel directly for Dawn's death.

Angel had never returned to Sunnydale after he left on the day Buffy graduated from high school. He currently resided in Los Angeles and as far as anyone in Sunnydale knew, he and Cordelia had been a couple for more than five years.

This fact didn't seem to bother Buffy; she had bounced back after Angel's departure and was successful in getting on with her life. She did well in college; she did not have a steady boyfriend, but she dated often and generally enjoyed her life. She took time out to spend with Willow and Xander and her sister Dawn. They had each promised to be there for the other whenever a crisis arose, but after Dawn's death, things went down hill quite rapidly.

Giles and her friends watched her. Although it seemed that she was totally absorbed in whatever she was doing, she was also on high alert, ready for any abnormal occurrence, any attack. On patrol her kills were quick and precise, almost methodical - no punning, no taunting, nothing - just kill and move on. They hadn't seen Buffy smile since before her sister died.

The three of them were at the end of their wits in trying to bring Buffy back to them. If this last plan didn't work, they knew that Buffy would be lost to them. Giles was dead set against this idea that her friends had; they all knew how much Buffy hated Angel and they could not predict what her reactions would be when she saw him again. That's why Willow and Xander were going ahead with their plan without letting Giles know about it.

Part 2

The two of them were nervous as they sat in Willow's living room waiting for Buffy to show up. They knew she would be coming because she had asked to borrow books from Giles and had been told that Willow had them. Buffy had called to see if she could borrow the books for the night and would return them the next day. Willow knew that Buffy was spending time with Tara and she assumed that was why she wanted books on witchcraft.

This worked out well because, with Angel currently in town, they could go ahead with their little scheme.

Xander peeked out the window and nervously announced, "She's coming up the walkway to the house now."

Angel seemed calm, but Willow and Xander were obviously nervous when they heard Buffy's knock on the door.

Willow called out, "Come in" and Buffy opened the door and stepped inside.

"Willow, you know better than to invite someone in without checking to see … Oh, I didn't know you had company, I'll come back later." Buffy turned to leave just as she heard -

"Hello, Buffy."

She was not surprised that Angel was there, after all, she had felt his presence long before she reached Willow's front door. She turned around with a snarl on her face, avoided looking at him and with a voice low and void of emotions said simply, "Hello, Angel," then turning to Willow she announced, "Will, I'll stop by for the books tomorrow."

Willow was desperate to keep her there longer so she said, "Buffy, Angel was just telling us about how he and Cordy are doing in LA."

Her voiced dripped with sarcasm, "Fascinating. See you later Will," she threw over her shoulder just as Angel grabbed her arm.

"What is the matter with you, Buffy? Cordy is sick; I'm just here to deliver her belongings to her parents and I ran into Willow. Can't you at least give me a decent hello?"

"Hunh. I thought I did." Her voice was still low and emotionless.

"You know what I mean."

Willow and Xander looked at each other, but didn't say anything; at least Angel had gotten her attention.

"No actually I don't."

"Well we haven't spoken in a long time, I thought maybe we could catch up."

With that, Buffy really let loose. All of the hatred that she had been holding in for the past five years came bubbling forth and she made no effort to hide it.

"Catch up? What do we have to catch up on? The last time I spoke with you was when I called asking for help with some demons that had taken Dawn; you remember that I'm sure. I could hear Cordelia yelling in the background that it was her birthday and you had promised the evening to her and she was not going to let me, or anyone else, take you away on her birthday; the next thing I heard was the sound of the phone as it was rudely slammed down in my ear.

"I remember it well; it was three weeks to the day after I lost my mother. I wasn't asking for much; all I needed was just a little backup. But I understood, you had promised to take Cordelia out dancing and you didn't want to disappoint her. That's what you said."

"I also said that I would come the next night and I would have, but I specifically remember when I called the next evening, I couldn't get you so I called Willow; she said that you didn't need my help anymore and that you were unavailable."

"That's right, I didn't need your help anymore. I had buried what was left of my sister that day, the parts that the demons hadn't eaten; your help wasn't needed for that. I wouldn't have called you at all, but Willow's locator spells didn't work, I had looked every place I could think of to look and l needed someone who could track their scent.

"After you wouldn't come when I needed you, I went to Willy's; he told me how to find Spike. He was in Las Vegas. I paid for a plane ticket for him and had a car waiting for him when he got to LAX; he left right away and arrived in Sunnydale about 5 hours later.

"It was too late.

"By the time he found Dawn she was already dead; her remains were still warm. She had been eaten; they left just enough of her body for me to recognize. After we buried my sister's remains, Spike helped me track her murderers to New Mexico. I wasn't as generous as they were; when I finished with them, no one could recognize anything that was left."

The whole time she was speaking her voice was cold, unwavering, and she looked at him without seeing him, as if looking right through him.

"Gods, Buffy, I didn't know. Spike came to see me a few months later; he was angry, bitter, and he wouldn't tell me why. All he said was, "It's no secret that I never liked you Angelus, but I never hated you before. One of these days you and I are going to have a brawl and one of us is not going to survive it." I didn't know what he meant or why he was so angry. I swear to you, Buffy, I thought since you didn't need my help any more everything was all right."

Buffy gave a long audible sigh. "Everything is all right Angel. Everything is just peachy."

"Things aren't peachy, Buffy; Cordy is very sick. The doctor doesn't think she'll make it."

Buffy gave a long exasperated sigh again; she didn't say anything, but the look on her face said more than words ever could.

Angel grabbed her arm again. "Didn't you hear me, Buffy? Cordy is dying; don't you even care?"

She lifted her head so she could look directly into his eyes as she spoke.

"Actually I don't." She jerked her arm away from him. "As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't care if the bitch was already dead and in hell, or that you were there with her."

Shocked gasps could be heard from Willow and Xander, but they did not interrupt.

"What the hell is wrong with you? What happened to the Buffy that I used to know?"

"'The Buffy that you used to know'? She died twice, no make that three times. Remember three times' a charm? In my case, the charm's worn off. What was left of me died the last time when I found my sister's remains in that cave. This isn't the Buffy you used to know, it hasn't been for a very long time and it never will be again. Now stay away from me, Angel, if you want to continue to exist."

She turned and headed for the door.

"I'm not afraid of you, Buffy. I'm sorry about Dawn, I really am, but you can't hold Cordy and me responsible for her death. I save a lot of people in LA, but Cordy is right, I can't save everybody. I …"

Angel didn't even see her move; he did, however, feel the stake imbedded in his throat as he fell backward gagging on his own blood.

Willow screamed. Buffy looked at him impassively and, before she walked out the door, spoke with the same emotionless voice that her friends had gotten used to hearing from her. "Stay out of Sunnydale; the next time I see you here, I'll remove your head."

Angel couldn't speak, the stake had gone thru his larynx and the point protruded out the back of his neck. Willow and Xander helped him sit up and he managed to painfully remove the stake from his throat, but he still could not speak. He used his fingers to indicate that he wanted to write something and Willow gave him a pad of paper and a pen.

His hand shook uncontrollably as he barely managed to write, "bagged blood in car."

"I guess she really does hate him," Xander said shaking his head.

"Xander, get the blood," Willow told him glaring at him and Xander ran out the door.

A few hours later Angel had recovered enough to leave.

Willow was still concerned about him because she asked, "Angel, are you sure you are okay to drive?"

Angel's only reply was, "I'll be fine, Willow. Thank you."

He left then, planning to never again set foot in Sunnydale.

Xander looked at Willow sadly. "If he couldn't bring her back to us, I guess nobody can. We've lost her for good, Will. We've lost her."

The end

A/N: See follow-up story - 'We've Lost Her - Sequel'