Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy; I am merely using these amazing characters to satisfy my beast of a muse.

A/N: Written for the 2013 IWRY Marathon. This story has been in my head for a long, long time, since at least 2010. This story is rated M, mainly for darkness and violence, but also for a bit of language. Thanks to Scribes1015 for the beta!

Read, review, but most of all enjoy!

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Never Let Me Go

Chapter 1

Buffy was in the fight of her life, against the vampire that had stolen her heart.

She ducked as the sword swung towards her, feeling the rush of air as it rustled her hair, passing just inches above her scalp. She breathed a small sigh of relief before jumping high into the air. Raising her own sword in front of her she retaliates with a hard swing of her own weapon. Angelus stepped back laughing mockingly.

"Come on Buff!" he taunted her mercilessly, lunging forward again his steel sword flashing in the dim, afternoon light. Buffy parried the thrust hastily and pushed him away, backing up and circling him silently.

He smirked, "I thought you were better than this?" he said in mock disappointment.

"I am," she snapped at him, rushing forward again and attacking him with the ferocity of a Slayer, of a creature whose only purpose was to kill.

He laughed again.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a dark curtain move and Xander appeared, holding a broken and bleeding man close to his side. The figure was hunched over in agony, blood is splattered across his face and shirt and he is clutching his twisted hands to his chest as his whole body shakes with pain.

It's Giles.

At the sight of her broken and bleeding Watcher Buffy felt her body stiffen. A switch turns in her mind, and a red haze fills her vision as man and boy stumble hastily through the door and out into the sunshine.

No longer is it merely Buffy and Angelus fighting. It is now Slayer against Vampire, in a fight that would determine the fate of the world.

Buffy set her jaw, gritted her teeth, her eyes narrowing in anger. "I'll kill you for what you did to him," she hissed as she stepped forward and kicked out savagely. Her foot hits Angelus in the middle of his chest, making him stumble back a step, his eyes opening wide in surprise at her sudden attack.

But he recovered quickly and snarled at her angrily, his lips twisting up. "You'll pay for that Buff," he growled angrily, his voice barely human.

He lunged towards her again, his sword carving through the air. Buffy backed away, desperately keeping her sword up and swinging, anything to keep his from piercing her flesh.

Both of them are breathing hard, Angelus from habit, Buffy from exhaustion.

Desperation takes hold as for the next few minutes both of them kick and punch, trading blows and swiping at each other with their swords, attacking and defending.

Buffy gasped for breath, jumped out of the way of Angelus's sword and stumbled to the floor. She looked up at him as he glared down at her. Suddenly he grinned, a sadistic hungry, smirk appearing on his face. He chuckled softly as he raised the sword above his head.

Buffy swallowed loudly, gripping her sword tight and tensing in fear, ready for anything.

Angelus started to bring the sword down, fully intent of slicing her apart when he suddenly stops. His eyes widen and he gasped hoarsely, the sword stopping inches from her chest as his whole body stiffens in pain. He raises a hand and clutches desperately at his chest. A bright, pure, golden light fills his eyes and he takes an awkward, stumbling step back.

Buffy's eyes widen in disbelief. Angelus screamed in anger and pain, his back arching as he threw his head back. His sword clattered harmlessly against the stone floor as he fell to his knees, crumpling like a marionette whose strings have been snapped, taking a deep, shocked breath.

Buffy scrambled to her feet, gripping her sword tight she took a step towards him, looking down at the shivering, traumatized vampire with a mix of shock, disbelief and relief. She knew, without any doubt that the vampire kneeling at her feet was no longer Angelus, he was Angel again, his soul pulsing deep inside his chest. She didn't know how, or why, but at this moment that was the least of her worries.

"Angel?" she whispered softly, taking another step towards him.

Angel's head jerked up and his eyes widened. 'Buffy! What's going on…I can't, I can't remember," he moaned, looking around in a blind panic, his eyes wide. "Where am I, I feel…" He licked his lips and looked up at her. "Lost…"

Buffy sniffed as a few tears gathered in the corner of her eyes and started to run down her cheeks. She brushed them away desperately. "It doesn't matter now, Angel. It doesn't matter," she told him quietly, fiercely, as she knelt down and grabbed his hands, helping to pull him slowly to his feet.

He stumbled slightly as she wrapped her arms around him, holding him close, the sword in her hand now hanging loosely from her fingertips. Angel looked down at the top of her head, shocked at the intensity and tightness of her embrace. After a few seconds he began to relax, smiling slightly and placing his arms around her waist.

Buffy's thoughts are filled with warm, happy memories; everything was going to be ok. Angel was back, she didn't have to kill him. Everything was going to be fine. She was certain of it!

Then she heard the soft rumbling, like a vortex. A portal.

Against her best intentions she opened her eyes a crack, peering around Angel's broad shoulders. Her eyes widened in horror. It was too late, the demon Acathla had been awakened. Even now she could see the portal opening wide, the bright blue and red flashes of light and power within the dark vortex making her nervous. The raw power of the portal attempting to pull them in. She clutched Angel tight, digging her nails into his black shirt and keeping him close.

She felt him tense. "Buffy," he whispered weakly, "What's wrong?" His voice was small and full of worry.

She licked her lips. She knew what she had to do, his blood would close the portal. It was the only way for her to save the world. She took a step back, slipping out of his embrace. "Angel," she asked softly, "Do you trust me?"

He blinked at her in confusion, then he set his jaw. "With my life," he said with reverence, looking her straight in the eye.

Buffy sobbed and nodded with determination. "Close your eyes" she whispered, blinking back the tears that threatened to fall.

He looked at her for a few seconds, his eyes flicking over her face, trying to sense what this was all about. Then he slowly closed his eyes, trusting her completely. That simple gesture was enough to set her off, and hot salty tears started running down her cheeks in earnest. She set her jaw, gripped the sword in her hand in a tight white-knuckled grip and pulled it back.

She hesitated for a split second, sending a quick plea to the Powers for Angel to eventually forgive her, before grabbing the sword with her other hand. With all her strength she thrust it forward. Straight into the centre of his chest, sliding right between his ribs and missing the lungs by inches, ploughing clean through to the other side.

Angel gasped, his eyes opening wide in shock. He turned accusing eyes at her and she saw the pain and betrayal in them. She choked on another sob and took a step back as she covered her mouth with her hands.

"Buffy?" Angel whispered again, wavering on his feet as he looked down at the sword jutting from his chest. He looked up at her again and then slowly extended an arm towards her. "Buffy?"

She couldn't take it anymore. With a harsh cry of anguish she jumped forward, avoiding the sword in his chest she wrapped her arms tightly around his chest and held him tight. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she chanted over and over. "It was the only way, the only way," she babbled into his ear as she continued to cry softly.

Angel sagged, his blood now dripping down his chest and pooling into a puddle on the tiled floor. He didn't say anything, just turned his head slowly and regarded the vortex with a mixture of confusion, and then acceptance.

Finally he sighed, "I know" he said, raising his hand and smoothing her hair. "I know…"

The portal had widened now, almost two meters in diameter it towered over their heads, it had gotten louder and was now a roaring sound in their ears, blue flame was whipping out of the swirling mass of energy. Buffy's hair and clothes fluttered against the harsh wind that swirled around the room. She wrapped her arms more tightly around Angel's waist and held on tight.

Angel seemed to sense something was wrong at that moment. He looked down at Buffy, then he looked towards the portal. His eyes widened. "No!" he suddenly shouted, he grabbed her upper arms and tried to pull her away, "Buffy! No, No!" he cried desperately.

Buffy just held him even tighter, turned her head and leaned against his solid chest.

Angel was getting desperate now, panicking even, as he struggled to pry Buffy away from him. The blood that continued to flow from his chest was making him weak, making it hard for him to concentrate and focus. He could feel his vision darken and he sagged against her as he struggled to remain conscious. Despite all this he knew, without any doubt that he didn't want Buffy anywhere near him at that moment. He wanted her as far from him and this portal as possible.

"Buffy!" he yelled again, "let me go, let me go dammit!" he shouted, and tried to push her away.

She shook her head again. "No Angel, no! I let you go once, I'm not letting you go again!" To prove her point she raised her legs and wrapped them around his waist. Clinging to him like a tick.

Angel made a desperate sound in the back of his throat as he stumbled back a step. "That place…Buffy, you don't belong there," he pleaded, trying to reason with her as he put his hands on her hips and tried to pry her off him. It was no use, his palms were sickly with his own blood, he was weak, and struggling to stay upright.

She looked up at him. "Neither do you," she whispered, silencing him.
"Face it Angel," she told him in a determined voice, "where you go, I go." Effectively ending the conversation, she turned her face away and leaned her head against his shoulder.

He fell silent. He couldn't hear her heartbeat anymore, the roaring in his ears had become almost deafening, the power from the vortex pulling them both in slowly. He wrapped his arms more tightly around the Slayer in them and held her close. He could feel her shaking and smell the fear radiating from her skin despite her determination to be with him.

Blue fingers of pure, raw power started to wrap themselves around them. They stung and burned as they slowly pulled them both towards the portal. He felt Buffy shiver in his arms.

Buffy muffled another sob against his shoulder as she shook in fear. "Angel," she whispered tentatively.

"Yeah?" he asked, his voice equally as soft.

"Never let me go?"

"Don't worry," he murmured in her ear. "I wouldn't dream of it," his voice was thick with emotion.

With those last words still lingering heavily in the air, the pull of the vortex became to much. It swallowed them both, dragging the two lovers deep into the portal. Angel's blood had worked and sealed the demon Acathla behind them, stopping the portal from swallowing the whole world.

In the sudden silence two small little clangs could be heard throughout the now empty mansion. Abandoned in the centre of the room, a meter from where Acathla now stood peacefully, were two small silver Claddagh rings.

...

A/N: Hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I will be updating every few days as this story is already complete. If you liked it please review.