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 Angel's Secrets

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A Beautiful Goodbye

By Genny C.
morpheous77(at)hotmail.com

Page 1 of 2
Summary: How could Angel ever leave Sunnydale?
Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, do not own any of these characters. They are the property of their creator Joss Whedon and the WB. I am simply borrowing them.
Author's Notes: I began writing this story during the long period of Buffy reruns. I had found out that Angel was leaving the show to go to one of his own and this is how I imagined he might leave. Please note this is a work in progress, and I welcome any feedback and or story ideas, since I am currently experiencing small case of writer's block. E-mail me with any such comments at morpheous77(at)hotmail.com. Thank you and enjoy!

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He knew he had to leave. He had decided after days, even weeks of thought. It was no longer safe for him to stay in Sunnydale. The danger was too great, that danger being, of course, his happiness. The true happiness he could only find with Buffy. The mere thought of her sent unbelievable joy, that mixed with the pain of knowing that he had to leave his beautiful ray of sunshine, that was the Slayer, behind.

He couldn't stay and keep her in a relationship that could never bear fruit. He couldn't allow himself to stand in the way of her having a meaningful relationship with someone who could truly make her happy, and be there for her even in the light of day. He knew now that she had begun the slow road to moving on, before he had somehow been returned here from hell. They still hadn't figured out how or why he'd been returned.

But there was no time to think about that now, he had to pack. Everything here reminded him of Buffy, especially in his bedroom. As his gaze came to rest on his bed, his thoughts drifted to the night he and Buffy had made love. He remembered how beautiful she'd looked, and the softness of her skin. His thoughts drifted to how softly she moaned as they'd made love...

No, he thought. That can never happen again, not with the consequences that came afterwards. I can't imagine putting the lives of those I care about in danger again, knowing what would happen. Never a moment of true happiness and never revert back to that demon that lay inside me prepared to destroy everyone and everything. I can never allow Angelus to claim control again.

His mind wandered to all the people he had hurt during his soulless time as Angelus, the guilt for which he would suffer with now and forever. He'd killed Jenny Calendar, the descendant of the Romani tribe that had cursed him and Giles' love interest at the time. As if it hadn't been enough that he'd killed her, he, Angelus, had left her dead body on the man's bed to find, thinking she lay there waiting for him.

He had also tormented and threatened Buffy and all her friends. He couldn't understand how they could have pushed all these horrible deeds aside and allow him back into the fold. Even if they realized that it had been the demon that possessed his body that had perpetuated all these horrible acts upon them. He still couldn't bring himself to believe that when they looked at him they weren't filled with a sense of fear and hate toward him. It amazed him how forgiving and resilient they could be.

His thoughts drifted to how he'd opened the mouth of hell using the statue of Acathla, his demon basking in the idea of having the world and everyone in it sucked into hell. He recalled how he'd fought Buffy, and how she'd had to make, what had to have been the most difficult choice of her life.

She had achieved the upper hand in their combat just as it had happened. Willow had been able to return his soul to him. There he'd stood the pain of his restored soul running through him. He looked at Buffy not knowing where he was and why she held a sword to him. When she'd realized what had happened she dropped the sword at her side and rushed into his waiting arms. He'd told her he loved her and she'd said the same. It must have been then that she'd realized that the hellmouth was opening behind him, the one that he, as Angelus, had opened. She told him to close his eyes as tears made their way slowly down her cheeks. He'd thought they were tears of joy that he'd been returned to her, he still couldn't remember the things he'd done. It wasn't until he felt the sword pierce his abdomen that he realized that her tears reflected the pain of her choice to stab him with her sword in order to save the world. There had been no other way he'd learnt while in hell, to close the hellmouth, other than with the blood of the person who'd awoken Acathla.

He'd understood her actions almost immediately upon arriving in hell. His memories by then had been restored to him, as well as the painful guilt for them. Time passed much more quickly in hell, the three months, Sunnydale time, he'd spent there, in hell, had been hundreds of years. The only thing that had kept him going had been his thoughts of righting the wrong he'd committed towards Buffy and her loved ones. Things had been pretty awkward between them since his return. It was still so unclear why and how he'd been released from his prison. Even Giles had found no answers after extensive research, no one had ever returned from hell it seemed.

"Giles." Angel whispered cringing at the thoughts of the pain he'd caused Buffy's watcher. Not only had he killed the man's lover, he'd tortured the man for his knowledge on how to awaken Acathla. Using Druscilla, his vampiric child, to weave the thoughts of his mind into believing that she was his dead love Jenny.

No, he resolved. I have to leave before I cause that kind of pain again. With that he began packing his meager belongings, there was little of importance to him, but his clothes and the few momentos of his and Buffy's relationship. As he threw his clothes into his large bag readying himself for his long journey to LA, Buffy sauntered in, smiling.

Her smile quickly evaporated as she realized what he was doing, he was packing and he was going to leave her again.

"Where ya goin'?" She asked worriedly, biting her lower lip as an unbearable look of pain washed over her beautiful face.

"I have to leave." He answered simply. He couldn't look at her, couldn't stand to see the pain in her deep blue eyes. The only thing that kept him from pulling her into his arms and washing away her sadness with his kisses was the knowledge that as long as she was unhappy, he would also be and he would not once again lose his soul to Angelus.

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"So, my sire has had his wretched soul returned to him?" The doe-eyed beauty asked, as her fingers played absentmindedly with her long darks curls.

"Yes, love." Her blond-haired companion answered, adding with disgust. "It was sickening to see how she'd forgiven him. She's the Slayer, damn it. You'd think she could hold a bloody grudge!"

"No matter, pet," she chirped, her full-mouth forming a scornful smile. "It simply makes our choice that much easier. Who better to use as bait to get the Slayer to come to us, than the one person she loves enough to forgive for all the horrors he caused her friends."

"Not only are you beautiful, but bloody intelligent too." He acknowledged with pride. "You're right as always, my dear." The girl's head tilted slightly to one side, as though she were straining to hear something.

"Do you hear that?" She asked whimsically.

"Hear what darling?"

"That music," she answered, as she began to sway to the music that could only be heard in her pretty little head. "Dance with me, pet." She added with her hand outstretched. It was a demand more than a request he knew. He also knew that though his lovely sire obviously had a few screws that needed tightening, she could very easily turn her need for destruction, now focused on the Slayer, towards him for the simple pleasure of it. Besides, he loved her and wanted nothing more than to make her happy. Well, of course, he also shared her craving to see her sire and his beautiful Slayer suffer.

He took her hand and began to dance to the music he could not hear, vowing silently that the Slayer's blood would be hers, to return her to the beautiful, sane lover she'd been when she'd sired him. Well, as sane as she'd ever been after her own sire had tormented her to craziness before giving her the dark gift.

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"I don't understand!" Buffy exclaimed, her voice rising with emotion. "Why would you have been sent here back to me, if you couldn't stay with me?" She demanded her tears pouring forth now, weaving a path down the smooth skin of her cheeks.

"Listen, Buffy, neither of us knows why I was sent back. All I do know is that we put everyone in real danger every time we're together, and we'll continue to put everyone we care about in danger as long as I stay here." Angel answered his voice cracking with emotion. He cast his gaze away from her unable to witness the sadness he was inflicting on beautiful love.

"But I love you." She whispered her voice small and strained. He lifted his gaze toward her knowing the terrible pain she felt mirrored his own.

"I love you too, Buffy." He said softly, his voice filled with emotion that threatened to crush his resolve to leave. He lifted his cold hand to her cheek wiping away her tears, feeling the softness of her smooth skin beneath his fingers. "But, you and I both know that we can never again attain the true happiness we did again. I can't become...Him, not again." He concluded, his smooth ageless face contorted with so much sadness and pain that Buffy had to look away for fear she'd crumble to the ground from her own pain.

He's right about one thing, Buffy thought. We can never have another moment of true happiness again; too many lives were put at stake the last time. But there has to be another way, she concluded desperately.

"I can't allow myself the chance to put you through that kind of hell again." He declared.

"No, Angel, hell is where I sent you remember?" She whispered, her body threatening to collapse in despair over what he'd been through there, where she'd sent him. "I closed the gateway to hell with the man I loved as the door stop." She insisted, as she felt her knees buckle beneath her as she crumbled to the ground enveloped in her sorrow. He rushed to her, picking her up and bringing her to the living room and sitting her on the couch as she sobbed.

"Buffy," he whispered his lips so close to her ear she could feel them graze her skin as he spoke. "Don't do this to yourself. You did what you had to, to save the world. That's what you do. I was never upset with you for that."

"How could you not be upset with me?" She demanded her voice small and trembling through her sobs. "I sent you to hell, and you suffered so much, because of me."

"Stop it!" Angel yelled loosing his resolve. He couldn't let her continue to blame herself for what his demon had caused and what he'd had to suffer for. "You can't keep doing this to yourself. We can't keep doing this to ourselves. Buffy, we don't know why I was released from hell, but I know it wasn't to make the same mistakes again. We can never take that risk."

He simply held her quivering body that somehow seemed so weak, weaker than he'd ever seen her ever when the council had taken away her powers to test her. She felt so small in his arms as she cried over the actions that she'd had no choice in making.

"Buffy, the truth is I feel I need to leave because I can't trust myself around you. All I ever want to do his hold you and touch you and show you how much I love you, but..."

"But nothing," Buffy said excitedly, interrupting him. "We are both involved in this relationship, and you can bet that if your hormones get the better of you, they won't get the better of me. I won't allow them to because I know the consequences. And ya know what? I don't think you will either."

"So, you think we can control ourselves?" He asked, his chocolate brown eyes staring down into hers. She nodded. "How long? I mean Buffy look how long our just friends rule lasted." He added worriedly.

"Okay, so we can never just be friends," she admitted, adding quickly. "But we can have a relationship without sex. Plenty of couples don't have sex."

Buffy's hope seemed to be contagious, as Angel found himself agreeing with her. He couldn't help but to give in to her once she'd set her mind on something. He moved his gaze down the soft skin of her face to rest on her lips. His thoughts drifted to how soft they felt under his, and how he loved to nibble on her pouty lower lip. He had to admit, as a vampire sex wasn't the most pleasurable thing it was the use of his heightened senses, especially touch that brought him the greatest pleasure. Yet his greatest happiness could only be achieved by consummating his love for Buffy. Though he desired this, he could easily keep himself from even striving to attain it.

"But how long do you think we can go without getting carried away?"

"We just have to be careful and remember the consequences, and I think we can go forever." Buffy offered, she was calming herself now, becoming the old hardheaded Buffy that Angel so loved.

"What if," Angel began his face moving closer to hers. His eyes never leaving her lips as though he were mesmerized by their every movement. "What if, I told you that all I can think about is kissing your lips?" He concluded as his lips lay less that inches from her own.

"I'd ... say," she began, slightly flustered by his closeness. "I'd say sure, why not, let's kiss." She answered as she closed the small gap between them to accept his kiss.

.

They set out almost immediately for Sunnydale. He'd been driving for a couple of hours with his pale beauty at his side. She'd fallen asleep beside him as they'd spoken of how pleasant it would be to torture her poor soulful sire and to later torture the Slayer as they let the blood run out of her body in goblets for them to toast to each other in. They'd decided on this method so that the Slayer might be conscious for the most of her death, not too mention, make the torture for her vampire lover all that much longer. He would suffer with the memories of his love dying slowly and painfully be the hands of the one he'd driven crazy and initiated into darkness, and the one she'd made as her companion.

He may even walk into the sun and end it all, his immortality that is, he'd surely be unable to live with the fact that he'd been helpless to do anything to stop it. This made the blond-haired demon smile widely. Finally, I'll be rid of him and my dark beauty will have thoughts only of me and memories of him. Memories that will surely fade with him gone.

At this rate, they'd be in Sunnydale just before sunset, just before dear Angel woke. He laughed as he watched the sun's first rays begin to lighten the sky, through the muddied windows of his car. The muddy mess would block enough of the sun for him to continue driving through the daylight hours.

"This is the way we left Sunnydale," he whispered to himself. "Befitting that we return the same way."

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