Angel's Secrets

Fanfiction Archive


By Cryptic

Summary: Angel's gone, but does he want to be found?
Part of The Via Dolorosa Series
Disclaimer: So, this is the general stuff that you all know very well... Anyway... Buffy, Angel and all the other characters mentioned, except the ones invented by myself, belong to Joss (bless his twisted little mind) Whendon, Mutant Enemy and so on.
Author's Notes: This is a sequel to Saved by What so you may wanna read that in order to have some idea of what is going on. Note that this has nothing to do with the actual "Suprise" episode.
Feedback: Feel free to write some, especially if it's something good... or you are a Buffy_Angel freak looking for company. Please write to cryptic4angel(at)yahoo.com. And yeah, Yana - this one is for you.


Part 1:

Angel didn't feel like going to the mansion. He had enough time to deal with Spike later, now all he really wanted was to take a warm shower... One of the things he really missed... He headed for his former apartment hoping that it still had running water.

It was almost day so he had to hurry and hide from the burning sun...

He reached the apartment and entered it, silently noticing that it was rather tidy and well kept. However, he was so tired that he barely had time to look around and went straight to bed.

It was almost night when he woke up. Still sleepy, he went to the bathroom and turned the hot water on... When he finally got out of the bathroom he stumbled over a bunch of books lying on the floor. Angel picked up the first one he saw and opened it. It definitely wasn't his but he recognized it immediately... it was Buffy's... She had been there, learning, dreaming,crying - she kept it tidy and just as he had left it. A part of him was delighted of the fact that she was in pain, yet a part of him wanted her to be there, wanted to touch her, make love to her. Probably that was the part that couldn't kill her. And that part needed her now.

Just as he thought that, the door opened and Angel saw his wish standing in the doorway.

She intuitively knew he was going to be there... but still the sight was too compelling to be true, so she needed a few moments to make sure she wasn't dreaming... There he was - half naked, dripping wet, covered only with a towel... She tried to catch her breath... in vain.


"Uhu..."that was about all she could manage at the moment.

"Well, we could stand here and stare at each other the whole night through if you ask me but I better slip into something more comfortable." He said with a sly smile.

While he was dressing up Buffy had time to come to her senses and prepare to face him again.

"So..." he looked at her questioningly - she obviously had an important reason to be there.

"Mmm I've been thinking... a lot... and," now was the time and she had to convince him because her life... and his, depended on it. "I can't live without you, Angel, I've tried to but I can't." She looked directly into his eyes. "I wanna be with you, no matter what, I can't take this anymore... I"

"Hushh... It's alright" he wiped her tears away gently with his hand. "I know, I know... Oh, Buffy, you have no idea how long I've waited for this... Now we can be together... forever."

He leaned towards her neck and she closed her eyes, waiting for the right moment. She felt his fangs touch gently her skin and just as they were going to pierce it, she shifted away...

"No... not like that" She could see the confusion and rage in his eyes. "Angel,"she whispered softly, inches away from his face. "I want this more than anything... but I also want it to be perfect... and"

"I understand" he sighed. " I can wait - I don't want to browbeat you into anything... you have to want it yourself."

"Oh, I want it, Angel, I really want it... And I am ready - meet me at the Bronze at 10 o'clock... I'll be there, I'll be waiting."

She headed towards the door but he caught her hand and pulled her body towards his passionately.

"I'll be there," he said. "And wear something nice - a dress, maybe."

He stared at the door for a minute or so after she had already left and then slowly turned around.

"I don't want to browbeat you into anything" he raised his voice sarcastically. "I can't believe I actually said that - I am definitely getting soft... old age maybe... And that rendezvous at the Bronze - it is clearly a trap... but I don't care... I'll go anyway and she knows it... God, how I hate myself for that... that love-thing. Disgusting, absolutely abominable... But anyway" he sighed and headed for the door.


Part 2:

Somewhere below Sunnydale...

"Spike,"Dru cried out childishly, "I am tired from all this walking."

"Look, honey, we've got to get out of this town as soon as possible - this is no place for us..." Spike grabbed Ducilla's hand and urged her to go on.

"But Angel..."

"Angel, Angel, always Angel,"Spike's voice was trembling with rage. "I've had more than enough."

He turned as to hide his emotions but then quickly spun around and faced Drucilla with an imperturbable expression.

"Angel doesn't give a damn about you or about me, or about anyone except himself and his precious Buffy. I am leaving this town and you are coming with me whether you want it or not. I really don't wish to hurt you, baby." He grinned at her.

"Traitor," she hissed and tried to hit him, but he held her hands firmly and slapped her head against the wall.

"So much for wishing... Farewell, Sunnydale, Elvis has just left the place... but not without a final surprise"


Part 3:

The library.

"So, Giles, are you sure you got that right. Not that I don't trust you but our lives may depend on it, you know"

"Thank you for reminding me, Xander." That boy needed serious psychological attention but in the moment saving the world had priority over everything else.

"Hey, guys, I am back." Buffy walked in casually.

"Buffy," Willow rushed towards her worriedly. "How did it go? With Angel I mean?"

"Well... all right, I guess... I'm sure he didn't buy it but he'll be there."

"Oh, not that I am curious or something," Xander intervened. "but what exactly did you say to him - how did you convince him?"

She looked straight into his eyes.

"I told him the truth... well, o.k. - part of it..."

There was aloud bang as Whistler, who had just come in, dropped a big bag on the floor.

"Huh, that was heavy... OH, hey, Buffy - did it go all right?"

"Hmm, I suppose you can say so - he is coming... Uhh, what is this?" She pointed the bag suspiciously.

"Oh, that's just come candles and clothes." He pulled out an enormous purple robe and waved it around like a flag. "You'll need to wear that for the ritual."

"Oh no, no way I am wearing this this thing" Buffy picked up one disgustedly. "And by the way Angel insisted on my wearing a dress."

Everyone looked at her amazed.

She shrugged her shoulders. "He said so... Don't look at me."

"Don't worry," Whistler took the robe from her hands. "it's not for you... That's what all the others have to wear."

"Now, here comes the problem," Trajan appeared from behind with a rusty book. "It turns out that we need at least seven people for the ritual."

"Well, correct me if I'm wrong but I see at least eight people here," Buffy waved her hand around. "Well, Oz isn't quite a person but neither is Xander, so I guess all is cool." "It's not that simple. You'll be in the center so don't count yourself... but all seven people must want Angel back. They have to hold no negative emotions towards him - they must have only forgiveness in their hearts." Trajan finished and glanced around. "Can you do that?"

Giles looked up and then quickly back down. Buffy bit her lips and stared at her shoes as if they were the most interesting thing in the world. Only Cordelia, Oz, Willow and Whistler didn't seem to have a problem with that.

"We have reached a deadlock here." Xander summed up.

"Before you decide what to do, I think you should see this." Whistler took out several letters, all in sealed envelopes and with names written on them in a beautiful hand-shrift . It was Angel's - Buffy recognized it immediately.

"Yes, this is Angel's handwriting,"Whistler returned her glance. "I received these few months ago. I haven't opened them - they are addressed to you. I guess Angel had a premonition, I don't know... He left them in case something happened to him and I think now is the right time to read them"

He handed out the letters silently. There was one for Giles, one for Willow, one for Buffy and one for Xander, who almost choked with surprise.


Part 4:

The group began to open the envelopes - Willow first, with Oz peeking over her shoulder. Her letter read:

I know that it may seem strange that I am writing to you, but if you are reading this, it means that I am no longer around to protect and help you. I've always admired your inner beauty and strength - you'll make a great witch someday... There is something I would like to ask you, although I know you'll probably do it anyway - take care of Buffy. She'll need you and your friendship very much when I am no longer here. I know it will be hard for her to move on, but I don't want her to waste her life lamenting someone who is long dead. You have to help her to go on living and having fun like a normal person, as much as that is possible.

There is something else, however, I know it may sound crazy but I think your new friend - the guitarist, I think his name was Oz, I think he is a werewolf. I know it seems strange but from the beginning I've sensed something odd in him - I think that I've found the reason. He'll also need your help.

You have a big heart - never feel sorry for what you are.


Willow raised her head amazed. How could have he known everything? Oz was as puzzled as her. Though he had just met Angel when he turned bad, he liked him in a strange sort of way and he knew that he loved Willow's friend Buffy... Now he liked him even more for writing such nice things to his Willow... He definitely wanted him back - actually, if Willow wanted it, so did he.

In the mean time Giles carefully opened up his envelope.


When you're reading this I probably won't be around anymore. I've always wanted to tell you that I admire you and have the greatest respect for you. It surely wasn't easy for you to let your slayer have a private life, friends, even a vampire for boyfriend. I know that Buffy loves you very much - you are like a father to her... and strangely enough - you remind me of my own father. He was just like you - stern but just... That was of course before I killed him. Now you understand why helping you was so important to me - it was in a way as if I was repaying my debt towards him by doing what he would have wanted me to do...

Now, with me gone, Buffy will need your support and love more than ever. Be there for her and tell her that I've always loved her - more than anyone else. Protect her as you've always done - her and Jenny... She is Gypsy, from the tribe that cursed me - I've sensed it from the first moment I saw her... Maybe she was sent to watch over if the curse was still active or maybe it was just a coincidence. It doesn't matter, but I can feel that something bad is going to happen and I fear that I will have something to do with it... Call it premonition, call it madness - I really don't know. Just be there and be yourself.

P.S Don't turn your back on love. You deserve to be happy... just like all of us.


Giles raised his head, tears flowing from his eyes. Angel wasn't that bad after all - he couldn't forgive Jenny's death, but he could understand that Angel wasn't to blame for it - at least the old Angel. Yes, he wanted him back, if that was what Buffy needed to be happy, and he was prepared to do whatever necessary.

Now it was Xander's turn to open his envelope. He had spent considerable time looking at it in silent amazement, wondering why it was addressed to him in the first place. He had never tried to hide his dislike for Angel and this letter came really out of the blue.

"Well," he said to himself, "there is only one way to find out."

The letter read:

This will probably come as a surprise to you - I mean my writing to you when we're not even friends... I've never had anything against you, actually - I even liked you - I'm sure if you were born 200 years ago we would have been best friends. Now, things are pretty different and I can't expect you to be my friend or even like me after all that I've done. And I admit that Buffy stands between us - it's hard for me to confess this but in the beginning, even the thought that she may fall for you used to make me mad. I think it was because you are so much like myself before I became a vampire - I, too, was bored with life. Unfortunately we didn't have places like Bronze and the only way to entertain yourself was to get drunk. I was just like you - always wanted what I couldn't get, especially when it came to women - the harder, the better. I did have quite a success among them, but no one really got to my heart. Love them and leave them - that was my motto. Life was so boring I wanted to escape - to be someone else.

I will tell you something, something I've never told anyone, not even Buffy, that night when Darla made me what I am now - I invited her in, not consciously of course, but I guess she sensed it - the desire to be different, lurking inside you - that's what I sense in you. You have to change, for the better, if you don't wanna end up like me.

Remember that night Spike had you - I wasn't really gonna let him bite you, I like you a bit too much for that. You are brave, well you have a big mouth and I really don't like it when you call me Dead Boy, but you are a great friend, one you can rely on in times of danger. Take care of Buffy and open your eyes - you have a real woman standing right beside you. Don't waste time in fruitless fantasies or she'll be gone before you know it.


Xander raised his head thoughtfully. He never expected such words from Angel, never expected that he could actually like him. It must have taken him great strength to write this to a potential rival, as he considered himself. He cast a glance at Cordellia, who was talking to Oz about some party she was organizing. Cordellia - the snobbish, stubborn prom queen - she wasn't that bad although she managed to fool everyone, and she actually cared for him, in an odd sort of way... Maybe, just maybe...

Buffy's hands trembled as she opened the envelope. She hesitated for a moment and then started reading it.

Dear Buffy,

As you read this I probably won't be around anymore. There are so many things I wanted to tell you and never did summon the courage to do so. Ever from the first time I saw you I knew you were the one for me, the only one I could really love. I love your energy, your strength, the way you look when you are sad - I love everything about you. I... I love you. Here, I said it... I've wanted to do it for so long but I just couldn't bring myself to saying it because I knew it would change our lives forever. I knew,after that, I would never be able to leave you. I've had many girls in my time but I cared for no one... until I met you. Now I can't imagine life... hm, existence without you. I can't control myself around you... Remember that night you danced with Xander - it was like a divine torture for me - as if someone shot thousands of little arrows straight into my heart. But I realized then, that I do not have the right to condemn you to life of restriction and abstinence, what you would have with me. Yet, call me selfish, I couldn't give you up, not when I looked in your eyes and saw the love in them. But now, as I am gone - you should move on, move to the living as you once said. Buffy, there's no need to lament someone who is long dead. I love you, I always have and always will. I will always protect you, no matter where I am. But you must live on and try to have a normal life with someone who deserves you, who can make you happy in every sort of way, who can see you in the sunlight and can make all your dreams come true. All I wish is that you are happy.


"Oh, Angel," she whispered softly, "Don't you know that all I need to be happy is you, only you. And I will get you back, whatever it takes. I love you, now more than ever."

"And now?" Trajan said. "Do we have volunteers?"

"Count me in." Willow said.

"Me, too" said Oz.

"I'll do it," Cordellia smiled at him. "Guess, I'm not that selfish after all."

"And you?" Whistler nodded towards Xander . "Did you change your mind?"

"Yeah, I'll do it. It would be nice to have a living Dead boy for a change. "

"Are you sure," Trajan asked. "Cos we don't want uncertain volunteers. That can be very dangerous."

"Of course I am sure... What about you, aren't you mad about Jenny and stuff?"

"This was Jenny's wish and I'll do whatever she wanted me to do."

"Jenny..." Giles raised his head. "Yes, that was what she wished - I'll do it... For her, for Buffy, for Angel..."

Buffy looked at him - eyes fraught with tears of overwhelming gratitude.

"So that makes seven of us" Whistler counted aloud. "Just what we need. Now to elucidate the ritual - we'll build a circle around you and Angel, and Trajan will perform the ritual with Willow's help. This will bring the old Angel back for some time and here comes your part, Buffy. You have to convince him, explain it all to him - he has to want it, to want to fight the demon in order to be with you. It's going to be hard - he'll remember all he's done. We have to show him that he's forgiven and that we want him back. When all is through, he'll be divested of his immortality but he'll keep his powers."

"So, basically, we have to kiss before midnight, right?" Buffy summed up.

"I guess so."

"Uhh, I don't want to spoil the moment but didn't Angel already lose one time to the demon... I mean that night when he and Buffy... well you know... ?" Xander looked around waiting for some kind of support from the rest.

"Yeah, but this time it will be different." Whistler mumbled.

"Oh, and how exactly if I may ask?"

"This time I'll be there." Buffy raised her head and looked directly into Xander's eyes. Maybe it was the love that he saw in them or the desperate plead that convinced him and made him turn his glance away.

"By the way, Buffy you do need to do something more than just kiss him." Trajan added.

"Huh?? And what exactly?"

"Well, you have to learn this by heart and say it - it is a part of the spell... Since Orpheus and Euridica were European, the curse is also. You have to say it exactly as written, I'll help you learn it. By the way that's Orpheus's part. The rest of us will have to learn Euridica's since we can't count on Angelus saying it."

"Excuse me," Cordelia waved her hand at the Gypsy's face. "So, our lives depend on Buffy learning something in some God-forgotten language... ?"

"Well, ... basically."

"WE are doomed."

"So much for believing in my intellectual abilities." Buffy sighed over-dramatically.

"You'll make it... don't worry. So let me explain it all again... First Buffy says her part then we ours... We'll bring back the soul and separate the demon from the man by the power of the sacred fire... Unfortunately that won't last very long - so you, Buffy, will have to convince him very quickly to do what he's supposed to... Then Willow and I say the incantation that will send Angel and the demon both to Hell... Only one can pass through the Gates of Hell and return to bring light and hope to mankind... or eternal darkness... Let's hope it's the right one."

"I sure hope so" Giles whispered.

"Oh... Buffy, you mentioned something about a dress," Whistler smirked at her and waived a little paper bag around.

"No, please, God don't do this to me," she said to herself, "the last thing I need right now is the vengeance of the Dowdy."

"Uhh, Whistler,' she said out loud, "we really don't wanna make Angel mad and he's really sensitive when it comes to clothing."

"I know what you're thinking... But it's really beautiful - Angel would go crazy when he sees you."

"Now who would want that!" Xander couldn't help butting in.

Whistler paid no attention to him, whatsoever, and took out a perfect, long, red, Donna Carren dress that took Buffy (and Cordellia)'s breath away.

"Can she fight with this?"Xander interposed sheepishly, fearing the gang's disapproval

"If we don't succeed in this - she won't have to..." Giles hissed his reply.


Part 5:

10 to 10... at the Bronze

"Come on take you places. It's almost time." Giles called out to the assembly of purple people in front of him. "Buffy, hurry up with that dress."

"Just a minute, Giles."

Buffy came out, looking absolutely gorgeous in the long red dress, with her hair pulled up.

"Thank God the Bronze is closed because of these new mirror-walls that they're installing." She said to herself, looking at one of the mirrors and admiring her reflection.

"You look great." A familiar voice whispered in her ear.

She spun around and was caught up almost immediately in the softness of his eyes... Angel... She felt her heart speed up. He was absolutely magnificent, as always... She wondered how a man who never used a mirror could look that good. A mirror, she turned around again to look at it, still... it refused to yield a reflection for him though she could feel his arms around her waist holding her passionately, sense his lips kissing lightly her hair.

"Soon, my love, soon" She thought.

Then she remembered why she was there in the first place - the ritual. She turned to face him...

"I'm ready."

"Oh, yeah?! I guess so are your friends... I know they're here somewhere - I can feel them... Come out, come out wherever you are... C'mon, guys, you know..., this is not funny - I will find you sooner or later."

Buffy just gazed at him in silent amazement - how could have he known about it... This was so typical of him - always one step ahead of her.

"Oh, please Buffy, don't act as if you're suprised... You didn't expect me to believe that "I want it to be perfect" thing now, did you?! Hmm, actually you got me there for couple of minutes... It would've been so much nicer, however, you'll get it one way or another..." He smirked at her with a smile that had never been Angel's - all cruel and vicious and so, so very cold.

"Now!" Whistler cried and the gang appeared, forming a circle around Angel and Buffy.

"Well, look who's here... Whistler, old buddy, still having problems with fashion I see" Angel gave him a sarcastic smile. "I see your bad taste is contagious - violet, yuck."

"Kiss your bloodsucking days goodbye, demon" Trajan cried.

"Kiss your life goodbye, gypsy... And hey, look up and say hi to my minions." Angel pointed up towards the windows from where his troop broke in.

They all stared at each other for a minute wondering what the other would do. Angel was the first to break the heavy silence.

"So, Giles, I see you are willing to join Jenny into oblivion. Yeah, I hope you liked the roses... I've always had a thing for roses..."He spun around to face his mate but froze in his tracks as he heard Giles' reply.

"I know what you are tying to do... but it isn't working. I don't hate you... I mean I hate you but not Angel... Cos you see, you are not Angel."

Angelus couldn't hide his amazement. For a second he was really speechless with surprise... but then quickly regained his senses.

"Oh, I see... Whistler's here - so that means you've got the letters... The last pathetic thing that pathetic do-gooder did... No wait, actually the last pathetic thing he did was sleep with you..." He was looking at Buffy stabbing the words right into her heart.

She knew that he was trying to weaken her by stigmatizing the most beautiful and pure moment in her life... and still she couldn't stop the tears from forming or rolling down her cheek, or her heart from aching so terribly. It seemed as if the whole world was laughing at her with that awful smirk she knew to be his... and yet so not his at all.

"What was it again," he continued his speech. " "When you're reading this I probably won't be around" Pathetic, absolutely pathetic... And hey, Guess what? He is still around, enjoying a front view of my every action... even now."

If a bomb had exploded in the room in that very moment, it would have been like a flat tire compared to a major car crash. Everyone was shocked, even Whistler and the Gypsy.

"Yup,"he continued talking to Buffy as if she were the only one present. "Poor soul struggled to stay with you so badly that he kinda made it... Of course I was stronger and he was locked in a little corner, forced to watch every murder, every fight... He screamed and screamed, and was frankly getting on my nerves... I could only keep him quiet when I was with you... But then again I was quite amused by his pathetic little cries... So then it dawned on me - the perfect way to keep him under control and hurt him to the depths of his "soul" - to turn you in, willingly on your part. That would have been the final blow - to keep him happy and quiet and yet know that he is being tormented by the notion that he, alone, made you what he hated most - himself... Well, you kinda spoil the picture now, you see... So we'll have to do it the hard way." He flung himself at her but she manage to swing out of his range.

"The curse, Buffy, the curse" Whistler cried out.

"The curse," she remembered and started it in a trembling voice.

"Moja verna
I moja ljubima,
ti go vizhdash I znaesh sama;
ima obich
I vernost ima
I na nashata greshna zemja!
I kogato nad nas se navezhda
na voinata lika ozverjal,
az se pitam:
s kakva li nadezhda
I ljubov
bih bez teb az zhivjal?"

(For the record, this is a part of the poem "Love" by Hristo Radevski. I offer here a quick translation. The same will be done with the rest of the "curse"... Here's a quick improvisation: My faithful love,you yourself see and know that there is love and faithfulness even on this sinful earth! And when the fierce face of war is dawning upon us, I ask myself: with what faith and love could I ever live without you?)

Angel fell to the ground writhing from pain. The rest finished what Buffy had started:"

Az ne zhiveja :az gorja. Neprimirimi
v gurdite mi se borjat dve dushi:
dushata na angel I demon.V gurdi mi
te plamutzi dishat I plam me sushi.
I plamva dvoen plamuk, deto se dokosna
I v kamenut az chuja dve surtza..."

(Part of a poem by Javorov called "Two souls", appropriate, ha... translation: I don't live:I burn. Irreconcilable, in my bosom, are fighting two souls. The soul of an angel and that of a demon. In my bosom they breathe fire and I'm dried by fire. A double fire ignites where I touch and in the stone I hear two hearts...")

At these words a double fire formed around Angel, who now screamed in pain... Buffy rushed over to hold him but was stopped by Xander, and Whistler's words:

"Not yet, Buffy. It's dangerous." Then he turned to the vampires surrounding them, who were looking at one another helplessly, taken aback by what was happening to their master. "You, all of you, leave now or you'll experience the same."

They all left, abandoning their leader, obviously not willing to endure the same kind of pain.

"Gee," Cordelia remarked. "For vampires man should think they had more courage"

Everyone turned to now not so big-mouthed Angel, who lay on the floor with a kind of bluish glow around him.

Buffy rushed towards him, almost knocking Xander off the ground. She held his head with both hands, whispering some inaudible soothing words. He slowly opened up his eyes, unconscious to the place or people surrounding them. He saw only her, her eyes, her tears... The last thing he could clearly recall, apart from some blurred visions of death, was the night they had spent together... He smiled at her softly, his eyes caressing her, feeding on her loveliness, while his hands and mouth wiped the tears away from her beautiful brown eyes.


That was all he could master, between kisses. But even this little word was so completely saturated with love and adoration that they all knew he was back. The real him.

She smiled at him, marveling at the way his eyes conveyed his whole being in a single glance. His eyes, so intense and dark and so full of love. Oh, how she missed those eyes all the lonely nights when she went to bed wondering who he was going to kill next, what he was going to use to get to her. They were the first thing she remembered in the morning and the last thing she saw when falling asleep.

He shifted from her loving embrace as flashes of memories started to shoot through him... Memories of people killed, tears, terror... her tears... His body hit the ground violently, as he bent in almost physical pain.

She tried to reach out for him, to help him but he avoided her hands as if they were fire. He slowly raised his face, full of pain, remorse and grief. He remembered all he had done the past few months and wondered how she could look him in the eyes, kiss him, love him after all that... His head sunk again.

"Angel,"she tied to approach him but he kept avoiding her eyes and touch almost as if he were afraid he would hurt her simply by looking back. "Angel, it was not your fault... You didn't do that - it wasn't you... Now we have a chance to be together, to be happy, Angel don't let this go... plea"

"NO," he shouted back still avoiding direct eye contact. "No, I did it... I killed them... I killed Jenny..." He raised his head to look at Rupert with tears streaming down his cheeks. "I remember it all as if it were yesterday, I remember everything... I made you cry... I don't deserve happiness... I don't deserve you... I don't know what made me believe I did in the first place..."

"It is not your fault... You want to blame someone - blame me... I was the one that practically forced you into having sex,.I helped Angelus surface... I, I ..."

"NO" He finally looked into her eyes, squeezing her hands with all his strength. "No, you see, that was what the demon wanted you to think... Buffy, you never forced me into anything. I wanted it as bad, myself... I should've known better... I was... am older... But this, this was the happiest moment of my whole tortured life... So pure, so real... I couldn't give it up, I couldn't give you up."

"Then don't... Don't give up on our love, don't give up on me now."

She started kissing him again and again, letting the thought of saving the world slip form her mind just for a second,... minute or maybe it was more...

He reluctantly pulled out of her loving embrace.

"Don't you see, there is no chance for us... I don't deserve happiness after all I've done... To you, to your friends... I can't forgive myself, neither can the others... It's not that I don't love you, Buffy, God knows I love you more than anything... It's just..."

"It is that you don't love me",she shouted at him in rage. "What right have you got to think that you are not worthy of me... Who are you to decide that we shouldn't be together... This is our relationship, Angel, our, not yours... I have a saying in this, don't you think?!... Stop fretting about the things you thing you've done... You are forgiven... I forgive you, they forgive you.Look at them!" she pointed towards the violet gang around them.

Angel unwillingly turned to look in their eyes and saw nothing there to suggest the hate and contempt he was expecting.For a first time in his tortured existence he couldn't believe his eyes - he was forgiven, really forgiven by the group of people he hurt most. He really didn't know what to think or say... or do.Tears started rolling form his eyes before he knew it. He fell to his knees, wondering how that was possible in the first place - to find forgiveness from his victims.

"Angel, please," Buffy whimpered, "I can't do this without you... Please."

She had his face in her hands once more, raining light kisses all over it.

"Buffy Anne Summers, what are you doing with that monster?!" Shouted a familiar voice

"Mom," Buffy spun around withered... "Weren't you supposed to be in L.A. til Thursday?"

"I got this letter from your friend Spike... He, he said you and that... that... creature were back together... I see now he told me the truth, and everyone apparently knows about it... Every one but me..."

"Excuse me, mam, but we don't have all night..." Trajan snarled angrily. "If you are not prepared to forgive, you'd better leave!"

"That's just what I'll do, thank you... and I am taking my daughter with me. Come on, Buffy, let go of that monster..."

"No, mom, I'm not a little child anymore... I can make my own decisions... And I want to stay here with Angel... And by the way, Spike is not my friend... He is a vampire..."

"And what is then he??" Joyce pointed at Angel. "Mother Mary?!!" "MOM... Stop it!"

"No, Buffy - she's right." Angel whispered, his voice low with humiliation. "I'm a monster..." He raised his head to reveal that he was now in game face... the demon obviously surfacing and struggling to assume control over his body...

"I love you, Angel... No matter what..." She dropped to her knees, clinging on to him desperately... "Can't you get it? I love you more than life... more than anything. I can't live without you, I wouldn't want to... If you were gone, I would die..."

She sobbed quietly to her mother's utter resentment.

Xander slowly turned away in what seemed to him the last bout of his pride... he realized in an instance that she would never feel that for him or anyone else... In that second he lost all hope of ever winning that complex and beautiful creature called Buffy Summers.

"Look at me, Angel..." She lifted his head so that her soft hazel eyes met his wistful,chocolate- brown ones."I love you."

"Isn't it, isn't it... awful to... see ... me... like... this" The words seemed to take all his strength, because he was struggling to regain control of his senses and was losing the battle.

She leaned over and kissed him, through fangs and all, proving him wrong one more time... Wrong, when he thought that no living being on the face of the earth could look at him without finding him repulsive. The world just proved him wrong with Buffy Summers.

That was the final blow to her mother. Her daughter had grown and matured long before she knew it... and she had found the man of her dreams, even if he was a vampire... Joyce couldn't forgive him,... but she wasn't the one to judge him either... She saw in his eyes that he worshipped and loved her daughter... that was all she could ever wish for her, having in mind her hectic life and the possibility she wouldn't live to see her grandchildren... or even children... She sighed defeatedly...

"Hmm, Buffy," Whistler interposed. "We don't have much time left... You must explain the ritual... That's if you are ready, Angel..."

"I am ready."

"Then, here's what you need to do... Well, after we say the curse you and Angelus will be send straight to Hell... You have to fight him and come back through the gates with the power of fire... Only one of you can pass through the door - the stronger one..."

"And what if he is the stronger one?" Angel could barely speak, feeling the monster surfacing once again.

"You are the stronger one, Angel" Buffy smiled through tears. "Don't you doubt it even for a second... I love you and will wait for you... and when you come back we'll be together, forever..."

"There is one more thing, however..." Trajan added. "When you come back, that is - if you come back, you'll retain your powers but you will no longer be immortal, you'll be a man with supernatural strength, like Buffy. Are you prepared to make that sacrifice??"

Buffy looked at him stealthily, fearing his decision.

He smiled at her, once again reading her mind. "Sacrifice??!!This isn't a sacrifice for me... not in the least."

"But, Angel, your immortality??" Buffy was amazed and stunned by this new proof of his love for her...

"Believe me, honey, if you had lived with it as long as I have, you would have begun to hate it as well... Immortality is suffocating - it would only get in the way of happiness... Of our happiness..."

He gathered his strength to kiss her one final time before they begun the incantation.

"Verni dumi, verna obich, ima li za tjah razvala?
Za surtzata shto se ljubjat I smurtta ne e razdjala!
Tirani, vsue se morite!
Ne se gasi tui, stho ne gasne!
Luchata, shto ja dness gasite,
tja na vulkan shte da porasne.
Ednata svetlina e vjachna
edna vuv haosa gramadni!
Sus neja toja svjat se nachna
sus neja njama da propadne.
I ako sluntzeto izchezne
ot tija nebesa privetni
to njakoi v ada shte da vlezne,
glavnja da vzeme, da ni svetne!"

(Translation follows: "True words, true love, is there deterioration for them? For the hearts that love each other even death is no parting! "Inseparable" Pencho Slaveikov... Tyrants there is no use to waste your strength ! You can't put out what cannot be extinguished! The spark that you put out today will grow to a vulcano. Only the light is eternal, alone in the gigantic chaos! With it the world began and with it it won't end. And if the sun disappears from these cordial skies then someone will go to Hell to take a torch and light it. "You can't put out what cannot be extinguished" Ivan Vazov)

As the last verse of the curse was finished, Angel disappeared in a final shriek of pain.

Buffy stared confused at the empty spot, where he used to stand seconds ago.

"Where did he go?? Giles," she looked at him desperate for answers but he couldn't give her any.

"Oh my God," he whispered, "we are running out of time... There are only seconds left till midnight... There won't be enough time for the two of you to "bond" when he comes back... if he comes back."

"GILES," Buffy screamed. "He will come back... he will... I know it."

She started crying helplessly and dropped to her knees, silently wishing all this wasn't happening to her, not to her.

Then all of a sudden a bright light filled the place as a vortex formed right before their eyes... The light was bright and strong, almost supernaturally strong... Suddenly a body was thrown with great force from it...

Buffy flung herself at him, wanting to touch him, to feel that he was safe in her arms... At the same time Trajan and Whistler cried out as the clock stroke twelve, while all Buffy could see and hear was him... Her Angel... he raised his head slowly and painfully and looked up to meet her lovely gaze, dimmed with tears. Their eyes interlocked just as the clock was beating the final stroke of midnight.

The rest stood frozen, as the doom of civilization was approaching, or rather happening before their eyes... or so they thought. Nevertheless, Buffy and Angel could only see each other, their eyes making the bond between them almost visible as love, boundless and pure, filled the whole room... A glow formed around the lovers and grew stronger and stronger, so strong that all had to close their eyes before its brightness - all, but Buffy and Angel who couldn't take their eyes off each other, no matter if the world was ending or not.

A minute passed when no one was able to move or say anything. Finally, Xander and Cordelia were the first to move and congratulate themselves on surviving yet another world-shattering disaster... Slowly the rest came to their senses and started hugging each other and crying happily.

"The love... the love that cannot be broken... That that was it..." Whistler couldn't believe his eyes... they were safe, really, really safe... Finally.

Everyone rushed towards Buffy and Angel who had apparently passed out... the tension proving to high for either of them to endure.

Buffy was the first one to slowly come to her senses, still reeling from all the emotions and the notion that the love of her life was next to her... human, with no "happy-clause" to spoil the beautiful picture her semi-conscious mind was painting... She wanted to rush to him to hold him tight, but she could barely stand on her feet and was sure to stumble down if not supported by Trajan and her mother... She couldn't hear their words, although she was sure they were soothing and elated, she could only see him... Or not quite as Xander, Willow, and Oz were blocking the way... She wanted to order them away but she couldn't even open her mouth, let alone speak.

He slowly opened his eyes, trying to remember where he was, he saw three or four faces leaning above him, speaking to him some words he didn't understand... He tried to pull away form their arms, mastering all his strength before addressing them meekly.

'Wh-h-o are you? W-ha-t do yo-u wa-nt from m-e?" He saw the darkness surrounding him once again, as he tried to get up... Angel felt his feet give in, just as he thought he saw a familiar face somewhere in the back. "A face from a dream," he thought before passing out in Cordelia's arms.

Buffy was shocked, terrified. Her mind kept pumping one and the same thought. "He didn't remember, he didn't recognize me... Oh, god..."

"ANGEL" was the last hoarse shriek she could manage before fainting in her mother's arms.

The End

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