Hellmouth Christmas Carol, Part III

Author: LelaRose and Gia, with contribution from Rehatha

Author’s Notes: See previous parts for notes.

Rating: Adult; explicit sex

Disclaimer: Own nothing. All belongs to Joss, ME, Fox, et.al.

Pairing: B/A, mentions of C/A, B/S.

Distribution: My site, EverySixSeconds; sites currently with permission to host my fics; all others please ask.

Originally posted: Dec 22, 2002

Angel’s Ghost of Christmas Present…

Angel blinked. Within minutes they were at the mansion on Crawford Street. Angel recognized it immediately. It had been his home the last two years before he had left Sunnydale.

Angel glanced around in amazement. There had been a surprising transformation. A richly decorated Christmas tree stood in one corner, the white lights twinkling brightly. Gifts in cheerfully colored packages were neatly stacked around the bottom. A large wreath hung on the wall near the deep green velvet curtains that shielded the patio doors. Pine boughs intertwined with ivory and gold ribbon were draped across the mantle along with brightly gleaming ornaments and two red velvet stockings. Candles burned on the mantle and the coffee table, as well as along the sideboard. A fire blazed in the fireplace, warming the hearth and giving the room a lively brightness that Angel never remembered seeing here before.

<This is so not my lair…>

Mistletoe hung from the ceiling in several places by red ribbon and several freshly cut sprigs lay on the table near the couch. The delicate sounds of instrumental Christmas music played softly in the background.

“Recognize the place?” Doyle swept his hand out looking around as he moved across the room to the fire.

Angel followed cautiously with slow steps, still feeling uncertain and stung by what he had just seen and been told.

“This is your Christmas Present.” Doyle chuckled. “Present, as in current, not as in gift. And who knew you’d listen to Kenny G?” Doyle picked up the CD case off the side table, checking out the case.

Angel cast a curious glance at his ghostly friend before his eyes moved around the room again. This time he noticed the feminine jacket draped across the back of the couch next to one very similar to his own. A pair of dainty high-heeled sandals was casually strewn on the floor next to a purse and a couple of shopping bags. The sounds of soft familiar laughter coming from the bedroom could occasionally be heard over the music. Buffy? Was she here?

“Ok then, Doyle.” Angel cleared his throat, “so why are we here?”

Doyle rubbed his chin, considering for a moment. “Oh, my mistake. This is what should have been.”

In the blink of an eye, the trappings in the mansion fell away one by one, the music stopped, the fire died, the wreaths, the tree the presents, they all disappeared. A recognizable pair of diamond earrings caught his attention just as they began to fade away and Angel stared where they had been until not even the faintest trace of them remained. Eventually the entire room dropped away and Angel found himself standing with Doyle just outside a crypt in one of Sunnydale’s many cemeteries. The sounds of a television could be heard faintly from inside.

All around them, the ground was shrouded in mist, the sky dark in the foggy night, lending an air of foreboding to their journey. Angel glanced at Doyle and waited. The lingering discordant chord of sorrow hung over him, emphasizing his loss with great clarity.

“You came.” He had hoped after their earlier run-in in the cemetery that she would come to him.

The cheerful accented voice coming from inside the crypt was familiar. Too familiar. His Grandchilde. Spike.

Angelus growled. <Insolent child. What’s he still doing on the Hellmouth?>

“Yes.”

Angel heard Buffy’s voice in reply, even though he was unable to see them.

Doyle made a small gesture and they moved forward, through the walls and into the dank crypt.

“Because you want me, isn’t that right, pet?” Spike was smug as he stood in front of Buffy his hand now on her shoulder, his palm resting on her collarbone.

Angel’s eyes widened in surprise and he looked at Doyle. Doyle shrugged. Buffy appeared the same to him and yet different. Her hair was longer and she was perhaps even slimmer, if possible, than the last time he had seen her and yet those weren’t the things about her that had changed. She had changed, inside. There was a coldness in her eyes, around her heart that Angel could see clearly. Her shining golden light, the radiant glow that had so enchanted him from the first moment he had seen her had dimmed. Faint traces of that rich light were still there, but she no longer burned as brightly as she once had. As she had when he had known her.

“Yes.” Buffy swallowed hard. She wanted to feel something, anything. Rather than sit and home and wallow in self-pity and her aloneness, she had come to Spike on impulse. She was no longer able to resist the lure of the blond vampire. Although the physical differences of Spike and Angel could not be more striking, his touch, the feel of his cool skin, his skillful hands roaming over her body had brought back a reminder of Angel with sudden stabbing clarity. When she closed her eyes for those moments with Spike, she could pretend again. She could almost feel him again.

Spike grinned, his hand moving to cup Buffy’s breast through her clothing.

Angel growled, wanting to step forward and stop him.

<Intruder! Interloper! Trespasser! Ungrateful whelp!> The demon raged at the sight passing through Angel’s eyes.

“They don’t see or hear you, man.” Doyle reminded him. “But you’re glowering on my shoulder. Step back.”

Angel turned away in frustration, unable to believe what was happening. He closed his eyes willing the vision of what he had seen away.

<Go ahead, Spikey. Touch her. Enjoy it now, while you can because I will remove that hand from your body…You enjoy it too soul boy. This is your fault.>

Buffy closed her eyes, feeling the cool touch of Spikes hand through her sweater. She sighed and lifted her hands to Spike’s shoulders. Sliding then around his neck, she drew his head down then for a kiss.

The soft sounds of their kiss followed by a sigh from Buffy reached Angel’s ears. Angel looked back as Spike unbuttoned Buffy’s jacket then pushed her shirt and bra up to bare her breasts. With a quick hop, she locked her legs around Spikes narrow waist as he slammed her back into the wall, his lips pressed firmly against hers in a kiss.

Still growling, Angelus snarled. <The eyes too, Spike. A hot poker will take care of those.>

“Doyle, if I can’t stop it, then I can’t watch this… You shouldn’t…” Angel hissed, his voice a whisper as if he thought they could be heard. Resentment burned hot as Angel took in Spike now fondling his mate. Long buried feelings of possessiveness surfaced.

<She’s marked, you ass! Can’t you see it!>

“If the shadows you are seeing remain unaltered, Buffy will turn to Spike.” Doyle murmured in reply, his eyes locked on the couple with avid interest.

<No!>

“Doyle.” Angel growled, drawing his ghostly friend’s attention. He didn’t want Spike – or Doyle – to see her naked breasts, that secret warm spot between her legs that Spike was pawing. Jealousy gnawed at him along with anger. Anger that she would allow Spike the privilege of touching her, of kissing her.

<After Spike’s taken care of, she’ll need to be taught a lesson. Who she really belongs too.>

“What? Oh.” Doyle’s ghostly apparition managed to look only slight repentant at his voyeurism. He shrugged, “Sorry.”

“Why? Why will she turn to *Spike* of all the other – choices – she could make? I didn’t leave her so she could take up with *him*” Angel spat, his words harsh and angry as the sounds of Buffy and Spike now obviously fucking against the wall grew louder. Angel was sure he would never forget this moment. Buffy was *his*. She was marked. How dare his Spike violate that rule? He’d make the younger vampire contrite and apologetic before the day was over. If he could, that is…

<Oh, but I can. Watch and learn, soul boy.>

“Angel, all I can tell you is that if these shadows remain unaltered, you will find her here. But isn’t it better that she at least has someone by her side that will love her? Better than if she were to die alone?” Doyle returned, undaunted by Angel’s words or his anger.

Angel dropped his head, his own words thrown in his face that he couldn’t let her die alone – and then left her to do just that. He was overcome with penitence and grief.

Sadly, Angel nodded. He still refused to glance up and give sight to what he could so clearly hear going on in the small crypt. “It’s not right. She doesn’t love him.”

The soft moans echoed throughout the room as Spike brought Buffy to the height of pleasure followed by his own grunts as he too reached his peak.

“A-a-ang…ell” Buffy bit her lip, her eyes closed as her orgasm washed over him. The word came out in a soft sighing breath.

Angel raised his eyes on hearing his own name, finally looking at Spike and Buffy.

The demon perked up. <Ah. That’s more like it, lover. You know who you belong to. Tell that little prick now.>

“Oh, you did not just say that. Tell me you did not just say what I think you said.” Spike dropped her legs and stepped back angrily, zipping up his pants.

Buffy opened her eyes “What?”

“When I’m fuckin’ you, you’d better well know that I’m the one fuckin’ you.” Spike turned away and kicked angrily at the bed. He was mad, but if the truth were known, he was more hurt than mad. “We’ve been through this before, Buff. The bleedin’ poof is gone.”

<You hear that you worthless carcass of nauseating repentance? This is your doing.>

“I-I know.” Buffy’s voice was a whisper. She righted her clothes, brushing her skirt down. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-”

Spike swallowed his pride and turned back to her. He knew that she didn’t love him – at least not yet – and that she was using him, but he didn’t care. He wanted her regardless. “I know, pet. Just don’t do it again.”

“I won’t.” Buffy replied in a small voice. Now that she had gone down this path, she felt a desperation to not turn away the one thing that she had in her life now – Spike. She chastised herself for being so weak, for giving in. But what else did she have?

Angel felt his anger surge again at her, at Spike. He raged. This isn’t why he left her. How could she do this? She was his girl. Always his girl. He choked back a broken sob.

<Finally, you whining pussy! Get off your fat ass and get her back!>

“No, she doesn’t. I’d say it’s pretty obvious who she still loves. Or who she’d prefer.” Doyle looked at the couple then back at Angel. “But he loves her. At least he thinks he does. And I have to say, it’s pretty big of him to just let that slide. I wouldn’t easily forget my girl calling out another guy’s name while we were-”

<Wouldn’t know. It’s never happened to me.> Angelus snorted, sure of his own appeal. Women might call his name with other men, but he’d never suffer the same.

At Angel’s frustrated and angry look, Doyle stopped. “Well, you know what I mean. It hasn’t changed, you know. Together you were strong, apart you are divided and weak.”

Angel nodded, glancing once more at Buffy before Doyle touched his arm and they began to move. Gradually they appeared to pick up speed, moving rapidly through the streets, through the cool night air until they reached the busy streets of LA.

The dank shadows and of the crypt dropped away as the bright lights of the lobby of the Hyperion appeared just as Angel had remembered it earlier that evening. Where cobwebs had been, there was now lush greenery and dazzling decorations. The obvious pain and dissonance of the pair in the crypt was a stark contrast to the cheerful expressions and bright smiles of the occupants of the hotel. Angel felt a pang of remorse. He had left Buffy so that she would find a better life, yet on the face of it, he was the one that had achieved that aim while she struggled.

Cordelia looked stunning in her black dress, it clung perfectly to her curves in all the right places. Her makeup was flawless, the plum lips drawing his attention as if they were ready to be kissed.

“He’s probably up there brooding again. You know how he gets on the holidays.” Cordelia cast a glance up the stairs, having seen Angel make his way up there earlier.

“Cut the man some slack, Cor. It’s not like he’s had the easiest life.” Gunn poured champagne into glasses for he, Fred, Cordelia and Wes.

“I know, but he needs to move on. Do more human stuff, you know?” Cordelia had limited tolerance or patience for understanding why Angel was the way he was. She was much more interested in the here-and-now and it showed.

Fred met Gunn’s eyes with a telling look, both feeling that sometimes Cordelia’s ideas were less than compassionate and realistic. But, she appeared to be in Angel’s favor and if Gunn’s suspicions were correct, things were about to move up a notch on the relationship scale between the vampire and his seer. Angel had purchased a rather expensive looking diamond ring that he had shown Gunn earlier, intending to begin his courtship of Cordelia now in earnest. Angel hadn’t said the word engagement – although that’s what the ring clearly implied. Personally, Gunn thought Angel was rushing things a bit. Almost as if he were afraid of thinking it over too closely.

When Cordelia left and brought the shadow of himself back down the stairs, Angel looked on curiously. He had been unaware of the way his eyes followed Cordelia like a puppy, watching her every move. He looked both resigned and interested at the same time. Had anyone asked him, Angel would have said he looked like a man that was trying too hard. Too hard to be something or feel something that perhaps he did not.

<It’s called pussy-whipped, moron. Ironic isn’t it, since you aren’t getting any?> The demon taunted him once more.

The evening continued just as Angel had remembered it, but condensed in the short amount of time that Doyle had allotted.

“Well?” Doyle asked the question, even as Angel thoughtfully watched Cordelia saunter down the hall away from where his shadow had just been.

“Well what?” Angel glanced back at Doyle who was also watching Cordelia with avid interest, wondering about the next step they would take in their journey tonight.

Shaking the hourglass he now held in his hand, Doyle finally pulled his eyes away from the sight of the beautiful brunette, now dyed blonde. He missed her rich chestnut tresses. Doyle couldn’t tell Angel how much he thought about her. Nor could he tell the vampire how much it hurt to see her with him. It was, he imagined, much of what Angel felt when he saw his girl with Spike. The difference being, of course, that Angel wasn’t fucking his girl. At least, not yet. Doyle never suspected that his girl would be interested in the vampire, not to mention so careless, risking Angel’s soul. He’d known that she was snobby and vain – he had thought it cute, endearing. Of course, he always suspected that a warm, loving woman lie beneath the surface. How could he have been so wrong? Doyle sighed, returning his thoughts to the task at hand.

“It’s interesting, isn’t it? How we manage to muddy up our lives until they make no sense. How we stray from what we really want into what we think we should have or should be or should do.”

Angel only stared at Doyle curiously, his meaning not yet clear. He cocked his head, thinking over what he had seen in the last hour.

“Ignorance. Want. It’s a bit of a bad combination, really. Sort of the all roads lead to doom, thing.” Doyle glanced at the hourglass as somewhere a clock began to chime three.

“Do you know how many times simply becoming aware of a problem or restriction can be the very thing that can eliminate it? It’s a funny thing, really. Or how, you can receive a gift – and not really understand what you’ve got. Or realize you’ve even got it. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of *soul searching*.” Doyle’s look at him was pointed, meaningful.

For a breath-held moment Angel wondered if he could really believe Doyle’s words. Did he have his soul? Permanently?

<NO! Not possible…> The demon stirred, clamoring within.

The world swirled around them then, the chiming of the clock growing louder as they once more began to move.

Buffy’s Ghost of Chistmas Present

Kendra watched her sister Slayer sleeping fitfully. The pain of the past had been hard for her to handle. She’d let Buffy rest as long as she could. As it was they would be rushing the rest of the night to keep up with the schedule that the PTB’s had set. As much as she wanted to let Buffy rest she knew that if Buffy made the right choice at the end of this night she’d get what she’d always wanted.

She lighty shook Buffy, “It’s time to go.”

Buffy knew the voice and she vaguely knew what to expect. She rolled over to see Kendra standing at the side of her bed. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and sat up.

“How long have I been sleeping?”

“Not long but it’s time. We have much to see.”

Buffy didn’t waste any time she stood up and put her hand in Kendra’s.

“Where are we going now?”

“To take a look at your Christmas present.”

“More punishment?” Buffy asked sarcastically.

“I’m not here to punish you Buffy. I’m only here to show you.”

“The only thing you’ve shown me so far has caused me pain.”

“Some times pain leads to pleasure.” Kendra said.

Mist floated around within minutes they were at the mansion on Crawford Street. Buffy recognized it immediately. It had been Angel’s home the last two years he’d been in Sunnydale.

A richly decorated Christmas tree stood in one corner, the white lights twinkling brightly. Gifts in cheerfully colored packages were neatly stacked around the bottom. A large wreath hung on the wall near the deep green velvet curtains that shielded the patio doors. Pine boughs intertwined with ivory and gold ribbon were draped across the mantle along with brightly gleaming and two red velvet stockings. Candles burned on the mantle and the coffee table, as well as along the sideboard. A fire blazed in the fireplace, warming the hearth and giving the room a lively brightness that Angel never remembered seeing here before.

Mistletoe hung from the ceiling in several places by red ribbon and several freshly cut sprigs lay on the table near the couch. The delicate sounds of instrumental Christmas music played softly in the background.

“Recognize the place?” Kendra asked in false innocence.

Buffy walked around touching the sofa, the Christmas tree the mounds of richly wrapped presents under the tree.

“This is your Christmas Present.” Kendra told her walking behind her. “Present, as in current, not as in gift. Buffy picked up the CD case off the side table, checking out the case. Kenny G. She smiled at Angel’s taste in music.

Buffy noticed that her jacket was draped across the back of the couch next to one very similar to Angel’s much larger one. A pair of dainty high-heeled sandals was casually strewn on the floor next to a purse and a couple of shopping bags. Buffy listened to the sounds of soft familiar laughter coming from the bedroom mixed with Angel’s much deeper laughs. Buffy was transfixed. She didn’t know how it happened but if this was her Christmas Present then she was doing something right.

Buffy turned smiling. “This is my Christmas Present. How?” she asked confused but clearly happy.

Kendra’s bucked dramatically and she looked sheepishly at Buffy, “Oh, my mistake. This is what should have been. This is what actually is…”

Before Buffy was able to reply the room filled with mist and the weightless feeling took over again. She felt the swirling, shifting of time. When the mist cleared she was standing in Giles condo.

It was different than it was when she’d left yesterday. There seemed to be more decorations. Buffy smiled. Giles and Xander where wearing Santa hats. They looked so adorable. Anya was dressed in a red velvet suit. Tara wore jeans and a white sweatshirt with a Christmas tree and the words Merry Christmas imprinted on it. Willow sitting next to Tara was wearing a gauzy kelly green dress. Buffy could only imagine since Tara loved Christmas Willow was doing her best to be festive for her lover. Buffy was looking around for herself. She spotted herself placing gifts under a large fir pine Christmas tree.

Buffy was taken aback. Giles had gotten in the Christmas mood and purchased a real tree. Buffy took a closer look at her present self. She didn’t seem to be too happy. Everyone around her was laughing, smiling sharing little kisses and she seemed to be sadly hanging near the tree looking around uncomfortably. She thought she understood why present Buffy was so sad. Spike’s revelations were probably weighting heavily on her.

Anya was holding Xander’s hand, “I love your human ritual sacrifices with pies. First your Giving thanks and then this X-Mas Day.”

“Anya, Buffy and I have told you it’s not a ritual sacrifice,” Willow explained patiently. “It’s called a Holiday. You really need to remember these things. Right, Buffy.” Willow turned to her friend who was kneeling by the tree to back her up.

Buffy realized Willow was talking to her and answered, “Oh, yeah,” she said absently, “Holiday.” She turned back to fiddle with an ornament on the tree.

Buffy looked around at everyone at the Christmas Dinner. Xander and Willow were so happy. They were both sitting close to their lovers. Willow kept looking up at Tara and smiling at her. Buffy heard a delighted squeal and giggle and turned to see Giles kissing Olivia under the mistletoe hanging by the kitchen alcove.

“I’m so glad I was able to come Rupert,” she said. “You have certainly made this a very happy holiday.”

Giles kissed her again his hands lying possessively on her waist. “You are the best Christmas present in the world.”

Olivia eyes twinkled, “Rupert you do have a way with words.”

“G-Man no X-rated shows. Our eyes are too sensitive,” Xander joked.

Everyone in the room laughed the mood was so jovial. Except for her. She hadn’t moved from the tree. She had a sad little smile on her face.

Buffy wondered what time Olivia arrived. Yesterday afternoon Giles hadn’t mentioned anything about Olivia. To be exact he’d told Buffy he intended to read and call it a early night.

Now she understood why there was a big tree and extra Christmas decorations. Olivia must have arrived in enough time for her and Giles to go shopping for Christmas decorations and a larger tree.

So now she knew why she seemed a little sad. Everyone even Giles, had someone with them this Christmas. She was the only one alone today. The only one without a lover. She watched as herself laugh at something Xander had said and tried to fit in, tried to pretend being the only one without a date for Christmas didn’t both her, tried to ignore the loneliness that was in her heart. Tried to forget that Angel and Cordelia were sharing Christmas as a couple. She tried and was failing miserably.

Giles and Olivia had not only shopped for new decorations but had gone grocery shopping as well. Buffy and the Scoobies had only planned on having a baked chicken maybe cook some frozen peas, whip up some instant mashed potatoes and get a pumpkin pie from the bakery. They hadn’t planned anything fancy or elaborate. Giles had even told them he was going to get paper table cloth, plates, napkins and plastic spooks and forks to avoid a big clean up after dinner. That had obviously changed. The table had been set with a white linen tablecloth, plates, red linen napkins, glasses and silverware. A red poinsettia served as a centerpiece. Creamed potatoes with gravy, green bean almond, corn, spiced apples, cranberry orange sauce, rolls, chocolate cake, peach cobbler, some dish that looked like a creamy pudding, and a bottle of wine graced the table. Olivia finally separating herself from Giles went into the kitchen and came out carrying a large platter.

Buffy and Kendra floated over to see what she’d placed on the table. It was a honey-baked ham adorned with pineapples and chives. They watched as the group sat down to eat.

Giles stood with a glass of wine to make a toast. “I can’t think of any one I’d rather spend the Holidays with that all of you.” He raised his glass. “I don’t think I say this enough but each and everyone of you is important to me.”

“Here, Here.” Everyone agreed, echoing the toast and clinking their glasses with the person closest to them. Buffy notice that although she too performed the actions of the others her heart just wasn’t in it.

Everything seems so beautiful. All her friends were there. The man she thought of as a father was present. He was happier than she’d seen him in months. Gifts were piled under the tree. Christmas music floated around them. They were all smiling and laughing. Yet, Buffy knew that although she was happy for her friends inside her heart was broken into little pieces. She was putting on a smiling face for her friends because it was what was expected of her.

Buffy floated around the room taking in the Christmas decorations. The wreath on the door, the mistletoe hung over the door, a garland swag wrapped around the staircase. The decorated tree, the gifts under the tree and the table set to abundance.

Everyone was sitting down eating. Forks clanging against the china. Voices mixing with the soft sounds of the Christmas music. Everyone was laughing and having a good time. It should have been as close to a perfect. Okay her Mom wasn’t there. Her Dad had preferred a cruise to spending time with his only child but she didn’t think that was the big problem. Buffy could feel her happiness for those around her. She could even feel the happiness she felt for being able to spend this day with Giles and her friends, but there was still so much sadness surrounding her. She could feel her emptiness, her loneliness.

Mist began to fill the air again. Buffy knew what to expect. When the mist cleared she would be in another place. The mist cleared to reveal her walking through the cemetery. Buffy could feel the loneliness and pain engulfing her as she approached the door. She and Kendra glided along behind herself as she walked to a crypt door. Buffy knew whose door she stood in front of. She watched as she knocked on the door. She had to knock twice before it was answered. Spike opened the door. His shirt was off. His chest was thin and muscled. He had a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. He leaned against the door jam lasciviously looking her up and down. He threw the cigarette to the ground and crushed in beneath his boots.

“C’mon on in Slayer I’ve been waiting on you.” He stood aside as she walked through the door. It closed with a thud.

Buffy jumped. She stood outside Spike’s crypt knowing what she was going on unable to face how far her desperation had sent her. She turned to Kendra.

“This isn’t good is it?”

“It’s what you thought you wanted earlier tonight isn’t?”

“What’s with the cryptic, Kendra? Why can’t you just answer one question?”

“I’m not here to answer your questions Buffy?”

“Then why the hell are you here?” Buffy asked finally losing her patience with cryptic Kendra. Her eyes went back to the door of the crypt.

“I’m here to show you your life. To show you where your choices will lead you.”

“This is what your Christmas day will be like Buffy. You’ll have dinner with your friends, Giles and his girlfriend. You’ll go to Spike. Is this the happiness you seek?”

Buffy lashed out. “So what? I fucked Spike. Big deal. I deserve it. Angel has someone in his life. He’s fucking my nemesis why shouldn’t I fuck his? From day one I’ve always sacrificed for Angel, defied my watcher and friends for him. I was willing to fight and even harm you to save him. I fought Faith and tried to kill her to save him. I turned my back on the Watcher’s Council. Fed him my own jugular to save his life. And you know what? He turned on his heels and walked away from me. He didn’t even say good-bye. He just walked away. He’s never had to give up anything for me. He’s never had to sacrifice to be with me. His words of love were empty and meaningless. Instead of trying to work out our problems he just walked away from them. Yeah, I should really feel bad about fucking Spike!” Her words were heated and impassioned. She felt self-righteous in her actions.

“O-O-kay Buffy. So, he never did anything for you? Did you not tell me he killed his sire for you? That’s not even heard of in vampire society. Demons rarely kill their sires. To kill a sire for a human, a slayer at that. Huh, that’s unheard of. Did he ever ask you why you stuck a sword through his heart and sent him to Hell to suffer with a soul?” Kendra answered the question for her. “No, he loved you. He knew if you sent him to hell it was for a good reason.”

“Okay,” Buffy admitted peevishly. “So, he killed Darla for me. At one time he loved me. All of that is over. As far as I’m concerned none of it really caused him that much pain. Buffy shrugged, “It was nothing really special.”

“I shouldn’t do this. I wasn’t supposed to show you this. You’ve had your three visions but you leave me no choice. I have to show you this one thing. Come, hopefully I can do this in the few minutes we have left.”

Buffy was use to the mist now. <Can you say over dramatized?> she thought as the mist swirled around her.

Buffy watched as Angel wound up an old clock and set it on the desk in his office. The time on the clock was 8:53.

Although she’d only been in it once Buffy knew it was Angel’s office. The first time she’d been in it had been such a short time. She told Angel off, the agreed to stay away from each other and she walked out. Now she was watching what had occurred before she arrived in his office. Everything seemed to happen in a blur. It was like watching a movie on TV only fast forward.

Buffy looked at Kendra, “What the Hell is going on here!? This is not how this happened.”

“Keep looking Buffy it will all be revealed.”

Buffy turned back to look at the fight.

She and Angel were fighting the Mohra demon. Angel slid across the floor, picking up the demon’s sword and stabbed it in the gut while it is still wrestled with Buffy. Its blood ran down the sword onto Angel’s hand. The demon jumped back and shoved Buffy. She landed on top of Angel. The demon pulled the sword out and jumped out of the window.

Angel and Buffy stared at each other as they slowly untangle themselves and got up.

Just from watching the scene Buffy could feel the erotic and sexual tension between them. She didn’t remember this but Kendra promised her everything would be revealed in time.

Everything was like a blur. She and Angel tracked the Mohra demon through the sewer tunnels. The split up she went up in the day and he stayed in the tunnels. Angel walked through the tunnels and was attacked by the Mohra demon again. The demons blood mixed with Angel’s and the vampire collapsed and gave a strangled cry as he gasped for air. The sound of his heart beat filled his ear. Angel stared at his hand in disbelief as he gasped, “I’m alive.”

“Kendra if this is a joke so help me.”

“I was sent by the PTB’s they don’t have a sense of humor.”

Buffy squinted her eyes in warning at Kendra. “If Angel became human what happened to change him back?”

“Stop being so impatient Buffy. Just keep watching you’ll see it all.”

Angel going back to the office, looked up the demons, met with the Oracles and then it slowed Buffy watched herself standing on the boardwalk. She felt Angel and turned around to see him stepping through a shadowed arch in a hedge walking determinedly towards her. When he finally reached her, he grabbed her in his arms and kissed her without hesitation.

Buffy could feel the heat of the kiss from where she stood. She watched as she ran her hands up and down his back. Accustoming herself to the warmth of his flesh. The kiss seemed to go on and on. They broke the kiss only to nibble at each other’s lips before kissing again.

They were now sitting opposite each other at his kitchen table. Angel was pouring some tea and they were talking about his being human. They had decided to wait to make sure everything would take. That there was no “grrr.” She got up to leave but stopped to talked to Angel again.

Now they were standing at the kitchen sink talking. He was trying to convince her that they would stay in touch. That they would make their love work. She placed her hand on top of his. He looked down at her hand on his then back at her face. He pulled her to him, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her softly. So soft yet so intense it stole her breath. Their eyes met. And a current of pure love and desire went through them. They met again in a kiss that was so hot, passionate and intense Buffy jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist. Walking backwards with her, he came up against the refrigerator where he halted momentarily leaning against it heavily. Their lips and tongues reacquainted themselves. Their lips blended together. Their tongues mingled and mated. His kisses were hot molten lava instead of erotic and cool as ice. She didn’t care. His kisses were making moisture flow from her core and heating her entire body. Never breaking the kiss Angel carried her over to the kitchen table, swept the stuff on it on to the floor and laid her down on it.

Buffy felt and smelt the passion as it swirled around and in them hot demanding and raging out of control. They indulged in every act Buffy had ever imagined they would do if they could. The table eventually broke beneath them and they continue to make love on the floor before Angel lifted her and took her into the bedroom. Buffy’s face was flushed she watching the scene unfold in front of her. Her breathing sounding loud and erratic to her own ears.

“Wow!” Buffy muttered.

“Come there is more,” Kendra pulled Buffy through the past. They fast forward through the past. Occasionally Kendra would have to pulled Buffy through as she stopped to gape open mouthed.

“This is what you must see,” Kendra told her.

Buffy watched as Angel faced a man and woman with Gold faces wearing Greek style gowns. <They really needed a fashion check.> Buffy thought.

“Who are these people?” she asked Kendra.

“Oracles. They too serve the Powers That Be. Now listen,” she chided.

The man addressed Angel. “You again.”

“What have you brought me?” The woman asked extending her hand.

“Famille Rose vase.” Angel threw the vase to her. “Ching dynasty. Circa 1811.”

“Lovely,” the woman said admiring the vase.

“Why are you here, lower being?” The male Oracle asked impatiently.

“The Mohra demon said the end of days had begun. That others were coming, soldiers of darkness. I need to know if he was telling the truth.”

“As far as such things can be told,” the male Oracle answered.

“What happens to the Slayer when these soldiers come?”

The female Oracle answered, “What happens to all mortal beings. Albeit sooner in her case.”

Buffy saw the utter pain, despair and terror that crossed Angel’s face. She floated forward to touch him and as before her hands seemed to go through him.

“She’ll die? – Then I’m here to beg for her life.” He said in anguish.

The Oracles turned and walked away. “It is not our place to grant life or death.”

“And I ask you to take mine back,” Angel pleaded.

“No, No,” Buffy sobbed standing beside him. “Don’t do this Angel.” But he didn’t hear. This had happened long ago.

The oracles stop walking and turned back to him.

“Look I can’t protect her or anyone this way, not as a man.”

Buffy wanted to sob. He was trying to protect her again. How could she have forgotten how quickly he always stepped in an attempt to shelter her, to defend her?

The woman Oracle spoke to him, “You’re asking to be what you were, a demon with a soul, because of the Slayer?”

The male Oracle seemed bored. Buffy wanted to pummel him in the ground. Angel was giving away every thing he’d hoped for and this Oracle didn’t seem to care.

The male Oracle turned to leave, “Oh, this is a matter of love. It does not concern us.”

“Yes, it does.” Angel insisted. “The Mohra demon came to take a warrior from your cause – and it succeeded. I’m no good to you like this. I know you have it in your power to make this right. Please.”

The male Oracle let out a bored sigh, “What is done can not be undone.”

The female Oracle considered Angel’s proposition, “What is not yet done can be avoided.”

“Temporal folds are not to indulge at – the whims of lower beings,” the male Oracle warned.

“You are wrong. This one is willing to sacrifice every drop of human happiness and love he has ever known for another. He is not a lower being,” The female Oracle came to Angel’s defense.

The male Oracle conceded, “There is one way. But it is not to be undertaken lightly.”

“We swallow this day, as though it had never happened. Twenty-four hours from the moment the demon first attacked you, we take it back,” the female Oracle explained.

Angel licked his lips, “Then none of this happened and Buffy and I… What – what’ll stop us from doing the exact same thing again?”

“You. You alone will carry the memory of this day. – Can you carry that burden?” she asked.

“For Buffy I can do anything.”

Buffy thought her heart had broken watching the Christmas she spent with Angel. That pain didn’t compare to the pain and anguish she felt now. She squeezed Kendra’s hand tightly as the mist swirled and she was transported to another place.