chain you made for me
Angel stood in the center Giles' office for a few long minutes, struggling to breathe. The weariness he felt hadn't even really begun to hit the surface; the sorrow and tension had his full attention. He inched closer to the desk where Buffy had left the bag and all the remnants of the drugs and alcohol she had consumed. There, lying on the desk, half soaked in Giles' spilled Brandy was a note that he hadn't known she had left.
He picked up the overturned chair and sat in it, making him feel closer to her as he peered down at the page, afraid to touch it as he read. The first words brought tears to his eyes. The idea that she thought that suicide was the only other way to deal with her problems was unfathomable. He read her words to Giles, her friends and her mother while taking deep breaths, noting that her absentee father had no place on the list, but when he got to the words, "And finally, my Angel" he squeezed his eyes shut.
He wasn't sure if he was ready to read it. What if she said she hadn't loved him, that it was his fault? He regretted every moment that he hadn't known she was still aching inside, every drop of pain medication that kept him sleeping while, for all he knew, she was weeping at his side, every minute he had let pass that he didn't let her know that she was his entire world and mostly he regretted every word he hadn't said to make sure she knew that he would love her no matter what happened.
As he kept his eyes closed, the thought occurred to him that maybe he wasn't enough. Maybe his love didn't matter at all in her shattered world. What if nothing he did would have stopped this from happening? Groaning inside himself, Liam Angelus realized that he had never felt so unworthy, so helpless in his entire life. No amount of hard work and not a cent of his amassed wealth could have stopped this.
He pried his eyes open after several minutes and forced himself to look at the page. Slowly, swallowing each word like the pills she had consumed, he read, "And finally, my Angel, I hope you won't think that my death means that I don't love you. When I met you, I realized you were the only thing I've ever wanted and now I know you are the one thing that I can never have. Please don't be angry with me for not being as strong as you wanted me to be. I love you. -Buffy"
Angel read his part of the note over and over again as he sat there, allowing the tears to course freely down his cheeks. He let each word sink in, holding his head in his hands and sobbing. Had he failed her so much? Had she thought that she needed to be so strong for him that she couldn't deal with what she felt? And why couldn't she have him? Why?
"Giles," Angel said, raising his head slowly and fixing his eyes on his old friend and guardian.
"What happened in here? Are you alright?" Giles asked, stepping into the office and staring at the desk in horror, "Did you take all this?"
Giles had already picked up the phone to call the ambulance, when Angel shook his head and motioned for him to hang up. "It's not me, Giles," Angel said, "I mean, it wasn't me."
"Dear Lord," Giles said, breathing a sigh of relief and then widening his eyes in horror, "Then what happened?"
can close your eyes
The past twenty-four hours had been so much worse than Buffy ever could have imagined. After making her to swallow a sort of liquid that smelled like rotten eggs, they forced a tube through her nose and down her throat to pump her stomach. The experience was so horrible, for a second she wished she had died until the doctor told her that he thought she might.
She didn't realize until later that his tactic was to make her want to live, but the comment sent her into a panic. More importantly, it worked. She wanted to live more than anything now and she didn't even know why. She immediately asked to see Angel and she missed the glint in his eyes when he told her about the friends crying in each other's arms. The worst thing he said to her while he treated her, carefully prodding her with his well planned verbal attack, was when she asked about the baby.
"You aren't pregnant, Miss Summers," the doctor answered, "Did you think you were?"
Breaking into a round of sobs, she begged to see Angel. He calmly told her that there was a large, dark haired young man out in the waiting room and had been crying in the arms of a lovely redheaded girl when he walked past them. Then, without missing a beat, he told her that he was moving her to a different facility in Los Angeles.
"Can I see them before I go?" she pleaded, wondering how she had ever gotten herself into this. All she wanted was to escape and strangely, that was still what she wanted. She didn't want to go to some sterile sounding facility two hours away, she wanted to go back to Angel's mansion and hide under his shadow again. The doctor informed her that she would not be seeing anyone before she was taken, not her mother, her boyfriend or her friends.
were my everything
Angel helped Giles clean up his office while he told him the story, unable to just sit there and shrink under his concerned stare. They had to throw the desk blotter away, as well as his calendar and the top of the surface looked as if it might be permanently stained in some places by the renegade liquor.
After a very long hour discussion, Angel made his way back to the mansion. Once he got there, he trudged up to his room, but there was no place he could look that didn't ring clearly of his lover. He finally decided on a shower, but when he came back in to dress, his closet was waiting there, overstuffed with her clothes, mingling so perfectly with his own. He took him a full ten minutes to work up the nerve he needed to pull out something to wear.
After he dressed, he headed downstairs and sat on the couch, staring blankly at the empty fireplace and ignoring anyone who dared to speak to him. He was at a loss. Classes were certainly out of the question. He had stayed at the hospital as long as possible, but when they told him they had moved Buffy to a different, unnamed facility in LA, he didn't know what to do. They refused to let him see or speak to her before she left and all he knew for certain was that she had lived. He didn't know if she was sick or if she was afraid. The idea that she was alone again was terrifying. He must have sat there for several hours, just letting his thoughts run wild on what she must be feeling and what would happen, when her mother came to visit.
"Joyce," Angel said, coming to life and standing up quickly, "Is she okay? Did they tell you where they're taking her?"
"I need to get some of her clothes, Angel," Joyce answered, her eyes bloodshot and swollen from crying and her voice hoarse, "and then I'm going to Los Angeles."
"Did you see her?" Angel said, trying again, "Is she alright?"
"They won't let me see her," Joyce said as her eyes filled with tears again, "They told me that since she's over the age of eighteen they don't have to let me and...and since I could be part of the problem, I'll have to wait. The new facility won't let anyone see or talk to her for the first week. After that she'll be able to make phone calls."
"A week?" he said, sitting down again, "A week and then I can't even see her? What if she needs someone? They won't let her out?"
"Come on," Joyce prodded, wiping back her tears, "Let's go pack a bag for her. There's nothing else we can do for her. Not now anyway."
she thinks to herself, hey what just happened to me?
When the nurse took away her shoestrings and anything that she could use to hurt herself, Buffy felt like a criminal. They told her that her mother would be dropping off a bag of her clothes and that they would be searching through it before she could have it in her room. They carefully listed the things that they would keep at the desk, that she would have to come and check out if she needed them - one of them being her makeup. Buffy immediately balked at that announcement but the nurse's stern glare made her keep quiet.
Buffy obediently did as she was told and shied away from the rest of the patients as she trudged to her room and waited for her first appointment with her doctor. Thankfully, it was the first day, only hours after her arrival. She hurried to the office ten minutes early with a pile of questions that no one had answered yet. When she sat down at the desk, she stared blatantly at the woman behind the desk. She was young and beautiful, seeming to be a bit too young to be a doctor.
"Hello Buffy," the doctor said with a pleasant smile, "I'm Dr. Jana Calendar, but everyone here calls me Jenny.'"
"Uh, hi Jenny," Buffy said quietly.
"I know I look young," Jenny said with a chuckle, "Don't worry. I am older than you think. We gypsies hold our age every well."
"You're a gypsy?" Buffy asked, leaning forward, truly intrigued.
"Yes," Jenny said with a twinkle in her dark eyes, "In fact, we have a lot of activities here for you to participate in while you're here and one of them is jewelry making. My people would be shocked that I reveal our secrets here."
"Cool," Buffy said, smiling a little back at her, "Look, Jenny, you seem really nice but I really have to be getting back. See, Angel's hurt and he needs me and my friends will be worried and-"
"Buffy, I know you're not going to want to hear this, but you're going to be here for a month at the very least," Jenny said, keeping her voice calm and soothing, "From the sound of the list you just rattled off, it seems like you have a lot of people who will be there for you when you go home, but for now, we're going to focus on you, not them."
"Can I call him?" Buffy asked, her lips quivering as she struggled not to cry, "I just need to tell him I'm alright. Please he needs to know I love him, that I didn't do this to hurt him."
"I know you're upset, Buffy," Jenny said softly, "And it's okay to be upset, but I can't let you call him, not until we know what made you try to take your life."
"I'm sorry!" she wailed, letting the tears fall down her face, "I'm really, really sorry! He didn't have anything to do with this. I just need to make one phone call, okay? And then I'll be good. I'll do whatever you say. Angel's going to think I was leaving him. What if he gives up on me while I'm away for so long? What if I lose him?"
"Let me introduce you to our laddering system," Jenny said, sliding a piece of paper across her desk, "The first week we will work on certain achievements and goals, if you do well on this first part, then the earliest you'll be able to make a phone call will be a week from now. If we do well, then eventually, he can come see you."
"Can I send him a letter?"
"Buffy, we need to focus on you right now."
"A short one?" she pleaded.
get it if you need it now
Joyce was impressed with Angel's mansion and in particular, his personal apartment on the second floor. The rooms were plush and neat, filled with more expensive furniture than she would ever be able to provide for her daughter. The lavish apartment, however, was lacking anything to make it seem very personal. It almost looked like a sprawling hotel room, but there were things here and there that made it seem like when Buffy moved in, she had taken over. Joyce couldn't help but smile when she saw pictures of Buffy's friends and family hanging on the walls beside his rare paintings. Every time she saw a spark of color, she recognized something that was her daughter's.
When they made it to the bedroom, Angel dragged out his designer luggage and opened one of the suitcases on the bed to pack Buffy's things in. Joyce gasped at the huge bed with a comforter on it that cost more than her couch. In the center of the elegant pile of pillows sat Mr. Gordo, looking like the world's most pampered stuffed pig.
"Your place is lovely," Joyce said, picking up the pig from the bed and hugging him against her chest.
"Thanks," Angel said, saddening, "Buffy hates my furniture. She said it was too business-y. We were...well, I was going to get something different for her...and now..."
"She's going to come back home," Joyce said, sniffling, "And that sounds like her. All these gorgeous things and Buffy insults them."
"She didn't insult them...I mean, not really. She didn't mean it like that," he defended, opening the giant closet.
"I know, she has a way of insulting you that makes it seem like a great idea," Joyce said with a sad smile, "She always has had a way of saying things."
"She's gonna want that pig," Angel said, changing the subject and gesturing to Mr. Gordo, squeezed his love's mother's arms.
"I know," Joyce said, setting him gently in the corner of the suitcase. Together they picked the clothes she liked the best and folded them, placing them neatly in the suitcase. When Angel took a large black silk shirt and began folding it, Joyce looked at him strangely. "Isn't that yours?" she asked quietly.
"She likes it," Angel choked, pulling it up to his nose. It still smelled like her. "She wears it to bed sometimes.
"Oh," Joyce said, slightly nervous about the idea of her daughter sleeping with this man even though she did like him. It just seemed strange to be this accepting of her living with someone when she wasn't married, even as caring as he seemed to be.
"So where are you staying in LA?" Angel asked, changing the subject and moving to sit in a chair as Joyce fidgeted with Buffy's underwear and bras. Angel wanted to give her some tips, knowing more about Buffy's favorite panties than Joyce knew most likely, but he kept silent. He didn't want to make her more nervous than she already was.
"There's an inn about ten miles away from the...from where she is," Joyce said quietly, slipping some of Buffy's underthings in the bottom of the case, as if she were afraid Angel might see them.
"An inn ten miles away?" Angel echoed, rising to his feet. He grunted silently in pain as he remembered his wounds but he refused to take the pain medication now. He wasn't going to sleep away the days when he needed to be alert in case she needed him. "Seems far."
Joyce snuck as many panties and bras as she could in the suitcase when Angel's back was turned. He was booting up his laptop and then got the address for the facility from Joyce. Carefully, he narrowed down the area on the web and turned to face her. She jumped as she quickly snuck the last of Buffy's underwear under the other clothes, slightly shocked by the amount of thongs and sexy wisps of nothing she had acquired since she moved from home.
"There's a Waldorf Astoria a mile away," Angel said, before turning back around and searching for the phone number, "It's nicer and much closer, Joyce. You should stay there."
"I can't...I can't afford to stay there," Joyce answered quickly and then went about getting shoes and socks for her daughter. "It's okay. I'll stay at the inn."
Angel couldn't help but scowl at her, "I'll pay for it. It's the least I can do. My father used to stay there all the time and they knew our family well. They'll treat you like one of the top guests."
"Angel, really, you've done enough. I won't accept this sort of charity from you," Joyce answered, clipping her words in a way that made him aware that she had made her decision.
"Joyce," Angel said, pulling absolutely no punches, "I love your daughter and I fully intend to marry her as soon as she is well, if she'll have me. By looking around here, I'm sure that you can tell I have money, but let me make this clear - I am a millionaire. I have more money than I will ever know what to do with. When I marry your daughter, it will be hers. I've already changed my will so that if something happens to me, she will be a very rich woman. Now why would you stay at some cheap inn ten miles away when you can stay at a plush hotel a mile away and have a limo take you to see her when she can have visitors? Just as soon as I can see her, I plan to get a room as well."
"It's not right," Joyce said, keeping her eyes away from him.
Scoffing loudly, Angel picked up the phone. "Joyce," he said as he dialed, "Your daughter is going to be the richest person in Sunnydale and most of Los Angeles. In my mind, she already is. It's ridiculous for you to stay at that inn."
"Yes, this is Liam Angelus," Angel said into the phone when the receptionist answered, "I want to make a reservation...Thank you. We all miss my father very much...Yes, I want the same suite. It's for my fiancé's mother. Her name is Joyce Summers and I would like her to be treated as if...Yes, that's right...Right and the limo...Yes, thank you. Bill me, she is not to pay a cent for anything while she's...Yes, the bar and restaurant...Yes. Perfect. I want a second room for myself. I'll be following her in a few days. No, my fiancé will not be with me. Right. Thank you."
"You-You can't do that!" Joyce shouted angrily, "I told you that I wouldn't do that!"
"Why not?" Angel said, dropping the phone to the bed, "That stupid inn is not good enough for Buffy and I would never let her stay there, so it's not good enough for you. You think a couple of weeks in a hotel will break my bank account, Joyce? Just take it as a gift and say thank you!"
"Thank you," she shouted, glaring at him.
"Wonderful," Angel snapped and then looked back her, calming his irritation, "I want to marry her, Joyce. Did you miss that part? I love Buffy more than I have ever loved anything. If I had been a better companion to her this never would have happened and for now on, I'm going to make sure she has everything she needs. That includes you."
"Where are you going?" Joyce asked as he moved from the room.
"I'm going to write her a note and sneak it in the suitcase somewhere where they won't find it and take it away," he said and retrieved his book bag from the living room.
said she, she just disappeared
"Angel," Gunn said, plopping down on the couch next to his friend, "You're gonna have to get out of the house. If you don't move soon, you're gonna start to mold."
"Go away," Angel said, staring at the living room wall. He had his cordless phone from his room in one hand and the main house phone in the other. No phone call had made it through without Angel fielding it first and any resident that tried to make a call over ten minutes in the last three days was nearly glared to death.
"She's alive and getting help," Gunn added, "and the house keepers you hired are going to start dusting you off like a piece of furniture if you don't get up. Besides, your clothes could probably walk around on their own by now. Take a shower, have something to eat and...hey, maybe you could go to a class or something."
"He's right, mate," Spike said, settling in a chair across the room and propping his black booted feet on the coffee table, "You're depressing the bloody hell out of me."
"What is this?" Angel grunted, "An intervention? Go find a kitten stuck in a tree somewhere and leave me alone."
"Look, Peaches," Spike sighed, "You've been a lunatic since she left. I know it hurts, but you need to grow some effin' balls, Nancy Boy. Chit's cooling her pretty heels and having a shrink interpret her dreams or some shit. She'll be able to call you in a couple of days. Get a grip."
"Don't you give me that bullshit, Spike!" Angel growled, "If this was Drusilla, you'd be drowning in a bottle right now and you know it."
"Dru would never try to off herself," Spike grumbled and then scrambled from his chair when he saw his comment made it to Angel's ears. Spike found himself slammed back in his seat with his brother's large hand wrapped around his throat. He gasped for breath and pushed Angel's broad shoulders away from him, but didn't manage to budge him an inch.
"Don't ever say anything to me again about what she tried to do," Angel roared, "I put up with a lot of shit from you, Spike, but you aren't allowed to talk to me about Buffy, you got it?"
is a dream i can't escape
Buffy stared at the note in her hands, trying to reread the words while her hands shook and her eyes filled. She had found it that morning inside the pocket of her favorite jeans and still couldn't believe it was there. He had folded it so smoothly and taped it inside so that if they were shaken it wouldn't fall free. The jeans had been on her body for hours before she ever knew it was there and now she wiped her eyes and peered down once more at the half page before her:
I hope this letter gets through to you. I know they'll take it away if they find it, but I had to try. So many things have been running through my mind in the last few days and I have a million questions that I know you can't answer right now. So, I'll just answer your questions - the ones I think you have anyway.
I found your note, the one you left in Giles' office. I don't know why you think you can't have me, my love, but you can. You do have me. I will be here for you forever. That's the whole point. There's nothing you can do to make me so angry or disappointed that I would leave you. Nothing. As long as you live, my heart and everything I have is yours.
I miss you every second and I want you to know that I've tried to get them to let me speak to you. I know that you can't call me either and it's okay. I understand that you need to heal and when you're allowed to use the phone, I hope you'll call me. If you don't, I'll wait until you're ready.
I told myself that I wouldn't add this part, but this is the 3rd draft of this letter and I keep writing it, so I'll leave it in: I can't imagine my life without you in it. Not anymore. Every time I think of what I would do without you, I can't see that far. I panicked when I saw you lying on the floor and something died inside me when I thought I was too late.
You will never know what you mean to me. You'll never know how much I love you, but if you will get better and come home to me, I'll spend the rest of my life trying to show you.
"What are you all weepy about, Pollyanna?"
"W-what?" Buffy sniffled, pressing Angel's letter to her chest and looking up at the dark haired, menacing girl who stood in front of her. She was leaning against a tree, hiding as much as she could in the courtyard area outside that was provided for the wing's patients.
"You've been moping around here for days," the girl said, "You're depressing me and for this place that's saying something. I'm Faith, by the way."
"Hello Faith," Buffy mumbled miserably, "I'm Buffy."
"What cha got there, Twinkie?" Faith said, lowering to a squat, "Love letter?"
"Could you just leave me alone?" Buffy asked, "I'm really not in the mood-"
"To what? Interact with others? Heal? No, you're just going to cry at whatever made you fucked up enough to get in here," Faith scoffed, "What'd you do? OD on Metabolife?"
"No," Buffy said, narrowing her eyes at her, "What are you here for? You have to try to kill yourself to be here, right?"
"I didn't try to kill myself," Faith huffed, jutting her chin out proudly, "I just overdosed and they won't believe that I wasn't committing suicide. They said I have suicidal tendencies. Whatever."
"How long have you been here?" Buffy asked quietly, looking around her to make sure no one was listening in.
"Month and a half."
"A month and a half!" Buffy wailed, "I thought they didn't keep anyone longer than a month! I can't stay here that long!"
"Chill," Faith said, "You're a sniveling brat, you know that? I'm here by choice. Don't wanna leave."
"Why the hell not?" Buffy said, rising to her feet, "You must really be insane."
"I can tell you're used to the happy, shiny parts of life," Faith said, looking into Buffy's wide and afraid eyes, "Where I come from, you have two choices, live rough or die. Things are easy here. I get a nicer bed than any I've ever slept in, three meals a day and I don't have to...do any of the things I used to do. It's warm here, safe. Not that I'd expect you to understand that."
"You don't know anything about what I've gone through," Buffy snapped, rising to her feet, "I'm sorry your life sucks, but that's no reason to pick on me when you don't know shit about me!"
"Ooh, the Twink's got grit," Faith said with a grin and standing up as well, "You might have some potential after all."
"I'm so glad you think so," Buffy said dryly as she turned to head inside. She quickly folded the note and shoved it safely back in her pocket.
"You never answered my question about your paper there," Faith said, making Buffy stop in her tracks, "You know, that kind of emotional shit gets people in trouble around here."
don't even have the strength to pick up the phone
Buffy and Faith crept along the hallway in the dark late that night. Buffy was impressed that Faith knew the nurses' schedules so well. Her dark, would-be friend later explained that she often snuck in the men's wing to get a little "down and dirty action." After getting caught a couple of times, she quickly memorized the whole damn ward's rituals. She could tell you where almost anyone was at any given time. It was kind cool, actually.
Faith proved to be more useful than just tossing out barbing remarks as she led Buffy straight to Dr. Calendar's office, dropped to one knee and picked the lock with a bobby pin that she had stolen from a nurse several weeks before. Buffy watched in awe as the lock clicked and Faith stood before swinging open the door with a smug smile on her face.
"Come on," Faith whispered, waving her in, "We have a ten minute window before that bitch comes back."
"She's okay," Buffy said with a shrug as she slipped inside and closed the door quietly behind her. She headed directly for the phone and picked up the receiver. She didn't really want to make this call with Faith standing there looking at her, but she didn't have a choice. She had a feeling that if she said something Faith would argue with her for 9 of her 10 minutes before just listening on the other side of the door.
"She's a horrible excuse for a human being and I hope she trips on the way back," Faith snorted, making herself comfortable in Jenny's chair and slamming her feet down on the desk before crossing her legs at the ankle.
"Alrighty then," Buffy said, rolling her eyes, "You have some issues, Faith. She's just doing her job."
"Be funnier if she had to do it hobbling around on a broken leg."
Buffy shook her head and decided not to comment further. Faith was obviously not going to budge on the topic. Buffy took a deep breath before shakily dialing the number to Angel's personal line. As the phone rang a fourth time, Buffy closed her eyes in frustration. His answering machine was going to pick up and if he didn't pick up his cell phone when she tried to call that, then she wouldn't be able to talk to him. Just as the answering machine picked up and she prepared to hang up, he answered with a breathless, "Hello?"
Buffy opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again. Keeping her eyes tightly closed. What would she say? How would she explain anything?
"Hello?" Angel repeated, "Hello?"
"A-Angel?" Buffy stammered quietly.
"Buffy," he said in a rush of breath, certain he imagined the sound of her voice, "Is that you, baby?"
"It's me," she whispered. She swallowed harshly as she managed to pry her eyes open. She stared at the desk in front of her, trying desperately to pretend that Faith's eyes weren't boring into her.
"Are you okay?" he asked, keeping his voice as soothing as he could.
"I'm...I'm alright," she answered, "I can't talk long cause I'm sneaking this call. I got your note and I just wanted to tell you that I..."
"You what, love?"
"I'm sorry," she whispered. She regretted that her voice was cracking and that the tears she was beginning to hate were welling in her eyes. "I'm so sorry, Angel."
"Don't be sorry," he said, "I just want you to focus on getting better."
"I love you," she whispered, "I love you so much and I know that I messed up. It wasn't because of you. I just wanted to tell you that."
"Okay," he said reluctantly. It seemed vain to think that he was the reason for her attempted suicide, but at the same time, she spent all of her time with him. He was the one who was supposed to make things better and he hadn't. He thought he was helping and that she was getting better and the whole time he had done nothing to help her at all. If anything, he just helped her bury her feelings inside herself.
"Angel," Buffy said, quickly wiping away the tears as they fell, "Please believe me. Please don't think it was you. I promise it wasn't."
"Alright, baby," he said quickly, "I believe you. It's okay."
"I love you," she added, pressing her forehead against the wood of Jenny's desk, "Will you...will you come see me in a couple of weeks when I can have visitors?"
"Of course," he answered, "I'd be there now if I could. In fact, your mom's already there staying in a hotel and I'm going to get a room in a couple of days."
"Are you mad at me?" she asked, her voice small and childlike.
"No, baby. I'm not mad," he answered, perhaps a bit too quickly, "I love you."
"I love you too," she sniffled, "I'll call again when they let me."
"Okay," he agreed, nodding on his end even though he knew she couldn't see him, "Call my cell phone, alright? Do you have that number?"
"Yes. I have it," she answered, "Can you call my mom? Tell her that I'm okay?"
"Yeah, I'll call her in the morning," he said, "I'll see you soon."
"Kay," Buffy said, biting her lip, "Bye Angel."
Buffy hung up the phone and sat there, keeping her forehead pressed against the desk and peering at the floor. She looked up in alarm when Faith finally spoke, startled because she had almost forgotten that she was there, but now that she made her presence known she cringed to think of what hurtful comment her friend would make.
"Come on, B," Faith said, rising to her feet and heading for the door, "We've got to hurry."
"Thanks for helping me," Buffy said, shuffling behind her.
"Thank me when we don't get caught," Faith grumbled, "Now come on, weepy, we gotta jam."
Home - Navigation - Affiliates - Random - Fanfiction - Links - Updates - About Tango - Contact Tango