Mutual Sensations

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DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.
DISTRIBUTION: Of course you can have it! Please let me know though.

SPOILERS: S6 - This is a weird one, so I hope you enjoy it!

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

FEEDBACK: Please, please, please!

LYRICS: All lyrics are by The Counting Crows


AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know I'm in the process of working on several different projects right now (In A Maudlin Sort of Way and Slayers and Vampires and Witches, Oh My! and Drawings of You) but I had a challenge with a deadline. Although I had a week to write this, my muse was off gallivanting somewhere without me so I'm forced to write it very quickly. (In fact, I completely missed my deadline because of situations beyond my control. RL life has sucked beyond the telling of it lately.) So, I've dropped everything else until I finish this and I'm going at a break neck pace right now. If it sucks, then you have my deepest apologies. This takes place before "Seeing Red." S6

WARNING: At some point, this fic WILL contain character death!


For Mai Shine who challenged me to write a fic in one week that met her specifications. I hope ope this meets the challenge. (See the bottom for a full description of the challenge.)


well, i will not be an enemy of anything
i'll only stand here
waiting for you

Mutual sensations, that's what Angel called them. Lovers, slaughter, labors, sadness, death - he and Buffy felt them together. He knew they did because when he left, the part of his soul that always belonged to her screamed. He felt as if his mind was scattered, dragging behind him, leaving a trail from Sunnydale to LA, and everything he had ever been is still somewhere under that paved road.

She hurt him in a way that he never thought anyone could, so he turned on her and gave it back. He gave back every bit of torment she ever made him feel. She had made him turn against himself, sent him to Hell and still he loved her. She awakened his regard for himself and he was chained to her heart, begging for more. He hadn't wanted to hurt her. That's not why he left, but the longer he was gone, the more his pain increased, the more his guilt amplified and the more he realized that he was punishing her...for daring to love him.

He spent his nights rubbing his crimes in and swabbing them with the memory of her face. It was peppermint protocol. Every morning, with the fatal sun, his dreams faded away. As the portal closed containing his son, he stood still, suffered and knew that his pain was complete and his life was meaningless. He had lost everything he had ever loved and then some.

After he tried to kill Wesley, even as he was screaming, being dragged away from the bedside, in his mind, he could see every step that lead back to Buffy. That night he walked to the highway and stared at the sky, at the sides of the road, at the passing cars. The blanket of blinking stars told him how to repair his wounds but if healing meant being without his son and his mate, if that's what going on with his life was, then he wasn't interested.


every night these silhouettes appear above my head
little angels of the silences that climb into my bed and whisper
every time i fall asleep, every time i dream

Buffy felt something inside her that was like a sounding march of despair. It was linked with the retreat of her mate so long ago and she sat up in bed, gasping in pain. She tediously retraced her dream steps. The dream was a blurry song, a repeated rhythm, a proclamation of what was formed, lost and almost forgotten. She had blocked him out for so long, she didn't want to remember how the feeling of him leapt inside her and traced that small quantity of fear that went hand in hand with true love. That early, early morning, she was engrossed with the memory of how he savored her, how he valued her every word, how he knew who she was.

For a long time, she sat on her bed and looked out the window wrapped in the squall of his emotions sketched inside her soul. Conflicted and grimacing, she went to the bathroom and showered, trying to wash Angel away, trying to wash the dirty feeling of her other lovers off of her skin. But she couldn't. It wasn't possible. Her mate was dying inside as she had been for a long time and she didn't know how to make it end.

As she dried off, the phone rang and she knew that another horrible incident was coming. She dressed and woke up Dawn to tell her that Giles was in town and that he brought with him the next apocalypse. Next she stumbled to Willow and Tara's room, asking them to dress and go to the Magic Box where the others would be waiting.

She went quickly with her two Wiccan friends, acting as her normal self - or what was normal lately. She listened as Giles talked about a demon warrior princess seeking revenge for her lost lover. Buffy didn't know that the demon she killed last night was the mate of another, but it had been. Not that it would have mattered at the time, but now she realized that she killed someone else's mate. As much as she wanted to tell herself that it was okay, that she took something evil out of the world, she knew the sorrow the Princess felt. She was certain she had not only destroyed life, but love. She swallowed her sadness and looked dully at her returned Watcher.

The feeling came on broadly at first and then narrowed itself in Buffy's mind. It was the same kind of fear, the same young, tricky idea that had been ringing inside her from the moment that she returned from Heaven. In private, she had evaluated it many times but it wasn't until today that she truly understood it. She thought at first, upon her return, that she only wanted to go back to Heaven and that was true, at first she did. Later, as she laid beneath Spike and hoped he would hurt her a little more, she knew what she wanted was for the longing to stop.

Why did the powers send Angel to her? Why give her the greatest love she had ever known, only to take it away? Why was there Angelus and then Hell and then his departure? Didn't she deserve more than the short time she had with Angel? With every demon, vampire and other creature of the night she had defeated, with every person she knew and every place she went, she carried her mate with her, silently begging him to return. Soon, she persuaded the cries to bury themselves so deeply inside that she no longer felt anything but the vague longing and the numbness.

Today the memory of what she had lost was inserting itself in every turn and she almost felt that the attacking warrior princess was not something to be defeated but something to learn from. She was a messenger of the rewards of life and the loss of what was important - the loss of the one thing that was important.


if you tell me that you'll wait for me i'll say i won't be here

Angel made no attempt to feed or hunt or speak after his spell to bring Connor back had failed. It didn't surprise him that none of his family understood what he was feeling. None of them tried. Cordelia came up with her newfound wisdom and spoke to him, but he just waited for her to leave again. Of course, she never did. He wanted to scream at her, wanted to shake her until her perfect white teeth chattered and let her know that she didn't understand him and that she never would. Being part demon all of the sudden did not make one wise to the life of a vampire who had lived over two and half centuries and found himself a slave to the memories of the only two people he had ever loved, his son and his mate.

The thoughts of someday becoming human were quickly fading, as were the thoughts of being with his mate again, of watching Connor grow into the man he dreamed he would become. His dreams were dissolving and he cursed himself for feeling them to begin with. What had happened to him? When exactly did he forget who he was, what he was?

He wanted to turn on Cordelia, who was reading on the charred sofa in his room and tell her that the only humane action would be to stake him. Break the pattern of pain and loss. Kill whatever he had become and what he had been. His plea for her to take his life would be the final monologue, the unscrewing of the delicate line between illusion and reality. The idea of his own demise was pulling him down from his sorrows. Pausing a minute, it occurred to him that he shouldn't give that gift to Cordy. It belonged to Buffy, as did everything. He looked over at Cordelia Chase and felt something akin to disgust cover him. He didn't care about his shallow lusts of the pretty girl anymore and the moments he had thought about making love to her. She was an idle request for comfort, a moment of haze before his clarity returned. With Connor gone, the only things that were left were Death and Buffy.

The only thing he wished for as he laid in bed and stared at the scorched crib that had once contained the happy, gurgling body of his son, was that he had the strength to go to Buffy and offer her his life. It would be so easy. But not, which was why he stayed there, wishing for the pain to go.


all the things i keep inside myself, they vanish in the air

"What do we need to do to stop her?" Buffy asked Giles, making sure he caught the disappointment in her tone, the anger that only a daughter can feel for the father who abandoned her. She felt like telling him to resume his new life in the mother country and get the hell out of hers. They could do the research without him. She had proven that she didn't need him there. At the same time, she ached to give him another hug and force a promise out of him to stay.

"She needs two lovers," Giles answered, "Two soul mates to sacrifice. Their souls can be used to create a pathway of sorts to the underworld. She can retrieve her lover from the other side and together they can get their revenge for being separated."

"Great," Buffy snorted. Soul mates. What a hilarious and foolish archaic term. Once, a long time ago, she thought that was possible, but then reality sunk in, as it always does, "Is there a way to stop her before she finds the juicy souls she's looking for or we just have to wait until she nabs the victims?"

"There won't be a need to wait as long as we act quickly," Giles responded, feeling the tension in the room but deciding to keep it off the record for as long as he could. He was beginning to think he had made the wrong decision by leaving his Slayer and by the look in her eyes she was no better than she had been. If anything she was decidedly worse and regret settled itself neatly inside him.

Without moving or speaking, Buffy felt a twinge. It wasn't much more than a slither and she felt herself slipping below, as if she were shrinking inside herself. The feeling was unhurried and gradual and she felt as if she were going to pass out, but she didn't, she just stepped back mentally and someone else took over.


lost among the chosen one

Somehow Cordelia had convinced him that what he needed was to continue the sword fighting lessons that had dropped off long before, even though her new power prevented her from even needing to learn it at all. He had argued with her about it and now he wasn't even sure how his arms ended up around her. His hands, resting just below hers on the sword, were as firm and concentrated as the rest of his body as they stepped slowly through the movements, making arched, graceful swipes that encored and retraced. Normally, Angel concentrated on the martial dance of their movements, completely in tune with his trainee. Most days he knew the second before her blood pressure increased, the point where her heartbeat moved from a patter to a thump.

Today, he was distracted by the heartbeat he usually monitored and was disturbed by the warmth of her skin. Every part of today's training felt like deja vu and each brush of warm female skin felt like Buffy. It seemed as though his discovery of his life without his mate had forced him back on the path he thought he had left forever - the one where he couldn't stop thinking about her. He blinked away images of his ex-lover and tried to focus on the session but he couldn't seem to shake her off.

When the session was over, he galloped up the stairs, taking two at time, needing to get away from the human female who triggered Sunnydale sense memories inside him. He made it to his room in seconds and leaned against the door. The closed door was effective in keeping humanity out but Buffy's memory strolled right in and made herself at home.

He shed his clothes and climbed into the shower but the warm spray only reminded him of Buffy. The damn soap reminded him of Buffy. He had long ago resigned himself to accepting that he was never going to just forget her. She flowed back into his consciousness in regular intervals like the tide and he could do nothing to chase her away. But this new torment with her and Connor's memories battling inside his head was more than he could take.

He dressed, went out to his car and climbed in, not really knowing where he was going to go but needing to do something, go somewhere. The cool leather of the seat reminded him of Buffy, the sound of the engine turning over brought back a memory of her and the feel of the road rhythmically underneath the tires brought up images of her face. Before he realized what he was doing, he was halfway to Sunnydale. He tried to convince himself to turn around and go home, to keep away like they had discussed. He fought himself bitterly and lost. He promised himself just one little peek of his lost love and then he would go home. She wouldn't even know he was there.

Almost as if it were triggered by a mile marker, Angel felt a strange pang inside him. Something was shifting inside him. He pressed on the gas to speed up as something else besides the demon inside him took over.


i guess i thought that someone would notice
i guess i thought somebody would say something
if i was missing

Willow chanted and without moving, she seemed like personified propaganda for movement. Buffy almost never paid attention to the words or the rituals, but tonight she felt as if the magick was moving inside her, tapping her on the forehead and shouting for her to pay attention. Giles stood by Willow's side, chanting opposite phrases that all of the sudden The Slayer understood.

Back and forth, she began to sway and finally stepped forward, in a deliberate attempt to regain her senses. She felt drowsy as if her friends' feat were draining the life from her. They were cheerfully trying to kill her and the new consciousness that had been placed inside her.

"You think I'm just going to let you do this," Buffy demanded as she brushed against Willow and Giles. The voice was hers, but the words did not come from her and she watched in amazement as her friends were tossed aside. She was sure she barely touched them but they hit the ground with a horrible thud. Clenching her fists in an attempt to control the feelings inside her, she looked at her friends.

"What are you talking about?" Giles said, standing and limping over to her, while brushing the grass from his trousers, "What is the matter with you, Buffy? This is what we agreed upon."

"I didn't agree to this," Buffy's new alter ego exclaimed, "We have to come to make things right."

"We?" Willow asked, "You mean, me, you and Giles, right?"

"Reckless children," Buffy intoned, "The brief rest you were given was nothing but a conditioning. You want me? I'll have you with meat and wine at my lover's side."

"Lover?" Giles echoed, still in shock from the news of Buffy's lover while he away, "Spike?"

Buffy laughed maniacally at Giles' question, "Spike was starvation. He was curtains, nothing but an accessory, an unnatural urge.

"Buffy," Willow said, edging closer. She met eyes with Giles quickly, seeing that he had come to the same conclusion as she had. Buffy was possessed and for real this time, "There's something controlling you. You have to fight it."

"Don't worry, Will," Buffy answered, "You're safe enough. You'll be hidden quite nicely amongst the other wood shavings when the world is mine."

"You mean ‘ours,'" Angel said, appearing at her side. He stood by her, not touching her or looking at her, but helping her stare down the Watcher and witch.

"Of course," Buffy answered with a smile that was given to Giles and Willow, "Mine. Ours. It's the same thing."


she knows she's just a little misunderstood, she has trouble acting normal when she's nervous

"It's daytime!" Cordelia shouted as she paced around the lobby, showing anything but the peaceful calm she had taken on in recent weeks. She was somewhere in the middle of a rant and frankly, the only person who might have caught it all was Groo. Given the opportunity, however, he probably would not have repeated the whole meaning of her tangent, since he always gave his princess far more than the benefit of the doubt.

"Thank you, Cordelia," Gunn said sarcastically.

"What Charles means," Fred added, "Is that with all of the pacing and shouting, we're not sure what's upsetting you."

"Except that the sun has risen, doll face, which isn't really a reason to get into a bind," Lorne said, strolling in the room, still in his pajamas and robe, but already carrying his morning drink.

"I think the princess is upset because Angel has not returned," Groo said with sadness on his face, "Angel is her primary concern."

"Oh, you think that Angel..." Fred said.

"Yes!" Cordelia shouted, "Yes! He left in the middle of the night and it's daytime now. He's not back."

"I'm calling Wes," Gunn said, heading for the phone, "Gotta make sure English is still alive."

"I agree," Fred added, nodding and biting her lower lip nervously. No one was really sure if Angel would go after Wesley again. She was sure that if he tried again, he wouldn't fail.

"I don't think Angel would go after Wesley again," Lorne said calmly, "He was past the revenge and more towards the-"

"Self destruction!" Cordelia shouted.


Part Two - "The Wish"



could you tell me the things you remember about me
and have you seen me lately?
i remember me
and all the little things that make up a memory
like she said she loved to watch me sleep

Buffy woke with the dawn and with the oddest sensation. It was almost as if her dream last night had come true and that she was with Angel, in his arms. From the hard surface underneath her, she thought she must have fallen out of bed at some point until she opened her eyes. In front of her was a cave-like stone wall and unless Willow and Tara had performed some major magick overnight, she was fairly certain she was not in her bedroom. She recognized the large arm around her waist and the room temperature body pressed against hers. She shifted slowly in his arms, trying not to wake him and found him already awake, staring at her with those deep soulful eyes.

A million fine phrases had crossed her mind, things that she would say to him if he ever returned again. In her dreams, they had all been perfect invasions with every syllable sounding strong and natural. But now, lying in his arms again, every sentence had a black mark across it. It was amazing that she had spent so much time unlearning him and in one moment, the memorization returned. Buffy Summers found herself moving back in time to that girl who could see nothing but him in her future. It was a formidable feeling and the gaps of her were filled by this one small instant with him. It nibbled and she was afraid if she spoke the peace would break.

The moment was silhouetted and seemed hazy to the pair, who both felt the additional personas inside them, waiting to take over again. The silence took up the tiny spaces between them and after a while they weren't certain if they were waiting to speak or if they had already finished. They were connected as they had ever been and somehow felt less free.

"I never said I didn't love you," he said quietly, answering her unasked question. Neither were sure if she had said it or not, but it didn't matter. It was there.

"You still want me," she confirmed, searching the storm tossed feelings raging between them for the truth.

"You know me well enough by now," he answered, knowing it was cryptic and at the same time knew that she understood. It was sanity balancing on a porch rail and the truth had been a long time coming.

"This isn't a gift," he told her, "We think it is, but it's not."

"I know," she answered, digging her fingers into his arms. The longer she was awake, the more she found movement difficult. Her hands were now one of the few parts of her body that were still capable of movement. She wasn't hurt, she was being controlled and she knew the way he didn't hold her more tightly that he was under the same possession, "Will we die so she can free him?"

"Would you kill to save me?" he asked, catching her eyes and reading the answer there, knowing she wouldn't reply, but waiting for it anyway.

"I'm not ready," she whispered, "I thought I wanted to go back but I don't."

"I know, love," he replied, grateful that his arms were already around her when he woke. It would be so much worse to know that he couldn't hold her when she needed it. If the Princess succeeded, they would both die. They knew that with every fibre of their being. They also knew that once they left this plane, they would be separated in different dimensions for all of eternity. It had to be The Powers That Be's funniest mix up because to place two soul mates in the world, one as human and one as demon, they could only be reunited in each new life.


round here we talk just like lions
but we sacrifice like lambs

"Daddy," Dawn said, standing at the open door of her home.

"Hi Dawnie," he said, leaning in to peck her cheek and sweeping past her only to see an older gentleman sitting on the couch in pajamas and a robe nursing his morning cup of tea. The man looked vaguely familiar to Hank Summers, but he couldn't place where he had seen him before. All he knew was that this man had spent the night in the same house as his two young and attractive daughters.

"What are you doing here?" she asked abruptly and then amended, "I mean, we didn't expect you."

"Can't I just drop in on my daughters?" he asked and turned to Giles, "Have we met?"

"Yes, actually," Giles said, reaching out his hand to shake the absentee father's hand, even as he had the urge to do something considerably less cordial, "Rupert Giles. I was formerly the librarian at the High School before it was destroyed. I'm in town visiting from England."

"Really?" Hank said, narrowing his eyes at the man, "And you're staying with my daughters?"

"Yes, well," Giles answered, "Joyce and I were close friends. I check in on the girls from time to time."

"Where is Buffy, by the way?" Hank asked, turning to Dawn and ignoring the implication in Giles' statement that as their father, he had not checked in on them nearly as often. Or at all actually.

" early this morning for a study session," Dawn stammered.

"On Saturday?" Hank asked incredulously. He might have been out of the picture for a while but there was no way his eldest daughter got up that early on a Saturday morning to study.

"She has a large exam on Monday," Giles added, not feeling the least bit guilty about jabbing in every chance he got that he knew more about the Summers' girls than their father. Part of his animosity was against Hank Summers and part of it was against himself, as he began to compare fatherly notes, "She has a bit of trouble with history."

"Where is she studying?" Hank asked, "I'd like to see her."

"We don't know," Dawn answered, "She just said it was a study group. Sorry Daddy. But I can make you coffee if you want. Giles made tea too."

"I'll have coffee," he answered, a bit too eagerly. He actually did prefer coffee but was thrilled to not drink the same beverage as the librarian who seemed to be vying for his parental rights.

"‘Kay," she said, turning toward the kitchen, "Giles?"

"No, thank you, Dawn," he answered, settling back into his seat on the couch with a smug half smile on his face. If Buffy and Angel weren't in dire straits, he would be humming a little tune by now.

"Giles," Willow said sleepily, padding down the stairs in her pajamas, "Have we found Buffy and Angel...Hi, Mr. Summers."

"Hello," he said.

"Willow," she said, pressing a hand to her chest, "I'm Willow Rosenberg."

She gulped as she continued down the stairs and turned to Giles, giving him the oh shoot look. She blurted the first thing that popped in her mind, which was, "Have we found Buffy and Angel an engagement present yet?"

Giles nearly spit his tea across the room, but managed to choke on it gracefully for a moment before answering, "No. I was just thinking about that this morning."

"Engagement?" Hank shouted, "Who is Angel?"

"Engagement!" Dawn shouted back, "Who's engaged?"

Willow wanted to pound her head against the wall. She turned so she faced Dawn and with her back safely facing Mr. Summers, she spoke in Dawn's mind, We're pretending Buffy & Angel are engaged. It was all I could think of. Play along. Please, please, please, pl...

"Oh," Dawn said, nodding and precariously carrying a coffee cup to her father. She had overfilled it and the dark liquid was dribbling over the sides, "You mean, like how Angel asked her to marry him?"

"Yes," Giles answered, unable to hide his sigh. The sigh transformed into a groan as Xander walked through the door with Anya in tow. They were bickering loudly after being stuck in the Magic Box researching all night together and Willow thought that they almost sounded like they were back together again. Almost.

"It's a demon, Xander," Anya said, slamming the door behind her, "You can't just sprinkle dust on it and wish it away."

"Personal demons are nasty things," Willow said, a little too loudly.

"Um...hi?" Xander said, looking at the man he instantly recognized as Buffy's father. Things were going to get really interesting from here.


waiting for the moon to come and light me up inside
and i am waiting for the telephone to tell me I'm alive

The call from Giles was disturbing to Wesley Wyndom-Pryce. The other Watcher had no way of knowing what had transpired recently. He thought that when he came home from the hospital he would be alone. He thought he would have plenty of time to reflect on what he had done and the choices he had made. He was certain he would have days upon days to dwell on the angry words that Fred had spoken to him.

But in rapid succession, he received a call from Gunn to see if he was alive, a visit from Lilah and a call from Rupert Giles to report Angel's arrival in Sunnydale. The demon warrior princess that had taken over the bodies of the pair was a surprising bit of news but even more surprising was Giles' asking for his help in the research. Almost as if he were still tied to the Council, he found it very difficult to refuse his former almost friend. In fact, it must have been impossible because he agreed to help.

Now he was standing in the center of his quiet apartment, caught between his bookshelf, the computer and his phone. He needed to call the hotel and give the group the news, but it was taking a lot longer than he planned to reach for the phone. He cursed himself for agreeing as he sat staring at it, wishing he could just go lie down.

He got all seven numbers in after the third try and listened to it ring. His eyes were darkening with each second that passed and he tried to focus on what was right. Perhaps this act would redeem him in the eyes of the vampire he was only trying to help.

"Angel Investigations. We help the-"

"It's Wesley," he said, in his new gravelly voice, "Don't hang up, Cordelia. I know where Angel is."

"Where?" she asked, gripping the phone anxiously in her hand.

"He's gone to Sunnydale."


"Demonic warrior princess possessed him," he answered simply.

"Thank you for telling us," she said, truly grateful.

"It's important to tell you that I am going there this evening at the request of Giles."

"If he sees you, he'll kill you," Cordy said softly.

"I'm aware," he answered curtly, and before he hung up, he added gently, "Goodbye, Cordelia."


she sees shooting stars and comet tails
she's got heaven in her eyes she says i don't need to be an angel

"Is she burning us?" Buffy asked, wiggling to get closer to his cool skin, "I see the flames, Angel. They're orange and blue and green."

"No, baby," he answered, struggling to pull her to him, "It's inside us."

"," she groaned, pressing her forehead against the bit of bare skin at the opening of his shirt, "Hurts."

"Can't," he answered, gritting his teeth from the pain. It felt like the heat was burning his insides and going back in time, incinerating his whole line of ancestors. The cruelness of the justice that was being paid to them by the she-demon was beautiful in it's ingenuity. She wasn't going to tear them apart, she was pushing them together, uniting them. She didn't want them to abandon each other. She didn't even want Angel to lose his soul. She wanted them to know true loss without the separation, only the anticipation of it. Clinging to each other, all they had was the future and how short lived it was going to be.

"Angel, I love you," she groaned, wishing she could crawl inside him, "I never stopped."

"Buffy," he said back, gulping gasps of fragrant air and wishing oxygen helped him, "I love you too. But we're not going to die."

They both knew he was lying, but neither had the strength to voice the thought. Their bodies were shaking, forcing their previous attempts to move to stop.


we're so fucked up, you and me
so why'd you come home to this faithless town
where we make a lifetime commitment
to recovering the satellites

"Alright, Mr. Giles," Hank Summers said, after navigating Giles, almost forcefully to the kitchen, "Who are all these people? And don't give me that shit about the engagement because they all look worried and scared, not happy and excited."

"Well, well, well, here's a new face," Spike said, as he strolled in through the kitchen door, "Who are you, mate?"

"Who are you?" Hank demanded.

"Spike, now is not really the time," Giles answered, taking off his glasses to clean them, "This is Buffy and Dawn's father."

"Oh," Spike answered with a grin, "This should be interesting. Absentee father coming in and poking around where he doesn't belong. Guess you're trying to figure out what's going on, huh?"

"Spike!" Dawn said, hurrying into the room from where she had been eavesdropping, "I need to talk to you right now."

"It's okay, Nibblet," Spike said, strolling across the room to the younger Summers' girl, "I know all about your sister and Peaches. I saw where they're holed up and by the look of it, it's only a matter of time."

"You know where they are?" Dawn squealed. The same relief flooded over her and Giles simultaneously. At least someone knew where they were.

"Peaches?" Hank echoed, "Someone had better explain to me what the hell is going on here."

"Wellll," Spike started.

"Do shut up!" Giles demanded, turning on the vampire as he put his glasses on rapidly. Spike smiled as he allowed his face to revert to the demon and made sure Mr. Summers got a good look. He put an arm around Dawn and strolled out of the room, "Whatever you say, mate."

"What was that?" Hank screamed, "He's touching my daughter!"

Giles shook his head and stared at the counter for a moment before sighing and launching into a long delayed explanation.


step out the front door like a ghost
into the fog where no one notices
the contrast of white on white.

The Summers' household was a symphony of bickering and research as the Scooby Core and the AI team gathered to find out how to save Buffy and Angel. Hank Summers was wandering around the house eyeing all of the people present, trying to figure out which of them were human and which were...well, not human. When he finally settled into an overseeing position at the doorway to the living room, Dawn joined him there.

"Hi Daddy," she said quietly, "Are"

"Yes, sweetheart," he answered uneasily, "I think so. I'm still reeling from the idea that my two daughters are..."

"A vampire Slayer and an ex-ball of green energy?"


"Yes," she said, brightly, trying to add some confidence in her voice, "I was green. Tara said I was beautiful, you know."

"I'm sure you were, honey," he answered, looking down at the young face that he loved and truly thought of as his daughter, "Are they going to be able to save Buffy?"

"They usually do," she said, unable to hide the tremor in her voice, "She's already died twice, you know."

"There's a lot here that I missed," he said, looking from person to person, "So, are most of these people, you know, normal?"

"Well, Spike's a vampire," Dawn said, pointing at the bleach blonde who was flipping through the channels on the television, "Which I guess you already know. Wesley's a Watcher, like Giles. Or he was, anyway."

"Are Watchers human?"

"Yeah," Dawn answered, "They're human. Willow and Tara are witches. Anya's a vengeance demon. She was human before and then she was a demon and then she was human again. Now she's gone back to being a demon after Xander left her at the alter. Not everyone knows that though. But oh! Xander's human. Gunn and Fred are human too. So's Cordelia. She just gets visions from The Powers That Be."

"Actually," Fred said, overhearing their conversation, "Cordelia is half demon now."

A chorus of questions followed and as the AI team began to explain, Cordy began to float in mid air, which caused a hushed silence to sweep through the room. The silence was quickly interrupted by Cordy's shrill scream of pain.

"I thought they weren't painful any longer," Wesley said, looking over the woman he used to consider a dear friend.

"They're not," Fred said, "Well, they weren't. Not before anyway."

"Spike!" Cordy screamed, looking down at that startled vampire, "You have to go to the cave. They're dying! She's killing them!"

The ground began to shake, knocking pictures off the walls and causing the teams to stumble around the room. Cordy floated back to the floor and immediately fell to her knees, heaving breaths. Spike was looking down at her in stunned silence and he pulled himself to his feet, looking around.

"I'll take you there," he said as he ran toward the door. Everyone in the house followed. The house stood empty several minutes later, the door hanging wide open as the ground that they ran on continued to shake and crack.


and in between the moon and you
the angels get a better view
of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.

As the ground began to shake inside the cave, Buffy and Angel found that their ability to move was returned and they helped each other to their feet. The demon princess, whom they had never seen, spoke to them from an unknown location and they found themselves looking up at the ceiling as if they expected to find her there. Their friends ran into the cave but the couple couldn't see or hear them. An invisible wall kept them from reaching the couple, who were staring at the roof of the cave in a trance.

"The time has come," the princess said, "For your souls to pave the way to my lover."

"NO!" They shouted back together.

"There has to be another way," Angel shouted, "You can't kill her! I won't allow you to take her."

"You have no choice, vampire," the princess answered, "The soul you were given was created for this purpose. You will open the gates of Hell and I will be reunited with my mate."

"No," he said, shaking his head. He looked down at Buffy for a moment before snatching the stake from the waistband of her pants, "You need us both to cross and I won't let you take her."

Before Buffy could stop him, he thrust the stake into his chest, hitting the heart with perfect accuracy. The last thing he heard was the anguished cry of his mate as he dissipated into dust at her feet. Having put all of her power into the spell, the Princess screamed in anguish with Buffy. As her power weakened, the group heard the sound of her death filling the cavern with The Slayer's. The barrier keeping them from the pair dropped as the Princess' scream fell silent.

Buffy fell to her knees and dug her fingers into the dust that had once been her mate, sobbing into it. They looked on in awe as she buried her face in the dust and her body shook with the ultimate loss. Her father finally ran across the room and attempted to scoop her into his arms but she pushed him away, sending him staggering back several feet.

"Don't touch me!" she shouted, looking at him through the brilliant green eyes of a woman in anguish. She remained on her knees, crying freely and sifting his ashes through her fingers.

"Honey," he said, looking down at her with concern, "I'm sorry."

"For what?" she shouted, "Because my lover died or because you missed my entire relationship with him?"


"Get the hell out of here," she said, "Go back to your secretary and your life in LA. I don't want you here. I don't want you in my life."

Hank stepped forward, not willing to be pushed aside. He moved toward his daughter again and she scrambled to her feet and pulled her arm back to punch him. As she propelled forward to strike her father, a hand grabbed her arm and pulled her away, spinning her around.

"Hit me instead," Spike said, "You'll regret it less, love."

She did. Immediately. She crushed her fist into his face and the gang gasped as she kept punching him. He allowed it. He simply stood back up each time she knocked him down until he no longer could. Finally, she sank to her knees and beat her fists on his chest, falling back into her sobs.

He wrapped his arms around her as she cried, pressing her face against his chest. He knew without asking or hearing her say it out loud that she wished he had been the one to die instead.

Hank looked down at his daughter sobbing in the arms of a bloody vampire, while crying over the death of another and found himself in deep regret. He stared at her and then looked over at Dawn who was crying as well and had buried her face in the comforting shoulder of Rupert Giles. It was at that moment that he realized what he had missed out on during his absence. He looked back and forth between his daughters and took a deep, painful breath.

"I wish I had never left my family," he said.

"Done," a voice said, and everyone turned slowly to look at the demonic visage of Anyanka before the world disappeared and changed.


Part Three - "The New World"

RATING: Still PG-13


roll a new leaf over

Hank Summers looked around him and found that he was no longer in a cave but in a house. It was very large and nice looking from what he could gather. He recognized some of the things there as his belongings, his ex-wife's and his daughters'. He wandered around, taking in his surroundings until he wandered into the living room and found Dawn sitting in front of the television.

"Hi Dawn," he said, uneasily.

"Hi Daddy," she answered, "Are you ready to go?"

"Go where?" he asked, running his fingers through his graying hair. His silent question of whether he was the only one to remember how things had been seemed to be answered. Dawn didn't seem to be out of place here at all. His biggest question still remained. He wasn't sure if Joyce was alive or not.

"To Sarah's," she snapped, "We just talked about it this morning. Did you forget already? You're not going out with that stupid secretary of yours again, are you?"

"Dawn," he warned, unsure of why he was warning her, only that he had the distinct feeling they had this conversation before, "I'll take you to Sarah's. Where's Buffy?"

"Are you going senile or something?" Dawn said, gathering her overnight bag, "You know Buffy moved to Sunnydale last weekend."

"Right," he said, taking a deep breath, "I keep forgetting she's gone."

"Oh please," Dawn said, moving towards the front door, "It's not like you're going to miss each other. All you ever did was fight since Mom died."

"She's still my daughter," he said, following her to the door. He didn't even know what his car looked like. And where on God's green earth was Sarah's house?


she looks up at the building
and says she's thinking of jumping
she says she's tired of life
she must be tired of something

"I'm so glad Giles offered up the idea of moving to Sunnydale and helping to protect the Hellmouth. If I had to spend one more minute with my father, my Slaying might have turned to some quality patricide," Buffy said to Willow as she began to unpack in their new place.

"Me too," Willow said brightly, "In the Fall we can start all new classes with all new professors at UC Sunnydale."

"Oh, that," Buffy said, nodding, "Well, I guess it might be okay too. I'm not so hip on UC Sunnydale after the whole Adam-Professor Walsh deal."

"They're gone," Willow said, "And Riley's here."

"Yeah," Buffy answered sadly, "And so is Angel."

"You know," Willow said, picking up a boxer cutter to slice open the next box in the towering stack in front of her, "He asked you to stay a long time ago and I think he's offered for you to move in with him every time you come here to help with the newest big bad."

"Not l-last time," Buffy said shakily, feeling those old tears brimming in the corner of her eyes. She struggled to blink them back but found them dropping on the box in front of her instead. She knew this wasn't going to be easy, but it just seemed more real now.

"Buff," Willow said, sitting down on the couch and moving a box for her friend to sit. She waited until Buffy sat down beside her and then launched into the lecture she had planned out in her head for the last few days, "If you want to be with him, then why aren't you? You've done nothing but think of him for the last couple of years."

"Four. Four years," she said, hiccuping, "And he's a vampire. He broke up with me last time I left. I don't even know if he wants to be with me anymore."

"Does he know that Riley asked you out?" Willow questioned.

"No," she said, "I don't think so. This town is way too small for the three of us."

"Go talk to him," Willow offered, "Does he even know you're moving here?"

"Well," Buffy said, chewing on her bottom lip, "I didn't tell him, if that's what you mean, but I'm sure that by now, he knows."

"You'll figure it out," Willow added confidently.

"You know," Buffy said, leaning her head on her friend's shoulder, "If I hadn't met you and Xander on my trips down here, I just don't know what I would've done."

"I'm sure you'd be miserable," Willow joked.

"I would," Buffy answered.


i got bones beneath my skin, and mister...
there's a skeleton in every man's house
beneath the dust and love and sweat that hangs on everybody
there's a dead man trying to get out

Angel woke up screaming. When he opened his eyes, he looked around the room in confusion. This wasn't dead. This was undead. Again. He jumped out of bed, pulled on a pair of pants rapidly and ran out into the great room of the mansion.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Cordelia asked, looking up from a desk in the corner of the room. Her hair was long and dark like it had been before, falling in silky waves over her shoulders and down her back. Flashes of memories, feelings, things that once were went through his mind. That long dark hair was only the first indication that something was really, really wrong.

"Okay," Angel said, trying to get his bearings, "Do you live here?"

"Uh, no," she said, standing up and walking over. He found himself staring at her jeans as if they had an answer for why he was not a pile of ashes. When his gaze made it up to her belly, he saw it was rounded and full, "Angel, did something happen last night?"

"Happen? Oh my God, you're pregnant."

"Yes," Cordy answered, "I'm pregnant. Okay, first you found out Buffy's moving here last night, then you got all weird and went on patrol. And now you're all weird this morning."

"Buffy," he gasped, "She's okay? Did I save her?"

"From her own selfish pride?" Cordy snapped and perched on the back of the sofa, "What are you talking about? Did you hit your head or something?"

"Yes," Angel said, nodding, "I hit it. Hard. So, I have one more question."

"Alright," she said, hesitantly.

"Is my, well, what I want to know it permanent?"

"It's permanent, Angel. Aren't most souls?" she answered and then looked over him with concern, "Do you remember anything?"

He shook his head, "I'm missing a lot of details. Like, who's the father of your baby?"

"You've got to be kidding me!"

"No," he said, shaking his head. Glancing down, he saw dark, purple bruises covering his torso. He looked thin and ragged as if he hadn't fed in a long time. He looked back up at Cordy with a grimace, "And what happened to me? Was I starved and beaten or something?"

"Doyle," she said, "Doyle is the father of my child. And who knows what happened to you? I certainly don't, but you've hardly fed since the last time the little Slayer left town and I'm thinking that you are trying to kill yourself."


"Do you remember D-"

"Doyle's alive?" he asked, rushing across the room to grip her shoulders.

"I'm alive. What's with the freaking out?" Doyle said, strolling into the room with coffee and donuts. Angel released the dark haired, pregnant ex-cheerleader and whipped around to look into the bright and very much alive blue eyes of his Irish friend. The half-demon smiled and added, "My little wife there broke the coffee pot this mornin'. I'm sure she didn't bother to tell ya. I brought you a cup."

Angel stood there in shock and then a smile covered his face. Doyle looked over at Cordy who looked just as confused as he felt. He walked over and held out a paper cup of coffee to Angel, "Did I miss something?"


you know i'm doing all right these days
the devil's in the dreamin'
you see yourself descending

"Anyanka," D'Hoffryn said, appearing in her apartment in Sunnydale.

"You frightened me," she said, turning to face him with her human face intact. She still wasn't sure if she had made the right decision to become a vengeance demon again, but this new world had a thousand possibilities. She had another chance with Xander. Maybe she could make it work this time.

"Yes. I thought I might," he said with a shrug of his cloaked shoulders, "I came to tell you, in light of your return to the fold, that the souled vampire remembers. We don't want a replay of the last time you lost your power center."

"He remembers? How could he?" she answered, "Mr. Summers should remember but not anyone else!"

"He was caught in the aether between life and death when the wish was made," D'Hoffryn answered, "This rarely happens. Anyway, I think you should be on your guard."

"Thank you, D'Hoffryn," Anya answered, "I appreciate you telling me."

"So curt, Anyanka," he said, looking over the coldness in her eyes. He had seen it often lately and was beginning to be concerned about his prodigal child, "You aren't rethinking your decision to return to me, are you?"

"Of course not," she said, nearly shouting, "I'm just adjusting here. I was left at the alter a couple of weeks ago, you know."

"Not in this world," he answered before disappearing. Anya sat back down on her chair and slumped over the kitchen table. Xander was somewhere in this world and it would take very little effort on her part to find him. The only question was, if she returned to her lover, would he leave her again?


all of the sudden she disappears
just yesterday she was here
somebody tell me if i am sleeping
someone should be with me here
cause i don't wanna be alone

Forrest walked through The Initiative with Riley and Graham. He was supposed to focusing on the newest HST running loose through Sunnydale, but he couldn't focus on Finn's words because the man was grinning like an idiot. He half expected him to start skipping down the hallway.

"Okay, you're distracting the hell of me, man," Forrest said, interrupting his superior officer and friend.

"What do you mean?" Riley said with a twinkle in his eyes.

"The overly happy thing," Graham said.

"Ever since Buffy called and said she was moving to Sunnydale, you've been drooling on everyone's combat boots," Forest added with a grin that was not nearly as blinding as his friend's.

"Sorry. I'm trying to quit," Riley answered and attempted to straighten the smile from his face, but it just kept returning, "It's just that she's here. Right now. Unpacking her apartment and we have a date tonight."

"Not to crash the party," Graham said grimly, "But you know her ex-boyfriend is living in this town too."

"So?" Riley replied, "She said he broke up with her and it's over. Why should I worry about some random guy?"

"No reason," Graham said, "Just reminding you, Ri. She seemed pretty crazy about whoever he was."

"Not anymore," Riley said, keeping his smile and straightening his shoulders proudly , "She's going out with me now, not him."

"Right," Forrest said, remembering, probably in unison with Graham, the look on the girl's face when she mentioned the elusive "Angel" before. Whatever that man did to her, he's still walking around with her heart on the sole of his shoe. They both were fairly certain that their friend was going to suffer much the same fate.


i wanna be the light that burns out your eyes
`cause i know there's little things about me
that would sing in the silence of so much rejection
in every connection i make

Angel couldn't believe how easy it was to find Buffy and Willow's new place. What were the odds that in this new world, or whatever it was, that they would be renting the house on Revello Drive that Buffy had always lived in before? He climbed that old familiar tree and perched outside of her window as he had done a thousand times before.

He watched her with only a shred of guilt as she stood in front of her closet in a pair of panties and bra, looking for something to wear. He wondered how many times she had done that for him in the past, in this world and in the last. He wished to God he could remember why they weren't together here, if they had broken up for the same reason. Did she love him in this world? A part of him didn't want to know the answer to that question. Another part of him want to sit and brood as he drew out the reasons she could have left him to go back to LA.

He leaned away from the window as Willow came bounding into the room in her normal bright, cheery way. Buffy wasn't reflecting nearly as much light as her redheaded counterpart. In fact, she looked sad and depressed.

"Buffy," Willow said excitedly, "Riley's going to be here in 20 minutes to pick you up and you aren't even dressed yet!"

"Thanks, Will," Buffy said, sitting on the edge of her bed and staring at the open closet, "I noticed."

"Hey," Willow said, sitting next to her best friend and new roommate, "I thought you were going to try."

"I am," Buffy said, still drenched in her depression, "This is me trying."

"Have you even spoken to Angel yet?" Willow asked and outside the window, Angel leaned back in, as if he needed the extra three inches of closeness to eavesdrop effectively.

"No," Buffy answered and began tearing up again, "I don't know what to say. What if he doesn't love me anymore? What if he never did?"

"He does," Angel said, making his presence known as he swooped gracefully through the window and landed lightly just inside the room.

"Hi Angel," Willow said, standing and backing out of the room, "And, uh, bye."

"Hi Willow," Angel answered as Buffy stood and faced off with her ex-lover with her hands on her hips. He half expected her to dive to the closet for clothes, but she didn't. She just burned a glare into him that made the elements around him appear to blur.

"Buffy," he said quietly, "I need to talk to you."

"How is it that you've lived for how many hundreds of years and you never learned the fine art of knocking?"

"Look," he said, running a hand through his hair, "I woke up this morning and I...I can't remember anything. I don't know what happened between us. The only thing I'm sure of at this point is that I love you. I've always loved you."

"You have amnesia or something?" she asked, softening her tone slightly. She had to admit that he looked more haggard, unkempt and sickly than she had ever seen him. Even though he looked like total shit for Angel standards, he still made her blood pressure rise and she was suddenly very aware of how naked she was. She thought about getting clothes, but couldn't seem to nudge herself into motion.

"Not really," Angel said, leaning against the windowsill in an attempt to keep himself from touching her. Knowing that he could without the normal consequences was almost too much to bear, "It's like I went to sleep in one dimension and woke up in another."

"And in the other dimension...were we..."

"I think I've loved you in every dimension," he said softly, "I loved you in Hell, Buffy. I don't know what happened here, but I want to make it right."

"I have a date," she said, feeling the tears reappearing.

"Riley Finn," he said with a unmasked growl.

"Yes," she said, "How did you know?"

"You dated him in the other dimension," he said and then added shamefully, "After I left you."

"You broke up with me in the other dimension too?" she asked angrily.

"Yes," he answered sheepishly, "I'm an ass in all dimensions too. Can we talk?"

"I have a date," she repeated, and finally headed for her closet. She flipped through the hanging clothes and felt his eyes digging into her.

"You mentioned that. I don't know why I left you, Buffy. Probably something about my soul and children and sunlight. But my soul is permanent now and I..."

"Your soul's always been permanent," she said, pulling a dress from the hanger and turning to face him questioningly.

"I never lost my soul?" he asked.

"No," she said.

"I never turned evil?"


"Then why did I leave you?"

"You said you didn't love me," she said, biting into her inner jaw to keep from crying.

"I lied," he said with a deadly serious look on his face.

"I'm not so sure," she answered, allowing the tears to fall freely.

"I love you, Buffy," he said crossing the room and pulling her into his arms, "I love you. I swear I do."

She allowed him to hold her for a few moments and relished in the feel of his arms around her again. It felt so perfect and that's the reason she also thought it couldn't possibly be true. It was too perfect.

"I have to go," she said, pulling away and slipping into the now wrinkled dress she'd been holding. She slipped into the first pair of shoes she could find, which didn't match her dress.

"Buffy, isn't there a way we can talk about this?"

"I don't know," she said, heading toward the door and avoiding the mirror and the look in his beautiful brown eyes, "Not now."

Buffy left the room and closed the door behind her and Angel stayed there, leaning against the window as she headed out the front door with another man.


AN: I made Angel's soul permanent in the wishverse world as you all can see. I didn't want to think of a new way and/or reason for it to happen. If you think I'm lazy and unimaginative because of that...well, that's cool with me actually. *G* Hope you liked this section!