When the Sun Never Rises
When Buffy had been properly fed and showered, he tucked her into bed and stayed there by her side, watching her sleep. He knew he loved her, that he couldn’t live without her long before they made love, but something had changed inside him. By being loved by her, his whole world had altered and he knew that nothing would ever be the same.
He didn’t mind giving up his life for hers and felt no remorse for his lies. They would have this time together and then after…after she would live in the sunlight without him. He gazed out of the window near his bed at the endless darkness and the twinkling stars. The creatures who survived the return of the sun would never look upon night the same way either.
Restless, he stood and roamed around his home, wondering if Buffy would remain after he was gone. Would she mourn him and keep her vigil here or would she find a human man to love her? He growled at the thought.
“Angelus.” He looked up and found Giles standing in the doorway of the library.
“What is it, Watcher?” he asked. There was no need to keep him chained in his box any longer but it still felt odd to see the man walking freely about.
“Buffy believes you will live when the sun returns,” he said.
“Yes,” Angelus answered tersely. “She does.”
“But you know that you will burn with the rest of your kind,” Giles added softly. “You know that her blood cannot save you.”
“Nothing will save me,” Angelus growled back quietly. “The only thing that will save you is your silence. I don’t want her to know what will happen. She’ll find out soon enough. For now, she’ll have the peace of mind of a happy future.”
“It’s not fair,” Giles shot back. “You know she would say that. She won’t have time to prepare for your loss. Despite better sense, The Slayer cares for you.”
“Don’t call her that,” Angelus barked. “And don’t speak of this again.”
Giles watched the creature known as Lord Angelus stalk away and couldn’t help but smile. Whether he would admit it or not, Angelus cared for Buffy, cared for her enough to change the entire world.
Buffy curled into him, nuzzling her nose under his jaw. “Tell me about the sun,” she whispered.
He smiled at her innocence, tightening his arms about her waist. “There is not much to tell,” Angelus said with a sigh. “When it returns, you will forget that it was ever gone. It’s the natural order of things.”
“But it’s been gone so long,” she said.
Angelus shrugged. “By design,” he said. “Through machinations and manipulation, the natural order of things has been subverted. All creatures fear the dark, Buffy, for good reason. It isn’t right. You were not meant to live in this perpetual darkness. Everything needs the sunlight to survive.”
Buffy frowned at him, obviously thinking him absurd. “Everything lives in the darkness,” she said.
Shrugging, Angelus looked away. He wasn’t even certain he could explain it sufficiently. Such matters were left to the High Council’s sorcerers and magicians. “The darkness isn’t physics, Buffy, it’s metaphysics. The sun is still there. It still enables plants to grow. It keeps us from freezing. The darkness is completely mystical in origin. Whether your mind knows the truth or not, your body does. It will recognize the natural order of things.”
“I simply can’t imagine a world that is filled with light,” Buffy mused. “No one in my lifetime remembers this star, but you think it will be natural to me?”
“You were meant to be bathed in light,” Angelus said softly. “You’ll know that’s the way things should have always been.”
“With you by my side,” she purred, nuzzling him again and nibbling along the edge of his jaw.
“Yes, of course,” he answered, trying to keep the terseness from his tone. He pulled her against him more tightly and she whimpered.
“Angelus,” she gasped in pain, but didn’t move from his embrace. Immediately, he released her and mentally cursed himself for his stupidity. No matter how closely he held her, no matter how many lies he told, she would still have to see him disappear into a cloud of ashes in just a few short months. Nothing he did would prevent it.
Stupid mystics and their commune with the moon, he thought. If they hadn’t insisted on the High Council’s chambers being without a ceiling to forge a more powerful union with the dark powers, he might have a chance of surviving the rising of the sun. When the ceremony took place, he was sure the sun would rise almost immediately. He was sure they would all be standing there in direct sunlight when his defiled lover turned the fates. He would die right before her eyes.
She lifted her head and glanced over his face. “Are you okay?”
“Course,” he said, shuttering his emotions and smiling brightly. “I was just thinking about what would have happened if we hadn’t made love. The rising of the sun will destroy all of the strongest vampires in the world immediately. The High Council is unmatched in its strength. The Master will be no more and the human race will take over the Earth as they once had.”
“It will destroy everyone except you,” she added.
“Yes,” he lied.
“I’m so glad,” she whispered, yawning sleepily. She laid her head against his chest and nestled against him, intertwining her fingers with his. “I don’t know how I would live without you.”
“You won’t have to,” he answered, unable to keep the growl of anguish from his voice.
“I love you, Angelus,” she said quietly just before she drifted off to sleep.
Four Months Later
“I’m scared,” she whispered, wrapping her arms tightly around her middle in an effort to quell the urge to launch herself into his arms. She wanted nothing more than to feel his reassuring touch, but they couldn’t dare, not in front of the Council guards who were escorting them both to the High Council’s compound.
“You’ll be fine,” Angelus replied under his breath, forcing a vehemence he didn’t feel. He was afraid. Not for himself or for his impending death, but for her safety.
The High Council would fall. That fact was sealed in stone the moment he and Buffy became lovers. But The High Council was ignorant of its impending demise. If they suspected what he had done, they could still take action. If they knew that Buffy had already been defiled, they would no doubt kill her and take cover before the sun could destroy them completely.
Angelus knew the High Council had already assembled in their chambers. The seemingly endless feasting would have already begun while they waited for the Chosen to be ritually drained and for him – her murderer - to return to them in order to share his bounty with the Master and for the next Chosen to be marked. Angelus could only hope to delay things. He and Buffy would play along. They could put on a good show for the Council guards. He would even be willing to feed from her to a point – but nothing that would put her life in jeopardy.
He didn’t have any idea of a time frame for the sun’s return. He and Giles spent months poring over every relevant text they could find, but there was no definitive answer as to when they could expect the cycle of darkness to be broken.
The guards would escort him and Buffy to a private chamber just off the room where the High Council was in session. He would be expected to drain her and to then join them. If the sun didn’t rise before he was expected to return, Angelus didn’t know what he would do. He wouldn’t hurt Buffy. He couldn’t. And there would be too many guards for him to overpower them all. He had to hope that the sun would rise before that point. If it didn’t, he knew he and Buffy would be dragged before the High Council.
The chamber used for the ritual draining of the Chosen, was intimate. It was just small enough to make Angelus feel trapped. The Council Guards stood by the door, not to make sure Angelus drank, because they had no reason to think he wouldn’t, but to make sure no one interrupted the feeding. It was the integral part of the ceremony. If something stopped it, there could be death for all.
Angelus yanked Buffy roughly to the far side of the room, making sure it looked genuine, like all of his other sacrifices. Buffy was terrified enough of the situation to put on a good show as well. She stumbled against him, whimpering in pain from the grip he had on her upper arm.
Angelus blocked her body with his, keeping his back to the guards and let his demonic face recede just for a moment to allow her to see his human mask. He mouthed the words, “I love you,” not risking even a whisper to carry across the room. Looking in her frightened eyes, knowing all could be lost in an instant, he concentrated on bringing his demon back to the fore. Showing his true nature in front of Buffy was difficult these days. He spent months in his human face, turning only to feed or when he had to face another of his kind.
Angelus released his signature snarl as he lowered his face to her neck. Just as he broke the skin, easing his fangs into the holes he had broken open weekly for months, the door burst open. He pulled away and turned to see the guards brace themselves for attack.
“The sorcerers sense an imbalance,” Willow snarled, glaring at the lovers. “Something is shifting. Now how, oh, Great Lord Angelus, could that possibly be?”
“Leave,” Angelus commanded, subtly placing himself between Buffy and the three vampires in the room. “You can’t interfere with the sacrifice.”
“The Master calls for the sacrifice to happen before the High Council,” Willow snarled back. “The mystics say power is bleeding from the walls, escaping from us. What have you done, Angelus?”
The jig was up and Angelus knew it. Perversely, he felt a sense of relief. Maliciously, he smiled at Willow. “I’ve damned us all,” he snarled with more satisfaction than he could ever remember feeling.
He didn’t fight. Fighting would only make it worse. So when Willow rushed him, he accepted it. Her blow clipped him on the temple, sending him slamming back against the wall. She hit him in the stomach and he doubled over, crumpling to his knees. Angelus didn’t know how many kicks he took. At least three of his ribs were broken. But he never reacted, not until he heard Buffy’s startled yelp of pain.
The guard was dead before Angelus was even cognizant of the fact that he had moved to protect Buffy. Angelus watched the guard’s ashes scatter slowly to the floor, having brutally ripped his head from his shoulders. Angelus panted harshly, somewhat shocked by his own actions. He hadn’t even thought about it, he merely heard Buffy in pain and reacted. Slowly, he lifted his yellowed eyes to stare at Willow. She was looking at him with dawning horror.
“Guards!” she yelled.
Angelus grimaced as he was thrown to the filthy stone floor in the High Council’s chambers. He was surrounded by guards, unable to go to Buffy who was being held by Willow and Penn. He stood slowly and showed none of the pain he was feeling. He spared a glance to Buffy who stared back, wide eyed and terrified. He knew what she was thinking. It was what he already knew. He wouldn’t live through this. There would be no happy future together. Only now, he wasn’t sure if she would make it either.
His mind raced for a way to save her as the Master rose from his chair and approached. It dawned on him suddenly, and he growled out, “Buffy, you are the Slayer.”
“I don’t know what that means,” she choked out, struggling against the guards.
“Listen,” he roared, moving as closely as he could, “Into every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and forces of darkness. You are the Slayer, Buffy. Your purpose is to kill us! You are stronger than you think. Don’t let them hurt you. You have to fight!”
“Angelus…” Buffy faltered, wiggling against the guards. Angelus grimaced and cursed himself for not thinking of it before. Buffy could protect herself. She may not be able to save him, but she could live through this. Without preamble, he turned and dove toward one of the wooden chairs that lined the High Council’s table. Slamming it against the ground, two legs splintered and broke away.
Angelus turned and saw the entire High Council was facing him, prepared to fight. Snarling, he shoved a stake through the nearest guard and watched him disappear into a cloud of ash.
“Through the heart!” Angelus announced in a snarl. He tossed one of the chair legs toward Buffy, but another vampire intercepted the throw. Snarling like the beast he was, he prepared to stall until the sun rose.
The stake clattered to the floor at her feet, but Buffy still couldn’t move. Her vision flitted nervously between her captors and Angelus. Three enormous guards rushed him, overpowering him and driving him to the ground. “No!” she yelled.
Without conscious thought, Buffy wrenched forward. She didn’t have the wherewithal to even notice that she was able to break their grips, a feat which should have been impossible. She grabbed the stake and tried to bolt to Angelus. Willow caught her arm, the vampire’s thick claws digging deeply into her arm.
Snarling, Buffy twisted around and buried the stake deep in Willow’s heart. There was just enough time for shock to register on the vampire’s face before she burst into dust.
Buffy was still staring at the scattering dust when she heard the cries. Blindly she turned around, shocked to see every vampire in the room crouching down, covering themselves as they wailed in fear and pain. As if in a trance, she slowly raised her eyes to the sky, unable to comprehend that it truly was growing lighter. She blinked rapidly against the light, it was getting bright, so much brighter than anything she could have ever imagined.
She looked around the chamber again, the vampires were scurrying for cover, but it was no use, the light was everywhere. Their skin began smoking. Her blood ran cold.
“Angelus!” she screamed just as the first true ray of sunshine finally pierced the gloom. Her eyes unaccustomed to the light, she was nearly blinded but she kept running forward, toward Angelus still pinned to the ground.
She skidded to a halt as the rays of light hit one of the vampires holding him down. She watched as he exploded into dust. Angelus turned toward her slowly and met her eyes as sunlight filled the entire chamber. The look in his eyes told her the truth at last. Angelus had lied.