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17 Multi-Coloured Plastic Bangles One... Two... Three...

You could hear the echo from Buffys shoes all the way down the corridor. She hated this place, she hated hospitals but this was so much worse. She couldn't believe that just six months ago life had been so perfect, she was married, had a daughter, 'She'd be 9 tomorrow' she wasn't the only slayer any more, Angel was human and her sister was getting married. Then every thing fell apart. First came Dawn, after being jilted at the altar the taller brunette had taken off, they still didn't know where she was or if she was all right. Buffy had been frantic, but despite all the contacts she and Angel could muster together they hadn't found a single trace of the young woman. But the worst was yet to come. Four... Five... Six... 5 1/2 Months earlier. "Buffy, I know you want to be here for Dawn but I have to go to work and Emily has to get to the doctors. Help me out Buffy I can't be in two places at once!" Angel was getting desperate, Buffy hadn't left the house since her sisters disappearance two weeks ago, he understood he really did, but his work wouldn't let take any more time off, he'd been running around for two weeks contacting every one he could think in search of the Slayer's missing sister and on top of that he'd had to take on all of Emily's needs and the house work as Buffy wouldn't stray three feet from the phone. He was tired and at his wits end. They had a daughter for Christs sake! Dawn was a big girl but Emily was only eight, he couldn't do it all on his own no matter how hard he tried. "But she could call, please Angel your work will understand, I can't leave!" Angel just sighed in exasperation and grabbed his coat. Taking his daughters hand he left the house without another word, he was too tired, too angry to get into this with Buffy again. After buckling his daughter into the back seat he, he strode round to his side of the car, and slipped. Landing on his ass, he cursed once again the decision to move to England to be closer to the new watchers council, the winters here were evil! Picking himself up, he got in the car, started it and pulled out into the road. They were about ten minutes from the doctors when Emily spoke up. "Dad?" "Mmm" "Is aunt Dawn gonna come back?" Flicking his eyes to meet those of his daughters in the rear view mirror he failed to notice the woman start to cross the road up ahead. " I don't know sweet, I don't know" As he turned his eyes back to the road he saw her, swerving violently to avoid hitting her the car slid on the black-ice laden road. It all happened so fast, one minute he was in control the next there were screams, his own and his daughters, a sickening crunch and then silence. In the instant before the extent of his head wound made him pass out Angel saw his daughter in the rear view mirror. Centuries of mayhem and bloodshed meant he could recognize a corpse when he saw one. As the darkness of unconsciousness claimed him he knew. Seven... Eight... Nine...

Present, Now as she entered his room she saw him sat doing what he always did, two piles of broken plastic hoops in front of him. One pile would decrease and the other increase as he meticulously counted the rings. Hed been doing this since the day he'd regained consciousness in the hospital. 5 1/2 months ago They had just given her, her daughters jewelry back when he regained consciousness, the funeral would be in two days time. As she entered the room she found two doctors standing looking at his chart. One introduced himself as a psychiatrist, the other she knew as Angel's doctor. "Mrs. Kearns, could we step out-side a moment?" "Uh sure." Outside Buffy waited expectantly for the doctor to tell her what was wrong, she knew he was awake; they'd called her on her mobile as she left the undertakers. "Mrs. Kearns I'm afraid, we don't have good news. Since he woke up your husband has barely responded to external stimuli, there is no physical or medical reason for his condition, his latest CAT scans show no signs of brain damage. I've asked Dr Askar our resident head of psychiatry to assess Mr. Kearns. He should be able to tell you more, once he's completed his assessment." Buffy was numb, she bluffed her way through her talk with the psychiatrist, she was just so anxious to see Angel. When she was finally left alone in the room she felt her heart breaking. Angel just sat there staring blankly at nothing, when she turned his head to face her she saw no recognition in his eyes. After a moment Buffy couldn't stand it any more and moved to turn his head away again, when his eyes flicked to her lap where she still held, clutched tightly in her hand, Emily's jewelry. Carefully she lifted his hand and put the jewelry in it. Angel struggled and sat up, his face still eerily blank, his eyes vacant, and stared into his palm. A silver cross on a chain, a set of white gold stud earrings and 17 multi-coloured plastic bangles. Carefully he set the cross and the studs on the bed in front of him and then meticulously counted the broken bangles. Two days later Angel had been moved into the home. Ten... Eleven... Twelve... Present Buffy had laughed when Emily first got the bangles. There'd been 18 in total, she remembered her daughter telling her two weeks before Christmas that she wanted them. She'd gone back to the store the very next day thinking they would make an excellent stocking filler. When Emily had unwrapped them, she explained that if you gave one to someone; that made you friends for life. When her daughter had handed her one she'd instantly slipped it on her wrist, and it was still there. Angel had refused his, claiming that it wouldn't fit over his big hands. Emily had pouted, but had quickly forgotten about it when she'd seen her other presents. Now as she stood in the door way to Angel's room, the man she loved still following the same repetitive motion he had been for the last 5 and half months, she couldn't help the tears that fell from her eyes. Thirteen... Fourteen... Fifteen...

Pulling up a chair to his bed Buffy began her nightly ritual. Every night she came from work to sit with him. The staff at the home fed him his breakfast and lunch but Buffy always fed him dinner. 'Baby food' she thought absently. He had to be spoon-fed; he didn't do anything for himself but count bangles. Once she'd finished with dinner and cleaned him up she started to talk. "Willow says hey, I think she said she was in Chile, I have to wonder if she'll ever stop traveling. Do you remember all the places you said you'd take me Angel?" Buffy sighed as, as always she got no response. "The slayers are doing good, no major injuries this month. Giles says theres a job for you if you want when youre better. He never understood why you never took up his offer before, but maybe you wonna think about it. You know they all love Gunn, he may be wheelchair bound and getting old as they put it, but they love hearing his stories. I guess thats always been true." Twiddling the bangle on her wrist she looked at him and sighed again. "Still no word from Dawn. I thought today, what with it being six months, but nothing. Emily would be nine tomorrow do you remember that. I sometimes forget she's gone you know, but then the house is so empty now." Buffy saw he only had two rings left and then looked at the one on her wrist. Slipping over her hand she added it to the pile 'wouldn't want you getting bored' and prepared to leave. Sixteen... Seventeen... "Eighteen... Buffy." Buffy spun at the sound of his voice. Those were the first words he'd spoken since the accident. "Angel?" At the sound of his name he looked up... and burst into sobs.

The End.

~Los Angeles, California: November 1, 2003~ Life is never easy. I learned that a long time ago. I learned to deal with the pain and hide it so well that I was never prepared for the inevitable. Spike always told me to be alert and never let my guard down. He was right. I cant believe I just said that. Spike was right about something that I was never, could never be prepared for. I came to L.A. yesterday to originally see Spike. Id heard he was back from a not-so-reliable source and I was intent on seeing him. He was my best friend and he died. It was something that never should have happened, and a part of me will never forgive myself for letting him die. Anyway, I followed the A.I. group to some hotel, where Angels green demon friend, Lorne, was holding a

party at. No one really noticed me and if Angel was able to sense me, he sure didnt act like it. I watched Angel and that girl, kissing, and no one seemed to be shocked. Spike just laughed it off and went about his drinking at the bar, Gunn was checking out some chick, and Wesley and that girl Fred were too engrossed with each other to even give a damn. I watched as they disappeared into the shadows, not wanting to follow them. Who would? Id already felt ashamed for macking it up with Spike a couple years back, and there was no telling what this was going to do to my head. When the party was over, thats when I confronted Spike. We embraced briefly, exchanged a few words, and found Angels coworkers. No one knew where those two were at. We all went off in search. Wes, Spike and I were the first to locate them. They were on the floor of his office apartment, getting some as Spike had put it directly. I couldnt even look at him. I ran out of there and refused to listen to any logical explanations. What could he possibly say that wouldve made it better? He hasnt come to find me yet. I dont expect him to apologize. In fact, I expect the first words out of his mouth to be Im sorry. Its the same old song and dance, really. Bad timing. I guess that maybe Angel and I were never meant to be together. Or maybe we were and thats why it hurts so much. I just--I dont know anymore. When he first left me back in Sunnydale, I never actually expected him to follow through. Then at Thanksgiving.Walking away from him after still remembering all that we hadit was and still is the hardest thing that Ive ever had to do. I was never able to open myself up to any man after that. If I could have, I might have been able to love someone else. How could I, though, when my heart still belonged to him? Knock, knock. There it is. The not-so-inevitable knock at the door. I didnt expect him to find me this soon. Give or take a day at least. I answer it and find Wesley at my door. So not the face I was expecting to see but the next words out of his mouth tell me something I never thought Id hear my ex-watcher say to me. Welcome home, Buffy. And I realized something for the first time. I really was home. Home is where your heart is, right? *** Always By: spoiledsquish A/N: Due to the enormous amount of feedback I seemed to have generated off of Paradise, I decided to do a sequel in addition to this companion piece, telling Angels POV during Paradise. This is another sadfic!!! Distrubution: B/A Lovers United,, Enchanting Place, Sempiternal Beloved (if they want to add it to their expanding collection), and B/A Fluff. Spoilers: Up to Angel S5 Promo for Halloween. This is the companion story to Paradise. I really recommend reading that before you read this! Dedication: This fic is for all the Eve-haters out there. Dont worry, shes going to get whats coming to her! This fic is also to my older brother, Mike, who was determined to make me suffer cuz he wanted to see C/A and B/S together. Ill never forgive you for that. *g*.

Pairings: Angel/Buffy, Angel/Eve, Angel/Cordelia friendship Rating: PG-13. Summary: What went through Angels head while he was getting pelvic with little Miss Evil-Replacement from Wolfram and Hart? What happens when you finally realize that you might actually lose the only person youve ever really loved? ~ November 1, 2003~ Its over. Thats all that I can think about right now. Buffy and I are over.forever. It was all because of my stupidity, and of course, Lorne suggesting that Eve and I have sex. Why didnt I stop? I used to able to control my emotions. Now, I cant even face her. Ive managed to do what I always do to the ones I lovecause them pain. I killed my son, and the ruined only woman I ever loved. I never knew love until I met her. She was all the things I wasnt and all I could ever hope to be. She was the sunlight to my darkness, the happiness to my grief, the.and God, I cant believe Im about to say this, the Joey to my Dawson. Then I blew it. I left her so that she could find someone else. I know that a part of her always and will always never forgive me for that. I mean, why should she? In addition to that, I erased the only day that we were ever truly happy. Shell never even remember that, not unless either Cordy or Wesley open their mouths. I know that will never happen, not now that Cordelias in a coma and Wesley wouldnt dare to go up against me after what happened with Connor. Seeing her face after knowing that I could never give her the one thing she wanted.It tears me up inside. Not to mention that it was with a girl that I couldnt give a fuck what happens to. Spike was there, cheering me on until he saw her face. He loves her almost as much as I do, and if he couldve staked me right then and there in order to ease her pain, he wouldve done it in a heartbeat. I wouldve urged him on, in fact. I need to see her, need to feel her, breath in sunshine-filled hair. I know shell probably never forgive me; I cant even forgive myself. Ive lost the one thing I wanted in 250+ years of existing.Ive lost love. Or at least I thought I had until Darla surfaced early this morning. She told me the two things Id forgotten in all my years of existing. Number 1: Love is Forever. Number 2: Love means never having to say youre sorry. For once, Darla was right. *** Justice By: spoiledsquish A/N: Since this is most likely turning out to be its own little series, I want to do everyones take on what happened. I still plan on doing Eve, and doing a B/A reunion, but I have to get everyones take on it first. Dont worry, though. I still have vengeance-y plans for Eve. Rating: Pg-13. Maybe R for language. Pairings: Angel/Eve, Angel/Buffy, Buffy/Spike friendship, and Eve/Other implied.

Distribution: B/A Lovers United, FF.Net, Sempiternal Beloved, Enchanting Place, and BA Fluff. Anyone else, contact me first. Summary: What exactly was the liaison thinking when she got pelvic with Angel? Why does she despise Buffy and loathe Spike so much? Dedication: To all the C/Xers. Man, what the Hell happened to your ships support? I love you guys, nonetheless. ~November 1, 2003~ I failed. Thats all Ive heard from the Senior Partners for the last twelve hours. Angels soul is still in tact, and all I got was a lousy roll in the sack. All my big privileges have been revoked. No killing, no maioming, no hitting on any coworkers, except the Slayer-loving Scourge of Europe. Trust me, the sex wasnt even that great. All I heard throughout the act was Ooh, yeah and I love you, Buffy. Can you say make me yack? You think I even care about what some vampire Slayer gets off on? Then said stupid bitch has the audacity to barge in with Angels friends just as Im about to climax. I wasnt even able to get my pleasure from the whole thing. Although, I must say, that the look on blonde Slayers face was indescribable. Such agony and despair, knowing that I could fuck her lover into oblivion before they even had a shot a reconciliation. Ill have to admit, her pain made me feel a slight tinge of victory. Stupid brute that the vampire was, he wouldnt even finish what we started. Barely inserted Tab A into Slot B when those lame ass friends of his barged in. The Senior Partners only sent me to make sure Angelus came out to play. Now, with that Blonde Slayerbitch back in town, theres no possible chance of his alter ego coming out to wreak havoc, unless of course the Slayer does herself though. Shes not that stupid. They went through it once and Im more that positive she doesnt want to repeat said experience. Someone needs to take that bitch out. Someone that cant be traced back to the Senior Partners or me. Well get her, I promise you that. Shes just a stepping stone in their plan for Angel. Well take her out, preferably with lots of blood and lots of torture. You know what they say Vengeance is a beautiful thing. *** Touched By: spoiledsquish Distribution: B/A Lovers United, FF.Net, Enchanting Place, Realm of BA Fantasy, Sempiternal Beloved, and BA Fluff. Anyone else, just tell me where its being housed. Spoilers: Up to Angel S5 Promo of Halloween eppy Life of the Party Rating: PG-13 Pairings: Angel/Eve, Angel/Buffy, Buffy/Spike friendship, C/A implied. Summary: How would you feel, knowing that you were partially responsible, for breaking up soulmates? Would your conscious eat away at you? Could you ever forgive yourself or want anyone else to forgive you for something this traumatic? This is Lornes story.

Dedication: To Andy Hallet, who is such a hottie without his green makeup on. Keep on doing your thing. ~November 1, 2003~ Im responsible for their pain. My stupidity cost Angelcakes the one thing he wanted most.His love. If I hadnt suggested that Angel and Eve get a room, none of this wouldvecouldve happened. Buffy wouldnt have seen Angel having sex with another woman, Angelcakes wouldnt be so heartbroken, and I wouldnt have this guilty conscience eating away at my heart every moment. I thought I knew what kyerumption was the moment I saw Angel and Cordelia training together. I coaxed Angel to go for it, distinctly ignoring what Angels feelings were screaming out for. Until I saw that little cute Slayers face, I never realized how much those two were the true definition of kyerumption. There was all the elements of heartbreak in their relationship, but there was also something else.. Everlasting love. Not many couples have that anymore. Would you die for the one you love to let them live? Most people wouldnt. Those two gave up everything to be together and it was never enough for the Powers That Be. I need to make this right. Not because I want to clear my guilty conscience clean, but because its the right thing to do. I see that now. After all, if you really love someone, wouldnt you overcome all obstacles to be together, consequences be damned? *** Devotion By: spoiledsquish Distribution: B/A Lovers United, FF.Net, Realm of BA Fantasy, Enchanting Place, Sempiternal Beloved, and B/A Fluff. Anyone else, just ask and ye shall receive. Spoilers: Up to Angel S5 Promo of Life Of The Party Pairings: Angel/Eve, Angel/Buffy, B/S friendship, W/F implied, and mentions of F/G. Summary: If you were to see your boss and friend making a huge mistake, how would you stop it? Or would you just let him make that mistake and deal with the repercussions? Dedication: To Kyle, who was the first person with a guys screen name to give me feedback on this fic. ~November 1, 2003~ When Angel mentioned her, he never went into too much detail. Now I see why. Gorgeous girl like that, who would want to forget her? I saw the look on her face when she found them. Heartbreak, resentment, anger. I never saw that with Fred, even after we killed that professor. I think Thats part of the reason our relationship wasnt the real deal. I loved Fred, part of me always will. Thing is, though, she doesnt realize that shes in love with Wesley. Always has been, always will be. Back to the big issue at hand. Angel made a huge mistake, sleeping with Eve. Im not condoning what he did, but none of us expected his ex to find them having sex on his apartment floor. I knew, though. I was close by when Lorne so blatantly told them to get a room. I couldve convinced Angel to stop it.

But I didnt. I tried to stall Buffy, when she arrived, but she wasnt fooled and I didnt want to go up against the best vampire Slayer in history. Now I ruined their relationship. The one chance my friend couldve been happy, and I preempted it until further notice. I have to tell Angel that I knew beforehand. I just cant lie to my friend. He can kill me, torture me, beat me until Im blue in the face but knowing that I cleared my head with him will be worth it. I mean, isnt that what familys all about? Being honest with the people you care about. *** Witness By: spoiledsquish Distribution: B/A Lovers United, FF.Net, Realm of BA Fantasy, Enchanting Place, Sempiternal Beloved, and B/A Fluff. Anyone else, just ask and ye shall receive. Rating: PG-13 Spoilers: Up to Angel S5 Promo of Life Of The Party Pairings: Angel/Eve, Angel/Buffy, B/S friendship, W/F implied, and mentions of F/G. Summary: How would you feel, knowing that you were a witness to something that you would never want to see? What would happen? Dedication: To Ash, who loves my new improved work. Keep on writing your stuff, and Ill continue to write mine. ~November 1, 2003~ I never wanted to be a party to what I saw last night. Seeing Angel with that Eve, it just stumps me. Angel loves Buffy, and judging by the way Buffy was heartbroken over his betrayal, Im confident that she loves him, too. Just like I love Wesley. I admit it. Seeing Buffy and Angel and knowing what this has done to their relationship, I just cant bottle up my feelings anymore. Dancing with Wesley last felt so right, being in his arms. I have to tell him, but first I need to talk to Buffy. She seemed like a nice girl, the kind youd want to be your friend. Shes loyal, a great fighter. I can see that when she gives her heart to someone, she gives it fully. NowIm afraid for both of them. As soon as she saw them together, Im not sure that they can ever bounce back from this. I want them to be happy, hell I even want Spike to be. I know that he can never be happy unless hes with Buffy, but she doesnt love him. He knows that. He told me so last night. I have to make this right. What was that line from the movie? Love means never having to say youre sorry. I once told Angel that love was heartbreak and that was a good thing to avoid. I can see now the error of my ways. After all, whats a life without love? *** Torment

By: spoiledsquish Distribution: B/A Lovers United, FF.Net, Enchanting Place, realmofbafantasy, Sempiternal Beloved, and BA Fluff. Rating: PG-13. Maybe R because Spike tends to use bad language. Spoilers: Up to Angel S5 Promo of Halloween ep Life Of The Party. Pairings: Angel/Eve, Angel/Buffy, Buffy/Spike friendship, mentions of B/S and A/C. Summary: How do you feel, knowing that the woman you love was meant to be with someone else? Would you deliberately keep them apart or would you let her go because you want her to be happy. Dedication: To Mr. Sexy himself, James Marsters. He finally admitted that B/S was never about love and that B/A is the true ship. ~November 1, 2003~ Bloody Hell, I fucked up. I encouraged Peaches to do that Eve chick and then she walks in. Course it didnt help that I said Good on you, mate. The whole scene made me look like an ass, too. Tried to comfort her after she ran out. Wouldnt let me. She doesnt want me. All she wants is him, someone that she can never have. Unless, of course, the bloke fufills the big prophecy promising that if he behaves himself for a while, guyll get a heartbeat. I kind of feel bad for them.actually, for her. I could give a fuck less about what Peaches wants or needs. Pet wouldnt even look at me after. I knew what her face wouldve held if she had. Disgust, hurt. Her big green eyes held nothing but resentment and betrayal after seeing what Captain Forehead did. I hate him. I envy him. He has the one thing I have never known, will never know from her.He has her love. Shes always loved him. All the time while we were doing it, all she thought about was him. Even when she came, whose name did she shout out? Angels. I know she, in her heart of hearts, knew that he was being prodded about the possibility of romance with Cordelia. Honestly, the girl has a nice rack. He almost went for it, too, until she got to the higher level status and lapsed into a coma. He came to Sunnydale that night for a reason. Did anyone honestly believe that he came to give her some damn amulet? No. He came to tell her that he loved her, that he always will. Somehow, conversation never amounted to that and she told me that she loved me. I could see it in her eyes, though. She loved me as a brother, someone who would always be there for her. Shes right. Ill always be there for her, no matter what. She was never mine, she was always his. Im letting her go. Maybe now I can finally find some peace in this Hell on earth. A part of me will always love her. She taught me how to live again. *** Resolve By: spoiledsquish Distribution: B/A Lovers United, FF.Net, Enchanting Place, Realmofbafantasy, Sempiternal Beloved, and B/A Fluff. Rating: PG-13.

Spoilers: Up to Angel S5 Promo of Halloween ep Life Of The Party Pairings: Angel/Eve, Angel/Buffy, Buffy/Spike friendship, mentions of W/F, A/C, and B/S. Summary: As the mediator between the couple, whose side would you be on? How would you feel, knowing that soulmates who should be together arent because of one mistake? Dedication: To Mr. and Mrs. Alexis Denisof. I hope your marriage lasts, unlike most Hollywood relationships! ~November 1, 2003~ Its unfair. Ive witnessed it firsthand for many years now. People who should be together arent. Buffy and Angel both deserve to be happy and the only way that that can happen is when theyre with each other. Theyve had many years apart. Too many, if you ask me. He left to find someone else, and from what I gather, that didnt really turn out too well. She broke up with that Riley guy, died and then started an unhealthy relationship with Spike that only consisted of sex. It didnt help that Angel was mooning over Cordelia at the time. Angel realized his true feelings though, when Cordy lapsed into her coma. He was her best friend, and thats all theyd ever be. Same with Spike and Buffy, though, if you ask Spike, Im sure hed disagree. They came to a conclusion. Their hearts would always belong to each other, even if they were with other people. I think that the reason why she came back last night was to talk to him. Im pretty sure she had something important to tell him, but all of us were to busy doing our own thing to notice. Lorne was kicking it up with Sebassis, Gunn was flirting with some blonde-haired chick, I was too wrapped up in my feelings for Fred, and Angel was doing it with Eve on his apartment floor. Fred. Shes the one thing in this town that still keeps me here. We have a connection, her and I, and Im sure that after last night, she feels it too. I need to focus on the task at hand. Buffy is a key role in Angels fight for humanity. In his Shanshu prophecy, shes mentioned. Theyre supposed to fight together, on the same side, during that time. Im standing outside her hotel room right now. I knock on the door lightly, prepared for her to pummel me right then. She answers the door and stares, wide eyed. Welcome home, Buffy. I blurt out. And she hugs me. She knows that she really is home for once in her life. Now we all know it, too. Shes where her heart is, and thats really all that matters now. -Fin.

Chapter 1: Boundaries ~Los Angeles: Spring 2005~

Congratulations! Gunn hugged his friends, Fred and Wesley. Thanks, Charles. Fred giggled. Im just glad to see some happiness in this place. Lorne explained. With Angel Broodaholic in bitch mode everyday.kind of depresses you, you know? Hes still? Gunn motioned. Quite. Lorne agreed. Never knew that one person could have such an effect on someone. You dont have any idea. Wesley spoke up. Their relationshipwhen Angel decided to leave Sunnydale back was bad. Faith had poisoned him, Buffy cured him and things just.There was a lot of heartache on both sides Understatement. Spike smirked. I was there for a good portion of it, and trust me, mate.You have no idea what their relationship was like. What you witnessed was a small portion of it. What are you doing here? Wesley asked angrily. None of your business, mate. Spike turned to Fred. You wanna know the story, love? Cliffnotes version.? Some other time. Wesley interrupted. Aww. Isnt this sweet? Whats the occasion? Eve chuckled as she walked in. Eve. Spike growled. Down, boy. She winked. I just came to congratulate the happy couple on their engagement. Senior Partners couldnt be more ecstatic. Im sure they couldnt. Wesley muttered. Wheres Angel? He went to take care of something. Said it was a annual event or whatnot. Eve rolled her eyes. Cordelia. Gunn remembered. She was put in that coma today two years ago. Right. Fred shook her head. I guess we should wait for him, then? Somewhere else? The Bronze? Lorne asked. Yeah. Gunn nodded in agreement. Well just wait for him until he gets back. ~ The Bronze- 10:47 p.m.~ Hey. Angel greeted his friends. Eve said you guys wanted to talk to me? Yeah. Fred smiled. Wesley and Iwere engaged. ThatsAngel smiled sadly. Thats great. Im happy for you. Then whats with the cloudy face, Angelcakes? Lorne asked. I went to see Cordy. Angel told them. Shes awake. Thats bad? Gunn wondered. No, she justshe doesnt understand whats happened since shes been in a coma. Angel told them. She thinks that things arent as they are. Where is she now? Fred asked.

On a plane to Sacremento. Angel told them. Shes.she went to see Xander. Xander, whos that? Gunn asked. Her first love. Wesley eyes diverted to the ground. So, theyre all in Sacremento? No. Angel shook his head. Giles is back in England, Willows in Boston with Faith and Oz, the Potentials spread out all over the country, and shes.well, no one would tell me where she went to. Why not? Spike scoffed sarcastically. After all the things you did.Who could blame them, mate? Why are you still here? Angel asked. I just love to see you squirm. Spike winked. Shes in New York, bud. How would you know? Angel asked. Well, Peaches, Willow told me. Spike explained. She wasnt too eager to give the tidbit out, but I managed. Buffys in New York, building a life for herself, outside of the world we pulled her into. Isnt that what you wanted for her? To move on with something that was outside of lore and demonology? From what Willow says, looks like you finally got your wish. Spike, go. Before I decide to do something really stupid. Angel growled. Whatever. Spike rolled his eyes and left. Oh, theres one more thing, mate. Shes also seeing Riley Finn again. Guess his marriage didnt last too long, eh? The blonde vampire disappeared out of the club. Angel stalked off, leaving the gang in shock and confusion and wondering one thing. Who in the Hell was Riley Finn? Chapter 2: Leaving Town A/N; Disclaimers and all that other technical stuff that I hate doing is in chappie 1. Also, in my fic, no one in L.A. knew about Riley other than Angel and Cordelia. Okay? ~Two Nights Later~ Youre leaving? Fred asked Angel. Why? You know why. Angel mumbled. Oh, right. Buffy. Fred shook her head. Look, Angel. I know its really none of my business, but maybe you shouldnt go and see her. Willow doesnt think its a great idea and-- I dont really care what Willow thinks, Fred. Angel looked up at her. And I dont care what you guys think. I need to see Buffy, Fred. Quite frankly, my relationship with her isnt anyones business. Never was, never will be. I never understood why people were so interested in our relationship. They cared more about ours than their own. Im only going to say this once. Butt out. Im sorry. Fred apologized. Ill leave you alone. Wait. Angel spoke. Im sorry that I snapped at you, Fred. Im just frustrated that everyone is still so interested in my relationship. I understand that. Fred nodded. Angel Yeah? he asked. Good luck. She winks and walks out of his apartment. Angel continues to pack for his trip when Spike

appears. What? Angel growled. Hold on there, mate. I didnt come to stop you. Spike explained. No? Angel stared in disbelief. Caught me fair and square. I did come to try to knock some sense into your dense head, but I wont. You and herboth stubborn and pigheaded. Frankly, its like talking to a wall. Spike sets a slip of paper on the dresser. Thats the address. According to Willow, theyre now living together. Stupid bloke. Cant believe hes that stupid to make the same mistake twice. Shell never love him. What makes you say that? Angel asked. Cuz shes still hung up on you, you idiot. Spike shook his head. Am I the only sane one left around here? Anyway, Farmboy knows all about the two of you, even what happened the last time she came to L.A. Better watch out. Never know what those southerners can do. Thank you. Angel said. Yeah, well, when you hurt her again, Im gonna be the first one with the torture. Dont think Im doing this for you. Spike goes to leave. Im only doing it for her. Because she loves you. Angel finishes packing and finds Wesley, Lorne, and Gunn waiting for him in the garage. What now? he sighed. We came to see you off. Gunn shrugged. No, you didnt. Angel shook his head. If any of you are here to try and stop me, dont. Im going. End of story. What happens when she decides to kick your ass, and leaves you for dead? Wesley inquired. Ill call you. Angel smirked and he drove off in his silver Mercedes. Why would he put himself through that torture? Lorne asked. Hes in love. Wesley smiled. The things we do for love. Chapter 3: How To Deal Disclaimer: Would Angel have had feelings for Cordelia if I owned them or would Angel have fucked Darlas brains out or taken back the day so that Buffy could live a little longer? Hell no. You know the rules. All the tech stuff in chapter one. This is a B/A fic, so if you dont ship to them, dont read. A/N: Since Angel drove to New York, I assume it would take a week for him to get there. That is just an estimated guess. Also, Im trying to update B.T.M. at the same time as this, so please, if I decide to update that sooner than this, dont flame me! Also anything in italics denotes flashbacks! ~New York City: A Week Later~ Angel watched as Riley left the apartment complex for his weekly morning ritual. Farmboy would go down the street to get breakfast, get in a cab and go to work, and be home on the dot at six oclock in the evening. Angel shudder in disgust. Buffy was back together with this jerkoff? At least with Spike, Angel knew he had a chance. He didnt want the same thing to happen last time. Buffy choosing Riley over him. Angel made his way into the apartment building. The sky was overcast today, thank God. When Angel finally arrived outside her apartment door, he froze.

What was he going to say now? Things hadnt exactly gone smooth last time. What do you want, Angel? Buffy snapped bitterly when she opened her hotel room door. I need to talk to you. He replied. Talk to me? Buffy let him in and slammed the door angrily. The same way you talked with Eve? We were under a spell, Buffy. Angel reminded her. You, of all people, should know what thats like. Didnt mean you had to get pelvic! Buffy retorted. God knows when you and I were under the spirits of those dead lovers we never did. I was EVIL. Angel sighed. Look, just say what you have to say and get out! Buffy yelled. I have somewhere to be. Youre leaving? Angel noticed her suitcase. You didnt actually think I was going to stick around, did you? Buffy chuckled. Not even good ol Wes could convince me to. So get out. I love you, Buffy. Angel told her. I dont. she spat. Angel shook his head. This was no time to be dwelling in the past. He knocked on the door. Ri, did you forget-- Buffy couldnt finish her sentence when she looked up. Oh God. Buffy. Angel said. What--WhyWhat are you doing here? Buffy asked him, making no move to invite him in. ISpike told me you were here. Angel explained. I never told him. Buffy shook her head. Willow did. Angel admitted. Look, I know this is a surprise Understatement. Buffy scoffed. Go away, Angel. You know I cant do that. Angel reminded her. You have to. Buffy replied. Just leave me alone, okay? With that, Buffy Summers slammed the door and left her one true love standing there speechless. Groveling was such a bitch. Chapter 4: Admissions Of Truth A/N: Okay, I just want everyone to know that Breathe is nowhere near being finished. This is just the beginning. So, if you want more, just hang tight. Also, me doing really long chapters results in a really shitty fic. My inspiration comes in short instances. Sides, there are more chappies when theyre shorter, so QUIT hassling me! Buffy? Riley announced when he came home that night. Are you here? Yeah, Ri. Buffy hugged him fiercely. How was your day? Fine. Whats wrong? Riley saw her confused face and continued, You never hug me fiercely and ask how my day was unless youre upset. What is it?

Its nothing. Buffy sighed. Just tell me. Riley replied. Angel. Buffy countered. Hes here. I saw him earlier. Oh. Riley grew silent. Hes come to see you? No, he came to watch the Broadway shows and see the statue of Liberty. Buffy retorted sarcastically. Of course he came to see me, Riley. Why else would he be here? Whatd he want? Riley asked. What do you think? Buffy snapped. He wants me, Riley. He came to apologize for what happened a year and a half ago. Then there was some groveling. Are you, you know...going back to Los Angeles with him? Riley inquired. No. Buffy stated. I cant. Why not? Riley responded. Just cuz. Buffy turned away. Hows Sam? Shes good. Riley smiled. She had a baby girl. Thats great! Buffy hugged him again. We, um, we named her Elizabeth Anne Finn. Riley beamed. In honor of you. You didnt need to Buffy shook her head. We wanted to. Riley told her. So, Angel still thinks that you and I are together? Yeah. Buffy nodded. I told Willow that you and Sam got divorced and that we had decided to give it another go again. Its amazing how fast they spill the beans. Yeah. Riley agreed. It is. Thanks again for doing this, Ri. Buffy replied gratefully. I really appreciate it. Hey, youre my friend. Riley reminded her. Its not a problem. Hey, youd better go. Buffy told him. II just need to be by myself right now. Thinks things over. Arent you worried that hes going to notice Im not here? Riley inquired. Its really okay. Buffy remarked. I dont want you here when I see him. Our talks never seem to be calm. You have a wife and a baby to look after, mister! Go. Okay. Riley opened the door. Im really glad youre here, Buffy. Me, too. She smiled in return. Call me tomorrow? I will. Riley promised and left. Chapter 5: It Is Done A/N: Sorry for the lateness of this chapter. Between my new job, school, friends, and family, I havent really had a lot of time to write my fics.

Angel watched as Farm Boy walked slowly down the street, a smirk creeping on his the boys face. The vamp growled low in his chest, his subconscious demanding to know what happened with his mao know what happened with his mawing him. The vampire was so predictable, and so obvious. The ex commando smiled to himself. Now he could kick some Angel ass. Riley kept on walking until he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around and received a fist on his face. Oww, fuck! he yelled and looked up, acting surprised. Angel, of course. What do I owe this visit? Let me guess. Youve found a way to make Buffys life more miserable, and well, you just had to see the tortured look on her face when you do it? Honestly, dont you ever get sick of the pain? Shut up. Angel growled and punched him again. Riley blocked it and Angel felt his arm snap. Hurts, doesnt it, vampire? Riley asked. Just think. I could be pounding into Buffy right now, but instead, I have you, an obsessed vamp blocking me from my goal. Angel flipped Riley over and Riley fell to the ground, hearing his back crunch. I should kill you. Angel growled. But you wont. Riley smirked. Cuz, you know she would hate you forever. I really hate you, you know. The feelings mutual, trust me. Angel said. She still loves you, and honestly, I cant figure out why. I mean, you dump the girl night before her Prom, leave town after almost kill her, and then expect her to want you back when you realize your mistake? Riley scoffed. I wouldve killed you. Zip it, Fish Boy. Angel replied, annoyed. So.are we gonna fight now or keep making small talk? Im not going to fight you. Riley shook his head. Not because I dont want to, because I really want to, but I know that shed hate it. If you took two seconds to think about her feelings, youd realize that too. Riley tossed him a set of keys. Angel looked at him oddly. Go to her, Angel. He advised. And if I ever find out that you hurt her again, a stake through the heart is going to be the least of your worries. Angel slowly smiled and walked off. He was finally going to get his girl back. Note: Special Thanks to Akay who keeps helping me to get to writing this fic. Love you! Chapter 6: Dont Tell Me Angel walked slowly to Buffys apartment. Its not that he was dreading going back and apologizing, oh no. He was justgonna have to grovel. That is something that no one had every seen Liam/Angel/Angelus, the Scourge of Europe do. And now he was doing it all for the love of one woman. A woman who could stake his ass at any second. He finally reached her apartment fifteen minutes later. He stood at the door, staring at it. There were two possible scenarios to this. First, she opens the door, he grovels and begs at her feet, and she takes him back, and they have mad, passionate love all day long Or. Second, she opens the door, he grovels and begs at her feet, and she just laughs, stakes him, and slams the door happily.

He was beginning think the second scenario was more likely. When he finally got up the nerve to knock, there was no answer. He waited a moment, and knocked again. Still no answer. So, he did what any reasonable non violent person would do. He busted down the door. No sign of anyone, or anything. Where the fuck is she? he cursed. A young woman walking by tapped lightly on his shoulder, and he turned around. If youre looking for Buffy, she left about 20 minutes ago. the brunette told him. She said something about a wedding, and that shed be in Los Angeles if anyone needed her. Shes gone to L.A.? Angel asked and then smiled. Thank you, thank you, thank you! He wrapped her in a bear hug and went on his merry way. The young woman stared as he walked away. Damn thats a fine ass. she muttered. Kennedy, are you coming? a voice called to her. Yeah, Will. Im coming. she called to her girlfriend. Chapter 7: Coming Home A/N: Thanks to Akay, Chelle, sobad, Lea, Fifi, Kris, and Vamp_hottie for sending the fb. Love yall so much! Buffy got off the plane and noticed Fred and Wesley waiting for her. She smiled and walked to them. Hey Wes. Buffy hugged her former watcher. You look good. As do you. he smiled happily. And you must be Fred. Wes has mentioned youa lot, actually. she told the brunette. Its nice to finally put a face to the name. The same with you, although your name is pretty hush hush around here. Fred told her and frowned. Sometimes I let my mouth get the better of me. Its okay, really. Willow does it a lot too. Buffy explained. So, wheres Angel? Wes asked, grinning. I take it the reunion went well then. What reunion, Wes? Buffy asked, shocked. What makes you think that Angel and I are even back together? Thats why he went to see you in New York in the first place, Buffy. He came to beg for your forgivenessI believe there was going to be groveling of some kind. Wesley commented. What happened? He came. Buffy shrugged. And left. And assumed things about Riley and me. Its still the same old thing, Wesley. Quite frankly, Im sick of this jealousy tude he gets going every time he sees me with a guy. Its tired. So, where is Angel then? Fred asked.

As the typical situation had it, Kennedy probably told him I was on my way here, so I would imagine his plane should be arriving soon. Buffy shrugged. So, where are you staying? Wesley asked her. Um, hadnt gotten that far. Buffy sighed. Giles said you two are opting for a rushed wedding, so here I am. Couldnt let the former watcher get hitched without telling the bride of at least one horrific moment in your past! I beg you not. Wesley argued. He screams like a woman. Buffy blurted out to Fred. I know. Fred smirked and winked slyly at Wesley. The gesture did not go unnoticed by Buffy. Too much information. Buffy cringed internally. So, I insist that you stay with me. Just until the wedding. Fred alerted her. Its not like theres a super huge amount of females here. With Cordy gone and all, theres no girls, well in case you count Harmony and that evil chick Eve, so I have no one to talk to. Plus, Willow tells me youre a Slayer, a fact which I already knew nonetheless from when she came to tell Angel you died that one time, and then obviously you came back, cuz look here you are, and please stop me from rambling on and making a fool out of myself now. Its fine, Fred. Buffy chuckled. Id love to stay with you. I dont want to crash, though. Please, like you could. Fred said as they walked out of the airport, leaving Wesley behind to get the bags. I cant wait to catch up with you. Willow said that you turned thousands of hormonal girls all into Slayers. Whats that like? Wesley watched from a few feet away as he was carrying all the bags and muttered, Women.

A/N: This chapter is for Akay who has always been rooting for this fic since I first started it. Thanks hun. Without you, this fic would still be an lost WIP on my to do list. So, thank you! Chapter 8: Settling In This is your room. Fred told her, showing her the guest room. I know its kind of small, but Wesley and I dont get a lot of visitors. Its fine, Fred. Buffy smiled and set her luggage down on the bed. Really. I could have stayed at a hotel. Oh, nonsense. Fred told her. Youre Angels--Wesleys--former charge. I really would be offended if you had. Thank you. Buffy told her. Fred nodded once more and shut the door on her way out. She found Wesley reading some book on the sofa. Everything all right? Wesley asked as Fred plopped down next to him. No. Fred pouted. Everythings awful. Why is that? Wesley asked, tossing his book on the coffee table. Because our friends are in misery. Fred sighed. I thought that was pretty obvious, Wesley. Buffy and Angel can handle themselves, Fred. Wesley told her. Remember the last time you tried setting Angel up?

With Cordy, yes. Fred winced. Please dont remind me. Wes, this is different. Theyre soul mates. And thats true kye-rumption. Let Buffy and Angel handle this one by themselves. Wesley reiterated. Well, from what youve said, theyll just fuck things up again if I leave them to tend to it alone. Fred reminded him. Come on. One little set-up and then I promise Ill stop. I just dont like seeing our friends in pain. Fine. Wesley caved in. But if it doesnt work out, youll stay out of it, okay? Okay. Fred agreed. This is gonna be so great! Yes, I imagine the effects will be quitetalk worthy. Wesley told her as they cuddled. *** So, you just took off? Willow asked. Yeah, just like that. Buffy said into the phone. Willow, he was groveling. Groveling. But grovelings good, right? Willow asked, confused. Not in this case, no. Buffy told her. Its not about the groveling, Will. He only came to New York because someone leaked the secret to my whereabouts. Spike. they stated in unison. I swear I am going to kill him. Buffy cursed. Therefore, making your lover happy once more. You know how much he hates Captain Peroxide. Willow reminded her. Not helping. Buffy ground out. And hes not my lover. Sorry. Willow apologized. On both counts. Anyway, from what Riley said on the message he left, Angel assumed Ri and I were back together. Buffy told her. Moron. Then he went after Riley, I guess. Was there fighting? Willow pondered. I dont know. Buffy sighed. I left though. Plus, Fred and Wes wedding is not that far from here. Honestly, I wonder how they can manage it. I know Id want a long engagement. Theyre in love. Willow smiled. After all Love makes you do the wacky. they grinned in unison at the memory of that conversation. So, hows Kennedy? Buffy asked her, steering off the subject of Angel. Shes good. Willow chuckled. She said your boyfriend has a hot ass. Hes not myWillow! Buffy scolded. She saw his ass? Oh, yes. As he was heading off to the airport to catch a plane to Los Angeles. Willow admitted. She said his ass was all nice and firm, and swears if she wasnt a big lesbo Hey! Buffy yelled. So, when are you guys coming here? Well, we just have to finish up some loose ends for Giles here and we should be leaving by the end of the

week. Willow promised. You be good now. Remember, refrain from the violence. I dont always use violence. Buffy said. Well, at least some of the time. Very funny. Willow smirked. Im a funny gal. Buffy told her. Youll call as soon as you arrive, right? Yes. Willow replied. Now, go. Ill talk to you later. Bye, Buff. Bye Wills. See you soon. Buffy remarked as she hung up the phone. Not soon enough. A/N: This chapter is dedicated to Torey, for keeping me sane these last few days. You make me laugh at all the right intervals! There is never a dull moment when you are around. Love you sweetie! Chapter 9: Guilty Conscience Buffy ran straight into Fred as she walked out of the guest bedroom the next morning. Sorry. I didnt know anyone else was awake. Buffy whispered. Its okay. I know its kind of early, but I usually like to go for a walk in the morning. Wesley tends to sleep in later now that we dont have Wolfram and Hart down our butts anymore. Fred smiled. Would you like to go with me? Sure, let me just get some workout clothes on. Buffy nodded as she went to change. She reappeared moments later in full workout clothing. She and Fred left the apartment building, chatting about little, insignificant details. They stopped for a bagel and coffee about halfway into their walk. So, tell me about it. Fred mentioned as they sat down at an empty booth to eat. Tell you about what? Buffy asked. About you and Angel, your guys relationship. Fred replied. Im sure youve heard the condensed version already. Buffy muttered. Not really. Fred shook her head. All Ive heard is some little things Wesley has told me but thats it. Cordelia always said never to mention your name, so it really never came up. I would like to know, though. Angels and my past history is kind of...wellits complicated, Fred. Theres a lot of pain and suffering. Buffy said, staring down at her coffee. But Im sure there were good times too. Fred remarked. I remember the look on his face when he learned youd left town over the whole Eve incident. He looked like his whole world had ended. You mean the world to him, Buffy, whether you want to admit it or not. There were good times. Buffy nodded slowly, avoiding the whole Eve thing. But times change, Fred. Angel and I have been over for many years now. Thats a constant in both our lives that Ive come to deal with. A part of me will always love Angel, but I cant do this relationship thing with him anymore. I cant be second priority in his life to fighting evil. I deserve better than that. Yes, you do. Fred agreed. He doesnt know I know this, but I know when we were still together all those many years ago in Sunnydale, my mom was the one that ran him off. She admitted it when she was first starting to get sick. As much as I hated her for that, I couldnt blame her. I know she was only looking out for me. And I know about a day that I should never have remembered, Fred. He has no idea I know about that either. Ive always known. Even when he turned back the clock, I knew. Not right away, of course, but somewhere in my subconscious, I knew. I kept having these flashes. Sometimes, theyd happen when I was in the middle of

pysch class, sometimes theyd happen during sleep. The point is, I started remembering these events. I wanted them to go away, at first. In actuality, thats what drove Riley to leave. It wasnt because of his infatuation with getting vampires to feed off him. I felt sort of relieved when Spike told me about it. At least, a part of me knew it wasnt my fault. See, I wouldnt let Riley come too close. In all that time during our intimate relationship, I wouldnt let him see inside me. Angel was the only man who could look inside my soul, no matter whether it was in battle or in the middle of a heated makeout session. He always knew, he always could see. So, why cant you guys get together now? Fred pondered. Because he lied, Fred. He betrayed me. Buffy spat. He betrayed our love for that one moment of passion with Eve. They were under the influence. Fred reminded her. Thats not the point. The point is that he could be with someone other than me, and not lose his soul. Im the one that lets his demon out, I set his soul free. Im the cause for so many deaths back in Sunnydale. A part of me will always live with that guilt and blame myself. I cant control myself around him. Thats why I told him when the First was attacking us, that I needed to find myself. You think I ever really did? No, I found myself years earlier, right after Spike got his soul back. I knew exactly who I was, exactly what my purpose was. I let him go, and I didnt feel one ounce of remorse for it. Why not? Fred asked her. Because I knew that I couldnt hold on to something that I knew I could never have again. Buffy told her. So, thats basically it. Thats why I cant ever be with Angel. I dont trust myself around him. I know what consequences can happen if I get too close. Im sorry to burden you with this, Fred, really I am. Its okay, I asked, remember? Fred shook her head. Im so sorry, Buffy. I had no idea you felt this way. Yeah, well, its not something I can admit to easily. Not being able to love your soulmate is not a people pleaser, you know. Buffy told her as they exited the eatery. But enough about me. Tell me about you and Wesley. Really, the last time I spent quality time with him, he was still a stuffy old watcher. I cant see him being all non British book guy. Whats he like? Hes the most wonderful man Ive ever known. Originally, I got together with Gunn. I didnt give Wesley a chance. To this day, I may never know why. Fred told her. It took a couple of years, but Wesley and I did get together. I had been flirting with him for months, and he never noticed it. Thats Wesley for you. Buffy chuckled. He was pretty much oblivious when Cordy used to hit on him all the time back in the Dale. I just cant see that, Wesley and Cordelia. Fred shook her head. It was pretty disturbing, believe me. Buffy agreed. Anyway, continue. So, finally, one day, I just pretty much admitted it to him, and then walked right up to him and kissed him. He finally got the hint then. Weve been together ever since. Fred smiled. Hes the most romantic man Ive ever met. So sweet and attentive. And from the way you talk about him, I can hardly believe that man is *my* Wesley. Yeah, well it was. Buffy nodded firmly as they arrived back at the apartment. So, whats on the agenda for today? After I work off all this sweat in a nice bath, I mean. Um, well, I guess just talk to the caterers, make sure everything is in order, and thats basically it. Fred noticed her shocked look. Ive been planning this wedding since I was a little girl. I knew exactly what I wanted. And being married to Wesley is a dream come true. Im so happy for you. Buffy smiled. Now, let me get all this nasty sweat off me and then well go. Buffy said as she moved towards the bathroom. So, what was that about? Wesley asked as he came out into the living room as soon as Buffy shut the door

to the bathroom. We got trouble. Fred pouted. Major trouble.

Chapter 10: Decisions What do you mean, we got trouble? Wesley asked. Buffy Fred whispered. She doesnt want to be with Angel. She-She says that he betrayed her. Wesley, I dont know what to do. Buffy is my friend, but I have known Angel for so longWhat do I do? I dont know, Fred. Wesley shrugged. You have to decide that for yourself. I said I wasnt going to get involved and I meant it. This is your issue. And if Buffy doesnt want to be with Angel, no one, especially you, should be forcing the issue upon her. They are adults, so they should be deciding that for themselves. Youre really not with me on this, are you? Fred asked. No, Im really not. Wesley told her in agreement. This is our first disagreement as a couple. Fred noted. Is this how our life together is going to be? Fred! Wesley scolded. We will never agree on everything. No, I know. Fred nodded. But why cant you agree with me on this? These people are our friends, Wesley. Shouldnt we be doing whatever it is we can to help them? Not at the expense of their future. Wesley explained. If Buffy and Angel want to get back together, if they are truly soul mates, they will find a way back to each other without having to have people set them up. They wont need you or I to do that, because they will be able to do it themselves. Do you understand where Im going with this? Yes, I do. Fred grumbled. And as much as I hate saying this but youre right. If they are meant to be, they will get back together without anyones helpIm sorry for snapping before. Im just flustered, I suppose. I mean, people who should be together arent. Doesnt it frighten you? I mean, what if we end up like that? Were not going to end up like that. Wesley promised her as he took her into his arms. Were a solid thing, baby. I promise Ill never let anything happen to you, no matter what. Good. Fred told him. Neither knew that Buffy had heard every word from the bathroom. She had left the door cracked and heard the entire conversation. I cant fucking believe this. she cursed. Chapter 11: Breaking All The Rules Buffy couldnt believe it. She knew that there was a reason that Fred had been so incredibly generous and caring. She thought that Fred cared about her but obviously Buffy had not known her ulterior motive then. Incredibly furious, Buffy got dressed in a pair of faded jeans and a black halter and headed back into the living room where Fred was waiting for her alongside Wesley. Ready to go? Fred asked sweetly. Actually, Im not. Somethings come up. My father called. Buffy lied. Apparently, for some unknown reason to me, hes back in town and he wants to see me.

I thought you werent close to your father. Wesley spoke. Im not. Im not even sure how he got in touch with me or why. Buffy continued. But he asked to see me today. And I know how much you wanted to spend time together today, Fred-- No. Fred shook her head. Hes your father and you should see him. Thanks. Buffy agreed and nodded. Im really sorry about all this. Its not a problem, really. Fred smiled. You go see your father. Thank you. Buffy nodded, grabbing her jacket and her purse. Ill see you guys later then. She exited the apartment and it wasnt until she was halfway down the street that she smiled to herself. Mission accomplished. Chapter 12: Slacker Free Buffy just wandered the malls and tourist shops for the rest of the day. She couldnt go back to the apartment, not now. She was still so hurt and angry. She felt so betrayed. Granted, she hardly knew Fred, but Wesley was her watcher. He had been for months before the council fired him. He should have had the common courtesy to tell her what they were planning. Buffy hadnt wanted to lie to them, but somehow she didnt think the words, Youve fucked me over, sorry if I dont want to make a play day out of it today were the right words to go about that. She also knew Angel would be coming home soon. And home meant back to his friends, ergo, back to Fred and Wesley. She couldnt be around for that. She couldnt ever forgive him, not after his betrayal with Eve, and then the whole Riley issue. He had anger issues and she wasnt going to be around to watch him worth through them. She wasnt going to be his personal punching bag while he got through those said issues. All she was here was because of Fred and Wesleys wedding, and that was it. After that, everything would blow over and she would be back on her way to New York, living at least a semi normal life. And it was because of that that she felt that darkened feeling in the pit of her stomach. She didnt even have to turn around to know who it was behind her. Hello, Spike. She muttered and turned around to face the fallen vampire shed left behind all those years ago. Chapter 13: Power Of Truth Hello, Spike. She muttered and turned around to face the fallen vampire shed left behind all those years ago. Buffy. he stated in shock. What, no hug? she mocked. How did you know it was me? I didnt. I thought you were Nina, my girlfriend. Spike told her. Oh. Buffy mumbled.

So, what are you doing here, exactly? Spike asked her. Im here for Wesley and Freds wedding. Buffy explained. And to get away from Angel. You do know this is his town, pet? Spike questioned. I take it Peaches saw you in New York then? Yes, and how do you want me to thank you for that? A round of pummeling before knocking you unconscious or do you just want the unconscious part now? Cuz Im for the former. Buffy ground out. How did you find out, by the way? Im guessing Willow. Yeah, Red let it out accidentally. Spike nodded. So, you dont sound too shocked to see me. Im not. Willow told me that you were alive, but she failed to mention she told you where I was. Buffy replied. So, Los Angeles is treating you right? Yeah. Never thought Id say it, but it almost feels like home. Spike said as he sat down next to her. I really missed you, Spike. Buffy told him as they hugged each other Ive missed you too, pet. Spike said as he pulled away. So, what are you gonna do now? Well, after the wedding, Im going back to New York. Wills and Kennedy are there, and I do have Slayers to train. Buffy remarked. I cant stay here. You know hell follow you back, dont you? Spike questioned. Hell follow you where ever you go. I know. Buffy said and then frowned. Since when did you become a big Angel fan? Im not. That hurts, pet, that hurts. Spike faked a pain. Im not a fan of Peaches, but the bloke makes you happy whether you care to admit it or not. Thats not-- Buffy shook her head. True? How thick do you think I am? Spike asked. You may not like him at the moment, and hey who could blame you after his endeavor with Eve, surely not me. But you know that if it wasnt for the magical influence he never would have. But he was attracted to her before that. Buffy mentioned. As he was with Cordelia and with Nina, my girlfriend. Spike agreed. Is it wrong for him to be attracted to other women after not being able to be with you? He is only human, BuffyActually, hes not. But he does have human emotions. You cant blame him for that. No. Youre right. Buffy held up a hand to silence him. I never thought of it that way before. ButThat still doesnt change the fact that they he slept with herand enjoyed it. The fact that he enjoyed it without me being the other party involvedIts unreal. Guys can enjoy sex, Buffy, even if its not with their soulmate. I did, even when I was with mine, Drusilla. Spike corrected her. I dont think his non celibacy is the point here. I believe what youre scared of is thatyou are afraid to commit. Afraid to commit? Buffy repeated. Please! Come on, Buffy. You know its the truth as well as I do. Spike told her. You cant commit, youre afraid to. Especially with Angel. He broke your heart. I dont want to talk about this with you. Buffy said, standing up. It wasan experience seeing you again, Spike. Buffy-- Spike tried to say. No, shut up and leave me alone. You dont know anything about me, you never did. Buffy seethed and

walked away. I know more about you than you think. I was you, once. he whispered out loud and then went to find his girlfriend. Buffy didnt stop running until she was two blocks around the corner. She sunk to the ground, crying. Spike was right. A/N: The dream Buffy is having is in // and/or italics. Chapter 14: Whispers of Salvation Buffy slipped in quietly to the apartment, careful not to wake Fred or Wesley. She peeked slightly into their bedroom, careful not to wake either of them, should they be asleep. What she saw was the brunette couple curled up in each others arms, their bodies intertwined, sleeping peacefully beside each other. Buffy smiled to herself, and for a brief moment her thoughts fluttered to Angel, but she quickly pushed those thoughts aside. She closed their bedroom door once more, and tiptoed softly to her own room. She shut the door as silently as possible and almost had a heart attack. There sitting on her bed, looking straight into her soul was the love of her life, her soul mate, her Angel And he had the angriest and pissed off look on his face to boot. Shit, was all that Buffy could ground out before falling unconsciously to the ground. *** //Buffy wandered soundlessly through the graveyard. It had been slower than most nights, what with Angel being away and all. She turned around when she heard the tree branch fall, and came face to face with Faith. Youre not really here, are you? Buffy asked her. No, Faith remarked, shaking her head. Just a figment in your mind right now. You know Im not really here. Im with Wood in Europe, remember? Oh, right. Buffy nodded. What is this place? My guess? Probably one of the many graveyards you used to patrol, Faith noted, looking around. This is YOUR dream, so the scenery comes from that thick headed skull of yours, B. So, why am I dreaming? Buffy inquired, as they continued to walk the cemetery grounds. My guess is that youre trying to escape, Faith shrugged. You know whats back out there, in the real world. Hes waiting for you. Im sure hes alerted Wesley and Fred right this now. How do you know so much? Buffy sighed. Damn, you must really have forgotten how this works, havent you? Faith remarked. Im a part of you in this dream, Buffy. None of us here, right now, are real. There is a reason why youve come here, a reason that you need to sort out before you can go back. You and I, I believe, both know what that reason is. Whats that? Buffy asked her. Youre afraid, Faith commented, stopping as they reached the headstone. Youre not just afraid of commitment, like Spike told you earlier. Youre afraid of yourself. The thought of giving yourself over to someone so completely freaks you out. The reason why is because with all the other guys youve been

with, you havent been able to. And with Angel, you did, and he left you. So, you shut everyone out, including every emotion you could possibly forgo in loving him. And even when the time came to possibly opening up your heart again to Angel, you clamped it shut and spat it out. So, youre saying Im incapable of love? Buffy wondered. Im saying you were. And you will be, if you dont choose to open up your heart again to the one man who was the only one granted access to it, B. Faith explained. I know its a lot to think about, but you have to make a choice here. What if I cant? Buffy retorted. Do you really need me to answer that, B? Faith stared at her. You know the answer to that question. Its staring you right in front of your face. When Buffy looked back at Faith, she had already vanished into thin air. She crept closer to the tombstone, wanting to read what the inscription was. Suddenly, the moon shone on the tombstone, and Buffy read the inscription easily, her eyes glowing wide with shock. It read: Buffy Anne Summers 1981-2004 Beloved Daughter and Sister, Hero and Forever Alone Buffy slid back away from grave. This was how she ended up? Completely and utterly alone? No friends, no dashing white knight to save the day? THIS was all that she sacrificed?! Hell *fucking* no! Faith?! Buffy screamed at the top of her lungs. You were right. How the fuck do I get out of here? Listen to your heart. a voice whispered. Listen to your soul. And with that, Buffy Summers was pushed out of her subconscious and forced back into reality.//

A/N: Well, weve finally reached the end of Breathe. I, for one, am sorry to see it end, because its been a big part of my life. Its been a long road here, close to a frickin year, but after all that, I think that the ending is something that everyone can enjoy. And there will be the third installment, to complete the trilogy, of course, but not for some time, as I need to finish my other WIPs. Also, I know I stated in early chapters that B/A would get back together through the smutty bachelor/bachelorette parties, but I figured that would be way too obvious. So, now Ive went for a more subtle approach. A big shoutout to everyone who has supported this fic as well as its predecessor, Life Of The Party Series. If it wasnt for you guys, this fic would never have gotten published, so thank you. And finally, this chapter is dedicated to the one and onlyAkay, who has supported this piece of fiction from the very first consonant. You are the one sole person who has been keeping this fic alive. Without you, there would be no Breathe. :) Chapter 15: Buffy awoke to find herself in the back of an ambulance, with Angel holding her hand, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. She could vaguely hear what he was saying, but knowing him, it was probably something about forever and the like. She groaned in protest, wanting to get the hell away from where she knew the ambulance was headed. Buffy. Angel murmured, watching her. Youre awake.

Yeah, Buffy muttered. So, why the Hell am I in an ambulance?! What do you remember? Angel asked her as she sat up. Well, Buffy sighed. I remember coming home and checking in on Fred and Wesley. Then I remember coming softly into my own bedroom, where you were waiting for me, and then its all fade to black scenario from there. You passed out, Angel explained. Okay, Buffy replied, So, how does that end up with me in an ambulance on my way to the hospital? Fred called, Angel continued. She thought maybe youd hit your head or something. She was worried. Oh goodie, Buffy retorted sarcastically. Now, as you can see, Im fine, so let me out of this damn vehicle. Fine. Angel nodded, and had the driver stop the vehicle. Are you sure youre going to be all right, Miss? the paramedic asked as he let the blonde out of the ambulance. You gave your boyfriend quite a scare there. Hes not my Buffy started to ground out and then decided against it. Ill be fine. I just want to get home. Do you need us to give you and your boyfriend a lift? the paramedic asked her. No, thank you. Angel interrupted. Well walk. Fine, Buffy agreed as they fell in step with each other after the ambulance sped off. So, talk. At his sudden silence, Buffy punches him. He falters back, and puts his hand to his face to assess the pain. What the hell was that for? Angel seethed. WellThat was for having sex with that bitch Eve, or whoever. You didnt think I was going to let that go so easily, did you? Buffy glared. It wasnt Angel started to apologize. Shut up and let me speak. Buffy interrupted. I guess I should say Im sorry. For taking off like I did after the whole mess with Eve. It justIt hurt like hell seeing you with her. And even though Wesley said that you two were under some sort of spell, it still didnt take away the pain. She was gloating about it, and you really didnt say much at that point. Buffy Angel spoke. Not done yet. she held up a finger to silence him. It took me a long while to get over that. Just seeing you with herI didnt think I could ever love again after that. Then Riley came backFor a moment, I thought he could make me forgetBut as I remembered, and as he so graciously reminded me, he was married, and was expecting a child with his wife, Sam. Not my greatest moment, Ill tell you. So, you were Angel gulped and continued, Going to sleep with him? The thought had crossed my mind, yet. Buffy answered truthfully. But it wasnt because I wanted revenge on you for sleeping with Eve or anythingThats not it at allI just wanted to forget all the pain. Cuz lets face it, Angel, its been nothing but a big roller coaster ride of pain between us. Anyway, Riley was the perfect guy, even though he rejected me. Which now, come to think of it, Im really glad he did. I think that was something I would have ended up regretting for the rest of my life, you know? And then, you came back to New York, and all those memories came rushing back. I didnt know what to do. I froze, and the first thought that came to my mind was to get the hell out of dodge. So, then I came

here, and you basically know the rest of the story. What do you feel now? Angel said, stopping their walk and slightly gripped her shoulders. I feel Buffy paused. To be honest, I feel like starting over, but I know we cant. Weve both hurt each other, but I think we could try again. Id be willing to Me too. Angel told her, moving closer to her. I want to try again. A/N: Just a warning, it may get sappy here. Good. Then the first thing you can try is kissing me. Buffy told him as she pulled his head to down to hers. The kiss was slow at first. Neither one of them knew where to lead it, not because they werent experienced enough, but because neither of them were sure where they wanted it to lead. Within moments the kiss turned heated, and Angel coaxed Buffys mouth open. Their tongues dueled with each other immediately, trying to get as much contact as possible. Eventually, Buffy had to pull away because of the lack of oxygen. Um she muttered. Youll spend the night, wont you? Pretty much count on it, starting now. Angel promised her. Forever and Always starting right now. Buffy just smiled as she led him back to the apartment. Everything was finally going to be all right now. THE END A/N: Okay, I know the smutty was supposed to be in there, but I couldnt bring myself to do it. So, be expecting lots of smutty in the sequel. Hope you all enjoyed it, and thank you to everyone whos inspired me to Breathe.