For Better, For Worse, Forever by aej1085


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Chapter Notes: Chapter 2 was added because Chapter 1 was too short. Let me know what you think.
Chapter 1
Proving My Love

Spike and Buffy stand as Sunnydale High School collapses all around them.

“I love you Spike.”

“No you don’t but thanks for saying it.”

Buffy looked down at the ground tears streaming down her face. The heat from his hand burned into hers but she refused to let him go. When she met his gaze the tears were gone, replaced by a look of pure determination.

“I do love you Spike.” She slammed her lips to his kissing him fiercely. He matched her fierceness with his own hungry need. Buffy tears mixed with Spike’s, neither wanting to stop knowing it would mean the end. Buffy slipped the amulet from his neck around her own. She broke the kiss by pushing him away from her. He stumbled and fell to the ground, weakened from the amulet.

“B we need to get out of here NOW!” Faith stood above them gesturing urgently their need to leave as the school continued to collapse on them.

“Faith I need you to take Spike and leave.”

Faith looked at Buffy stunned but her expression changed when she saw the amulet around Buffy’s neck. “Buffy what the hell are you doing?”

“I need to do this Faith for him, for you, for all of them. I know I have to do this, I haven’t been this sure of anything in a long time.” Buffy smiled through the pain raging through her small body. “Please Faith take Spike and get out of here.”

Faith could not say anything. She stepped down and picked up the unconscious Spike.

“Take care of them for me Faith. I love them so much.” Buffy voice was barely above a whisper, the searing pain draining her of her life force. Faith wiped her eyes, gave Buffy one last look and took off toward the surface Spike hanging limply from her shoulder.

Buffy kneels on the ground, the pain overtaking her. The light surrounds her as the last of her life is taken from her. Then with one final blast of light Buffy is gone and the amulet falls to the ground.

1 Year Later

Wolfram and Hart, LA

Angel picks up an envelope of his desk while talking to Wesley, Fred, Gunn, and Lorne.

“No, sooner or later they’ll tip their hand, and we’ll find out why they really brought us here.” He rips open the envelope. “Meanwhile, we do the work…our way, one thing at a time. We deal…” An amulet falls out of the envelope. “with whatever comes next.”

At his touch the amulet activates in a whirlwind of ash with flecks of orange as something materializes before their eyes. All five of them step back as the wind dies down staring with a mixture of fear and curiosity at the hunched figure in front of them. The figure moves slightly allowing Angel to get a view of its face.

“Buffy?”


Chapter 2

Painful Realizations

“Buffy?” Angel walked toward the crouched form of his former love. Fred, Gunn, Lorne, and Wesley watched on a few feet away in complete shock.

“This is Buffy?” Fred had never met Buffy, but from what she had heard from Angel and Wesley the Vampire Slayer and the pitiful creature in front of her didn’t match.

“Yes, yes she is.” Wesley stared at a loss for words.

“But I thought she died in Sunnydale?”

Angel ignored the conversation around him and completely focused on Buffy. She was trembling, her now long brown hair shielded him from looking at her face. Angel reached out to touch, to calm her. But when his fingers brushed against her skin she screamed out in terror and crawled toward Harmony’s desk to hide.

Angel didn’t move, from shock or from fear, he simply stared at Harmony’s desk.

Gunn was the first to speak, “Okay, what the hell was that?”

Wesley too perplexed by the situation moved toward Angel. “Angel what is going on?”

“I don’t know Wes.” His voice cracked, “God I don’t know.”

“We were told by Mr. Giles that she died in Sunnydale. A year ago in a battle against the First right?”

Angel raked his fingers through his hair in irritation. “Yeah, yeah she did.”

“Then what is she doing here?”

Before Angel could answer Lorne spoke up. “Angel maybe you should try to talk to her.”

Angel nodded and made his way slowly behind Harmony’s desk. Buffy was curled up in a ball shaking violently. He stopped a few feet from her and crouched down to talk to her.

“Buffy it’s me Angel. I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to talk.”

Buffy didn’t move.

Angel tried again, “Please Buffy I need you to talk to me. We need to know what happened to you.”

Buffy still refused to look at him.

“Buffy?” He reached out to touch her shoulder but she shrunk away from him.

Angel pulled his hand back. “Buffy, please.”

Maybe it was something in his voice but Buffy stopped trembling and for the first time looked at him.

Angel gasped at what he saw. Buffy was covered head to toe in black ash. There were several burns on her arms and legs. A large gash marred Buffy’s once flawless features. But the scrapes and burns were not what made him cry out, it was her eyes. There was no spark of life behind Buffy’s eyes only the look of hollow deadness. But what was worse he realized was that she didn’t know who he was. The look of pure terror she gave him, sent a chill down his spine.

Angel tried hard to keep his emotions in check when he spoke to her. “Listen Buffy, I’m your friend Angel. I promise I won’t hurt you.”

She continued to stare at him unfazed.

“Please Buffy. I care about you, I won’t let anybody hurt you. Ever.” He reached out his hand. “I want to help you. Please Buffy let me help you.”

Buffy looked from Angel’s face to his hand confused.

He moved closer to her and when she didn’t move away he reached out and placed his hand on her arm. She flinched but didn’t pull away.

“I going to take care of you, I promise.” Buffy met his intent gaze and Angel knew she was weakening. He reached out and took her small trembling hand and helped her to her feet. She swayed on the spot and Angel quickly reached out and put his arm tightly around her waist. He half walked, half carried her to where Fred, Gunn, Lorne, and Wesley were standing in amazement.

“Fred could you take her and get her cleaned up?”

Fred nodded and stepped forward to take Buffy’s arm, but Buffy backed away, whimpering.

Fred stopped in her tracks not wanting to scare Buffy further. Angel spoke to Buffy soothingly, “Buffy this is my friend Fred. She is going to help you get cleaned up. You can go with her, she won’t hurt you.”

Fred stuck out her hand which Buffy reluctantly took and lead her away.

Angel watched them walk away, when they were out of sight he turned to the others with tears in his eyes. “She doesn’t know who I am.”

“Are you sure?”

Angel let out a chocked sob, “She flinches every time I touch her.” He paused “She looked at me like I was a stranger.”

“It must have something to do with this amulet.” Angel looked at Wesley who held the amulet in his hand. He reached out and took it from Wesley staring at it curiously.

“This is the amulet I gave to Buffy. Lilah gave it to me when we came here. She said it was crucial to the final battle in Sunnydale.” He looked back at them determinately. “I need you three to look up everything you can find about this amulet. Down to the smallest detail, I want to know everything. You got it?”

They nodded in unison. Angel gripped the amulet tightly, “We’re going to find out what happened to her.”

3 hours later…

Angel was in his office pacing, he stopped when he heard Fred enter. Fred smiled brightly, “It was a lot of but I think I got all the dirt off of her. What do you think?”

He looked up to see Buffy standing a little behind Fred, her long hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was wearing some of Fred’s clothes. She looked like her old self.

He smiled at Fred, “You did a good job Fred.”

Fred’s grin broadened, “Thanks Angel.” She turned to Buffy, “Come on Buffy why don’t you have a seat on the couch.” Buffy stared at Fred. Fred sighed and took Buffy’s hand and lead her to the couch. Fred walked over to Angel who was still staring at Buffy.

“She doesn’t seem to understand anything I say. Whenever I asked her to do something she just stared at me until I did it for her. It’s really weird.”

Angel continued to stare at Buffy. “Yeah she was like that with me.”

“Do you have any I idea what happened to her.”

He turned to her and let out a frustrated sigh. “I have Wes, Gunn, and Lorne on it now, but they’re having a hard time finding anything.”

Fred gave him a sympathetic smile, “They’ll find something I’m sure.” Her smile disappeared suddenly, “Angel there’s something I need to tell you.”

“What?”

Fred looked uncomfortable, “Well when I was helping her get a shower I noticed that there were a lot of scrapes and burns on her body.”

Angel nodded, “Yeah I saw that too.”

“Well that’s not it. When she turned around…” She shuddered, “Oh Angel her back is covered in scars. Not just a couple, there’s so many I couldn’t count. There are some that haven’t even healed yet and when I tried to put some cream on them she screamed. It took me an hour to calm her down.”

Angel stared at her then turned his gaze to Buffy. She was sitting on the couch picking at the sleeve of her shirt muttering to herself. What had happened to her?

Fred looked at him worriedly, “Someone’s been hurting her.”

Angel slammed his fist on his desk in anger. He picked a book off his desk and flung it at the door. Fred backed away from him but didn’t say anything, Buffy cried out in fear. Angel looked at her instantly realizing his mistake. Buffy stared back at him a look of pure fear in her eyes. He walked toward Buffy and she immediately put her arms protectively over her face. He stopped and kneeled in front of her. Angel grabbed her arms and pulled them from her face. Buffy tried to move away but he wouldn’t let her. Angel pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her he held her tightly. “I am so sorry Buffy,” He chocked, “I’m sorry.”

Buffy let him hold her, her arms hung limply at her sides. She looked more confused then ever.

After several minutes Angel let her go, Buffy crawled back on the couch muttering to herself. Angel walked back to his desk and sat down, head in his hands. Fred looked as she was about to say something but Wesley, Lorne, and Gunn burst in before she could get a word out.

“Angel we’ve found something.”

Angel head shot up at the sound of Wesley’s voice. “What, what did you find.”

“Well the amulet it’s actually has a pretty interesting history. It dates back several centuries, actually the story of its making is quite fascinating. It all started…”

“Wes get to the point.”

Wesley looked back flustered, “Right, right sorry. Well the Gem of Vertigo dates back to ancient Egyptian times and it was to be used to trap evil.”

“Trap evil?”

“Yes the Gem of Vertigo was said to be created by the Egyptian god Geb, protector of Earth.” He began reading from the book he was holding. “A time will come when Evil will gain great power and the people will live in fear. But a champion will rise, ensouled but stronger than a human, the champion will sacrifice everything to save the people. Light will prevail and the Evil will be no more.

“Is this a prophecy of some sort?”

Wesley shook his head, “No, no it’s more of a warning.”

“Okay so this champion will trap the Evil.” Angel dangled the amulet in front of them. “You can’t tell me the Evils trapped in here.”

“No the amulet only serves as a portal.”

“A portal to what?”

“Hell.”

“Well that’s good right? All the baddies from Sunnydale went straight to Hell. But that still doesn’t explain what happened to Buffy.” The others agreed with Fred and looked expectantly at Wesley.”

Wesley cleared his throat nervously, “Yes, well it says here that the champion will sacrifice everything to save the people.”

“Meaning what exactly?”

“The wearer of the amulet gets trapped along with the Evil.”

Realization dawned on Fred, “That means…”

All five looked in horror at Buffy, “Buffy was in Hell.”

T.B.C


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