AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story is based on the events in the episode "The Wish." The wishworld's Buffy finds herself in the real Sunnydale 3 months after Buffy Summers' death.
RATING: PGTV-14. There will be some NC-17 in future parts.
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DISCLAIMER: All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions. No infringement is intended.
Angel stood looking into the alley where the slayer had once kicked him head over heels, their first confrontation; he would never forget it as long as he lived. He thought back on every memory he had of Buffy Summers, the love of his unlife; their first kiss, the first time they danced, the first time they made love...he stopped his train of thought there, it was too painful to go on. But he had come back to this alley for a reason tonight; he had come to finally say goodbye. Not at her gravesite, he couldn't feel her there, but here in this alley where it all began and it all had ended. Buffy had died in this alley. His eyes filled with sorrow and pain as he pulled the Claddagh ring off his ring finger on his left hand.
"Buffy, I know you're someplace better now, someplace where you can finally be happy...but I miss you so much. It's been 3 months and I can't get past this pain, I can't make myself let go. I love you so much."
"It's all my fault, I wasn't fast enough that night. I told myself in order to protect you I had to stay away from you. I didn't make it to this alley fast enough because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. I never even got to tell you how much I love you, how much I still loved you. Now you're gone and I can't go on." Angel took a shaky breath and continued.
"Giles tells me that in order to move on I have to let go, that you would have wanted me to find some peace in my memories of our time together, so I've come to say goodbye."
"Buffy...I don't want to do this," Angel knelt down and placed his ring on the alley's floor, he stayed in a kneeling position and looked up at the heavens. "Goodbye Buffy...I will love you for eternity...I wish our time together hadn't been so short. Our love is for always."
He stood back up and reluctantly turned away from the alley, a strong wind picked up then and swirled the loose debris around Angel's feet; for a second he thought he heard a familiar giggle but then, like the sudden wind, it was gone. He turned toward his old apartment; he wanted, no, needed to stay there tonight.
The battle raged on around her but Buffy stayed focused on the Master. She watched as a dark haired vamp staked the vampire named Angel, the one whom she had let out of the Master's cage. She pointed her crossbow at the vampire and killed him seconds later. She finally approached the Master, she landed a few quick blows but he wasted no time in subduing her. Buffy knew she was going to die. She wasn't afraid to die; after living the life she had for 3 long, lonely years, she almost welcomed it.
Everything seemed to slow down as the Master spun her around and grabbed her head. She saw a red-haired vamp being impaled by a blonde boy; as the boy turned, he was set upon by two vamps and quickly went down.
She felt the Master starting to twist her neck...and then a bright light seemed to flash in the room and she felt weightless. She no longer could feel the Master's hands or see the battle before her, she felt as if her body was being sucked along a dark tunnel. Her survival instincts kicked in and she tried to grab for something solid to hold onto, there was nothing but air.
Another bright light flashed and she was falling. She landed...hard...in what seemed to be an alley.
Buffy sat there stunned, taking stock of her surroundings. Somehow she had ended up in the alley behind the club. She wasn't sure of what happened, but she knew she had to go back inside and confront the Master again, this time she'd get the upper hand.
But just as she stood up a metallic flash caught her eye.
*Looks like someone dropped something.* She picked up the ring and looked at it, it looked old. She never saw a ring like it with its hands, heart and crown. She saw that the ring was too big for her.
*Maybe it's my good luck charm. Yeah, right! Think again, Summers, your luck ran out when you were 15 years old.*
Buffy didn't believe in luck, life had taught her that nothing was by accident and that everything and everyone had a purpose. She had found out at 15 exactly what her purpose was, she was the Chosen One. Chosen to fight vampires and demons and whatever evil chose to prey on humanity.
Now, at the ripe old age of 18, she feared nothing. She didn't fear for her family's safety, her parents were killed by vampires when she was 16. She didn't fear her Watcher, he showed up once a month, told her what to kill and where it was located then disappeared until the next time. She barely knew him. She didn't fear for her friends, she had none, she wanted none. She had become as efficient in killing as the demons she hunted. She certainly didn't fear death, in many ways she welcomed it.
Buffy shoved the ring in her front pocket and started to make her way around the building. That's when she heard it, music, there was music playing. She quickly jogged up to the front of the nightclub; the sign outside said the Bronze and she couldn't believe what she was seeing. People were streaming in and out of the club, talking, laughing and generally having a good time. Couples walked past her hand and hand and she could sense that there was nothing undead about them.
*What the hell is going on? There was just a major vamp feast going on in there, now it's like "Alice in Wonderland" or something.* Buffy just stood there as she tried to absorb what was going on around her.
"Sorry. I didn't see you standing there." Buffy felt the slight shove just as she heard the voice.
She just turned toward the voice but didn't say anything. The boy looked up at her and looked apologetic then his eyes widened and he started to back away.
Buffy didn't understand the boy's reaction, so she shrugged it off and made her way inside the club.
Jonathan ran home as quickly as possible. He didn't pretend to know exactly what went on in Sunnydale, but he knew enough to know that when a dead class mate shows up at the local club, it's past time for him to go home and practice some serious denial.
Cordelia sat at her usual table trying to pretend that she was actually listening to Hamony gossip about the latest dirt. She smiled and laughed at all the right times, but inside she wanted to go home and curl herself up in a ball on her bed. Buffy. She missed Buffy, she hated to admit it even to herself, but she missed her sometimes friend, most of the time nemesis. When news had hit the school the day after her death, Cordelia had run downstairs to the basement, where she knew she would be alone, and cried her heart out. Later that day no one would ever think the detached head cheerleader had spent 2 hours laying on the basement floor crying for a girl she never called friend in public.
The funeral was no better. She stood alone in the back watching Mrs. Summers' shoulders shake while Giles kept a supportive arm around her. She watched Willow totally fall apart at the casket; she had gotten so distraught Oz had to physically remove her from the coffin. And Xander, Xander had stood silently by watching everything but seeing nothing. The eyes that usually were full of mischief were vacant. Giles was everyone's strong shoulder to lean on during the ceremony. Only when it was all over and everyone had left the church did he fall apart.
Cordelia had left her jacket in the pew and had gone back to retrieve it; when she stepped back into the church, she witnessed Giles on his knees with his face in his hands, his body racked by soundless sobs. She quickly left him to his mourning.
She had approached both Willow and Xander and tried to express her sympathy. Her words, even to her, had sounded hollow, she had built up so many defenses when it came to them, that she couldn't break down enough to let them know how much she cared about Buffy, and about them and that she forgave them everything. Unfortunately, all they heard was condolences that didn't ring true. Neither of them had so much as looked at her since then.
So that left her here with her not-so-real friends pretending that she didn't have a care in the world.
"Oh God, what's with this town anyway, it's like perfect for Ripley's Believe it or Not! We are so outta here. Come on Cordelia, this is even too weird for you." Harmony marched away from the table taking her wannabes with her.
"Hey, what's with you..." Cordelia's voice trailed off as she spotted the petite blonde with the long braid walking toward her table.
*It can't be...Buffy's dead.* Cordelia kept her eyes glued to Buffy but noticed that other people were starting to recognize her and were also staring.
*Oh My God! She must be a vampire. This is so not what I need right now. Leave it to Buffy to ruin my perfect mourning period. Now I got to go get Giles and have him stake her! Joy!*
Just as she began to make her way to the back exit, another thought struck her. *Giles won't be able to take a vamp that was once a slayer. He'll end up calling Angel. Oh boy, this keeps getting worse. Angel's in major suicide mode as it is, he'll never be able to handle it, neither would Xander or Willow. I guess for once I'm going to have to be the one.* Cordelia took a pencil from her purse, raised it and started to approach Buffy from behind.
*Why is everyone staring at me? This place is giving me the creeps. I wish it was filled with vamps, then I'd know how to react. But no, it's filled with these happy, overly caffeinated kids who seem to be having a very good time, the ones who aren't staring stupidly at me that is.* Just then, Buffy felt the electric energy of another body moving in way too close to her; she spun and caught the brunette's wrist just as she was attempting to plunge a pencil into her back...A PENCIL!
"Now I know I entered the Twilight Zone when I'm getting attacked by pencils!" Buffy grabbed the pencil out of the girl's hand and brought it up toward her face.
"Do you work for the Master?" she demanded.
"Hands off, dead girl, you're wrinkling my Prada." Cordelia yanked her wrist from Buffy's grasp. "Jeez, Buff, you're even more paranoid dead then normal, not that you were ever normal. Listen, why don't you just go away and terrorize some other place, I know you vamps like to torment the people you left behind, but they're tormented enough. Just go...shoo." Cordelia tried to push Buffy toward the door.
"You know my name?"
"Duh...did you lose your mind along with your life!"
"How do you know me? And why do you think I'm a vampire?"
"Are you serious?" At Buffy's confused look, Cordelia started to realize that she was serious. Not only did Buffy not know her but she seemed to be...breathing!
"Great, another freaky Hellmouth moment! Come on, let's go outside and talk, too many people are staring. My name is Cordelia and I know you because were friends...sorta...and I thought you were a vampire because I attended your funeral 3 months ago." Cordelia paused to let that sink in.
"My funeral...but I'm not dead. I'm the slayer. Though in a way it's like one and the same." Buffy seemed to be contemplating this when Cordelia's voice broke in.
"OK, don't go all deep thoughts on me, we already have an Oz for that! Let's go, I'm taking you to someone who can straighten this out." Cordelia led Buffy to her and made her way to Giles's house.
"What's an OZ?"