AUTHOR: Nikki Harrington
PAIRING: Buffy Anne Summers/Angel
SUMMARY: Buffy had hoped that by going to Sunnydale her troubles would all be behind her and she wouldn't have to bother about slaying ever again. However, first the librarian, who apparently was her watcher, and then a perfect stranger seem intent on making her fulfill her destiny.
WORD COUNT: 3,020
AUTHOR'S NOTE 1: Written for doylebaby: F - First time
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: Doylebaby specified that she wanted their first meeting, which is a canon one. Thus, for the purposes of this story the dialogue isn't mine, I have taken it from a transcript of the very first Buffy episodes ('Welcome To The Hellmouth). The rest of the story, however, is all mine.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Buffy sighed, pouted, glared at herself in the mirror and sighed again. She had thought everything would be different when she moved with her mom to Sunnydale. She had thought that it would be a nice, quiet, trouble-free and normal town. She had thought that all she'd have to worry about was whether or not she'd be behind in all of her classes, whether or not she'd make any friends and that she'd have last month's hair. You know all the things a normal teenage girl has to worry about.
But apparently not. Apparently her destiny had followed her to Sunnydale. Well, technically she guessed she'd brought it with her to Sunnydale as she was the slayer. The slayer; the chosen one; the girl of her generation who was one born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil.
Right. The slayer. That was her. Except she'd quit - hadn't she? She'd quit the whole slaying vampires after she'd burned the school gym down. So why couldn't they just leave her alone? Why did they have to expect her to go on slaying? Go on fulfilling her destiny? Go on ridding the world of vampires and demons?
Well they'd have to stop, because she wasn't going to do it anymore. She really wasn't going to do it anymore. She had quit; she had retired and she was going to stay quit; stay retired. It didn't matter how often that Giles man from the library told her it was her duty, she wasn't going to do it again. It didn't matter how pleased he was by her presence, she wasn't going to do it again. It didn't matter that he'd implied she wasn't in Sunnydale by chance, but because it was her destiny, she wasn't going to do it again. Of course they were there by choice; her mom had got a job in the local gallery and so they'd moved to Sunnydale.
But what if that wasn't the case? What if the watcher people had had something to do with it? What if Giles and all his books on vampires and demons and zombies and werewolves and incubi and succubi was right? What if she wasn't in Sunnydale by choice? She paused for just a moment to really think about it and then shrugged. Well, even if she wasn't in Sunnydale by choice, it didn't matter. She wasn't going to slay. She'd told Giles she'd retired and she had. She'd done the slaying, that was it, now she'd be just a normal school girl.
Except, she wasn't sure that Sunnydale and normal actually went hand in hand. Some of the other kids at Sunnydale High had been more than a bit strange and as for Giles . . . Now he really had been weird and obsessed. Yes, that was it, he was obsessed with the forces of evil and darkness and that wasn't normal. There was taking an interest in them, even being concerned about them and then there was being obsessed and Giles had definitely been obsessed.
She wondered what the club - the Bronze - would be like and wondered what to wear. She wondered how normal it would be - even by Sunnydale's definition of 'normal'. Well, at least she wouldn't run into the obsessed by evil and the dark forces librarian; he wasn't the kind to go to any kind of club. He'd be at home with his slippers and books and maybe even a pipe and definitely a cup of tea - the English drank tea all the time.
She had to make things work in this town. She couldn’t get involved in slaying; she couldn't; the living dead would have to get by without her. Giles would have to find someone else to kill them, to stop them. She couldn't get into trouble again; it wouldn't be fair on her mom.
After deciding what to wear and having a chat with her mom, who really was so sure they'd come to a nice, quiet, normal town and that Buffy would settle down and do really well, she left her house and headed for the Bronze.
As she walked down a dark street she suddenly realized she was being followed. She didn't give any indication to whoever was following her that she knew they were behind her. Instead she kept on walking until she saw an alleyway which she ducked into and looked around her swiftly for a place to hide.
Suddenly a cat yowled and knocked over some cans as it ran away. She looked around her again and spied a bar high above her head. As the person who was following her went into the alleyway, she leaped, grabbed the rail and swung herself up into a handstand.
The man, tall, well built, dark haired from what she could tell given the lack of any real light, passed beneath her and she swiftly swung herself down and kicked him in the back. The force of her hitting him knocked him to the ground and she dropped down and stood over him with her foot on his chest and her hands up in fists; she was prepared.
He looked up at her. Even though he was flat on his back, even though she'd been the one to knock him to the ground, she could sense he was physically strong and powerful. Just for a moment she wondered how easy it would have been to take him had she not surprised him. Would she be the one on the ground now?
She also found herself thinking he was gorgeous - and he obviously wasn't a school kid - and for some reason even though he had followed her, she found she wasn't afraid of him. Her lack of being afraid of him wasn't just because of her increased slayer strength; there was just something about him that made her unafraid.
"Ah, heh. Is there a problem, ma'am?" he asked.
She pushed all thoughts of how gorgeous he was, how physically strong he looked, and said, "Yeah, there's a problem. Why are you following me?"
"I know what you're thinking. Don't worry, I don't bite."
Again, she found she trusted him; well maybe not trust exactly, but she wasn't afraid of him. There was something in his voice, something in his eyes; something in the way he still lay on the ground looking up at her that made her feel safe with him. She backed off a little and let him get up. However, she still kept her hands up; she was still ready to fight if she had to. She might not be afraid of him, she might be certain he wasn't going to attack her, but she wasn't a fool. He was taller than he'd appeared to be when he'd been on the ground and now his physical strength was even more obvious.
He looked her up and down a couple of times. "Truth is, I thought you'd be taller, or bigger muscles and all that. You're pretty spry, though," he said, as he massaged his neck.
"What do you want?"
"The same thing you do"
She lowered her hands and just stared at him. "Okay. What do I want?"
He took a step towards her and she held her ground. "To kill them. To kill them all."
She rolled her eyes; so there was another one of the in the town? Someone else who knew she was the slayer; someone else who was determined she wasn't going to be allowed to quit slaying. Or rather someone else who thought he was going make her slay again. She wondered if he was a friend of Giles's and if Giles had sent him after her. Maybe he'd thought that someone younger, someone not English, someone tall, dark and gorgeous; someone she could -
She stopped that thought and snapped, "Sorry, that's incorrect. But you do get this lovely watch and a year's supply of Turtle Wax. What I want is to be left alone!" She began to walk way.
However, he called after her. "Do you really think that's an option anymore? You're standing at the mouth of Hell. And it's about to open." Again what he said reminded her of what Giles had said to her in the library. Did they really think all their talk about her not having a choice was going to make her change her mind?
And what was with the 'mouth of Hell'? What did he mean? She stopped walking and turned to look at him, her eyes were wide as she stared at him. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small box. "Don't turn your back on this." He tossed the box to her and she caught it. "You've got to be ready."
"What for?" Why was she even asking? She didn't care, did she? No, of course she didn't. It didn't matter what he thought she had to be ready for.
"For the Harvest." He spoke flatly.
She frowned. "Who are you?"
He hesitated for a moment before saying quietly, "Let's just say . . . I'm a friend." He started to walk away.
This time she called after him. "Yeah, well, maybe I don't want a friend."
He stopped walking and turned around. "I didn't say I was yours." With those parting words he strode off into the darkness. It seemed to swallow him up; he appeared to become a part of it.
She stared after him for a moment and then slowly she opened the box and looked down at the silver cross and chain. After a moment or two of just looking at it, she took it out, held it in her hand and took another glance in direction the man had gone. She couldn't see him. He had gone. He had gone into the darkness.
A SHORT TIME LATER
Something, despite herself, had made her put the cross on before she reached the Bronze. She was pleased to see Willow and went to talk to her. Willow seemed nice, normal even - which was kind of novel for Sunnydale - even if she was down on herself and seemed surprised that Buffy was talking to her.
Suddenly Buffy saw Giles. What was he doing there? The Bronze really wasn't his kind of place. Well, maybe it was a good thing he was there, because she could go and tell him she'd met his 'friend' and tell him they could both back off and stay away from her. She'd tell him that they could both forget her slaying, mouth of Hell opening or not, the Harvest or not. She was not getting back into that kind of life. So yeah, she'd tell Giles that now rather than having to wait until tomorrow to tell him.
Thus, promising Willow she'd be back she headed up the stairs to where Giles stood staring down at the people dancing and drinking and talking. "So, you like to party with the students. Isn't that kind of skanky?" she asked brightly.
Giles looked at her. "Oh, right, this is me having fun. Watching . . . clown hair prance about is hardly my idea of a party. I'd much rather be at home with a cup of Bovril and a good book." She'd been wrong about the tea then. Bovril - what was that? But she'd been right about the book.
She rolled her eyes. "You need a personality, stat!"
Giles, however, either didn’t hear her or chose not to answer her. Instead, he pointed downwards. "This is a perfect breeding ground for vampire activity. It's dark, it's crowded . . . Besides, I knew you were likely to show up, and I have to make you understand -"
She rolled her eyes and interrupted him. "That the Harvest is coming. I know, your friend told me."
Giles blinked and looked at her. He actually looked surprised and when he spoke, he sounded just as surprised. "What did you say?"
"The Harvest. That mean something to you? 'Cause I'm drawing a blank."
Giles's surprise continued as he stared at her and said, "I'm not sure. Uh . . . W-who told you this?
Now it was Buffy's turn to be surprised. What was going on? Giles had to know the other guy, given they'd both been so intent on her not giving up slaying. "This . . . guy. Dark, gorgeous in an annoying sort of way. I figured you two were buds." Ooops, she'd admitted, and to Giles of all people, that she'd found the guy gorgeous.
However, it appeared Giles wasn't interested in his friend or non-friend or whoever gorgeous guy had been. "No. The Harvest. Did he say anything else?"
She'd had enough of this. She wanted to go back down and talk to Willow. "Something about the Mouth of Hell. I really didn't like him!" Except that wasn't quite true. She had liked him, well not liked him, but she had liked looking at him. There had been something about him that had made her - Once more she stopped her wayward thoughts.
The band finished its song and people applauded. Once they started their new song, Giles moved around her, leaned on the railing and looked down at the crowd. "Look at them, throwing themselves about; completely unaware of the danger that surrounds them."
"Lucky them," she said with sarcasm in her tone.
Giles was silent for a moment and then said, "Or perhaps you're right. Perhaps there is no trouble coming; the signs could be wrong. It's not as though you've been having the nightmares."
Now Buffy really wanted to get out of there.
Shortly afterwards she had her chance - although it wasn't in the way she would have liked to get it - as she hurried off to rescue Willow from a vampire. Like it or not, it appeared her slaying days were not behind her.
AFTER THE HARVEST
Buffy silently let herself back into her house, making sure her mom didn't hear her, and went to her bedroom. She flopped down onto the bed and sighed. So much for her plans; so much for her speech about retiring; so much for her plans to live a normal life in a nice, quiet, smallish, free from trouble town. So much for her plans to live a normal life in a normal town!
So now as well as worrying about whether she'd be behind in all of her classes, that she wouldn't make any friends and that she'd have last month's hair, she also had to worry about slaying vampires, demons, zombies and all the other things. And if that wasn't enough to have to worry about, she had to do her slaying without getting kicked out of school again. And she had to make sure her mom didn't find out about her job - even if half of Sunnydale seemed to know about it!
She undressed, got into bed and turned the bedside light out and in the darkness she realized something: there was something else she had to worry about. Something that could potentially be a lot more dangerous and troublesome than being behind in her classes, of not being able to make friends (not that she had that to worry about any longer) or of having last month's hair.
All of those things paled into insignificance when she thought about, when she admitted, what her main worry was: Angel. It really was, as she'd told him when he'd showed up again at the mausoleum, a pretty name. She was drawn to him in a way she didn't really like; there was something about his tall, dark, gorgeousness that was dangerous, dark, almost frightening. She didn't want to be drawn and attracted to him; she didn't want to find him gorgeous, but she did.
He was older than her, a college boy at least, and that in itself was dangerous enough - but that wasn't why she was worried; that wasn't why she almost feared Angel. Somehow she knew she was safe in that respect.
Angel was going to feature in her life; she knew that. And she knew it would be good and bad; she knew he would cause her pain; she knew he would make her cry; she knew she should make certain he knew she never wanted to see him again. But she couldn't.
They were drawn to one another and nothing could prevent what was going to happen between them. It was as if she had a second destiny. She wasn't just destined to be the slayer she was destined to love Angel.
Angel sat on his bed in his room and thought about Buffy. He hadn't been entirely honest with her when he'd commented on her size (or lack of) when he'd said he thought she would have been taller or had bigger muscles, because although that had been the first time they had met, he had seen her before.
Seeing Buffy, seeing how small, frail looking, so - so blonde and so young had been his main reason for coming back into the world. It was because of the young slayer that'd he chosen to walk away from alleyways and the blood of vermin, and return to maybe atone in some way for what he'd done for more than two centuries.
He'd taken one look at her and something had happened to him. There had been a connection between them; he'd seen her and he'd known their lives would become entwined. It would be good and bad; he would cause her pain; he would make her cry; he would possibly destroy her, but he couldn't stay away from her. He should, he should walk away from Sunnydale, walk away from her, but he couldn't.
They were drawn to one another and nothing could prevent what was going to happen between them. It was his destiny. He was destined to love her. He, a vampire, was destined to love the slayer.