disclaimer in part one

You would fight for me
You would starve for me
You would suffer for me
You would die for me
Well, I feel the same way too
You know I feel that way about you

-Velvet Chain

Buried Alive

by: Rebecca Carefoot

Part Two

Buffy felt Angel jerk in her arms, then a rumble tore through him as he began to growl, deep and low in his throat. She opened her eyes, searching his face for some clue which would explain the sudden movement. He turned his head down, then left and right in agitation, and released her from his arms. He rested in a crouch on the balls of his feet, his hands curled into loose fists near his face, then cocked his head as if he were listening to something. The constant low pitched growling turned into a short snarl, and Buffy watched in surprise as the familiar vampiric ridges appeared on Angel's face.

Buffy sat for a moment without moving. He rose to his feet, his muscles tensed. His head whipped from side to side, and his fangs remained constantly bared. She urged herself to do something and rose slowly to her feet. Extending her hand, she began to make soft, soothing noises in the faint hope that they would calm him. She wasn't sure what was going on, but Angel was too close to the edge for comfort.

"Angel," she said softly. "Shhh. It's okay." He backed away from her outstretched fingers uncertainly, and clasped his head with one hand. His eyes were half shut. He whined in pain, then shook his head, growling louder than before.

He began to move around the room, half crouching, half running. Buffy followed him, trying to decide what to do. The places on his wrists which had been rubbed raw by the manacles had almost completely healed, but she hesitated to chain him again. He had seemed like he was getting better just a few minutes ago. But now...

His eyes darted frantically, and he whined again. Making a sudden decision, Buffy flung herself at him, bearing them both to the ground. She landed on top of him with a grunt and tried to immobilize his hands. He squirmed under her, pushing at her desperately with his hands. He briefly managed to throw her off his body, but she tripped him as he tried to rise to his feet. She punched him in the face, and he grabbed at her, trying to roll them both over.

She moved her body to straddle him and forced his struggling hands up above his head.

He pushed against the manacles her hands formed over his wrists. She realized she wouldn't be able to hold him much longer and smashed downward with her head. Her forehead collided with his nose and eye sockets. Pain surged through her skull, but he was out cold, his nose oozing blood.

She shook off the slight wave of dizziness that washed over her and stood up.

"Sorry," she whispered to Angel's prone body. Then she grabbed his hands, pulled him over to the wall and chained him up. He lay on the floor, peaceful in unconsciousness though his arms were raised by the chains and his lips were smeared with the blood dripping from his nose.

Buffy rubbed her hands over the material of her skirt. She blinked away the tears that tried to prick up in her eyes. Seeing him like that, blood running slightly from his nose, chains on his wrists, hurt her. It demeaned him, and she hated to be the one to do it.

She reminded herself that it was better this way. Safer. For him and for everybody. Everybody. She shuddered, thinking of Giles and the others. How was she going to tell them? After what Angelus had done, they would have had trouble welcoming Angel back even if he had been...normal. But this way... Buffy bit her lip thoughtfully. She supposed she could wait until he started to get better. If he started to get better. She suppressed that thought. Of course he would get better. He had remembered her name, hadn't he? He wanted to get well. Hadn't he just held her in his arms so gently?

But he had also freaked out on her. He acted like something was threatening him. Was it her he was afraid of? Did he remember what she had done to him?

She knelt next to his body and gently wiped away the blood beneath his nose with the edge of her sleeve. Once she had cleaned him up a little, she traced the tips of her fingers over his cheekbones. He didn't move. She touched the curve of his lips, remembering their taste. And then she brushed his lips lightly with her own. After a moment, she rose to her feet.

"Damn it," she muttered to herself. "Why do things always have to be so complicated?" She realized with a start that it would be morning soon, and she had school to go to.

She retrieved her bag and slung it over her shoulder, heading toward the door. She hesitated when she heard someone pass behind her. Had she heard it or felt it? She wasn't sure. She turned around warily. There was a seven foot tall man walking toward Angel, who was utterly helpless. He was still chained to the wall, still unconscious.

Buffy's hands balled into fists, and she took a fighting stance. But the guy kept moving toward Angel, completely ignoring the blonde Slayer behind him. She'd have to get his attention, draw him away from Angel.

"Hey, big ugly guy!" she yelled. He didn't seem to hear her. "Well, I'll admit it wasn't a very witty insult, but I'm tired," she pouted. "You could at least pretend to be offended."

Deciding the verbal barbs were not working, Buffy prepared herself to upgrade to a physical confrontation. In the few seconds it took Buffy to catch up to him, she absorbed some of the physical details about her opponent. He was muscular, but not excessively so. His body was encased in leather: a black leather vest, leather pants, and knee high leather boots. Even the long lock of hair streaming from the middle of his shaved head to his waist was held back with a leather clasp. Tattoos twined up and down his arms. Buffy didn't have the time to study them, but they looked like blue snakes or vines curling around his biceps and forearms.

When she got close enough, Buffy launched herself at him and landed a side kick to his kidneys. He barely flinched. He didn't even turn around.

"Uh oh," Buffy murmured. She pulled a stake out of her pocket and tried again. The guy didn't react at all to the sound of her running up to him. She plunged the stake into his back. That got his attention. He turned slowly and faced the Slayer, the stake still protruding out of his back. It didn't seem to bother him too much.

Buffy remained in her fighting stance, but couldn't suppress a small gasp. His face was completely covered by tattoos like the ones on his arms, yet Buffy barely noticed. Her gaze was drawn to his eyes. They were completely white. No iris, no pupil, just an almond shaped gleaming whiteness. Almost like he was blind. But the way he was standing there, it seemed as if he were looking at her.

Buffy shivered. She didn't like this at all. He gave off weird vibes, dead vibes. Buffy waited for him to attack, but he just stood there.

Finally he spoke in a deep, rumbling voice. "I've only come for him. I have no quarrel with you." He turned his white gaze on Angel's prone body, and took a step forward.

"You can't have him," Buffy answered, trying to sound authoritative.

"I must take him back. I don't need to hurt you."

"Look, guy," Buffy said. "I don't know where you want to take him. But he just got returned to me, and I'm not letting him go again." She watched as Angel stirred, his chains jingling together with the movement. His eyes snapped open and immediately he was on his feet. He strained at the chains, snapping and growling.

"You cannot stop me," the man said. He reached Angel and the chain binding the vampire's left arm. Angel attempted to bite him, then kicked out with his legs. The man yanked on the chain, and the links snapped easily. Angel immediately flung himself at the tattooed man. He snarled, scratching at those white eyes with his free hand. The man pulled back, then swatted at the vampire, the heel of his hand making solid contact with the vampire's chin. Angel shook his head, dazed, but continued to pull at the chain holding his right arm.

Buffy attacked again, although she was getting the feeling that this was utterly pointless. The guy wasn't even bleeding where the stake had gone in. Still, she was determined to do anything she could to keep Angel safe. She pelted the guy with a flurry of blows to his back and kidneys. It was like hitting a wall. Then Buffy tucked her leg in front of his foot and twisted the appendage. The man fell to one knee next to the vampire, who tried to tear at the man's throat with his teeth. He punched Angel with one fist and flung his elbow backwards into Buffy's stomach.

She doubled over, gasping, but managed to grab the long lock of hair hanging down his back. She pulled as hard as she could. The man fell backwards, grasping at her arm. Gratified to finally be getting a reaction, she pulled the hair again. Some of the long strands came off in her hands.

"You should not interfere, mortal," the man said, executing a backwards somersault. His huge frame rolled over Buffy, and she let go of the hair as she was crushed underneath him. She reached weakly for the man's leg as he rolled off her, but when she tried to grasp it, it wasn't there. She studied the room. He was gone; he had just disappeared.

She sat up carefully, testing her limbs. She didn't think anything was broken. She glanced over at Angel, who was still straining against the chain which held one of his arms. His lips were pulled back, revealing his fangs, as he continued to snarl. She couldn't just leave him there. If that thing could appear and disappear at will, then there was no way he would be safe alone in the mansion. Especially not chained to the wall so he couldn't defend himself. But if she unchained him, he might do something like run out into the sunlight.

She had to protect him. But she had no idea how.

First she would have to figure out what the thing they had been fighting was. There was really only one way to find out, although she was not looking forward to the confrontation which would almost surely occur once the others were told Angel was back. It was too soon to tell them, but she didn't think she had a choice at this point. Buffy studied Angel as he struggled with the chains, his yellow eyes glittering, and shook her head. This was not going to be fun. But they would just have to deal with it. She wasn't going to let anything take Angel from her this time.