SPOILERS: Major for The Gift, also I Will Remember You.
RATING: PG-13 - language, violence.
SUMMARY: Angel follows Buffy to the other side.
DISCLAIMER: Buffy belongs to Joss, UPN, and Fox. Angel belongs to the WB (boo!), Joss and Fox.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm taking the idea of a "land of the dead" from The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, so some of the imagery and stuff like the bridge are taken from that show. This isn't a crossover, I'm just adapting some aspects into the Buffy-verse.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: This isn't intended as a realistic way to bring Buffy back. I don't know exactly how to describe it, just be aware that the plot (if you can call it that) is more symbolic than anything (pretentious enough for you? :) It's sort of an experiment, so let me know what you think even if you hate it.
THANKS: Amy, cause she's nice to me < g >
By Rebecca Carefoot
Part One: Rain
It's all gone,
So send the rain.
It's All Gone
Angel staggered across the manicured grass of the graveyard, pausing to catch his balance on the sharp length of a gravestone. He took a deep swig from the bottle in his hand and rubbed his sleeve under his streaming nose. His cheeks were sticky with tears. And his chest hurt, throbbed as it had since the moment he'd seen Willow sitting in the lobby of the Hyperion. Buffy. He ached with the thought of her, the memory of her, the loss of her. But he was not here to say goodbye.
He stood beside her grave, his fingers tracing the letters of her name in the heavy grey granite of her tombstone. He'd stood beside her at almost this exact spot after she'd watched them bury her mother. He swayed, the alcohol in his bloodstream blurring the cutting edges of the world. It did nothing to blunt his anger.
He smashed the bottle in his hand against the granite, not caring that the glass shards bit into his hands, drawing blood. He turned his face up to the sky, and screamed, wordless pain shrieking from his throat. The sound hung in the air long after a human would have stopped to draw breath. His head dropped; the air echoed with emptiness, expectant.
"You lying bastards," he said finally. The words, when they came, softened his voice, lowering it. He smeared blood on his face as he wiped the tears that fell against his cheeks. "You fucking-" He sat down with a thump, pressing his bloody cheek to the cold slab of rock. "You fucking liars," he muttered, the words slurring. "I *believed* you. I trusted you.
"I never even told her," he said, his hand clenching against the stone, white-knuckled. "She never even knew." His voice rose. "You never said she'd die this way." He screamed, hopeless and loud. "You told me I could save her."
He grabbed a hunk of the newly planted sod that covered the grave and squeezed it in a shaking fist. It squished between his fingers, smelling of new growth and death. "I wasn't there." He tossed the sod aside. "She died, and I wasn't there. You said she wouldn't, and she did."
His voice rose to a scream again, directed at the clouds gathering overhead in the slowly lightening darkness of the very early morning sky. "I gave up everything to save her, and I wasn't even there." He threw his head back, stretching out his arms.
"Well, fuck you!" He laughed, the sound harsh and raw. He lowered his head, his chin resting against his throat, and he shook it slowly from side to side, watching his own legs and the grass below swing back and forth. "You know that huge final battle coming up?" he said, his voice taking on a sly, slightly self-satisfied note. "The one I'm supposed to be a big part of? Well, you can find yourself another pawn." He laughed again, bitterness rolling from his throat.
"I was never yours," he said. "I belonged to her." His lips pulled back to reveal his gritted teeth, and he blinked past the blur of his vision. "I won't fight for you. You can go to hell for all I care.
"You took everything from us. You took everything from me. And I gave it all, all of it so she could LIVE, so she could be happy. And it was all for nothing. I could have been with her. I could have been human. We could have been together." He choked, and stared at the grave with dim, blank eyes. "You took that from me. You took that from her. And now it's your turn to lose."
He lay down on top of Buffy's grave, and closed his eyes as light begin to glow along the horizon; the sun hovered just below daylight. "Have a good apocalypse, you bastards," he mumbled, smiling with harsh joy in vengence. He waited for the burning to start, not even bothering to look as the sun came up.
Then the rain began to fall, just a few drops at first. He looked through slitted eyes, and the heavens opened, dropping solid sheets of water from the churning darkness that was the sky. The beginnings of the sunrise disappeared behind the denseness of wicked storm clouds. In seconds he was soaked to the bone, his clothes plastered to his body, his hair sticking to his dripping face. He screamed again, rage shaking his body like a fever. He screamed and pounded his fists against the puddle he was suddenly sitting in, sending water spraying out into the air so thick with rain.
He gritted his teeth, his eyes squeezed shut, and trembled with frustrated purpose. He glared up at the sky, ignoring the rain that painfully filled his eyes. He tried to stand up and slipped to one knee in the rapidly formed mud. He lowered his head in defeat, his shoulders shaking with deep, raw sobs that rose over the sound of the water falling all around him.
There was a sudden rush, a slight tremor in the ground beneath him, and a wind picked up, tugging hard at the sodden length of his coat. He lifted his gaze and stared blankly at the flat circle of swirling color that whirled a few feet away. It flashed with light, as tall as he was, twisting the air, turning it into a solid, hiding the graves behind its spinning. He didn't hesitate, rose to unsteady feet, and took the few running steps needed to reach the luminous hole in the fabric of reality. He threw himself into the middle of the roaring spiral, tumbling forward. The vortex closed behind him with a loud bang that blended into the thunder rumbling overhead.