Chapter Two: A Gift of Love
Author's Note: Okay folks! This chapter has been revised slightly. As I was going back through my story, I realized that I needed to add some more Angel scenes, because I didn't have very many thus far, and since this is primarily an X-Men cross, there wasn't going to be a lot of scenes with Angel as the focus. Also, I recently acquired the original shooting scripts for Seasons 1 and 2 of BtVS, and, on looking over the script for "Prophecy Girl" I found several great scenes that were cut out of the episode by Joss. So, I decided to integrate them into my story. Hopefully this will make it a little bit more unique. So if you see scenes or bits of dialogue you don't remember, no, you are not imagining things. They are simply bits that were cut out that I decided to use.Chapter Two: A Gift of Love
Somehow she made it home, although she didn’t actually comprehend the journey. At some point she managed to dry her eyes so that her mother wouldn’t see that she had been crying. She didn’t want any maternal sympathy, or probing questions right now. Her mom wouldn’t understand, after all. This was a burden that she would carry alone.
Dinner was ready when she came home, and knowing that her mother would expect her to make an appearance, she headed to the bathroom to wash up. Shakily, she pulled herself together, and then joined her mother at the table.
The meal passed in a blur, and Buffy was so miserable that all she could do was pick at her food. She sensed her mother’s concern, but Joyce wisely chose not to call her on it, instead talking about the new show that would be opening at the gallery in a few weeks. Buffy responded politely, but all her attention was focused on the scene in the library and Giles’ dire words. As soon as the meal was over and Buffy had helped to clear the table, she ran for her room.
Once she was in the safe confines of her room, she flung herself onto her bed and wept silently. How can he? How can he expect me to give up my life for the sake of stopping a stupid vampire? I never wanted this! I never wanted to be the Slayer!
Finally, she cried herself out. Sitting up on the bed, she wiped her face and then ducked into the bathroom to wash her face before her mother saw the telltale evidence of tears. Re-entering her room, she looked around at a loss of what to do. Normally she’d be patrolling, but she had quit that. Finally, her eye fell on a photo album tucked into the cubby on her nightstand. Pulling it out, she sat on the edge of her bed and began to leaf through it.
There were so many photos here. Trips to the beach, birthday parties and Christmas mornings. School pictures and cheerleading competitions, a whole life spread out before her, captured with the magic of film, and all of it before she had learned of her destiny. She fingered one shot of her father that was tucked near the back of the album, and choked back tears.
A quiet knock came at the door as she fingered the photo. Her mom’s voice was soft and gentle as she inquired, “Hi, honey. You alright?”
Joyce nodded sagely and moved into the room, her hand resting on a stuffed toy that was sitting near the desk. “Probably just full from that bite of dinner you nearly had.” She turned to look at Buffy, picking up the toy. “Feel like telling me what’s on your mind?”
For a moment Buffy was silent, wondering if she should confess the whole thing to her mother. No, she couldn’t burden her mom with this. It was why she had worked so hard to keep her mom in the dark, and if she was forced to tell Joyce that she was prophesied to die the next night…no. But maybe…she couldn’t die if she wasn’t here, could she? “Mom, let’s go away!” The idea brought a genuine smile to her face.
For once, she caught her mom by surprise. “What?”
“Anywhere, just for a while, all weekend!” Buffy pressed.
“No, it’ll be great! A mother-daughter thing…we can talk about all the embarrassing stuff you love to bring up!”
Joyce shook her head sadly. “You know the gallery’s open on weekends.”
Buffy felt her hopes fade. “Mom, please!”
“Isn’t the Prom tomorrow night? Or Spring Fling, whatever they’re calling it?” Joyce asked.
Buffy looked away. “I-I guess.”
“Nobody asked you?”
Buffy thought about Xander’s offer, but it was like a dim memory in the back of her mind compared to the conversation she’d overheard between Angel and Giles. “Oh, someone…”
Apparently her mother assumed that that was what was bothering her. “But not the right someone.” At Buffy’s startled look, she smiled wryly. “See, sometimes I do know what you’re thinking.” Putting down the toy she walked over to the closet. “Well, then, uh, this probably isn’t the best time for this, but, uh…” Pulling open the doors of the closet, she showed Buffy the beautiful dress that was hanging inside.
Buffy’s mouth fell open. The dress was the one she had seen at the mall the last time she and her mom had gone shopping together. It was sleeveless, made of a silky white material that fell to mid calf, with the skirt falling in long pleats that ended in delicate points. As Buffy rose slowly and stepped toward her closet Joyce smiled and shrugged. “I saw you eyeing it at the store. I figured…”
“Mom, we can’t afford this.”
Joyce chuckled slightly. “The way you’ve been eating, we can afford it.”
Buffy fingered the soft material. “It’s beautiful.” Her voice was wistful as she pictured herself in it.
“I think you should wear it. To the dance.” Joyce clarified when Buffy looked at her, confused.
“No. I-I can’t go to the dance.” Buffy replied, as thoughts of the dance brought up thoughts of the prophecy again. If she went out…no.
Her mom touched her shoulder. “Says who? Is it written somewhere? You should do what you want. Homecoming, my freshman year of college. I didn't have a date, so I got dressed up and I went anyway.”
Buffy had never heard this story before. “Was it awful?”
Joyce smiled. “It was awful. For about an hour.”
Buffy wondered at the slightly goofy look on her mom’s face. “Then what happened?”
The look blossomed to a full grin. “I met your father.”
“He didn’t have a date either?”
“He did. And that is a much funnier story that you will not get to hear.” Joyce said, clasping her hands and gazing at the ceiling as she remembered. “Oh, but it was a beautiful night!”
Buffy smiled sadly as she realized where her mom’s thoughts were going. “And you had your whole life ahead of you.”
Joyce nodded as she turned to go. “Yeah.”
Buffy waited until her mom had left the room before fingering the material. “Must be nice.”
Angel's Apartment...The Next Morning
"Buffy..." he murmured, his head tossing back and forth. "No. Not Buffy!" Suddenly his eyes snapped open and he sat bolt upright. "Buffy!"
Blinking, he sat in his bed, his gaze roving around the room as he tried to figure out where he was and what he was doing. As his apartment came into focus he calmed, shaking his head to rid it of the nightmarish visions he'd been having for the past few weeks.
His nerves shrilled a sudden warning at him and he blinked again, looking down toward the foot of the bed.
Sitting on the end of the bed, just beyond his feet was a small boy. He sat cross-legged, waiting patiently for Angel to realize he was there. Angel had never seen him before, but he knew who he was immediately. The Anointed One
"He said you lived like one of them. I don't understand it."
Angel smirked, his eyes never leaving the boy, his tone dry. "Maybe when you're older." It was risky, baiting this vampire. Despite his appearance, there was a reason why the others followers of the Order of Aurelius feared and respected him, and it wasn't because he was the Master's current favorite. He had power, and he instinctively knew how to use it.
"People are weak. They're stupid." the boy observed, cynically. "Why would you want to be one?"
"Did he send you?" Angel asked instead of replying. Despite the boy's power, as a Master Vampire himself, the Anointed One had very little influence on him. There were some benefits to having been around for 250 years.
The boy only nodded.
There was a long pause as the two vampires regarded each other. It was the boy who broke the silence. "He's coming. Soon. Stay out of his way."
"Why should I?" Angel countered.
"Because he doesn't like you anymore."
The boy slid quietly off the bed and started for the door, which Angel knew for a fact he had locked that morning when he had come in. Halfway there he stopped and turned back towards the older vampire.
what he could do to you..." It was a statement of fact, not a threat, but Angel could hear the threat in the words.
Angel swallowed. His brief meeting with the Master almost 200 years ago had left him with the impression that the Master was not one to be crossed. Despite the bravado he had put on for Darla to convince her to come with him, he had known fear for the first time in his life when he had looked into the Master's eyes. Now, looking at the Anointed One's face, he had the same flash of fear that he had known only one time before, and it showed in his voice when he replied. "Yes."
The boy looked at him again. "No you don't."
With that, he was gone, the door closing quietly behind him, as Angel stared after him, not moving.