Disclaimer: BtVS and all its characters belong to Joss Whedon. I own nothing but some bad habits.
Rupert Giles read over the papers as Willow talked excitedly to Buffy.
“So I was going through Miss Calendar’s things and I found it hidden in her desk.” The red haired hacker and aspiring witch babbled as she waved the small red computer disc.
The Watcher winced internally, wishing that Willow had either never found the curse or that she had brought it to him in private. After Angelus’ attack while Buffy was ill and her subsequent hospital stay the Slayer had finally come to terms with the fact that the man she had fallen in love with was gone and all that was left was a demented vampire whose only goal was death and destruction.
Now he could see the hope start to build in his charge’s eyes. Hope that she would have her lover back. Giles decided that no matter how much it hurt he could not let it happen.
“Giles is it true? Can we bring back Angel’s soul?” Buffy asked, reaching for any chance to get Angel back.
The other occupants of the library looked at the older man. Cordelia Chase, apex of the school social elite tried to look unconcerned but there was an undertone of fear on her face. Oz, Willow’s werewolf boyfriend had his normal stoic face on revealing nothing to the outside world. In contrast Willow was almost jumping up and down in excitement while Xander had a look of apprehension marring his normally smiling face.
Giles sighed, knowing that what he was about to say would hurt his charge.
“Buffy while it does appear that Miss Calendar was able to translate the curse I’m afraid that we are missing a key element for it to be successful.” Giles said, laying the papers on the desk and polishing his glasses.
“An Orb of Thesula?” Willow asked brightly. “That’s no problem, the local magic shop has some.” The teenager gushed, soon her best friend would have her soul mate back and she would be the one to do it.
“No Willow the orb is not a missing component, in fact I have one in my office. I use it as a paperweight.” He replaced his glasses and looked directly at the Slayer. “What is missing is someone who has no other thought in their mind but vengeance.”
The Watcher’s quiet words made everyone stop. He continued in the same tone. “This is not a spell but a curse of the blackest magic. It’s one step short of necromancy and whoever casts this will risk tainting their soul for eternity.”
The teenagers were silent as they digested what the Watcher had said.
“Ah guys I think I need to talk to my watcher.” Buffy said. The assembled Scoobies made no move to leave and seemed to be waiting for the conversation. “Alone.” The Slayer added, a hint of steel in her voice.
The group started to file out of the library. Just before he left Xander put his hand on the young blonde’s shoulder. “Your friends are here for you no matter what,” before the young man walked out of the library quietly closing the door behind him.
Once they were alone Buffy turned to her Watcher. “Giles how dangerous is this spell?”
“Very dangerous Buffy, according to the information I have received when the original curse was cast five of the seven mages involved either died or went insane. And these were practitioners with years of experience behind them.” Giles answered calmly. The look of loss and pain on Buffy’s face almost broke his heart but he knew there was more at stake than a teenage girl’s romantic feelings.
“Can’t we call someone? I mean there has to be someone who could do this, right?” Buffy asked though she knew she was clutching at straws.
With a sad shake of his head Giles answered. “I’m sorry Buffy but the only ones powerful enough that I know of are The Devon Coven and they would not abase their calling by performing such a curse.”
“But Giles if we get Angel back whatever scheme Angelus and Spike are working on will fall apart. Surely if you explain it to them they’ll understand and help us.”
“Perhaps, but one of the first things they would ask is, is it fair to Liam?”
“Who’s Liam?” Buffy asked, confused.
Giles got up and went to his bookcase, pulling out a copy of a Watcher’s Diary and opened it to a pre-marked page.
“Liam O’Rourke, born in the village of Galway, Ireland in 1722, the son of Connor and Jennifer O’Rourke, killed by the vampire Darla in 1747. Three nights later the vampire Angelus rose and went on to decimate the village of Galway and brutally murder the entire O’Rourke family. The demonic pair went on to torture and butcher their way across Europe. Together with their vampiric offspring, Drusilla the Mad and William the Bloody they became known as the Scourge of Europe.” Giles quoted from the book before looking at the Slayer.
“Nearly one hundred and fifty years later when the Kalderash cursed the vampire they used the soul of Liam to force the demon to feel guilt and remorse over what it had done and the vampire we know as Angel was born.”
“The coven will ask what is it that Liam has done to deserve such a fate. Trapped with a demon for all eternity, being punished for crimes he did not commit, knowing that if he experiences a moment of happiness he will unleash the demon on the world once again. What should we tell them?” Giles asked.
Buffy was silent, not having an answer to that question. Finally she lifted her head and looked at her Watcher, the man who had trained and guided her for nearly two years, with tear filled eyes.
“Giles what am I going to do?” She asked with a hitch in her throat. “I love Angel. I don’t think I can do this without him.”
“I know Buffy, there’s nothing as heartbreaking as losing a loved one. The only thing that I can tell you is that while the pain will never go away it will lessen with time.”
Buffy looked at her Watcher, seeing the pain in his eyes as he remembered Jenny Calendar and came to a decision. Angel was gone and while she loved him with all her heart she realised that she had no right to pull him out of heaven nor could she allow a demon to run around killing people while wearing the face of her beloved. Even if they were able to bring him back what kind of relationship would they have?
“Give me the disc Giles” Buffy demanded, holding out her hand.
Silently he handed over the small square of plastic. For a moment she considered the disc in her hand. Here was her chance to get Angel back. But it wouldn’t be right. She’d be condemning Angel to an eternity of suffering if he was returned. And for what? A few years together before her destiny caught up with her and she died. And while they may fight side by side they could never be together.
With a twist of her hands the disc broke with a snap and she threw it into the bin.
“Angelus dies Giles, the sooner the better.” Buffy stated in a flat tone.
Despite the pain he could see in her eyes Giles had never been prouder of her than at this moment. The Watcher made a silent vow that when Buffy turned eighteen she would not have to suffer The Cruciamentum. She had already proved her worth.
Walking over to the daughter of his heart he gently hugged her as the Slayer wept for the memory of her lost love.
One Week Later
Angelus waited in the graveyard. Soon all the pieces required to awaken Alcathla would be his and this world would be sucked into Hell. The ‘Message’ he had sent to Buffy would lure the Slayer away from her friends allowing his childe Drusilla to capture the Watcher.
He felt someone approach him. “Hello lover.” He smirked, turning around.
“Don’t call me that. You’re not Angel!” Buffy spat at the demon who wore her beloved’s face.
Then Angelus realised that his plan had failed. Instead of a lone girl he was now facing not only Buffy but standing beside her was the Jamaican Slayer Kendra, both with sword in hand. Behind them he saw Giles, Willow, Oz and Xander, all armed and ready to fight.
“So Buffy, not enough of a Slayer to take me on your own, had to bring your little friends?” He sneered, silently cursing that he’d brought no weapon with him.
Buffy gave no reply. Simply readied herself for the fight ahead. Since the day when she destroyed the ‘Soul Curse’ she had faced Angelus three times but each time the vampire managed to escape. Tonight she would finish him once and for all.
Angelus began looking for an escape route. He’d seen the look on Buffy’s face. It was the same look of determination she’d had when she left The Master’s cave after being revived to vanquish Nest on the roof of the high school.
“Another time Slayer!” He taunted, before trying to make a break for it.
He had only taken three steps when the bolt from Giles’ crossbow caught him in the floating ribs causing the vampire to stumble. Turning to the Watcher to threaten him he didn’t notice the balloon that Xander threw. A balloon filled with Holy Water that hit him in the face.
Screeching in pain as the blessed water burnt his face Angelus hardly felt the blade wielded by Kendra that sliced through his hamstrings bringing him to the ground. Flipping over onto his back Angelus looked up to see the tear streaked face of Buffy.
“You can’t kill me Buffy, you love me.” He wheezed.
For a moment it looked as though the Slayer would let the Master Vampire go. But instead she raised her sword above her head and in a choked voice said.
“I’m sorry Angel, please forgive me!” Before bringing the sword down onto the demon’s neck, cleaving his head from his shoulders and turning him to dust.
Letting the sword drop from her hands Buffy collapsed next to the remains of her soul mate and wept. Around her, her friends gathered, trying to think of words of comfort for her. But what can you say to someone who had just destroyed the love of their life?
As they gathered to comfort their friend no one realised that the future was now on a different path for all of them.