: And this wraps up this story. We're going to get a little bit sidetracked with Buffy meeting the Daleks (look for the story "My Weapon" featuring Buffy + 11), but soon enough, we'll get the real story of what happened in 2003 in the other timeline. Working on that story. The working title is "Elizabeth"; not sure if it'll stay with that title.
Anyone notice the little tidbit that I dropped in here about Elizabeth and 1898? Something Angel mentions that contradicts everything you've been told so far?
The Doctor had dropped Buffy off at the warehouse, where she'd been greeted by exuberant friends, hugs, and cries of sheer delight. By the time she'd managed to extricate herself from the crowd, she could already hear the sounds of the TARDIS fading away.
There was one face missing from the crowd of friends.
Buffy found Angel outside, beneath the moonlight, its silvery beams gliding across his face. He was so beautiful like this, Buffy realized. And it came with the heart-wrenching realization that this really was the end for them.
"Are you okay?" she asked Angel.
"Always am," said Angel.
"You're just… out here, and not in there, and I thought…" Buffy shrugged, not really sure what to say.
"I thought maybe you never wanted to see me again," said Angel.
He looked up at her, and their eyes met. It made Buffy even sadder, to look into his eyes. Because she still loved him, so much. And all she wanted to do was run over and kiss him, but she couldn't. She couldn't ever again.
"We're… still friends," she said. "Right?"
"Always," said Angel.
"Then I guess that's all I ever wanted," she lied. She leaned against the outside of the warehouse. "I… you knew me, in the other timeline. Elizabeth. The real Elizabeth."
"What was she like?"
Angel said nothing.
"I'm not — I don't want to pry or anything," said Buffy. "I mean, you've already said she wasn't me, but were you two… I mean, did you ever…?"
"No," Angel said. "We were friends. Only ever friends. That was all."
Buffy frowned as she heard the sorrow and pain in his voice. "You loved her," she realized.
"In two hundred years, I've only ever loved one person," said Angel. "I loved her back when she was Elizabeth, and I loved her when she was you."
And then he'd broken her heart right before the prom — but Buffy didn't want to think about that. She banished the thought from her mind.
"And she never—"
"She was in love with someone else," Angel told her. "Someone she shouldn't have been."
Oh, yeah. That was right. Jack had surmised that, hadn't he? Elizabeth had loved the Doctor. The Doctor hadn't loved her back. Talk about a tangled up love triangle. No wonder Angel blamed the Doctor for hurting Elizabeth.
"Tell me about Elizabeth," said Buffy. "How did you two meet?"
"The first time I saw her was in 1898," said Angel. "It was the first time she saw me, too. I'd just gotten back my soul, and I was horrified, terrified, unsure of what to do. And just as I was about to run away, I caught a glimpse of a small, blond haired girl of about… seventeen, I think. Someone had told her to hide — the Doctor, probably — but she was curious, and brave, and wasn't going to take orders. When I saw her, that first time, she was crying. And I knew she was crying because of what I'd done, because of all the horrible things that were my fault, but when she looked at me, I thought…" he gave a small laugh. "It seems silly, but I really thought that maybe, she'd shed a tear for me, as well."
"The next time I saw her was in 1905," Angel said. "It wasn't the next time she saw me."
Oh, of course, time travel got complicated like that, didn't it?
"The next time she
, she was scared — I didn't even realize why," Angel continued. "Then she hit me a few times and told me I was a jerk, and I should be ashamed of what I'd done, and I was just lucky she didn't have a stake on her, because I definitely deserved it."
Buffy smirked. That did sound like something she'd do — this her, current-her. Except that the Buffy-her would probably have had a few stakes on her at the time.
"Then I saved her life, and she decided I wasn't so bad after all," Angel continued. "But that was a long, long time later. That first time I talked to her, in 1905, I was the one who was angry. I told her to leave, to get out, or I'd kill her. And… I still remember, all these years later, the way she stared at me, with that determined look on her face, and told me I wasn't going to kill her, because she knew me better than that. She told me I was her best friend — no, more than that. She said I was the only person in the universe she could still trust. And she… called me Angel." He smiled at the memory. "She was the first one to ever do that."
"I thought I was the first one to ever…" Buffy trailed off. "Oh. Right."
"She was just like you," said Angel. "Even at the end, when she saw what was coming, she was still so proud, so wonderful, so determined and brave. She always defended the people she loved, the things she felt were worth defending. And yet — every time I saw her, she was so unhappy, so upset. She once told me we had that in common, that neither of us could ever be truly happy, in the end." He glanced down at the ground, his eyes sinking into shadow. "She didn't deserve what happened to her."
"What happened to her?"
For a moment, Angel said nothing, and Buffy thought he wouldn't go on.
"She died," Angel confessed. "She told me… in 1905, she said she'd been to Sunnydale, 2003, and she'd seen her own future. Met her future-self. She said she saw the entire town overrun by an enemy more powerful, more manipulative, and more devious than any she'd fought before. An enemy who killed everyone she ever knew or loved. An enemy who killed her future-self."
"What enemy?" asked Buffy. "Who… who was it?"
Angel looked back at her, and she could see every ounce of pain in his eyes. Then he glanced back at the spot where the TARDIS had disappeared.
"Guess," he said.