"Hi," Angel said softly.
Buffy swallowed. "What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Hello to you, too, Buffy," Cordelia spoke up. "You know, we come all the way down here, against my will, I might add, to help you battle some new evil, end of the world, or whatever, and you can't even say hi to him?"
Buffy pursed her lips and nodded. "Sorry," she replied. "Hi."
Sensing the tension, Giles decided to step in. "I called him, Buffy. I though it would be wiser if he revealed his presence to you this time. We are up against something and we don't yet know what it is."
Again, Buffy nodded. "Yeah, sure, fine." She stepped back and sat down on an armchair next to the couch. "What now?"
"Well, it, um, appears that Angel has had similar dreams to yours," Giles started.
"Great," Buffy muttered. "So now we're sharing dreams again."
"And Cordelia had a vision pertaining to the same thing, so naturally, we decided that we should find out more about it..." Giles tried to continue, but was once again interrupted.
The door swung open again and Willow, Xander, and Anya stepped inside. "Okay, we're here," Xander said. "Now the party can start, and... Angel." He glanced around the room. "Cordy and... Wesley? Okay, um, confused?"
Riley clapped his shoulder. "Join the club," he muttered.
Giles let out a loud sigh and held up his hands. "If everyone would just sit down and listen..." He trailed off, glaring at the room's occupants.
"Sorry..." some of the people in the room muttered. Xander, Anya, Willow, and Riley all took a chair and waited for Giles to continue.
"Thank you," Giles said. "Now, as I was saying, we have reason to believe that there is something rather large heading our way. Buffy and Angel have both been having similar dreams and Cordelia has had a vision about the same thing. If any of you would kindly tell me what you saw?"
Cordelia grimaced. "Um, some weirdo army of demons or something? Mass destruction, death, you know, the usual," she said conversationally and glancing down at her nails.
"More will come..." Buffy muttered. "One of them told me that."
"Me too," Angel said softly.
"Yes, Angel, you told me that you knew what he meant, didn't you?" Giles asked suddenly.
All eyes were abruptly on Angel and he shifted uncomfortably. He glanced at Buffy quickly, willing her to remember and help him. But he knew those memories were buried deep inside. No, now was not the time to wish for impossible things. And now was definitely not the time to brood. Now was a time to help with whatever it was that was coming to them.
"Now isn't the time," he replied, throwing a glance at Cordelia. He knew that Doyle had told her. "It's not important how I know, but I really do think there's something coming."
Buffy sat up suddenly and turned to Angel and Cordelia. "Did these guys have a funky looking jewel on their foreheads?"
Cordelia nodded and looked at Angel. "Geez, you two even think alike," she muttered.
Buffy ignored her. "That's what I saw. Angel, didn't you fight a demon like that when I saw you at LA in November? A Moore demon??"
"Mohra," Angel corrected. "And, yeah, that's what I saw, too."
With a grin, Buffy stood up and grabbed the nearest, deadliest looking weapon she could find. "Great, so we know how to kill them. Let's hunt."
"Buffy, it's not that simple," Angel interrupted. "It's a whole army of them and who knows what others."
Everyone was staring at Buffy. She stopped at the door and sighed. Walking back to her chair, she sat down, still holding the weapon in her lap. "Fine. So what are we all sitting around for? Instead if talking, we should find out when they're coming and who's coming."
"I agree," Giles spoke up. "I think Buffy and Angel should go on patrol. They might encounter one of these, uh-- Mohra, is it?- and get some useful information."
"Why can't I go?"
Everyone turned to look at Riley Finn. Xander tried to suppress a laugh at his pitiful, lost expression, but was unsuccessful. Before anyone else could give him a rude explanation, Giles took pity and intervened.
"Um, Riley, despite the fact that you are a good fighter and have helped multiple times, I feel Angel might be more... helpful," Giles said tactfully.
Cordelia, ever the tactless person, added, "That, and the fact that he's a vamp, so he's ten times stronger than you." When no one answered, she looked up from her nails and shrugged. "What? He didn't know?"
"If he's a vampire, why is he here?" Riley asked carefully.
Buffy shook her head. "We don't have time for this," she muttered, grabbing Angel's hand and dragging him to the door. She didn't want to have to be the one to explain Angel to Riley. "You guys tell him."
With that, she slammed the door behind her.
"He's nice," were the first words that came out of Angel's mouth, even after the ten minutes spent in silence.
"Huh?" Buffy asked, looking up at him.
"I said that he's nice," Angel repeated.
Buffy shrugged. "I guess."
Angel frowned. "He's not nice?" It was more of a statement than a question.
Buffy smiled and glanced up at him. "You're trying a bit too hard," she replied. "Yes, he is nice and sweet and human. Just what you wanted."
Angel nodded. "Good."
But Buffy could tell he didn't think so. She could tell that it was eating him up inside. That the thought of her in another man's arms was enough to tear him apart inside. Well, it didn't matter. It had been the reason he had left in the first place and it would be incredibly selfish of him to think that she would spend the rest of her short life by herself.
A part of her felt guilty for even having feelings for someone else. Hell, a part of her felt guilty for even thinking about it. But still, there was a part that wanted to punish him for abandoning her when she most needed him. A part of her wanted to punish him for being so selfish and not wanting to even work it out. And right now, that part of her was in control.
"It's not good, and you know it," Buffy said suddenly. She stopped walking and turned to face him. "It kills you, doesn't it? Makes you want to tear him apart for touching what's yours?"
Angel blinked in surprise. A part of him did want to do that, but the more noble part had convinced him that what he had done was for the best. Still, Buffy's outburst wasn't making sense at the moment. He opened his mouth to speak, but found that he was speechless.
"Oh, God, I'm sorry," Buffy murmured lowering her head and putting a hand on her forhead. "I have no idea where that came from." She glanced up at him to find him looking around him intently. "Angel? What's wrong?"
He held up a hand, a deep frown gracing his face. Carefully, he took a few steps to the side and took an unnecessary breath. "It feels... different, somehow."
He shook his head. "The air, it feels different. More familiar..." He walked around a little more and nodded, as if it explained everything. "I know that scent."
"Angel, you're scaring me."
"There's something in the air that seems familiar," he explained. "I can't place it, but..."
There was suddenly a loud shriek and it sounded like it came from above them. Buffy looked up and her eyes widened. "Oh, God," she whispered. "What the hell??"
Angel followed her gaze, his eyes widening when he saw what it was. Something, a creature that was neither bird nor reptile, was flying above them. "C'mon," he told Buffy as calmly as he could. Grabbing her arm, he started running the other way, draggin her along with him. The few droplets of ignored rain that they had been feeling several moments ago started turning into bigger drops of rain, and finally into a full-fledged shower. Knowing that they wouldn't be able to get back to Giles' place before Buffy caught a cold from the rain, Angel stopped at a nearby building and pulled Buffy inside.
Buffy shivered slightly as she let Angel lead her inside the building. It looked familiar to her, but she didn't give it much thought as Angel opened a door for her. She stepped inside...
...and froze as she noticed her surroundings.
It was Angel's old apartment.
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