Chapter 1

In a house in Cleveland Buffy Summers was sleeping in her bed. She was wearing a white shirt and her hair, which used to be blond, was now light brown. She was dreaming pleasant dreams. In her dream she was with Angel, they were together in his bed in his old basement in LA. In the dream, Angel was human.

Buffy was laying with her head on his chest, listening to his heart beating.

"That`s a good sound" she caressed his chest with her fingers "Thump-thump. Thump-thump"

Angel smiled blissfully "it feels pretty amazing"

"I'm so glad we didn't logic ourselves out of this" she looked up at him "We'll make it work, right?"

"We will." He assured her.

She snuggled into him, closing her eyes "I`m so sleepy" she opened her eyes again "but I still want..."

"What?" Angel asked a little surprised "You couldn't possibly..." she met his eyes and he continued "Not that I wouldn't.."

She smiles "No, no" and laid back down on his chest "I`m spent. Pleasantly numb even. You?"

Angel raised his eyebrows "for now"

"No, I - want to stay awake - so this day can keep happening."

Angel kissed her on the forehead. "Sleep. We'll make another one like it tomorrow."

"Angel? This is the first time I ever really felt this way."

"What way?"

"Just like I've always wanted to. Like a normal girl, falling asleep in the arms of her normal boyfriend. It's perfect."

Angel kissed the top of her head and she closed her eyes. But a loud ringing made her open them again.

"What`s that?" Buffy asked sleepy

"The phone"

"Should I answer it?"


Buffy started to wake up back in her room in Cleveland; she fumbled for the phone "hello"

"Buffy, it`s Wesley"

"You just woke me from a very pleasant dream" Buffy said in a sleepy annoyed tone, with her eyes still closed.

"You need to know, what`s going on in LA" the seriousness in his tone caught Buffy`s attention and she sat up, more alert.

"Angel?" she whispered as her heart started raising.

"He was injured. He`s at California Hospital medical center"

"What?" She felt very confused "Angel is vampire, how can he be" he cut her off "Angel is human now"

Buffy had to catch her breath "I`ll be right there" She threw the phone down, got out of bed, jumped into her pants, grabbed her jacket and keys and was out the door in seconds

The flight took almost 5 hours and getting a car took about 30 minutes. When she finally arrived outside the hospital, she parked the car and ran inside.

She flung the door open. Her whole body was trembling and her heart was pounding in her chest, as she half sprinted down the dark, empty corridor. The only sound that was heard was the clicking of her heels as they hit the floor, and the echo it created.

Buffy was desperately looking around, trying to figure out where she was headed.

"RECEPTION", she read on a big sign, hanging over a large desk a few feet away. As she reached the desk she saw someone through the glass window. It was a woman, dressed in white. Must be a nurse, Buffy concluded.

The nurse slid open the window "How can I.." she stopped as her eyes widened and her jaw dropped.

Buffy thought she looked like she`d seen a ghost. She looked behind her to make sure it was her the nurse was shocked to see, and it was.

"Oh my God, it`s you!" the nurse gasped.

Buffy started to study her to see if she remembered her. She seemed to be in her forties, round cubby face, brown hair tied in a bun. Buffy started searching her brain for where she might have seen her before, then it hit her, she reminded her of the nurse from Sunnydale high, only less creepy. But since she got eaten by swimmers turned sea monster, 6 years ago, probably wasn`t her.

"You`re the girl from the picture!" the nurse announced eagerly, regaining Buffy`s attention.

Buffy looked at her and crinkled her forehead "huh?"

Her expression softened as she noticed the paper in the nurse`s hand, it was a drawing. Buffy stretched out and accepted it.

It was a drawing of her, Angel`s drawing. Her heart started beating faster as she studied the drawing. It wasn`t modeled after any picture Buffy knew of, it seemed like he had just pictured her and drawn her. It was in black and white, she had long hair in the drawing, blond hair, and she was smiling brightly. Buffy was surprised, she wondered if it was something he had drawn recently or if it was an old one.

We weren`t sure if you were real, that is you, isn`t it" the nurse asked.

"yeah" Buffy answered absently, never looking away from the drawing. She could picture Angel sitting there in his chair, his brown leather chair, picturing her and drawing her. Then she was snapped out of her happy place when the nurse started calling and waving from someone down the hall, Buffy turned her head as saw a cubby short Hispanic woman running towards them with a huge smile on her face. She looked to be in her fifties and judging from the mop she had thrown on the floor, she was the cleaning lady.

She finally reached then and she too looked shocked when she saw Buffy`s face "Dios mio" she gasped, out of breath.

Buffy thought she remembered that to mean Oh my God

The nurse from behind the desk had joined her friend, and they were both now standing in front of Buffy, scanning her from top to toe, making her feel very uncomfortable.

Then cleaning lady started mumbling something in Spanish which Buffy definitely didn`t understand

"This is Lorna, she is the one who found the picture in the ER, we have been trying to find you and figure out who drew it" The nurse sounded excited, like she was describing her favorite soap opera or romance novel.

"Is it your man who drew it?" the nurse asked swimmingly.

"His name is Angel"

"Awwwww, Angel, how romantic" The two women turned towards each other and swooned.

"So you know him?" Buffy asked hopeful.


Buffy let out a loud sigh. These two were really getting on her last nerve, all she wanted was to see Angel, and all they wanted was for her to give them the next chapter of their new favorite romance novel, entitled, "The mysterious girl from the drawing" If they only knew the whole story, that could definitely make for an interesting romance novel.

"Can you just try to look him up, in your computer file thingy?"

"Buffy?" a gruff British voice said from behind.

She turned to see who it was. She had to look twice before recognizing the man sitting in the wheelchair.

Buffy raised her eyebrows "Wesley?" It was him. He looked so different, Buffy thought. Not at all the man she remembered. He was wearing a hospital gown. He looked like he hadn`t shaved in weeks, and his hair was ruffled and longer. He seemed tired and weak, and his face was covered in in cuts and bruises.

"I will take you to him" he said softly

Buffy turned back to the desk and smiled coyly as she grabbed the drawing off the desk "I`m taking this" she took off before giving the women a chance to say anything.


They rode the elevator in complete silence, partly because she wasn`t sure which question to ask first, but mostly because the doctor who rode with them would lock her up in the psych ward, if she started asking how her vampire ex-boyfriend had suddenly turned human.

Buffy couldn`t help but look at Wesley, something was different, she thought it over for a moment, then "Didn`t you used to wear glasses?" she blurted out.

Wesley looked at her like he couldn`t believe she could even ask something so simple right now.

"Yes" he answered.

Buffy looked up and started watching the numbers signalizing their floor, almost there, she thought, as she felt her heart beat faster and faster. She couldn`t wait to see Angel. Wesley hadn`t told her anything about his condition, she wondered if that was good or bad sign. Before she could think about it anymore the doors chimed and opened.

Buffy wheeled Wesley out "Go left" he said, pointing down the hall.

"uh Wesley, Illyria is looking for you" a voice said from behind.

Buffy stopped cold, she knew that voice, she quickly spun around "Spike?"

His forehead scrunched up, it took him a second to recognize her. Probably because of the brown hair, Buffy figured.

"Buffy?" his voice sounded both excited and surprised.

She smiled at him. It was so strange seeing him again. The last time she had seen him, he had literally been on fire. She knew he had survived but she hadn`t seen him since. He too, looked different, not older, cause of the whole vampire thing, but different. He wore his trademark black leather coat with a black t-shirt tucked into his black pants. His hair was still as bright as the sun and he still had the same smirk. But his eyes were empty, there was no spark, no lust. He had always looked at her with lust. First the lust to kill her, then to be with her.

He turned his attention towards Wesley and spoke in the same British accent "she is in your room, you should probably go there before she is seen by somebody"

Buffy wondered who this Illyria was, but didn`t ask.

Wesley seemed a little worried, and started to wheel his chair in the other direction, telling Buffy he needed to take care of this and that Spike would fill her in.

Buffy watched Wesley as he disappeared into a room down the hall. As she was about to turn toward Spike, she felt him coming at her, pulling her into a hug, it took her by surprise but then she softened and returned the hug, She closed her eyes, happy to see him and touch him again, happy to know he lived. She couldn`t help wondering how Angel would feel if he walked out and saw them like that, but she didn`t think she should say anything about that to Spike, he might take it the wrong way.

He broke the hug and studied her, keeping a firm grip around her waist

"You colored you hair?"

It was such a random question that Buffy couldn`t help but let out a little laugh and a smile, which he returned.

"Yeah, now none of the vamps recognize me anymore, so I get a little free time" she joked

"You look good, love" he said with a smirk.

"Even with this new fancy hairdo?"

"You`d look good in anything"

"yeah, not sure you would have said that if you had seen how it originally looked, Buffy plus hair dye, equals bad. It turned red, like blood red" She caught herself "Oh yeah, you might have liked that"

"I missed you" he said softly.

She smiled sweetly at him "I missed you too" She wasn`t sure if he believed her, but she really had.

"How you been?" he continued.

"Good" she answered, a little too quickly and enthusiastically. It was a lie of course and she could see that he knew she was lying, so she corrected herself with a smile "It`s been hard....starting over."

"I bet the immortal made it easier" Spike said bitterly.

She sighed. She`d been trying to forget about that time, not her proudest moment.

Spike started to explain "Angel and I went to Rome to see you, and you were all over the immortal"

"Andrew told me" she paused "I thought it was just one of his bizarre fantasies though, you and Angel, together"

"well, we came, we saw, we vomited"

Buffy rolled her eyes "Y`know I think I`m gonna need Angel to confirm all of this"

She started down the hall, but Spike grabbed her arm "Buffy"

The way he said her name made her feel very uneasy, and when she looked at his face she knew something was seriously wrong.

"What?" she asked, not really sure if she wanted to hear the answer.

"Angel won`t be able to confirm anything love, I thought you knew"

"Knew what? where is he? I want to see him" she started to panic.

She could tell that Spike was a little hurt by this, but she didn`t care at the moment. She desperately needed to see Angel.

"Spike?" she pleaded.

"That`s Angel`s doctor" He pointed at a older looking man, dressed in a white coat "he`ll be able to answer all your questions"

Before Buffy got a chance to say anything, Spike was gone.


A little while later, Buffy was standing in a hospital room with the doctor, her whole body felt numb. Her eyes were transfixed on Angel. He was laying motionless in bed, attached to machines, with bandages on his head. She couldn`t believe it was him, he looked so different. She never expected him to look different.

"He suffered a serious head injury...he`s been in a coma since the accident." The doctor explained.

To Buffy the words sounded like whispers. She hadn`t expected this, she thought she`d come there and he would maybe have some broken bones or something, but he would hug her and tell her how great it was to see her again.

"Can he hear me?" she asked softly, moving unsteadily towards his bed.

"it`s possible, we really can`t tell at this stage."

Buffy fought back her tears as she stood by his bedside, biting her lower lip and breathing heavily.

"The chances of him waking are very small"

She took a deep breath, as the tears she fought so hard to hold back, fell down her cheeks.

She took a few more deep breaths. Very unlikely doesn`t mean impossible, she told herself, it`s not like Angel hadn`t beat the odds before. He would this time too, she was sure of it. This was not the way it was suppose to end. He`s strong, he`s gonna get through this, no matter what the doctor says.

She turned her head back towards the doctor "Thank you for telling me" she said with a clenched jaw, feeling a little angry that he seemed to have given up

The doctor simply nodded "I`m very sorry" then left the room.

Buffy`s expression softened as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath before turning back to look at Angel. Her eyes moved from his face, down his arm, to his hand.

It had been so long since she touched his hand, the last time was the night in the cemetery, the night he gave her the amulet. Their fingers had touched as he had placed the amulet in her hand. His hand had felt cold, as always. She wondered how it would feel now.

She lifted her own hand and slowly touched his, she traced his fingers with hers, then looked up at him, wanting so badly to see his eye open. Wanting to look into those brown chocolaty eyes, that made her melt.

Her gaze fell back on his hand as she carefully lifted it, and kissed it. She closed her eyes as she took it all in, his hand felt rough, but warm. The familiar smell gave her flashbacks to warm nights and soft kisses. The comfort his touch always brought, and the feeling that their love would last forever.

She opened her eyes again smiling slightly from the feelings the memories had given her. A tear fell down her cheek and landed on Angel`s still hand, as it rested in hers.

The familiarity of the situation was overwhelming, she had been there before. Years ago, she had sat by his bedside, holding his hand, praying for him to live. And he had, he had to this time too. She couldn`t lose him. Not like this, not when they might finally have a chance at a normal life together.

"You have to live"

She looked up at the heart monitor, then at Angel`s chest. She needed to hear his heart beat for herself.

She carefully lifted his arm up, and scooped in under it, putting her ear against his chest, and placing his arm around her.

She listened, and there it was "thump, thump, thump" She closed her eyes and smiled, as tears fell from her eyes.

He was finally human. She couldn`t count how many times she dreamt about that. Come to think of it, that was what the dream had been about last night too. Actually something about the whole thing seemed familiar, but she didn`t know why.

"Buffy" a voice said. Buffy immediately looked up at Angel, even though she knew it wasn`t his voice. First of all it was British. She looked towards the door and found Wesley. He was now standing on his own two feet, but he still looked very weak.

Buffy got back up and stood next to the bed, keeping one hand protectively on Angel`s arm. Her eyes traveled from Angel to Wesley as she watched him observed Angel, he watched him like a concerned friend would. Buffy knew they were friends now, but she still remembered how Wesley had refused to help save Angel when Faith had shot him with a poisoned arrow. She figured a lot had changed in those years they were working together.

"What happened?" Buffy asked.

"Hell, hell happened" he said in a absent voice

His words sent chills down her spine.

Wesley started "5 years ago, Angel presented us with a plan, to kill all the members of Circle of the Black Thorn"

"The circle of the what?" Buffy looked at him with raised eyebrows.

"The black thorn. A secret society, an earthly instrument of the senior partners of Wolfram and Hart. Angel joined the society in order to bring them down. We each got our assignments and eventually we managed to kill them all. Safe to say the Senior Partners were not too pleased with our actions, so they sent all of LA to hell"

Buffy`s face turned blank "huh?" What was he talking about? LA seemed fine to her, not at all hellish.

"After 5 years, Angel managed to get them to turn back time, when he realized they needed him alive he made a plan to get himself killed. The Senior Partners turned back time to the day before LA was sent to hell, wiping everyone`s memories. Except for ours, we made sure we would get to keep our memories, we figured they might be useful. Angel`s actions to save LA didn`t go unnoticed, and the Powers That Be decided to rewarded him, by making him...."

"...human" Buffy finished as her heart skipped a beat.

She gathered her thoughts "But if these Powers That Be people, made Angel human, why is he here, what happened to him?"

"When time was turned back, it undid everything we had done, so everyone who had died" He`s voice trailed off, and Buffy noticed that he touched his stomach. Then he finished "everyone who had died that last day and all the years in hell, they we`re all alive again and the fight was back on. But the first time Angel fought Hamilton, he was one of the children of the Senior Partners" Wesley explained "Angel was vampire when he first fought him, and he won by drinking Hamilton`s blood, which contained his strength. But as a human, he didn`t stand much of a chance. In the end if it hadn`t been for Spike"

"Spike" She said in disbelief "Spike saved Angel?" that was a sentence she never thought she`d say.

"yes, by doing the same thing Angel had done, drinking from Hamilton to beat him....but it was too late"

"No it wasn`t, Angel`s alive, he`s right here, he just...needs to wake up"

"Didn`t you talk to the doctor?"

"He`s wrong, Angel is going to be fine"

The look on Wesley`s face made her angry "Don`t do that, don`t look at me like I`m in denial. Angel is over 300" she stopped and thought for a moment "or 400" she stopped again and looked at Wesley then asked with a softer tone "does the years he spent in the hell dimension, count here?" she started searching her brain but quickly decided it didn`t matter. "never mind" she shook her head, then continued with her lecture "the point is, Angel should be dead hundreds of years ago. I killed him once and he still came back, you are not going to stand there and tell that he will never wake up because some doctor says so, I will not accept that" she started walking briskly towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Wesley asked.

"I`m going to call my friend, the powerful witch" She said with determination and walked straight out the door.

She knew Willow would be able to help.


Buffy was sitting on a stool by Angel`s bed, her arms were positioned on the side rails of the bed, and her head was resting on top of them. She watched as Angel`s chest rose and fell with each breath.

Her eyelids felt heavy, and each time she closed her eyes it was hard to open them again. she closed them thinking she could just rest them for a little while. When she opened them again she was no longer in the hospital room. She looked around trying to get orientated. She was standing on a huge jagged rock, there were huge rocks all over the ground as far as she could see. Between the rocks was hot lava. It looked like a valley surrounded by huge mountains on each side. Buffy imagined she looked like a little lego figurine in the middle of the enormous mountains, which reached all the way up to the blood red sky, some hundred feet above her.

"Oh this can`t be good"

She spun around when she heard a loud growl. She could see a huge shadow reflected on the mountain side, the shadow seemed to come closer and closer.

"I very much like to wake up now" she begged

As the shadow got bigger and bigger she decided she couldn`t just stay there, she started running, jumping over from one rock to the other trying to avoid the burning hot lava that flared up every so often. Suddenly she was grabbed from behind and pulled back, she jerked her head back to see who it was



She threw herself into his arms. As she felt his arms embrace her, she snuggled into his chin and closed her eyes. It felt so nice smelling him without the awful hospital smell in the way.

He broke the hug as they heard flapping of wings, Angel looked up over the rock they were hiding behind. Buffy took the opportunity to look at him. He was wearing black pants, his black shirt was hanging over his pants, he had his leather coat which seemed to torn all over. His hair was dark like it always had been. And his face was dirty and cut.

He turned towards her "what are you doing here?" he asked in disbelief

"Oh, I have no idea, I fell asleep at...." she stopped, unsure if she should tell him about the hospital "I fell asleep, and woke up here. Where is here?"

"Purgatory" Angel said distracted as he looked over the rock again

"Purgatory" she said to herself, had she heard of Purgatory?

"care to elaborate?"

He finally sat down next to her and she got to look into his brown chocolaty eyes again.

"Purgatory is the place you go before hell, that thing you ran from, that is a three headed hell hound"

"three headed, like in Harry Potter?" off his look "never mind"

"You said you fell asleep and woke up here"

"pretty much"

"Then you need to wake up"

"So do you"

"Buffy" he paused "I`m dead"

"No, you`re not, I won`t accept that"

He lowered his head and sighed

"Even if you were, you shouldn`t be here" she said softly "You`re human now, they can`t punish you for the crimes you committed as a vampire"

"Buffy" he touched her chin and she closed her eyes as tear fell from her eye. "It`s okay" he tried to comfort her wiping away her tear with his thumb.

She pulled back "No, it`s not, you saved everyone, you were rewarded for that, they can`t just send you back to hell."

Angel pulled her close to him and kissed her on the forehead."

"I`m not gonna let that thing take you, I promise, I`ll just stay here with you, we can avoid it together"

"You don`t belong here"

"Neither do you" she said firmly

"Buffy" a voice called.

"Someone`s calling you."

Buffy turned to look towards where the sound was coming from, then she turned back to Angel, feeling anxious.

"Buffy wake up" the voice said in the distance

"I don`t wanna leave." Buffy said holding onto Angel`s coat

"don`t worry, It`ll be okay."

Against her will, Buffy was pulled backwards, slowly.

"no....Angel...Angel!..." She screamed his name in panic. She reached for him, but she was pulled further and further away, until she could no longer see him.

"Angel!" Buffy screamed as she jolted awake. She was back in Angel`s hospital room, she immediately looked up at him and saw he was still laying there, eyes closed.


She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up into a familiar face "Will!" She could also see that Giles and Xander was there. Buffy broke down sobbing and threw herself into Willow`s arms.


Everyone were now gathered in Angel`s hospital room, Buffy, Giles, Xander, Willow, Spike and Wesley. Buffy was explaining about her dream. She felt like they didn`t take her very seriously, but she still finished.

And then I woke up. We have to hurry, he can`t keep avoiding the hell hound forever.

"Buffy it was just a dream" Giles tried to tell her.

"So what" she raised her voice in frustration "I`ve been in his dreams before, he was trying to tell me that he was running out of time."

she turned towards Willow, hoping she would be more helpful "Will is there a spell you can use to find out who`s keeping him in that place?"

"uh, I have one that I can try" she started looking through her purse, then stopped "I need someone to guard the door"

"On it, I`m on guard duty" Xander announced holding up his hand.

"Thanks Xan" Buffy smiled and touched his arm as he left the room. then she closed the blinds on the door and the window.

"okay" Willow took out 3 white candles and a crystal.

She placed one candle on the table next to the bed and lit it, one on the sink next to the door, and one by the window. Buffy noticed that it created a triangle around Angel.

Willow grabbed the crystal, she held on to the chain as she swung the crystal over Angel, then she started chanting something Buffy couldn`t quite make out.

"WOOSH" all the candles flared up making Buffy jump a little, she noticed that Willow didn`t even flinch, she remained in her trance, chanting. But the rest seemed to have had the same reaction Buffy had. Even Xander had noticed as he opened the door and peaked his head in "what was that?"

Buffy pointed at the candles and whispered "Candles, big magic thing"

Xander nodded, then closed the door again and returned to his post.

Then Willow stopped chanting and the flames on the candles died out, she was out of her trance and out down the crystal.

"Will?" Buffy noticed that her eyes were wide and wondered what she had seen.

Willow finally turned towards Buffy and spoke in a disbelieving voice "His soul" she paused "It...It`s gone"

Buffy felt her jaw drop and her heart started pounding

"Gone, what does that mean, is he?" she choked up.

"No" Willow said in a gently tone "I think you were right, I think someone is keeping his soul trapped in Purgatory"

"Someone from Wolfram and Hart perhaps?" Wesley said

"well if they could send LA to hell that probably have the powers to do this too"

"If this is the case, after what I remember about Purgatory, we need to free his soul before the hell hound can reach him, otherwise it`s too late"

"Okay, If you think Wolfram and Hart is behind this, then that`s where we`ll start" she thought for a moment "so, who can I beat up for information over there?"

"You could try Harmony" Wesley suggested

"Harmony, as in?" Buffy asked.

"yes, she works there" Wesley said.

"Angel let her work there?" Buffy couldn`t believe what she was hearing

"she was his secretary, she was also shagging the big brick man that sent Angel to slumber hell" Spike explained

"Perfect, like this couldn`t get more bizarre" Buffy shook her head "I don`t have time to worry about that right now, I`m gonna go find Harmony"

"I`ll do some research, the books I was able to acquire are in my room"

I`ll go with you" Giles says, and they head out.

Xander walks back into the room, as Willow turns to Buffy. "Should I come with you?"

"No, I need you here, in case someone comes after Angel"

"I`ll go with you" Spike announced happily "I still got my power surge from when I ate that bloke, he tasted like a young virgin"

Buffy made a face, showing she was disgusted "ugh gross"

"Hey, I don`t know what you`re complaining about, I saved your sweetie bear over there, and I saved the bloody world, and I`m gross for being a vampire"

"Let`s just go" Buffy says, but remains in the same spot, while Spike goes towards the door "Angel did it first you know, so if" he stopped when he realized Buffy wasn`t next to him. She turned towards her "You coming then?"

"Yeah, in a minute" Buffy felt unsure if she should leave Angel.

Willow seemed to have noticed her concern, because she laid a hand on her shoulder and reassuringly told her "Don`t worry Buffy, we`ll keep him safe while you`re gone"

Buffy gave a little nod, then leaned down and kissed Angel on the cheek, she whispered into his ear "I`ll be right back, just hold on"

Then she and Spike headed out the door, Buffy turned to glance at Angel one last time, then closed the door behind her.

Chapter 2
Back to Never Fade Away