the bunny warren v. Faith

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End of the World

Author: Venus Blue
Written: April of 2004
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Buffy/Angel
Warning: Angst, pain, loss, the staples for these things.
Summary: Written for Miggy for the LJ Angst Ficathon. She wanted future, infertile Buffy. Hope this is satisfactory, dear.
Distribution: My site, The Bunny Warren, List archives, and possibly FF.net, if I get really bored. If you'd like it, please just ask, I've never said no yet.
Feedback: Is a truly beautiful thing.
Note: Many thanks to Meltha for her help with the plot bunny, and the quickie beta.
Awards: View Award, View 2nd award, View 3rd award, View 4th award, View 5th award

Angel had always been certain that the greatest moment in his long life was the day he married Buffy. Seeing her glowing smile as she walked toward him in her billowing white gown, he couldn’t imagine anything feeling as wonderful.

He was very wrong.

For when the day came that she welcomed him home with open arms and a little plastic strip with a single blue line on it, Angel was more grateful than ever for his Shanshu. It was by far the definition of pure happiness.


*****


Buffy agonized over every little detail in the nursery. Angel wanted to paint the walls a neutral yellow, but Buffy protested it would be ugly. Eventually he learned to defer to maternal instinct, and watched as she and Dawn painted pastel blue walls with large white fluffy clouds. Dawn was nearly as excited as Buffy, wanting her own daughter to finally have a cousin and playmate.

When Buffy moaned about her increasing pant size, Angel would laugh, kissing the small bulge and calling it his “little Buddha.” Though she pretended to be offended, she couldn’t help but laugh.

When she was four months along, the cravings started, almost always in the middle of the night. Angel was still head of Wolfram and Hart, and he was working double time to clean it up. He didn’t want to have to explain to his son or daughter just what he did for a living. While he hated being away from his wife, he often ended up working long hours, leaving Buffy to fend for herself at home. Often times, Dawn would stay over, teaching Buffy how to knit or do latch work. Willow had promised to fly in from England before the baby was born, though she and Giles were impossibly busy with their own herd.

It was nearly midnight one night when Buffy started craving Ben & Jerry’s. Normally their freezer was well stocked, but she had put off grocery shopping until the last minute as always. There was a convenience store a few blocks from their house, and Buffy didn’t want to call Dawn and wake her for something so petty.

It happened so fast, later memories were nothing but a blur. A vampire, wanting to make a name for himself by taking out the oldest living slayer. During the pregnancy, she hadn’t been keeping up with her usual workouts, and her reflexes faltered. She managed to stake him, but not before he’d gotten one good kick to her stomach.

Blinding pain. Screaming until her throat was on fire. Blood soaking into her pants and running down her legs.

She remembered calling 911 on her cell phone and telling them where she was. Then nothing.


*****


When she opened her eyes again, she was met with harsh white. Turning her head, she realized she was in a hospital bed, Angel in the chair beside her, his head lolled to one side in sleep, his hand resting on her calf.

“Angel?”

His eyes snapped open immediately, and he sat forward, scooting his chair forward and taking one of her hands into his own larger ones.

“What…what happened?”

“Do you remember anything?” he asked, his voice soft.

“The vamp,” she breathed. “He attacked me. He kicked…my baby. Is the baby okay?”

Watching Angel fight back the tears was the only answer she needed. Burying her face in her hands, she let out a scream, sobbing as Angel pulled her tightly to him.


*****


After the breakdown, all Buffy wanted was to be left alone. She knew Dawn and Xander were in the waiting room, and probably others. She didn’t want sympathy and hugs, not even from her husband. Angel refused to leave her, even when she yelled for him to get out. He just sat quietly, letting her say all worlds of hurtful things. Eventually she would fall into silence again.

The doctor came to see her, but she wasn’t ready for jargon and medicines. Angel asked that she be given more time, and the doctor complied.

“I killed our baby.”

Angel turned sharply from the window. Buffy was still in the same position, her head turned away from him.

“What?”

“I did it. I’m the reason our baby is dead.”

“Buffy, no. That is far from the truth.”

Turning to look at him finally, her eyes were full of more pain than he’d ever seen.

“I made the choice to go walking at night. I could’ve called Dawn. I lost our baby because I wanted ice cream.”

Turning her head to face the wall once more, she clenched the bed sheets tightly in her fists, seemingly wanting to rip them to shreds. Taking one of her hands and bringing it to his lips, he kissed it, massaging the palm, then each finger in turn.

“I know this hurts. More than I can even understand. But it is not your fault. I know, and you know, how much we wanted this child. You would never do this on purpose.”

“Might as well have.”

“Hey. HEY. Look at me.” He tilted her head with his hand, and pressed his forehead to hers.

“Women have miscarriages every day. And babies are born every day. We’ll just have to keep working.”

She nodded, but the sadness in her eyes didn’t lessen.

“Hey. If anyone was going to blame you, it would be me, right?” At her nod, he continued, “Well, I’m not. I don’t think you went looking for a fight. Do you believe me?”

She nodded again, and he lightly stroked her inner arm.

“We’ll have more babies,” she said quietly.

“Lots more. Fifty more.”

“You’re giving birth to half of them.”

“I can try.”

And finally, she managed a smile.


*****


“So can I go home?”

“Shortly. There is still something we need to discuss.”

“Take my medicine, drink fluids, and bed rest?”

“Well, there is that, yes. But there’s something you need to know.”

“What is it?”

“The trauma to your stomach was very severe. It damaged a few organs, even caused some internal bleeding. We were very fortunate, managed to patch you up nicely. And you seem to have some fast healing skills.”

“Okay…”

“But your uterus got the worst of it. The fetus-”

“Don’t.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Summers, but-”

“Look, just say it. I don’t want details, or pussyfooting.”

“Your uterus was damaged beyond repair.”

“What does that mean? Are you saying…I can’t…”

“I’m very sorry. We tried everything we could, but it was a very bad injury.”

“I’ll never get pregnant again?”

“There are still options. There are surrogate mothers, adoption. This isn’t the end of the world.”

“No. It’s not.”


*****


Angel brought Buffy home the next day. She didn’t speak at all in the car, nor when they went inside. She couldn’t climb stairs, so he helped her into the living room and lowered her onto the sofa.

“Are you hungry? I can fix us some lunch.”

“I’m fine.”

“Willow called. She and Giles are flying in tomorrow morning. Should get here around noon.”

She nodded.

“Dawn’s coming later tonight, after Phil gets home, so he can watch Jena.”

Another nod.

“Do you want a blanket?”

“I’m fine.”

“Buffy, would you at least look at me?”

She finally raised her eyes to his, and he took a step back. The empty, lifeless stare was so out of place on her beautiful face that she looked like a different person.

“Hey,” he managed, kneeling next to her. “It’s going to be all right. I promise. I know things look awful now. I know that,” he stressed. “But we still have options. Like the doctor said, this isn’t the end of the world.”

“I can’t have children,” she said flatly. “My entire purpose as a woman is gone. I might as well have let the vamp kill me.”

“No,” Angel said angrily. “Never say that.”

“I’m going to take a bath,” she said, pushing him away as he offered help.

“You shouldn’t-”

“I’m fine.”


*****


The following day, Angel went to visit Giles at his hotel room. When Angel and Giles returned to the house, they found Willow’s rental car in the driveway, the open trunk full of groceries.

Inside the house, Buffy was putting a bag of frozen vegetables in the freezer when she heard the front door slam, and then Angel’s voice calling her name.

A small child of around age four came running into the kitchen. It was obvious, even if you’d never met her, that it was Willow’s daughter. The bright red hair pulled back in a french braid and the bright green eyes mirrored the older woman’s exactly.

Throwing herself into Willow’s arms, she shrieked, “Mommy!”

Willow picked her daughter up and hugged her, her eyes quickly going to look at Buffy’s face. She was smiling at the little girl, but her eyes gave away the hurt.

“Hey, sweetie. Did you have fun with Daddy?”

“Uh-huh. We watched TV and ate popcorn.”

“At 10 in the morning. Nice,” Willow said, raising her eyes to her husband who still stood in the doorway. He took his glasses off to clean them, looking anywhere but at the fiery redhead.

“Tara, do you remember Aunt Buffy?”

The little girl looked over at the blonde, and nodded shyly. Buffy walked over, smiling, and said, “You’ve gotten so big. How old are you now?”

“Four.”

“Wow. You look just like your mommy.”

“Thank you,” she said, politely, resting her head on Willow’s shoulder.

Angel watched this scene closely, and he could see how difficult all of this was for her. He moved forward, and Buffy said, “I have something upstairs for the kids. I bought them for Christmas and was waiting for you to come back to the states. I’ll be right back.”

She quickly stepped around her husband and headed towards the stairs.

“I’m going to make sure she’s okay,” he said to Giles and Willow, quickly following her.


*****


“Buffy?”

Angel entered the bedroom, but didn’t see his wife anywhere. The closet door was ajar, and there was a box of wrapped gifts sitting in the doorway.

Walking to the bathroom, he found her leaning against the sink, a pill bottle in her hand and her eyes closed. Coming up behind her, he wrapped his arms tentatively around her waist. Meeting no resistance, he pulled her gently to him, resting his chin on top of her head.

“Are you okay?”

“Fine.”

“Do you want me to tell them to come back later?”

“No. I just need a minute.”

She finally opened her eyes, and met his in the mirror. For an instant, Angel saw a spark of something he couldn’t quite place in those hazel depths, but she quickly looked away and pulled out of his embrace.

“Can you get the box of presents?”

“Sure.”

She left the bathroom. Angel studied his reflection for a moment, then followed suit.


*****


“Well, I see you’ve kept in shape.”

Buffy smiled at Giles, reaching an arm out to pull him to his feet.

“It was your idea to do this, remember? I figured you get your fill of beatings training the girls in England.”

Grabbing a towel to wipe his face, Giles replied, “It’s been years since we’ve sparred. I thought it would be a good idea to check your abilities.” Unstrapping the protective gear and stretching his sore muscles, he muttered, “Seemed a good idea at the time.”

Watching Giles remove the padding, Buffy was hit with a rush of nostalgia. Sitting down on a chair near the bay window, she studied him quietly.

“What is it?” he asked, noticing her far away look.

“Nothing. Just thinking about the good old days.”

“Apocalypses and monsters?”

“Among other things.”

Sitting down next to her, he said, “Things were relatively simple then, weren’t they? In retrospect, at least.”

“Mmm. Wish I’d appreciated it more.”

Giles frowned.

“Your life is good, Buffy. Angel loves you. You have a wonderful house, a wonderful husband, and a good 40 wonderful years yet to spend on this earth together. You don’t have to fight demons, or even train anymore.”

“I know that. I know all of that. My life is fine.”

“Then what is it?”

Buffy shook her head, not trusting her own voice.

“There are children born everyday to parents who do not appreciate them. You and Angel have a wondrous opportunity to take one of them in and make them your own. This is not the end of-”

“Giles, STOP!”

Taken aback, he stared at her. Her eyes, full of tears and fury, stared into his own.

“Everyone keeps saying that! ‘It’s not the end of the world.’ No, it isn’t! I’ve been there, several times. This is worse!”

Standing up, she furiously wiped at her eyes.

“I am broken and dead inside. I can’t even look at my husband without wanting to cry. Is this what he became human for?”

“Angel earned his humanity, and the first thing he did was find you. Not because you could bear him children, but because he wanted to spend his life with you.”

“And look how well that turned out.”

“I know you feel this way now, but once you give yourself time to heal, you’ll see that it will get better. You just have to give it time.”

Buffy’s hands were clenched into fists, and she refused to look at him.

“Willow will be waiting for you back at your hotel. You should go.”

“Buffy-”

“Go, Giles. Please.”

And without looking back at him, she left the room.


*****


Months had passed since Buffy had lost the baby, and there was little change. Though she now slept in the same bed as Angel, she wouldn’t let him touch her, and she refused to see a therapist. Angel was at his wits’ end.

Coming home early from work one day, he found her sitting on their bed in her bathrobe, sobbing into her hands.

Tentatively, he walked towards the bed and kneeled in front of her. Looking up at him, she leaned forward and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his neck.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I can’t do this.”

“Buffy, it’s okay. Shh,” he said, rubbing her back. “Please don’t cry, baby. It’s okay.”

Not used to the endearment, Buffy cried harder.

“I don’t want you to waste your humanity on me, Angel,” she whispered.

“Never. Wasting it would be living my life without you.”

Sitting up and resting her forehead against his, she took a deep breath and said, “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t. We’ll get through this, Buffy. We’ll get through it together.”

Closing her eyes again, he saw more tears fall, and he kissed her eyelids. Moving her hands behind his head, she kissed him, a real kiss like he hadn’t received since before the loss of the baby.

“Make love to me? Please?”

“Buffy, are you sure…”

“Please, Angel. I need you.”

Pulling off his coat, he pulled her into his arms, kissing her more passionately and moving them both up on the bed.

He made love to her gently, kissing her desperately and whispering soothing words in her ear. She held him tightly, as though she was afraid to let go of him.

Afterwards he held her close, kissing her forehead and smoothing her hair. She rested her head against his chest, lightly running her fingers over his smooth skin.

“I love you, Buffy.”

Reaching up to run her fingers over his face, she smiled at him and said, “I love you, too. So much.”

Pulling the blanket up over them, Angel sighed contentedly. Buffy curled up against him, her head resting above his heart. For the first time in months, Angel felt complete again.


*****


When Angel woke the next morning, Buffy’s side of the closet was empty. Not wanting to believe what he was seeing, he flew down the stairs and into the kitchen. Sun poured through the windows, but his wife was not sitting at the kitchen table with coffee like he’d expected. Instead, he found a note lying on the counter.

Don’t look for me.

His hands shaking so badly that he dropped the scrap of paper, Angel buried his hands in his hair and let out a howl of pain.


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