Title: Champion

Author: badly-knitted

Characters: Angel, Buffy, Demon.

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1315

Spoilers: I Will Remember You.

Summary: Miraculously Angel is rendered fully human again, but will he still be able to fight at Buffy's side?

Written For: Prompt 030 - Moment Of Truth at fandomweekly.

Disclaimer: I don't own Angel the Series, or the characters.




It's amazing, miraculous, incredible, almost unbelievable; a second chance at life! It's everything Angel has wanted from almost the moment his soul was first restored to his body, or maybe not quite then since he'd been too busy at the time wallowing in guilt, but you get the idea. It's the ultimate prize, going from souled vampire to actual living human being, and it feels…

He shakes his head. There are no words good enough to describe how it feels, not in any language he knows, because he's free! No more demon inside him warring with his soul for control of his body. No more craving blood, or having to stay out of the sunlight for fear of bursting into flames. No more cold, still, unbeating heart, or lack of a reflection… He's solid, real, mortal for the first time in centuries, and he's…


Not with the vampire need for blood, just a completely natural human hunger, so the frenzied food rampage is totally understandable, right? Everything he samples tastes delicious, except for the yogurt, and it's tempting to eat himself into a food coma, except there's are things he wants, needs, even more than food.

First he has to find out if this is real, permanent, and not going to be snatched from his grasp as quickly as it happened. Then if it is real, he has to find Buffy, tell her what's happened, find out what this might mean for them, if maybe they might have a future.

The first is accomplished more easily than he'd expected. Well, the Oracles answer his questions at least. The second item on his agenda is, in some ways, less simple.

He doesn't want to mess Buffy's life up, not any more than he already has; she might not even want to start things up with him again after spending the past few months trying to get over him. He can't take for granted that just because he's alive now she'll want to pick up where they left off, but at the same time he can't let her leave L.A. without at least giving her the choice. However difficult it might be, he'll abide by her decision.

It's awkward after the first kiss, their conversation stilted, both of them tentative, unwilling to jump into anything too fast. That shouldn't be surprising, they're both understandably worried that such a wonderful gift might still be snatched away from Angel as suddenly and unexpectedly as it's been bestowed on him. How can they be sure the Oracles spoke the truth? If they give in to their feelings for each other and this turns out to only be temporary, or some kind of a cruel trick, it'll hurt more than either of them can bear.

Angel tries to be the responsible adult, he's older than Buffy is so it makes sense for him to take that role. They'll keep in touch, just without any actual touching, until they're sure his humanity is permanent. Buffy's not particularly happy about the plan but it doesn't matter since their resolve doesn't last; the temptation and need are just too strong after having to keep each other at arm's length for so long. Now that they can have everything they've ever wanted from each other, be together in every respect, how can they just go their separate ways with no contact beyond phone calls? How can they be expected to wait for some unspecified length of time when they're right here, now, together?

One touch is all it takes, and their good intentions fly out the window, replaced by all the passion and desire for each other they've repressed since Angel's return from the Hell dimension.

It's heaven, everything they've dreamed of and more. If their first night together had been blissful, then this is ecstasy the likes of which they've never imagined. Afterwards, they snuggle together in bed, feeding each other all the things that didn't exist back when Angel was growing up in Ireland; chocolate, peanut butter, cookie-dough-fudge-mint-chip ice cream, and more. There's so much Angel wants to experience, it's a whole new world to him, and Buffy is just the one to guide him through what he needs to know about being a living, breathing human in the twentieth century.

Perhaps they jumped the gun, maybe they should have waited a bit longer, just to be sure nothing would interfere with their happiness, but how could either of them have known the Mohra demon would regenerate? Okay, so its blood has regenerative properties, hence Angel being restored to life, but this is just unfair. There's only one thing for it; Angel will have to kill the demon again, and this time he'll have to make sure it sticks.

The only problem is that he's just an ordinary human now, while Buffy is still the Slayer. Angel needs to know he can still do his part and not be a liability to her. He watched her, years ago, trying to defend human boyfriends, knowing how easily they could be injured or even killed, totally unprepared for the world she lived in. He's determined not to be like that; he'll fight alongside her, just as he always has. He knows how to use a stake, a sword, a battleaxe; he's experienced, not like those kids Buffy used to date.

This will be his moment of truth; he has to be able to handle himself, and the demon, without Buffy's assistance, needs to be someone she can depend on rather than someone she needs to protect, and that's nowhere near as straightforward as it sounds.

All his prior experience doesn't help him in the slightest. It's awful; no matter what Angel does, the demon keeps coming, throwing him around like he's nothing. Gone are his vampire strength, speed, and reflexes, all his supernatural resilience, everything that made him Buffy's equal. What is he now?

Weak, vulnerable, breakable, mortal, a shadow of his former self, Angel's losing badly, fragile skin splitting with every blow he's dealt, ribs cracking like twigs. When the Mohra jumps on him, when they tumble into the salt silo, he feels his mortality keenly. This is it; he's failed. He's going to die as a human, everything he and Buffy might have had together gone as if it never existed.

When Buffy appears, jumping on the demon, disarming it, saving his life, Angel thinks he must be dreaming, hallucinating from the pain. He hurts so badly, has never experienced pain so intense. He wants to get up, help Buffy, show her he's still worthy of her love, but he can barely move. All he can manage is to throw a handful of salt in the demon's face.

"The light of a thousand eyes. The jewel in its forehead! You have to smash the jewel." At least he can give Buffy that much, enough to help her defeat the Mohra.

But it's too little. Buffy needs him to be more than this, to be a warrior. Him being human is going to get both of them killed.

There's only one thing he can do: return the gift he's been given, no matter how much it will hurt them both.

He can't be Buffy's champion like this. She deserves more. What he wants counts for nothing when compared to what she needs. He asks for the gift of life to be taken back, asks to be what he was before, a vampire with a soul.

Instead, the Oracles agree to turn back time to before the Mohra's first attack, to erase the day. Buffy is devastated when Angel tells her what he's done, and seeing her grief breaks something deep inside him, but there's no turning back, it's too late to change his mind. Buffy won't even remember this day, for her it will never have happened, but Angel knows he'll never forget.


The End