Primal Force by Tango
Disclaimer: All the characters are based on the television shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I do not own them, get money for writing about them and have no permission from Joss Whedon or anyone else who might care. Alrighty? Also, if you want to put this story on your site, that's fine with me but please send me an email and let me know. Thanks!
And here we go. . . .
So this is Angel. He's large and glowery, isn't he?
Oh God, Angel groaned inwardly, the pain. . .what. . .they are taking my. . .soul.
But then he focused on the pain for a moment. No, they weren't taking his soul. They weren't able to take it - this wasn't the same kind of power. The magick in the air was pressing against the walls, forcing his body to stand rigid and he struggled to open his eyes. He couldn't remember how he was taken or how he got there but he was chained to a hard, marble wall.
Some kind of monk demons were chanting over him and in the back of the room, impeccably dressed with arms crossed, stood Lilah and Lindsay overlooking the ceremony and spell casting. Their faces were contorted in cold smiles and the sinister pleasure in their eyes made him shiver. He found his center of being, focused on remaining intact but he was no match to the magick. He felt weak and with each passing moment he was more unable to focus on remaining calm. All he could feel was the pain- streaking, white laced pain. He pulled against his chains, screaming for release and the chanting continued for one more full minute.
Having finished their spell, the crimson hooded monks closed their ancient books and shuffled from the room, closely followed by Lilah and Lindsay. Two guards strode over and calmly unlocked his shackles. Set free from his bondage, he wanted to fight but instead he fell to the floor.
"You are free to go, sir," one of the guards said and they strutted out of the room, having no fear of the vampire who was once known as the "Scourge of Europe." Angel stood on shaky legs and stumbled out of the room and searched for the exit. The building seemed to be a labyrinth of hallways and doors but he made his way to the door that led out into the world.
He checked his pocket. His cell phone was still there. He dialed the number to the office. The phone rang once, twice, three times. Damn it, Cordy, answer the phone. As if on cue, he heard her curt voice, "Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless."
"Cordy," Angel gasped.
"Angel! Where the hell have you been? We've been looking for you for two days!"
"Look, can you just come and get me? I'll explain later. I'm two blocks east of Wolfram & Hart and I'm pretty sure I'm going to collapse in a few minutes."
After hanging up the phone, Angel leaned against the brick wall behind him. Struggling for control of his body, he began taking unnecessary chi-like breaths. Something wasn't right. He felt as if his mind was wandering, shifting. He needed to talk to Cordy & Wesley. If he could just tell them what happened...
Patrol was beat. There wasn't even the slightest whisper of evil on the streets as Buffy and Riley patrolled, holding hands. Buffy was unusually quiet. She was usually a chatterbox on patrol, breaking Riley's much needed concentration. At first Riley appreciated the silence but after an hour of piercing silence, he was thrown off by it.
"You're so quiet," he said in a low voice as he methodically scanned the perimeter and then glanced at her blank expression, "Something wrong?"
"Um...well, I don't think so. I guess I'm just tired," Buffy lied. She felt queasy and strange. She knew it was Angel. Something was very wrong with Angel and her body was humming with the knowledge of his pain.
"Are you sure cause you seem kinda distracted?" Riley pressed.
"No, I'm alright. I think I'm going to go home though, if it's alright with you. I think I just need some sleep." Buffy turned and headed toward her house, feeling lightheaded. She struggled not to stumble or appear faint as Riley fell in step beside her once more.
"You don't want to stay at my place tonight?"
"Sorry, honey. I think I need to sleep in my own bed tonight. I'm exhausted," She croaked with the lies thick in her throat. She was almost certain she would be unable to sleep.
Riley nodded and steered them toward her house in silence. He knew something definitely was not right. He worried all the way to her house, worried through the gentle kiss he placed on her lips and worried all the way home. He wouldn't be getting much sleep that night either.
Buffy walked up to her room in a tranced march and sat on the side of her bed, gazing out of the window. Under her skin, Angel's off-balance force was crawling around. She perched there, tense and staring at nothing, waiting for something to happen. The only thing that happened was sunrise.
Back at the office, Angel was explaining what he remembered of the ritual to Cordelia and Wesley. Taking notes, Cordelia fired off questions as Angel's voice started to waver. He was shaking and soon was unable to keep his eyes open. He fell into a deep sleep behind his desk in mid-sentence, still trembling, deeper tremors starting somewhere deep inside his undead body and traveled out to his cold skin.
Cordelia and Wesley retired to the outer office and began researching the ritual. Angel hadn't stirred at all for over 12 hours and then just as suddenly as he had fallen asleep, he awoke and jumped from his desk chair.
"Angel! Freak out much? God!" Cordelia said as she jumped from her own chair, startled.
"Gotta go," Angel said grabbing his coat and flung it on as he started toward the door.
"Angel, where are you going? We haven't yet found out what magicks were performed on you. I'm not entirely convinced it is safe for you to go until we've figured this-," Wesley said to his rapidly retreating figure.
"Sorry. I have to go," Angel said and went out of the door, leaving his two employees with open mouthed gapes.
Buffy and Riley went on patrol together again the next night. She really wanted to be alone with whatever demons jumped out at her. She could feel Angel's intense panic inside her veins. She felt like running or screaming and wished that something would jump out at her, so at least she could fight. Riley kept asking her what was wrong and she knew she couldn't answer him. Partially because it was about Angel and partially because she didn't know. She wasn't sure how to explain her connection with Angel to Riley and she wasn't sure she wanted to... ever. Angel wasn't in pain anymore, she knew that much, but he was panicked and he was still itching inside her.
And he was coming to Sunnydale. She knew he was coming tonight.
The full moon was huge in the sky and threatened to tip over and spill out over campus. Shadows full of moon drenched edges skipped over the trees and grass and carved headstones. The lunar power washed over all of Sunnydale and Buffy looked up wondering where Oz was right then and if Willow was thinking the same thing.
Probably not. Willow spent most her time with Tara these days and rarely mentioned Oz any more. She let her eyes drift around the cemetery, noncommittally. She liked Tara but somehow she still felt loyalty to Oz. She looked over at Riley, carefully scanning the perimeter, concentrating his surroundings, unaware of her musings.
Again, probably not. Angel hadn't cohered with the group the same way that Oz had - although he was just as monosyllabic. She shrugged off her thoughts and then shrugged off her guilt. She thought Riley was unaware that she was far away in her thoughts but he stopped in the middle of the cemetery and for the third time that night asked her what was wrong.
"Nothing. Really, I'm fine," Buffy replied, pretending to be focused on whatever imaginary demons could be lurking behind the next head stone.
"You're not fine, Buffy. I realize I'm pushing here, but you aren't talking. You've hardly said a word to me since last night when we were on patrol," Riley said, protesting.
"Look, I'm sorry, okay? I just feel...I don't know...funny. Like something's happening, something's coming."
"Buffy, you know you can talk to me. You don't have to keep these things to yourself," he said, facing her and grabbing her hand.
"I know," she said, looking into his eyes.
"Good," he said, leaning in to kiss her. Wrapping his arms around the woman he loved, Riley Finn kissed her, letting his hands roam over her narrow, muscular back.
"Mmmmm," she said into his lips, smiling for a moment as he kissed her. He felt so...
Suddenly Riley was ripped from her arms and Buffy opened her eyes to see him careening against a large oak ten feet away.
"Riley," she screamed, turning to run towards him, but Angel's presence stopped her in her tracks before she had gone two steps. She felt him walking towards her and she stopped, turned and whispered, "Angel."
Caught in a moment of confusion, Buffy found herself looking from Angel to Riley and back again, unable to decide how to handle this situation. Angel gave her no time to react, however, and rushed to her side. Claiming her shoulders in his hands, he looked intently into her eyes, "Are you alright, baby? Did he hurt you?" he asked in an overly concerned voice.
"What the hell is going on?" she demanded, angrily. Even as she spoke, she noticed that there was a slight trembling in his fingertips and he had a light sheen of sweat over his cold, marble skin.
"I'm so sorry love, I would have gotten here sooner but-" his sentence was cut off, when he turned to slam his boot into Riley's angry face. Riley flew back again and scrambled to get to his feet once more. Buffy stood there in confusion a moment longer. Angel was in a mad panic and he was definitely confused as well. She pulled Angel away as he struck Riley again.
"Angel! Stop! Look at me," she said, struggling with his broad frame, finally getting him to turn towards her. Riley had made it to his unsteady feet and was already charging towards them. Buffy held her hand out to him to stop and he screeched to a halt- now also very confused. She slowly lowered her hand and turned back to Angel. Riley started to say her name but she lifted her hand again, silencing him.
"Angel, what's going on?" She said, looking up at his anxious eyes.
"Buffy, you're in danger. Someone is trying to take you from me," He pulling her into his embrace.
"Get your hands off of my girlfriend," Riley shouted, starting towards the couple. Buffy heard the almost inaudible low growl that came from Angel as he turned to face the competition.
Angel looked over the man walking towards him: blonde and wholesome looking, about an inch taller than himself and angry. Had he just used the word "girlfriend" for Buffy? His Buffy? How could this stranger attempt to claim his mate? He felt the involuntary growl travel up his throat before he heard it. Anger swept over his body. No, it wasn't anger. It was fury. He morphed into his "game" face and growled again.
"Your girlfriend? You think you can lay claim on a woman that belongs to me?" Angel asked, his rage almost uncontrollable. A stranger who first thought he could touch her and kiss her, then was angry when he defended the honor of his beloved and now demands that she belonged to him? As if she could belong to anyone else! Who the hell did he think he was?
"What the hell? She doesn't belong to you. She doesn't belong to anyone," Riley said, "But she's dating me. She's with me not you."
"You're treading, boy. You really think she could love someone like you? What do you have to offer The Slayer?" Angel turned back toward Buffy, lapsing back into his human face, "Someone is trying to hurt us. Someone wants to take you away from me. I've got to get you somewhere safe where we can figure out what's going on," he explained, looking unusually alarmed, his eyes scanning the area every few seconds. Buffy reached out and touched his face. She could feel him trembling.
"Angel," she said, using her hand to turn his face back towards her, " I don't understand."
Riley took a step forward as she touched him and Angel let out a low growl, allowing his face to morph into his vampire visage for a second and then returned to his human features as he turned back to Buffy.
"Someone is trying to kill you, Buffy. I can't explain how I know but I do. You are in danger because someone is trying to hurt me by hurting you. They want to take you away from me and I can't lose you."
Buffy looked at him in confusion and looked back over at Riley, who started to yell, "Buffy, what are you doing? He's a vampire! Get away from him!"
"I'm the damn Slayer, Riley. I know a vampire when I see one."
"Just walk away from him and come to me. Better yet, stake him!" Riley called again, stepping closer.
"Keep your distance if you want to live," Angel growled, showing his demon visage again. He started shaking more violently than before and she was sure that his rage had something to do with it.
"If you hurt her, I'll kill you," Riley screamed, across the five feet that now separated them.
"I would never hurt her," Angel said, his voice calm but his face still revealing his demon, "and I will make damn sure no one else does either."
"Angel," Buffy said, placing her hands gently on either side of his ridged face and pulling him closer to her, much to Riley's shock. Riley was struck dumb actually. She was touching him, like she knew him, like she loved him and he was a vampire.
"You are not well. Something is wrong with you," She said softly.
"The only thing that is wrong with me is that I know you aren't safe. I'm sorry, love. I didn't mean to hurt- what's his name - Riley- but I saw him forcing a kiss on you and...I can't stand to see another man touch you."
"Angel, we should go to Giles right now and see if he can figure this out." Angel nodded in agreement.
"I'm going with you," Riley said over the sound of Angel's menacing growl.
"I don't think that's a good idea," Buffy said with her eyes downcast.
"I'm not leaving you alone with that lunatic vampire," Riley announced. Buffy nodded reluctantly and looked over at Angel, who knew that Riley would just follow them anyway, so he agreed and as Riley stepped closer and Angel said through clenched teeth, "I don't normally kill humans as a rule, but touch her and you die."
He doesn't normally kill humans? What?
The walk to Giles' flat was short in steps but felt long to the three walking. Angel spent each second letting his eyes flirt from Buffy to Riley to the surrounding area and back again. Buffy spent most of her time scrutinizing Angel and once in awhile, she checked back to Riley, shooting a glance at him over her shoulder, as if she were saying I'm sorry but I have to help him and there's nothing I can do about the situation to make you feel better.
Riley walked several feet behind Buffy & Angel, looking more angry and upset as they went. Angel clutched Buffy's hand, still trembling lightly and scanning the darkness ahead of them. His supernatural vision allowed for further sight than the two humans but they all saw nothing out of the ordinary as they made their way towards Giles' house. Riley spent most of his time watching Angel. Who was he and how did Buffy know him? Why was he so worried about protecting her and why was she going along with it? If he didn't know better, he would think that she loved this vampire. Even more unbelievable was that this vampire seemed to have affection for the Slayer.
When Giles answered the door, wearing his white and blue stripped robe, he gasped in surprise to see the three of them standing there. Buffy was visibily shaken, Riley was bruised and bleeding and Angel was shaking like a drug addict.
"Oh dear God," he said, stepping out of the way and opening the door further, "Come in."
Buffy told her side of the story and with that part of the explanation out on the table, everyone was still very confused. No light was shed on the issue. The only one who seemed convinced was Angel and he couldn't explain his fears.
"But Angel, nothing I have read or heard as of late suggests that Buffy is in any danger from anything at this time. Did anything odd or unusual happen that would make you think that Buffy is in any more danger than she is normally?" Giles asked as he prepared tea, which, of course, was after he changed into suitable attire for his guests.
"I woke up in an office in LA for one," Angel replied.
"What was unusual about that?" Buffy asked.
"Well, don't you think it's strange that I would wake up in LA? How did I get there? When did I get there? Why was I there and why were Cordelia & Wesley there? I was in such a panic to leave that I left them there in that office. I hope that they have a way to get home. We need to get Buffy somewhere safe. Somewhere that I can see the danger coming," Angel said. Buffy & Giles exchanged concerned looks. He didn't remember anything and he was babbling.
"Giles, can I talk to you for a second, in private?" Buffy asked and steered Giles into the hallway by the bathroom.
"He seems to be suffering from some sort of amnesia," Giles said.
"He thinks we're still together. Riley & I were kissing on the quad and Angel attacked him. He thought Riley was forcing himself on me."
"Well that explains the Riley's current state."
"We have to do something, Giles. He's really afraid and he won't let me out of his sight. How am I supposed to explain this to Riley? He doesn't know anything about my relationship with Angel. What am I going to do?"
"I suggest you try not to agitate Angel further. He seems to be...um..slipping. I suggest you stay with him while I call the others here, as well as Wesley & Cordelia in LA and try to figure out just what is going on. Try to tell him as little as possible until we figure out what has caused his memory loss. We also need to find out if his fear of your being in danger is unfounded or not."
"I'm gonna have to think of something to tell Riley," she said, looking at her hands as if somehow the answer could be found there.
"I'm not sure I can help you in that area," he said with his best fatherly look attached while he cleaned his glasses for the second time since she arrived. Nodding, she turned around and faced her current and ex-boyfriend, waiting anxiously in Giles' living room. Neither of them were sitting. Both were looming tall and large in the room, which made it seem very claustrophobic to Buffy.
Looking from Angel to Riley and back again, she sighed into her sentence, "Riley, can I speak to you outside for a second? Angel, I'll be right back, ok?"
"I don't like the idea of-" he started, but she immediately interrupted.
"I'll just be a minute." She grabbed Riley's hand and led him out the front door. She led them a healthy distance away from the door, knowing Angel's keen hearing would be able to eavesdrop part of the conversation if they were too close. She was very sure that she did not, under any circumstances, want him to hear what she was about to say.
"Riley, A-Angel is my ex-boyfriend," she started.
"That vampire - that demon in there is your ex? Please tell me he was human when you were dating him," he pleaded. By the look on his face, she could almost swear that he wanted her to lie but they both knew she wasn't going to.
"No, he was a vampire when I dated him. He's different, Riley. He has a soul. Anyway, it's a long story but it seems like something has happened to make him lose his memory. He doesn't remember that we aren't together and until we know what's going on, Giles & I have agreed that we aren't going to tell him."
"Why the hell not?" He demanded, "Sorry but the last time I checked you were my girlfriend. Now I'm supposed to pretend you're not and get beat on and growled at and threatened by your ex-demon every time I even look at you?"
"I'm sorry, Riley. I really am. I know it's not fair but something is really wrong with him. He's very unstable right now and he won't listen to reason. He will do whatever it takes to keep me safe if he thinks I'm in danger."
"I don't understand. You're his ex-girlfriend. It's not like you were married to him or something."
"Riley, I can't explain my relationship to Angel with you. You just have to trust me. It's as simple as that."