Letting Go

Rating: PG

Author: Annie (Cutie34856@aol.com)

Disclaimer: Joss owns all. I don't (sadly).

Summary: An alternate ending to "Heroes". What if Doyle *hadn't* stopped Angel?

Spoilers: Big ones for "Heroes" and "IWRY". Some Season 4 Buffy, and Season 1 Angel as well.

Notes: I had this idea after "Heroes" aired, and I stored it in the back of my mind, but now it won't leave me alone. This is a sad story, so if you don't like that, don't read it.

"Fight the good fight, yeah? You never know until you've been tested. I get that now," Doyle said.

Angel looked at his friend. He saw it in his eyes. He was going to try something. And he was right.

Doyle tried to hit him with a right, but Angel had seen it coming and ducked. Angel kicked out his leg and sent Doyle flying into Cordelia. He gave his friends one last look before he jumped to the light.

"Angel! NO!!!" Doyle cried out as watched his only friend jump to his death. Cordelia let out a cry as she saw what was happening.

Angel grabbed the cables as he felt his flesh melting away. He tried to gather all his strength to pull them apart. A million things were running through his head. Doyle, Cordelia, all the lives he was saving, how he would finally find peace in death, and then he thought of one last thing. The person he loved the most.

Angel pulled the cables apart, and then as he finally couldn't take the unbearable pain anymore, he screamed his last word.


And in a flash, he was gone. Cordelia struggled to take even breaths. Doyle looked on in shock. They both held each other for comfort.

Angel was dead.


Cordelia sat at Angel's desk, looking at all the things inside it. She was about to shut one of the top drawers when she saw something in it. It was a piece of paper. Cordelia opened it and started to read it.

Soon she was in tears. She laid her head down on Angel's desk and allowed herself to be overcome with emotions. Doyle walked in and saw her and his heart broke.

He walked over and put his arms around her. She turned around and he held her.

After a while, Cordelia spoke up. "I have to go to Sunnydale. I have to tell Buffy," she said.

"Do you want me to come?" Doyle asked. Cordelia looked at him and nodded.

"And afterwards, I think you still need to take me out to dinner," she said, trying to smile. Doyle was about to say something, but Cordelia put her hand over his mouth to quiet him. Then she leaned in and kissed him.

They pulled away, and both smiled small smiles at each other.

"Let's go," Cordelia whispered, taking his hand, holding on to the one person she had left.


Buffy Summers was talking with her friends at their lunch table.

"I'm telling you Buffy, you should definitely go out with him. He likes you a lot," Willow said.

"I don't know Will. Riley seems kinda weird," Buffy told her friend.

"Well, at least he has a reflection," Xander joked, unsuccessfully.

"Having no reflection isn't so bad," Buffy said, defending Angel.

"Hey, I thought we were over deadboy," Xander said.

Before Buffy could answer, Willow interrupted her.

"Look, it's Cordelia. And she's with some guy."

They all looked over to where Willow was pointing and saw Cordelia coming towards them.

"Hey Cordy, what brings you to the Hellmouth?" Xander asked, noting that she was holding the mystery guy's hand.

"Buffy, I need to talk to you," Cordelia said. Everyone noticed that she was struggling hard not to cry.

"What's wrong?" Buffy asked, wondering why Cordelia was in Sunnydale with Angel's friend.

Cordelia looked down and then looked back up, her eyes shining with tears.

"Buffy, I couldn't tell you over the phone. I had to come here and tell you in person."

"Tell me what?" she asked, getting a little scared.

Doyle squeezed Cordelia's hand to give her courage.

"Angel's dead," she said quietly.

Buffy froze. She blocked out everything in that moment. It couldn't be true. It *wasn't* true.

"No," Buffy said quietly.

Cordelia just nodded as a tear ran down her cheek.

"How?" Buffy asked keeping her voice totally neutral.

"Buffy..." Cordelia started.

"How?" Buffy asked more forcefully.

"Look Buffy, maybe you should-" Xander started but Buffy cut him off.

"How Cordelia?" she said.

"There's a group of demons called the Scourge. They hunt half demons. Angel was helping this half demon clan. The Scourge had this light that would kill anything with human blood. We were trapped in the cargo area of a ship, and the light was in the room. Angel died disarming the light," she said shakily.

Buffy sat still as a statue, processing the information.

"Was it painful?" she asked.

"Buffy please," Cordelia said, trying not to cry as she relived the memories.

Cordelia lost control and said, "Yes. Angel died in pain Buffy. First the light melts off your skin, then it boils your insides, and then you're nothing but bones and then it disintegrates your bones and you turn to nothing. I'm pretty sure it hurt. But I'm sure that you'll be pleased to know that he died screaming your name."

"Cordelia," Doyle said, in a tone that told her she had been to harsh.

"I'm sorry Buffy. That was awful. I-I-I'm sorry." There was a pause. "It's nice to see all of you," Cordelia said, turning to her old friends at the table.

She pulled out a piece of paper from her pocket. She put it on the table next to Buffy.

"Well, I guess this is good-bye. I'm sorry," Cordelia said. Then she and Doyle turned around and walked away, hand in hand.

Willow, Xander, and Anya stared at Buffy, waiting to see what she would do. She had no emotion on her face.

"Buffy?" Willow asked.

"Well, isn't this nice," Buffy said as her voice cracked. She fought down the tears that threatened to overcome her and got up, walking away.

Willow jumped up to follow her, soon followed by Anya and Xander.

"Buffy, you can't be alone right now!" Willow said, grabbing Buffy's shoulder.

"Leave me alone!" she yelled as she pulled away and started to run.

Buffy didn't know where she was running. She didn't know how long she had been running. She didn't care.

Buffy ran into someone.

"Buffy?" Riley Finn asked, seeing her face, and it's pained expression.

Buffy wiggled out of his grasp and kept running. She didn't stop until she reached the place where she had first met Angel.

She looked around. She could picture the day.

"Who are you?"

"Let's just say I'm a friend."

"Yeah, well maybe I don't want a friend."

"I didn't say I was yours."

She slowly sat down. She brought her knees up to her chest and put her arms around them.

"You can't cry Buffy. Crying just makes you seem weak. And you're not. You can get through this. It's not going to be that hard. And pretty soon you'll forget..." Buffy said softly. She fought her tears with all her strength, but she couldn't hold them back.

She broke down into sobs. She screamed her cries of anguish into the still night.

Angel had left her. He was gone and she was alone. Forever. Buffy let her mind go back to Cordelia's words. He had died screaming her name. She started to cry harder.

She laid down, still curled into a ball.

And there was the mighty slayer, an emotional wreck, wishing she could die.


Giles paced around his house. "You let her go? She could try something dangerous," he said, looking at Xander, Willow, and Anya.

"We tried to stop her, but she ran off too fast," Willow said.

Spike sat in chair, unusually quiet. He should've been happy that the souled vampire was dead, but he wasn't.

"Well, we have to be really supportive when we see her. That includes *everyone*," Giles said, looking at Spike as he said the last part.

Spike just nodded and got up, walking out of the room.

They heard the door open and saw Buffy walk in.

"Buffy, I'm so sorry," Giles said as he moved in to hug her.

"Yeah, I bet you all are," she said coldly.

"You know, why should you say sorry to me? None of you liked Angel that much anyway. You just put up with him because he was my boyfriend," she said.

"Buffy, that's not-"

"What Giles? That's not fair? Well get a clue and realize that life's not fair! And you know what, saying sorry isn't going to bring Angel back! It's not going to change the fact that he died thinking I hated him, but loving me anyway!"

"Now Buffy, that's not true," Giles said as he moved towards her.

"NO!!" she screamed, backing away, tears falling on her face. "*NOTHING* you can do is going to help! Nothing! You can tell me that you're sorry that Angel died when you don't care, and you can tell me that you miss him too when you really don't, but it won't help at all. Words are words. And you can say a million words, but it's not going to bring Angel back."

The room was quiet except for the sound of Buffy's crying.

She looked up when she heard Spike walk in.

"Go ahead Spike. Let's hear you gloat about how glad you are that Angel's dead. Rub it in, it's not going to hurt any worse than it already does. That kind of pain isn't possible."

Spike walked up to Buffy. "Get out," he said to everyone else in the room. No one moved.

"Get out!" he yelled, showing his vamp face to everyone in the room.

They slowly walked out of the room. They stayed by the door to make sure Spike didn't try anything.

"You're not the only one who misses him," Spike told Buffy.

"Oh yeah, I bet his death is breaking your heart," Buffy said sarcastically.

"When Angel was evil, those were the best years of my life. Me, him, and Dru, we were a family. In my own twisted way, that made me happy. Then he got a soul. When I heard, it was like a part of me was missing in a way. And when I found him here in Sunnydale, it made me sick to see him so good. Then he lost his soul again, and I was so glad. We could be our own twisted little family again. But then I started to hate him even more than I did when he was good. He was cold and cruel and heartless. It's what I should've wanted. But after seeing him so warm and caring, I couldn't see him so cold. And it scared me more than anything, the fact that I preferred him *with* soul. Angel and I could never be friends, but that doesn't mean I won't miss him," Spike said.

Buffy looked at him with a tear stained face. She couldn't say anything.

"Dru and Angel were my family. They are the only things in this world I've actually let my cold heart come to care about. Not that I care about you Slayer, but don't do anything stupid. People care about you here. Honor Angel and keep on going with your life."

Buffy just looked at him for a moment, then he got up and walked out.

Buffy played Spike's words over in her head, and she couldn't believe that Spike was actually capable of caring like that.

"Oh slayer, this is yours," Spike said, coming back into the room and handing Buffy a piece of paper.

She looked at it. It as the note Cordelia had given her. How had Spike gotten it? She looked up, but he was already gone.

She opened the letter and read what it said.

Dear Buffy,

I must've started a million letters like these to you. I didn't send those and I won't send this. I don't know why I write to you anyway. Maybe it's because I like to pretend you still love me.

Cordelia and Doyle are so in love and they don't even realize it. She snaps at him, judges him, and criticizes him. He flirts with her and tries his best to get on her good side. It reminds me of us, they way they're so in love. We had an amazing love Buffy.

Do you still love me? I ask myself that question everyday, wondering if it's true. I wonder what you're doing, what boy you're talking with, if you have a new boyfriend, or if you're still waiting for me. Not that I would blame you if you weren't. I have caused you a lot of pain. More than you deserve. I'm glad I went to Hell. It punished me for that.

Do you ever think about where you'll be in the future anymore? You told me that when you looked into your future, all you saw was me. Is that still true?

I have a picture of you that I use as a bookmark sometimes. I always look at it when Cordelia and Doyle aren't looking. It makes me feel connected to you. I feel connected to you in so many ways. I just need my ring, or a stake, or something I was wearing when we kissed. Or ice cream...

Which brings me to something else. Do you remember when you came to LA after Thanksgiving? Well, I didn't actually kill the Mora Demon the first time around. His blood mixed with mine and made me mortal. And Buffy, we were *so* happy together. We ate cookie-dough fudge-mint chip ice cream, we made love, we kissed in the sunlight by the ocean. It was perfect. Then Doyle had a vision about the Mora Demon, and I didn't want to risk your life, so I went to kill it. It almost killed me, and hurt you too when you came along. I realized that I loved you too much to watch as demons tried to kill you. I was weak, and that would kill you. So I went to see higher powers and they turned back time 24 hours so that I could kill the Mora Demon. That's why I knew how to kill it. And that day haunts me because I know what we could've had. And because you never will.

Buffy, I'm so messed up here in LA. I'm off balance and I feel incomplete. The Mora Demon told us something before you killed him. He said that together we were powerful, but alone, we were dead. And he was right. You complete me. You're the other half of me, and that half of me is missing now that we're apart.

I love you so much, and every day reminds me that our love is fated to fail. That no matter how much we want it to work, it never will. And that just makes me love you more. And I know that you must have someone new back in Sunnydale. Because you're Buffy, and you're the most amazing person I know. How could anyone *not* love you?

Well, there goes another 15 minutes that I've spent reminding myself of what I can't have.

But no matter what, you're still the only thing that I'll ever love with every part of my mind, body, and soul. You're still the only thing that completes me. And I'll always love you. Always.

I love you.


Buffy started to cry again. How could Angel think that she didn't love him? He had been human, and they were happy? How could fate be so cruel as to make her forget about it? It wasn't fair.

Giles walked slowly in and sat beside Buffy on the couch, and put his arms around her in a comforting manner.

This time, she let him as she continued to cry.

* 2 months later*

Buffy walked up to the building. She looked at the sign that read:


She was glad Cordelia and Doyle had kept the name. It was like a part of Angel was still around.

She opened the door and called out, "Hello?"

Cordelia walked in, looking at some papers.

"Welcome to Angel Investigations, we try out best to help you out," she said.

"Hey Cordelia," Buffy said. Cordelia looked up. "Buffy!" she squealed as she put her papers down and went to hug her.

"How are you?" Cordelia asked.

"Good. How are you and Doyle?" she asked.

"We're good. How's everyone in Sunnydale? Has the Hellmouth given you any trouble?"

"Everyone's good. Oz came back and so Willow's pretty happy. Xander and Anya are really close now. And the Hellmouth's been, well, closed."

"Good. Well, would you like some coffee. I'm better at making it than I used to be, so you don't have to worry," she said.

"Actually, I'm in a hurry. I just decided to stop by and say hi. See how everyone's doing."

"Okay, well, I guess I'll see you when I see you then."

Buffy nodded and turned to leave. Then she stopped.

"I never thanked you for telling me about Angel in person. And giving me that letter. It meant a lot to me," Buffy told her.

Cordelia hugged her again. "Take care Buffy," she said.

"You too."

Cordelia watched as Buffy left Angel's old office. She looked over at Angel's old desk and knew Buffy would be back. She had come for a reason, and she would come back.

Buffy made it halfway down the stairs before stopping. "I came here to see if there was anything left of Angel that I could find. I can't run away," she said to herself as she walked back up the stairs.

She walked back in to Angel's old office.

"I want to know if you guys kept any of Angel's things," she said to Cordelia.

Cordelia nodded and lead Buffy over to a couple of boxes in the room. "Most of the things that meant anything to him are in there. Take what you want," Cordelia told her.

Buffy nodded her thanks and Cordelia left the room to let Buffy be alone.

Buffy looked in the first box. It was filled with Angel's old clothes. She picked up a shirt and smelled it. It still smelled like him a little. She moved that box over and went to the next one.

It was filled with Angel's books. She picked them up one by one, just flipping through the pages. She picked up one of them and started flipping when something fell out of it.

It was a picture of her.

She picked it up and looked at it. She felt connected to Angel just by holding it. She decided to keep it.

She moved over to last box. It only had two things in it. One was an empty carton of what once was cookie-dough fudge-mint chip ice cream. The other one was a ring. The ring Angel had given her on her 17th birthday. She slowly slipped it on her finger, 2 single tears running down her face.

She took a couple items of Angel's clothing, the book she knew was his favorite, the empty ice cream carton, the picture, and the ring.

Buffy took one last look at the last place Angel had ever lived. The last place she had ever seen him. She smiled a small smile and walked out.


Buffy stood in the place where she had first met Angel. Where she had come and broken down when she found out he had died.

"Well, this is where it all started, me and you. So I guess this is the best place to end it. I've been grieving for a while now Angel, I need to try and let go. When I killed you, it was really hard. This is harder though, because you died without me. You left out of choice, knowing you were going to die. And it hurts more because you decided to leave me. I don't know why you thought that I didn't love you anymore. I could never stop, no matter hard I try. You're in my life forever. Everytime I hear a slow song on the radio, I'm going to think of you. Everytime I eat ice cream, I'm going to think of you. Everytime I walk in a cemetery or a park, I'm going to think of you. I think of you when I wake up, I think about you before I go to sleep, and I dream about you every night. You're going to be with me forever. And now that I think about it, maybe you knew that before you died. Maybe you knew that we'd be together, even if one of us is gone. So I guess this is why I can find the strength to keep going. To let you go," Buffy said, crying one single tear that trickled down her face. "And I'll love as long as I live, and in the life afterwards."

She looked around, remembering. "Good-bye Angel," she said.

And then she left.

*The End*