From Hell to Heaven and Back

by Lauren

Rating: 15+
Disclaimer: Don't own btvs, and down own the quotes from it.
Summary: It's one memory, one experience that will stay with her for the rest of her life. But she may not be the only person to remember... Season 6 "After Life" when Buffy's talking to Spike about where she believed she had been pulled from.
Notes: B/A.. sad... happy... angsty... maybe a tissue warning?  depends how well I've written it.  This idea just came to me while I watched the end of "After Life". 

"I was happy."

Buffy could hear herself giggling.  Then the giggling slowly faded into a 'mmm', as this wave of a cooling sensation entered her mouth - pleasantly numbing her senses, smooth and creamy.  It tasted like cookie dough fudge mint chip ice cream.  But who was the person holding the spoon?

Right, it was Angel.  And he was laughing - he was actually laughing, and smiling.

"Wherever I ... was ... I was happy."

They were happy, together.

Buffy could see herself sprawled out comfortably on a bed, with a floral printed comforter of peach, dark greens, and red.  The comforter had been thrown about carelessly, from the previous night.  She could feel warm flesh beside her.  Angel's warm flesh - he was alive - he was human - and he was breathing - he was her normal Joe.

Underneath the comforter, Buffy's legs were tangled with Angel's.  The empty ice cream carton had been dumped on the floor beside the bed; several kisses earlier, completely forgotten. 

"Thump, thump... thump."  Buffy said softly, as she ran circles across Angel's chest.  "It's a nice sound.  I feel..."

"At peace."

"It is," Angel agreed and secretly thanked the powers for bringing Buffy back to him, and thanked the Mohra demon for attacking them.  He laughed.  That's probably the only time he was ever thankful for demons attacking.  It would probably be the last.

Buffy smiled peacefully and kissed Angel's shoulder.  She too, secretly thanked someone, but not the powers.  She thanked Glory. 

"Time ... didn't mean anything ... nothing had form ... but I was still me, you know? And I was warm ... and I was loved ... and I was finished. Complete."

"Angel... How long can we stay like this?"  She asked, but inside she knew the answer.

"Forever."  He kissed her forehead and whispered more loving words.

"I don't understand about theology or dimensions, or ... any of it, really ... but I think I was in heaven. And now I'm not."

Buffy was peaceful.  She was happy and carefree.  There was no more slaying and no more responsibility.  The need to fight, and save the world vanished the second she died.  Because with a flash of white light, she had been sent to this wonderful place - this wonderful place where she'd always wanted to be.  In the arms of her Angel - where she was safe, and loved.  Where for once, she'd be the protected and not the protector.

She closed her eyes, sighing with relief and contentedness.  She was almost afraid to fall asleep.  Afraid all of this would be taken away from her, but knew everything would be alright.

But she was wrong.

"I was torn out of there."

Because the second she closed her eyes, is when it all ended.  Seconds later everything she ever dreamed of would melt away.  Forever.

"Pulled out ... by my friends. Everything here is ... hard, and bright, and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch ... this is Hell."

With a gasp, Buffy's eyes shot open and saw an angry  flash of white light.  She made no sound as tears fell down her cheeks, but they weren't only hers.  That's when she felt millions of tiny, prickly hands pull at her skin.  They were cold, and not warm like Angel.  They were gray and slightly sticky.  The disgusting things managed to pull her away from Angel's tight grasp.  She cried out for him yet no sound could be heard.  But she heard his screams though - loud, furious and painful.  The look of devastation on his face...

"Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that ... knowing what I've lost..."

Moments later, the peacefulness had been ripped away.  The bed along with Angel, had just been harshly stripped away and she was left alone.  Alone, sad, and terrified in the coffin six feet below, in Sunnyhell where all chaos was breaking loose.

Two hours away, in Los Angeles, Angel had been torn from peaceful slumber, from a happy dream of a wonderful memory.  Now, he was sitting up in bed with tears in his eyes, as he gasped for the air he didn't need.  He uttered one painful word.  "Buffy..."

In the Sunnydale Graveyard, Buffy pressed her pale skinned hands against the white, cushioned ceiling of her deathbed.  In that split second she contemplated letting herself suffocate.  Maybe she would be sent back to that happy place.  But then, maybe that place really was gone forever.  Maybe, if she let herself die like this, she would be sent to hell this time.  But no, they couldn't do that to a heroine no matter which way she died - could they?  Then again, since when were the powers doing things in her favor.  

So she whimpered, desperately as she scratched and punched through the coffin's exterior, and turned her face away as cold dirt poured in.   She was almost free.  Free for what? She thought, as she cried out loud for herself, and she cried for her Angel.

"They can never know. Never."

Two hours away, in the next city, Angel wept for Buffy.  He would know what her friends really did, and he wouldn't let it pass.  In that moment, it was decided that he'd go back to Sunnydale, where he was needed.  And they would weep together.