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The One With the Angelic Face by Philip S is the first in an AU of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, based on one key difference; when the gypsies cursed Angelus, they didn’t stop at giving him a soul, but also turned him into a woman. As a result, Buffy tries to become friends with the female vampire Angela, unaware of her dark ally’s true past, only to experience a complete shift when Drusilla’s efforts split Angela and Angelus into physically separate entities, culminating in an emotionally shattering showdown that can only be resolves with the aid of certain ‘outside forces’…

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This series consists of seven stories; The One With the Angelic Face, You Do Have a Friend Here , In Need of a Sire, Surprise Times Two, Divided We Die, A Fallen Angel Rises, and Coming Home.

The One With The Angelic Face contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Buffy, naturally, but played with for Angela, as she’s out of practise after over a century of neglect and is also hampered by the fact that she’s not used to fighting as a woman (she directly muses at one point that her centre of balance has shifted, as well as her being naturally shorter and less muscular than Angelus).
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Justified because of ‘Angel’ being a woman; where canon saw Willow in favour of Buffy’s relationship with Angel while Xander was jealous of the ‘competition’, here Willow is the one ‘jealous’ of Angela (albeit in a purely platonic sense as she worries Angela will take her place as Buffy’s best friend) while Xander approves of Angela’s presence because he thinks she’s hot
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  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Where Toth appeared in the fifth season of Buffy, here he appears mid-way through what would have been the second season.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Mrs Gwendolyn Post, who used the gang to acquire a powerful artefact for her own use in canon, is here depicted as a loyal Watcher who helps them destroy the artefact in question.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Specifically averted, as Buffy clearly asserts to herself that she is not attracted to Angelus in any way, even when trying to consider how she would react if it was Angela in the male body
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Angela recalls Angelus having been a ‘lover’ of men and women in his time, but he was naturally into sex as a means of control and asserting his dominance rather than actual love, leaving Angela herself conflicted about her feelings for Buffy as she still thinks like a man with eighteenth century morals (Liam would have enjoyed being with two women at once, but the idea of two women on their own would have been weird at best from his perspective).
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    • For Buffy, she spends some time uncertain about her feelings for Angela, but despite acknowledging that she is attracted to cute boys, she eventually realises that she has fallen in love with Angela.
  • And I Must Scream: Angelus is reduced to this after Angela merges them back together, unable to do more than scream and rant from Angela’s subconscious.
  • The Atoner: Angela takes this role, naturally
  • Badass in Distress: Angela has this on various occasions, such as when she’s trapped in the cage in Willy’s bar or when she’s captured by Angelus (although downplayed on this case due to her weakening condition meaning that she was in trouble anyway).
  • Badass Normal: Averted; after she becomes human, Angela retains all of her existing knowledge of supernatural creatures and hand-to-hand combat, but she is unable to use it due to her physical condition.
  • Beast and Beauty: A 'platonic' version of this (from Buffy's perspective, anyway), when treating Angela after she's wounded by one of the Order of Takara, Buffy assuring Angela that the fact that her friend is in vamp face doesn't bother her.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Angela uses Spike’s old insecurities about how he compared to Angelus to try and provoke him into killing her before he can heal Drusilla; Buffy later suggests that Angela found it a lot easier to abuse Spike in the past compared to the effort he went to just to tie her down here (while unaware that Angela was a man at that point).
    • Any threat to Angela’s life tends to do this for Buffy, particularly after she’s separated from Angelus (even if the threat comes from Angela herself).
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Darla, Angelus/Angela, Drusilla and Spike; they’re not conventionally close, but there is a warped familial dynamic here
  • Birds of a Feather: Buffy believed that she was forming this kind of bond with Angela due to them both being women who fight in the darkness, musing to Willow at one point that Angela is the only thing that’s exclusively part of her ‘night life’ who doesn’t want to kill her, unaware of Angela’s deeper feelings.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Taken to the extreme; for various reasons, the human Angela is far less capable in a fight than her vampire counterpart.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Angelus subjects Angela to this, made even more disturbing because he’s now become so detached from his humanity that his demonic healing prevents him from even realising that he’s injuring himself in the process.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Not exactly ‘ha ha’ funny, but it says something about Willow’s priorities that, amid learning the truth about Angela’s past, the thing she most focuses on is that Miss Calendar isn’t a ‘real’ teacher.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After Angelus is separated from Angela, any attempt to confront him directly is generally this, due to his growing physical strength and his intimate knowledge of Buffy’s combat style from her training with Angela.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Angela wears black, but her heroism is unquestioned even after the gang witness Angelus in action.
  • Deadly Lunge: Spike tries to do this to Angelus in the final battle, but he’s been too badly battered by Angelus’s prior torture to do much.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After witnessing Angela both take Angelus back into herself and literally walk into Hell to save her, Buffy is left in a near-catatonic state while she hides out in Angela’s old apartment, grieving how she never managed to tell Angela she loved her; at one point, Willow finds Buffy sitting in the bathroom contemplating suicide so that she can go to Hell and be with Angela
  • Deus ex Machina: When Angela thought she was walking into Hell, she is met by an agent of the higher powers (using the form of Buffy to talk to her) who offers to either let Angela move on to Heaven or go back to Earth to be with Buffy.
  • Drunk with Power: Angelus demonstrates this as he revels in his growing strength, unaware of the cost of this boost
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mainly demonstrated as Angelus makes it clear that he doesn’t have any standards now, resorting to far bloodier battle plans and beatings as opposed to his subtler, more drawn-out manipulations.
  • Exact Words: When Spike asks Drusilla if she knows where Angelus is, Drusilla states “I don’t know where HE is”, but it takes a while for Spike to realise the implications of this statement.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Played with, considering that Angela and Angelus are distinctly separate entities rather than Angela going ‘evil’ in herself, although Angelus is still able to use Angela’s knowledge of the gang against them
  • Fate Worse than Death: After merging back with Angelus, Angela then has to literally walk into Hell to save the world.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Spike acts almost friendly to Angela and Buffy even after he’s spent the last few hours brutally beating and raping Angela for what she did to him as Angelus
  • Fish out of Water: After over a century and a half as a man, followed by her spending the next century after the curse in isolation, Angela has literally no idea what to do when Buffy drags her along to join a ‘girl’s night’ with Willow and Cordelia, and muddles her way through Buffy’s attempts to ask her what people did for fun when ‘she’ was alive
  • For the Evulz: Angelus demonstrates this to an even greater extent than in canon, as he no longer cares about the games he used to play with his victims
  • For Want of a Nail: This reality diverges from canon just because the gypsies made one change to the original curse…
  • Gender Bender: Angelus becoming Angela when cursed creates a series of subtle but significant changes to the original course of events.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Having resisted any suggestion that she and Angelus be merged back into one entity when it would save her life, Angela casts the appropriate spell when Angelus has awoken Akathler and is currently fighting Buffy, as she lacks the strength to do anything fatal to herself.
  • Groin Attack: When Angelus attacks Angela the first time they come face-to-face after the split, Angela stops him by delivering a knee to his groin, the pain affecting both of them but prompting Angelus to flee to work out what’s going on
  • Gypsy Curse: The reason for Angelus’s transformation into Angela, made even more extreme as not only did they turn Angelus into a woman to reinforce his punishment, but the spell they cast didn’t actually restore the original human soul to its body, but just stuck a completely innocent soul in there instead.
  • Half Truth: Once the truth about her vampire nature is revealed, Angela tells Buffy how she regained her soul, barring the fact that she was a man before she was cursed
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After learning that Angelus and her will eventually die if they remain separate entities, Angela is prepared to stay separate to stop Angelus’s evil for good. While accepting Angela’s refusal to recombine with Angelus, Buffy convinces Angela not to just commit suicide to stop her demon until they can find another solution, but in the end, Angela not only rejoins with Angelus, but then walks into Hell itself to stop Akathler destroying the world
  • Heroic Suicide: Angela literally walks into Hell to save the world.
  • Hunter of Her Own Kind: Angela is condemned by Spike for doing this (before he learns of their real history with each other), and attracts confusion from new Slayer Ashley when she sees Angela just walk up to a couple of other vampires and stake them for no obvious reason before she learns of Angela’s history.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Even in a world where Xander and Giles are her only regular male company and she has no obvious reason to consider Angela as a romantic partner, Buffy still doesn’t see Xander as anything more than a friend
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Spike and Angela both demonstrate this, Spike actually trying to attack Angelus to stop him destroying the world despite having spent the last few months being constantly tortured on top of his pre-existing paralysis while Angela still has the strength to cast the spell that merges her with Angelus in order to stop him killing Buffy.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Angela and Angelus demonstrate this to greater extent, considering that on this occasion they are distinctly separate entities in terms of their physical appearance as well as their spiritual status
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: After spending months uncertain how to react to the idea that Angela was born a man and has been in love with her basically since they met, Buffy finally realises that she returns Angela’s love just after Angela has sacrificed herself
  • Manipulative Bastard: Angelus’s reputation as this is referenced, but his degenerating mental state means that he doesn’t put it into practise
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Buffy and Angela as always, although it is comparatively downplayed as Angela is extremely reluctant to take things further
  • Missing Reflection: After Angela is separated from Angelus, she is shocked to see her female reflection for the first time; surprisingly, Angelus is actually able to see a vague impression of Angela when he looks into mirrors
  • Must Be Invited: When Angela and Angelus are separated, Angela moves to a new apartment he wouldn’t know about as there is no way to be sure if Angelus would require an invitation for a property that’s technically inhabited by ‘him’
  • No Name Given: In a sense; Angela creates her name on impulse when she first introduces herself to Buffy, as she’s spent a century never bothering to pick a name for her female identity
  • Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Considering that Angela and Angelus literally cannot exist as separate entities, this seems an appropriate assessment of their relationship
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Recalling how Spike never seemed to recognise Angela in their past encounters, Buffy wonders how someone like Spike, who strikes her as the type to hold a grudge, could forget everything Angela allegedly put him through in the past
    • After Angela is hit with Toth’s weapon, she initially experiences moments of heightened emotion, reverting to a near-feral level where she makes sexual advances to Buffy before regaining control of herself
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Angelus basically decides to destroy the world just to erase any knowledge that Angela ever existed
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Angelus hates everything that reminds him of his human life, to the point that he does his best to destroy every reminder of Angela’s existence, and plans to use a specific blade for the unique purpose of killing Angela and then keeping it somewhere as a memento
  • Power Degeneration: After being separated from Angela, the gang determine that Angelus is now becoming a pure vampire demon, which grants him increasingly greater strength (albeit with minor ‘issues’ like having trouble reverting to his human features on occasion), but with the cost that he will eventually become a pure demon and be unable to exist on this plane.
  • Possession Burnout: In a roundabout way; since Angela is no longer directly possessed by the vampire demon, she’s reverting to her ‘natural’ state of a two-centuries-gone corpse.
  • Put On The Bus: Faith is not the Slayer called after Kendra’s death in this version of events; after Kendra is killed trying to protect Angela, the new Slayer is an original character called Ashley
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The reason the gypsies turned Angelus into Angela is because of his numerous assaults against women left them wanting to ensure he suffered as his victims had suffered
  • Refuge in Audacity: While Giles discovers reference to Angelus in his books, and the gang soon establish that Angela was sired by Darla and sired Drusilla herself, despite various other subtle clues, it simply never occurs to any of them that Angela and Angelus are the same person due to the obvious gender difference
  • The Reveal: When talking with a higher power, Angela learns that she isn’t actually Liam in the body of a female vampire, but in reality the curse just stuck a completely fresh soul in her body that had no prior ties to life.
  • Revenge Myopia: Spike delivers a brutal beating to Angela for what she did to him as Angelus (and it’s strongly implied that he raped her), which in turn prompts Jenny to muse that her tribe’s revenge on Angelus has reached the point of being virtually pointless.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Angela has a few moments of disorientation and confusion while trapped in Willy’s storeroom and being tortured by Spike and Angelus.
    • Angelus begins to demonstrate this as time goes on, as his separation from Angela deprives him of his human influence and causes him to use more brutal actions than he would have used when he was originally active.
  • Secret Secret Identity: Angela relies on this to keep her secret for some time, as Darla is the only one of Angelus’s old vampire associates who was always aware that Angelus has been cursed to become a woman
  • Spared by the Adaptation: To a degree; Angelus ‘just’ beats Jenny to a bloody pulp and leaves her in a coma rather than immediately killing her, but at last report she was recovering from her injuries even if there was no guarantee that she would wake up.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Buffy tries to interrupt Spike while he’s bragging about how he tortured Angela.
  • Synchronization: Angela and Angelus are still linked despite being separate entities, such as Angela sensing when Angelus is drinking blood, having an orgasm, or just experiencing an intense fight, although she speculates that he is becoming too demonic to even be aware of her own sensations in return
  • Taking You with Me: Angela tries to trick Angelus into killing her to cause this, having learned that their still-extant connection means that both of them die if either of them is killed
  • The Unfettered: Angelus considers himself this, as his restoration deprives him of the human influence that he now perceives as holding him back.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: The revelation that Angela was originally a man prompts shock from the entire Scooby Gang (aside from Jenny Calendar who already knew this); Xander in particular (having spent the last few months crushing on Angela, albeit to a lesser degree than his crush on Buffy) is unable to say anything but “You were a man?” for the next few minutes.
  • Wham Line:
    • A slightly comic example; Xander’s joking comment about not wanting a doomed romance of Slayer and vampire inspires Buffy to consider the possibility that Angela is in love with her for the first time.
    • The moment when Angela learns that she was technically never a man, but just an innocent, unborn soul that got burdened with all of Liam/Angelus’s memories.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Angela just has a few hours to enjoy this moment when she finds herself restored to a living body, taking in her reflection and having her first actual meal in centuries, before she learns that Angelus has been separated from her rather than banished altogether
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