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Fanfic / Worlds Apart Buffy

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Worlds Apart and its sequel, Finding Joy in Your Long-Distance Relationship, by Taaroko depict an AU version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which later includes the events of Angel), diverging from canon just after "Faith, Hope and Trick" when the returned Angel is captured by the Watcher’s Council (who believe he’s ‘just’ Angelus) rather than being allowed to roam free, with the Council later using him for the Cruciamentum. Despite this seemingly dark beginning, Angel’s captivity by the Council sparks off a chain of events that lead to him becoming early friends with Wesley and having his soul anchored, allowing him and Buffy to resume their more intimate relationship and maintain a long-distance relationship even after he has to move to Los Angeles.

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This series contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Doyle makes contact with Angel while he's still in Sunnydale, informing Angel that the Powers That Be want him to relocate to Los Angeles.
  • Adaptational Villainy: A comparatively minor one (if ignoring the argument that Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil when he doesn’t actually do it); aware that she’s in a committed relationship, Parker tries to roofie Buffy rather than seducing her as in canon, but Angel smells the drug and orders Parker to leave her alone.
  • And I Must Scream: Angel and Wes each all-but-explicitly state that this applies to Angelus's current existence, trapped within Angel and only able to watch as Angel does good and protects humans, but Angel experiences this from the other side when Angelus takes control of his body during Gachnar's near-escape at the haunted frat house, trapping Angel under Angelus rather than their usual dynamic.
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  • Ascended Extra: Applies to Wesley compared to his original role in the show, as he goes from being the new Watcher nobody really liked to essentially serving as Angel’s Watcher even before officially resigning from the Council.
  • Badass Boast: The First delivers one to Faith after she kills the Bringers, taunting her with the idea that she will be working with it sooner rather than later.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Angel’s efforts to help Faith result in her developing a semi-warped attraction to him, which makes Angel uncomfortable when he realises that part of the plan to pretend he’s reverted back to Angelus would require him to respond to her advances.
  • Becoming the Mask: Applies to Faith here; she initially joins the Mayor as a double agent for the Scoobies, but while she warns Willow of the Mayor’s plans to kill her, she officially defects when she tries to trigger Angel’s clause to get Angelus on their side
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  • Better to Die than Be Killed: A non-fatal example of this; rather than the Council firing Wesley for incompetence, here he willingly resigns from the Council because he can no longer tolerate working for people who would consider himself and Buffy just as much traitors to their calling as Faith when their only 'crime' is not killing Angel.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Lyle Gorch comes across as this; he might be over a century old, but of the eight vampires gathered for the tournament, he’s the only one none of the watching student Watchers recognise, even when ‘Angelus’ has been absent and presumed dead for a century.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Despite recent issues with her, the gang let Faith take on the role of double-agent with the Mayor because she's the only one who'd work; most of the gang have school (and while Xander volunteered, he had nothing to offer the Mayor), the Mayor wouldn't buy Giles and Wesley, and there were too many risks involved in the idea of Angel posing as Angelus.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Finding Joy explores this, with Buffy and Angel alternating weekends in Sunnydale and Los Angeles.
  • Darker and Edgier: The events in the ‘haunted’ house in “Fear Itself” were relatively comical once it was all over and the nature of the threat exposed, but events become far darker when the house allows Angelus to take control, to the point that Angelus briefly tortures Anya to try and get Giles to help him work out a way to remain in control of the body before Buffy kills Gachnar and ends his influence.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Finding Joy sees Spike briefly acquire the Gem of Amara before Buffy takes it off and shoves it onto Angel’s finger, allowing him and Buffy to spend a relatively normal day together before Angel destroys the Gem.
  • Death by Adaptation: Harmony is killed off in her first post-vamped encounter with Buffy, as the author never really liked the character.
  • Defector from Decadence: When Buffy tells Wesley that the Council can consider themselves closed if the Scoobies can’t ask them for help in curing Angel, Wesley decides to quit from the Council himself, refusing to associate himself with men like his father and Quentin Travers who would basically torture a teenage girl in the name of an abstract test and would let his closest friend die just because Angel isn’t human.
  • Demoted to Extra: Zachary Kralik was a suitable choice for the Cruciamentum, but when faced with a fully-powered Slayer (particularly when he didn't know Buffy was the Slayer and just captured Joyce to play his latest game), he goes down fairly quickly.
  • Double Agent: This time around, Faith initially plays both sides when she joins the Mayor, but soon sides with the Mayor completely.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • When Buffy and Angel confront Tucker Wells, they are invited into the house by his younger brother, whose name Buffy doesn’t remember.
    • Not explicitly identified, but a young woman ‘tests’ Angel’s aura when she sees him with Buffy in the sunlight, and is assured that, while Angel isn’t human, he isn’t a threat.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Angel meets Parker, he muses that Parker is lower than he was as Liam; Parker and Liam might both have slept with girls and dumped them the next day, but at least Liam never gave anyone false impressions that he was looking for something more.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: When pretending he’s reverted to Angelus, Angel treats Faith a little more roughly than he would have liked in an attempt to make her realise what true darkness actually is, aware that if he really was Angelus he would have killed her immediately for her presumption.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Faith’s defection is more drawn out, as Angel was able to make a more active effort to help her without Wesley’s interference, but she still decided that the Mayor was treating her better than the Scoobies.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Even before learning about Angel's soul, Wesley considered it tragic that 'Angelus' had been reduced to a feral state after his time in Hell.
    • Wesley convinces the descendants of the gypsies who cursed Angelus to remove the clause from Angel’s curse by arguing that allowing Angel to be happy as he refuses human blood and kills demons and other vampires would be a far greater torment to Angelus than just cursing him with a soul.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Council decide to take possession of Alcathla at just the moment when Angel is returned to Earth; as a result, the Scooby Gang avoid some of their more relationship-damaging moments this season, as Giles is able to affirm his loyalty to Buffy over the Council and Buffy never actually hides Angel from the rest of the gang (she only delays telling them until the Council have gone).
  • Forced to Watch: Buffy spends a few months 'watching' Angel in her dreams while he's trapped in the Council's dungeon, although she assumes that she is picturing him in Hell and Angel assumes that the sense of Buffy is her coming to him from Heaven.
  • Genre Savvy: Buffy demonstrates this by the time of Finding Joy, when she observes to Angel that they have to talk about issues in their relationship before some supernatural event takes advantage of them, such as when Angelus temporarily took control and started suggesting that Angel would prefer Buffy as the 'bad girl'.
  • Hidden Badass: Oz isn't exactly a slouch after over a year with the rest of the gang, but when transformed into a part-wolf state he proves to be powerful enough to go up against Angelus and survive, to the point where Angelus found it easier to trap Oz somewhere else than keep trying to kill him.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance:
    • Giles reveals that the Watchers’ Council are completely unaware of Angel’s existence (as in, they are unaware that ‘Angelus’ was ever in Sunnydale with a soul) because he edited his reports to avoid mentioning Buffy’s relationship with Angel for her own safety.
    • When Angel and Wesley start talking during his time in the Council’s dungeon, Angel is unaware that as far as everyone on Earth is concerned, he’s only been in Hell for a few months, and Wesley is unaware that Angel thinks it’s around 2098, as neither of them ever bring it up.
    • When Buffy and Wesley initially meet, they are hostile to each other because Wesley believes Buffy killed Angel and Buffy thinks Wesley is just another standard Watcher who would have no problem killing Angel just because he’s a vampire; it takes them meeting in the Bronze and both automatically trying to protect Angel from the other to realise they’re wrong.
    • Faith is the last person in the gang to learn that the clause on Angel's soul has been dealt with, with Buffy not correcting Faith's assumption when she first realises that because she worries that Faith will make the relationship out to be more carnal than it actually is in her view.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Even with Angel absent, Buffy’s relationship with Scott still doesn’t work out, she manages to defeat the mutated Pete on her own, and the First still appears in Sunnydale at Christmas (albeit targeting Buffy rather than Angel).
  • Lack of Empathy: Travers is so unconcerned about Buffy’s emotional well-being that he is willing to pit her against what he believes to be Angelus when the aforementioned vampire nearly sent the world to Hell the last time Buffy faced him (Granted, he was unaware of their deeper history, but what little Travers knew should have made it clear that pitting Buffy against Angelus without her strength would not be psychologically healthy for her).
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: In Finding Joy Angel destroys the Gem of Amara to ensure that nobody will try to take it from him, recognising that it’s too dangerous to keep.
  • Offing the Annoyance: From the author’s perspective, this is why Harmony was just killed off the first time she appears in her vampire state.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Wesley was already curious about the gap in records on Angelus between 1898 and his reappearance in Sunnydale, but his suspicions become more significant when he sees ‘Angelus’ kill another vampire and essentially return to captivity to save the life of a human being.
  • Papa Wolf: Giles establishes himself as this, to the point that he reveals he has been hiding Angel’s existence from the Council ever since Buffy and Angel started dating even after Angel turned back into Angelus, initially because he recognised that Angel made Buffy happy and later because he refused to let the Council judge Buffy for her relationship with Angel as she never deserved their scorn.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The First delivers one to Buffy, primarily when it's assuming Angel's appearance, taunting Buffy with the idea that she is responsible for Angel's death and the deaths of everyone he killed as Angelus.
  • Relationship Upgrade: While Xander and Willow still have their 'secret smoochies', in general the Scooby Gang have a much stronger group dynamic this time around, ranging from Giles revealing the lengths he's gone to in order to stop the Council learning about Angel, Buffy not lying to the group about Angel's return, Angel and Wesley's brotherly bond, and Buffy and Angel's relationship surviving Angel's move to Los Angeles.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The author raises a point that this applies to a small but significant detail in the original series; when Angel returned from Hell he was originally naked, but he was wearing trousers when Buffy found him… and while it makes sense for Wesley to give the vampire trousers after he’s captured in this timeline, it raises the question of how and why a feral Angel acquired clothing in canon.
  • Status Quo Is God: In Finding Joy, Angel destroys the Gem of Amara even when he has a more developed ‘normal’ life.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Not brought up; Buffy and Angel keep each other up-to-date on events in their lives, but don’t travel back and forth specifically to help each other deal with any threats they might face, with Angel only helping Buffy stop Spike when he acquires the Gem of Amara because he was in Sunnydale at the time, but encouraging Buffy to go back to Sunnydale and let him, Doyle and Wesley worry about Cordelia's homelessness situation.
  • Took a Level in Badass: More like ‘Took an Early Level in Badass’, as Angel’s friendship with Wesley encourages Wes to work on his hand-to-hand combat skills more than he did in canon.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crime: Giles avoided mentioning Angel in his reports to the Watchers’ Council because he knew that they would only judge Angel as a vampire and immediately try to kill him regardless of his soul.
  • Villain Has a Point: Disregarded when Buffy and Angel think back on the Mayor’s speech about what he went through with his mortal wife; with the clause in Angel’s curse no longer an issue, Buffy can affirm that she doesn’t want a ‘normal’ life if she can’t have it with Angel, and the two reflect that it might be amusing if they live long enough for Buffy aging to be a factor in their relationship.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • On a personal level, Xander gets one from Buffy, Willow and Giles when they realise that he never told Buffy that Willow was going to try the curse again, Buffy and Willow believing that she might have been able to avoid sending Angel to Hell if she knew the plan and Giles observing that, regardless of his own issues with Angelus, Angel did not deserve to go to Hell with his soul intact just because Xander didn't like him.
    • Wesley expresses a low opinion of the gypsies who originally cursed Angelus, arguing to their descendants that their actions condemned an innocent man to suffer for decades with the guilt of sins he technically was never responsible for, while Angelus not only never suffered during that time but actually escalated his actions once he regained control.
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