Everything had gone so wrong last night, yet everything went so right, and Buffy woke up disoriented. The light was indirect, coming from the west window instead of her own bedroom window. Then, she felt the long broad weight of Angel behind her in the bed, his---thing pressing against her bare butt. She felt her cheeks flame, as she remembered. Angel was asleep and, adorably, snoring. She carefully turned over in the sheet so she could look at him as he sleep. His hair was ruffled, his eyelids creased, and he had prickles of beard.
She had never ever been this close to a male, any male; not her dad, not any of her other boyfriends. Never this close to a man, and he was hers. He had said so.
Angel's eyes opened, and he slowly smiled. He trailed his fingertips along her bare hip, and she felt herself blushing again. He smiled, wider, his teeth very white. "You're so sweet," he said. "I can't believe we're waking up together, after everything."
Buffy sat bolt upright, clinging to the sheet. "Omigod, I have to get home or Mom'll kill me! And, and, the arm! And the Judge! I can't believe I forgot!"
Angel glanced out his narrow window. "It's only about five o'clock," he said, lying back. He touched her leg again, and she shivered.
This time, Angel did laugh, and she laughed with him, and lay back in his arms, her head on his bare shoulder.
"How do you feel?" he asked, kissing the top of her head.
"Different. The same," Buffy said. "I can't believe---I thought I'd feel shy."
"I don't think you can do that," Angel said. "Not after what you said last night. Remember?"
The whole world was different.
She didn't look any different, even though she kept sneaking peeks at her pocket mirror. Not glow-y, or older, or anything: just usual Buffy.
"So," Willow asked, in that gulping tentative fashion she sometimes had, "Angel didn't...didn't leave?"
"No point, really," Buffy said. "We got jumped and someone took the arm."
"Some birthday," Willow said.
Buffy tried to give a small, discreet smile, but the glory of last night seeped out of her eyes and she couldn't control her wide grin.
"Tell me!" Willow asked, thrilled.
Buffy took a swift look around the campus. "We did it," she whispered.
"You did it did it?" Willow gasped. "I mean---it ?"
"Yep," Buffy said. "It was---" she spread her hand with the Claddagh ring on the finger. "He gave me a ring before the fight happened, when he was leaving. It's to let everyone know I belong to him." When she remembered how completely she belonged to Angel, her face reddened.
Willow looked stunned. "How---"
"So good it should be illegal," Buffy said, in a rush.
"It k-kinda is, " Willow said. "You're still underage and he's definitely over twenty-one!"
Xander had a brilliant inspiration about the Judge, and so that was all right. Who knew that he'd have hidden memories about being a mercenary or whatever?
Selfishly, what was foremost in Buffy's thoughts was sleeping with Angel, and keeping it secret from Giles.
"I'm a sex maniac," she told Angel, after they had ducked into a crypt on patrol and did it. Buffy had wrapped her legs around Angel, and he had to put his hand on her mouth to keep the others from hearing her scream.
"No, you're just discovering yourself," Angel said, zipping himself up. "And you're the Slayer, Buffy. You're---unique."
"Am I?" she whispered. "Am I---good?"
Angel took her face between his hands. "I feel alive when I'm with you," he said. He brushed her lower lip with his thumb. "All the same, we're going to have to do something about Spike and Drusilla," he said, louder.
Buffy blinked, then heard Xander's voice just outside the crypt. "I don't know---how about, oh, staking them?" He looked inside, his face sharp with suspicion.
"That's one method," Angel said smoothly. "Of course, he has a regiment of vampires there with him."
"Rocket launcher, remember?" Xander said. "Buffy, Giles says Jenny has some information---we need to meet up at the library."
"You shouldn't come through the cemetery alone," Angel said, in his quiet way, to Xander.
Xander's face darkened in the light of the street lamp. "Hey, I can handle myself, remember?"
Angel made a sound like a snort.
"Boys," Buffy said reprovingly. They subsided, muttering to each other on the way to the library.
The night after that, Buffy's period started. She thought that it would be icky, but it so wasn't. Angel was so big down there that her blood actually lubricated things, and yuck that she now knew what that meant and why Xander always snickered at the "Kwiki-Lube" sign at the gas station. They were in her room, the television on, homework spread out on her desk just in case of parental checks. Joyce was working on the gallery books at the dining room table, and they were safe. Angel could always hear everything going on in the house, anyway.
Buffy reached behind her, and held on to the headboard as Angel slipped in and out of her, his eyes closed in passion. That she could do this to him, that he seemed practically enslaved by her----it made the heat between her legs increase, made the jolts of sensation more intense. By now, she could tell when she was going to come, it was like the rickrickrick of a roller coaster going up the incline and then he did that thing with his hand that pushed her over the top, and she was flying out of her body almost, riding him, him riding her, them riding the roller coaster and up again and over again and he was there too. Angel collapsed on top of her, his sweat dripping onto her boobs.
Then he roused himself, and smiled. "Let me clean you up," he said.
"Okay," she said, and he pulled out, his thing, his dick, it still plump and long but not standing up, red with her blood. He swiped his hand over his balls and squeezed his dick hard, and then licked the come and blood off his fingers. Buffy felt her eyes and mouth opening wide with surprise, and then he lowered his head and licked her thighs.
She twitched, and he chuckled. "Just wait," he said.
Then she felt his tongue on her and in her and she had to stuff a corner of the sheet into her mouth for a minute. When he was done, she felt him rest his face on her tummy. He moved, and she felt the hardened ridges of his vampire face rubbing just under her navel.
"Angel?" she whispered.
He raised his head. "I'm sorry," he said, his eyes glittering yellow. His face changed back. "I couldn't help it, Buffy. It was like the first time we kissed."
"I don't care," she whispered. "I wouldn't care if you looked like that when we do it."
He laughed, low. "Don't tempt me."
Jenny Calendar died in the school courtyard, chased down by Drusilla and killed with a swift upward jolt of the heel of her hand to Jenny's chin. Buffy and Giles were just coming down the stone steps, Giles fitting a bolt to his cross-bow, while Angel raced out of the shadows on Drusilla's heels. It was exactly backwards from Buffy's dream, because Drusilla exploded in a cloud of dust and a curious mewling cry.
Her dust lingered in the air, and Jenny's body fell through it in slow-motion. Buffy stopped for a beat, unbelieving, and Giles raced on down the stairs. Angel stood, back to her, head bowed. When Buffy reached him, he turned swiftly to her, his eyes wet. "I was too late," he said. "I couldn't help her."
"Why?" Giles asked. "Why was Jenny----"
"Drusilla was saying something about gypsies, " Angel said, his hands still on Buffy's shoulders. "That Jenny was a gypsy." He dropped his hands. "She's always hated gypsies for giving me my soul."
"Jenny?" Buffy said. "She's not a gypsy."
Apparently, Ms. Calendar was a gypsy. Her uncle was found murdered, and his belongings turned up her name and address at the school. "The police are saying some kind of gypsy revenge plot," Xander said, disgusted. "I think it was a vampire revenge plot."
"Drusilla's gone," Buffy said. "Angel blames himself for not---"
"He is to blame! He should have killed her right away!" Xander shouted.
"We're outside, " Cordelia hissed. She untied and retied the sleeves of the sweater draped across her shoulders.
"It's okay, Cordy," Willow said. "We are outside. In the sun."
"Yeah, but it gets dark," she said. "I think this stuff is hazardous to our health."
"You think?" Buffy asked sarcastically.
"It's odd," Oz said, speaking for the first time. "Kids drop like flies here in Sunnydale, but everyone is talking about Ms. Calendar like she was with the Mafia. It's as though the adults have to keep believing that nothing is going to happen to them." He looked at Willow. "Or not."
"My parents are wigged," Willow said. "They want to take me with them on spring vacation. That's a first."
"Where are you going?" Cordelia asked, interested.
Willow said, "San Francisco. There's a convention. We're flying up."
"God!" Cordelia said. "And my life just gets worse."
"Hey!" Xander objected. He turned to Buffy. "How's Giles doing?"
"Not good, but he's holding up," Buffy said. "I've been having nightmares." But Angel's there to hold me, she thought.
Oz gazed up at the sky, his forehead wrinkling. "I guess he'll be around to lock me up, right?"
"It bothers me how Giles is drinking again," Buffy whispered to Angel that night. "Like he was before?"
"Mm," he said, his lips in her hair. "Yeah. He hates me, because I couldn't save Jenny."
Buffy rolled over onto his chest. "I don't hate you," she said.
Angel's eyes glinted in the moonlight shining through the blinds. "Show me," he said. "What will I do for a whole week without you?" she sighed.
"Remember me," he said into her mouth.
As soon as Buffy got back into town, she called Willow; no answer. "Xander, hey! Is Willow with you?"
"No, she hasn't even sent a postcard," he said. "But hey, you know that old factory that we talked about?"
"Yes," she said, cautiously.
"It burned down. I think certain people torched it. "
"Come on over," she said. "I can't run off from Mom my first evening back!"
"Okay," Xander said, and hung up.
"Giles set off on a revenge mission," Xander said, his mouth full of popcorn. "And he and Angel killed any vamps that got out. So I guess that took care of Spike."
"They planned it?" Buffy asked, upset. "For when I was gone?"
"No," Xander said. "I think Giles was drinking. He says it was very ill-judged of him."
"Or Giles knew I'd stop him," Buffy said. "Look, let's get Mom to drive you home. She won't let me walk you home, and things are a little too creepy."
"I'm fine with that," Xander said, not moving. "After the movie is over."
"What about Cordelia?" Buffy asked.
Xander blew out a breath. "She's mad at me about something---hasn't called me back."
Buffy felt the hair rise on the back of her neck. "Wait--you haven't heard from her?"
"No, why?" he asked, slowly.
"Xander, we have to find her!" Buffy said. "Something could have happened!"
Xander snatched up his jacket and ran out the back door. Buffy followed, and they ran down the street. They were through the neighborhood and into the business section when they saw a familiar red convertible outside the Espresso Pump, and Cordelia standing beside it... wearing a cross around her neck.
Xander and Buffy ran up to her and threw their arms around her.
"Ew," Cordelia protested. "What the are you doing, Xander Harris? You're sweaty!"
"We thought something had gotten you," Xander said, not letting go.
"You did? " Cordelia asked. "Let go of me already! Not you, Xander."
"Buffy! Xander!" Willow called, from across the street. "I have souvenirs from the science museum for you!"
"I suddenly feel better," Cordelia muttered.
Not that month, but the month after, Giles didn't lock all the locks to the book cage, and Oz-as-werewolf escaped. He didn't hurt Giles, maybe because Giles was in a stupor. No one else got hurt, that got reported, that is. But, the van was gone from the school parking lot the next day, and no one saw Oz again.
"Buffy----I honestly don't remember drinking more than one drink," Giles said. "However, I think I should put in my resignation as your Watcher."
"No!" Buffy said, appalled. "Giles you---you can't do that! What would I do without you?"
"Very well, I imagine," Giles said dryly. "My incompetence grows in leaps and bounds."
Buffy paced around Giles' tiny living room. "But, Giles, it isn't though werewolves are---are---usual parts of the job."
"Indeed not," Giles said. "But I really must pull myself together." He looked anxiously out his window, at the street-lights coming on. "I'll meet you after patrol. I really must consult my books."
"Oh, come with me," Buffy said.
"No," Giles said. "You have Angel, fortunately. See if any of his---sources---have heard anything regarding Oz."
"Will do," Buffy said. She almost skipped out of Giles' apartment. "I'll see you at the library!"
She didn't see Angel, though, until she had patrolled two cemeteries and staked no less than three fledges struggling up out of their graves.
"Buffy, thank God!" he said, running to her. He enfolded her in a painful hug.
"Why? What?" she asked, her hands caught in his
"I thought you were in the car with Giles," he said.
"Car---no," Buffy said, pushing Angel back. "Did something happen?"
Angel looked down into her eyes, and took her hands in both of hers. "He crashed his car. Buffy, he's dead."
"Buffy, sweetheart," her mother said. "You have to go back to school."
"No," Buffy said, her hands over her swollen eyes. She lay back on her bed, the blinds pulled against the harsh light of day.
"I know this is hard for you, having two teachers killed. And Mr. Giles was always so concerned about your studies! Willow and Xander are here, and they need you. Remember, Mr.
Giles wouldn't have wanted you to skip school."
"No," Buffy said. "He wouldn't."
"Will the Watcher's Council send a replacement?" Xander whispered to Buffy. He, like Willow, looked pale and red-eyed. "Even Cordelia's wanting to know."
"I don't know," Buffy said, heavy-hearted. Her head was killing her. "It was months between Watchers. I never heard from them."
"We'd better, you know, get the important books from his apartment," Willow said, listless.
"Angel said he'd take a look around," Buffy said.
"Great," Xander said.
"Xander, don't---" was all Buffy got out before she fainted.
She had the 'flu, it seemed. She remembered, much later, seeing Xander visit her, and she thought she remembered hearing him argue with Angel.
"Buffy's white knight," Angel said. "You still love her. It must just eat you up that I got there first."
"You're going to die," Xander said, low, furious. "And I'm going to be there."
"No!" Buffy said, sitting up in bed.
Her voice brought Joyce into the room. "Boys, get out! Xander, you and your friend know better!" She went to Buffy's bedside. "Honey, you're doing much better, but if your fever doesn't go down, I may reconsider taking you to the hospital."
"We're not friends," Xander said, angrily.
Angel gave her mother a bouquet of flowers. "We'll go, Mrs. Summers," he said. "I'm sorry."
"I'll see you later," Buffy said to both of them. "Make sure Willow is okay?"
She and Joyce watched them walk out., "Two boys checking on you, and flowers," Joyce said, laying the bunch on the dresser. "But I still think Angel is a little old for you, honey."
"See, you're feeling better, already!" Joyce said brightly. "Now, if Willow comes over, I'll let her come up."
"Willow?" Buffy asked. "She called?"
"She has your homework assignments," Joyce said.
"I think I need my sleep," Buffy said.
"Willow got your bug," Cordelia told Buffy, a couple of days later. "I think the Rosenbergs had to put her in the hospital to keep her from going to school."
"Willow's in the hospital?" Buffy said, horrified. "Have you gone to see her?"
Cordelia gave her a long look. "We're not exactly best friends," she said. "And I don't want to catch it."
Buffy rubbed her head. "I haven't seen her since I got sick. She dropped off my books, but didn't stay."
"Maybe Xander's heard from her?" Cordelia asked. "Things are getting creepy around here. Willow gave half the third grade chicken pox, because she wouldn't stay home from school!"
"It wasn't chicken pox," Xander said, dropping beside her on the bench. "She had poison ivy, and Harmony got it because she was trying to rub mud in Willow's hair."
"Harmony never has had any subtlety," Cordelia said, unrepentant. "But I'm just sayin', I never knew Willow to go missing."
"I have to stay late and make up a couple of tests," Buffy sighed. "Xander, you haven't heard from her?"
"No, but Willow hasn't been herself since Oz, and G-Giles." He gulped at Giles' name, but Buffy's expression was stoic.
She let herself in the front door that evening, calling, "Mom? I had to stay late. Don't get mad, okay? I told you----" she stopped short. The house was dark, except for a single lamp in the living room.
Her mother lay on the living room couch, her throat torn out, an expression of horror on her face.
"Your Mom let me in," Willow's voice said, from the foyer. She walked around the corner. She had a trickle of blood trailing from her mouth, and her little pink tongue shot out and licked it.
Buffy fell on her knees. "No. Willow. No."
"Oh, you're no fun," Willow complained. She fanged out. "I'd stay, but I have a bone to pick with Cordelia." She pulled open the front door, and ran out, leaving the door open.
"Mommy," Buffy whispered. "I have to---I have to call---Mommy, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She fell forward on her hands and threw up. She staggered to her feet and went to wipe her face. She knew she should try to call Cordelia, knew she should do something, but her head hurt so badly that she felt as though she was going blind. She couldn't stand it. She couldn't stand it.
Leaning on the wall, feeling her way, she thought, "I'm blind but I can see. I'm not here. It's all in my mind." Then, back in the living room, her mother lay on the couch.
"I have to keep you from rising," she said. "Mommy, how can I stake you?"
A very long time later, she felt Angel's hands on her shoulders. When Buffy tried to speak, her throat was raw.
"You've been screaming," Angel said in her ear.
"It's a nightmare, isn't it?" she asked him. "No one's died, have they? I've---I dreamed it when I was sick."
"No," he said. "It's all real. Willow killed your mother. Giles is dead. Jenny is dead. Oz is dead."
Buffy felt as though something broke inside her. "I can't stand it," she said. "Angel, I can't stand it. Take me away. Take the pain away."
"It would be more merciful, wouldn't it?" Angel said.
"Yes," Buffy said. She smoothed her hair from her neck. "I just want to forget."
"I'll make it all go away," he promised, and then she felt his fangs in her neck.
No idea that she once had Death Himself within her grasp, curled in her fingers and trapped between her thighs. ------"Six Feet Deep" by Kita and Jessica Walters.
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Summary: Even if Angel hadn't lost his soul, people would have died in Sunnydale
For Chrislee with love.