She shouldn’t have been there, his town, his building, his office. She shouldn’t have done what she had done. She should’ve have left him to live his life the way he had been, she shouldn’t have changed it. When it came down to it, she couldn’t, she was drawn to him. Moth to flame, he was shelter in the rain, her savior.
“I did something selfish.”
Angel’s head snapped up at the quiet voice in his doorway. He’d barely felt her coming; he had woken up that morning by a deep burning in his chest, and even now it still tingled. It distracted from the feel of his mate, letting her sneak into his office unnoticed.
“Buffy, what–” She put her hand up, cutting him off before he started. She was sure if he spoke she would die in his arms before she could reveal her sins. She looked down at the floor and closed her eyes. The guilt had been eating at her since the moment she’d made the wish; that she had made such a huge decision without talking to him, without even knowing if he wanted it.
“I had a wish,” she said, her voice wavering. “I could’ve wished for anything. I could have ended all the evil in the world, or just been a normal girl, no slayer powers or anything...” She swallowed hard, remembering everything else she could have done; rescued the people she did not save, her Mom, Tara. She could have saved the world with one wish... but she didn’t. “But instead I chose you.”
The silence in the room was heavy as his mind tried to process what she was saying. It hit him all at once and his hand wandered over to his chest, over his heart...
“My soul,” he said, in shock and wonderment. She gave him his soul, she had the most wonderful gift in the world, and she gave it to him.
She nodded, only to burst into tears a moment later. “I’m so sorry,” she sobbed, not seeing Angel’s stunned look. “I used to hate it when you made all the decisions about us without talking to me and now here I am doing the same thing. I don’t even if this is what you wanted, or even if you still want me... I just... I’m so sorry...” She barely finished as she lost herself to tears completely. Angel was up from his desk and holding her in his arms before she could fall.
He stroked her hair, shushing her softly. He wanted to tell her that it was okay, that he didn’t care that she didn’t consult him because she had given him such an amazing gift. He wanted to tell her to stop crying before she made herself sick. He wanted carry upstairs and take her forever. He wanted to make love with her until they were spent, he wanted to feed her until she couldn’t even look at food anymore. She was too skinny, he could feel her spine though her thin sweater. He wanted to promise her that he’d take care of her until the day she died, and that he would never leave her again or try to force into the normal life that they both knew she couldn’t have.
But he was rooted in his spot and the only word that would leave his mouth was: “Why?”
“Because I wanted you so badly,” she wailed, “Because I wanted to take comfort in you and I knew you would lose your soul.” She sniffled and clutched the front of his shirt. He didn’t need to hear the rest, he remembered the speech, he knew the story and the painful feelings that came with it.
“It’s okay, Buffy, I promise it will be okay, I swear it,” he whispered soothingly, but it only seemed to make the crying worse.
“How do you know? How can it be okay when you hate me? How can it be okay when the only man I’ve even loved hates me!” she screamed, holding him tighter with each word.
Gently, he moved one hand from her hair and started rubbing her back. The other hand went to cup her cheek, bringing her eyes to meet his.
“Buffy, look at me.” She blinked her watery gaze finding warm, welcome chocolate and she nearly lost herself in them. “I don’t hate you, I could never hate you, it’s not even on the list of things possible.”
She blinked again, more tears spilling over her cheeks. “But, how... Angel–”
His thumb passed over his lips, ending her soon-to-be ramble, “Don’t. Just kiss me.” His lips met hers, in a tentative welcome, keeping it light so she could pull away if she chose. She, however, responded eagerly, with hot passion. Deepening the kiss and clinging to him like drowning woman to a lifeboat. Her arms moved and wrapped around him, greedy hands grabbing whatever they could find. As she pressed herself more fully against him his hands wandered as well. One making its way back to her golden tresses, the other getting a grip on her firm behind, lifting her up.
Before she knew what was happening, she was sitting on Angel’s desk and there was a hand working on the buttons of her sweater, while her hands, without her consent, had begun working on his maroon silk shirt.
Obviously age and experience won out, because her top was undone first and he opened it up to uncover a hunter green lace bra that made her eyes shine. The visual feast was not enough for him, he put his hand between her breasts and pushed her down until she was flat on the desk. Leaning over her, he took mouthfuls of skin, starting at the neck and working his way down.
She arched into him, running her fingers in his hair and forcing his head closer to her. Pants and whimpers escaped her lips as his mouth and tongue worked magic on her cleavage. Any control she had left was lost the moment he touched her lace covered nipple.
“ANGEL!” she cried out, not caring who heard as long as he never stopped touching her. Angel, however, chose that moment to come back to his senses; they were in his office where anyone could hear or walk in. If it were another woman, he might not have cared, but this was Buffy; it was just more intimate and private. She deserved to made love to properly, in a bed where no one could interrupt and prying eyes couldn’t see. Reluctantly and with all the willpower he possessed, he pulled away from her and stood up.
The flush of passion left Buffy’s mind quickly as he pulled away. She blushed deeply as she realized what she’d done, what she’d mostly done. She was splayed out on desk, blouse open; heavily breathing in a room with an ex who, five minutes ago, she was not even sure wanted her. Feeling foolish, she grabbed the fronts of her sweater and tried to cover up.
“Don’t,” he commanded, taking her hands and pulling her into a sitting position.
“It’s okay, Angel, I know you don’t want–” He cut her off with a quick, hot kiss that was full to the brim with all the passion he held for her. When he tore away from her, she realized he was panting as hard she was, which was a lot for someone who didn’t need to breathe... and that wasn’t the only hard thing about him.
He rested his forehead against her, trying to calm his breathing, but nothing seemed to help, just being near her got him worked into the frenzy. He idly wondered how they managed to make it during their last year together.
“Upstairs with me, please.” The last part was a genuine plea and her heart couldn’t say no to him. She could only nod, feeling too much to say or do anything else. He picked her up and carried her bridegroom style to his bedroom.
His fingers trailed over the skin of her arm, as she slept curled up at her side, her legs tangled with his and her nose buried in his chest. Her arm was lazily tossed over his hip, but she tightened every time his shifted, as though as long as she was holding him, she knew he’d come to no harm. He didn’t dare wake her, but he couldn’t stop touching her.
Once they had made it into the bedroom, he laid her down on the silk sheets and began to undress her slowly, pouring all the love he felt into every touch and kiss. She trembled beneath him, almost in fear, not fear of him or even the curse, but some unseen demon. As he’d begun to remove her last layer of clothing, he asked her if she wanted to stop.
He remembered the fear flinting in her eyes and she had paused for a moment, before she crushed her mouth to his and begged him to never stop. He didn’t ask what had happened to make her afraid, there was time for that later, but he took care to make sure she felt safe with him. He was extra gentle with her, his kisses never demanding, only taking what she gave. His touch was never intrusive, but like light like feathers. When his body came to rest over hers, he offered to let her be on top. She declined, promising him that she was okay now and asked him again to make love to her.
He could not refuse her.
It wasn’t the crazed passion that they’d had downstairs, it was slow and deliberate. It took him all two hundred plus years of control to keep from pounding her into the wall, but even more than that, he could tell she needed him to be gentle and loving with her, that she needed to remember what being loved felt like.
She’d kept her eyes locked with his; as if she had to be sure it was right. As his lips danced over her and his hands worked their magic on her breasts, she allowed her eyes to fall close and her body be overtaken by the sensations. He kissed her again, relaxing into her and increasing his pace even so slightly. She moaned and started chanting his name, it was barely a breath, but as she got closer to her peak, her mantra became louder until she was screaming his name in rapture. Her legs curled around his waist and her fingernails made little crescent marks in his back as she held on.
He tilted her head and found his scar on her neck, suckling it as he sped up his thrusts just enough to send her over the edge. She came with cry into his shoulder, arching even more into him, as he joined her, coming deep inside of her. She fell boneless in his arms and tears of joy prickled at her eyes. He kissed every single one away before taking her in his arms and holding her as she drifted off to sleep.
Now, hours later, he wanted to know why she had react the way she had. He already knew it was bad, but there was nothing in the world that could make him turn away from her.
As her mind became aware again, she kept her eyes closed as she tried to remember her foreign but achingly familiar surroundings. She was in LA, with Angel, in his arms. She was safe.
“Morning,” he whispered, brushing her cheek as her eyes fluttered open. She briefly looked up at him through her lashes, before burying her face in his chest.
“You’re still here,” she breathed, her voice hitching a sob as her arms tightened around him. He held her against him, whispering nonsensical words of reassurance, trying to calm her as more sobs shook her body. Her nails dug into his skin, confirming to herself that he was there, that it was real, that they had really made love the night before.
He didn’t even wince as her nails broke his skin, only kissed the top of her head and continued to express his love for her. “I’m not going anywhere, baby, I promise. Just calm down, you’ll make yourself sick.” Her only response was sobbing harder. He didn’t know what was going on, but the strain on her had been as plain as day from the moment she walked into his office. He could feel it vibrating off her in waves of pain even now, so he waited until she calmed down enough to talk to him.
Eventually her constant sobs turned into intermittent sniffles. She snuck a look at up, his eyes were a mix of concern and adoration. Even with puffy eyes, a big red nose and her snot all over his chest, he still looked at her like she was the only woman in the world.
Dropping a kiss on her forehead, he looked at her with a half-smile on his lips, that one that seemed to be saved just for her. “You feeling better now?” he asked, the worry obvious in his voice.
Buffy suddenly felt as though she was going to be deeply ill, she hadn’t done anything to deserve his love and concern, his tender looks, his sweet kisses. She was a lie, she had fucked her mortal enemy because she had been too chicken to face the world. She was weak and selfish and now she was forcing her faults on him. Life got to hard and she copped out, what comfort did she deserve? What the hell has she been thinking? She should have never made that wish, never come to LA to see him. He loved someone who didn’t exist anymore, if he loved her at all. Suppressing the urge to vomit, she violently pushed him away, and scrambled out of the bed.
“I have to go,” she choked out, rooting around for her clothes, grabbing the first thing she could to cover up her exposed skin, which ironically was Angel’s shirt. Angel was stunned; he got out of bed, and quickly pulled on his pants, not bothering to button them. He grabbed her wrist as buttoned up his shirt, firmly, but not enough to hurt her.
“Buffy,” he said gently, “what’s going on?”
“Nothing,” she snarled, trying to yank her wrist from his hand, but he wouldn’t let go, and if she was honest with herself, she wasn’t really trying that hard.
“Yes, there is something. And I don’t know about you, but this time around I was looking forward to a relationship where we can be honest with each other.” Not that it had really been either of their faults the last time, but that wasn’t the point at the moment.
She stopped struggling against him and her eyes snapped up to meet his, big green doe eyes that stole his heart again right in that moment. “Re-re- relationship? You want a relationship with me?”
The uncertainly in her eyes torn at his heart, “Of course I do, Buffy. Did you think I was just going to make love to you and send you away?”
“Oh,” she chipped, “You just want a relationship because we fucked. Newsflash, I’m not in high school anymore, I don’t need pretty lies because you feel guilty about sex. I can handle the rejection.” She hissed, pushing him away.
Angel stumbled back a few steps, startled, not only by the force she pushed him with, but also by what she had said. How could she ever think that he felt guilty about being intimate with her? Out of all things he wished he could take back, not one of them was a kiss from her lip, or a touch of her skin against his. Not even their first time together would he have taken away if he could. Each moment was a treasured gift, kept in a special place in his mind and heart. He loved her with every unneeded breath he took, so much that some days he thought he would burst from it.
“First off, I have never, *ever* fucked you. What we just did was not fucking, Buffy, I don’t care what you say. You trembled in my arms and I kissed you with everything in me, I held you in my arms while you slept. You asked me to make love to you, and I did, don’t you dare cheapen that.”
“Fine, whatever, we made love, it doesn’t change anything.” she dismissed, still rooting around for her pants.
“Listen to me,” he firmly, taking her by the wrist again and turning her to face him. “This isn’t about just sex, I love you, I always have, I couldn’t stop if I tried and I don’t want to.” He let one of her wrists fall from his hand, and he took her chin between his fingers. “You have brought unimaginable joy into my life, even with the pain I would never give away my memories of you; they have kept me going when nothing else did. So yes, I want to make love to you everyday, but I also want to see you when you first wake up. I want to watch you fuss over your hair in the mornings and fuss at me about my inadequate mirrors. I want to fight with you over silly movies and you pouting until you get your way, I want to fight along side the only person who knows what move I’m going to make before I do. That’s what I want.”
Tears brimmed under her lashes and she shook her head vigorously. “No, you don’t even know me anymore. I’m so screwed up, Angel, that no could want me. I’m horrible, disgusting.” She swallowed back the lump in her throat and tried to avert her eyes.
“No, Buffy. Don’t you get it? I love you and want you however you are, whoever you are. I want the woman who makes my soul fill and my skin itch when she walks into the room. I want the woman who had a wish that could have changed the world, and used it on me. That’s still you, it can’t be anyone else.” He brushed the first tear away from her cheek almost before it fell.
“That’s what you want? Are you sure?” She shoved him away, anger flashing in her eyes. “You want the Buffy who was so fucked up from coming back from Heaven that she spent three months screwing Spike just to feel alive. You want Buffy the college dropout who flips burgers at the Doublemeat Palace? The one who was so self-absorbed that she didn’t notice Willow’s addiction to magic or Dawn’s shoplifting? Is that who you fucking want!”
She pounded her fists into his chest with enough force to knock a human to the ground; he didn’t even stumble. “You want the broken girl who nearly let herself get raped by a soulless demon?” She hit him again, harder this time. “The one who makes everyone who loves her go away.” She sniffled, and hit him again and again until her punches ran out of steam. He took her hands softly and ran his lips over her knuckles.
“Yes, I do.”
She collapsed against his chest and let out a cry that pulled from the bottom of her soul. Her tears flowed freely and unchecked down her cheeks, and he could barely make out what she said between her gasping sobs. “Oh god, oh god, I’m so sorry. You’re the only one I could come to, you’re the only place I feel safe, please don’t send me away, please,” Her words were lost in her tears. She held on to him, like life raft during a raging storm. He sat them both on the floor, murmuring nonsensical comfort as he rocked her gently. She cried out her pain to the only man who understood her, and he held her close, sheltering her until the waves passed.
Chapter 3 You were holding to me, like a someone broken and I couldn't tell you but I'm telling you now
He held her long after she stopped crying. The silence comfortably blanketing them as she occasionally sniffled against his chest. He didn’t dare speak first, knowing that she’d spent so much time with people trying to make her talk, and making herself not to, that she had to know that she could be herself in his arms. She could scream and cry, she could not utter a single word. He wouldn’t pressure her either way, she could just be. She felt safe with him, he knew that, and he wasn’t about to betray that in any way.
Nuzzling the crown of her hair, his senses wrapping themselves in her, her scent like vanilla and flowers, her pain was sharp, like a thousand tiny needles prickling at his skin. Once upon a time, the sensation would have given him a rush, releasing euphoria into the borrowed blood in his veins, spurring him on for the kill. Now it just sickened him, to know that she was hurting so badly and there wasn’t anything he could do, but hold her.
There was also her life force, he could feel her heartbeats against his chest, he listened, counting the beats as it steadily pumped blood through her. She was sunshine incarnate, when they first met, he’d been afraid to touch her, as if he might turn to ash solely from light radiating from her. She was true, golden and pure. She had the heart of a warrior and woman; she didn’t prey on the weakness of the undeserving, and went out of her way to help those in need. Nothing, not being torn from the Heavens, not screwing Spike, could ever change that.
Suppressing growl, he wouldn’t allow himself to show any outward sign of anger that thoughts of Spike brought him. Anger at Spike for taking advantage of a clearly emotionally unstable Buffy, for trying to... he could bring himself to think the words, though he had committed the same sin many times during his soulless years, just the idea of Buffy going through that made his stomach churn. Angel had a feeling Spike’s interest in Buffy was twofold: one, she was a slayer and Spike had been obsessed with them since they first told him what one was, the other was about him and though he hated to think that he had any part in this, the truth was he probably did. Spike had never forgiven Angelus for taking away Dru, who Spike considered his, and on some level, this was Spike’s way at getting back at him.
He felt the bile rising and held Buffy a little tighter, even when none of them would admit it, Buffy belonged to Angel, and he to her. They were never friends, they always were and always will be something more, something deeper. She is his soul and he is her salvation.
Almost more than he was angry with Spike, he was angry with himself. Angry for leaving Buffy that night on the beach after she came back, he’d known, from the moment his soul felt hers again, that something was wrong, that she was in pain. And he never should have left after seeing her that night. That Buffy felt that Spike was the only one she could turn to, that he hadn’t been there for her, he mentally snorted in disgust. He didn’t even deserve to be comforting her right now.
But he was, because it was what she needed and it was about damn time she got whatever she wanted. Spike was water under the bridge, they would have to deal with it, as a couple and as individuals, but it was in the past, they could move on. He’d been there, and he’d gotten through it. The darkness he felt that night with Darla, like he was drowning in and finally succumb to. Granted, he hadn’t spent 3 months fucking... although he probably spent that long chasing after her going insane...
That moment a thought slammed into his chest so hard, that if he’d been breathing, he would’ve gasped.
She had come to him, baring her battered soul and splintered heart and he had yet to tell her of his greatest joy and his biggest failure. By far his worse sin over his two hundred plus years. He’d never told Buffy about Connor.
“I’m sorry,” her voice croaked into the quiet. Her brain had spent last ten minutes thinking of something witty to say, or some way to excuse her ping ponging emotions, but that was the only thing that came out. Nothing she could think of could justify the ways she’d just treated him, in his own home for goddess sakes. She couldn’t figure out why she came here anyway, other than the insane pull toward him, her need for understanding and solace, and... Okay, she just answered her own question. Still, it wasn’t really an excuse. “I keep having to say that to you, don’t I?” she whispered sadly.
“No, it’s not. I hurt you.” Her fingers smoothed over his unmarred chest, over his heart. “I didn’t mean what said before, about us, I just...” She pursed her lips together, unable to articulate what had happened. But he understood her anyway.
“You’ve been hiding your feelings, letting it bubble beneath the surface for so long, that when you finally let go, it was overwhelming.”
She snorted at his calm recount of events, “Buffy the Emotional train wreck pulling into LA station.” Her eyes dropped down to her lap, where at some point their hands had joined, and sighed. “I don’t know why you didn’t just throw me out in the first place.”
“I knew you were pain from the moment you walked through the door, I felt it. I’m just glad that you trusted me enough to let go, that I’m still that person for you.”
“There was never anyone else,” she confessed.
“Everyone goes through hard times, Buffy. It’s not who you are. Something happened to you and you handled it badly, it doesn’t make you a bad person, and it certainly doesn’t make me stop loving you. I won’t hold this against you; I can’t, not after everything you’ve done for me, not after caring for you as much as I do. Whatever you need to do to heal is fine with me, I’ll help you as much as I can,” he promised her, brushing a light kiss against her temple. “I’m not letting you go this time.”
She cuddled up more to his side and sighed, this time more a relief. “You help, this helps.” Her eyes fell closed as she focused on him, the coolness of his skin, and the stillness of his chest. It was almost strange that she, a slayer, a living, breathing human more in tune with the balance of the world, would find this comforting. Almost. Because this was so right, she refused to believe anything else. “Do you want to tell me what happened to make you so wise?”
The sigh Angel let out ached in the place in his soul where the sweet memories were kept. The ones of his sister’s curly chestnut locks, Buffy walking down the steps of Hermey high and the first time a little helpless face looking too much like his own, shone his eyes upon him and smiled.
“Last year we found this scroll with a prophecy that tells of the coming apocalypse.” He felt her nose scrunch up, and a ghost of a smile passed over his face. “I had a son, and he was a part it, I’m still not even sure how, but I had a son.”
He stopped, waiting for a reaction as his words sunk in. It was a long moment before she could response. “I knew,” she said, her voice barely a whisper. “I heard it on the demon grapevine, not really that surprising, the demon population isn’t exactly known for its tact, and who would expect them to keep quite about the child of a vampire, let alone a human child.” She shrugged, and felt his hands squeeze hers. “It wasn’t that I was upset that I found out from a bunch of demons... okay I was, but I guess I expected you to call and tell me. I would’ve been happy for you.”
“I couldn’t do it over the phone. I must have picked it up a hundred times and tried to call you. There was so much going on with prophecy and trying to understand the meaning of it. Being Dad was so new to me that I spent every waking moment worrying about it, how he would feel when he found out his father wasn’t normal, what kind of powers he might have, what college he should go to. Hell, I thought I was falling for Cordy because she was a good Mom.”
Buffy went stiff in his arms and before her brain could begin to process he was already soothing her. “I wasn’t, trust me, she was good for Connor though, but she and I.... there wasn’t anything there. The point is, you deserved more than just a quick phone call. I had this trip planned; Connor and I were going to head to Sunnydale for a night so you could meet him. You and Connor are the two most important people in my life and I wanted to you see each other. I wanted you to see past his parentage and just see the wonderful, beautiful baby he was. I wanted him to know that you existed in the world. I wanted you two to love each other, even if he didn’t remember it.” His voice started choking with tears. The love for his son was so clear that she could feel it burning through their link, building tears in her own eyes.
“I would have,” she interrupted softly; “I think I would have loved him, because he was yours and you loved him.” She almost didn’t want to ask the next question, but she knew she had to. “So why didn’t you bring him?”
A ragged breath torn from his chest and he screwed his eyes shut. Two tears danced in her hair before he spoke again. “There was a man named Holtz, Darla and I killed his family two hundred years ago, he a made a deal with a time traveling Demon named Sahjhan, to bring him to the future and kill me. He was going to but... he decided the pain was better than the kill.” Tears fell unbidden from his eyes. “It’s a long story... He took him away to Hell dimension, the worse of the worse, and he raised him to hate me. They were only gone for a few days, but...”
“Time moves faster in Hell dimensions, I remember.”
His eyes were wide with fear, “I though you said...”
“I was. I stumbled on to one a few years ago; people were aging whole lifetimes in a day. I shut it down, though.” She give a little shiver at the thought of Ken, although his hell hadn’t been any worse than the one she had been putting herself though... not going there right now. “How old is he now?”
“Seventeen,” he choked, crumbling into tears. Quicky, she turned around and cradled his head on the curve of her shoulder. “I missed everything, his first steps, his first words. I wanted him to have normal childhood and because of him, he didn’t have one at all.”
She rocked him like babe, her fingers stroked the base of his neck and her voice lulled him with meaningless words. She could help but notice how quickly their roles reversed. Nor did it escape her that their solo runs hadn’t exactly been stellar. Maybe she wasn’t completely selfish, maybe he needed her too. Maybe she could remember what it was like to be needed without it feeling like a burden.
Maybe, they could heal together.
After the angst-fest, and a much needed nap in each other’s arms, they decided to go patrolling to work off some energy, Angel’s shirt wasn’t the best patrol gear, but it was all she had. They were only going to go after she called home to let them where she was. Truthfully, she would have rather not, but Angel insisted. It wasn’t that she wanted to worry them; she just didn’t want to explain why she was in LA.
Sighing, she picked up phone behind the desk in the lobby and dialed Sunnydale. The phone rang several times, she hoped that either Willow or the machine would pick up, Dawn or Xander would be too much right now, Willow would at least understand.
“Hello,” a slightly panicked Xander voice said into the phone. Apparently, she had no such luck.
“Hey Xander, I–” She started, but he cut her off before she could get another word.
“Buffy! Where the hell have you been? Will and I have been looking everywhere for you. You just took off last night. Was it a demon, something about the Big Bad?”
Buffy winced and looked at her watch; it has been almost 24 hours since she’d gotten to LA, which meant it was more than a day since she’d left the house. Time flew when Angel was around, there never seemed to be enough of it. “No, it wasn’t anything like that. I’m not even in Sunnydale right now.”
“Well, where are you?”
She bit her lip, she had two options: lie through her teeth, or tell the truth and take whatever the backlash was going to be. As nice and easy as option one looked, she didn’t want to start out her new relationship with Angel by lying. “I’m in L.A., with Angel.”
The silence that met her was long and pregnant, and when he finally did speak, the anger in his voice was barely contained. “Angel, huh? What did he want this time?”
“Don’t what? Don’t remind you that he killed Giles girlfriend, don’t remind you that he tried to kill all of us, and suck the world into hell? Or don’t remind that he’s never caused you anything but pain?” he spat harshly. She nearly cringed at his tone.
“It’s not like that,” she said softly, but firmly. “Things have changed, that’s why I came here, so he and I could talk. We are getting back together.”
A sarcastic snort met her ears. “Yeah, sure, that’ll work about as well as the last time. You have can’t have him re-ensouled every time you get horizontal, or maybe you prefer him without the soul.”
Tears burned in eyes, and she thought about how sick she was of crying. “How can you say that? After you know what I went through...” She swallowed hard, and felt her rage take over. “You know what? Fuck you, I love Angel, and only Angel since I was sixteen and nothing you can say is going guilt me out of being happy. And just so you know, Angel’s soul isn’t an issue anymore.”
“How do you...” She could feel the realization dawning him. “You wasted your wish on him?”
“It wasn’t a waste,” she said fiercely, “It was what I wanted, I did what *I* wanted for once. Not for the good of the world, for the good of me. I don’t need to justify myself to you. Angel and I are together, deal with it.”
“It’s a mistake,”
“Tell Willow I’ll call her later. I’ll be home tomorrow, don’t be there when I get back.” She hung up the phone without letting him speak. Sighing, she pressed her forehead on to the cool counter. She refused to let her tears fall, she’d spent too much time crying already, and she wouldn’t let Xander upset her like this. She knew Xander would probably never get along with Angel, too much damage done. Willow would welcome him; the redhead only ever wanted Buffy to be happy, and was probably the only one who truly understood how much Angel meant to her. Dawn would fuss, but ultimately let Angel back in. She didn’t want to think about Giles yet, she only hoped her former Watcher would at least tolerate Angel for her sake.
Floorboards creaked, the air in the room shifted and instinct clicked in her brain. She rolled off the counter a second before a broadsword came crashing down right where her head had been. She managed to get off the floor and out of the office before her assailant struck at her again.
She dodged the shot, and grabbed Angel’s broadsword from by the weapon’s cabinet and parried the blow. She took a moment to size up her opponent. He was human, or at least he looked it, he wasn’t a vamp, that was for sure, but no one who was fully human could move that quietly or that quickly. He was young, eighteen maybe. He was tall, probably as tall as Angel, though not nearly has broad, definitely on the skinny side of things. He didn’t send her the ‘evil’ vibes, he was a fighter though, every movement trained the kill, precise, mechanical even. He lacked heart, and it made her sad to see such a young boy, not even a man yet, have so little interest in life.
Not normally something she thought when someone was trying to stab sharp, pointy things in her.
Thrust, duck, dodge, parry, they went back and forth, him going for the kill, her just trying to stay alive. At any moment she could’ve ended this, and him, but she just didn’t. It seemed so wrong to kill someone so young. She’d have to settle for minor injuries.
“You know, I don’t even ask anymore when people randomly attack me,” she said lightly, blocking another blow, which frustrated the boy. “Since I haven’t done anything, I’m gonna go with aggression issues, maybe you should have that checked.” She kicked him into a wall, it barely fazed him. He bounced back off the wall and moved to strike her again, when a hand caught the blade before it could and held it there.
“What are you doing here and why the hell are you attacking my girlfriend?” Angel’s voice boomed in the suddenly silent lobby. Buffy stood there, looking from the boy to Angel, and it hit her like punch in the stomach: this was Angel’s son, that’s why she felt the freaky connection. She knew he had aged in the hell dimension, but she never expected him to look so... old.
Connor pushed his Father off him and glared. “She didn’t smell human. I thought she was demon, so I attack, it makes sense now that I know she’s your whore.”
Buffy flinched at the comment, lowering her sword and then dropping it. She wasn’t going to let him shake her. She noticed Angel’s hand bleeding and dripping on the carpet. Before she could reach out to touch him, he’d slammed Connor against a wall.
“She is not a demon nor is she a whore. Don’t you ever talk that way about her again,” he growled, his eyes flickering to gold and back to brown. He was about to say more, when he felt Buffy’s hand gently touching his wrist.
“You’re bleeding.” she said, giving his wrist a soft tug.
“I’m fine,” he bit out tersely.
She looked unconvinced. With another growl, he left Connor go, the boy stumbling against the wall before he regained his footing, as Angel sat down on the couch and let Buffy tend to him.
There were cuts both on his second knuckles and on his palm. She frowned, “It’s not too bad. It’s kind of deep though. I’ll clean it and put a bandage on it.” She stood and looked around for a moment, “The first aid kit...?” Both males pointed in the general direction of Angel’s office. She nodded and went to find supplies.
Connor stared at his father for a moment, trying to think of something to say. Originally, he’d come to get more of Cordy’s things, but the blonde girl had caught his interest. First, he thought she might be a fun kill, now it was clear that it was someone who Angel protected and who protected Angel.
“What is she?”
Angel looked offended, “Excuse me?”
“You said she’s not a demon, she’s not human. What is she?”
“She is human, just not a regular one. She’s a Slayer.” Connor’s eyes went a little wide. Holtz had talked about slayers quite often, about their mission, and how his mission was similar. There was only one slayer; she couldn’t be expected to handle all the evil in the world. That was part of his mission, to help take down evil, starting with the vampire in front of him. Only everything he’d ever been seemed to be a lie.
“A real Slayer, as in ‘One girl in all the world–’”
“‘Born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of evil?’ Yes, that would be her, but don’t repeat in front of her, she’s heard it enough.” Angel closed his eyes and leaned his head back. His hand was starting to burn.
Connor frowned deeply. Vampires were supposed to be afraid of Slayers, and slayers were supposed to kill vampires. Not be all cuddly with them, it was... strange. “Why hasn’t she killed you?” he asked bluntly. Angel didn’t even flinch or open his eyes at the question.
“Believe me, you aren’t the only person who’s asked me that question.”
“Well,” Buffy started, walking into the room with a first aid kit and wet washcloth. “It’s not like I haven’t tried, but he’s like the cat in the song, he just keeps coming back.” She quipped, and then rolled her eyes as she was met with two blank stares; so much for pop culture with this crowd. Taking a seat next to Angel, she pulled his hand into her lap and looked at it critically. She made a face and picked up the washcloth. “I need to clean this, it might sting a little.”
He made a grunt of submission and allowed Buffy to clean his hand. She gently wiped the blood from his palm as best as she could without touching the cuts. Once it was clean, she could see it had already started healing.
Connor watched in amazement as she continued tending to his wound, he half expected one of them to jump up and rip the other’s throat out. But Angel seemed quite content to let her do as she pleased, and she appear to be happy just helping. However, he’d learned that very little was what it appeared to be.
“So you’re really a slayer?”
“Yup, a hundred percent pure slayer, one of only two found in the world,” she muttered, her attention mostly on Angel’s hand as she applied the anti-bacterial ointment.
“Two? I thought there was only one,” Connor said, his confused expression so similar to Angel’s that Buffy had to smile.
“It’s a long story, the short version is I died when I was sixteen and another slayer was called, except I only died for a minute.” She felt Angel’s body tense at the mention of her death. His fingers brushed over the back her of hand, a gesture to reaffirm that she was still there. Leaning over, she softly kissed him lips.
Connor tried not to cringe as their lips, just the idea of a vampire and slayer was so wrong... he shuddered and moved on with his questions. “Where’s the other slayer?”
“Faith is serving time for murder at L.A. correctional. Not exactly a stellar career move.” She added dryly. “She wasn’t a bad slayer exactly. She just... didn’t make the best choices.”
Angel opened his eyes and looked at her; he knew how much it took for her to say that. His uninjured hand reached out and squeezed hers, giving her reassurance, and acknowledgment for her effort. She smiled and squeezed back.
One slayer in prison for murder, another dating a vampire, and sleeping with one, not only could he smell the sex on both of them, but she was wearing his shirt. Hardly the noble protectors Holtz had told him about. He sighed and looked back at Buffy, she was wrapping Angel’s hand with gauze, she was being so gentle with him, he couldn’t put his brain around it.
“So you slay vampires?”
“What about him?”
“Angel’s on the ‘no slay’ list. I’m not really looking to find him all dusty one morning.”
She stopped to ponder that, the list of reasons why was so long, she wasn’t sure she could ever sum it up: because he was her lover, her best friend, her soulmate, because of his destiny, because he was good man. She had a chance to make an impression, about her and about Angel, she knew their relationship wasn’t wonderful, and if there was anything she could do to help turn the tide, she would.
“It’s... not just about who he is to me; it’s about who he is to world. I love him with all my soul, so much that I can’t remember what it was like not to. But it’s beyond that, it’s about his soul. I know who he was before the gypsy curse, I know who he was after and I know who he became when he met me. He’s such an incredible man, hundreds of years’ worth of guilt and he still wants to keep fighting. His soul is true and so his is destiny, even if I never loved him, I’d never stop him from fulfilling it. That’s the best way I can say it.”
Angel’s heart swelled with love for her, for seeing past his faults and history. He didn’t think he’d ever deserve, but he’s be damn sure to do everything in his power to he could for her. He could only give her love, and it was the only thing she wanted.
Connor nodded, not really ready to believe anything good about Angel, but she seemed honest, and she was a slayer, that had count for something. Still, he wasn’t sure.
“I need to go upstairs, Cordy wanted some more of her things, if that’s alright with you,” he said, tossing a look at Angel, who made an absent motion in the general direction of the stairs.
“I’ll let myself out,” he said, heading off to the room with Cordy’s things.
Buffy put the last piece of tape over the gauze and kissed his hand. “All done,” she said with a smile, climbing in his lap and wrapping her arms around his neck. “You really think when can do this?” she said curiously.
“Do what? Go on patrol?” He asked, confused.
She rolled her eyes and pouted at him, “No, I meant us, do you think we can do the us thing. You with your dysfunctional teenage son, me with my un-accepting friends. Because lets just say Xander isn’t exactly thrilled to hear we’re back together. ” Angel growled softly, he knew Xander would want to cause problems, “And we haven’t even gotten to what your friends will think, I just mean–” He cut off her rambling with a kiss, nipping at her pouty lip with his teeth.
“I think we can do this,” he said when they broke apart. “I want to do this. I want you and I’ll do whatever it takes to make this work. For forever.”
“I can work with that,” she said smiling, kissing him once again.
Feed Rachel Visit Rachel
Summary: You tide me over with a warmth I’ll not forgot and I can only give you love.
Spoilers: Spoilers: S4/S7: Before Apocalypse Nowish and Conversations with Dead People.
Disclaimer: Joss owns everyone, I own nothing but the idea. I’m simply taking them out to play with.
Author's notes: Written for the IWRY Marathon. Song lyrics (in order of appearance) are from: Destiny by Zero 7, Ever The Same by Rob Thomas, Life is For Living by Coldplay, and You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor. Title is also from the Rob Thomas song.