Abused by Tango


E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: I've had this idea floating around in my head for a week or so and thought I would jot it down. Please let me know if you think it should be continued! (And yes, I am still working on my other fics. Don't worry. I plan to finish them.)

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear

RATING: PG-13 for now


i have seen you shake
and i know what it cost you

Willow was sound asleep when Buffy came in, tiptoeing through the room. Willow woke with a start to see who the intruder was and gasped out loud. In the dark, it looked as if Buffy was cradling her arm protectively.

"Are you okay?" Willow shouted, jumping out of bed and rushing to her friend.

"Fell," Buffy forced out, looking at her friend hopelessly as if to plead, Please don't call me on this. Please just pretend you don't know. Willow flipped on the light and gasped as she saw that there were long scrapes up and down her arm and on her knees.

"Did you drag yourself around after you fell?" Willow snapped and then pressed her hand over her mouth.

"It was an accident," Buffy whispered and hobbled across the room, lowering herself painfully to the bed, "He's really sorry."

"I bet he is!" Willow shouted, "I'm really sorry too, Buffy! How long are you going to let him do this to you? How long before something really bad happens, before he really hurts you?"

"He promised it would never happen again," Buffy explained tearfully, hitching shuddering breaths.

"Doesn't he say that every time?" Willow demanded.

It took several minutes for Willow to gather the first aid kit and had to breathe deeply for a second before going to work. Buffy hissed as Willow cleaned out her wounds, trying to keep from meeting her best friend's worried and simultaneously outraged face. The redhead's hands were shaking as she tried to gently clean the angry skin.

"I'm sorry, Will," Buffy rasped with her head bowed, "I'm really sorry that you have to deal with this."

"Buffy," Willow said, taking her friend's hands in hers, "I just want you to be okay and you're not. He's hurting you and you're pretending it's not happening. Remember the first time he hit you and you broke up with him? You said you would never let anyone treat you like that and now you're letting him do it again and again. I don't...I don't understand, Buffy."

"I don't either," Buffy said as breath her sobs broke free, "I've tried to leave him, Will. I wanted to keep you out of this."

"You tried," Willow announced, "But you haven't. Why?"

"Because...because...I can't, Will," she whispered, hissing as she pulled her arm protectively against her side, "I can't explain this to you. You won't understand."

"I don't think I could be more confused than I am now," Willow snapped.

"I'm sorry," Buffy said, lying back and turning over to face away from her friend. Closing her eyes, she whispered, "I love you, Willow. Please don't stop loving me. I couldn't stand it if you did."

"I won't Buffy," she whispered back.


she says she feels just like a hostage

Willow gathered up her courage as she snuck sidelong glances at the man sitting next to her. Class had ended and now all that was left was the step where she opened her mouth and spoke. Firmly putting her resolve face in place, she cleared her throat and swivelled in her seat.

"Uh...Angel?" she said, thankful that her voice sounded remotely clear and cheerful, which was a miracle considering her whole body was filled with a sense of dread.

"Yeah?" he replied, glancing up at her and back down into his bag as he put his book, pen and notebook away. Willow sighed. He obviously didn't see the severity of the situation tucked below her feigned casualness.

"We've kinda become friends this semester, haven't we?" she started. That was nice and simple. Good first step, she thought, inserting an uneasy smile.

"Sure," he answered, still not looking directly at her, but glancing up now and then as he checked to make sure his materials for his next class were there.

"I...uh...I have a question for you," she blustered, managing to effectively blow any off-handedness she had come up with moments prior.

After he had finished zipping up his bag, he gave her his full attention, which is what she wanted until she got it. His eyes boring into her with concern was even worse than when she had him cocking one ear in her direction. Taking a deep breath, she leaned in and continued, "Do you know my best friend, Buffy Summers? She's about this tall, blonde hair?"

"She's in my Art History class," Angel answered, keeping his tone untouched by any opinion he might have of her. Willow sighed.

"I'm gonna be straight with you," she said, glad that the room was now empty of the other students. This was there was less chance of being overheard when he told her she was a crazy person. Clutching the edge of the desk, she continued, "You're the biggest, baddest, most intimidating person I've ever met. You know, it's kinda strange cause you're so smart too. And nice, when you're done with the intimidation part. Which I am. Mostly."

"Uh...thank you…I think?" he answered, raising an eyebrow at her.

"This is not coming out right," Willow muttered, "Look, my friend is in trouble. Buffy, that is. My friend, Buffy. She needs help and she needs someone who is big and intimidating to help her. It would be nice if you were willing to beat someone up too. With punches. Lots of them. Hard ones. In a row. Maybe I could get you some brass knuckles and then-"

"Willow," Angel said, interrupting her, "Are you asking me to beat someone up for your friend?"

"No," she answered, casting her gaze to the floor for a second, "Not if you don't have to, although I have to tell you, I really hope you do have to."

"Who's trying to hurt her?"

"Not trying," Willow corrected, "Is hurting her. Her boyfriend. He started out so nice and sweet and then he started bossing her around and calling her names, but now she keeps coming home with bruises and strange marks. Sometimes she's bleeding. Oh, and she lies to me! Me! Says she fell down, but Angel, she's my best friend. I know she's not that clumsy. He's hurting her, emotionally and physically. I could pay you, you know. Just to watch her for a couple of days and see what you think. And if you had to punch the poophead, it would be a bonus, like a prize in your crackerjacks."

"A bonus for you or me?" he asked wryly.

"Both," Willow nodded, "I'm sure you'll agree on the poophead principle the moment you meet him. He's so...mean."

"I thought I was the mean one," he said, giving her a sad half smile, which seemed to be a struggle.

"You're not mean. You just look like you could be and I hope you are. All over his face," Willow huffed.

"Listen, Willow-"

Lowering her voice, she looked up at him and tears filled her eyes like she had promised herself they wouldn't. She whispered, lower lip trembling, "He's hurting her and I can't make it stop. I've tried everything; tried talking to her, threatening him, getting other people to threaten him and she won't leave him. She doesn't love him. I know she doesn't. I think she's afraid...and she's not the only one."


"Please, Angel," she cried, clutching his hand and resorted to tearful begging, "I don't have a lot of money, but I'll give you everything I have and I know it's wrong somehow to ask you to do this when you don't even know her and she would kill me if she knew I told you, but I can't take one more-"

"I'll do it, Willow."

"Please, Angel-" she continued, and then realized what he said. Jerking her head up, she looked into his eyes and shivered. What she was was the most raw anger and hate she had ever seen reflected on a person's face. It was there just for a second and then it was gone, replaced by his normally stoic, unemotional demeanor, "Y-y-you will?"

"Yes," he said, rising to his feet. He bent over her desk and pulled the pencil from her fingers that she didn't even know she'd been clutching and jotted on her notebook his name and phone number in neat script, "Call me when you're done with classes and we'll talk about it. I have class with Buffy now. I'm going to go before I'm late."

"You're not going to tell her are you?"

"No," he said, "I won't tell her."


i wonder if you're giving in
tell me why you're giving in

Angel hurried from the room where a very worried and shaking Willow Rosenberg sat. He never liked that he had these two classes so close together and today was no different. He really liked the brainy redhead and was usually glad when she sat next to him to shield him from whichever girl would try to talk his ear off during class. He liked class and usually went there to learn, not flirt. Well, except for his next class.

He almost choked when Willow asked him if he knew who Buffy Summers was. He snorted inwardly. Hell yes, he knew who she was! Anyone attracted to females on campus who had decent sight could at least pick her out of a crowd from fifty paces. He wasn't blind and even if he was, he probably still would have noticed her. He lived, slept and breathed the golden girl who shared his Art History Class and he thanked his lucky stars that he had not dropped the class at the beginning of the semester like he had planned. It probably would have been the largest mistake of his life.

It didn't take him long to notice that she often had a strange bruise here or there. He thought at first she played a sport, maybe field hockey or something. Then as they appeared more frequently, and in strange places, he realized it was something completely different. He didn't know if anyone else noticed or not but he was more overly aware of the tiny blonde than most people. Willow Rosenberg had no idea what she had asked him to do, had no clue that he was already in love with her troubled friend. Buffy was so perfect, so tiny, so wonderfully smart and witty. Whenever she forced out a smile, even a fake one, it damn near blinded him.

Angel moved into class and strategically placed himself somewhere near her as always. He wanted to be close, but not too close. He was afraid if he inhaled too much of her vanilla perfume or if he was within arm's reach he would be tempted to touch her – or even worse – talk to her. For an experienced senior in college, a man who never had problems getting dates, he sure lost his touch when it came to her. She made him feel like a junior high schooler who hadn't had his first kiss when he was near her.

Until today.

Today he was too angry to even contemplate being wistful or nervous around her. Today he blatantly stared at her body, scraping his eyes over her flesh for the wounds he knew were there. His anger was beginning to wane slightly as he saw no marks on her when she bent over to retrieve a pen from her bag. He sucked in a breath in horror as her little yellow top crept up to reveal what would be a golden bit of skin on an unabused girl. Instead there was an ugly purple and yellow bruise covering her side and back, disappearing under her shirt and jeans.


she is the angel of the loser and the disenchanted soul

"Obsessed" is a really strong word. So is "stalker." Both fit Liam "Angel" Angelus. He told himself over the weeks following his conversation with Willow and their subsequent meeting, that he was not obsessed with Buffy Summers, nor was he stalking her and he certainly wasn't in love with her. He was doing a favor for a friend.

He had declined Willow's offer to pay him and he made her promise not to mention his involvement to Buffy or anyone else. He already hated himself for not figuring out sooner that she was in trouble, that her bruises were just as severe as they looked. It was just that he couldn't even wrap his mind around the thought of someone hurting her. Why on earth would anyone want to mar her perfect skin or see sadness in those dazzling green eyes? It made no sense. And it made him want to torture and maim the person responsible.

He watched her with her boyfriend as much as possible and immediately saw that she was more of a decoration on his arm than a companion. He spoke to her as if she were a slave rather than his equal and the sight of him made Angel sick to his stomach. He had never wanted to hurt another human being as much as he wanted to hurt Riley Finn.

Two weeks following the beginning of his new hobby, he went to his favorite professor's office, Rupert Giles. He sank down in the chair across from Giles' desk when the preoccupied professor waved him in, barely pulling his face from the book it was pressed in.

"One moment," Giles mumbled, "fascinating."

Angel couldn't help but crack a smile. He loved history, but Giles studied it like it was going to disappear if he didn't hurry. He loved soaking up facts and dates and shared them with the class as if they were rare jewels to be polished and adored.

"Angel," Giles said finally, "Sorry to keep you waiting. What can I do for you?"

"Need a favor, Giles," Angel said quietly. The professor's jaw nearly dropped. Angel never asked anyone for anything if he could possibly avoid it. He had known him for years, having been close friends with his mother, and he had never seen the boy give anyone an inch, even when he was a child.

"Well," Giles forced out, "What did you need?"

"You know Buffy Summers? She's in your Art History class with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

"Yes, I do know the identity of my students unlike many other professors in this institution, Angel," Giles said and then added, "She's a delightful girl actually. I had her in one of my lectures last year. Why do you ask?"

"She needs a work study position," Angel said, looking around the unkempt office, "And you need an assistant...badly."

"I already have an assistant," Giles said, "You aid me in many duties-"

"I'm the TA for your freshman and sophomore classes," Angel said, "You need someone else too. You can pull the funds from the department, Giles. You're the most respected tenured professor here."

"This seems awfully important to you, Angel."

"It's extremely important to me, Giles," he said softly, "Please."

"I can only give her ten hours a week," Giles acquiesced, "I won't be able to wrangle more from the History department or the Art department for that matter."

"That's perfect."


just remember, it's a small town
it's a real small town

"How could he have turned me down?" Xander demanded over pizzas the following night, "What, just because I'm not a student, I can't move in?"

"Translation?" Willow asked, looking from Buffy to Cordelia and back again.

"Xander wanted to move into Angel's mansion," Cordy answered, shaking her head at her boyfriend.

"Okay…missing something," Buffy said. She smiled at the thought of Angel. Who could miss Mr. tall, dark and impossibly gorgeous? The thought of Xander moving in with him was delicious and strange at the same time. Buffy hadn't thought about anything but escaping Riley for so long, she hadn't taken the time to be attracted to another man, until she saw Angel in her class. Actually, she heard him first. His deep, rumbling voice when he answered the professor's question was sexy enough for her to turn around in her seat to stare at the body attached to that voice. And it was certainly worth the effort. "Why would you want to move in with Angel? Does he need a roommate or something?"

"Roommate or something?" Xander demanded, "You've got to be kidding me!"

"Translation?" Buffy asked impatiently.

"Angel lives in that huge mansion on Crawford street," Cordy said, patting Xander's arm, "It's the most coveted off campus housing in Sunnydale because the house is unbelievable, Angel hardly charges any rent and no one has to share a room, but he only rents out rooms to students."

"Oh," Buffy said, "Well, why do you want to live with a bunch of college kids anyway, Xand?"

"Because it was myin," Xander explained vehemently, "It was the way to get invited to parties and have college fun without all the books and homework! Will, you're friends with him, right? Can't you put in a good word for me?"

"No way," Cordy said, "I don't want you near those keggers and half naked women. Uh-uh. Forget it."

"Oh, come on!" Xander exclaimed, "I'll hardly look at the half naked women."


it's hard on a girl
when you try to walk around on shaky ground

"Giles," Buffy complained, slumping on the floor in front of his bookshelf. Angel grinned from across the room at her as she swiped sweat from her brow, looking like a little child sitting crossed legged on the floor, surrounded by a tower of books on all sides, "I don't get your crazy system! This makes no sense."

"It's called the alphabet, Buffy," Giles said, smiling at her himself. She had only worked for him for a week and already his life was filled with a great deal more amusement.

"In what language?" Buffy huffed, "Greek? Ancient Sumerian? You do know Standard English alphabet starts with the letter ‘A.' Say it with me, Giles, ‘A.'"

"Don't look at me, Buffy," Giles said, burying his nose back in his book, "Angel is the one who hasn't the patience to return a book to its proper shelf."

"Angel!" Buffy shouted in a joking tone, "This is all your fault?"

Winking at her from where he was checking papers, a slow smile spread over his face, "Have to make sure there's something for you to do, Buffy."

"Oh wonderful," Buffy answered wryly, "Thank you so much."

"You're welcome," Angel answered, "No trouble at all."

"Excuse me?" a voice said from the door. Angel bit his inner jaw so hard he was bleeding to keep himself from saying anything to the visitor. He simply glared, while Giles answered, "Yes? May I help you?"

"I'm here for my girl," Riley said, looking around the room, "Buffy Summers? She works here."

Angel's gaze shot over the corner where Buffy shifted back into the pile of books she hid in. He expected her to try and save face, to act as if everything was fine with him being there, but she looked afraid. Really afraid.

"She's-" Giles started, but Angel immediately interrupted, "You just missed her. She took off early today. We forgot to give her one of the work study forms, so she had to go to the Registrar's office to fill it out."

"When did she leave?" Riley asked, returning Angel's glare openly. Angel could see her from the corner of his eye inching back toward the book shelf in the corner to further hide herself and he had to fight not to glance in her direction again, or get up and beat the boy within an inch of his miserable life.

"Fifteen minutes ago," Angel answered smoothly, "Probably close to finishing up by now."

"Alright," Riley said, stepping back from the doorway, "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Giles answered, shooting a concerned look from Angel to Buffy and back again. He raised an eyebrow at them and they both turned away and pretended to busy in their work, as if nothing happened. Sighing, Giles let it go and returned to his work as well.


hey, i'll kick your ass if you pity me
i won't give in, i'm not like that
no, i won't give in to you

"Listen Angel," Buffy said when Angel offered to drive her home, "I don't want you to get the wrong idea. Riley and I got into a fight last night and I wasn't ready to talk about it."

"You don't have to explain anything to me, Buffy," he said, walking beside her slowly, his hands shoved in his pockets, "I just thought you looked like you didn't want to see him and I didn't think you should have to."

"It's just that…well, you seemed kinda mad and…" Buffy mumbled. She didn't know why she even cared if Angel was mad or upset by the situation, but she did. Since she first saw him, she was intrigued by him. He was gorgeous and every time he opened his mouth in class, something brilliant came pouring out. Now that they were working together, she found that a frown on his face made her heart lurch. She cared about this beautiful man and strangely enough he treated her like he cared about her, like she was someone important. It was almost as if he thought she was worth loving. It was almost as if he loved her.

She looked up in his eyes and felt a chill go through her. There was the strangest mixture of murderous anger and devotion. Seconds later, the anger was gone and she felt him reach for her hand and holding in his gently.

"Here's my number," he said, tucking a scrap of paper torn from his notebook in her hand. He didn't care that it looked like he had planned it. He did plan it. Three weeks ago. Maybe more, "If you need me, call. I'll be glad to avert conversations with your boyfriend anytime."

"I don't know what you think you know about my relationship with Riley," Buffy said, putting the number back into his hand, while stopping to look up into Angel's dark concerned eyes, "But you don't know anything about it."

"I know a lot more than you think, Buffy," Angel said, keeping his voice calm and low, "You don't have to be a genius to see that you're afraid of him and that the bruises on your body aren't from falling down. I know it's none of my business-"

"You're right," she snapped, "It isn't your business!"

"I'm making it my business," Angel said, making sure he kept his voice from raising to the level of his anger. She didn't need to trade one violent boyfriend for another. "Every time I see a mark on your body, I know it's from him. You are a beautiful, desirable woman, Buffy. You could have any guy on this campus and they would worship the ground you walk on. Why do you allow him to hurt you?"

"I don't want to talk about this," she whimpered, moving away from him. The sound of his voice gently calling her name made her stop in her tracks. She kept her back to him, waiting for his approach.

"Buffy," he said, "That's not what love is. The way he treats you…If you let me, I can help you."

"No one can help me. Maybe I don't want help!" she said, keeping her back to him, thankful that he couldn't see the tears in her eyes. She felt his breath on her neck as he stood behind her, just close enough not to touch her. Reaching around, he tucked his number into her jacket pocket and whispered in her ear, "If you need me, I'll always be there for you. I won't let him hurt you again, Buffy. If you'd just let me take care of you, I can protect you."


yeah, i know you need to break away
i don't give a fuck about what those people say

Angel smiled down at his new list of renters for the this semester. Several of his tenants from the previous semester graduated, dropped out or transferred and the mansion's inhabitants were always looking forward to new blood, mostly because they liked to play pranks on them. So, when Doyle came in and pulled the list from him, he wasn't at all surprised.

"Lemme see who the new fish are this term," Doyle said after he strolled in and plopped down on the couch next to his landlord and best friend. He pulled the list from Angel and pored over the names eagerly.

"Sure, go ahead," Angel snorted, "Not like I was reading that."

"You already know who's on the list. You chose ‘em anyway. Not like you need to see it," Doyle said, pointing to the last name on the list, "Hey, I thought you said you hated this Riley Finn guy. Why're you lettin' him in?"

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," Angel said, reciting the old proverb, "I want to know what he's up to as much as possible. With him under my roof, it'll be easier to keep an eye on him."

"Angel," Doyle said, sighing loudly, "The lass told you to stay outta her business. If you think killin' the boy in his sleep is gonna get you anywhere, you're headin' for disappointment."

"He's the one who wants to live here," Angel hissed, "He can move in at his own risk."

"Everyone* wants to live here. It's no secret this is the ultimate bachelor pad in this town. Besides, he doesn't know you're plottin' to steal his girl," Doyle objected.

"I don't care what he knows and what he doesn't know," Angel said, pulling himself to his feet, "I dare that fucker to hit her while he's living under my roof."


"If he does, he'll be hanging from it!"


Part Two

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU to everyone who gave me such fantastic feedback and encouraged me to continue! I really appreciate it. Please keep me going by letting me know what you thought of this second part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


i know i'm close to the fall
i know i'm dangerous
i'm afraid i'm going down

"You think I'm fucking stupid?" Riley demanded. He crossed the room in three long strides and grabbed hold of Buffy's upper arm, squeezing her tightly.

"Let me go," she shouted back. She could already feel the bruise forming when she yanked the limb away from him, determined not to have her other arm aching as well.

"Is he your knight in shining armor, Buff? Do you really think that he's going to take you away from me?" he asked, moving forward until she was backed against a tower of boxes containing his things, "Well, guess what? I'm moving in with him today. I'd like to see you cheat on me with us both in the same house!"

"You can't," Buffy croaked in horror, eyes widening. When Xander mentioned Angel's popular housing situation, she never guessed that Riley would try to move in. She swallowed harshly and struggled not to panic.

"But I am," Riley said, "and if you tell him about us, if you try to leave me...I'm sure there's a lot of ways to get rid of him and it'll be all your fault."

"No!" Buffy screamed, tears squeezing out of her eyes, "Riley, please. I told you I'd stay with you. I will. You already threatened Willow, now Angel? He hasn't touched me, I swear."

"I love you, Buffy," he said, sounding scarily sincere, "I can't let you leave me. I'll do whatever I have to do to make sure you stay with me."

"You don't love me, Riley," she protested, "You're sick. You need help. I know you don't want to hurt anyone, not even me."

She waited for the pain that would come with his strike of frustration, but he shook his head slowly and looked down at her. Groaning in pain from hurting her, he pulled her against him, crushing her in his embrace.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, "I won't hurt anyone. It'll be better, Buffy. I won't ever hit you again. Just promise you'll stay."

"I told you I would," she muffled against his shoulder, "but Riley, you have to try harder. I can't live like this."

"I love you," he whispered, tugging her toward his bed, which was bare, the blankets and sheets having been already packed, "I'll show you. You'll never want to leave me again."

"I don't think you should move in with Angel, Riley," Buffy said, stopping him before they reached the bed, "I think it's a bad idea. What's wrong with living here? You like this house."

"You are cheating on me with him, aren't you?" he demanded, anger returning to his eyes with a force that made her wonder if it ever really left.

"No," she shouted vehemently, "I told you! We're just friends, that's all."

"Then why are you so afraid of me living with him, huh? You think I'm going to find out about what's really going on? I've seen the way he looks at you, like you're his personal whore!"

"No, no," she blubbered, trying to pry herself from his grip, "Just friends."

"Yeah, I bet," he snorted, tossing her to the bed, "Did you sleep with him? I bet he wants to protect you from me! I can't wait to see how brave your precious Angel is when his guts are on the outside."

"Stop it!" she screamed, "What the hell is wrong with you? You promised me a minute ago that you wouldn't hurt anyone!"

"That was before I knew you'd spread for that freak," he said, glaring at her through those cold, ice blue eyes. Pressing her against the mattress, she squeezed her eyes shut and choked back the bile that rose in her throat as she felt her shirt rip away.


i am awful sure that this thing ain't no accident

"I won't take much of your time," Angel said, facing the crowded room of his new and old housemates, "For those of you who are new, I'll go over the rules quickly and let you go on your way."

He looked around the room at all the new and old faces intermixed. A few of them were his friends and a few he didn't so much care for, but there was only one person he hated with a burning passion. Riley Finn was standing at the back of the room, glaring at Angel as openly as Angel glared back. No one in the room missed the open animosity between the two, but no one except for Doyle and Gunn really knew why.

"This is my house. I make the rules. You follow them or you move out," Angel said simply, "The first and most important rule is no one, for any reason, should ever be in my room. I have given my whole house over to all of you and that is my personal space. Stay out of it. If I find you in my room, I will kick you out of here, no questions asked. I occasionally have female companions-"

"Occasionally," one guy snorted in protest.

"Yeah, whatever, Angel," another called out.

"Room's like a revolving door," a third added.

"However you want to put it, guys," Angel said, chuckling, "I don't need one of you walking in on one of my naked visitors, so stay out. If the building is on fire and the choice is to go into my room or let me die, you'd better think about what you're going to wear to my funeral.

"Second, we party a lot here. Every one has different tastes and schedules. All I ask is that you don't get in so much trouble that the police are banging down my door. I've gone this far without having to have any special permits for all my boarders and I'd like to keep it that way.

"Third, I hire students to clean the house, to garden and several other odds and ends. Do NOT fuck with them. If I find out you are harassing them in any way, sexually or otherwise, I'm gonna get pissed off. I don't care if you date them, flirt with them or screw them senseless, but if you abuse them or pick on them we're gonna have words. The same goes for my visitors and everyone else's," Angel said, taking a moment to glare at Riley to make sure his point made it across.

"If you have a problem with someone, if someone's eating your food, stealing your stuff, calling your little sister names…don't come to me. I don't care. I'm not your mother, I'm your landlord. Anyone have questions?"

"Good," Angel said after a moment of silence, making sure he glared at Riley once more before continuing, "If you have any questions about anything and you don't want to ask me about it, see Doyle or Gunn. If you lock yourself out of your rooms, they can help you. And guys, I really suggest you keep your doors locked for awhile. If all your shit gets stolen it is not my problem."

Angel made eye contact with Doyle and Gunn and fought the urge to smile. He loved the first couple of months when his new guys moved in. It took awhile to learn the ropes and things were crazy. He couldn't count on both hands the number of guys who had gone to sleep safely in their beds and woke up in a stark empty room. As he headed up the stairs, he heard one of the new guys ask, "Is he really that much of an asshole?"

"You don't know the half of it, mate," Doyle answered with a laugh. Angel smiled broadly and went to his room. He hoped Riley kept his door unlocked and he woke up in the front lawn.


giving in won't stop the noise
spinning wills don't give you choices
take away the spark inside, you take away the shining prize

"Angel," Buffy said quietly, waving him over to the furthest corner of Giles' office the following Monday.

"Is something wrong?" he asked, looking over her suspiciously. He frowned at her, sweeping his eyes over her body in search of the hidden wounds. She shrank at his scrutiny and felt elated by it at the same time. Pausing between the confusion of her concern and her attraction to him, it took several seconds to speak.

"Why did you let Riley move into your house?" she asked, making her irritation clear, "Why are you doing this to me?"

"I'm trying to help you Buffy," Angel said, "I didn't ask him to move in. He applied for a room and I accepted him. He can't hurt you nearly as much if there are a bunch of guys on the same floor."

"You'd be surprised," she drawled, leaning back against the wall and looking up at him, "I want you to stay away from him and stay out of this. I'm not kidding!"

"I know you're not," he said softly, "I wish I could stay out of it, but I can't. I want you to be safe."

"You want me to be safe?" she said, laughing bitterly, "that's funny, Angel. You're making things worse!"

Even though she was backed in a corner with a man as large as her boyfriend towering over her, she didn't feel threatened at all. It was a strange sensation and it made her shiver. She felt, of all things, safe there with him blocking the world from her.

"I care about you," he said, backing away, "doesn't matter if you don't want me to. I'm not trying to make things worse. I told you I'm going to protect you."

"Yet another thing I don't have a choice about," she snorted, a flicker of anger flashing through her eyes. Angel liked that sight. He liked proof that she was willing to fight back, that she wasn't cowering in a corner with everyone.

"Don't compare me to him, Buffy," he said, keeping his voice low, but firm, "I'm not anything like him. If you were my girl, I'd show you nothing but happiness and pleasure."

"Well, I'm not your girl!"

"I know," he said sadly.


she's perfect in a fucked up way

"Operation Kill the Abusive Fucker," Gunn said grinning, "Meeting in session."

"That's Maim the Abusive Fucker," Doyle said, "I'm not killin' anyone…unless I'm drunk and provoked."

"That's easily arranged," Angel said dryly, leaning back in his leather chair. Despite his harsh warnings against entering his suite of rooms, that's where the three of them were sitting. His living quarters were very large and before he started having boarders, he put in a living, room, master bathroom and kitchen so he could live here for days without seeing another person if he didn't want to, "But this is Operation Keep the Abusive Fucker from Hurting Buffy."

"Alright, no killing or maiming unless absolutely necessary," Gunn said with a sigh, "But it will be necessary, won't it?"

"Yes," Angel said, straight faced, "Right now, I need to make sure Buffy isn't hurt. Couple of things need to happen in order for this to run smoothly."

"Out with it," Doyle complained, "I'm missing the pre-party."

"Alright, but you do realize it's Monday, right?" Angel said, shaking his head at his alcoholic friend, "I want you two to make sure no one knows about Riley and Buffy's little problem if at all possible. I don't want her more embarrassed than she already is. But I do want you two to start some rumors for me."

"Like what?" Gunn asked cheerily, "Are they naked rumors?"

"Gunn, you tell one of the guys that I'm in love with her-"

"You are in love with her."

"Doyle," Angel said, ignoring the comment as he turned to his other friend, "You find a different loud mouth and tell him that you overheard Riley threatening to steal as much as he can from everyone in the house before he graduates this year."

"Why do you want me to say that?" Doyle asked in confusion.

"Because I want them to watch him. If they know I'm in love with her and they see Riley hitting her, one of them will tell me," Angel said, "I want them all suspicious of him."


sometimes i don't understand her
sometimes i don't want to understand her

Xander muttered under his breath when the phone rang and stared at Buffy's changing body language. He would have known that she was talking to Riley even if he couldn't overhear the conversation across the dorm room. Glancing at Willow, he saw her stiffen in much the same way, keeping her eyes on her friend as if she expected Riley to come out of the phone to attack her.

"We're not making any headway, are we?" Xander whispered to Willow, but keeping his eyes on the nervous blonde across the room.

"No," Willow mumbled miserably, "There has to be a way to break them up."

"I say we hire a hit man," Xander suggested, not completely in jest, "I mean, they have people that make these things look like accidents."

"Well, at least he's living with Angel now," Willow said, shrugging her shoulders, "Maybe if there are more people around, she'll be safer."

"Like she was at Lowell house?" Xander said raising his voice a little too loudly. Moving back to a whisper, he added, "They all seem to be really good at minding their own business. I don't think she's any better off than she was."

"I...I asked Angel to help her," Willow blurted, running her words together as she explained to her friend about speaking with Angel several weeks before, how he's been watching her and how he got her the job on campus with Professor Giles.

"Hate to be the bad guy here, Will, but has he done anything, but watch her?" he asked angrily, "I mean, I'm glad you went out for reinforcements, but I think he's still stocking up on weapons."

"He won't let her get hurt in his house," Willow said, defending Angel. She too had wondered how he had actually helped so far, but she wouldn't let those thoughts remain for long in her mind. She had to believe that Angel would do something...anything.

"Guys, I have to go," Buffy said, hanging up the phone and turning towards them sadly, "Riley wants to see me."

"Did you tell him you have plans with people who actually care about you?" Xander demanded.

"I'm sorry," Buffy said quietly, "I'll make it up to you, okay?"


such a cold blue star with a bright new shine

"Did you forget the bloody time conversion, mate?" Spike asked while yawning through the phone, "It's 2:00 AM here!"

"Like I'd know when you were awake or sleeping anyway," Angel grouched back, "Usually you're still up. Dru wear you out tonight?"

"What do you want, Peaches?" Spike demanded of his step brother. He kissed Drusilla's dark head as she moaned lightly in her sleep and snuggled in tighter at his side. It was hard to be angry when his wife was sweetly dreaming there.

"I want you to come back to the states for awhile," Angel said after a moment's hesitation, "I need your help...with persuading someone."

"Look, you're going to have to clear up that offer," Spike replied, his voice still groggy, "I've got too many pints in me to take your hints."

"Let me speak your language," Angel added roughly. He knew better than anyone that Spike's only price was money and lots of it. When his father divorced Spike's mother, he took all his money with him. Something that Spike never really got over and Angel suspected he never would. Course, as a bargaining tool, it was a great power to wield, "I'll pay your airfare here and Dru's. Your room is still exactly how you left it. I'll put you back on your allowance for the next year if you come out here and help me."

"You're right, that is my language," Spike said, "Buy the tickets."


i think you are blind to the fact that the hand you hold is the hand that holds you down

Buffy walked up to Angel's mansion for the first time that evening after leaving Xander and Willow pissed off at her for breaking plans with them. Again, she wondered how she had gotten into this mess. Just a year ago, she had been happy and free, able to date who she wanted and hang out with her friends when she wanted. Now, she broke plans with them incessantly, hid wounds left and right, and was afraid to go home too often or her mother would know just how bad things were.

Joyce Summers loved Riley. She thought he was the perfect picture of what a boyfriend should be. On several occasions, she even mentioned that she thought they should get married. There was a thought that made Buffy want to lose her lunch. Even more frightening was the thought that it could be true. How was she going to get away from him, anyway? Every time she even thought about moving towards the door, he threatened her life, Willow's, Xander's, his own - anything to keep her there. Some days she thought he would actually do those violent things and other days, she thought he might not. But, what if she left him and someone's life was the cost?

Taking a deep breath as she always did before she met with him, she knocked on the door softly as if she didn't want it to be answered. She almost smiled happily, preparing to walk away when it swung open and a tall guy nearly bumped into her.

"Oh sorry," he said, looking down at her, "I was just leaving. Did you knock?"

"Yes," Buffy nodded, "I'm here to see Riley."

"Oh," he said, nodding, "Buffy, right? I'm Gunn."

"Nice to meet you," she said as he stepped back and pushed the door open.

"You too," he said, waving her in, "And in the future, you don't have to knock. No one does. It's never locked, okay?"

"Thanks," Buffy said, hiding her frown. That was horrible news. Now she didn't even have the no-one-answered-the-door excuse. Perfect. Wallowing in the horror that was her boyfriend's new living arrangements, she didn't even think to ask Gunn where Riley could be found in the giant structure. Sighing, heavily, she glanced around and saw Angel walking into the room.

"Buffy," he said softly, looking simultaneously thrilled and saddened to see her.

"Looking for Riley," she said, casting her eyes to the floor. This was so much worse than she thought it would ever be. How had Angel come to mean so much to her in such a short time? Now, the thought of going through Riley's moods and his abuse of her body seemed dirtier, sicker and more anguishing than it ever had before. Living her life was becoming a darker reality every second she stood in his presence. She was ashamed of who she was and what she was doing, that she couldn't escape. And she was drowning in Angel's pity.

"Upstairs," Angel said, jerking his head toward the back of the room, "Second door on the left."

"Thanks," she said, sweeping past him quickly. She nearly froze when she heard him whisper as she passed, "Yell if you need me."

Turning slowly, she moved back toward him and looked into his eyes furiously, "Don't."

"Tell him not to make me," he returned evenly.

"This still isn't your business," she whispered harshly.

"I still don't care."

"I like you, Angel. Please don't make things worse."

"Again, not my decision, love," he said, backing away, "But it can be yours."

Shaking her head, she quickly moved away again, hating herself far more at that moment than she ever hated Riley. She knew it was her decision and at the same time, knew there wasn't one. There was too much to risk...but the way Angel just called her "love" made her think that maybe there could be a way...somehow.

Part Three

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU AGAIN to everyone who gave me such fantastic feedback and encouraged me to continue! Please let me know what you think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear



i can’t smile
i don’t know what happened to me
i don’t know what happened to me
i can’t smile

A week went by and Buffy managed to avoid getting into a fight with Riley, stayed away from Angel when she was in the mansion and was able to have a whole interrupted night of fun with Willow and Xander. Those things alone should have made her feel better, but they didn’t even come close.

When Angel entered her life, her perceptions of what was happy and good in the world slowly began to change. What had been enough before wasn’t even slightly sating these days and the simple pleasures she had afforded herself seemed to become less fulfilling.

He had a way of looking at her, even when he didn’t speak, that made her feel like she was doing something wrong. Being friends with him was making her miserable and just when she thought her inner turmoil had reached its peak, she started dreaming about him. She started waking up in cold sweats, panting, nipples so erect she had to touch them to keep them from aching, with a fire in her veins that she couldn’t even identify.

The dreams were as unfulfilling as everything else, especially since she could barely remember what had happened in them. She kept bits and pieces, emotions, waves of pleasure. Several times it happened when she was in bed with Riley, just down the hall from the man in her dreams and she fought the urge to panic when she woke up with the wrong person’s arms around her.

She couldn’t believe it when the thought first entered her mind that her boyfriend’s bed was the wrong one to be in. Dangerous ideas started to creep into her mind. What if she could escape Riley? What if Angel really could help her? The problem with those thoughts is that they always ended up with someone hurt or even dead at the end of the tale and she was left shuddering until the next dream when she forgot about the horrible possibilities and saw a different future than she had before.


you can close your eyes but you can’t make it go away

“You must be Riley,” Spike said, from his slouching position on the couch. He loved that he was back in the mansion with his pockets filled with Angelus’ money. Drusilla’s devotion to Angel was his only problem and not a large one. She seemed to think Angel actually was one. Soddin’ ponce treated her like a princess and he had a sneaking suspicion that she had been in his bed at least once before they were married.

“I don’t think we’ve met,” Riley said good naturedly, which is how he usually came across to people who didn’t know him. His eyes always seemed to twinkle with a charm and happiness that drew people in, made them trust him. Course Spike wasn’t the sort of sap who would’ve bought that even if he didn’t know what a wanker the boy was. He watched as the larger man lowered himself into a chair on the other side of the coffee table.

“I’m Spike,” he said, sizing the boy up. He could take him. Any man who beat on a woman wasn’t used to fighting someone who hit back. Spike couldn’t wait for that to change. “Angel’s step brother...and the future brother-in-law to your girl, I’m sure.”

“What are you talking about?” Riley said, his formerly casual voice trembling in anger.

“Oh, I’m not saying anything,” Spike said casually, lighting a cigarette and smiling happily at Riley’s true colors waving in front of him, “It’s just that my brother, the pansy that he is, happens to be very good at seducing women and he has his eye on that little blonde thing that’s been climbing in and out of your bed.”

“I’ll fucking kill Angel if he touches my girl!” Riley answered, pulling himself back to his feet.

“Suit yourself, frat boy,” Spike shrugged, exhaling a puff of smoke in Riley’s direction, “You kill him, I inherit the Angelus fortune. Works for me on all sides, really.”

“Are you trying to provoke me into killing your brother?” Riley sneered.

“No, mate,” Spike said, laughing, “Just making conversation.”

“I think I’m done participating in this one,” Riley snapped, heading for the door. Visions of Buffy in bed with that arrogant, rich asshole made his blood boil. He had thought that moving into Angel’s mansion was the perfect way to threaten Buffy and keep an eye on Angel at the same time. Suddenly, the plan was starting to wither before his eyes.

“Sure, mate,” Spike answered, “Don’t want to keep you. Piece of advice though?”

“What?” Riley said, turning full circle to face the bleach blonde British opposite of his landlord.

“You keep beating your bint the way you are and Angel will have her in his bed by the end of the month. And that’s not a bloody threat, it’s a promise. He’s all but told me he’s planning on fucking her hot little brains out and he could give a rat’s ass that you’re down the hall.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Riley asked, stepping closer to the couch Spike was sprawled on.

“Because I like conflict,” Spike said, grinning broadly, “And I’m effin’ bored. Besides, I’d like to see Angel get knocked down a notch and if you’re smart, you’ll pull it off.”


she said, “i’m okay. don’t worry about me.”

“Will,” Buffy said, perching on the edge of her friend’s bed. Willow was buried in her Psychology text book and damn if she didn’t look like she was enjoying what she was reading. Buffy knew as a good friend she had to put a stop to that insanity, so she didn’t feel at all sorry for interrupting her, “I need to talk to you.”

“‘Kay,” Willow said, setting her book aside, “I was just reading ahead in the book anyway.”

“You’re a peculiar person, Will.”

“That’s why you love me,” Willow beamed. She was thrilled that Riley and Buffy hadn’t had any bloody or damaging fights lately and Angel’s name was starting to come up more and more in casual conversation. She definitely took that as a good sign.

“I...I don’t know what to do,” Buffy said, biting her lower lip in an attempt to reign in her emotions. Lowering her voice, she whispered, “I think I might have...feelings for Angel.”

“That’s great!” Willow responded, fighting the urge to bounce happily on the bed, “Do you want to call Riley right now to break up with him or should we write him a letter instead? Maybe a singing telegram is the way to go. What rhymes with ‘poophead’?”

“Willow,” Buffy warned.

“Sorry. What are you doing to do?”

“I don’t know,” Buffy admitted, “I’ve been dreaming about him at night and when he looks at me...Will, I know what you’re thinking but I can’t break up with Riley.”

“WHY?” Willow wailed, slumping on the bed looking like the wind had just been blown out of her sails, “Buffy, I don’t know why you’re doing this to yourself.”

“Because I have to,” Buffy said sadly. She never wanted to have this conversation with Willow, but she knew it was time. If something happened, Willow had to be prepared to protect herself...or find out the worst when something really bad happened.

“Why?” Willow repeated, “I’ve really tried to understand...Okay, we both know that’s a big fib, but no matter how much I think about this - all hottie Angel thoughts aside - I don’t see why you would ever let anyone treat you that way. Even you said that the first time he hit you.”

“I’ve been trying to keep you out of this,” Buffy said, “Will, the reason I can’t leave Riley is because he threatened to hurt me and the people I love if I did. No one is safe if I leave him. At least this way I’m the only one being hurt.”

“He’s bluffing,” Willow said, managing to sound slightly convincing.

“We both know he’s not,” Buffy said, “No one’s safe - my mom, Xander, even you!”

“We’ll go to the police,” Willow answered, “Tell them he’s threatened you and us!”

“I can’t,” Buffy said, “I know you think he’s some horrible person, but he’s really not. He’s sick. He needs professional help.”

“Oh, yeah,” Willow blurted bitterly, “I can just see him strolling in the mental hospital and checking himself in! Buff, he’s going to really hurt you one of these days, kill you even and your whole life will be wasted!”

“I know,” Buffy whispered, “But I can’t risk it. Not for your life or anyone else’s.”

“What about yours?”


i dream of the time when i can make you mine
maybe then i’ll feel half alive, more alive, so alive
this is the place inside where all good things die

It was all an accident really. Innocent. Buffy decided not to panic.

And then she panicked anyway.

She hadn’t really done anything wrong anyway. She was too short to reach the book that Angel had probably left on top of the bookshelf so, she asked him to get it down for her, which he did, of course. While handing it her, he managed to drop it and they both bent over to get it. When their fingers brushed, they glanced at each other, meeting eyes while bent over, each with a hand on the dusty volume.

He leaned in and she knew what was going to happen. Her brain asked her body politely and then with more force to turn away, to back up, to run in any direction that didn’t contain those soft lips and dark, piercing eyes. Her body promptly refused to follow a direct order and soon she found herself opening her mouth to his tongue, allowing herself to be pulled in his arms and as he nipped gently at her mouth, holding her close to his chest and as he kissed her, her mind remembered what her dreams had been about.

He tasted clean and sweet, smelled like leather and felt like safety, passion and a mix of emotions that wouldn’t allow her to pull away. She felt one of his large, elegant hands resting on the small of her back and another threading through her hair and somewhere in the middle of it, she began to cry.

“I’m sorry, Buffy,” he gasped, breaking away from her sweet mouth as much as he didn’t want to. She was breathing heavily and nearly hysterical as she backed away, thankful Giles wasn’t in his office. As he looked over her pain stricken face, he was tempted to scoop her up and carry her far away from this town and her abusive boyfriend. Instead, he continue to apologize. “I’m sorry, please don’t cry.”

“I can’t...we shouldn’t...I have to go,” Buffy stammered, wiping away hot tears from her cheeks as she backed away from him.

“It’s just that-” he said, searching for the right words and coming up short. How could he say all the things that were running through his mind? *I love you. I want you. I can’t resist you. I’d give anything to pull you into my arms and never let you go. I can’t stand that there’s someone hurting you and I can’t stop it. I think I’m going insane.* An epic of emotions and sweet words ran through his mind and he kept silent as she ran out.

Buffy was halfway to the parking lot before it occurred to her to stop running. She missed the strange looks from other students as she hurried away and was actually glad she had. She wiped away the tears, but they kept falling in an endless flood. Her hands were nearly as wet as her face as she tried to brush away the most involuntary tears she had ever cried. Why did he feel so perfect? Why were his arms so warm and strong and safe as if nothing could ever hurt her there? Why did he have to have that look in his eyes, that constant mixture of worship and concern and anguish?

She headed for her room and for the first time in a long time, her pain was a different kind and her tears didn’t seem to even come from the same well inside her. She pulled her stuffed pig close to her chest and curled up on her bed, sobbing for the love she hadn’t had and was sure that she already lost.


i hate the way i am around you
I’m so nervous and weird
sometimes i feel like I’m breathing underwater
you treat me like I’m on fire, like I’m something to eat
you make me hate what i see when i see me
yeah, i dream of the day when i learn how to make you pay

Later that same evening, after a pleasant night, Riley sat up in bed and looked down at the little body sleeping beside him. She was curled up and in her sleep had scooted away from him, so she was nearly teetering on the edge of the bed. He reached out and shifted her a bit, so she wasn’t so close to falling and brushed her hair away from her lovely face. He had noticed since he moved into the mansion, that when they spent the night together, she was more reluctant to have sex with him and more emphatic about not sleeping over. More often than not, he was able to convince her to stay and when she did, she slept more peacefully than she ever had before. He looked down at her dreamy smile and wondered what she was dreaming about, what happy thoughts were going through her mind.

She looked so inviting that he pulled her against him and wrapped his arms around her, filling with pride that she was his. Holding her right then, he knew that his fears about Angel taking her away were ridiculous. That was the face of a woman in love, a woman in his bed, not anyone else’s. He grinned joyfully when she turned over and tossed one of her slender legs over him, resting her cheek on his chest. He rubbed down her back and over her tight little ass, giving her a squeeze and was rewarded with a breathy moan. Encouraged, he slid his hands over her body, caressing her through her silk pajamas and then moving under them as she responded in her sleep.

Risking her being upset with him, he moved a hand between her thighs and groaned when he felt how wet she was. He slipped a finger inside her slick passage and knew he was going to have to wake her. She seemed more aroused than he ever remembered her being and she moved against his invasion, mewling in pleasure in her sleep.

“Wake up, Buffy,” he whispered, rolling her over on her back, swiftly unbuttoning the buttons on her top. “I want you.”

“Yes,” she whispered, keeping her eyes closed but pressing herself against him, “Yes, please.”

“Buffy, wake up,” he whispered again as he lowered his head to suck one of her erect nipples into his mouth. She responded immediately, arching her back to press herself against his mouth and releasing a shuddering moan that made his cock jump to full tumescence. Pulling away from her breasts, he whispered again, “Buffy!”

“Don’t stop, Angel” she whispered, threading her fingers through his hair, “Don’t ever stop touching me.”


i hear her calling my name
next thing you know i think i’ll want to be a better man
i hear her calling my name

“Angel,” Gunn said, calling through the door quietly, “Angel, are you awake?”

Rapping more soundly and calling out for several minutes, Gunn decided to take his life into his hands and pulled out his key to let himself in. He knew Angel would be alone. Ever since that little blonde entered his life, he hadn’t let another woman climb into his bed. Which worked out well for Gunn and the others. The girls were so heartbroken by Angel’s rejections that they needed comfort and there were plenty of arms ready for the task in the mansion.

Leaning over the bed, Gunn shook his friend, “Angel. Wake up, man.”

His last word was garbled when Angel’s shot up and gripped his throat, squeezing before he even had a chance to open his eyes. Blinking awake, Angel released Gunn and frowned. Panic hit him seconds later and he sat up so quickly, he nearly bumped foreheads with his intruder who was still bent over from being choked.

“What’s wrong?” Angel demanded, throwing the covers back and climbing to his feet. Gunn backpedaled several steps to give him room and then answered, “Buffy ran out of here like ten minutes ago.”

“Is she okay?”

“She...she was bleeding and barefoot,” Gunn said, “Three of the guys saw her, including Spike. Her pajamas were ripped and she was limping. Man, it looked really bad.”

“Bleeding? She was bleeding?” Angel roared, storming across his room to pull on the pants he had shed the night before. “I’ll kill that piece of shit. I’m going to torture that son of a bitch until he can’t remember his fucking name.”

“Hey, calm down,” Gunn advised, and ignoring Angel’s next outburst of profanity, “Doyle followed her out and is taking her home. Spike is on Riley patrol. I just wanted to let you know what’s going on.”

Gunn followed Angel out of his room and Angel made it to Riley’s door in seconds. He turned the knob and found the door locked. Taking no time to think about it, he slammed his shoulder into the solid door and pulled back to do it again.

“He’s not here,” Gunn said, grabbing him and pulling him back, “He ran after her and Doyle and Spike are making sure the happy couple don’t cross paths again tonight.”

Gunn followed Angel back to his room and watched in silence as he put on a shirt and shoes with deft efficiency. They were both running as they reached the front door, but Angel stopped and grabbed his coat, checking for his cell phone.

“Stay here,” he ordered, “If Buffy, Riley, Spike or Doyle come back, call me.”

“Angel, I think you should really consider-“ Gunn said gently, trying to keep his voice low as the great room filled with curious onlookers.

“No,” Angel answered through gritted teeth, “I won’t stand for this for one more fucking day! Not in my house, not anywhere else! That bastard is going to pay for every tear she’s shed since he darkened her life and I’m going to make sure he knows what it’s like to feel pain.”


Part Four

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU AGAIN to everyone who gave me such fantastic feedback and encouraged me to continue! Please let me know what you think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: I've been out of town for several days but I worked on part 4 when my family gave me a few minutes here and there. *G* If I haven't responded to your feedback yet, I will. I really appreciate everyone's comments! Thank you!


maybe i went too far this time
i just go crazy

"Where is she?" Riley demanded of Willow. He had easily ditched Spike at the local pub by pretending to go to the restroom and headed right over to the dorms where he was sure that Buffy would be. Now the little redheaded bitch was trying to lie to him. He wrapped his hand tighter around her pale throat and squeezed, repeating his question more forcefully.

"I don't know," Willow croaked, trying to keep the tears from squeezing from her eyes, "Thought she was with you."

"You know damn well she's not with me!" Riley shouted, slamming her head against the wall.

"I swear I don't know," she answered and then her eyes flashed angrily, "And even if I did, I wouldn't tell you, you big, dumb bully!"

Raising her knee, she slammed it in his groin as hard as she could. With a loud groan, he fell to his knees before her and she took the opportunity to run. Sprinting down the hallway, she ducked into a friend's room at the end of the hallway and called Oz.


the scary things you see from the corner of your eyes

Angel looked everywhere for Buffy. He spent hours scouring Sunnydale before he came back home and started calling everyone that knew Buffy and everyone that might possibly know her. He had just resorted to calling hospitals when Riley stumbled through the front door with Spike in tow. Much to Riley's frustration, Spike had caught up with him at the dorms and had not let him out of his sight since then.

Rushing across the room, Angel knocked his brother aside trying to get to Riley Finn. He punched Riley once and then again, before swinging his leg up in a roundhouse kick, connecting with Riley's face and knocking him to the ground. Angel pounced on him and threw another round of punches, delighting in the blood that spurted from Buffy's boyfriend's face. His mouth twisted in a cold grin, as he pounded the only person he ever remembered hating. If Riley hit him back he didn't feel it, just as he didn't feel the damage he was causing to his own fists. He just kept slamming into Riley's face until Gunn and two of the other guys intervened, grabbing him and dragging him away.

"LET ME GO!" Angel roared, lunging forward toward Riley again and managing to pull his friends several feet with him.

"Angel, calm down," Gunn said, "Killing him and going to jail isn't going to help her."

"Won't it?" Angel growled, struggling to free himself, "I think his death would improve her life quite a bit. I'll be glad to do it for her!"

"You can't protect her from me! She isn't yours to protect!" Riley choked, taking several seconds to pull himself to his feet. He didn't bother wiping the blood from his nose or his mouth as he met the glare of landlord. Riley could still hear Buffy whispering Angel's name in the dark, her body begging for his touch. It made him sick to think about it. Stepping forward, he prepared to fight back even though Angel was restrained. He almost landed a punch but Spike held him back.

"Sticking up for your brother after all?" Riley hissed.

"I'm all for violence, but Peaches can't fight back," Spike said, yanking him further away, "That's poor form, mate."

"Let him go, Spike," Angel spat, still struggling to break free from his three tenant's hold, "The more I hate him the easier it'll be to kill him."

"You arrogant-" Riley began but the front door opening turned all heads in that direction. Doyle came in first and behind him was the crooning sound of Drusilla's voice as she led a still bleeding and injured Buffy inside the house. Angel's whole body shook as he looked over the woman he loved. Her mouth was split and swollen, trails of dried blood came from her nose and mouth and bruises had already formed over her jaw. Her pajamas were ripped so violently that her body was barely covered and he could see clearly that her arms and legs were bruised and bleeding.

"Buffy!" Riley shouted, trying to pull himself free from Spike's hold. Doyle and one of the other tenants jumped in to keep him from approaching her. Buffy cringed and stepped back, her eyes covered in terror, but Dru wrapped an arm around her and whispered in her ear to keep her from fleeing.

"She's going to be in my rooms with me," Drusilla announced, looking deliberately from Riley to Angel and back again, "The only person allowed in or out is my husband."

"You can't keep her hostage in your little apartment," Riley sneered, "When I'm free I'm coming up there to get her!"

"I'll have to hurt you then. No hard feelings of course," Dru said, whisking Buffy toward the stairs. Something in her half mad dark eyes kept Riley from saying more. The glint of danger on Spike's face told him that what she said was the truth.

"Buffy," Angel said softly, "Are you okay?"

"No," Dru answered. Buffy hadn't even uttered a syllable since she came in and her eyes looked glassy and far away. She kept her gaze shifted away from everyone in the room, casting her eyes on the wall or the floor. She looked…broken.

"Buffy," Angel repeated, "Please, love, look at me."

"Angel," Dru said, shaking her head while she answered for Buffy once more, "Just stay away for awhile, alright? I'll take care of the poor little girl."


i can see it in your eyes
i can see it in your shaky hands
yes, i think you think i'm stupid
you don't think i understand

A whole day and night passed with no emergence of Buffy. Angel wasted no time booting Riley permanently from his home and informing his friends and residents that the first person to let him through the door was out as well. According to Angel's demands, the guys gathered Riley's belongings and tossed them out the front door to decorate the lawn. After he had taken his stuff back to Lowell house, Finn stayed close to the mansion, sitting in his car in front, waiting for her to come out. Angel was determined to make sure that she wouldn't – at least not alone.

On the second night, Angel, having stayed awake the whole night before in restlessness and worry, fell into a troubled sleep. When he woke up a couple of hours later, he found a little visitor sitting on the edge of his bed.

"Buffy," he said hoarsely. He couldn't believe that she was even there. From the looks of it, Dru had been able to clean her wounds, but she still wore those dirty and torn pajamas.

She didn't say a word or even acknowledge that he had spoken. Slowly, she laid down in bed. Much to his surprise, she tugged him to lay back down and pulled his arm around her, encouraging him to hold her. He obliged, molding himself around her tiny frame and kissed the top of her golden head. She held onto to the arm slung around her waist tightly, almost cutting off his circulation, as if she was afraid he would escape if she let him go.

"I'll take care of you," he whispered, "I won't let him hurt you again, Buffy. I promise."

He waited for a long time for her to speak, but she kept silent. After several minutes, her breathing evened and she was fast asleep, but her little hand had not released its hold on him. She clung tightly even in her sleep.


need to know if you were really gone
need to know if you were gone for good

Spike woke up in the middle of the night in a panic. He rose from his chair and slowly opened the door to the bedroom where Buffy had been sleeping only to find her gone. Rushing around his suite of rooms, he found Dru soundly asleep in the bedroom, but no sign of Buffy anywhere. Cursing, he ran out into the hallway and searched through the open parts of the mansion before knocking on bedroom doors.

The last door he faced was Angel's and he stood there staring at the wooden doorframe for long minutes before he knocked. He couldn't believe he had fallen asleep. He and Dru had been taking turns watching Buffy since she came back. Since she hadn't slept at all, they thought it best to have one of them alert at all times. Hell, he hadn't even drank at all. He had been so worried with her curled up in the chair in the corner of the spare bedroom looking like she thought the ceiling would fall in on her at any moment. Spike hadn't remembered caring about anyone that much since he met Dru.

Part of him really did care about the golden girl that had captured his brother's heart, even thought initially he had thought he could use her as leverage against him. When he saw just how much Angel loved her, he couldn't seem to gather up the necessary evil to do a thing against either of them. Although he never would have admitted that to anyone other than Drusilla.

When he finally knocked on Angel's door, he knocked so lightly his brother wouldn't have heard unless he was awake and sitting in total silence. He didn't want to tell him he had lost her, that he had failed him, that he hadn't been able to do the only thing Angel had ever counted on him for. Fishing his keys from his pocket, he inserted the key in the lock as quietly as he could and took his time opening the door.

When he made it to the bedroom door, he let out a sigh of relief. Buffy was lying in bed with Angel, his large frame curled around her protectively. Her eyes flew open when he made it to the bedroom, wide open in fear. He saw her frantically moving back in bed, only to be stopped by the broad chest behind her.

"Shhhh, pet," Spike whispered, "It's just me. It's Spike. Remember, ducks?"

She calmed and Angel pulled her against him more tightly, still fast asleep. She said nothing, didn't even nod her head, but the fear was gone as a look of relief covered her face.

"You took off without so much as a goodbye, love," Spike whispered, "I was worried. Checkin' on you is all. I'll go."

He backed up and prepared to leave but looked back at her watching him depart, griping Angel's big arm tensely.

"If you need me, I'll be around," he said quietly and with a nod of his head, he was gone.


that is where i first saw her
high on the bridge, i see her red hair shining

Willow stormed into the mansion with Oz on one side and Xander on the other the following morning. Buffy had been gone for almost three days and she was terrified that something horrible had happened, especially after her violent visit from Riley. After numerous calls the following day to the mansion and getting no information from the tight lipped inhabitants, she decided that she was going to have to make a personal appearance.

"Alright," Willow said with her hands on her slim hips, surveying a room of college men, "I want to know where Buffy is and I wanna know now."

"Hey Red, calm down," Spike said, pulling himself up from the couch.

"My name is Willow," she said, "Not ‘Red.' I'm Buffy's best friend and she's been gone for too long. Something bad happened, didn't it?"

"Yeah and why is her asshole boyfriend is parked outside like he's on a stakeout or something?" Xander muttered.

"She's with Angel," Spike answered, "but I'm not sure you wanna go up there, kids."

"Who are you supposed to be with the condescension?" Xander asked irritably.

"Spike," he said, shrugging his shoulders, "Who else?"

He led them up the stairs to Angel's door and knocked firmly, only to be met with a harsh yelling voice, "Go away!"

"Angel, I've got three of your girl's friends out here demanding to see her," Spike answered.

"Angel, it's Willow!" she shouted, "Is Buffy in there with you?"


dull, damaged and blind
sounds a lot like me
dull, damaged and blind
yeah, almost all of the time

"Oh my gosh," Willow repeated for the third time, sipping a glass of tea on the sofa in Angel's living room. After seeing Buffy and hearing from both Angel and Spike about what had happened, she was still shocked.

"Yeah," Xander agreed.

"Second that," Oz said, rubbing Willow's hand in his comfortingly.

"I knew something like this would happen," Willow whispered, "But I really hoped it wouldn't."

"Well, the problem is that she won't talk," Angel said, "I can't get her to say anything and I think she might be going through shock of some kind."

"At least she's sleeping," Spike offered.

"She didn't sleep before?" Angel asked in surprise. She had done nothing else since she climbed in bed with him.

"No," Spike said, shaking his head, "She wouldn't sleep a wink while she was in with us. Guess she was still too afraid."

"Well, I think I'll have to take her to the hospital," Angel said sadly. He had been hoping that she would snap out of it before he had to take her anywhere but she didn't seem any closer to being okay. "I'm not even sure how badly she's hurt."

"Don't say that too loudly," Willow whispered, "She's terrified of hospitals. She'll freak out if you take her there."

"This just keeps getting better and better," Angel muttered. They all looked up as the door opened and Buffy shuffled out, still in her torn pajamas looking battered and exhausted. She scanned the room briefly, showing no emotion to the people present and then trudged over to where Angel sat in his armchair. Everyone, including Angel, was surprised when she climbed in his lap, laid her head on his chest and promptly went back to sleep without so much as a syllable to anyone.

"That's it," Angel said, looking down at his little love tucked against his chest, "I'm taking her now."

No one argued as he stood and carried her to the bedroom, emerging a moment later with her in one of his shirts, which looked to be just put on over her pajamas. The group followed behind him as he left the room.


i'm not responsible for your life falling apart
i'm not responsible

Angel was well aware that Riley was following him and Buffy to the hospital. If only he had known that the idiot had been outside of his home the whole time, he would have gone out to beat him again. Now he was just trying to avoid conflict with Buffy with him. The last thing she needed was something else to freak her out. He only hoped Riley was smart enough to stay out of his sight.

Angel paced out in the hallway while the doctors examined her, going back and forth in front of the rows of chairs where Xander, Willow, Oz, Spike and Drusilla sat waiting. A sound from the right made him turn to look and saw Riley marching proudly down the hallway. Spike and Xander stood up when they heard Angel make a low warning sound that sounded suspiciously like a growl.

"Finn," Angel said, narrowing his eyes at his intended prey, "Don't come a step closer to me if you don't want to check in here."

"I'm here to see my girl," he answered, stopping several feet from the group.

"You're the reason she's here," Angel answered, "So in my book that means she's no longer your girl. You've lost all Buffy privileges, boy."

They turned as the doctor entered the hallway and they looked expectantly at the woman who would be pleasant if she didn't have a disgusted look across her face. As the doctor prepared to speak, Joyce Summers jogged down the hallway frantically.

"I'm Mrs. Summers," she said, glancing over the group before turning to the doctor, out of breath and concerned, "My daughter, Buffy, was checked in here today."

"Mrs. Summers," the doctor answered, "I'm Dr. Philips. May I speak with you in private?"

"Please just tell me if she's okay," Joyce answered, becoming more worried by the minute. When Willow called, she was so evasive about what was wrong. The ride over had been a maternal nightmare. A thousand images of what could possibly be wrong had gone through her mind.

"Your daughter appears to have been raped, Mrs. Summers," Dr. Philips answered, "Her body is battered severely and she has gone into shock."

"Oh my God," Joyce gasped, raising her hand to her mouth, "Who did this to her?"

Joyce turned around and looked at Buffy's friends standing around her in the hallway. No one answered, but all eyes shot down the hallway at Riley. He withstood almost thirty seconds of their glares before turning and running away.


Part Five

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU AGAIN to everyone who gave me such fantastic feedback and encouraged me to continue! Please let me know what you think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: Because of the many comments, I've gotten about Riley, I though I'd make a little disclaimer here. I *like* Riley's character - the television version of him, that is, not this version. (The reason I often abuse him in my fics is because, although I thought he was a good guy, I don't think he should be with Buffy.) My version of him in this fic is not what I think of Marc Blucas or his BtVS character. This is an AU fic where I have completely altered his character to fit in with this fic. I hope those of you who have some lost love for Riley Finn will be able to suspend your disbelief for the duration of this story. The reason I chose Riley for this part, rather than any of the other men in Buffy's life is because he was always so good and clean cut. The idea was that he would not seem abusive or able to do what he does. Hope that helps everyone. Feel free to email me if you have additional concerns. Thanks!

DEDICATION: For Sarah. Happy, happy birthday! *G*


as i watch you fade
now i know what you know
and i'll break the chains you have made

"Raped," Angel echoed, staring at the doctor. He felt a shudder go through his entire body and stumbled back a couple of steps until he was leaning against the wall. Raped? He choked on his own breath and vacantly turned his head to where Riley Finn had been standing.

"Who did this?" Joyce demanded, raising her hands to her face. Turning on her heel, she stared at the large, dark haired man leaning against the wall in shock. She raised her finger and pointed at him, "Was it you? Did you do this to my little girl?"

"Me?" Angel asked, blinking back his shock and staring into eyes that were the same color as the woman he loved, "Rape Buffy? No. No."

"It was Riley," Willow said, clearing her throat loudly, which seemed to echo down the hallway after him, accusing the path he took of the abomination.

"Riley?" Joyce said incredulously, "Riley would never hurt her!"

"He did nothing but hurt her," Xander shouted angrily, "He's been beating the shit out of her for months and months! Haven't you wondered about how she's always hurt, bruised or scraped somewhere?"

"That isn't true," Joyce mumbled, "It can't be."

"It is," Willow added, crossing her arms as she waited for more denial to come spouting from Joyce's mouth. They all turned as Angel's loud footsteps sounded in the hall.

"Angel," Willow called out, "Where are you going?"

"Tell Buffy when she wakes up, that I'll be back, okay?" Angel said, pausing in the center of the hall, "Tell her...tell her I'll keep my promise."


i know a young girl living in the shadow of
the kind of life she could never make
she takes it all and gives it back in love

Raped. The word kept crushing into Angel's skull again and again. He knew Riley had hurt her, but he had never been able to let his mind go as far as rape. Not rape. His whole body trembled with anger and revulsion as he exited the hospital and looked around the parking lot for a sign of the bastard that had hurt her. Hurt her. That wasn't even close to what he had done. Finn had violated her in every sense, physically, emotionally, spiritually. No wonder she had been in shock.

Images that would have turned his stomach a few months ago, things he never even though about visiting on a person, began to spring to mind as he looked for Riley Finn. He jumped in his car and slowly circled the parking lot before roaring out into the street. He planned to overturn all of Sunnydale until he found him and the only thing he was worried about was the idea of spending the rest of his life in jail for taking a life.

He had made it almost all over town and to Lowell house with no sign of Riley when his cell phone rang. Still keeping his eyes peeled for his intended victim, he answered the phone.

"Angel, it's Willow," said a worried voice over the line, "Can you come back to the hospital?"

"What's wrong?" he groaned, "Is she okay?"

"She's been calling your name in her sleep and...well...she's terrified," Willow said in a low voice, "Her mom told me not to call you. I don't think she'll accept that it was Riley that hurt Buffy until Buffy tells her, but she's not talking. The doctor prescribed a mild sedative to make her sleep because she wouldn't do anything but stare at the walls, but now it's worse. She's screaming, Angel, screaming for you."

"On my way," Angel answered, pulling a U-turn in the center of the street and heading back.

"You didn't find him, did you?" Willow asked quietly. Her voice reflected the fear she felt and Angel wasn't sure if she was afraid he would hurt Riley or vise versa, but he was beyond caring. He wanted to see Finn bleed again. Few dreams were more satisfying.

"No, but I will."


i will not be denied
i will not be ignored
i'm not invisible anymore

"ANGEL!" Buffy screamed, thrashing in her bed. The medical staff had restrained her and Angel winced at the bruises that were forming on her delicate wrists. She was already hurt all over and the idea that the hospital was causing her more pain just pissed him off. He had spent the past five minutes trying to circumvent Joyce and the nurses to get into the damn room and now that he was in there, he just wanted to scream in frustration, instead he crossed the small expanse of space to get to her.

"Buffy," he whispered, cupping her face in his hand. The moment he touched her, she stopped thrashing and he was almost glad that he felt the burning stare of her mother and a nurse at the door as he leaned over and kissed her forehead. Maybe they would see that he's innocent now. She obviously wasn't afraid of him, which should mean something to them. "Buffy, I'm here. It's okay. Everything's alright, baby."

"Angel," she whimpered, "Going to hurt..."

"No," he whispered as he unbuckled her restraints, ignoring the protests of the nurse behind him. "No one's going to hurt you now."

He massaged her wrists as he removed her bindings and she pulled him closer to her. He tried to sit in the chair by the bed but she kept tugging on him, her eyes squeezed shut and her teeth grinding in her mouth as if she were being beaten right then. Finally, he lowered the railing on the side of her bed where her restraints had been tied and sat down on the edge, caressing her hair and face. He was sure he heard Joyce gasp from the doorway as Buffy shifted in the bed until her cheek was resting against his thigh. She rooted around until she found one of his hands and intertwined his fingers with her own. Holding on to him tightly, she relaxed and mere minutes after his arrival, she drifted off into a deep, peaceful sleep.

Angel sat still and let her hold onto him. After a moment, he looked up to her mother and met her eyes. He wanted Joyce Summers to see that he loved her, that she was safe with him, that he would never hurt her, but she almost looked disappointed. It was if she wanted Angel to be the rapist, as if she didn't want to believe that Riley was capable of what he did. Angel didn't disagree. He wished no one was capable of that.


sounds like heaven to me

When Buffy woke up a few hours later, she was frantic to get out of the hospital, which actually relieved Angel and everyone else. At least she was not staring blankly at the walls, even if she was screaming for release. Dr. Philips ordered that Buffy stay overnight for observation and Buffy informed everyone that if Angel couldn't stay with her that she was leaving. After a long argument with her mother and Dr. Philips, she got her way and Angel was given permission to spend the night in her room. When everyone left them alone, Buffy looked at Angel who was still sitting on the edge of her bed - mostly because she hadn't bothered to let him go.

"I...I never asked you if you wanted to stay," Buffy said quietly, almost wincing as she prepared for him to tell her he didn't want to be there, "You don't have to. Stay, I mean. You can go home if you want."

"If you want me to stay, I'll stay," he said simply.

"Really? It's okay?"

"Sure," he said, "You should know by now...I'd do anything for you, Buffy."

She looked at him for a long moment, shifting nervously. Now that she had him there, she wasn't sure what to do. He couldn't very well stay sitting on the side of her bed like that for the next 8 hours. Slowly she reached up and pushed his leather jacket from his shoulders and he shrugged it off before removing his shoes.

"Lay with me?" she asked softly. Nodding, he laid back on the bed and held his breath as she laid her head on his chest. As he wrapped his arms around her and felt her snuggle in, he saw a glimpse of a possible future. Strange, that before all he wanted were easy women - easy to deal with, easy to sleep with, just easy in general and now he found that the woman he wanted more than anything else in the world wasn't easy in any sense of the word, save one - she was extremely easy to love. As she burrowed against him, curling her little body against his, he closed his eyes and held her, silently plotting out his next steps to ensure her safety.


i just want to give shape to the face
that twists inside both you and me

The following morning when Buffy was released from the hospital, her mother insisted that she come home for the night. After Joyce all but forbid Angel from seeing her daughter again, Buffy became more forceful than he had ever seen her. She informed her mother that not only was not going home with her and that she was going to see Angel again, but that she was going to stay with him if he'd have her.

And of course, it was perfectly fine with him if she stayed with him. Hell, he was hoping she'd move in. He didn't really understand what it was about him that made Joyce dislike him so much, but he saw that she was definitely going to be standing in the way of him being with Buffy. If he could only prove to her that Riley was actually the scum everyone knew him to be, then maybe she would relent...but he wasn't so sure. She looked at him like he wasn't good enough for her daughter or something. Considering most mothers begged him to marry their daughters once they found out how rich he was, this was entirely new territory.

Figures, he thought. The one girl he actually wanted be with and he was going to have to work three times as hard just to get her mom to like him.

Once they arrived at the mansion, Angel flew into action. A conversation that morning with Willow while Buffy was arguing with her mother and preparing to check out of the hospital proved very informative. She told him about Buffy's fears that Riley would hurt someone she loved, so in answering Xander's dreams, Angel invited him to move to the mansion, giving him Riley's old room. He also asked Willow to stay in the guest room for awhile until everything blew over and hired an armed guard to sit outside Joyce Summers' home in the event that Riley decided to pay her a visit. He met with his boarders and informed them once again that if they let Riley Finn cross over the premises, they would be without a home. Going further, he called a locksmith and had all the mansion's exterior locks changed, as well as the lock to his room and Xander's. Finally, he paid Gunn, Doyle and Spike to help move Willow and Buffy's things to the mansion.

By the time everything was finished, it was early afternoon and Angel asked Dru and Spike to look out for Buffy while he searched the surrounding area once again for her rapist. School was in session, even if everyone was missing it, and someone was bound to see Riley at some point. He only hoped it would be sometime soon.

Once night fell, he decided to give up the search for the evening and check on Buffy. He drove home and found Spike and Buffy looking comfy together on his sofa, watching a movie and sharing a bag of popcorn. He was surprised at the intensity of the jealousy that came over him when he saw them together. Spike was happily married and Buffy was not interested in getting in a new relationship, with him or anyone else. He was sure of it and yet, he couldn't stand the thought of her being with anyone but him.

"No need to get jealous, Poof," Spike said low enough for Buffy not to overhear after he'd crossed the room to leave when he saw his brother was back. "I'm here taking care of your business...again."

"And you're being compensated, so quit your bitching," Angel snapped, "I'll take it from here."

"Alright," Spike muttered, "You're welcome...wanker."

"Thank you," Angel snapped. His step brother might be an asshole and usually was barely trustworthy but something told him he could trust him with Buffy. She didn't shy away from him at all and seemed content to have him around, which was more than he could say for the rest of his household.

Spike cracked a grin as he headed out the door and shut it behind him. No matter what Angel did or said, he knew that he trusted him now, that he wanted him around. What a big glorious leap that was from the previous year. As cheerily as Spike's personality would allow, he headed upstairs to see what Dru was up to.


this is the place inside where all good things die
sometimes i feel like a whore

That night when it was time to go to bed, Angel was extremely nervous. He didn't want Buffy to be uncomfortable around him, which is why he made sure he remained completely clothed in her presence at all times and didn't touch her unless she initiated it. He showered before bed and came out of the bathroom completely covered. He ran his fingers through his wet hair and went into the bedroom.

"Buffy," he said as he walked in, "I thought if you wanted you could take the bed and I'll sleep on the..."

He tapered off as he saw her standing there next to the bed in the dim light, completely nude, her hair falling around her shoulders. He swept his eyes over her bruised body, which was otherwise perfect. Moving up to her eyes finally, his confusion deepened. She looked terrified and extremely sad.

"Baby, what are you doing?" he asked gently, taking another step into the room so that he could close the door. His standing policy to keep everyone out of his room seemed less than strict these days and he didn't want Spike or Doyle or someone to wander in and see her. "Willow, uh, Willow packed all of your clothes for you. They're here...if you want me to get you something..." he said.

"No," she said, shaking her head slightly and biting her lower lip, "Don't you want to...you know? I mean, it's not like you didn't earn it."

"No," he said, as the realization of what was happening dawned on him, "That's not what I want. I didn't earn anything, Buffy."

"But I thought..." she whispered, lowering her voice further until it was a rasp as her eyes filled with tears, "I thought you wanted me and guys...when they...Angel, I don't understand."

"Buffy, let me make something perfectly clear," Angel said, trying to keep his voice from wavering, "I want you, believe me, I do. And I can't wait to make love to you, but we're not going to have sex tonight or any other night until you're healed...until it's what you want. I don't need a reward for taking care of you. My reward is being with you, knowing that you're safe."

"But..." she managed before the tears flooded her eyes and spilled onto her cheeks, "I thought..."

"Buffy," he said, crossing the room and pulling his shirt off as he went. He wrapped it around her trembling shoulders before pulling her into his arms, "What he did to you, that isn't what men are like. That isn't what I'm like. It's not about me taking what I want from you, it's about you giving yourself to me."

"You can have me," she muffled against his chest, sobbing uncontrollably.

"No, love," he said, "I can't. Not yet."

When she calmed, he slipped her arms into the shirt and buttoned it up, quickly covering her exposed flesh. He nudged her toward the bed and watched as she climbed under the blankets. She looked up at him expectantly, her eyes and cheeks glistening with her tears.

"Will you s-stay in here with me?"

"Is that what you want?" he answered.

"Yes," she said. She turned on her side and released a deep breath as he held her close to him. "Is it what you want?"

"Yes," he answered, allowing himself the luxury of kissing her hair, "I want to hold you every night for as long as you'll have me."

The silence grew heavy as they laid there and after a few minutes, Angel spoke again. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"I don't know," she answered, staring off into the darkness. The only time she ever felt safe was in his arms and yet she felt an invisible pull to give him more, to give him everything, like she thought he would erase what Riley had done. She had been mortified when the hospital informed her that she had to press charges against Riley and even more upset when they suggested she see a counselor. She vetoed the shrink immediately and now Angel was trying to fill that role too.

"We can start slow," he said, keeping his voice low and soothing, "We can start when you first met him. How did you first start dating?"

"Are you going to think less of me?" she asked quietly, "I don't think I can take it if you hate me, Angel."

"Not possible, my love," he answered and then clamped his mouth shut. He hadn't planned for the last part to come out and he waited for her to say something, get angry, but she let it slide by quietly. After a moment he added, "Do you really think I could possibly think less of you? You dislike yourself enough for both of us, baby."

"Not enough," she whispered, "I don't hate myself nearly enough."

"Tell you what," he said, snuggling in and holding her closer against his chest, "I'll hate Riley, which is easy because I already do and we'll just pretend you were a victim of a crime, because you were."

"Last year, I met him," she said finally, glad she didn't have to look into his eyes, "I was a freshman and naive. He was sweet and handsome and a popular upperclassman. So we went on a few dates and I thought he was really good for me."

"And then?" he urged softly, caressing her arm.

"Then..." she said, "I was...he was my first. And after awhile I thought that sex just wasn't fun for girls, you know? He just...he told me that I was supposed to sleep with him whenever he wanted. When I said no the first time, he hit me."

Angel struggled with every fiber of his being not to speak. He didn't trust his own voice because the fury and anguish welling up inside him was overwhelming. He ground his teeth together and waited for her to continue.

"I broke up with him," she said, "I told him it was over that no one treated me like that and then he came back, apologized, promised it would never happen again. I was firm though. There was no way I was going to be what my mother was. I wasn't going to take what she took from my father. He tried everything to get me back for weeks he begged and pleaded and sent me flowers. Eventually, I went back. I don't even know why.

"It was good again, or at least as good as we could be for almost a whole month and then it happened again," she said, "That time, I tried to leave and he wouldn't let me. He told me he'd kill himself if I left him, so I stayed. I didn't know what else to do.

"Each time, it got worse and he started threatening my friends and my family. He told me he'd kill them, kill me and himself before he'd let me go. He started...he started having sex with me whenever he wanted, when I wasn't...ready and he made me...do other things that I didn't want to do."

"What was different this last time?" he asked, after a long pause.

"I...I fell in love with you," she said, her voice thick with tears, "And I tried not to and I tried to hide it but I couldn't and he saw right through me. He accused me of cheating on him with you and that was before we had even kissed. That's why he moved in here to begin with, that's why I was so angry with you for letting him in. He said if I broke up with him, he'd kill you in your sleep and I knew he meant it. He meant it.

"He can't hurt me, baby," he whispered, "He can't even get in here."

"He can," she whimpered, shuddering in his arms. Taking a moment to calm down, she continued, "I was trying to forget you, trying to stay away, but I started having these dreams. You were in them and you loved me...you were...making love to me and it wasn't like Riley. It wasn't like anything else. That night, I was sleeping here at the mansion in Riley's room and I had a dream about you. And I said your name in my sleep, I guess, cause when I woke up..."

"It's alright," Angel whispered, turning her over in his arms as she cried, her whole body racking with sobs, "You're safe. We all are. He can't hurt anyone you love now, Buffy. I promise."

"What he did to me that night," Buffy said, after she had calmed down. She grabbed his face with both hands and looked directly in his eyes, trying to see him in the dark room. "He said he'd kill you and he wants to. You have to stop looking for him, Angel."

"No," Angel answered firmly, "He has to-"

"Promise me, you'll stop looking for him," Buffy said, interrupting him and raising her voice, "Promise me! I can't stand it if I lose anyone."



"I...dammit...I promise," he grumbled, pulling her into his arms, "I promise."


Part Six

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU AGAIN to everyone who gave me such fantastic feedback and encouraged me to continue! Please let me know what you think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


DEDICATION: For indie and trammie. Oh, how I heart you two.


i have sinned the sin of wanting more

When Buffy woke up in the late morning, she found Angel holding her closely against him, sleeping with his brow furrowed, as if he worried even in his sleep. Her stomach growled angrily and she realized that she had hardly eaten in the last few days. The little bit of popcorn she had shared with Spike last night was hardly a substantial meal. Scooting to the edge of the bed, she looked down on him, taking the opportunity to gaze on his bare chest and abdomen. She had never seen him without a shirt before and it made her temperature rise several notches. She smiled, knowing that he hadn't meant for her to see it at all.

Greedily, she raked over his tight, muscular abdomen, broad shoulders, and copper nipples that made her mouth water. Carefully, she reached out and touched his belly, moving slightly with his breaths, and traced up to his chest. She never really thought of a man as beautiful before, but Liam Angelus was certainly that and a whole lot more. She giggled when he reached out in his sleep and pulled her close to him, unknowingly caressing dangerously close to her breasts. Leaning down, she kissed him lightly and pulled away quickly before he woke.

She hopped from bed and reality hit her as her wounds made themselves apparent once more. Grimacing, she limped toward the door and stopped to look back at Angel again. His worried expression had faded and his lips were almost in a half smile. God, how she wished she had just skipped over Riley completely, that Angel had found her first.

Buffy's intentions were to take a quick shower, but her numerous stinging scrapes and cuts caused the cleaning process to lengthen. It was then that she realized that she hadn't showered since...since Riley and she nearly sobbed with embarrassment. How could she have offered herself to Angel used and tainted like that? He deserved so much more than that, so much more than her. How could he want her when she was so thoroughly broken?

Damaged goods. That's what Riley had called her and he was right. Slipping to her knees, she wept for the hundredth time that week, cursing her existence and her stupidity. If only she had been braver, if she had been smarter, she could have saved everyone the pain they were going through.

The water was cooling when she rose to her feet and stood on shaking legs. She unhooked her shower puff from rack and sniffled gratefully. She wasn't sure if it was Angel or Willow who had brought all her things into the bathroom but her shampoo, conditioner and soap were all present as well. If she closed her eyes really tightly and thought really hard, she could almost pretend that she was Angel's, that he loved her, that she belonged there.


i don't wanna be your good time
i don't wanna be your fallback crutch anymore

When Buffy finally finished her shower, she wrapped a towel around her and planned to search for clothes. In the living room, boxes containing her things were surrounding Angel's expensive furniture. The idea of rooting through those to find something to wear while she was wrapped in a towel before she got to eat something was not the best option, so she tiptoed back to Angel's bedroom. He still slept, breathing deeply.

One of his sweaters was draped over a chair near the window and she picked it up, inhaling it before slipping it on. Surrounded by the smell of him in a black sweater falling to her knees like an oversized dress made her feel safe and loved. Managing a small smile, she headed into his kitchenette and scrounged for food. Unfortunately, Angel was a bachelor in every sense, including his refrigerator, which consisted of expired milk, mustard, a single beer and one slice of cheese.

Wrinkling her nose in disgust, she wandered out of his apartment and downstairs to see if there was more food in the big kitchen. She vaguely remembered Xander ranting about how Angel hired someone to grocery shop or something. Either they did an awful job or all the food was downstairs.

She snuck quietly past the men that lived there, hoping no one would notice her. She suddenly felt inappropriately nude in nothing but Angel's sweater, although it was more clothing than she wore on hotter days. The trip, however, was worth it because the kitchen was a wonderland of yum, with more food than she could have possibly dreamt of. In fact, there was so much that she couldn't decide what to eat. She was getting ready to make a bowl of cereal when Spike strolled in the kitchen and grinned at her.

"Hey there, pet," he said, "I was just going to make Dru an omelette. You want one too?"

"You can cook?" Buffy asked skeptically.

"I'll have you know," he said, pulling out a frying pan from the cabinet and shuffling around to get supplies, "That my wife would have married me for my eggs, if she hadn't already fallen in love with my good looks."

Buffy laughed outright and watched him as he cooked, moving around the kitchen comfortably, well aware his surroundings. He talked and quipped, keeping her in giggles as he made the food. Several minutes into the omelette preparation, Dru came in. Buffy thought she floated, rather than walked. Something in the way she moved made her look like the air parted for her, like the elements were left delighted and confused in her wake.

"Spike," Dru said, caressing his shoulder as he cooked, "I'm starving. How are you, Buffy?"

"Starving," Buffy answered with a smile, "Spike's making me breakfast too."

"Flirt," Dru said, chastising him before sliding into the chair beside Buffy, "He shows off, you know. Thinks he's the king of the kitchen."

"King of the bedroom," Spike said with a wink, "but a bloke's gotta keep his woman fed."

Yelling from the other side of the house, sent all three of them rushing toward the great room seconds later. Buffy froze in fear as she saw Gunn blocking the door, trying to keep an enraged Riley Finn from entering. Spike grabbed Buffy's hand and Dru took the other, framing her on either side protectively.

"Sod off," Spike sneered, "You're not welcome here."

"Buffy!" Riley shouted. Although Spike's intentions were good, he brought attention to the little blonde holding his hand and Riley forcefully took a step forward, only to be pushed back roughly by Gunn.

"You're not coming through this door, man," Gunn said, "And you need to get out of my face before things get ugly."

"How many of them are you fucking, you little whore?" Riley raged from the doorway, eyes blazing, "First you sick the police on me, telling them I hurt you and now you're the mansion slut!"

"Don't matter what she's doing here," Gunn said, "This is about you leaving."

A movement behind her made Buffy peek over her shoulder and at least eight of the mansion's tenants were standing behind her, all looking defiantly angry. A tall, lanky guy, who she thought was named Scott, spoke up loudly. "Sorry, Ri. I don't know what happened between you and Buffy and it's not our business, but you take a step into this house and we all make it ours."

"Fuck you, Scott," Riley shouted, "You think I'm afraid of you? Buffy belongs to me!"

"And if she walks out there to be with you, then that's up to her, but while she's in this house, she belongs to us," Scott answered forcefully.

"Friendly warning, mate," Spike said, squeezing Buffy's hand, "Angel's looking for you. If he finds you here, you're a dead man."

"Buffy," Riley said, softening his tone and changing tactics, "Come out here, baby. We can work this out. You know once Angel finds out how you really are, he's going to leave you. Come back to me and we'll take care of this mess."

"Please leave," she said softly, "I don't want any trouble, just go before Angel finds you here."

"Buffy..." Riley pleaded, "Just give me five minutes to talk to you."

"She said no," Gunn said in a low voice, "But we all know you don't understand that word, so let me try rephrasing - Get the fuck out of here."

"They won't always be around to protect you, bitch," Riley sneered.


i think i lost my smile
i think you lost yours too

Angel woke to find Buffy missing and rose sleepily, trying not to jump to immediate alarm as he searched his little inner sanctum for her. She wasn't anywhere to be found. Becoming more worried, he left his room without bothering to throw on a shirt and walked through the mansion. He had planned to stop by Willow's, then Xander's and finally Spike's before panicking, but he didn't even make it to Willow's room before heard yelling downstairs. He ran down the hallway and took the stairs two at time only to find a bunch of the guys standing around Spike and Dru who were trying to comfort a frozen Buffy.

"Buffy," Angel said and before he could even ask what was wrong she started speaking, "Nothing happened. Nothing happened, Angel."

Helplessly, he looked from her to the faces around the room and back again. He reached out and tipped her chin up, waiting for her to meet his eyes.

"Something must have happened," he said softly. Lower lip trembling, she moved into his arms and held him tightly, pressing her face against his bare chest.

"Finn," Spike said after long moments, "Wanker tried to get in for her."

Tensing up, Angel began unwinding Buffy from his embrace, fully intending on going after him, but Buffy wouldn't let him go. Switching from frozen and afraid to hysterical, she babbled, "No, Angel. You can't. You promised."

Bewildered, he just stared at her for a moment as she clutched his arms, digging her fingernails into his skin as she begged. Tears fell freely down her cheeks as she held him tightly, unwilling to let him go.

"Buffy," he said gently, "I just want to see if he's still on the property."

"Gunn c-called the p-police," Buffy stammered, "He's gone. You promised. You promised me."

"Okay," he whispered, scooping her up in his arms, "I won't go. Just calm down, love. Everything's okay."

The group watched as Angel carried her back upstairs, all mirroring the same confusion, all trying to figure out who exactly Buffy was protecting.


time stops when whispers blare
the voices drop hard, but the eyes still stare
the world dissolves into death's head grin

Once Buffy had finally gotten to eat her breakfast, which Spike had delivered for her, and she was fast asleep, Angel slipped on a shirt and headed downstairs to find out what had happened. A few of the guys were still around, although some of them had gone to class. The four still hanging around, along with Spike, who had to be dragged from his wife, relayed the story of what had happened in a bit more detail than Angel would have liked.

After a few moments of thoughtful silence, Spike asked, "What exactly did you promise the chit, Peaches? Is she really that worried you're going to hurt the boy?"

"Strangely enough," Angel said, "She thinks he's going to hurt me. She made me promise not to go out looking for him."

"You can't..." Spike said with a sly grin.

"But you can," Angel said, smiling just as broadly and then quirked an eyebrow at his brother, "What's this going to cost me?"

"Consider the danger involved as well as the time spent away from Dru," Spike said, rubbing his stomach happily at the possibilities, "I think it's going to cost you...double."

"Done," Angel said, with a curt nod of his head, looking around at Gunn and the three remaining guys in the room, he lowered his voice, "Spread the word. Anyone willing to give up their time and energy to keep an eye out for Finn, as well as make sure Buffy is safe when I'm not with her both inside the mansion and out, will have free rent until this is taken care of."

"No shit?" One of them asked, confounded by the offer, "Just like that?"

"Yeah, just like that," Angel said, rising to his feet.

"Angel," Gunn said, shaking his head in mock sadness, "We didn't think we'd lose you to a girl like this. I think you're beyond saving now."

"You have no idea," Angel said, before turning and leaving the room. They watched in silence as he mounted the stairs to where Buffy slept.

"Wonder if he's ever gonna go to class again," Scott mused once Angel was out of sight.

"Not until Buffy does," Gunn answered.

"Think he's really in love with her?" Scott asked, "I mean, she's beautiful and all, but...I don't get it."

"Can't see how you would," Spike said, following the path his brother took toward the stairs, "When the right girl has you, there's nothing you won't do for her."

"Awww," Gunn said, chuckling, "Isn't it cute how Spike personifies money like that?"


i'm so eager to please
yeah, i like it when you talk to me
it feels so good inside your shadow
it's the place i need to be

Angel went back upstairs and found Buffy curled up in his chair, waiting for him in silence. Angel sat down on the couch and looked over at her, waiting for her to speak. She stood and crossed the room and climbed onto his lap, sighing when he wrapped his arms around her.

"I've been thinking," Buffy said keeping her cheek against his chest so she wouldn't have to meet his eyes.

"What about?" he asked lightly, smoothing his hand over her back.

"What I did last night...I shouldn't have done that," she said, "Riley said something today and I hadn't even thought about it until he said it."

"What did he say, love?" he asked.

"He said you'd find out about me," she said, "I don't want that...I think I'm going to move back to the dorms. This isn't fair to you."

"Buffy, I'm confused," he said, moving her so he could look at her face, "What are you talking about?"

"Nothing," she said, standing up and moving to her boxes nervously, "Never mind."

Angel watched her root around in them looking for clothes for a minute or two before he stood and crossed over to her. Scooping her up in his arms, he took her into the bedroom and sat her down on the bed. He lowered himself to his knees before her and let his hands rest lightly on her hips.

"Buffy, I love you," he said, "I am completely, madly, head over heels, can't think straight, insanely in love with you. Do you understand that?"

"No," she answered honestly, shaking her head, her eyes bright with tears, "I'm not good enough-"

"You're not good enough?" he asked incredulously, "Buffy, you are perfect. You are wonderful and sweet and everything I've ever wanted. I am not good enough for you! I'm an asshole, I'm selfish and I've never done anything to make anyone's life better before I met you."

"You rent out your mansion to all these guys for really cheap," Buffy argued.

"Because I didn't want to live in this big house alone," he said, "I did that for me, not for them. I wanted people around to party with, that's all."

"Still," she said, "You deserve better than me. I'm not worth all this, Angel. I promise I'm not and later, when you realize the truth about me you'll regret saying all these things."

"I will never regret loving you," he said sternly, "Whatever Riley said you are, whatever you think of yourself, I can almost guarantee you that it's not true."

"You don't know!" Buffy protested, "You don't know anything about me, Angel! I'm weak and I'm needy! I'm horrible in bed and I can't even protect the people around me."

Groaning, he dropped his head for a second and looked back up at her, "Here's what we need to do: Everything that jackass said to you, everything he told you that you were and you weren't is not true. First of all, you aren't weak! You've done nothing but take the brunt of that jerk's abuse to protect the people you loved and him of all people! And horrible in bed? Jesus, Buffy, you're taking the opinion of a rapist who never took the time to make love to you! How does that make sense?"

"I don't know," she said, "It just does."

"No, it doesn't," he said, "It makes no sense and if I have to spend the rest of my life making you believe it, I will. I love you."

Leaning forward, he kissed her gently. Urged on by her little moan, he kissed her more deeply pressing his tongue into her warm mouth and threading his fingers through her hair. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, sucking his tongue into her mouth. When he pulled away, forcing himself to pace their physical interaction, she was panting for air.

"God, how do you do that?" she said hoarsely.

"Practice," he said, with a wink, his eyes twinkling with mischief and desire as he moved toward her lips again, for just one more taste.


Part Seven

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU! You all are so wonderful!! My muse has overdosed on faery dust or something, cause she's in hyperdrive over this one. I hope you'll keep letting me know what you think of this one.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


DEDICATION: For Ashleigh, Copper, Margriet and Sarah (twirlgirl).


stressed out in every way
i am sick and tired of being sick and tired

Buffy felt his name escape her lips before she could stop it. The dreams had been reoccurring almost every night. Angel holding her. Angel loving her. She knew every morning when she woke, the nightmare would be reality and the dream...well, it was just that. She couldn't make her mind, her heart stay away from Angel. He just kept creeping in - phantom hands touching her body in sweet caresses, a ghostly voice whispering sweet nothings in her ear, strong arms holding her. Every night, the emotions boiled over and she wanted him so badly, needed the love only he could provide so desperately that she would cry out his name. Tonight was no different. Cringing, she scampered across the bed to protect herself before she even opened her eyes.

She fell off the bed in a heap, but it didn't stop her momentum as she scrambled away from the fists that would be flying in her direction in a tempest of jealousy and rage. Raising her arms to protect her face, she begged, "No, please. Nononono."

"Buffy," a soothing voice offered, while strong and gentle hands peeled her hands away from her face, "Baby, it's Angel. It was just a dream, love."

"No," she cried out, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

"Buffy," Angel whispered again, crouching before her on the cold floor, "It's alright, love. Look at me."

Slowly, she opened her eyes and looked at him. She stared, unable to believe it was him for a moment, but then dripping in slowly like molasses, she remembered. It was really Angel. She released a shuddering breath and crawled into the arms that were open to her.

"I'm sorry, Angel," she croaked, "It just keeps happening. I can't help it."

"Don't be sorry," he said, gathering her against his chest and taking her back to bed as he had every night for the past week. He thought it odd and a bit unnerving when she explained the dreams to him. Logically, he understood that it wasn't her fear of him that made her react that way, but it still kept him from making love to her. He couldn't stand the thought that his name had helped cause her rape, that her loving him was the cause of her pain.

Course, there was much debate about fault and how it belonged to neither of them. Rationality never really took hold though. They both felt equally guilty and could do nothing but hang on to each other in an attempt to make things right themselves.

"I'm ruining everything," Buffy whispered in the dark regretfully.

"No," he said, "You can't ruin us, love. Things take time."

"You make me feel safe," she added, "You do. I don't know why the dreams won't stop."

"They will," he said, kissing her shoulder as he held her tightly against him. The confidence in his voice was real. He knew they would stop eventually and that she would heal someday, but he couldn't stop from feeling helpless. She made him promise not to look for Riley and he had kept his end of the bargain. He didn't go out purposefully in search of the bastard, he hired Spike to do that. Although, he couldn't stop himself from scanning the entire area around him at all times just hoping to spot him somewhere, crouching in the bushes like a cat burglar.

Things were getting easier and harder at once. They felt more comfortable around each other every day and Angel couldn't imagine spending one night not wrapped around her little body, but keeping from touching her, maintaining distance, making sure their kisses didn't get out of control was becoming more difficult.

Buffy wasn't the only one who was dreaming. His were filled with the same fevered touches, the same needy moans and wandering hands. In his dreams, she was his and he wasn't afraid to kiss every inch of her healing skin. His brain couldn't compete with his mind, body and heart when his eyes were closed, when he was holding her. But when he was awake, he kept himself from making love to her, when all he wanted was to worship her body and make her see that sex wasn't what she thought it was.

He told himself there was plenty of time for that. They had started going back to classes and doing every day activities, which was helping, but Riley's absence was beginning to wear everyone down. Closure seemed so damn far away with him lurking in the shadows. Doyle suggested that Finn had skipped town to dodge the cops, but Angel knew he wasn't going anywhere until he had Buffy under his control again. Still, after a week of not seeing even a glimpse of him, it was almost worth hoping for, until Riley's friend, Forrest, appeared outside Buffy's Wednesday afternoon class the following week.

Thankfully, all the guys in the mansion had gone above and beyond the call of duty when it came to Buffy and it started to extend to Willow too, until neither female could leave the premises without someone jogging up to escort one or both of them to their desired location. Angel started to hear about the guys being late to their classes or missing them altogether just to keep the two girls safe. He knew he was going to have to reward them in some other way besides free rent when this was all over.

The truth was that the guys all had fallen in love with the two best friends over the short time they had moved in. They all even seemed to like Xander - the nonstudent interloper. Strangely enough, the mansion had slipped into a harmony, almost as if they were all trying to make up for the fear that hung around outside of the doors.

That Wednesday, as Buffy was leaving her class, she was musing at how she was alone for once. She didn't have anyone guiding her around and she didn't feel afraid at all. The quiet days that had passed had begun to convince her that maybe things were going to be okay. The sun was shining and a cool breeze brought a smile to her face. She was so intoxicated by the breath of fresh air she was having, she nearly bumped right into Forrest when he stepped into her path.

"Forrest," she said, tensing up immediately as she faced her ex's best friend.

"You look so innocent that I almost bought it," Forrest said bitterly, "All that crying and whimpering almost had me. You're almost as great an actress as you are a whore."

"Leave me alone," she said, trying to step around him, but he blocked her path.

"No," he said shaking his head, "We're not going anywhere, until you agree to clear Riley's name and tell the police you lied about him!"

"I didn't lie," Buffy said, stepping backward. Forrest reached out and grabbed her, squeezing her upper arm so hard she knew she'd have a bruise there when he released her - if he released her.

"Bitching and moaning about the abused girlfriend is one thing," Forrest snarled out, "But accusing him of rape? I can't fucking believe you-"

"Hey Buffy," Gunn said, stepping up beside her and glaring at Forrest, "Oh hey, Forrest. Almost didn't see you there. Guess it was the brute force that caught my eye. Wanna let her go?"

"Stay out of this, Gunn," Forrest ordered through gritted teeth, "This is between me and this lying little bitch."

"No," Gunn said, butting his hand against Forrest's chest. Gasping in surprise, Forrest let Buffy go and stumbled back a step. Gunn wrapped his arm around Buffy's shoulders, before continuing, "See, Buffy is a good friend of mine and if you call her a ‘bitch' that's like calling me a ‘bitch.' And damn, if that doesn't just piss me off."

"We're friends," Forrest countered, "You gonna take her side?"

"We were friends, until you sided with Riley," Gunn answered.

"So, you're jumping off? That's it?"

"Your best friend is a rapist and now you're attacking the girl he victimized," Gunn said, "So, that'd be a big yes. Back off. That's a friendly warning."

"Don't fall for it," Forrest shouted as Gunn lead Buffy away, "She's a fucking liar!"


just another fucked up day

When Angel got back from classes that afternoon, Gunn was waiting for him in the great room. He wasted no time in launching into the story of what had happened when Buffy was left unsupervised for even a minute. Cursing under his breath, Angel cradled his head in his hands.

"I should have considered that he'd send his friends after her," Angel said, slumping back in his chair once more, "Thanks for helping out."

"No problem."

"Is she okay?"

"I think so," Gunn answered, "She went up to your room. Been there since we got home."

"Guess I should mention to Spike that following around his friends could be the way to get to him," Angel added, "Can we get a list of the frat boys that live in Lowell house?"

"Willow territory," Gunn said, "I'm the muscle, she's the brains."

"Right," Angel said, smiling at his friend and shaking his head. Gunn could turn any situation into a way to compliment himself. Half the time, Angel didn't know if he was joking or not - most of the time he thought not.


you are like the sun to me
all bright as liquid fire
i feel so powerless
hold you up above the world
yeah, you are quite a lot of trouble
for such a pretty little girl

Angel walked into his apartment several minutes later to find Buffy coming out of the shower in a towel. Naturally, he was distracted by the nearly naked body in front of him still damp from her shower at first, but then his eyes focused on the bruise appearing on her upper arm where Forrest had grabbed her.

"Bastard," Angel muttered as he crossed the room and touched her arm, caressing the mark left there. Annoyed and angry, he wasn't sure what brought his attention to back to her body, if it was the sound of the damp towel landing on the floor with a thump or the perfect breasts appearing in his peripheral vision. He swallowed harshly and swept his gaze over her tiny, golden body before forcing himself to look into her eyes. He was expecting to see that same sadness and horrible expression as before when she offered herself to him, but this time it was different. The sadness was there, but it was lingering behind the love that outshone everything else.

"I love you, Angel," she said quietly, "And I know that-"

"Buffy," he said, barely trusting his voice as he interrupted her, "You don't have to-"

"Just let me finish," she said, pressing her fingers against his lips, "I know that you've been afraid to make love to me because of...what happened, but every night I dream of you touching me. We sleep in the same bed, we want the same thing and I don't want to wait anymore."

"Are you sure?" he asked, cleaving to his last shred of self control, even as he stepped closer.

"Yes," she answered, "I want you."

It was strange being completely naked before him while he was fully dressed. She couldn't wait to see all of him, but when he pulled her into his arms and kissed her, plunging his tongue into her mouth, his hands moving over her bare back and rear, she forgot he wasn't naked as well. Threading her fingers through his hair, she mewled into his mouth, standing on her tiptoes to get more of him.

He swept her off of her feet and carried her to the bedroom, kicking the door closed behind him. He laid her on the bed and pulled off his shirt as he toed off his shoes. She watched him intently as he stripped down to his boxers, taken with his hard, muscular body and growing more nervous by the second. She felt the fear coming even before he pulled her lips against his once more, carefully keeping his weight from crushing her small frame to the bed.

He felt her grow rigid beneath his lips as he made his way down her neck and stopped abruptly. Raising his head, he looked into her eyes with a silent question and waited a second before asking if she was okay.

"We don't have to do this," he said quietly, "I can wait."

"No," she said, biting her lower lip, "It's just that..."

"It's just what, love?" he urged.

"I want to please you," she said finally after a long weighted pause, "I can just...I'll just...I'll perform oral sex...for you."

"What?" he asked in surprise and confusion. She turned her face away, staring at the wall instead of looking at him. He was crushing her with those dark, intense eyes.

"Buffy," he said softly, moving to her side, "If you aren't ready, it's okay."

"That's not it," she answered.

"Then, I'm confused, baby," he said, struggling not to touch her, not to try to turn her face toward him, but he sensed that for some reason she couldn't look at him.

"I'm...I'm not good," she said, "R...um...I've been told that and-"

"God, I hate that useless bastard," Angel blurted angrily, not meaning to actually say the words out loud.

"He told me even before...even before he started..." Buffy sighed heavily, "This is so hard. I just want to please you, that's all. When we have sex you're going to be disappointed and I don't think I can handle you being disappointed. I've made you wait all this time and-"

"Buffy, Buffy," Angel said, reaching out and cupping her chin, turning her to face him, "I'm not going to be disappointed. You don't understand."

"Yes, you will," she answered, looking at him through unshed tears, "You won't want me anymore, so if I just please you then maybe-"

"I will want you," he said, gathering her close to him, all but forgetting their nakedness for the moment, "I do want you. Don't you see? He wasn't making love to you. He didn't love you...Tell me something. When I kiss you, does it feel the same way as when he kissed you?"


"And when I touch you, is it the same as when he touched you?"


"No," he said bitterly, "It's not. Nothing is the same. Nothing will ever be the same. Not like what you had with him. It was sick and twisted. It wasn't love and if you think I'm going to let you give me a...if you think that I'm going to let you please just me with you getting nothing out of it, you're wrong. I'm not him. I'll never be anything like him!"

"I know," she whimpered, scrambling to explain, "I wasn't saying that. I never thought that Angel, I swear. I'm just afraid. I'm afraid that I'll lose the only thing I've ever loved."

"You can't lose me," Angel answered, "This is about giving each other our hearts, our souls and our bodies, Buffy. It's not about being good or not being good. It's about love. That's all. Nothing more. Nothing less."

"You won't leave?" she asked sadly.

"No," he said, "And I'm not going to turn into the monster he was. It's not you, baby. It was never about you. It was about control and overcoming some sick inferiority complex."

"I want this," she said, "I do."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," she said, "I'm not afraid of you, Angel. I never have been. The only thing that scares me is losing you."

"I don't want you to sleep with me because you think I'll leave," he said, "And I don't want you to not sleep with me because you'll think I'll leave. I've never loved another woman in my entire life, Buffy. I couldn't leave you if I tried."

Taking a deep breath, she nodded, meeting his eyes for a moment before leaning over to kiss him and urging him back into her arms. Never more determined to prove anything to anyone, Angel focused on kissing her for a long time, intertwining his fingers with hers with one hand and caressing her with the other. He waited until he felt her losing herself in the moment before he moved down to her neck once more, then sliding his tongue along her clavicle. He focused on each part of her, spending a long time just exploring her full breasts until she was arching against him, clamping her legs around his waist and breathing heavily.

He nibbled on her belly, lapping at her skin as he continued moving, making his way down one leg and back up the other before settling between her thighs. From the sound of her shattering moan of pleasure, he knew she was not expecting his exploring mouth to settle on her sex. Just as he had for the rest of his journey, he took his time, opening her and tasting her, memorizing the contours that made her uniquely Buffy. He took in the taste, smell and texture of her, dipping his tongue in her slick core.

"Perfect," he murmured as he teased her swollen bud, circling around it before flicking his tongue over it. She moved beneath him, writhing in pleasure as he slipped a finger inside her, relishing in the feel of her inner muscles tightening around the invasion before adding a second. He latched on to her clit as he moved his fingers in and out of her, suckling until she shattered around him, screaming his name as she trembled from his touch.

"Oh God, Angel," she gasped as he kissed his way back up her body. She gazed at him through sated, heavy lidded eyes, batting lust toward him as she recovered from the first orgasm she had ever experienced. She didn't shy away from her own taste on in his mouth as his lips covered hers once more.

He moved away for a moment to slip off his boxer shorts and then settled over her once more. After a moment's thought, he rolled them, placing her on top of him. She looked down at him in alarm and he smiled back lovingly, caressing her slim hips.

"I love you, beautiful," he said, "You're perfect...incredible inside and out."

"I love you," she echoed. Guiding her hand, he wrapped her hand around his cock and then moved away, waiting for her. He slid his hands over her body, caressing her patiently, until she positioned him at her moist entrance. They both hissed in pleasure as he filled her, stretching her tight channel to accommodate him.

"You feel so good...so perfect," he whispered, as she began moving. He did nothing to guide her actions as she rode him. He wanted her to have complete control and she glowed from it. He groaned in concert with her delicate mewls of pleasure as she kissed him sucking his tongue into her hot little mouth as she sped up the tempo at her leisure.

Losing herself in the feel of him, in the overwhelming sensation of love and inhibition, she washed all her fears and doubts away, drenching herself in Angel's love instead. As he felt himself nearing the edge, he slipped a hand between them and massaged her sensitive nub until she flew into her climax, pounding down on him. He joined her in release and they fragmented together, finding the missing pieces of themselves in each other.


Part Eight

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU for all the great feedback! Please let me know what you think of this one.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear



living isn't a simple thing, i know
no one said it's supposed to be

Buffy couldn't believe how tired and sore she was when she entered the shower the following morning. She would have hoped Angel would join her, but she knew her gentleman would need an invitation at this early juncture in their relationship. She made a mental note to remember that next time. What she remembered now, however, was the feeling of waking up in the morning in his arms, the sensation of his hard naked body pressed against hers.

She shuddered under the warm spray at the memory of him touching her, making love to her, his grunts of pleasure, his hot breath on her skin. It was nothing like it was supposed to be and certainly not what she imagined it ever could be. She should feel dirty and yet, she felt happy, light and airy like she suspected other girls did when they were in love. Course, the other girls didn't have Angel.

Grinning to herself, she slipped out of the shower feeling somewhat superior for once in her life. Having the love and knowing the touch of an incredible man like him made her want to smile and never stop. She knew Angel had many lovers. He had shamefully admitted it more than once. He was strange that way. Other men proudly spouted about their former conquests and Angel made it seem like he was wasting time before he met her.

She sauntered into the bedroom, again wrapped in a towel, and was met with her half asleep lover, who was making his way to the bathroom to take over the shower she had just vacated. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her thoroughly, delving into her mouth in a full passionate kiss that made her toes curl before he let her go.

"Morning, baby," he said, a smile spreading over his lips as he cupped her face, "Have I told you I love you yet today?"

"No, but I love you," she answered, returning his smile and letting her hand rest on his chest, while she felt the urge to drop her towel and say the hell with classes, "You look sleepy."

"Wide awake now," he said, tracing the top of her towel, just at the rise of her breasts. Glancing at the clock he groaned in disappointment, "You're gonna be late for class."

He headed for the bathroom and stopped at the door to watch her for a second as she flipped through the clothes they had finally put in his closet. He like the sight of her things mixed in with his. She didn't even keep her stuff to one side, but hung them wherever she found space. It was like everything else about her. She didn't mean to, but she just filled all the cracks that he didn't even realize were missing until she came along.

His train of thought faded as she dropped the towel and slipped on a pair of pale yellow thong panties, wiggling her ass slightly as she pulled them on. Suddenly hard as a rock, he couldn't tear his eyes from her as she put on a matching strapless bra and slipped into a sundress. If he had been able to form a thought at all, it would have been that he was glad that she was wearing something that she might have worn before her life turned into a nightmare. Lately, she had been prone to wearing oversized sweatshirts and other bulky clothes that hid her body.

His illusion of perfect happiness came crashing down as he watched her move to the full length mirror she had hung in his bedroom to see if any of her marks and bruises could be seen in what she was wearing. Regretfully, her still damaged legs peeked from the bottom and a large purple mark decorated the center of her back, rising up from where the material ended. He must have groaned out loud because she turned, unaware that he had been watching her.

"I'm sorry, Angel," she said, pulling the dress off and reaching for a trademark bulky sweatshirt, "I know it makes me look ugly but it'll go away."

"No," he said, unaware of his nakedness as he crossed the room and eased the sweatshirt from her fingertips, "Nothing makes you look ugly and you're right, they will go away. You don't have to hide your beautiful body in one of these shirts, besides it's 80 degrees outside. Wear what you want, sweetheart."

"Okay," she said, releasing the sweatshirt and leaving it dangling in his fingertips and moving back toward the closet, "But I can't wear that dress."

"Just wear something," he said hoarsely, licking his lips as she rooted through the closet once more. Tossing the sweatshirt aside, he kissed the back of her neck, wrapped his arms around her, splaying his fingers over her belly and growled in her ear, "Or you'll never get to class."

As he walked away, toward the bathroom once more, she watched his firm, naked ass and the muscles rippling along his back until he disappeared behind the closed door. Damn, he was sexy. Taking a deep breath, she began rooting through the closet again, ignoring the dampness that was beginning deep inside, swirling want in her belly.


happy hearts fall from shaky hands
i can't hide my sexual life

"Hey guys," Angel said, nodding his head as he made his way through the great room. Seemed sacrilegious to attend class when he had finally made love to Buffy. He felt like he should be putting his money to some good use and sweeping her away to someplace exotic, leaving the police to deal with the mess that was Riley Finn.

"Hey," Spike said, nodding from one of the overstuffed chairs, "You're looking pretty...satisfied this morning, Peaches."

A snicker circled through the six other guys in the room and Angel's expression darkened, "What are you talking about?"

"Relax, Angel," Gunn said, "No need to get all worked up."

"Your lass just came through here," Doyle said with a twinkle in his blue eyes, "floatin' like she was on cloud nine, a little dreamy smile on her face...and looking hot as hell, I might add."

"She came through here in a pair of tight little jeans and...shit, we oughta get together and burn her sweats," another guy piped in, "it's a damn shame to hide that body."

"It's going to be hard to see it with both of your eyes swollen shut," Angel growled, taking a step toward his resident.

"Give it a rest, Nancy boy," Spike said, sticking his leg out to keep his brother from crossing the room to beat up anyone, "It's not like all the screaming coming from your room last night was discreet anyway. I thought these walls were supposed to be thick."

Doyle was sure Angel's eyes actually turned red with fury and he looked like he wanted to rip brother's lungs out, but instead he stepped back, realizing that Spike was Spike. Pretty much full time, unfortuntately.

"We're glad she's doin' better, that's all," Doyle added, "That girl's like a bit ‘o sunshine when she's happy."

"You don't have to tell Angel that," Gunn said, laughing, "He knows."

"Fuck off," Angel said, smiling in spite of himself as he headed toward the door.


she wants a man who can take his time
she wants someone who can make her come

The day was as ordinary as a day could be and since that wasn't the norm in any way, Buffy felt light and happy. She skipped through her day, enjoying her classes as much as classes could be enjoyed and couldn't wait to get home to Angel. As she was heading home, she saw him across the quad, chatting with a few people as he was coming out of one of the buildings. Three of them were girls and beautiful ones at that.

Tamping down her jealousy, she headed toward him, adding an extra swing to her step as she did, tossing her blonde hair over her shoulders, looking like a woman on a mission. It was as good a time as any to make sure every woman on campus knew that Liam Angelus was off the market. He had been landed and in a serious way.

Buffy smiled as she thought about all the women he had slept with - who would no longer have that opportunity. Granted, he was wonderful in bed, but she wondered how many of them used him for his money. Not that he flaunted the fact that he was rich, but no one could miss it, even though his car wasn't extremely fancy and his clothes weren't constantly new. It was the little things that gave him away - the way all of his clothes were of the highest line and the polished way he carried himself. Any experienced shopper recognized that the his worn jeans cost a fortune and his sweater was unmistakably Armani.

She smiled brighter as she headed for him. He was so funny about those things. He probably had never been inside a Walmart his entire life. His mother had died in childbirth and his father and sister had been killed in a private jet over the Carribean when he started college, leaving him with a huge bank account and no family. He had started renting out the mansion then just to fill the empty space, all except for his sister's suite of rooms on the third floor. He kept them locked tight, kept just as she left them. It was the only room in the house that never saw the light of day.

Slowing down for the last couple of steps, she watched him look up at her as if he already knew she was approaching. Moving away from his entourage of female admirers, he didn't even notice their grimaces or flashing jealous glares as he pulled her close and kissed her gently. Rising on her tiptoes, she wrapped her arms around his neck and moved against his mouth more passionately, pressing her chest against his.

"You look great today," he said, as he pulled away and took her hand in his.

"So do you," she beamed. They made their way home together, chatting easily about the day's events and it felt so...normal and wonderful, like nothing either of them had experienced before. When they got home, it was late afternoon and the mansion was filled with most of its inhabitants, hanging around and milling about, talking about how to spend the evening. Both of them ignored the looks they received as they threaded their way through the crowd and went directly to Angel's room.

Book bags were discarded at the door and before the door was fully closed, they were at sucking at each other's mouths eagerly, battling with their tongues as their hands wandered. Buffy backed Angel up until she was able to push him into his chair and immediately dropped to her knees, going to work at releasing his already hardening cock.

"Buffy, we talked about this..." Angel said, his voice coming out hoarse and full of desire. The idea of her little mouth wrapped around his cock, made him grow harder. He could imagine her pink tongue licking him, those tiny hands cupping his balls. He moaned as she wrapped her hand around him and he fought with his own desire as he spoke again, "You don't have to do this."

"I want to," she announced, before dipping her head down to lick the tip of his straining shaft. Lowering her voice, she looked up at him and smiled, "So shut up."

He opened his mouth to continue with his argument, but only released a groan of pleasure as she sucked the head of his cock between her lips, swirling her tongue around him. Buffy moved down, carefully relaxing her jaw as she struggled to take more of his thick length with every down stroke, only to come back up and swirl her tongue around the tip once more. She closed her eyes as he threaded his fingers through her hair, caressing her with those big, gentle hands. She fought not to think of what Riley had done when she was forced to do this, how he forced her further down on him, nearly choking her. Angel kept still and let her do what she pleased with him and from the sounds he was making, enjoyed every second of it.

Urged on by the moans coming from him, she caressed his balls with one hand and kept the other wrapped around the base, squeezing and caressing the part him she couldn't take in her mouth. Every stroke, she moved further down until he was hitting the back of her throat. She felt her gag reflex coming on as he entered her throat and she swallowed, contracting her muscles and causing a loud groan of pleasure to come from her lover.

"Buffy," he moaned, as she moved deeper, attempting to take all of him inside her hot little mouth, "That's...so...so...good."

The sound of his voice, wracked with desire, filled with joy and determination. Relaxing her throat and jaw, she swept down deeper and deeper, sucking him harder until her nose met with his muscled stomach. Squeezing her eyes shut, she moved over his lap, focusing every part of her body on his pleasure, proudly taking him in and shocked that she could.

"Stop baby," he whispered, causing her to freeze, "I'm going to come."

Looking at up at him, she swept down again, earnestly bringing him in and out of her mouth until he came, spilling jets of warm semen in her throat, which she swallowed. Licking her lips, she smiled up at him proudly and started to move away. She was going to go to the bathroom to brush her teeth, since he certainly wouldn't kiss her before she did, but squealed in surprise as he pulled her into his lap and attacked her mouth, while his hand moved between her thighs to rub her denim clad sex.

She writhed against his hand, breathing heavily as he pulled away from her mouth to pull her little t-shirt from her body. He cupped her one of her breasts in his free hand, not bothering to remove her bra first, pulling her against him once more. Dipping his head, he peppered kisses along her upper chest before teasing kisses along the top of her bra. She reached around and removed the offending garment, tossing it away as she pushed her chest closer to his mouth. She ground against the hand between her thighs as she felt the heat rising in her body and prayed that Angel would suck one of her aching nipples into his mouth.

He avoided them however, knowing how badly she wanted it, working her up as he slowed the movement between her thighs. He smiled against her breasts as she groaned in frustration, glaring down on him as he kissed all around her painfully hard nipples.

"Please," she moaned, "Angel, please."

Teasing her even more, loving the way the desire was building up inside her, he licked the aureole around her nipple and then moved to the other, keeping his touch from straying to the pebbled points. Her breath was coming out in pants, her entire body stiffened with anticipation as he finally licked one nipple. She thrust her chest against his mouth, threading her fingers through his hair as he took mercy on her and sucked the flesh into his mouth. Rewarded with a shattering moan, she jerked her hips against his hand and came, tightening her knees against his thighs. He moved to the other breast, laving the neglected nipple as she trembled against him, recovering from her climax.

"I want you," he said softly as he kissed her again, sucking on her lower lip for a moment before pushing his tongue into her breathless mouth.

"Yes," she agreed against his mouth, "Please, Angel. Now."

She moved from his lap long enough to shed the rest of her clothes and he stood, shucking his before grabbing her hand and leading her to the bedroom. It was a strange feeling to want sex, to need it and to be anxious to give herself over to a lover, but she did. She laid back on the bed and welcomed his weight against her, opening for him as he positioned his cock at her dripping opening.

She moved her hands over his back, loving the feel of his corded muscles flexing with his movements, as he slowly entered her, stretching her tight, delicate walls to admit his intrusion. Surprising herself, she lifted her hips, pressing against him, needing more of him, all of him. He entered her fully and began moving inside her in a steady rhythm, keeping her eyes locked on his and nipping at her lips, kissing what flesh he could reach. As she lifted her hips to meet his thrusts, he slipped his hands under her, cupping her firm little ass and thrusting harder inside her.

As they moved together, rocking with each other, a banging sound came from his front door, which became louder by the second. Angel refused to move from her perfect pussy and kissed her deeply as she opened her mouth to suggest they answer it.

"Could be an emergency," Buffy panted, pushing up against him and he moved down.

"I don't smell smoke," Angel managed, "So it can wait."

The knocking on the door, however did not relent, and Angel finally stood, slipped on his black silk robe and prepared to murder the person at the door. His anger faded, however, when he saw it was Willow, looking embarrassed and sheepish.

"Sorry," she said, holding the phone with one hand covering the mouthpiece, "It's just that the downstairs line rang and it's Buffy's mom."

"It's okay," Angel answered, taking the phone, "Thanks Willow."

"Sure," she said, still red with embarrassment. Moving away, she thought about telling Angel that she gave Spike the list of Riley's fraternity brothers and that he was checking them all out, but with him very obviously naked under his robe and clearly aroused, she moved away and decided against it.

"It's your mom," Angel whispered, handing her the phone and noting the frown on her beautiful face. He wished there was something he could do to make she never had that look of unhappiness and misery again. Since there was no other choice, he handed her the phone and motioned that he was going to leave, but she shook her head and held out her hand, pulling him back into bed with her. She settled against him as she held the phone to her ear, "Hello?"


Part Nine

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU for all the great feedback! Please let me know what you think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


DEDICATION: to AMAS and for Raelyn.


we flame for all in plain view
and the laughing world will never forget

"Hello?" Buffy said as she beckoned Angel back to bed. The sound of her mother's voice made her angry and miserably sad at the same time. Just the idea that her mother had dealt with mistreatment from her father for all those years and then refused to accept that she too was being abused made her feel conflicted and strange. She really didn't want to hear what her mother had to say, but as usual, she had absolutely no choice.

"Hi Buffy," Joyce Summers said, her voice trembling slightly. Buffy closed her eyes and tried to remain positive. This didn't have to be a negative conversation, even though she knew it would be. She intertwined her fingers with Angel's, lying back against his chest and paused for a second before she spoke. She had to remind herself that at least she had him, even if nothing else was going right.

"Mom," Buffy said sternly, "What do you want?"

"I'm sorry, sweetheart," Joyce said quietly, "I know you've been avoiding me and you have every right to be angry, but please don't shut me out."

"Avoiding you?" Buffy shot back, "Yeah, I've been dodging all phone calls you've made to make sure I'm okay!"

Buffy took a deep breath as Angel caressed her hand and she realized she'd been gripping his hand so tightly in hers that his skin was turning red and her other hand was clamped on to his silk robe, crumpling the silk. Slowly, she unclamped both hands and started to move away from him. She was embarrassed at how needy she was. What was the difference between not fighting Riley and letting Angel fight all of her battles for her? Whimpering, she scooted away but found herself swept back in his arms and deposited on his lap. Having no choice and not wanting one, she relaxed in his strong arms and listened to the strident sound of her mother's voice.

"Will you...will you come over and at least let me talk to you?" Joyce asked quietly after a moment, "I love you, honey."

"Alright," Buffy forced out through gritted teeth.


"Fine," Buffy breathed.

"Are...are you leaving now?" Joyce asked, seeming to be more upset with every word that crossed her lips. Buffy didn't remember ever hearing her mother that upset and certainly never showed her full emotions that freely with her. In spite of her better judgement, she was curious as to what exactly was upseting her mother so much.

"I'll be there when I can, Mom, alright?"

"You're with that man aren't you?" Joyce asked, a bitterness filling each syllable.

"Yes, mother," Buffy barked, sitting up in bed. So that was it! Her mom wasn't upset about what had happened, she wasn't upset about not believing her about Riley, she was mad because she was living with Angel! Buffy tamped down the urge to scream and sneered into the phone. "I'm with Angel. In fact, the reason I'm not coming right over is that I would rather screw him than talk to you! Is that what you wanted to know?"


don't fall down now
you'll never get up
don't fall down now

Angel hated the idea of leaving Buffy anywhere for any amount of time without him. Even her mother's house seemed dangerous. He strolled slowly back to his car and hopped in before driving several blocks down. Guiltily, he parked it and walked back, intending to lurk outside of the house until she called his cell for him to come get her. He knew that she would be angry if she found out that he had never left, but he preferred that to her being in danger. Course, he had no intention of letting her know that he had gone against her wishes and stayed.

As he was walking back, he looked around for a place to hide that had a good view of the front door and the side, but it was a mainly residential area. He didn't want the police to be called because he looked like a peeping Tom. He strolled casually up the street, hands in his pockets, looking around for a spot to hide when he began to see that there was a lot of movement around him for so late in the evening. Every house seemed to have shifting shadows and shaking bushes.

Alarmed, he turned quickly and headed toward Buffy's house. He didn't care if it was obvious or not, he was going to be in her yard if someone dared to try and attack her. He crept around the side of the house and then stopped, leaning his head against the wall and closing his eyes. He was becoming more paranoid every day. He wouldn't be surprised if he attacked some innocent jogger for coming too close to his lover. A rustling behind him sent his mind from his thoughts and he quickly turned around, preparing to peer into the night for the source of the sound, but instead the world went dark.


someday i'll teach you to beg
yes, i live for the day when i can hear you

Buffy was not looking forward to seeing her mother especially since she had just spent ten minutes arguing with Angel about him not staying there and waiting for her. Her mom already hated him! She was sure Joyce Summers would just love it if she looked out the window and saw him standing guard on the front lawn.

Buffy walked inside, lagging as much as she could to actually get inside and shut the door before she called out, "Mom?"

"In the k-kitchen, honey," Joyce called back. Wrinkling her brown in confusion at the tension in her mother's voice she went toward the kitchen feeling a deep sense of dread fill her. When she entered the room, she gasped in surprise and stumbled back a step.

"No," Buffy croaked, backing into the doorway.

"Stop moving, Buffy," Riley said, keeping his gun cocked and pointed at her mother's head.

"I'm sorry, Buffy," Joyce whispered with tears running down her cheeks, "I'm so sorry, honey. I should have listened to you. I should have-"

"Shut up, Joyce!" Riley roared, poking the cold metal into her temple with disgust. "Are all you Summers women the same? Whimpering and crying all the fucking time?"

"Riley," Buffy whispered hoarsely, thanking God she had made Angel leave, "Please put the gun down. You don't have to do this."

"Yes, I do," Riley snapped, "This is all your fault! If you hadn't been fucking your rich boy and hiding in his mansion, if you would have just let me talk to you then none of this would have been necessary."

"We can work this out, Ri," Buffy said, trying to make her voice sound convincing, "Please just don't point the gun at my mom, okay?"

"Nice try, baby," he said, "But the minute you became Angel's whore was when your ability to reason with me flew out the window. Hope you enjoyed spreading for him cause the only person you'll be fucking for now on will be me."

"Angel doesn't have anything to do with this," Buffy said firmly, keeping her voice from quivering even as the rest of her body shook, "and neither does my mother. Just deal with me."

"That time has passed," Riley said, "You could have stopped this from happening, Buff. Remember that later."

Riley's face brightened and a broad smile covered his face as a knocking erupted on the back door. He commanded that Joyce sit down before he went to open it. Buffy caught the scream before it came out of her mouth as she watched Forrest and Graham drag Angel inside and drop him on the tiled kitchen floor.

"Fucker's heavy," Graham said, slightly out of breath.

"Yeah," Forrest added, "He's been eating more than your girlfriend's pussy."

As Riley shot his friends a dirty look, Buffy scrambled toward Angel, breaking out in sobs, but she stopped moving when Riley shouted her name and pointed the gun at her lover's head.

"You touch him and I'll put a bullet in his brain," Riley said in low, serious voice.


yeah, i used to be a devil but they never seemed to give a damn

Graham left Buffy's house casually with Forrest and then explained that he had a date with a hottie freshman, laughing with Forrest for a moment as he described her to his friend. He waited until he was out sight of Lowell House before he took off in the direction of the mansion. He didn't knock on the front door, but burst inside.

In the great room he found who he was looking for. Spike, Gunn and Doyle all sat around the room drinking beers and laughing with some of the other guys. On Spike's lap perched a beautiful brunette woman, who Graham suspected must be his wife. He stared at her for a moment and found himself lost in her eyes. There was something mesmerizing and entrancing about her...and it scared the shit out of him, especially when she shrank back from him and whispered in her husband's ear.

"Oh, someone's been naughty," Spike said, after gently urging the beauty off his lap to face off with Graham.

"Look," Graham gasped, trying to catch his breath, "I know I told you to fuck off before, but we all thought Buffy really was lying about Riley. He's lost his marbles, man."

"Where is he?" Spike demanded. Gunn and Doyle hopped up from their chairs, setting their nearly full bottles of beer on the table with twin thunks.

"He's at Buffy's mom's house," Graham answered, "and he's holding them all at gunpoint."

"Pea...uh, Angel?" Spike asked.

"He's there," Graham said, "But he's more on the tied up and unconscious side."


you know, i want to be the way you want me to
big hearted and tall enough to cover you
i would break in half if you said it loud
splinter out of myself just like mercury

Less than an hour had passed but so much had happened, Buffy wondered how she was going to get out of this mess. She was tossed on her bed in her old bedroom and was helpless as Angel was tied to a chair across the room that they had drug up from the kitchen. Blood was dried to his temple and he wasn't moving. She tried to stop the tears that were pouring down her cheeks in a river of worry and tried to think of how to get him out of this, but she couldn't seem to think straight. If only she could get her mom and Angel out, she might be able to stop them from being hurt. She knew it was far too late to save herself as well.

Her mother was tied up in her own bedroom down the hall, tucked out of sight, and Buffy was thankful that at least her mom wouldn't have to see whatever Riley had planned with her. When Angel was tied up and secured to the chair, Riley bid his friends goodbye. Neither looked all that regretful of what they had done and seemed like they could care less what would happen, or even that someone might die before this was all over.

"Riley," Buffy said quietly, "Why don't you let Angel and my mom go? I'll go home with you. I promise. We can talk about this."

"Nice try," Riley said, "It's way too late for that talk. The only talk I'm having is with your new guy here."

Buffy winced as Riley slapped the side of Angel's face and then followed suit several more times.

"Wake up, Angelus," Riley said, slapping him again. It seemed to take a very long time before Angel woke up and looked around him. He struggled with the ropes that tied him to the chair until Riley crossed the room and pressed the gun against Buffy's head.

"Keep trying to escape," Riley urged, pressing the gun harder against her head.

"Finn," Angel snarled, still trying to shake the fog from his head, "Do you really want to go to jail for murder?"

"Shut up, Angelus," Riley shouted, "Your only purpose here is to make sure that Buffy comes back to me where she belongs. And if you're lucky, you'll live long enough to miss her."

"Get away from her," Angel growled, keeping his hands busy behind his back, trying to free the ropes, but they were tied so tightly that his hands were beginning to numb.

Riley ordered Buffy to stand up and then lounged on the bed. Smiling at Angel gleefully for a moment, he looked at back at her again and demanded, "Take off your clothes, Buffy."

"Riley, please just let Angel go," Buffy said, beginning to sob again, "Just let my mom and Angel go and then you can have me. I swear."

"No," Riley said, "I want him to see what a slut you are. Now strip, bitch."

"Riley, we can-" Buffy began and then screamed, "Angel!" as Riley pointed at Angel and shot. The silencer on the weapon wasn't so silent, as the sound thudded to her ears. Angel groaned loudly as the bullet tore through his shoulder. She moved across the room, sobbing uncontrollably as she approached Riley. She gripped his arm and begged, "Please, please, Riley. I'll do whatever you want."

"Yes, you will," Riley said, pushing her back and smiling coldly at her as she stumbled.

"Please, Riley! He's going to bleed to death," Buffy continued.

"I'm okay, love," Angel groaned, wincing at the sound of his own voice and then meeting her eyes, he mouthed the word, "Run." She shook her head at him and looked back at Riley. She couldn't leave Angel there to die. She'd rather die herself first.

"Yeah, he's okay, love," Riley mocked, keeping the gun on Angel but looking at Buffy, "You're both so fucking pathetic. Now, unless you want me to shoot him again, you'll strip."

Keeping her eyes away from Angel, tears rolling down her face, which was flushed red with shame, she shakily pulled off her t-shirt and then reached behind her to unhook her bra. He fought the urge to beg her to run and kept working at the ropes behind him, but each movement caused shooting pain to travel up and down his arm. The shame rolling off of her was more than he could stand and he swallowed the bile that forced its way up his throat. As her beautiful breasts came into full view, Riley smiled happily, waiting for the rest of her clothes to follow.


i can see the future when she tells me how it's going to be

"That's it. I'm calling the cops," Gunn said, heading for the phone but stopped when a whimpering scream came from Drusilla. They all stared at her but Spike was the only one to move toward her. Cradling his arms around her, he asked, "What is it, pet? What do you see?"

"See?" Doyle echoed in confusion. The scream brought Willow and Xander down the stairs, tramping loudly into the room.

"She sees things," Spike explained as Willow and Xander appeared in the room, looking around wildly for the danger.

"She's psychic?" Willow asked, looking over the woman she had grown to like over the short time she'd lived in the mansion. Drusilla was kind, although a bit odd most of the time. If she was psychic, it would help to explain some of the strange things she said from time to time.

"A bit," Spike said, nodding.

"What is going on?" Xander asked, "Where are Buffy and Angel?"

"Don't call," Drusilla cried, clinging to Spike, "Can't. They will all die."

"The cops?" Gunn asked.

"No," Dru shuddered, "Buffy, her mother and...my Angel...my Angel."

"What if we go, love?" Spike asked, holding her shoulders and attempting to looking to her eyes, "What if we try to save them ourselves?"

"I can't see," Dru answered, weeping her answer on her husband's shoulder, "It's dark, Spike. It's so dark."

"Alright, ducks," he said, smoothing his hand over her dark hair, "Everything is going to be alright."


TBC...please let me know what you thought of this part.


Part Ten

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU for all the great feedback! Please let me know what you think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: I know that this fic has contained Doyle up to this point, but in respect for Glenn Quinn and his untimely passing, I am not going to write him in any other parts of this fic. This is just my personal preference. It feels strange and disrespectful, for me personally, to write about his former character. Please don't be surprised that he is dropped out of the fic with no explanation of where he went. I hope everyone understands. Thank you.


i don't wanna be your whipping boy

Angel felt like crying just as hard as Buffy was and it had nothing to do with the bullet wound in his left shoulder. Her bare torso, still faintly decorated with Riley's abuse was bad enough without seeing the sick fucker looking her over like he couldn't wait to do it again. A very faint sound came from outside of the room, but he wasn't sure where. It was so quiet that he could have imagined it. He was sure Riley hadn't heard it. The bastard was too absorbed in demanding that Buffy take off the rest of her clothes.

Knowing he had to make noise and lots of it to cover whatever other sounds came drifting in, even if it was his imagination, Angel cracked his chair against the wall of Buffy's bedroom. Thankfully, the chair sounded like it might have broken someplace when he did it.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Riley demanded, "If you get free, I'm just going to shoot you."

"I'd rather die than see you hurt her, you sick fuck," Angel spat, meeting glares with the only real enemy he had ever known. Life wasn't perfect, but he hadn't ever hated someone so thoroughly before.

"Angel!" Buffy shouted and then lowered her voice, "Don't say that."

"I can oblige," Riley said, holding his weapon tightly, "But I'd rather you see Buffy's legs around me first."

"Big talk...coming from you," Angel shouted, scooting his chair an inch, just to make a sound, "You talk like there might have been even a second she enjoyed being with you. Denial is a sad, sad thing, boy."

"Oh?" Riley said, "I'm sure that's what she told you. Not that I care if you're willing to believe a lying whore like her."

"Good. I'm glad you're keeping your little fantasy world intact, Finn," Angel said, shaking his head in mock sadness, "Cause it must be pretty hard on the ego to know that you can't even make the woman you supposedly love come. Buffy, my love, do you have a dictionary? Riley needs to look up a few words. Let's start with ‘abuse,' that's in the A's. Eventually, if we have time we might get to the O's. The word is ‘orgasm.' But since I'm bleeding to death because you can't stand competition, we really don't have that much time, do we?"

Angel scrunched his face like he was thinking deeply and then cocked his head at Riley, "Did anyone ever explain relationships to you, Finn?"

"Angel," Buffy begged, "Please, baby. Stop."

Angel laughed, spitting blood on Buffy's hardwood floor when the expected blow came. Riley hit him a second time and he just kept laughing until he managed to speak again, "You really think raping her will get her back? You don't have a chance. You never had a fucking chance with a woman as brilliant and beautiful as Buffy. You had to beat her into staying and now you have to shoot the man she really loves to keep her with you. You're pathetic!"

"ANGEL!" Buffy screamed as Riley aimed and unloaded another round in Angel's leg. She started to run to him and stopped when Riley looked at her.

"Riley," Buffy begged, covering her breasts, "Just let me tie something around his wounds. He's going to die."

"Shut up and finish undressing," Riley said, and then glanced at Angel, "Nice try, buddy. Diversions aren't your strong suit." He looked back at Buffy who was crying still and looking at Angel as well. Her chest was heaving with each breath and she had backed away to be as far from Riley as possible, which was farther from Angel as well.

"Go on, Buffy," Riley said, "I wanna see you shimmy out of those tight little jeans. Angelus looks worse for the wear, so I suggest you hurry."


i'm all fucked up
and i'm ready to break

Gunn, Spike, Graham and two of the others entered Buffy's front door quietly and heard yelling coming from upstairs. Buffy's voice was the most distinct as she screamed. They inched their way to the room where all the commotion was coming from when Graham nodded toward another bedroom. Joyce Summers was gagged and bound, lying on the floor near her bed. As they walked in, she was trying to scoot closer to the door.

"Mrs. Summers," Gunn said, kneeling next to her, "I'm going to take your gag off and untie you, but you have to be very quiet. Buffy's still in trouble. If Riley hears us, it'll give us away. Okay?"

She nodded tearfully and Gunn went to work on her gag, while Graham untied the ropes. Spike, on the other hand, was already tiptoeing down the hallway where his brother and Buffy had to be. Muffled voices came through more and more clearly as he made his way down the hall. By the time he reached the door, which was slightly ajar, he could hear Angel's labored breathing, Buffy's sobbing and Riley's voice.

Peaking in as much as he could, he saw that a surprise attack was in order. He slid back and made it quietly to Joyce's room when he heard a gun shot. Spike flinched and took a deep breath as Buffy screamed Angel's name.

"He's not dead," Spike whispered to his new friends as he stepped back into Joyce's bedroom room. He closed the door as quietly as he could behind him and looked around the room defiantly.

"How the hell go you know?" Gunn forced out over the lump in his throat.

"Cause I fucking said so," Spike whispered harshly, "My brother is not dead, so it's time to plan his rescue."

"Spike," Gunn said quietly.

"He's not dead, godamn it. Dru said I could save him and I'm going to, so shut the fuck up, Gunn," Spike whispered again.

Gunn looked at Spike's clenched fists and tensed body. He had never seen Spike worked up about anything. Even when everything was at its worst, which was a lot lately, Spike always took things in stride, even made them into a joke. This time it was no laughing matter. Gunn whispered, "Alright, man. Alright."


yeah my good lover is my one good thing these days
you help me keep it all from slipping away
i swear i'm gonna marry you someday

Angel thought he was seeing things when he spotted his brother's face just for a second out the window. He couldn't be there, could he? Angel shook his head, trying to come back to reality, but the loss of blood was starting to get to him. Buffy had taken off her jeans and was only wearing her sexy little panties now. Her legs were trembling and he could see the bruises on them which only made his temperature rise. There was no fucking way she was taking off those panties for that piece of shit.

No. Fucking. Way.

No one was ever seeing her naked again but the doctor and him if he had anything to say about it. Riley's voice slammed into his ears as the bastard demanded, "Take ‘em off, Buff."

"NO," Angel shouted slamming his chair against the wall again and loving the way it cracked, "You're not taking those off, Buffy. You don't have to be hurt by anyone ever again. I'll fucking kill him with my bare hands first."

With that Angel cracked his chair against the wall and it broke. His hands were still connected to the back of the chair, but the legs and seat fell away. He stood quickly and faced the point of the weapon, broadening his shoulders despite the pain he felt. He limped a step closer and glared.

"You're gonna die, Angelus," Riley growled, "And I'm going to enjoy watching it."

"I don't care," Angel growled back, "You're not raping her. I won't let you and if you have to kill me to do it, it'll be worth it."

"You think your dead body will stop me from getting between her thighs?" Riley demanded, "You're delusional!"

"Even if you manage to take her body, which you'll do over my dead one," Angel sneered, "You'll never take her heart. It belongs to me. It will always belong to me!"

Stepping back he stood in front of Buffy, blocking Riley from her. She worked on his ropes immediately, but was having a hard time because she was shaking so badly and so was he. Riley was clearly shocked and then after a moment, he raised his gun and pointed it at Angel's chest.

"Step away from my girl," Riley ordered.

"Nope," Angel answered, "Fuck off."

He cocked the hammer and aimed, demanding again that Angel step away and receiving silence as his answer. Buffy was able to get his hands free and Angel kept them behind his back, holding on to the part of the chair still connected to him for a second. As Riley began to squeeze the trigger, Spike crashed through the window and Graham and Gunn slammed through the bedroom door half a second later. Angel stepped forward as Riley squeezed the trigger and threw the wood. The bullet tore through the flying piece chair in its way and Gunn crashed into him, knocking him to the floor seconds later.

Angel hobbled across the room and watched as Gunn punched Riley once in the mouth. Finn's lip split nicely, but that wasn't nearly enough for Angel. Glancing at the door, he told Joyce to call the police and then urged Gunn to move aside. Graham scooped up the gun as Angel pulled Riley to his feet with his good arm and winced as he switched, gripping him with his injured arm. Holding him there, Angel puffed labored breaths as he punched him directly in the nose with his good arm, then in the jaw and continued punching him. Riley fought to get away, but Angel held him there, dodging his opponent's blows when they came.

Everyone but Spike and Buffy stared as Angel punched him in rapid succession, releasing an almost inhuman roar as he did, as if every bit of bottled sadness and anger was being displayed on Riley Finn's face.

Spike yanked the comforter from Buffy's bed and wrapped it around her nearly naked body. She let him hold her for a second and then pulled away, blinking back her tears as she crossed the room. She stood next to Angel for a second, watching him deal out what looked like painful blows.

"Angel," she whispered, sliding her fingers over his shoulder. He stopped and pushed Riley away, before looking at her. Clutching the blanket around her, she stepped in front of Angel and faced her rapist. She clenched her little hand in a fist and swung, coming in contact with his face, which showed his surprise. Buffy let the blanket drop as she hit him again and again until she was nothing but a dervish of fists, a blur of blonde hair and a battle cry tore from her lips as she went.

Riley, regaining his senses, began blocking her punches and raised his hand to hit her back. Reaching over her shoulder, Angel caught the fist that came and wrapped his wounded arm around her narrow waist, quickly pivoting her away. Releasing her quickly, he blocked Riley's other arm as it came around to punch him. Angel swung, using all the force he had left in his body but deliberately missed only to fling his elbow into Riley's jaw instead. Buffy gasped loudly as she heard a sickening crack and realized as Riley fell to the floor that Angel had broken his neck.

"The police are on their way," Joyce said as she came running back into the room. Buffy scooped up her blanket and wrapped it around herself, refusing to meet her mother's gaze for a second.

"Ambulance too?" Buffy sniffled and her mother nodded. Stepping forward, Joyce stopped as Buffy flinched at her approach.

"Buffy, I'm so sorry," Joyce said, "I know this is all my fault."

"No," Buffy said, sitting on her bed and tugging Angel to sit down next to her, which he did. He wrapped his uninjured arm around her and held her tightly at his side, closing his eyes as Buffy continued. "Mom, this wasn't your fault, but how could you have not believed me about Riley? Where was the damn bodyguard Angel hired?"

"I sent him home this morning," Joyce admitted, "He followed me everywhere I went!"

"That's sorta the point," Buffy snapped, "I know you don't like Angel, but he hired that guy to protect you, so things like this wouldn't happen!"

"Is he...is he dead?" Joyce asked, looking down on Riley's unmoving body, which Graham was already crouched over.

"No," Graham said, "His heart's still beating."

"Thank God," Buffy breathed. She watched as Spike pulled one the pillows of her bed, peeled off the pillowcase and began tearing the material into strips.

"Thanks Spike," Angel said, groaning as Spike tied one of the strips around his arm. Spike nodded, clenching his jaw as he worked, looking more angry than upset. Finally, he glared at Buffy and forced out, "You're happy that bastard is alive?"

"Yes," she said softly, "Death is the easy way out, Spike. He needs help."

"He needs to pay!" Spike shouted.

"He will," Buffy answered, "But if he dies, he doesn't. This way he will. I want him to know what he did wrong. I want him to face a jury and have them tell him that he's guilty. I want him to see the inside of a jail cell."

"If he ever gets out..." Spike started, but stopped when his brother grabbed his arm and shook his head slowly.

"Don't say it, Spike," Angel said firmly.

"Why Peaches?" Spike asked, "You're thinking the same thing!"

"Because I don't want it repeated in court," Angel answered and then stood. He urged Buffy to gather her clothes and put them back on, then took his time hobbling down the stairs to meet the ambulance before he passed out. Graham and Gunn stood over Riley, almost daring him to wake up while they were standing there. Spike stood guard outside of the bathroom as Buffy put her clothes back on and Joyce followed Angel downstairs. She watched as he sunk down on the bottom step and leaned against the railing.

"Angel," Joyce said quietly as they heard sirens on the street. His opened his eyes and looked at her, not bothering to answer.

"I owe you an apology," she said, "I'm sorry that I didn't approve of you. I didn't see how much she loved you. I thought you were...something other than what you are. You saved my baby and I owe you my life...our lives."

"I love your daughter, Joyce," Angel said, "And I want to be with her more than anything. I won't step aside if you change your mind."

"I won't," she said as the door was flung open and the emergency crew flooded in.


Part Eleven

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU for all the great feedback! Please let me know what you

think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear



when i fall, i always fall on you
face first, head down eyes closed
arms out to break my fall

Angel awoke alone in a room he didn't remember and clawed at his memory for details of what had brought him there. He remembered being shot, beating Riley and walking down the stairs where he spoke to Buffy's mother. Beyond that, he couldn't remember anything. He didn't know how he had gotten there, what happened to Riley or where Buffy was.

Struggling with the bedclothes, his own bandaged body and the wearing aesthetic, he ripped the IV from his arm and plucked away the monitors that were attached to him. Even before he could climb out of the bed and go on a search for his lost love, a young, timid nurse came into the room and frowned at him.

"Mr. Angelus," she said quietly, "You just got out of surgery. You can't get out of bed. You're not strong enough yet."

"I'm strong enough to do whatever I want, " he snapped, but even as he moved, he knew he wasn't getting far. All he wanted was for Buffy to walk through the door and let him know she was safe, then he could rest there and heal. But he hadn't seen Riley Finn being carted from their house and despite the fact the boy was unconscious when he left, he didn't trust his foggy memory. After a few moments of struggling and vain attempts from the nurse to convince him to stop trying to escape his bed, a strong familiar voice rang in his ears.

"What do you think you're doing, Angel?"

"Giles," Angel greeted frantically, "I have to get out of here and make sure Buffy's safe. Where is she? What happened to Riley? Where's my brother?"

"Get back in bed and let this lovely young woman reconnect you to those…those machines and then I'll tell you everything," Giles requested, stepping closer.

"Don't treat me like a child, Giles," Angel demanded, narrowing his eyes, "Either Buffy walks in this room or I'm walking out of it! I'm not going to lay here and get my temperature taken when she could be in trouble!"

"If you don't want to be treated like a child, Liam," Giles chided sternly, "then stop acting like one. You know very well that your brother, irresponsible as he is, would not leave Buffy in danger and neither would Gunn or any of the others. She is perfectly fine."

"I want to see her or I'm leaving," Angel reiterated, not even slightly ashamed that he was in fact acting like a child just as Giles suggested. If he didn't see his girl in the next ten minutes, he was going to have more than a simple tantrum.

"As your guardian, I am telling you that I checked you in this place and you will not leave until I grant your release!" Giles snapped, causing the nurse to gasp and take a step further away from both men.

"I'm an adult and I cannot be held against my will!" Angel shouted back, "You were my guardian, but I've taken care of myself for year now! As much as I love and respect you, Giles, I have to know if she's safe. Now please don't try to stop me."

"I'll bring her to you," Giles acquiesced finally, "Just let this young lady take care of you, alright?"

"Fine," Angel said, laying back down and wincing when he attempted to cross his arms over his broad chest. He glared at Giles as he approached the young nurse and bent to her in his traditional gentlemanly, British way. "He's going to cooperate with you now, miss," Giles said quietly.

"He looks like he…might not," she whispered, attempting to keep her voice low enough for Angel not to hear. She was new to this position, having been on her own rounds on her own for less than two months and overbearing patients still made her extremely nervous. Liam Angelus, well known for being wealthy in a small town, was very intimidating. His large, powerful frame seemed capable of leaping off the bed even though he could barely move.

Giles smiled down at her patiently and nudged her in that direction, "Don't worry, dear. He's a nice person, even when he's trying to be difficult."


i see you in the night
lying above me in the grass
i can't smile

"Are we close?" Gunn whispered as he walked next to Spike through a dark alley in Sunnydale. Spike jerked his head in Gunn's direction with irritation clearly imprinted in his blue eyes despite the darkness. Gesturing toward his wife, who was walking lightly in front of them, swirling her velvet red dress around her body as she went along, almost dancing in the night, he whispered harshly, "My wife is leading the way, you ponce! If I knew the bloody location, I would be leading, wouldn't I?"

"Damn man," Gunn complained, "What crawled up your ass? I was just asking!"

"Three people were involved in the near murder my brother and bint he's fallen for," Spike whispered again, keeping one eye peeled on his night dreaming wife, fluttering down the alley in front of them, "Graham helped us, although he will be getting his ass kicked before this is all over. Riley is laid up in the hospital with his neck broken nicely and a guard outside his door. Forrest is the last one still walking around and I have no idea if he is out carrying on some other plan that the wanker had plotted out ahead of time. Until I find him and beat him so hard he wishes he was the one shot instead of Angel, I will be in a foul mood."

"There," Drusilla said when she reached the end of the alley, "He's there."

"That's the hospital, ducks," Spike said, shaking his head slowly, "Why did we walk around for this long if he was at the hospital the whole time?"

"He wasn't at the hospital the whole time," she answered, puffing up defiantly, "and tracking a person through their psychic signature is not easy, Spike."

"Alright, pet," he said, wrapping an arm around her waist, "I'm sorry."

"He's in the bushes," she said, lowering her voice, "Afraid. He doesn't know he's been misguided."

"He hadta know!" Gunn announced angrily, "How could he not know?"

"The boy," Dru whispered, "his lies have songs."

"Huh?" Gunn grunted looking at Spike for a translation.

"He's convincing," Spike interpreted, "Come on." Turning to Dru, he kissed her lightly, "Now, you head back home. Don't dance with the stars without me, love."

"Spike," she complained with a soft smile, "I never get to have any fun."

"Later, pet," he said, smiling suggestively, "I promise."


we fall down
like a world of noise, we get lost
inside the length of our own time

More than she hated hospitals, Buffy hated not being there with Angel. They promised they'd call her the minute he got out of surgery and as much as she fought, her mother, along with Spike, Willow and Xander had talked her into going back to the mansion for a little while. Part of it, she was sure, was because Riley was admitted at the same time and once he was secured, the police would be tromping in and out of the room, asking questions and prodding her into upsetting conversations.

She went home, showered and put on one of Angel's shirts rather than her own and a pair of old, worn jeans before trying to head back to see him. Every time she even inched toward the door, one or more of them would corner her and steer her away. Finally, she strutted to the exit, planning on busting her way out if she had to, when the phone rang.

It was Giles, which wasn't at all surprising, but she felt her heart pounding in her chest in anticipation what he would say. She was relieved and almost cried when he told her that Angel was awake and fine, although violently demanding to see her or he would storm…or rather, limp away in search of her.

Ten minutes later, after catching a ride with Xander, she ran down the hall and up a flight of steps to his room, not having patience for the elevator. She nearly slammed into the young and weeping nurse that was exiting his room.

"What's wrong?" Buffy asked, gripping the nurse's shoulders like she actually knew her, "Is he okay?"

"He's pulled his IV out again," she said in a quivering voice, "and when I tried to put it back in he yelled at me. He says he leaving and I should leave him the hell alone."

"Again?" Buffy echoed in confusion.

"You must be the girl he's been asking for," she said, "Even his father couldn't get him to stay in bed."

"His father?" Buffy asked, "You mean Giles? Stuffy British guy?"

"Yes, that's the one," the nurse said, smiling slightly as she sniffled. She already liked Buffy and could only hope this girl could calm down the terrifying patient.

"Oh, he's not his father," Buffy confided, "But he acts like everyone's father. Come on, I'll get him to calm down and you can put the IV back in, okay?"

"He won't calm down," the nurse said, fear returning to her eyes, "He's been like this since he woke up. We tried to give him a sedative, but he fought so much, I called the orderlies and then he punched one of them!"

"It'll be fine," Buffy said, tugging her along, "I promise."

The nurse looked at her warily, but followed her in, giving herself plenty of room to run away if Mr. Angelus started acting crazy again. She was surprised to see that he had managed to get out bed and was halfway into his blood soaked jeans when they walked in.

"Angel!" Buffy shouted, running toward him.

"Buffy, thank God," he said, wrapping his uninjured arm around her and pulling her close, "I've been trying to get to you but these people are keeping me prisoner."

"You should be in bed," she admonished, helping him back out of his jeans and into bed, "Are you trying to hurt yourself even more?"

"No," he said, caressing her face, "I wanted to make sure you were safe." She couldn't help but let loose a sigh that tears closely followed when she looked down at him. He looked so much smaller in this bed attached to machines and in a hospital gown.

"I was so afraid that you wouldn't be okay," she whispered through her tears and with his good arm, he pulled her close to him, hoisting her onto the bed with him. She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed, burying her face in his shoulder, forgetting to watch out for his wounds.

"I'm okay, love," he whispered, holding her and threading his fingers through her hair, "Everything is going to be okay now."

"I thought you were going to die," she admitted hoarsely, "I thought none of them would tell me if you did, that's why they were keeping me away."

The nurse watched the reunited lovers share a kiss that was rapidly becoming more passionate and finally cleared her throat loudly to remind them of her presence. They looked slightly embarrassed when they broke apart but didn't separate as she went to work, reconnecting his IV and the rest of the monitors for the third time that day.

"Thank you," Angel said, sitting docilely as she worked. He was thankful that her hands were no longer shaking when he inserted the IV in his arm and he hugged Buffy closer before saying to the nurse, "I'm sorry I upset you earlier."

"That's okay," the nurse blurted before hurrying from the room. Buffy turned to Angel and swatted him for his behavior before snuggling against him once more.

"You really scared the crap out of her," Buffy said against his chest, and realizing his wounds, moved away, "Am I hurting you?"

"No," he said, pulling her back down, "You're not hurting me, Buffy. I'm just glad you're here."

"Me too," she admitted, closing her eyes.


i won't give in
I'm not like that
i won't give in

Spike didn't expect Forrest to actually be in the bushes, but he was, crouching there watching the comings and goings of visitors, and, more than likely, the police. Drusilla had a tendency to get fanciful and dreamy when she was focusing on her gift, because of that, her phrases often could not be taken literally. In this case, she was right on and Spike wasted no time, kicking Forrest's legs out from under him.

"How are you doin'?" Gunn asked casually as Spike pressed Forrest down, crunching his boot down hard against his chest.

"Yeah, mate," Spike added, "Having a good night? There's been a lot of excitement around here."

"Fuck you," Forrest spat, "What do you want with me?"

"I know you helped Finn," Spike sneered, but then grinned as Gunn bent over to punch his former friend in the mouth. Spike waited until Forrest looked at him again before he finished speaking, "I know you knocked my brother out and dragged him into Joyce's house."

"Then you walked away to let him rape Buffy!" Gunn shouted, punching him again, "And he almost did."

"So, I'm thinking, before you get yourself in more trouble, we should talk about how you're going to help us," Spike said

"I don't know anything that happened," Forrest said, turning his head to spit blood out into the grass, "All I did was help him get Angelus, then I left."

"That's not what you're helping us with," Spike said, meeting Gunn's eyes for a second. They both hauled Forrest to his feet and began dragging him away, but he protested, twisting his body and kicking his legs out to escape. Spike wrapped his hand out Forrest's throat and squeezed, which forced him to remain still.

"Scream and we'll turn you in to the police," Spike said, "We have witnesses that will be more than willing to tell them that you helped Finn. Now quitting fighting and play nice and we won't crack you in the noggin like you did to Angel, got it?"

Nodding with a grim look on his face, he went along quietly.


the laughing world will not forget
it's when you jam, that i jet,
i jet

The young nurse looked in on Buffy and Angel sleeping in the small bed together, intertwined and embraced tightly. They looked almost peaceful in each other's arms even though they must have gone through something traumatic. The nurse taking over her rounds strolled up beside her and peered in the window, clucking her tongue in disapproval.

"Amy," the older, more seasoned nurse said, "You let that girl spend the night in that patient's room? It's against policy and-"

"I wouldn't recommend asking her to leave," Amy replied, worry covering her face immediately, "Believe me, just leave them be."

"She's a tiny girl," the older nurse answered, "I'm sure the orderlies could remove her if we need to."

"She's not the problem," Amy said, "He is. He made a huge scene earlier and scared me so badly I almost went home. I had to reattach his IV at least 3 times. Trust me. They're better together than they are apart."

"Amy, you can't disregard policy because you're afraid of a patient."

"Fine," Amy said, hurrying down the hall to gather her things, "If you're going to wake them up, just wait for me to leave. Hopefully, when I come in tomorrow, they'll both be gone!"


Part Twelve

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU for all the great feedback! Please let me know what you think of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


DEDICATION: For Trammie. Thanks for the great idea. And for Karine. You're in my thoughts, sweetie.

Note: Spiliasan, I have tried to return your emails, but your email address never lets me write you back. Just thought I'd let you know.


he knows if he ever lets her go
the pretty machine will swallow him whole

Buffy woke in the hospital in the late afternoon and shivered, snuggling more tightly against Angel's warm chest. She smiled down on him and realized he was the only person who could keep her in a hospital all night like this, especially if she wasn't even the one who was sick. Spending the morning fighting off the nurses that tried to separate them and then answering the multitude of questions that were shot at them from the police detectives, they were both exhausted. She wanted to just stay in his arms for another couple of hours until Angel's check-up was scheduled to see if he could be released that day, but she knew there was one thing she had to do.

Sitting up slowly and moving his arm from around her waist, she slipped off the bed and gathered her shoes from the floor. She slipped them on without bothering with the laces and then left the room, shutting the door quietly behind her.

She approached the guard standing outside of Riley Finn's hospital room and spoke to him for several minutes before he allowed her in. Riley was sleeping in the narrow bed, a halo around his broken neck, a cast on his right wrist and his face was temporarily disconfigured with cuts and bruises. Reaching out, she shook him lightly and then stepped away, hoping he would wake up. Unfortunately, she was forced to shake him several times until he awoke and she felt like punching him to bring him to consciousness, but since the guard was peering in through the small window she decided against that route.

He finally blinked his eyes open and focused on her. When she didn't speak, he managed to croak out, "Buffy."

"I just wanted to tell you something before I leave the hospital," she said quietly, her voice rigid and her fists clenched, "I spent so much time trying to help you, Riley, trying to protect you from yourself. I always thought that I could keep forgiving you forever as long as I remembered that deep down you were a good person. Well, guess what I realized? You're not a good person. You're a horrible one."

"Buffy," he said, panting for breath, "I'm so sor-"

"If you say you're sorry to me, I will beat you to death," she snapped, "You can't be sorry. ‘Sorry' doesn't begin to cover what you did to me. You raped me once and it nearly killed me, but when you tried to do it again and in front of the man I love...there's no excuse for someone like you. I'm pressing charges, Riley and you're going to jail for what you did. While you're sitting in a little cell rotting away your youth, I want you to carry this thought with you - I never loved you. All you ever had of me was my pity and now you don't even have that."

"Buffy," he called out in a strangled moan as she headed for the door, "I loved you! I'll always love you."

"You don't know what love is," Buffy said, turning to the knob, "If have to have a heart to love someone."


he'd sell his soul to make the monster dance
they can't hurt you unless you let them

"Is he handsome when he's not all bloody?" Drusilla asked her husband as he and Gunn handcuffed Forrest to a chair in the basement. They had brought him in through the back and were thrilled that none of the current residents of the mansion saw them when they did.

Spike looked over at his wife and gave her a disgusted look, not bothering to answer her question. Gunn pretended he never heard her ask, but he had to hold in his amusement at Spike's irritation. If he didn't know better, he would almost believe that Drusilla had done that on purpose just to piss him off.

"What do you people want with me?" Forrest demanded for the fourth time since they dragged him down there. Once the ropes were secure, Spike and Gunn stepped back and looked at him.

"We need a few things from you," Spike said, rubbing his hands together in anticipation of the coercion, "Buffy'll need another witness and since you know Riley so well, I think you'll do nicely. Then there's all the details about his life that we need to gather. The more information about him you give us, the more ammunition my brother's lawyers will have to send him on a long vacation...with bars."

"He's my friend," Forrest answered, "I'm not helping you send him to jail."

"Alright," Gunn said, nodding his head, "We're just going to go upstairs and have a little dinner, maybe take a nap. Hope you don't get thirsty or hungry or have to go to the bathroom or anything."

"I'll scream and someone will come down here," Forrest said, "Someone will let me go."

"Oh good point," Spike said, strolling over to the shelf on the far wall and snagging a roll of duct tape from it, "Thanks for reminding me."

"Wait!" Forrest said as Spike prepared to cover his mouth with the tape, "Don't leave me down here!"

"Then you're gonna have to answer a few questions," Gunn said, leaning lazily against the wall.

They all glanced over when they heard the click of Drusilla's heels. She blew a kiss to Spike and smiled at him, "Don't hurt him too much, Spike."

"Just a little, pet. Kinda want to see him cry," he said before turning back to Forrest, holding the tape inches from his face, "Do you have some things to tell us?"

"What do you want to know?" Forrest asked quietly, ashamed of his own weakness. Spike and Gunn shared grins as they strolled back across the room.


yes, i think they are diminishing
yes, i think that they diminish you and they diminish me
they are diminishing

Subconsciously, Angel was aware that he was asleep. It didn't make the nightmare any less frightening though. It had started in Buffy's room, with her stripped down to her panties and Riley giving her the final demand to take them off. Angel knew he could break out of the chair, that he was supposed to, but it wouldn't happen. This chair had to be made of titanium, because he kept slamming it back and nothing happened. No cracking of wood, no loosening of the ropes. Nothing. All he could do was roar for Buffy not to completely disrobe.

The Riley in his dream was even colder, sterner than the real one had been and he pressed his gun against Angel's temple, pressing the metal in hard and demanded that she take off her panties or he would shoot. She obeyed and then fell to her knees when Riley commanded it, pressing the gun harder into her lover's skull.

When Riley unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, positioning himself behind her, Angel released a bellow of pain that he didn't even know he could make. He slammed the chair against the wall again and again so hard that the wall caved in behind him but he couldn't get free. He was breaking through the wall, pounding at it as Riley pounded into Buffy. All he could hear was her whimpers and sobs, her voice breaking as she begged him to save her.

He felt a warm liquid trailing down his arms, over his fingertips, dripping to the floor and he knew it was his own blood, but he couldn't stop struggling to free himself, couldn't look at his feet where the love of his life was being violated. Tears streamed from his eyes, coursing down his face as he fought with the chair and the ropes, but he knew he had failed. It was too late.


see you roll your eyes
you know it makes me smile

"Come in," Willow said, looking up from her desk curiously as someone knocked on her door.

"Hey Red," Spike said. He walked in and Gunn followed, both of them looking suspiciously guilty.

"What'd cha do? You're lookin' evil," Willow accused, spinning around her desk chair. She had to admit that despite the apprehension she had with moving in with a house of male college students, she loved it there. She liked the little family that had formed and she secretly was in love with the rolling desk chair that Angel had in the guest room. She sometimes rolled around the room and spun it in when no one was around.

"We don't have to do anything to be evil," Gunn said with one of his trademark wide grins, "We just are."

"Good point," Willow said, smiling back, "What do you want then?"

"Need you to look someone up for us," Spike answered, plopping down on her bed and leaning back on it.

"Who?" Willow asked, twirling back around and pulling up her favorite search engine in preparation.

"Lily Robertson," Gunn answered, "We think she used to be a student at Sunnydale U, but she dropped out a year or two ago."

"Found her," Willow said, not looking up from her laptop as her eyes scanned the information before her, "Why are you interested in her?"

"Cause," Gunn said, "She was Riley's ex and we think that he raped her too."

"How'd you find out about her?" Willow asked, spinning around and glaring at them, "What have you two been up to?"

"Torturing Forrest," Spike said, shrugging and then standing up, "You got an address?"


you are like the sun to me
all bright as liquid fire
i feel so powerless
hold you up above the world
yeah, you are quite a lot of trouble
for such a pretty little girl

Buffy sprinted down the hall from Riley's room when Angel started screaming like he was being beaten to death. The orderlies were ahead of her, along with the nurse but she squeezed through them and hurried to his side. He was thrashing in his sleep and had reopened the wound in his shoulder. Tears were running down his face and he kept screaming like he was dying. He sounded like he was inches from death.

"Angel," she said, shaking him awake, "ANGEL!"

"Oh God," he groaned, "No, please, Buffy. I can't stand it. Please."

"Angel," she whispered, climbing next to him and ignoring the staff that was inching toward the bed, "Baby, wake up. It's a dream."

When he finally opened his eyes, it was only for a second and he pulled her into his arms, squeezing his eyes shut again. He held her tightly with both arms, ignoring his wounds and whispered hoarsely, "I didn't save you. I tried but I couldn't get free. I'm so sorry I let you down, love."

"No, you did save me," she whispered, clinging to him and kissing his face, "You saved me, Angel. Look at me."

Finally, he opened his eyes once more and looked into her tearful ones, "We're here in the hospital. You saved me. See? We're okay. Everything's okay."

After Angel deciphered the difference his drugged sleep and reality, he demanded to go home. The doctor balked, as did Buffy and Giles, he was adamant. He started out, telling her that he knew how much she hated hospitals and that he would feel better if they were both at home, but Buffy suspected that wasn't the whole truth. Setting her fears aside, she actually tried to get him to stay but he flatly refused.

"I don't want you near him," He finally growled out, "That fucker is just a couple of rooms down and I won't stand for him to be in the same building with you. Not overnight, not ever unless it's a court room if I can avoid it."

After arguing about what was best for everyone's interests, they agreed to go back home. Actually getting him there, however, proved difficult. He was in an incredible amount of pain even though he was on heavy meds and could barely walk himself to the car. Once they reached the mansion, Giles and Buffy both agreed that Angel was in no shape to climb a staircase and then walk down a long hallway to his rooms. Buffy recruited a couple of the guys to pull out the sofa bed in the living room, then she went about giving the residents instructions on how they were to be quiet and stay out of the great room as much as possible for that evening.

Giles smiled as he watched her instruct the guys and nearly laughed out loud when they all shuffled away, doing as they were told like scolded school children. He made his way to the door when they were done setting up the room, chuckling to himself and proud of his almost son's choice in a mate.

Once everyone was gone, Buffy helped Angel strip down to his boxers, got him into bed and then ran around the house making sure he had everything he needed. As adorable as she was, her scampering around was making him nervous and it took nearly ten minutes to flag her down and get her to lay down with him.

"I'm not tired," she complained, as she climbed on the bed and sat next to him, clasping his hand tenderly, "Are you sure you don't need something? Are you hungry?"

"Buffy," he said, blinking slowly in an attempt to keep his eyes open, "I don't need anything but for you to relax and sit down for a second."

"Kay," she said, nodding and watched him for a second as he struggled to keep his eyes open and waited with him as he fell asleep. Checking the clock, she noted the time she would have to wake him up to give him more medicine and then hopped up to find Willow. All the sleep she had gotten in the hospital with Angel was more than enough until later on that night.

"You guys having a party in here without me?" Buffy asked as she entered Willow's room and saw Spike, Gunn and Willow all talking excitedly.

"It's not a party without you, pet. You know that," Spike said, winking as he headed for the door, motioning for Gunn to follow. Buffy watched them leave and then raised her eyebrow at Willow.

"What was that all about?" Buffy asked after the door closed.

"Nothing," Willow lied nervously, turning to quickly close the open browser windows on her laptop.

"You so suck at lying," Buffy said, leaning over her shoulder, "I know you weren't surfing for naughty websites with the guys, so what was that?"

"They said not to tell until we're sure," Willow answered, keeping her eyes downcast.

"Well, now you know you have to tell me," Buffy said with a sigh, "So just give it up, Will."


i watch you in your sleep at night
reach out and touch your hair
i wanna make this world be just how you want it to be
yeah, you just don't understand
you are everything to me

When Buffy made it back downstairs to check on Angel, she had a whole hour before he was supposed to take his medicine, but he was wide awake and staring at the ceiling with his brow creased in pain.

"Are you okay?" Buffy asked, crawling in beside him.

"Hurts," he grunted, "I think the medication wears off way before I'm supposed to take it again."

"There's an hour left," Buffy informed him regretfully. "What can I do? Can I get you something? Want me to put in a movie or something to distract you?"

"You distract me," he whispered, pulling her against him, "Talk to me."

"Um..." she said, cuddling up against him and biting her lip as she tried to think of something to say. The only things that popped in her mind to say were about Spike and Gunn torturing Forrest to find out about Lily or about her little visit to Riley that afternoon. Both were topics she wasn't ready to discuss with Angel, but her mind wouldn't steer from them.

"I think you should sleep upstairs in my room tonight," he said after a moment, "I don't want you to stay down here with me."

"Why?" Buffy protested, sitting up so she could effectively stare him down, "You don't want me here with you?"

"Of course I do," he answered, "I just don't want the guys to walk through here while you're sleeping. Don't like them being able to see you in bed."

"Don't be ridiculous," Buffy sputtered, "I'm not leaving you down here by yourself. What if you need me? What if you have a bad dream? What if-"

"Alright," he said, shaking his head at her, "But you have to sleep in more than one of my shirts."

"Angel," she said, rolling her eyes, "No one's going to see my goodies. Get a grip, honey."

Angel's eyes lit up and then he frowned, turning head to look away from her. She waited for him to speak and when he didn't she asked, "What? What's wrong?"

"It's stupid," he said softly.

"It's not if it's bothering you," she said, "Is it about your nightmare today? Angel, just tell me."

"I almost...I almost touched you," he said after a moment.

"So? You touch me all the time," she argued.

"I mean...Buffy, I don't know how you feel about me touching you since...what happened with Riley," he forced out, "And I don't want you to feel like you have to let me if you don't want."

"Weren't you the one who argued with me about how you weren't him?" she said cupping the side of his face, "I love you, Angel and when you touch me, it's not even close to the same thing. Rape isn't sex, Angel, it's violence."

"I know," he said, "I just don't want to make you uncomfortable."

"I can't believe you're frisky when you're on all that pain medication," she said, smiling accusingly at him, "Especially, since you were talking about someone seeing me a minute ago and the next minute you were thinkin' about seeing my goodies for yourself."

"Drugs wore off," he said, smiling back at her hungrily, "And when I think about distraction...Well, what can I say? I want you all the time."

"You have me," she whispered seductively and leaned down to kiss him, "So, just what are you going to do with me?"

"We shouldn't," he said, becoming seriously, "As much as I want to..."

"I told all the boys they weren't allowed in here," she whispered, turning off the lamp on the side table, making the room almost completely dark. She kissed him deeply and focused on his face in the darkness, letting her eyes acclimate to the dim light. He watched as she slipped off her jeans, leaving her in his oversized shirt. He started to protest as she slipped off her bra underneath the shirt and tossing it on top of her jeans, but she paused to place a finger to his lips and then slipped off her panties before pulling the covers aside and straddling his hips, carefully avoiding the wound on his leg.

"Tell me what you want," she said, rubbing her sex against the silk of his boxers and enjoying the feel of the material caressing her. She unbuttoned the shirt she was wearing and he grabbed her hands.

"Don't," he said, "What if someone walks in?"

"I'll leave it on," she whispered, finishing off the buttons and then opening it but left it on her shoulders. She pulled his hands to her breasts and said, "But I want to feel your skin against mine. I want you to touch me."

"Do you?" he teased, ignoring the pain he felt at moving his left arm. Pressing her to talk to him in the dark, he added, "Why?"

"You know," she answered, knowing her blush was lost in the darkness. She felt his arousal rising beneath her as she rocked her hips.

"Tell me," he moaned as she rubbed harder against him, "I want to hear you say it."

"I like the way your hands look when they cover my breasts," she said, "I love the feel of them rubbing me, pinching my nipples, moving all over my body. You make me feel small and beautiful."

"You are small and beautiful," he said, cupping her breasts lightly and running his thumbs over the erect points over and over in small circles. She moaned as he pulled her down to his mouth and sucked one nipple into his mouth, tugging lightly on the other while holding her against his lips like she was a banquet of flesh just for him. She rocked against his silk covered sex as he moved from breast to breast, peppering kissing in the valley in between. He caressed her body, moving slowly over the planes of her skin, mesmerized by her soft, firm curves.

She met his mouth once more, sucking lightly on his tongue before exploring him deeper. Inside their fevered kisses, he slipped a hand between her thighs and groaned at how wet she was.

"Need to taste you," he said huskily, nudging her to move up his body until she lowered her dripping sex to his lips. "You're so wet," he whispered, "Love the taste of you...beautiful, so tight and hot." She gasped as his hands settled on the gentle curve of her hip with one hand, pulling her hard against his mouth. He plunged his tongue into her channel, lapping her inner softness. She braced her weight on the back of the couch as he flattened his tongue, licking her all over, leaving no place untasted. He carefully slid his free hand over his stomach, attempting to not bring pain for himself into the experience, and pressed one, then two fingers deep inside her as he circled her swollen flesh with his tongue.

"Angel," she whimpered, "Need you to...please don't wait."

Latching on, he sucked her engorged clit into his mouth, nibbling at it, then swirling his tongue around before sucking harder. He alternated, teasing her until she came, panting hard, her thighs trembling. She rocked her hips, pressing her sex against him. She languidly made her way down his body, feeling rubbery and pleased all over.

"Now what do you want?" she whispered, kissing him and tasting her own juices on his lips, "Do you want me to return the favor or do you want to be inside me?"

"Inside you," he said, his voice coming out almost as a beg. His cock was straining against the material of his boxer shorts and he felt like all the blood in his body was there, throbbing for the tight, slippery sex he had just tasted. She carefully pulled his shorts down and off, tossing them on her pile of discarded clothing before positioning his painfully hard cock at her entrance. She rubbed the tip over her clit and squeezed his shaft, enjoying the sound of his groan of pleasure.

"Please baby," he said, this time truly begging as she teased him, lowering herself just barely over him and flexing her inner muscles. She moved down so slowly, clamping over every rigid inch inside her and he was contemplating screaming.

"Buffy, love, please. All the way, baby," he pleaded. He gritted his teeth as she continued to take her time, lowering herself as slowly as she possibly could and relishing in every thick inch of his cock. Years could have passed for all Angel knew when she finally, began moving against him more slowly than he thought was possible. Her erect nipples scraped against his chest as she moved, gently making love to him. She sucked at his lips before kissing him deeply, speeding up only slightly.

"I want you to feel every part of me," she whispered, as he cupped the firm, round globes of her ass and thrust up deeper inside her, "I want you to have every part of me."

"I love you, Buffy," he answered, moving up against her and realizing that the slow pace was keeping him from feeling the pain of his wounds, "Everything I have, everything I am is for you."


i tell you she was cool
she was red hot
i mean she was steaming

Spike and Gunn interrogated Forrest a bit further when they went back downstairs. They did need to make sure they got every sordid detail out of him before they let him go, but Gunn suspected that Spike enjoyed torturing his former friend a bit more than he probably should. He didn't seriously hurt him, so Gunn kept his mouth shut. Spike reminded him of a big cat pawing at his prey and not understanding why when it stopped moving.

Spike was actually a bit disappointed when they let Forrest go. He didn't trust him. Not that he did trust many people, but he had a genuine distaste for him. He was sure that the day would come when he would regret letting the wanker go but he couldn't very well leave him chained the basement like a rapid dog. Course, later, from the look on Dru's face, he knew that she saw right through him. His occasional sadistic streak was showing more and more since they returned to Sunnydale.

Gunn and Spike made their way up the stairs and escorted Forrest out, or rather, tossed him roughly out the back door, snarling out threats to find him if he did anything remotely questionable. As they shut the back door, moans coming from the great room sent them both in that direction. They allowed themselves to be lured despite their better judgement and stopped just in the doorway as they saw Buffy and Angel rocking slowly together on the sofa bed. Buffy arched her back, her firm breasts outlined in the dark and her long blonde hair streaming down her back as she lost herself in her lover.

Taking shaking breaths, they backed out to head to their rooms. Honestly, they moved awfully slowly, keeping their eyes trained on Angel's exceptional lover. His hands looked huge as they moved over her little body, caressing her flesh and thrusting up against her. When they finally made it to the door, they heard her suck in a deep breath and release it with a hard, shuddering moan. Gulping, they ran up to their rooms with the sight of her imprinted in their minds for the night.

"Angel," they heard her whisper in the dark as they retreated, "It's time for your medicine."


Part Thirteen

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoo groups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: Please let me know what you thought of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear



i want women who are out of my reach

"Holy fucking Christ," one of the guys hissed as he and a few of the others prepared to tramp through the great room to leave by the front door early the next morning. Angel was lying on the sofa bed, obviously nude under the blanket that was left covering him, half of which was pooled on the floor next to the bed. What was covering most of his body was a very naked and sensuously beautiful Buffy Summers. She was lying on top of him, apparently aware of his wounds in her sleep and not touching him. Her tiny fingers were curled around part of the bicep of his injured arm and her long blonde hair was flowing over her back, streaming in silky ribbons to tickle Angel's flesh.

Angel's uninjured arm was holding her securely to him, his hand spanning almost all of her delectable naked back. The blanket was covering the firm curve of her behind but they could see her full breasts pressed against his chest, giving them a side view of the promised beauty they would see should she decide to sit up.

"She's...damn, she's even hotter than I thought she was," one whispered, glancing at his two fellow voyeurs. All eyes turned back toward the couple as she moaned in her sleep, languidly moving her body over Angel's.

"Mmmm..." she said, kissing his chest as she felt his arousal growing against her, "Someone's awake."

"Busted," he said, his voice a rough and sexy mumble as the corners of his mouth twitched up and he opened his eyes. "I didn't want to wake you up. I couldn't help myself."

He smoothed his hands over her naked back and threaded his fingers through her hair as she scooted up his body to kiss him. She rubbed against him as they kissed, growing more aroused with every early morning second. "I thought you were wearing my shirt to bed, baby," he said against her lips.

The guys looked at each other and then back at the couple grinning widely. They were all thrilled she hadn't worn his shirt to bed. They watched as one of her arms came up to see that the giant shirt was still attached to half of one arm.

"Still wearing it," she said, dropping her arm and moving to nibble on his jaw before suckling on his neck. He felt her legs slip around to straddle him, opening her moist heat and pressing down against him. "How are you feeling? Do you need more medicine?"

"I need you to stop doing that before I take you right here while the morning troops stomp through," he said, grabbing the edge of the blanket and pulling it around her body. "We need to go upstairs."

"Why?" she asked, ignoring him and kissing down his chest. She stopped to suck a tempting nipple into her mouth, clamping her warm lips around it and lashing it with her tongue.

"You...uh...have class," he ground out, jerking his hips against her involuntarily.

Their audience meant to back away and exit the mansion through the back door, but they couldn't tear their eyes away from her. The passion coming from her tiny body was threading through the air towards them, stepping into their space and rooting them to the spot.

"Not going," she said against his skin, moving to the other nipple and giving it the same special treatment. Her mouth spread into a bright smile as she stopped and looked up at him, inching further down his body. "I'm going to take care of you today..." she purred, "in more ways than one."

Seeing where she was going as she moved down his body, peppering kisses on his skin, he grabbed her arms and winced as he pulled her back up to his mouth. His shoulder still ached and today he found he was more stiff than before.

"Not here," he said, causing the breath to come out of their onlookers. One guy actually groaned out loud in disappointment, causing them both to turn and find them standing there.

"What are you doing in here?" Angel roared, wrapping the blanket more tightly around around Buffy and preparing to move her over so that he could go after them, forgetting his wounds and his own nakedness entirely. Before he could even sit up, they turned and ran full speed from the room.


turn away from the pain that you don't want

"Lily?" Gunn asked as she opened the door. He and Spike both fought over who went to talk to her and who to take with them for the trip. Finally, it was decided that Gunn and Willow would go, since a female would definitely be needed for the confrontation. Spike offered Dru, but in the end, Willow seemed a better conversationalist.

"Y-yes," the pretty blonde answered, "I used to be. I go by ‘Anne' now. Can I help you?"

"We were wondering if we could talk to you about something," Willow said quietly, "if you have a minute or two."

"What about?" Anne asked, keeping the door wedged firmly in her hand, preparing to slam it closed at any moment.

"Riley Finn," Gunn answered after a moment and Anne's face contorted into a mask of pain and shock before attempting to slam the door closed. Willow stepped forward and said loudly, "He's hurting other people, Anne! He hurt my best friend and we need your help! Please just listen to what we have to say."

"There's nothing you can say," Anne shouted back through the closed door, "Go away! I'm done with that part of my life."

"Anne!" Willow shouted more forcefully, pressing her face against her door, "He needs to pay for what he's done! Are you just going to let him stay free to hurt other people?"

"Go AWAY!" Anne said through her door, "Please. I'm sorry your friend was hurt but I don't want to have anything to do with this."

"If you change your mind," Willow said, "We both live at Liam Angelus' mansion on Crawford street."

Gunn lead Willow back to his truck even though she wanted to wait there for several more minutes just in case Anne/Lily changed her mind. She sadly climbed in and ran her fingers over the tear in his dashboard sadly.

"I thought she would help," Willow said sadly, "Think she'll change her mind, Gunn?"

"Hope so," Gunn said, "But it sounds like she's moved on."

"Maybe if Buffy talked to her..." Willow offered and then shook her head, "Guess Buffy doesn't really need people slamming doors in her face these days."

"I'm sure as hell don't need it," Gunn added, starting his engine and pulling from the curb, "We can't make her testify if she doesn't want to, Willow."

"Guess not," she mumbled and then widened her eyes at Gunn, "Unless she's subpoenaed!"


you're possessed with a power bigger than the pain

Lindsey McDonald let out a low whistle after Buffy left them alone in Angel's room later on that day. She ran downstairs to make drinks for them, but really left because she be away from the situation. She knew Lindsey was Angel's lawyer and she knew he was there to talk about how to press charges against Riley. If there was anything she could do to avoid talking about the situation, she was willing to do it. Hopefully, the coffee took an extra long time to brew today.

"Damn, is that who you've been sleeping with lately, Angel?" Lindsey said, smiling in approval, "Rumor has it, she's your only piece of ass now."

"I'm going to marry her," Angel said, making sure the warning came through in his tone. Even though he looked rumpled in his robe and his eyes were not as sharp and focused as they usually were due to his medication, Lindsey couldn't doubt that he was serious about what he said. He knew Angel was shot from the phone call he received earlier that morning and thought the meeting was about that, which is why his jaw dropped when Angel said he was going to marry her and then added, "And she's the reason you're here."

"Nuh-uh. No way," Lindsey said, shaking his head, "You want me to write up a prenup? That's why I'm here?"

"No," Angel said, "I haven't even asked her yet and when I do, there won't be a prenuptial agreement. She was raped, Linds. I want you to nail the bastard that did it. But before she comes up here, I want to give you this."

Lindsey stared at the paper in his hand in disbelief, "Angel, you can't make these changes to your will! You barely know this girl. She could be using you for your money! And Spike? You can't write Spike into your will!"

"I can do whatever I want," Angel said, "I want those changes made as soon as possible."

"But you aren't going to tell her that you're leaving most of your fortune to her, are you? That's why you wanted to do this when she wasn't in the room?" Lindsey asked, his hands shaking as he stared at the words, and more importantly, the huge numbers before him.

"I don't want her to know I'm thinking about my will because I almost died, Lindsey. She doesn't want to think about my death," Angel said, regarding his old friend seriously. "I love her, Linds. She's the one and I want her to have almost everything if something happens to me."

"What about Spike? You can't stand your brother," Lindsey said, "You told me you would never write him back into your will a couple of years ago."

"Things change," Angel said, shrugging and then wincing in pain for attempting the motion, "No matter what happens from here on out, Spike has earned part of the Angelus fortune. Like it or not, he's family. He deserved to be included when my father died and he deserves it now."

"Maybe you should wait until your medication wears off," Lindsey said slowly, "I don't think you're thinking straight. I see you've left Giles in, but leaving Spike a hefty chunk and then giving everything else to that girl? Jesus, Angel! She's beautiful, I'll grant you that, but this is millions of dollars. You can't give her all that."

"Lindsey," Angel said, "I love her. She deserves more than I could ever give her. Everything I have is hers as it should be. Now put the paper in your briefcase and make the changes. I'll sign the will when you're finished with it later this week. I want this legal as soon as possible."

"Angel," Lindsey said, preparing to argue again when the door opened. Angel smiled at Buffy as she came in juggling a tray filled with cups of coffee and a few pastries.

"Angel, your coffee pot is evil," she said, handing Lindsey a steaming cup. He waved off the pastry and eyed her closely, looking for signs of the greedy whore he knew she had to be.

"What happened, love?" Angel asked, smiling at her as she handed him his cup.

"I wasn't ready for it to start going and when I poured the water in, it started spewing all over the counter! The guys were laughing at me!" She answered, shaking her blonde head, "Like I knew there was some special reservoir thingy in it!"

"She's not much of a cook," Angel said, winking at her and shooting a deliriously happy smile at Lindsey.

"Good thing you can afford to hire one then," Lindsey leaked snidely despite his effort not to. He thought the term "delirious" fit his old friend well. He looked at Buffy closely, watching her face and her movements, but as much as he wanted to hate her, he couldn't seem to find a thing about her to be suspicious.

She rolled her eyes at Lindsey's comment, not noticing that Angel bristled from it and she laughed, "It'll do him good to eat some burnt toast or something from time to time. Builds character. Besides, I've eaten a lot. Cooking can't be that hard. I just need a little more practice."

Angel chuckled at her comment and earned himself a swat on his good arm before she curled up beside him on the couch, snuggling in while she held her steaming cup of coffee to her lips. She seemed to be incredibly nervous, her hands shaking lightly as she prepared for Lindsey to talk to her about the rape.

"Guess...um...Angel told you why he asked you to come," Buffy finally managed to croak out and snuggled more tightly in at Angel's side. He wrapped his arm around her and scooted her closer to him. Lindsey was shocked when Angel turned, kissed her temple tenderly and whispered in her ear. It wasn't that he was surprised that Angel was being so nice, it was just that he was so...gentle and attentive toward her. It was strange. He was used to Angel being more interested in sex than feelings and he certainly could never imagine him leaving a cent to some girl!

When Angel was done whispering in her ear, she nodded with tears in her eyes. As she started to tell her story, she clung to Angel tightly, setting down her cup so she could grip his hand with both of hers. The more time Lindsey spent with the couple, the more it occurred to him that Angel hadn't been kidding about her. They really did love each other.

After about a half hour into the discussion, Buffy saw how much pain Angel was in, wincing at her side every few seconds. A glance at the clock revealed that once again the drugs had worn off but there was still a little over an hour before his next dose. She stopped, surprisingly in mid-sentence, and said, "I'm sorry, Lindsey. Angel's not feeling well. Can we finish this tomorrow? I can come to your office if you want."

"Uh, sure," Lindsey said, noting that Angel didn't argue, but just sat there with his jaw clenched and his eyes closed in pain. "Angel? Are you okay?"

"What?" Angel said, focusing on his friend once more, "Uh, yeah. I think Buffy's right. Can we pick this up tomorrow?"

"Sure," Lindsey said, "I'm going to start researching Riley. Give me a call tomorrow and we'll get this in motion."


all i want is to lose myself in your room
all you want is a slow fuck in the afternoon

"I'm sorry, baby," he said, after she'd shown Lindsey to the door and came back to help him to bed.

"What for?" she asked, "I wasn't enjoying that anyway. I'm glad to have a break."

"You said you wanted to get it all out so it was over with," He said, grunting as he laid back on the bed, "And I messed it up."

"Oh, I guess you expect me to angry with you because your bullet wounds got in the way of me talking to someone?" she asked incredulously.

"Sounded better in my head," he said, staring off at the far wall. As he tried to channel his pain in another direction, he breathed deeply, but couldn't seem to get a grasp on his injuries. He really wished he had paid more attention in Tai Chi. He heard a rustling across the room and saw that Buffy was flipping through his CDs. Finally, she found something she liked and flipped it on, filling the room with a sensual jazz beat. He watched her curiously as she shut the bedroom door and turned to face him, swaying her narrow hips to the music.

"What are you doing?" he asked, as she raised her arms above her head, concentrating on the rhythm.

"You need something to focus on," she said, smiling carnally at him and adding an extra rotation to her hips, "And I think I'm getting pretty good at distracting you."

He meant to say something but she reached behind her head and removed the clip holding her hair in place. He watched with growing interest as her hair cascaded down her back, when she shook it free. Keeping in time with the music, she wondered if he found this attractive at all. She was only wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. In hindsight, she should have changed clothes first, but at the spur of the moment, she hoped it would work. Checking his face when she turned around, he seemed to be enjoying it. It never even occurred to her that she needed the distraction just as much as he did. Anything was better than thinking about what she had just told Lindsey. It seemed like another violation that she should have to share those details with anyone else.

Angel swallowed and was beginning to forget about his pain as she tossed her little t-shirt aside, leaving her only in a bra and those jeans that rested low on her tiny hips. As she moved, twisting and turning to the music, he fought the urge to get out of bed and touch her. She slipped off her jeans seductively, managing to remove them with a smooth, slow motion that left his mouth dry. Clad only in her peach silk bra and matching panties, she moved her hands over her own skin, closing her eyes as she danced before him.

"Come here," he finally whispered, "I want to touch you."

Teasing him a bit more, she took a few minutes to answer his request, making each step closer to him a part of her dance routine and not just an obvious step toward him. In the five steps it took to reach him, she discarded the rest of her clothing and swept the blankets away that she had only covered him with ten minutes before. Playfully, she reached out and swiped at the sash of the robe he still wore, revealing his naked body underneath.

"I see I got your attention," she said huskily, before slowly swinging her leg over his hips and leaning to catch his lower lip between her teeth. Hovering over him on her hands and knees, she kissed him, dueling her tongue with his as the rest of her body still swayed to the beat.

"You never lost my attention," he answered, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her down until her skin was against his. He was sure that holding her actually added to the allotted movement he was supposed to have with his injuries. Course, he couldn't feel them most of the time because her warm, lithe body was really good at distracting him from everything else.

"Now I can finish what I started this morning before you got mad," she announced happily and started her route from the beginning, nibbling on his jawline and making her way to his neck and shoulder.

"They saw you," he grumbled, "Your beautiful naked body in the morning sun is something only I should see...ever!"

"Shut up, Angel," she said, smiling against his skin, "They were just being boys and they couldn't even see anything."

"They're going to be dead boys," he fumed, remembering more clearly his fury from the morning, "And I can't believe you aren't more upset about this! It doesn't bother you that we were almost making love and they were watching?"

"Again with the mad about things that can't be helped right now," she whispered, expelling a puff of warm air over his nipple, still moist from where her mouth had been, "I'll give them the cold shoulder later. Right now, I want to focus on other things."

Punctuating her words, she made her way down his body. She loved the feel of his muscles beneath her lips and the way he couldn't keep his hands off of her. He was always caressing her skin and running his fingers through her hair.

"Now," she said, finally reaching his cock, wrapping her small hand around him and snaking her tongue out to taste him, "Do you want to talk about this morning or should we focus on the present?"

"Alright," he breathed, pulling her back up to his mouth. As much as he wanted to see her full, pink lips circling his cock, he needed even more to be inside her, to have her body pressing fully against his. "I'm sorry I was so mad this morning, okay? I can't take the thought of them seeing you. You're mine to see! Not anyone else's."

"Sorry, cave man," she said, growling at him before she kissed him playfully, loving the way he arched against her hand as she caressed him, "You can club them later."

"Are we done talking?" she asked, positioning him at her entrance and not waiting for her answer as she sank down on his throbbing cock.

"Oh yeah," he mumbled, attacking her mouth as he thrust up against her. "I think you're turning my brain into mush, my love."

"Good," she whispered, biting playfully at his neck, before sitting back and propping her hands on his chest, bucking her hips harder against him. "You're putty in my hands," she moaned as he slid his hands up from her belly over her ribs to her breasts. He cupped them in his hands, twisting her nipples almost the point of pain until she was pounding him into her harder and harder. He gritted his teeth, silently pleading for her climax as he felt himself nearing the edge. He moved his hands back to her hips as he plunged back against her harder and harder, lost in her slick heat.

"Come for me, baby," he groaned, tipping her hips that her clit was hit with every thrust. When she realized her trademark shuddering moan, he let go, feeling her inner muscles flutter around him in her climax. She collapsed against his chest, panting against his chest.

"This distraction stuff is getting to be more and more fun," Buffy said breathily as she kissed him passionately once more.

"Fun? Hell, this has to be the best injury I've ever had," he said, smiling at her and cupping her face, "But you shouldn't feel like you have to have sex with me every four to six hours, love."

"I can think of worse ways to spend my time, Angel," she said wryly.

"If you insist," he said and watched as she hopped up from bed and padded nude to the bathroom to get his medicine. He watched her retreat appreciatively and felt his arousal growing once more as she made her way back. She raised an eyebrow at him when she saw he was already hard again and he grinned sheepishly at her. "It's your fault," he said, placing blame where blame was due.

"Guess I'll just have to make it better then won't I?" she whispered, and huffed in mock drama, "You are such a chore."


Part Fourteen

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (www.sunflower.com/~tango), Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (www.starrkitty.150m.com), Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!


LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


DEDICATION: Thank you, Stephanie!


all i need and crave
loud life with the power to fade
i am living because i keep it all in, keep it all inside
yeah, i keep it all in, keep it all inside

The following day Buffy and Angel did not call Lindsey for an appointment. Angel was still in an enormous amount of pain and Buffy could think of three million things she would rather do than talk about her rape and what happened after that. So instead of facing the reality that she had barely allowed to fringe her thoughts, she cared for Angel, distracted him from his pain and made sure he had everything he needed.

When he slept, which was often because of his medication, she hung out with Willow and Xander between their classes, or Spike, Dru, Gunn and some of the other guys. Of course, there were three in which she snubbed just to teach them a lesson for their exercise in voyeurism.

In the late afternoon, when Willow came bounding back from her classes, Buffy lounged on the guest room bed, while her friend excitedly talked about the days events. Buffy was always astonished at how Willow could turn a boring lecture into a momentous occasion and how a few happy words from her made all the difference in an otherwise dull day.

"How are things with you?" Willow asked when she had finished spouting about how Dr. Livingston had complimented her grasp of a difficult theory.

"Alright," Buffy answered noncommitally, "Angel's still in a lot of pain and the medication wears off too soon for him, but besides that everything is okay."

"Yes, but how are you?" Willow asked, almost whispering her question. Caving, Buffy explained Lindsey's visit and how she had intentionally not made an appointment with him.

"Don't you want to get this part of your life over with?" Willow asked, nudging her friend toward dealing with things she knew she hadn't yet let come to the surface.

"I don't want to share my most intimate details with him," Buffy answered, "He looks at me like I'm stealing his best friend or something."

"You can't avoid this, Buff," Willow said, scooting closer to her, "Just get it over with and then things'll be better. I'm sure of it."


i turn, i reach for you
wanna touch our life before it fades

Angel was fully dressed for the first time since he was shot and sitting in his library later that afternoon. He was really surprised when Lindsey called that morning and insisted that he speak to Angel and Angel alone. Angel tried to argue that Buffy should be present, but Lindsey adamantly refused to have Buffy involved until he spoke to him first.

Angel managed to clean up and get dressed after reluctantly explaining to Buffy that Lindsey wanted to meet him alone. He was baffled when she happily agreed to stand aside and let him handle it. Course, he saw how shaken she had been after their last meeting, even if she tried to blow it off afterwards.

He sighed, leaned his head tiredly against the back of his chair and looked around the room. He hadn't spent very much time in here but he always thought it would someday mean something to him. He could almost imagine working in here after he'd gotten out of college and managed to find some sort of career. If he closed his eyes, he could picture himself hunkered over the mammoth desk across the room, working on something when Buffy - his wife in his vision - would tiptoe in and ask him if he was coming to bed.

He could see her in her little robe, her eyes squinting in the dim light and her hair rumpled around her shoulders. One tiny hand would extend itself toward him, beckoning him to take it and go with her to the bedroom and he would. Smiling, he imagined curling around her tiny body and sleeping every night for hundreds of nights, thousands. A male clearing his throat made him open his eyes and look up at Lindsey, standing there in his expensive suit, holding his brief case lightly in his hand.

"Hey," Angel said, shaking off his imagined wife and her warm body as his friend sat down in the arm chair across from his.

"I need to talk to you about a couple of things," Lindsey said, looking grim and serious as he opened his briefcase and took out the updated will, "First of all, here's the new will."

Angel leaned over painfully and took the will, reading it closely for his changes. He knew Lindsey didn't approve of the money he was leaving to Buffy or the fact that all of his nonliquidated holdings went to her, as well as his car and the mansion. The only piece of property that wasn't being left to her was the house in London, which he was leaving to Spike. Seeing the Lindsey made all the changes, even if some of them were done with irritation, he signed the will and handed it back.

"What else did you want to talk about?" Angel asked, anxious to get to the heart of the matter, "Since you don't want Buffy here for this, I'm really curious about what you want to say, Linds."


i wish i could go back
yes, back in time

Buffy's hands shook as she stood in the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, holding her packet of birth control pills. As usual, she took it when she got out of the shower every day and today was no different. The only problem was she should be on her third day of her period and she wasn't. She squeezed her eyes closed and then looked down again, refocusing on the pills as if she expected somehow they had misled her the first time.

When the first day passed and her period didn't arrive, which had been like clockwork for as long as she could remember, she brushed it off as stress. The second day she was getting nervous but today she was certain she was pregnant. There was no other earthly reason why she wasn't menstruating.

The clatter of the case falling to the floor barely registered in her ears as she stumbled out of the bathroom. Every minute of suppression for her abuse and rape that she had been forcing back from her thoughts and her daily life flung to the surface. Tripping over her own feet, she made her way to the bedroom and grabbed a sweatshirt from the closet, pulling it over her head without realizing that it was both inside out and backwards. Horror covered her face as she slipped on panties and jeans, then forced her feet into tennis shoes without bothering with socks. What the hell did socks matter when she was pregnant with that monster's child?

A sob erupted as she found her purse and grabbed a small overnight bag. She couldn't stay here, that was for sure. She couldn't tell Angel that she was not only damaged but so used that she was filled with the horrid offspring of Riley Finn. How would she explain this to him? How could he ever want her when she was ruined now?

Every fleeting thought of staying with him, of someday being his wife flew away the moment her pill pack hit the bathroom floor. She knew as certainly as she knew she was pregnant that she couldn't have Angel now. She was a fool to think she could move on and have a decent life to begin with, that she could be with someone who loved her like Angel had.

Had. She was already in past tense and she hadn't even left his room. Remedying that, she turned from the bedroom. She didn't place a single article of clothing in her bag, instead she went to the bathroom. Opening the medicine cabinet, she tossed in every bottle of medication in there. When she was done the only things left were eye drops and Angel's pain medication.

It took several seconds to zip up the bag before she ran from the room. She didn't hear it if anyone greeted her or asked her what was wrong as she quickly made her way down the stairs and out of the only place that had given her sanctuary. All she wanted was to be far away when Angel came out from his meeting with Lindsey. Hopefully, by the time anyone found her, it would be too late.


sometimes i get so mad, i just want to break the world

"The other day," Lindsey started taking a deep breath, "I gave you the impression that you would need me for Riley's conviction."

"And we don't need you?" Angel asked, his face plainly showing his confusion.

"No," Lindsey admitted, sitting on the edge of his chair like he was prepared to dart from the room if he had to, "I'm not a criminal lawyer and even if I was, this case will be handled by the state. The prosecution is already motion, actually. With Buffy's testimony, along with yours, her mother's and your friends', they will have no problem sending him away for a good long time. Finn will never even see this go to trial, Angel. He's guilty and everyone knows it. All that's left is the bargaining, which is in process now while he's cooling his heals at the hospital."

"Why did you have Buffy tell you about the rape then?" Angel raged, not feeling the pain of his injuries as he lurched forward in his chair, "Why the fuck would you put her through that when you knew godamn well that you wouldn't have shit to do with this?"

"Because," Lindsey explained, struggling not to cower under Angel's furious glare, "I wanted to know if you were being used. I didn't know anything about the rape at the time and I wanted to see if she was trying to get your money, Angel. When you gave me the will, I nearly had a heart attack."

"It's not your decision, Lindsey!" he shouted back, "If I want to give her every dime of my money right fucking now and live in a cardboard box, it's not your business! You are my lawyer, not my watch dog!"

"I'm your friend too," Lindsey countered, "You meet this girl and within days she's living with you and so are two of her friends? You're shot and going after her ex-boyfriend like it's some vendetta! You have to admit that this is strange behavior for a guy who wouldn't even let a female move into the mansion a couple of months before! Mr. Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em all of a sudden is being lead around by the dick by this girl? Something is wrong with this picture, Angel! Even you have to admit it!"

"I love her!" Angel said, "I don't expect you to understand it or even agree with it, but as my friend and my lawyer, you need to not torture her by making her bare her soul to you! What kind of sadistic fuck are you anyway, Lindsey?"

"I'm sorry, Angel," Lindsey said, "I just didn't trust her before. After speaking with the prosecuting attorney, I know what she went through and-"

"You have no CLUE what she went through!" Angel roared, "How dare you think you could even come close to knowing what she's been through and then you add to it! Well, thanks for being a friend! Next time you want to stab me in the back-"

"I wasn't going against you," Lindsey argued, "I was trying to help. Really."

"DON'T!" Angel shouted, pulling himself up to his feet as quickly as he could, which compared to his old self was very slow, "I don't need anyone else hurting her and if you want to keep being my friend you'll remember that in the future. Whatever you think is important to me, I promise you that as of now it is all below Buffy. Got it? I don't care about the money or what my brother's doing or even school. I care about her and she is my top priority, understand?"

"Yeah," Lindsey said, slumping in his chair, "I understand."

"Good," Angel said, turning toward the door, "Now make sure the will is-"

"Angel!" Gunn said, nearly breaking down the library door as he rushed in, his feet thumping loudly on the hardwood floor.

"Calm down," Angel said, shooting an angry glare at Lindsey before looking back at Gunn, "I was just having a disagreement with Lindsey."

"No, man," Gunn said, shaking his head, "Buffy ran out of here crying and she had a bag with her like she wasn't planning on coming back tonight. I called Spike and he's out trying to find her to see if something happened, but she looked really fucked up. Something's wrong."

"When did she leave?" Angel demanded, thrilled he had gotten dressed that morning. He limped toward the door and passed Gunn without waiting for his answer. Struggling up the stairs and cursing how long it was taking, he went to his room to get a pair of shoes and his keys. When he finally made it in, he looked around for signs of struggle or anything clue that could make him understand why she had left. Seeing nothing in plain view, he slipped on shoes, grabbed his keys and went back out as quickly as he could.


yes, i will accept, i will accept my pain
i don't deserve to die like this, no one deserves to die like this

Buffy had no idea where she was going to go. She couldn't go home. It wasn't like her mother would understand or sit idly by while she took her own life. She couldn't go to any of her friends, especially since they all lived at the mansion now. The only place left she could think of was Giles' office, which she still had a key to even though she hadn't been to work in quite some time. Glancing at her watch, she saw it was after three.

She headed in that direction, racking her brain on what his schedule was and what day it was. She remembered her pill pack and couldn't stop the next round of sobs. She knew exactly what day it was. Giles had his final class at two and almost always headed home early to do...whatever it was he did. She tried to make herself as invisible as possible as she walked hurriedly up the stairs, down the hall and around the corner to his little office.

Once inside, she locked the door and leaned against it, closing her eyes thankfully that she was alone. She crossed the room and opened Giles' bottom desk drawer where she knew she would find a high quality bottle of brandy. She tore a blank sheet of paper from what she affectionately called his "junk jet" printer and grabbed a pen from his top drawer. Any other day, she would have giggled to think that she should blow the dust off the paper first, since she was fairly certain he didn't even know how to turn the "blasted machine" on.

Her handwriting looked scrawled and wobbly as she made out a quick note. It wasn't more than a few sentences but it said what it needed to: Apologizing to Giles for drinking his brandy and thanking him for the job he had given her and sending her love to Willow, Xander and her mother.

She stared at the page for a long time and finally, she wrote, "And finally, my Angel, I hope you won't think that my death means that I don't love you. When I met you, I realized you were the only thing I've ever wanted and now I know you are the one thing that I can never have. Please don't be angry with me for not being as strong as you wanted me to be. I love you. -Buffy."

The last word was the clearest, in all capital letters. She stared at the page and then set it down, knowing she couldn't read over it again. No one would understand this and she barely could. The idea of the life she had always dreamed of taken in this one afternoon with a bottle of brandy washing down the contents of Angel's medicine cabinet was more than she was willing to deal with.

She shakily opened the first bottle of aspirin and dumped its contents on the desk. Scooping up a couple at a time, she began taking them, washing them down with the rich alcohol she had never grown to like and never would. She curled up in Giles' big squeaky desk chair and thought about the days past as she downed the pills a couple at a time.

She had been so focused on forgetting Riley, keeping her mind on caring for Angel, that she hadn't even started to deal with what had happened. Her body seemed like a vehicle for taking her straight to hell. She tried to make Angel happy and wanted nothing more but to burrow inside him and disappear. In fact, that's what she had tried to do. His shadow was so strong and tall she was sure she could cower in it until the rest of the world fell away. If he loved her, she could forget the things that hurt her.

She knew when Willow asked her how she was that her facade was beginning to fade. She had been avoiding Willow in large doses. She thought tiny visits with Will would work to make sure their friendship, at least to the casual observer, was intact. The truth was that her chipper redheaded friend had been trying to break in for days, but Buffy wouldn't let her. Xander only got a moment or two of her time lately and Buffy didn't even know what color Oz's hair was these days. All she saw was Angel and that was all she wanted to see because in his eyes, she was perfect. In his eyes, even her imperfections were perfect and he was so busy loving and protecting her, dosed heavily on those drugs, that he forgot to make her live for herself and that suited her.

She hadn't stopped to think about what would happen when Angel wasn't sleeping most of the days, when the medication was done and she couldn't fill his few waking hours with flesh and impassioned kisses. If she had, she would have been terrified. Sooner or later, Angel would have wondered when she was dealing and the problem was that Buffy Summers never planned to deal at all. She just wanted to be immersed in his arms.

She laughed bitterly as she finished off the aspirin and opened a box of decongestants, carefully pushing all the little pills through their foil encasing. Now all she was immersed in was drugs and alcohol. Swallowing the first couple pills, she forced down another gulp of brandy wondering why people called this the easy way out. There didn't seem to be anything easy about it at all.


don't die
don't give in
no way, no way
please don't leave me

Angel had looked in every place he could think of to find Buffy. He had Willow, Oz, Xander, Spike, Gunn and several of the guys all on the lookout for her too and even though his cell phone kept ringing, the reports were all coming up Buffyless. Finally, he parked his car in the faculty lot and hobbled up to Giles' office. The dark cell of a working space was the last place he could think of to find her.

The thought had crossed his mind that since they met, they had been mostly in the mansion. There hadn't been a lot of time to talk about favorite places or to go anywhere. Now he wanted to bang his head against the wall for not finding out where she went when she wanted to be alone. That little tidbit would have been incredibly useful right about now.

When he opened the door, he barely had time to look around the office before he hobbled inside. Giles' desk chair was turned over on top of her and her overnight bag was sitting on top of the desk, soaked in the overturned bottle of brandy, which was leaking through the blotter covered in pills and empty bottles and packages.

"Oh my God," he croaked, as he flung the chair off of her and scooped her into his arms. Tears were already filling his eyes before he made it to the door, leaving it open behind him. He cursed his wounds as he tried to move faster to get to his car. He thought about calling an ambulance, but he knew he could get her there before they could reach him.

"Don't die, Buffy," he begged as he set her in the passenger seat and got in, buckling neither of them in as he started the engine and took off at three times the speed limit.

"Please, baby, just hold on," he said, keeping one hand on her to keep her in the seat as he swerved around quiet Sunnydale traffic and kept going when a police car turned on its siren and began following him. The cop trailed him all the way to the hospital and he ignored him, carrying Buffy inside the emergency room doors, screaming for help.

Angel had to be held back by two hospital guards as the emergency crew took Buffy in to have her stomach pumped and he sagged in their hold when she disappeared through the swinging double doors. He slumped to his knees and stared at the doors, still moving from where she had disappeared and choked as he felt his stomach twisting in revolt.

Some time later, he vaguely heard Willow crying out his name. He looked up at her and watched her mouth move as she frantically spoke to him. He wasn't even sure how she knew to come there.

"Angel? Angel?" her voice echoed until he found his voice.

"She's..." he said, tapering off as he pointed in the direction of the doors and then looked back his love's best friend, "She's not going to die, is she? Please tell me that she won't die, Willow."

"She won't," Willow promised, sounding unsure through her sobs, "She...she can't, Angel. She can't."


Part Fifteen

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human and in college.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: All the usual suspects. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!


LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: Because of the holiday season, I will be out of town for a week or so. I'm going to see my new nephew for the first time! *G* So, I will try to get more of this out as soon as I can. Hope you enjoy this part.

AN2: Merry Christmas, Vrolijk kerstfeest, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Winter Solstice, Yule and Kwanzaa. Did I miss anything? *G*


this chain you made for me
yeah, i will pull you down

Angel stood in the center of Giles' office for a few long minutes, struggling to breathe. The weariness he felt hadn't even really begun to hit the surface; the sorrow and tension had his full attention. He inched closer to the desk where Buffy had left the bag and all the remnants of the drugs and alcohol she had consumed. There, lying on the desk, half soaked in Giles' spilled Brandy was a note that he hadn't known she had left.

He picked up the overturned chair and sat in it, making him feel closer to her as he peered down at the page, afraid to touch it as he read. The first words brought tears to his eyes. The idea that she thought that suicide was the only other way to deal with her problems was unfathomable. He read her words to Giles, her friends and her mother while taking deep breaths, noting that her absentee father had no place on the list, but when he got to the words, "And finally, my Angel" he squeezed his eyes shut.

He wasn't sure if he was ready to read it. What if she said she hadn't loved him, that it was his fault? He regretted every moment that he hadn't known she was still aching inside, every drop of pain medication that kept him sleeping while, for all he knew, she was weeping at his side, every minute he had let pass that he didn't let her know that she was his entire world and mostly he regretted every word he hadn't said to make sure she knew that he would love her no matter what happened.

As he kept his eyes closed, the thought occurred to him that maybe he wasn't enough. Maybe his love didn't matter at all in her shattered world. What if nothing he did would have stopped this from happening? Groaning inside himself, Liam Angelus realized that he had never felt so unworthy, so helpless in his entire life. No amount of hard work and not a cent of his amassed wealth could have stopped this.

He pried his eyes open after several minutes and forced himself to look at the page. Slowly, swallowing each word like the pills she had consumed, he read, "And finally, my Angel, I hope you won't think that my death means that I don't love you. When I met you, I realized you were the only thing I've ever wanted and now I know you are the one thing that I can never have. Please don't be angry with me for not being as strong as you wanted me to be. I love you. -Buffy"

Angel read his part of the note over and over again as he sat there, allowing the tears to course freely down his cheeks. He let each word sink in, holding his head in his hands and sobbing. Had he failed her so much? Had she thought that she needed to be so strong for him that she couldn't deal with what she felt? And why couldn't she have him? Why?


"Giles," Angel said, raising his head slowly and fixing his eyes on his old friend and guardian.

"What happened in here? Are you alright?" Giles asked, stepping into the office and staring at the desk in horror, "Did you take all this?"

Giles had already picked up the phone to call the ambulance, when Angel shook his head and motioned for him to hang up. "It's not me, Giles," Angel said, "I mean, it wasn't me."

"Dear Lord," Giles said, breathing a sigh of relief and then widening his eyes in horror, "Then what happened?"


you can close your eyes
you can fall and die

The past twenty-four hours had been so much worse than Buffy ever could have imagined. After making her to swallow a sort of liquid that smelled like rotten eggs, they forced a tube through her nose and down her throat to pump her stomach. The experience was so horrible, for a second she wished she had died until the doctor told her that he thought she might.

She didn't realize until later that his tactic was to make her want to live, but the comment sent her into a panic. More importantly, it worked. She wanted to live more than anything now and she didn't even know why. She immediately asked to see Angel and she missed the glint in his eyes when he told her about the friends crying in each other's arms. The worst thing he said to her while he treated her, carefully prodding her with his well planned verbal attack, was when she asked about the baby.

"You aren't pregnant, Miss Summers," the doctor answered, "Did you think you were?"

Breaking into a round of sobs, she begged to see Angel. He calmly told her that there was a large, dark haired young man out in the waiting room and had been crying in the arms of a lovely redheaded girl when he walked past them. Then, without missing a beat, he told her that he was moving her to a different facility in Los Angeles.

"Can I see them before I go?" she pleaded, wondering how she had ever gotten herself into this. All she wanted was to escape and strangely, that was still what she wanted. She didn't want to go to some sterile sounding facility two hours away, she wanted to go back to Angel's mansion and hide under his shadow again. The doctor informed her that she would not be seeing anyone before she was taken, not her mother, her boyfriend or her friends.


you were my everything
you were so different from all those other girls

Angel helped Giles clean up his office while he told him the story, unable to just sit there and shrink under his concerned stare. They had to throw the desk blotter away, as well as his calendar and the top of the surface looked as if it might be permanently stained in some places by the renegade liquor.

After a very long hour discussion, Angel made his way back to the mansion. Once he got there, he trudged up to his room, but there was no place he could look that didn't ring clearly of his lover. He finally decided on a shower, but when he came back in to dress, his closet was waiting there, overstuffed with her clothes, mingling so perfectly with his own. He took him a full ten minutes to work up the nerve he needed to pull out something to wear.

After he dressed, he headed downstairs and sat on the couch, staring blankly at the empty fireplace and ignoring anyone who dared to speak to him. He was at a loss. Classes were certainly out of the question. He had stayed at the hospital as long as possible, but when they told him they had moved Buffy to a different, unnamed facility in LA, he didn't know what to do. They refused to let him see or speak to her before she left and all he knew for certain was that she had lived. He didn't know if she was sick or if she was afraid. The idea that she was alone again was terrifying. He must have sat there for several hours, just letting his thoughts run wild on what she must be feeling and what would happen, when her mother came to visit.

"Joyce," Angel said, coming to life and standing up quickly, "Is she okay? Did they tell you where they're taking her?"

"I need to get some of her clothes, Angel," Joyce answered, her eyes bloodshot and swollen from crying and her voice hoarse, "and then I'm going to Los Angeles."

"Did you see her?" Angel said, trying again, "Is she alright?"

"They won't let me see her," Joyce said as her eyes filled with tears again, "They told me that since she's over the age of eighteen they don't have to let me and...and since I could be part of the problem, I'll have to wait. The new facility won't let anyone see or talk to her for the first week. After that she'll be able to make phone calls."

"A week?" he said, sitting down again, "A week and then I can't even see her? What if she needs someone? They won't let her out?"

"Come on," Joyce prodded, wiping back her tears, "Let's go pack a bag for her. There's nothing else we can do for her. Not now anyway."


now she thinks to herself, hey what just happened to me?
i told him that i thought it was over, i told him that i wanted to leave

When the nurse took away her shoe strings and anything that she could use to hurt herself, Buffy felt like a criminal. They told her that her mother would be dropping off a bag of her clothes and that they would be searching through it before she could have it in her room. They carefully listed the things that they would keep at the desk, that she would have to come and check out if she needed them - one of them being her makeup. Buffy immediately balked at that announcement but the nurse's stern glare made her keep quiet.

Buffy obediently did as she was told and shied away from the rest of the patients as she trudged to her room and waited for her first appointment with her doctor. Thankfully, it was the first day, only hours after her arrival. She hurried to the office ten minutes early with a pile of questions that no one had answered yet. When she sat down at the desk, she stared blatantly at the woman behind the desk. She was young and beautiful, seeming to be a bit too young to be a doctor.

"Hello Buffy," the doctor said with a pleasant smile, "I'm Dr. Jana Calendar, but everyone here calls me ‘Jenny.'"

"Uh, hi Jenny," Buffy said quietly.

"I know I look young," Jenny said with a chuckle, "Don't worry. I am older than you think. We gypsies hold our age every well."

"You're a gypsy?" Buffy asked, leaning forward, truly intrigued.

"Yes," Jenny said with a twinkle in her dark eyes, "In fact, we have a lot of activities here for you to participate in while you're here and one of them is jewelry making. My people would be shocked that I reveal our secrets here."

"Cool," Buffy said, smiling a little back at her, "Look, Jenny, you seem really nice but I really have to be getting back. See, Angel's hurt and he needs me and my friends will be worried and-"

"Buffy, I know you're not going to want to hear this, but you're going to be here for a month at the very least," Jenny said, keeping her voice calm and soothing, "From the sound of the list you just rattled off, it seems like you have a lot of people who will be there for you when you go home, but for now, we're going to focus on you, not them."

"Can I call him?" Buffy asked, her lips quivering as she struggled not to cry, "I just need to tell him I'm alright. Please he needs to know I love him, that I didn't do this to hurt him."

"I know you're upset, Buffy," Jenny said softly, "And it's okay to be upset, but I can't let you call him, not until we know what made you try to take your life."

"I'm sorry!" she wailed, letting the tears fall down her face, "I'm really, really sorry! He didn't have anything to do with this. I just need to make one phone call, okay? And then I'll be good. I'll do whatever you say. Angel's going to think I was leaving him. What if he gives up on me while I'm away for so long? What if I lose him?"

"Let me introduce you to our laddering system," Jenny said, sliding a piece of paper across her desk, "The first week we will work on certain achievements and goals, if you do well on this first part, then the earliest you'll be able to make a phone call will be a week from now. If we do well then eventually, he can come see you."

"Can I send him a letter?"

"Buffy, we need to focus on you right now."

"A short one?" she pleaded.


just get it if you need it now
just buy it if you need it in your life
don't worry if it all runs out
don't worry cause it never will

Joyce was impressed with Angel's mansion and in particular, his personal apartment on the second floor. The rooms were plush and neat, filled with more expensive furniture than she would ever be able to provide for her daughter. The lavish apartment, however, was lacking anything to make it seem very personal. It almost looked like a sprawling hotel room, but there were things here and there that made it seem like when Buffy moved in, she had taken over. Joyce couldn't help but smile when she saw pictures of Buffy's friends and family hanging on the walls beside his rare paintings. Every time she saw a spark of color, she recognized something that was her daughter's.

When they made it to the bedroom, Angel dragged out his designer luggage and opened one of the suitcases on the bed to pack Buffy's things in. Joyce gasped at the huge bed with a comforter on it that cost more than her couch. In the center of the elegant pile of pillows sat Mr. Gordo, looking like the world's most pampered stuffed pig.

"Your place is lovely," Joyce said, picking up the pig from the bed and hugging him against her chest.

"Thanks," Angel said, saddening, "Buffy hates my furniture. She said it was too business-y. We were...well, I was going to get something different for her...and now..."

"She's going to come back home," Joyce said, sniffling, "And that sounds like her. All these gorgeous things and Buffy insults them."

"She didn't insult them...I mean, not really. She didn't mean it like that," he defended, opening the giant closet.

"I know, she has a way of insulting you that makes it seem like a great idea," Joyce said with a sad smile, "She always has had a way of saying things."

"She's gonna want that pig," Angel said, changing the subject and gesturing to Mr. Gordo, squeezed his love's mother's arms.

"I know," Joyce said, setting him gently in the corner of the suitcase. Together they picked the clothes she liked the best and folded them, placing them neatly in the suitcase. When Angel took a large black silk shirt and began folding it, Joyce looked at him strangely. "Isn't that yours?" she asked quietly.

"She likes it," Angel choked, pulling it up to his nose. It still smelled like her. "She wears it to bed sometimes.

"Oh," Joyce said, slightly nervous about the idea of her daughter sleeping with this man even though she did like him. It just seemed strange to be this accepting of her living with someone when she wasn't married, even as caring as he seemed to be.

"So where are you staying in LA?" Angel asked, changing the subject and moving to sit in a chair as Joyce fidgeted with Buffy's underwear and bras. Angel wanted to give her some tips, knowing more about Buffy's favorite panties than Joyce knew most likely, but he kept silent. He didn't want to make her more nervous than she already was.

"There's an inn about ten miles away from the...from where she is," Joyce said quietly, slipping some of Buffy's underthings in the bottom of the case, as if she were afraid Angel might see them.

"An inn ten miles away?" Angel echoed, rising to his feet. He grunted silently in pain as he remembered his wounds but he refused to take the pain medication now. He wasn't going to sleep away the days when he needed to be alert in case she needed him. "Seems far."

Joyce snuck as many panties and bras in the suitcase when Angel's back was turned. He was booting up his laptop and then got the address for the facility from Joyce. Carefully, he narrowed down the area on the web and turned to face her. She jumped as she quickly snuck the last of Buffy's underwear under the other clothes, slightly shocked by the amount of thongs and sexy wisps of nothing she had acquired since she moved from home.

"There's a Waldorf Astoria a mile away," Angel said, before turning back around and searching for the phone number, "It's nicer and much closer, Joyce. You should stay there."

"I can't...I can't afford to stay there," Joyce answered quickly and then went about getting shoes and socks for her daughter. "It's okay. I'll stay at the inn."

Angel couldn't help but scowl at her, "I'll pay for it. It's the least I can do. My father used to stay there all the time and they knew our family well. They'll treat you like one of the top guests."

"Angel, really, you've done enough. I won't accept this sort of charity from you," Joyce answered, clipping her words in a way that made him aware that she had made her decision.

"Joyce," Angel said, pulling absolutely no punches, "I love your daughter and I fully intend to marry her as soon as she is well, if she'll have me. By looking around here, I'm sure that you can tell I have money, but let me make this clear - I am a millionaire. I have more money than I will ever know what to do with. When I marry your daughter, it will be hers. I've already changed my will so that if something happens to me, she will be a very rich woman. Now why would you stay at some cheap inn ten miles away when you can stay at a plush hotel a mile away and have a limo take you to see her when she can have visitors. Just as soon as I can see her, I plan to get a room as well."

"It's not right," Joyce said, keeping her eyes away from him.

Scoffing loudly, Angel picked up the phone. "Joyce," he said as he dialed, "Your daughter is going to be the richest person in Sunnydale and most of Los Angeles. In my mind, she already is. It's ridiculous for you to stay at that inn."

"Yes, this is Liam Angelus," Angel said into the phone when the receptionist answered, "I want to make a reservation...Thank you. We all miss my father very much...Yes, I want the same suite. It's for my fiancé's mother. Her name is Joyce Summers and I would like her to be treated as if...Yes, that's right...Right and the limo...Yes, thank you. Bill me, she is not to pay a cent for anything while she's...Yes, the bar and restaurant...Yes. Perfect. I want a second room for myself. I'll be following her in a few days. No, my fiancé will not be with me. Right. Good day."

"You-You can't do that!" Joyce shouted angrily, "I told you that I wouldn't do that!"

"Why not?" Angel said, dropping the phone to the bed, "That stupid inn is not good enough for Buffy and I would never let her stay there, so it's not good enough for you. You think a couple of weeks in a hotel will break my bank account, Joyce? Just take it as a gift and say thank you!"

"Thank you," she shouted, glaring at him.

"Wonderful," Angel snapped and then looked back her, calming his irritation, "I want to marry her, Joyce. Did you miss that part? I love Buffy more than I have ever loved anything. If I had been a better companion to her this never would have happened and for now on, I'm going to make sure she has everything she needs. That includes you."

"Where are you going?" Joyce asked as he moved from the room.

"I'm going to write her a note and sneak it in the suitcase somewhere where they won't find it and take it away," he said and retrieved his book bag from the living room.




"I want it to be hot, disturbing. Yet gorgeous always." -Anne Rice

Tango's website: http://www.sunflower.com/~tango

Tango's affiliates:

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(Jenn's site) http://www.jennsfanfic.com/main.html

(Gia's site) http://www.everysixseconds.com/