Abused Part Two by Tango


Part Sixteen

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



they said she, she just disappeared
they said I look just like her

"Angel," Gunn said, plopping down on the couch next to his friend, "You're gonna have to get out of the house. If you don't move soon, you're gonna start to mold."

"Go away," Angel said, staring at the living room wall. He had his cordless phone from his room in one hand and the main house phone in the other. No phone call had made it through without Angel fielding it first and any resident that tried to make a call over ten minutes in the last three days was nearly glared to death.

"She's alive and getting help," Gunn added, "and the house keepers you hired are going to start dusting you off like a piece of furniture if you don't get up. Besides, your clothes could probably walk around on their own by now. Take a shower, have something to eat and...hey, maybe you could go to a class or something."

"He's right, mate," Spike said, settling in a chair across the room and propping his black booted feet on the coffee table, "You're depressing the bloody hell out of me."

"What is this?" Angel grunted, "An intervention? Go find a kitten stuck in a tree somewhere and leave me alone."

"Look, Peaches," Spike sighed, "You've been a lunatic since she left. I know it hurts, but you need to grow some effin' balls, Nancy Boy. Chit's cooling her pretty heels and having a shrink interpret her dreams or some shit. She'll be able to call you in a couple of days. Get a grip."

"Don't you give me that bullshit, Spike!" Angel growled, "If this was Drusilla, you'd be drowning in a bottle right now and you know it."

"Dru would never try to off herself," Spike grumbled and then scrambled from his chair when he saw his comment made it to Angel's ears. Spike found himself slammed back in his seat with his brother's large hand wrapped around his throat. He gasped for breath and pushed Angel's broad shoulders away from him, but didn't manage to budge him an inch.

"Don't ever say anything to me again about what she tried to do," Angel roared, "I put up with a lot of shit from you, Spike, but you aren't allowed to talk to me about Buffy, you got it?"


there is a dream i can't escape
my memories come back to me
there is a hell i can't escape
my memories come back to me

Buffy stared at the note in her hands, trying to reread the words while her hands shook and her eyes filled. She had found it that morning inside the pocket of her favorite jeans and still couldn't believe it was there. He had folded it so smoothly and taped it inside so that if they were shaken it wouldn't fall free. The jeans had been on her body for hours before she ever knew it was there and now she wiped her eyes and peered down once more at the half page before her:

Dear Buffy,

I hope this letter gets through to you. I know they'll take it away if they find it, but I had to try. So many things have been running through my mind in the last few days and I have a million questions that I know you can't answer right now. So, I'll just answer your questions - the ones I think you have anyway.

I found your note, the one you left in Giles' office. I don't know why you think you can't have me, my love, but you can. You do have me. I will be here for you forever. That's the whole point. There's nothing you can do to make me so angry or disappointed that I would leave you. Nothing. As long as you live, my heart and everything I have is yours.

I miss you every second and I want you to know that I've tried to get them to let me speak to you. I know that you can't call me either and it's okay. I understand that you need to heal and when you're allowed to use the phone, I hope you'll call me. If you don't, I'll wait until you're ready.

I told myself that I wouldn't add this part, but this is the 3rd draft of this letter and I keep writing it, so I'll leave it in: I can't imagine my life without you in it. Not anymore. Every time I think of what I would do without you, I can't see that far. I panicked when I saw you lying on the floor and something died inside me when I thought I was too late.

You will never know what you mean to me. You'll never know how much I love you, but if you will get better and come home to me, I'll spend the rest of my life trying to show you.


"What are you all weepy about, Pollyanna?"

"W-what?" Buffy sniffled, pressing Angel's letter to her chest and looking up at the dark haired, menacing girl who stood in front of her. She was leaning against a tree, hiding as much as she could in the courtyard area outside that was provided for the wing's patients.

"You've been moping around here for days," the girl said, "You're depressing me and for this place that's saying something. I'm Faith, by the way."

"Hello Faith," Buffy mumbled miserably, "I'm Buffy."

"What cha got there, Twinkie?" Faith said, lowering to a squat, "Love letter?"

"Could you just leave me alone?" Buffy asked, "I'm really not in the mood-"

"To what? Interact with others? Heal? No, you're just going to cry at whatever made you fucked up enough to get in here," Faith scoffed, "What'd you do? OD on Metabolife?"

"No," Buffy said, narrowing her eyes at her, "What are you here for? You have to try to kill yourself to be here, right?"

"I didn't try to kill myself," Faith huffed, jutting her chin out proudly, "I just overdosed and they won't believe that I wasn't committing suicide. They said I have suicidal tendencies. Whatever."

"How long have you been here?" Buffy asked quietly, looking around her to make sure no one was listening in.

"Month and a half."

"A month and a half!" Buffy wailed, "I thought they didn't keep anyone longer than a month! I can't stay here that long!"

"Chill," Faith said, "You're a sniveling brat, you know that? I'm here by choice. Don't wanna leave."

"Why the hell not?" Buffy said, rising to her feet, "You must really be insane."

"I can tell you're used to the happy, shiny parts of life," Faith said, looking into Buffy's wide and afraid eyes, "Where I come from, you have two choices, live rough or die. Things are easy here. I get a nicer bed than any I've ever slept in, three meals a day and I don't have to...do any of the things I used to do. It's warm here, safe. Not that I'd expect you to understand that."

"You don't know anything about what I've gone through," Buffy snapped, rising to her feet, "I'm sorry your life sucks, but that's no reason to pick on me when you don't know shit about me!"

"Ooh, the Twink's got grit," Faith said with a grin and standing up as well, "You might have some potential after all."

"I'm so glad you think so," Buffy said dryly as she turned to head inside. She quickly folded the note and shoved it safely back in her pocket.

"You never answered my question about your paper there," Faith said, making Buffy stop in her tracks, "You know, that kind of emotional shit gets people in trouble around here."


i don't even have the strength to pick up the phone
you wouldn't know me since you went away

Buffy and Faith crept along the hallway in the dark late that night. Buffy was impressed that Faith knew the nurses' schedules so well. Her dark, would-be friend later explained that she often snuck in the men's wing to get a little "down and dirty action." After getting caught a couple of times, she quickly memorized the whole damn ward's rituals. She could tell you where almost anyone was at any given time. It was kind cool, actually.

Faith proved to be more useful than just tossing out barbing remarks as she led Buffy straight to Dr. Calendar's office, dropped to one knee and picked the lock with a bobby pin that she had stolen from a nurse several weeks before. Buffy watched in awe as the lock clicked and Faith stood before swinging open the door with a smug smile on her face.

"Come on," Faith whispered, waving her in, "We have a ten minute window before that bitch comes back."

"She's okay," Buffy said with a shrug as she slipped inside and closed the door quietly behind her. She headed directly for the phone and picked up the receiver. She didn't really want to make this call with Faith standing there looking at her, but she didn't have a choice. She had a feeling that if she said something Faith would argue with her for 9 of her 10 minutes before just listening on the other side of the door.

"She's a horrible excuse for a human being and I hope she trips on the way back," Faith snorted, making herself comfortable in Jenny's chair and slamming her feet down on the desk before crossing her legs at the ankle.

"Alrighty then," Buffy said, rolling her eyes, "You have some issues, Faith. She's just doing her job."

"Be funnier if she had to do it hobbling around on a broken leg."

Buffy shook her head and decided not to comment further. Faith was obviously not going to budge on the topic. Buffy took a deep breath before shakily dialing the number to Angel's personal line. As the phone rang a fourth time, Buffy closed her eyes in frustration. His answering machine was going to pick up and if he didn't pick up his cell phone when she tried to call that, then she wouldn't be able to talk to him. Just as the answering machine picked up and she prepared to hang up, he answered with a breathless, "Hello?"

Buffy opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again. Keeping her eyes tightly closed. What would she say? How would she explain anything?

"Hello?" Angel repeated, "Hello?"

"A-Angel?" Buffy stammered quietly.

"Buffy," he said in a rush of breath, certain he imagined the sound of her voice, "Is that you, baby?"

"It's me," she whispered. She swallowed harshly as she managed to pry her eyes open. She stared at the desk in front of her, trying desperately to pretend that Faith's eyes weren't boring into her.

"Are you okay?" he asked, keeping his voice as soothing as he could.

"I'm...I'm alright," she answered, "I can't talk long cause I'm sneaking this call. I got your note and I just wanted to tell you that I..."

"You what, love?"

"I'm sorry," she whispered. She regretted that her voice was cracking and that the tears she was beginning to hate were welling in her eyes. "I'm so sorry, Angel."

"Don't be sorry," he said, "I just want you to focus on getting better."

"I love you," she whispered, "I love you so much and I know that I messed up. It wasn't because of you. I just wanted to tell you that."

"Okay," he said reluctantly. It seemed vain to think that he was the reason for her attempted suicide, but at the same time, she spent all of her time with him. He was the one who was supposed to make things better and he hadn't. He thought he was helping and that she was getting better and the whole time he had done nothing to help her at all. If anything, he just helped her bury her feelings inside herself.

"Angel," Buffy said, quickly wiping away the tears as they fell, "Please believe me. Please don't think it was you. I promise it wasn't."

"Alright, baby," he said quickly, "I believe you. It's okay."

"I love you," she added, pressing her forehead against the wood of Jenny's desk, "Will you...will you come see me in a couple of weeks when I can have visitors?"

"Of course," he answered, "I'd be there now if I could. In fact, your mom's already there staying in a hotel and I'm going to get a room in a couple of days."

"Are you mad at me?" she asked, her voice small and childlike.

"No, baby. I'm not mad," he answered, perhaps a bit too quickly, "I love you."

"I love you too," she sniffled, "I'll call again when they let me."

"Okay," he agreed, nodding on his end even though he knew she couldn't see him, "Call my cell phone, alright? Do you have that number?"

"Yes. I have it," she answered, "Can you call my mom? Tell her that I'm okay?"

"Yeah, I'll call her in the morning," he said, "I'll see you soon."

"‘Kay," Buffy said, biting her lip, "Bye Angel."

Buffy hung up the phone and sat there, keeping her forehead pressed against the desk and peering at the floor. She looked up in alarm when Faith finally spoke, startled because she had almost forgotten that she was there, but now that she made her presence known she cringed to think of what hurtful comment her friend would make.

"Come on, B," Faith said, rising to her feet and heading for the door, "We've got to hurry."

"Thanks for helping me," Buffy said, shuffling behind her.

"Thank me when we don't get caught," Faith grumbled, "Now come on, weepy, we gotta jam."


Part Seventeen

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



i don’t want to be your downtime
i don’t want to be your stupid game

Angel felt his body aching and couldn’t think of a way to make it stop. He wanted nothing more than to walk into that building, sweep Buffy’s slight body into his arms and carry her out, knocking away anyone who stood in his way. His soul grieved and his heart was swelling, causing the rest of him to jolt in response. Hours were spent pacing around his large room at the Waldorf, making tracks in the expensive flooring, thinking about how to make things right.

The Monday following her first call to him, he waited all day to see if she would call. Although he was waiting to hear his phone ring, the actual sound nearly made him jump out of his skin. The first call was was stilted, filled with I miss yous and I love yous. The following ones were daily nonsense - what each of them had been filling their days with and how they planned to spend the evenings. The more he thought about the calls, the more he thought they weren’t enough. He wasn’t saying the right things. Hell, he wasn’t saying anything meaningful at all.

He wished he could think of some magical phrase, something that would make her understand how much she meant to him, anything that would convince her how important her life was to him. He wanted more than anything for her to come home but he was terrified that if she did, she would try to hurt herself again. His wakeful nights were filled with horrified thoughts of what could happen and when he accidentally fell into a troublesome sleep, his dreams reminded him of the things his conscious mind hadn’t thought of yet.

Now he had one more night to get through until he could see her and he knew it would probably be the longest. He stared at himself in the mirror and groaned. He looked like shit. Dark circles ringed his eyes from the lack of sleep and he had grown way too thin from forgetting to eat or barely getting anything down when he did remember. One look at him and she would know that he had spent every moment worrying about her.

Just as he prepared to call room service to order a meal, a small knock on his door forced him away from his reflection. He trudged over and swung it open, not bothering to glance through the peephole first. Keeping his grimace in check, he stepped back and waved in Joyce Summers.

“I hope I’m not disturbing you,” she said politely as she walked inside, almost tiptoeing as if she thought she would wake someone up.

“No, you’re not,” he said, waiting for her to sit down on the sofa and then sitting down in the chair across from her. “What can I do for you, Joyce?”

“I don’t know how to say this,” she said, wringing her hands nervously, “But I don’t think you should be the first person to see Buffy tomorrow. I want to see her first, so I’m asking you to wait until 5 o’clock to go. Give me an hour alone with her.”

“You’re not going to try and keep me away, are you?” Angel asked, keeping the stridence from his tone as much as possible. He had a sneaking fear that there was some form or waiver inside there to keep certain people from the guest list.

“No,” Joyce answered, forcing a smile on her lips, but it looked weak and it trembled.

“Joyce, I have to see her. I know you still have some strange dislike for me and I can accept that, but she asked me to come tomorrow and I promised her I would. I’m not going to break my word to Buffy,” Angel said, looking directly in her eyes.

“She was with you when she tried to kill herself!” Joyce blurted as she stood up from the couch, “I don’t think you should be anywhere near her!”

“I’m sorry, Joyce,” Angel said, keeping his seat, knowing if he towered over her while he was this upset, it would only make things worse. Instead, he gripped the sides of the chair and took a deep breath. “But it really doesn’t matter what you think. If Buffy doesn’t want me there, then I’ll stay away. This is her life and I’m going to make sure that she knows that she has choices in it. It’s bad enough that she doesn’t have a choice to leave that place if she wants.”

“I’m doing the best I can for her!” Joyce shouted, “The people in her life were what drove her to this! She needs to be away from you and those other people she’s been around. She was fine before!”

“You locked her up in there, didn’t you?” Angel accused, narrowing his eyes angrily, “You said you didn’t have a choice, but you did!”

“Of course, I had a choice,” she shouted, “You think they can just lock her up against her will? I’m doing what’s best for my daughter.”

“Did you ever try asking her what she wants rather than just thinking for her?” Angel demanded, struggling to keep himself in his chair. “I agree she needs therapy and I definitely think she needs some time to herself, but you haven’t even admitted to her that you’re the reason she’s there! She thinks she’s in some kind of prison! I told you once that I’m not stepping aside and I meant it. When visiting hours come at 4 o’clock tomorrow, I’m going to be there. If you try to keep me from her, I’ll tell her what you’ve done.”

“She won’t believe you!” Joyce shouted, “I’m her mother!”

“Are you willing to take that chance?” Angel asked, finally unfolding his large frame from the chair and glaring across the room at her. “I think we both know she’ll believe me.”

“You’re the reason she didn’t talk to me before,” Joyce said, sinking back onto the couch, “Why are you doing this to us? She’s my only child and I have to protect her.”

“I love her,” Angel said, circling his chair and bracing his hands on the back of it, “ and I’ll never hurt her. Riley hurt her, Joyce, and you hurt her by being so blind that you can’t see what she needs and doesn’t need. I think you should get to know your daughter.”

“How long have you been with her? A few months?” Joyce demanded angrily, “You think just because you’re screwing her you know who she is?”

“No,” Angel answered, “I know who she is because I talk to her and she talks to me. I’m not saying I know her every wish or dream. I don’t and I never will. Hell, I’m not entirely sure if I’m what she needs in her life, but I’m going to make sure she knows she has me. Even if you manage to keep me away while she’s in that place, when she gets out you won’t be able to keep us apart. I can promise you that. What do think she’ll do when I tell her that you’re the reason I can’t be there when she needs me?”


bidding their darkened spirits goodbye
for the calming peace of a cloudless sky

“Don’t tell me, I know this one,” Faith said, leaning back in the grass next to Buffy in the small courtyard outside where the patients were they were allowed to spend their free time, “Jenny shrank you on Angel’s visit today.”

“Yeah, that was a disaster,” Buffy said gloomily, “For a second I thought she was going to tell me that he couldn’t come cause I’m so nervous about it.”

“Nah, she’d never do that,” Faith said, shaking her dark head, “She knows if we weren’t allowed to have visitors we’d go postal.”

“That’s a good,” Buffy said, “Cause I already told him he could come. He is going to come, right?”

“Lover boy’ll be here,” Faith said, smiling knowingly, “No doubt spouting his eternal love like he always does.”

“What if he changes his mind about me?” Buffy frowned, leaning her head against the tree thoughtfully, “What if he shows up and decides I’m a nutcase before he goes running out of here? Or maybe he’ll wait until I’m released and then tell me that he doesn’t love me anymore. Or maybe-“

“You’re killing me, B,” Faith groaned, laying back in the grass, “He’s wicked crazy about you. Even I can tell that and I just eavesdrop on half the conversations. Just wait. I’m sure he’ll be here with bells on. I can’t wait to see him. If he’s as hot as you say he is, I’ll have some eye candy tonight.”

“He’s beautiful,” Buffy said, smiling dreamily.

“Oh gawd,” Faith groaned again, looking up at the cloudless sky as she rolled her eyes heavenward.


i don’t wanna be the bad guy
i don’t wanna do your sleepwalk dance anymore

Angel made sure that Joyce did not get to the facility before him. In fact, he was sitting on the front steps reading a book an hour prior just to make sure. He was still reeling from his conversation with her the night before and even went as far to ask the hotel’s front desk to let him know if she left for any reason. The idea that he would be kept from Buffy any longer made his stomach turn. It was bad enough that visitation hours were only from 5 PM - 9 PM.

Angel, while pretending to read, was calculating the minimum time he would be forced to stay away from Buffy for the next couple of weeks so he didn't notice when Joyce arrived at quarter to five until she sat down wordlessly next to him on the steps. Angel closed his book and turned it over in his hands as he waited for her to speak.

“I’m not going to do anything to keep you from her,” Joyce said quietly, “But I am going to ask her what she wants. If she says she doesn’t want you there, will you leave?”

“Yes,” Angel said, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, “But I want to hear her say it. It won’t mean anything to me coming from you.”

“Thank you,” she said, keeping her voice steady and low.

“Why do you hate me so much?” Angel asked, glancing at his watch before turning to his love’s mother, “What did I ever do to you to make you think I’m such a horrible person? Joyce, I don’t beat Buffy, I don’t mistreat her and I’m not trying to take anything from either of you. All I want to do is love her.”

“I trusted Riley,” Joyce said, looking straight ahead into the street, “I trusted him and he raped and beat my daughter. She acted like she loved him too. Just because she acts like she loves you doesn’t mean she does.”

“I’m not Riley Finn,” Angel said, rising to his feet and heading toward the front door of the facility. “And I’m sure as hell not Hank Summers.”

Despite the sound of Joyce’s intake of breath and his name coming from her lips in an outrage, he didn’t turn around. He was tired of defending himself...and he had someplace to be.


tell me where have you been
you know, i just closed my eyes
and the whole world disappeared

Buffy changed three times before Faith told her she was all “hoed out” and then twice more after that. All of her clothes felt wrong on her body all of sudden, hanging from her too thin frame like rags. She tried on everything and almost decided to hide her body inside Angel’s huge shirt, before it was vetoed by Faith, who told her she was being fucking stupid. At least in his shirt, he would know she loved him and he would have a harder time seeing that her once lithe and supple frame had turned into the starved waif look. As she slipped on a pair of jeans, she wondered where along her suicidal road she had lost her curves.

During the whole ensemblely challenged ordeal, Faith stayed in Buffy’s room, lounging on her bed, laughing and scrambling her blonde friend’s nerves as much as she could...just for the hell of it.

When Buffy had finally decided on the jeans Angel had slipped her note in, a black camisole and her favorite chunky black boots, she walked out into the lounge area with Faith closely at her heels. She left her hair down and found herself twirling the ends around her fingers nervously. She was sure that it would be in knots before he got there, but she was beyond caring. All she could think of was whether or not he would actually show up.

“Damn,” Faith hissed under her breath as a tall, dark man walked in followed by a motherly type woman and the on-staff nurse, “Is that him?”

“Yes,” Buffy answered, after spinning around in mid-pace. She felt her knees shaking uncontrollably along with her hands and the rest of her body as she approached Angel and her mother. She stopped short in front of both of them, looking from one to the other unsure of whom she should greet first. The choice was made for her when her mother nearly knocked her over, rushing around Angel to take her daughter in her arms.

“Buffy,” Joyce whispered as she hugged her tightly to her chest. Buffy mumbled a greeting as she looked at Angel over her mom’s shoulder. He looked thin as well and tired. In fact, he looked exhausted like sheer will was the only thing keeping him awake. She stifled a sob when she reached his eyes, feeling the sadness set in deeper inside her.

“How are you, sweetheart?” Joyce asked, pulling back and holding Buffy by the shoulders. She scruntized her daughter closely, as if she were looking for some physical mark or wound that would be apparent on the outside rather than in.

“I’m okay,” Buffy answered, rasping out her reply. She slowly disentangled herself from her mother’s iron grip and approached Angel, inching over slowly as if she expected him to bite her. He met her half way and even though he had planned to quell his emotions, he swept her into his arms and hugged her tightly.

Angel felt Joyce looking on as he held Buffy, but he ignored her deliberately. “I missed you,” Angel whispered into her hair, wondering if her little bones would crack beneath his embrace. He didn’t even realize that he had lifted her off of the ground and was peppering little kisses all over her face until he had reached her lips.

“I missed you too,” she managed to whisper back when he set her back on her feet. He closed his eyes when she caressed his face with a shaking hand. Her fingertips felt to familiar, so achingly strange again against his skin.


i can’t take the pain of wanting her, needing her

Despite everything he had planned and his argument with Joyce, Angel found himself waiting in the lounge with Buffy’s friend, Faith, as she and her mother went out to the courtyard to talk. He couldn’t help staring at them out the window as they sat in the chairs there and talked. Buffy’s movements seemed stilted and nervous and the more he watched her, the more nervous he got. She had lost too much weight and she seemed to be trembling more every second. It was all he could do to sit there when she was so close.

He was forced to wait a whole hour before Joyce came back in, leaving Buffy there on the lighted patio, staring out into grass and trees. He watched as Joyce approached him, not hearing whatever Faith was saying to him.

“I’m going back to the hotel,” Joyce informed him curtly, “Buffy and I agreed that I will visit with her every day from four to five and you can have the rest of the time if you want.”

“Did you tell her about our argument?” Angel asked, keeping the word singular rather than plural. No need to bring up how often they had been fighting since Buffy went away.

“I asked her if she wanted you here and she said she does,” Joyce answered and tightened her lips as Angel, in spite of his attempt not to, smiled. Taking a deep breath, she continued, “If you upset her, I will make sure you can’t come back.”

“What’d you do to piss her off?” Faith asked, once Joyce had left and Angel stood to go outside to meet with Buffy.

“Just existing is enough, I think,” Angel said, shaking his head as he moved toward the door.


all the words they give her
make her feel so soft and pretty
she wears them but they never seem to fit

“I’ve been thinking about what to say to you,” Angel said, as he sat down in the chair next to Buffy, “But nothing seems to be right.”

“I know the feeling,” Buffy agreed. Their chairs were side by side, but both were turned in their seats so they could look at each other. Neither reached out to touch the other even though that’s all they wanted to do.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about us, Buffy,” Angel said, finally, causing Buffy to bite her lip nervously and look away. Tears welled up in her eyes and her heart sank as she waited for him to tell her he didn’t love her or that he wasn’t coming back. She stared out in the darkening sky and gripped the arms of her chair as she waited for him to continue.

“Look at me, baby,” he said gently and waited until she turned her tearing eyes back to him. “All I have been able to do is think about how to tell you I love you so you’ll believe me or what I could say to make you want to come home to me when you’re better. I don’t know what the right words are, Buffy. I don’t know how to make this awkwardness disappear. I want to make you happy, but I don’t know how. If you’d be happier if I stayed away, just tell me and I promise I’ll try.”

“Please don’t go,” Buffy said, horrified that he would even think that she might not want him there, “I’m sorry I’m crazy, Angel.”

“You’re not crazy, love,” he said, prying one of her hands off of the arm of the chair and taking it in his, “You’re unhappy. We’ll make it better, okay? All you need is a little more time and then you can come home.”

“I need to know something,” Buffy said quietly, “What…what happens when I get out of here?”

“What do I think will happen or what do I want to happen?” he asked.

“Both, either…whatever. Do you really want me to come home with you or are you saying that cause you think I’m a basketcase?” she asked, determined to keep her tears at bay. If Angel wanted her to not live with him again, she was going to accept in an adult-like manner…at least until he left anyway.

Angel nearly growled with irritation at her question and pulled her into his lap before he thought about the ramifications of such an action in that sort of sterile, hospital-like environment. He held her tightly to him with one arm and cupped her face with the other, “Buffy, I want you to come home with me. I want you in my bed, in my life for as long as you’ll have me. I don’t know any other way to tell you that I am madly in love with you.”

“I love you too,” she whimpered quietly, keeping her eyes away from his. None of it made any sense. She had caused him to get shot twice, jacked up his school year, invaded his apartment, turned his house into a militarized zone and pretty much ruined his entire life. He couldn’t possibly mean what he was saying.

“Why would I even bother coming here if I didn’t love you, godamn it?” he demanded so loudly that the nurses inside and Faith could all hear his roar of irritation. The weeks without her were wearing thin and he was beyond giving a shit what anyone else thought. Nothing mattered anymore but convincing his little lost love what she meant to him. Albeit, slightly less yelling and more kissing probably could have accomplished much the same thing, he couldn’t stand the thought that she still might not get it. “I’ve thought about you every minute since…since you left. I don’t think you’re crazy, Buffy. Hell, all of my friends think I’ve gone crazy! I think about you every second of every useless day and I miss you so damn much I can’t even sleep without dreaming of you. I want to marry you and take care of you the rest of your life. I love you, Buffy Summers. You’re the only thing I’ve ever wanted! I just need to know if you want me as much as I want you?”

“More,” she croaked out allowing her tears to flow freely from her eyes as she buried her face in his chest.

“I don’t even think that’s possible,” he whispered into her hair, holding her to him more tightly.


Part Eighteen

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


DEDICATION: For Trammie. Thanks for helping me brainstorm! *G*


i think you like to be the victim
i think you like to be in pain

Angel left not one second before 9 PM that evening. In fact, he left several minutes after with the staff nurse nearly pushing him out the door. Buffy floated back to her room, not bothering to stop to talk to Faith, as she usually did before bed. She didn’t want to do anything but stay wrapped in the warmth of him that still covered her entire body. She shed her clothes, slipped on his shirt, climbed into bed and huddled beneath the covers as if she were trying to trap him under there with her.

She had forgotten how much she loved to be in his arms. It was just enough to make her ache for more and all of a sudden, she felt like her attempt on her own life was as much a gyp to herself as it was to him. The idea of not spending another night with his large body pressed against hers, wrapped around her, was maddening. She closed her eyes tightly and she could almost feel him there, pressing his chest against hers, his hand intertwined in her smaller one.

“So,” Faith said, strolling into Buffy’s bedroom and flipping on her light without bothering to knock, “Angel gave you that low down tickle and you had to jump right into bed without so much as a ‘nitey nite’ to me, huh?”

“God, Faith,” Buffy groaned, turning over to face her friend, “You really have a way with words, you know that?”

“Just telling it how I see it,” Faith said, shrugging and planting herself on the end of the bed. She smiled dazzlingly, her grin growing wider until Buffy huffed a much too loud, “What?”

“So Angel’s a muffin,” Faith said, raising a dark eyebrow, “And so into you he didn’t even notice that I was talking to him.”

“Yeah,” Buffy said noncommitally, hoping that if she didn’t talk Faith would simply find her way back out as quickly as she found her way in and leave her to the dreams she planned to have.

“Okay, I’ll leave you to fantasize about your honey,” Faith said, rising from the end of the bed, “But if you wanna piece of that fine ass during visiting hours, let me know.”

“Ooookay. You are so not right,” Buffy said, rolling her eyes, “You think they’re just going to let him walk in my room and we can do whatever we want?”

“I never said in here, Twinkie,” Faith answered with a smirk, waggling her eyebrows suggestively. “All we have to do is pop the lock on the supply room and sneak him in there with you just after evening rounds.”

“I can wait,” Buffy said, turning over in bed suddenly and betraying to Faith that she had at least thought about it, “I don’t need to screw Angel in a supply closet. I’m trying to get back to sane here, you know. It’s not a party.”

You can wait,” Faith said, “But can Mr. Tall, Dark and Munchable?”

“Of course,” Buffy said pointedly, risking a glance over her shoulder, “I mean, it’s not like he’s going to have to go without for very long and besides, he’s not a sex fiend like some people around here.”

we never talk about the future
we never talk about the past anymore
we never ask ourselves the questions to the answers that nobody even wants to know
i guess the honeymoon is over
so much for the afterglow

But Angel was a sex fiend and Buffy knew it. He could never get enough of her when they were together and suddenly every time she looked at him for his next two visits, she wondered how he felt about being apart, if he thought about sleeping with other women while she was away. She thought about that big hotel he slept in every night. She knew he loved her, but did he think about taking another woman in his bed? When she closed her eyes she started to see beautiful, faceless, female bodies pressed against a mattress she hadn’t even seen, other women gasping his name and writhing beneath him.

Their visits were wonderful despite Buffy’s fears. When she was with him, she knew that he hadn’t touched anyone else, that he wouldn’t dream of making love to another woman. She knew from one look in his eyes that his feelings for her were clear. Still, on Wednesday evening as they were curled up together against the big Redwood tree in the courtyard, she knew she was going to have to bring it up before she went crazy thinking about it.

“I have something for you,” she said against his chest and sat up to look at him for a second before digging in her pocket. He watched her silently, wondering what she could possibly have for him when she placed a little silver ring in his hand. It was just a simple piece of jewelry with two interwoven strands.

“I won it,” she said, placing it in the center of his outstretched hand. Suddenly the gift seemed silly when she saw it in his large palm. “We were playing this game in group therapy,” Buffy explained, “Anyway, I wanted to give it to you.”

“Thank you,” he said, holding it between his forefinger and thumb, peering at it in the darkness. He leaned over and pressed his lips to her temple in a soft kiss that felt like a smile.

“You don’t have to wear it or anything,” Buffy said quickly, “Probably won’t fit. It’s kinda silly. It’s just this cheap little thing, but I...”

“It’s not silly,” he said, slipping on his pinky finger and then wrapping his arm around her, “I love it.”

“I was just thinking about rings, you know and how they’re supposed to represent something that has no end and no beginning. They’re never ending,” she said, leaning against his chest again, “That’s what I want. I knew the moment I really thought I was going to die, when that doctor was telling me that I might, that I wanted to live. That’s why I gave it to you, so you’d know. It’s kind of like a promise from me to you, that instead of taking my life, I’m...I’m giving it to you.”

Buffy waited for him to answer for several moments, but was met with complete silence. Unnerved, she started to sit up and look at him when he pulled her in more tightly. It wasn’t until he rubbed his cheek against hers that she realized his face was damp.

“I wanted you to tell me so badly that you wanted...” he said, tapering off to take a deep shuddering breath. “Buffy, I’m so afraid that you’ll try to do this again. I didn’t know how to bring it up. I don’t even know what made you do what you did, love. You kept telling me it wasn’t me, but...”

“No, Angel,” Buffy gasped, bolting up from where he was holding her to him and pivoting. She swung her leg over his and straddled his lap so that she could meet his eyes directly. “It wasn’t you. I...I was so confused and I wasn’t dealing and I was trying to be perfect for you so you wouldn’t hate me for being so stupid and weak. Then that day, I was taking a shower and realized I was really late and I thought I was pregnant. I just knew I was carrying that monster’s child and I just...I just lost it.”

“Were y-you pregnant?” Angel stammered, swallowing harshly.

“No,” she said, leaning forward until her forehead rested against his chest, “It never even occurred to me that it could have been yours until later and then I didn’t want to tell you. Do you hate me now?”

“No,” he said, wrapping his arms around her and rubbing her back gently, “I just wish you would have come to me. I told you that nothing is so horrible to make me leave you, Buffy. Even if you had been pregnant and it had been Riley’s, we would have dealt with it.”

“There’s something else I’ve been thinking about,” Buffy said, keeping her head tucked safely against his chest.

“What’s that, love?”

“Making love to you,” she said as she absently traced the muscles hidden by his shirt, “I mean, do you miss it?”

“Of course, I miss it,” he answered, kissing the top of her head, “I miss holding you and making love to you. I miss going to bed with you at night and waking up with you in the morning but there’ll be plenty of time for that when you come home.”

“Do you think about it?” she prodded.

“Sure, I do,” he said, tipping her chin up so their eyes met, “Believe me, baby, I think about making love to you all the time.”

“Me too,” she said, kissing him lightly and then more deeply before snuggling against him again.

you know all the right people
you play all the right games

“Supply closet,” Buffy said the following morning almost the second she saw Faith. “I want to know how we can pull it off.”

“After evening rounds,” Faith said, laughing as she spoke, “I’ll pop the lock and then a few minutes later, he can pop you. It should be around 5:30 or so. Plenty of time for your mother to get out and Angel to get in.”

“You’re sick. You know that?” Buffy said, slouching on the couch and pretending to glare at her.

“You’re the one who wants to hump in the closet,” Faith smirked back, “And I’m the sick one. Yeah. Okay.”

A loud crash down the hallway closely followed by a woman’s scream forced their conversation to a halt. Faith and Buffy both jumped up and skidded into the hall and started down it as thumps, grunts and screams continued to echo down to them. By the time they reached the end of the long corridor, a crowd had formed but they could see that the noise was coming from Jenny’s office and the guards were already in there.

They lagged at the back of the crowd of curious patients until the guards dragged a male patient out of the office and forced him down the hall. His resistance mixed with their forcefulness caused him to stumble forward and nearly tip over. He was not a large man, but the look in his eyes gave Buffy the chills. His eyes held a fury that she wasn’t familiar with and didn’t want to be.

The man, undoubtedly the most loony in the loony bin, as Faith whispered in Buffy’s ear, wasn’t the most shocking part of the event. A minute or two after the guy was man handled out of the ward, a couple of orderlies came running in with a gurney. Buffy sucked in a horrified breath as they wheeled it back out again and lying on it was a very bloodied and beaten Jenny Calendar.

“Oh my God,” Buffy whispered harshly, “Jenny.”

“Holy shit,” Faith said in unison as they both turned in slow motion to watch their doctor being wheeled away from them, just conscious enough to moan in pain.

angel turns away
pulls her dress back down
slowly washes her face

“He totally went nuts,” Buffy gasped to Angel after telling him the whole grueling event of Jenny’s earlier attack, “More nuts than most around here anyway and Faith said that the nurse said that she’s not coming back, like, ever. The guy was shipped off to a real mental institution and Jenny’s in the hospital. We’re supposed to get a new doctor tomorrow.”

“Wow,” Angel said, shaking his head, “Sounds like you had an exciting afternoon.” He looked out the window for a moment as the idea dawned on him that if Dr. Calendar wasn’t even safe, then Buffy could possibly be harmed here. The idea made his blood run cold and he couldn’t help that his face was twisted into a scowl.

“What?” Buffy said, and then repeated herself before he looked back at her, “What’s wrong?”

“If there’s ever anyone here that makes you feel uncomfortable, if someone looks at you wrong, call me,” Angel barked. It wasn’t a request. It was an order. He was terrified that something might happen to her and he couldn’t believe he had invested in the false security of this sterile place. Suddenly, her refuge seemed less refugey and more dangerous.

“Angel, it was just that one guy,” Buffy said, rubbing his arm soothingly, “And it was because Jenny wouldn’t let him leave early. We can all see now why he wasn’t ready to go.”

“Still,” Angel said, “If you feel unsafe, I want to know about it and I’ll pull you out of this place. I’m not kidding. I won’t have you in danger for one second.”

“You can do that?” Buffy asked with astonishment, her face flushing as the realm of possibilities was presented to her. If she hated the new doctor or if she felt trapped, Angel could set her free. The thought was affecting her like a drug and her whole body warmed to the idea of being at the mansion again, tucked beside her lover in that giant bed, surrounded by nothing but him and Egyptian cotton.

“I can do whatever I damn well please,” Angel answered stubbornly, “Don’t worry, love. If you need to get out of here, I’ll make sure you do.”

“Psst,” Faith said, leaning around the corner and waving at them urgently. Buffy stood and grabbed Angel’s hand, pulling him with her. He stood and followed the girls in confusion, balking slightly as they moved toward the area where the bedrooms were. The last thing he wanted, despite his macho talk, was to be thrown out for going in restricted areas of the ward.

“Come on,” Buffy whispered, tugging him with her. Helpless and curious to know what was up, he followed and was surprised when Faith dropped to one knee in front of an unmarked door. He raised an eyebrow at Buffy when he realized she was picking the lock. He didn’t have time to comment before Faith stood, opened the door triumphantly and waved them inside. Buffy pulled Angel in and he glanced back at Faith as she shut the door and locked them in, winking at him before the door closed her out.

“Buffy,” he whispered in the dark, able to see her clearly through the dim light flooding in through the cloudy window, “What are we doing in here?”

“I think you know,” Buffy whispered saucily as she pushed him back against the supply shelf. She rubbed her body against his and nipped at the flesh of his neck while he looked down at her in utter shock.

“Baby, don’t get me wrong,” Angel said, stumbling over his words, “You have no idea how badly I want to touch you, but what if we get caught in here?”

“Please,” Buffy whispered, grinding against his already evident arousal, “I need to feel you, need to know that you still want me.”

“In a supply closet?” Angel asked. Not that he hadn’t had sex in strange places, even more public ones and he wasn’t a prude in any sense of the word, but it seemed sacrilegious to take her here. She was the one woman who deserved to be made love to, who should have the finest things and the full attention of her lover, not a quick fuck in the janitor’s closet.

“Are you going to reject me?” Buffy asked quietly. The look on her face let him know that he could quite possibly ruin every bit of her emotional peace if he refused. It didn’t really matter anyway, because he couldn’t say no when she was pressed up against him, her tiny body flush against him, her hot breath on his neck and her belly pressing against his engorged groin. When he waited to answer, she reached down and traced his arousal with her fingertips, firmly applying pressure where he needed it most.

“Buffy, please,” Angel groaned, closing his eyes and moving his hips toward her fingers involuntarily.

“Want you,” she whispered after biting into his neck. She reached unbuttoned his shirt quickly and spread it open like a present, smiling at his muscled chest and abdomen which was taut as he struggled for control. She licked and kissed his newly bared skin and reached for the button of his pants, tugging at it until it gave and then releasing the zipper. “I miss the taste of you,” she continued as she pushed his pants down and then tugged his boxers as well, leaving him bared for her, “I miss the way you feel.”

He groaned as she stepped away and pulled her simple sundress off to reveal her completely naked body. It hadn’t occurred to him until they ducked in the closet why she had chosen to wear a dress that day.

“You’ve been walking around here nearly naked all day?” Angel growled angrily even as his body responded to hers and his hands reached out to pull her back into his embrace.

“Just changed before you got here,” she whispered back. “It’s not like-“

She didn’t have time to finish her sentence as his mouth descended on hers. She squirmed in want against his throbbing sex, reaching down to circle her little fingers around his shaft. Before she even had time to plead for him to make love to her, his hands were around her waist, lifting her off of the floor. She jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist. Turning them, he pressed her against the shelf he had been leaning on and reached between her thighs to test her arousal. He kissed her forcefully and sucked on her sweet tongue as he pressed a finger into her heat. Both groaned with the intrusion, welcoming the connection after so long apart. He wasted no time guiding himself into her slick core and she lolled her head back on the shelf as he fully sheathed inside her.

He had to force himself to slow his movements and prolong the pleasure even though this was supposed to be a quickie. He rocked slowly in and out of her, relishing in the feel of her skin against his and reminding himself of the little details he loved about her – how her body connected so perfectly with his as if she were tailored just for him, the texture of her skin, how soft and supple it was gliding underneath his hands and how light she was, as if it were nature’s way of telling him that his perfect little goddess could never be a burden.

He buried his face into the crook of her neck and laved the flesh were her shoulder met her neck and found himself repeating the same phrase over and over and over again, “I love you, Buffy. I love you.”

“Angel,” she whispered finally, interrupting his lament. She threaded her fingers through his hair when he looked up at her and she kissed him deeply and slowly, tightening her legs around his waist. “I love you too and I’m not going to try to leave you again. Not ever.”

“I don’t even know who the hell I am anymore,” he whispered against her mouth, “I don’t even want to know who I’d be if I lost you.”

“You’ll never find out,” she answered, biting his lower lip before soothing the bite with her tongue. He smiled broadly, filled with more hope and happiness than he had been allowed for weeks on end. She gasped as he caressed her breasts, gliding over them and teasing her nipples before he leaned in to taste them, trying to remember the last time he had felt the pleasure of her tight channel flexing around him as he suckled on one of her perfect erect nipples. Too damn long.

A lightness filled him as he heard her breath hitch and her movements change. He moved to the other nipple, focusing on slow, grinding thrusts that sent her over the edge. A cry escaped her and he quickly covered her mouth with his own, muffling her cry of pleasure as he too tipped over the edge.


Part Nineteen

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!

FEEDBACK: Please! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to feedback for all the parts of this fic. You guys really keep this going!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear



i see, i fail, i reach
i fail to hold the things i need

The following day was agonizingly long while Buffy awaited Angel's arrival in the evening. Instead of being sated and calm from their meeting in the supply closet the day before, she only found herself craving what she had with him for the short time they were together. She missed feeling his eyes burning into her when he thought she wasn't looking or the mindless caresses that he had gifted her with daily. She missed curling into him as she fell asleep, knowing no one could harm her when she was in his arms. She longed to make love to him as much as she wanted, not sneaking his love in dark places like what they were doing something that could be construed as dirty in some way.

Besides the day dreaming of her lover, Buffy met the doctor who was taking Jenny Calendar's place that day. The new doctor assigned to the suicide ward was a cold, deliberating woman named Maggie Walsh. Despite her best attempts not to, Buffy found herself hating the woman and the judging manner in which she seemed to do everything, including looking over her file. When Dr. Walsh (who, unlike Jenny, did not prefer to be addressed by her first name) asked about Angel, Buffy froze. The scowl on her doctor's face betrayed her hatred toward men and disapproval of Buffy's amorous premarital relationship with him. By the end of the session, Buffy was begging to be released from the ward and naturally, was forcefully refused.

Her meeting with her mother, though only an hour of her day, was the longest. Joyce Summers always had that pathetically sad look on her face as if she thought her daughter was already dead and whenever Angel's name came into the conversation, she grew icy and stern. When the hour was up, Buffy looked impatiently toward the lounge, expecting Angel to be waiting there for her, joking with Faith or one of the nurses like he always was, but he wasn't.

Buffy wandered away from her mother and went into the lounge, looking around curiously. Not only was Angel not there, but Faith was missing as well. She curled into the arm chair where Angel usually waited and stared at the hallway that he had to walk down to get inside the ward. She barely noticed when Joyce took a seat next to her.

Her mother happily stayed on an hour and half longer than usual, vying for Buffy's waning attention while they waited for Angel to appear. When the two hour mark appeared, Buffy told her mother that she would be fine there alone and then hit the phones only to find that all five of them in the calling station had mysteriously disappeared.

"Where are the phones?" Buffy asked the on duty nurse. The woman curried absolutely no favor with Faith and thoughts of Faith's recent descriptions of how she would put the nurse out of her misery, usually made Buffy struggle not to laugh when she talked to her. Tonight, however, she didn't have the slightest glimpse of a smile on her face.

"Dr. Walsh had them removed this morning when she arrived," the nurse answered with a tiny measure of sympathy in her eyes.

"Then what phone can I use?" Buffy asked calmly. She refused to panic until she spoke to Angel.

"Outside phone calls are no longer allowed," the nurse explained, keeping her voice low and soothing like she was facing off with a rapid beast of some kind.

"NONE?" Buffy shouted. "Don't you think that was an important little detail to mention to us?"

"You'll have to take that up with Dr. Walsh," the nurse clipped. Buffy turned away before she was finished speaking and ran toward the exit trying to catch her mother before she left. She had to get a message to Angel somehow. Maybe he had called and they wouldn't let him through. Maybe something happened to him.

"Mom's gone, B," Faith said, leaning against the locked ward doors where no patient could travel.


just another waste of time

When Joyce Summers left the facility two hours after she arrived, she looked happy and refreshed until she reached the front stairs and saw that Angel was sitting there waiting for her. He stood immediately and leaned against the rail, looking angry and intimidating. His face was contorted in a furious scowl and his usually patient expression looked murderous.

"Hello Joyce," he growled out. He didn't bother trying to hide his rage from her. He saw no point and he was far beyond any sort of failed attempts at reconciliation with a woman he knew now he could never respect.

"Angel," she said. She nodded curtly and attempted to continue on her way but he stepped in front of her, blocking her path.

"Interesting thing happened today," he said, in a mock conversational tone, "I came to see Buffy and was informed that I am no longer welcome here. I don't suppose you know anything about this?"

"Yes, I do," she admitted, "Buffy took you off the list this morning."

"Why do I find that hard to believe?" Angel demanded.

"I don't know," she answered. She attempted to step around him but again he stepped into her path.

"That's complete and utter bullshit and you know it," he said. Joyce held in a shudder at the tone of his voice, which had surpassed anger and was quickly moving toward homicidal.

"I won't be threatened by you, Angel," she blustered, "My daughter has every right to decide who she has visit her."

"Yes, she should," Angel growled down at her, "But she doesn't, does she?"

"I'm sorry if you can't handle rejection, Angel," she said, forcing past him. She moved quickly toward the street where the Waldorf Limo was waiting for her. She didn't seem to have a speck of remorse as she dove into the vehicle he had provided.

"You can't keep us apart, Joyce," he shouted after her, "When she gets out of this place, I'll see to it that she knows every underhanded thing you've done!"


used to be the kind of girl that you would never leave

At 9:05 PM, 5 minutes past visiting hours the following evening, Buffy was still sitting in the lounge waiting for Angel. She had spent a great deal of the day trying to get answers out of Walsh, the nurses, her mother or anyone who would talk to her and everyone said the same thing – Angel simply had not come to visit.

"Alright," Faith said, waltzing into the room and plopping down on the couch, "You owe me so big for this."

"For what?" Buffy asked weakly, forcing herself lower into the chair. Any healthy glow she had gotten from Angel's tender caring of her over the weeks melted away in the time she had not seen him. She looked ashen and miserable, which was quite a bit better than she felt.

"I snuck over into the men's ward just as visiting hours started," she explained, "And had one of the guys help me spy on who came in and out of the sign in station tonight."

"And?" Buffy asked nervously.

"And your stacked stud muffin came in today and was turned away."

"He did come to s-see me?" she whimpered.

"He put up quite a scene from being turned away," Faith announced proudly, "But that's not even the exciting part."

"What happened?" Buffy gasped.

"Apparently, his fight tonight was nothing compared to yesterday's," Faith said, leaning in confidentially, "Yesterday, he made that one dowdy bitch cry."

"So, he didn't desert me," Buffy said, her lower lip trembling as she tried to hold in her tears.

"Course not, Twinkie, but the nurse said the strangest thing," Faith said, raising an eyebrow at her friend, "She told him that you took him off the list."



get drunk and let the leaves just bury me, bury me

After arguing again with both the nurse and Joyce, Angel went back to his hotel and sat down at the bar. He ordered a shot and told the bartender to leave the bottle. He figured if he didn't have to have a clear head, maybe it was a good idea not to. Of course, the alcohol just made it worse.

"Linds," he said into his cell phone after he had downed his first shot, "I need your help."

"What's up?" Lindsey replied sleepily. Angel glanced at his watch and shook his head. Why on earth his lawyer friend was in bed at 10:00 PM was beyond him. Shrugging, he explained, "Look, I can't get in to see Buffy. Someone, probably her mother, took me off the visitors list. I need you to get me in."

"No way," Lindsey yawned, "Can't do it."

"What good are you? You're supposed to know how to talk people into shit," Angel groaned, "Call ‘em and start talking for fuck's sake!"

"These places are locked down tight," Lindsey answered, "I know you have this thing for this girl, but you have to understand that the only way to get her out is by court order. Hell, she's going to be out in a couple of weeks. We can't even get this into court that soon."

"Call them and threaten to sue!" Angel roared, making both the patrons and the bartender jump in surprise, "You know how much money I have! Fucking use it, Lindsey! What the hell do I pay you that huge retainer for? It's not just because you're my best damn friend!"

"I can do whatever you want," Lindsey said calmly. He was one of the few people in the world who had actually seen Angel in a rage. He was just thankful he was hours away and safe from the dark cloud. "But Angel," Lindsey continued, "You really have no grounds to sue the facility."

"Lindsey, you're a smart guy. Make something up!"

Angel flipped his phone closed and poured himself another drink…and then another. It started out as a dulling of the pain, but as he continued, it was just a means to keep him in the hotel. If he was drunk, he couldn't storm over there and break down the doors.

He was three fourths into his bottle of whiskey and in the middle of a full daydream on how he could break her out when he heard a voice next to him say, "You look like you have cancer of the puppy."

Angel turned his head to see that none other than Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg had arrived at the bar.

"What're you guys doing here?" Angel slurred. He waved at the bartender and told him to put their drinks on his tab. It didn't surprise him when Xander ordered a beer and Willow ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri.

"We went to see Buffy today," Willow explained, while she fidgeted with her drink, "And they told us we weren't on the list."

"Since when was there a list?" Xander demanded, "No one ever said anything about a list."

"There wasn't a list until the other day," Angel said, knocking back another round and refilling his glass without hesitation, "This is the second day in a row that they've turned me away. Two fucking days without my girl."

"Why is there a list now?" Willow asked quietly.

"Cause I fucked up," he said in a guttural rasp, "I fucked up and now she's all alone, prolly thinkin' I left her there. She's prolly thinkin' I don' love her and she's never gonna believe this isn't my fault…cause it is my fault."

Willow and Xander stared at the large man as he swayed on his stool, leaning heavily on the counter and drinking at an alarming rate. His words kept coming out more and more blurred until they could barely understand what he was saying- which was disappointing cause he wouldn't stop talking.

"You're making no sense," Xander said, clamping him on the shoulder, "Maybe we should take you up to your room."

"Fuckin' bitch, Joyce," Angel said and then leaned over to whisper, only succeeding in a quiet yell, "You know, Buffy's mom, she doesn't want me there. Thinks I'm stealin' her daughter. I'm gonna steal her alright. I'm gonna steal her and take her away and that horrible woman is never gonna see her again and I'm gonna-"

"Angel!" Willow interrupted, "Come on. We're going upstairs."

"Sorry, Will," Angel said, sliding out of his stool and nearly falling on his face, "Didn't mean to make you mad too. Everyone's mad. ‘cluding me. Yep. I'm mad. Don't I look mad?"

"You look drunk, buddy," Xander said, grabbing his arm and hoisting him up as much as he could.

"That too."


with my big black boots and an old suitcase
i do believe i'll find myself a new place

"B," Faith whispered, shaking her friend roughly in the dark, "B, wake up."

"I'm not asleep," Buffy groaned, feeling like she was the middle in of an earthquake. Even though she spoke, she was facing the wall, away from her friend, who was still shaking her. "So, you can stop shaking me now. I don't want to talk."

"Pack your stuff," Faith said, lifting up her own back when Buffy turned over, "We're outta here."

"We're just going to walk out?" Buffy answered wryly, "I'm sure that nice cutie guard at the door is just going to turn the key and let us out."

"The nice guard," Faith said, pulling Buffy up and out of bed, "Is sleeping in the closet where I left him and now all we have to deal with is that nurse."

"Did you hit him over the head or something?" Buffy gasped as she slipped on jeans under Angel's shirt. She scrambled for her shoes and socks while staring at Faith in shock.

"Don't be ridiculous," Faith said, rolling her eyes. She grabbed Buffy's suitcase and tossed it on the bed before opening her drawers and tossing her clothes into it. "I fucked the shit out of him," Faith answered finally, "Then I hit him over the head."

When they were finished packing, Faith shoved a hooded jacket in Buffy's hands. "Here," she said, "When we get out of here put this on."

"Why?" Buffy asked, slipping it on, then grabbing her suitcase and following her crazy friend down the hallway.

"Because we're going to lover boy's hotel and your mother's there too. They can see me, but we can't have anyone seeing you," Faith whispered over her shoulder. Buffy ran after her on her tip toes struggling to keep up while she lugged her heavy suitcase with her.

"What about the nurse?" Buffy whispered. Faith motioned for her to stay back and dropped her bag at Buffy's feet. Moving casually, she walked right up to the nurses' station, leaned over the counter, picked up the heavy, black tape dispenser and clocked the nurse she loved to hate with it as hard as she could. Grinning evilly Faith turned back to Buffy, "What about her?"


Part Twenty

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!

FEEDBACK: Please! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to feedback for all the parts of this fic. You guys really keep this going!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear

AN: Sorry about the typo on the last one for those who saw it. That was not the last part. *G*

AN2: One section of this part was inspired by a fun little fic called "Dust on the Bottle" by Tinkerbell.



i'm a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm
i'm a runaway

Buffy was a jittery bundle of nerves as she followed Faith to the locked ward doors and watched her produce a set of keys from her pocket. She unlocked the door without comment but Buffy could see from the side profile that she was very pleased with herself. Tiptoeing so they would not disturb anyone else that might be around, they headed for the front doors and let themselves out. Faith tossed the keys back inside the doors and watched them slide across the tile floor before running out into the night with her blonde and nervous friend at her heels.

The feelings forcing their way into Buffy's mind were tangible, horrifying and wonderful at the same time. She had always been the good girl - with a couple of mishaps, of course, but she had always done what she was told, did what she was supposed to. Sure, she lied to her mother as a teen, necked in dark corners of the Bronze with her boyfriends, but in the end, she always did the right thing. When her mother had loved Riley so much, she dated him longer than she intended. When he started beating her, she did the right thing and left him without so much of a glance over her shoulder, until he started threatening the lives of the people she loved, of course. Then she did the right thing once again and remained by his side while he used her like a whore.

Now, she was taking things into her own hands for the first time, since her decision to stay with Angel. Not only was it absolutely against the wishes of her mother, of the hospital and perhaps of the law, but she was on her way to a clandestine meeting with her lover - a move she was certain would rattle her mom to no end. Each step with her bad girl accomplice, Faith, was a ritual cleansing, an adrenaline rush and at the same time, it was a petrifying incident. The fear overrode her personal triumph and a battle of wills was facing off inside her mind

It took them fifteen minutes to jog to the sprawling Waldorf Astoria and as Faith prepared to saunter in the front doors, Buffy stopped like she was teetering on the edge of a cliff. It was one thing to come here, but it was something different entirely to just stroll through the front doors. "Maybe we shouldn't just walk in there," Buffy said, looking around her nervously.

"It's the middle of the night, B," Faith said, pulling her along, "All we have to do is make it to the elevator. You know what room he's in, right?"

"Yeah," Buffy said, trying to slow down her stride and tugging on her hood so that it covered more of her face. What if they were caught? What if she had been wrong about Angel? What if her mother saw them? A thousand images of what could possibly go wrong flitted through her mind as she allowed Faith to lead her along like a lost puppy.

"We'll go and knock on the door once we make it to his room," Faith explained proudly as if she were hatching a complicated master plan, "Mr. I'm So In Love will let us in and we're home free."

"What if someone sees us?" Buffy whispered, "What if they stop us and tell-"

"Fucking Christ, Twinkie!" Faith whispered harshly, "This isn't espionage. Even if they catch us, we'll tell them to call your boy and he'll tell them to shove it up their asses! Now come on!"


i only get sleepless nights
alone here in my half empty bed

Angel was lying in his hotel bed drifting in and out of a drunken sleep where Willow and Xander had deposited him earlier in the night. He vaguely remembered them mentioning that they were going to sleep in the other bedroom in his ridiculously large suite and he nodded drunkenly that they could. He didn't mind that they were staying, but he was so drunk at the moment that Satan could have asked him for shelter and he would have thought it was a mighty fine idea.

The room was sweltering, or maybe it was the alcohol sloshing in his system, but he found himself tugging at his shirt. Teetering on the edge of exhausted sleep and actually passing out, Angel yanked at his shirt for a long time before he was able to remove it from his body and drop it to the floor. He shifted on the bed, which he was lying across diagonally, and groped to slide one of the pillows under his head.

His body couldn't decide on sleeping and remaining awake, as if his mind was afraid he might miss something on either side. Every time he drifted off he dreamed of her. Patches of creamy skin slipped underneath his fingers, moist pink lips gliding against his and fragrant blonde hair lying against the sheets flew across his mind's eye. God, she was so beautiful tonight like she always was. They were lying in bed together in his dream, safe from the entire world, caressing each other in the dark, whispering sweet words in each other's ears in between fevered kisses. It was heaven but he undoubtably knew it was a dream even while he dreamt it.

Her blonde hair was tickling his chest as she left wet kisses down it, licking his flesh like he was an ice cream cone. It was perfect, except she was moving so quickly, like she was afraid they didn't have enough time. He whispered to her to slow down, that they had all the time in the world. He wanted to worship her delectable flesh like she was worshiping his before it was through. He couldn't wait to sip of her honeyed skin and breathe in mouthfuls of her of sweet breath.

Dreaming of Buffy wasn't like other dreams where he could barely remember the sights and smells. No, she was imprinted on his brain and his subconscious mind did not have to root for the fill ins that he had forgotten. Angel had forgotten nothing about his lover, especially the fact that she was currently not in the room as much as his dream insisted otherwise.

"We can't slow down, Angel," she whispered, as her tiny hand gripped the base of his shaft. "We have to hurry."

He tried to argue but she shushed him before dipping down and tasting the end of his cock. "I just want to remember what you taste like," she whispered, her warm breath teasing him mercilessly, "before I have to go."

"Buffy," he panted as her mouth engulfed him, sucking the tip of his arousal in a quick assault, "You're not going anywhere, love. You're staying with me. Forever."

"Shhh, baby," Buffy whispered, before covering him once again with her scalding, suckling mouth, "No talking now. There isn't time."

Angel reached around him blindly for her, startling himself awake and found himself alone again. This had been going on for days but tonight was the absolute worst. He couldn't take anymore of this mental torture and he couldn't sleep without her there with him. He mistakenly thought that the alcohol would help. He should have been able to drink himself into passing out. Unfortunately, she never left his thoughts long enough for him to sleep. His mind focused on her all day and then at night he woke up from X-rated dreams with a cock hard enough to hammer in nails.

Sighing in frustration, he fought with heavy, drunken hands to unbuckle his belt and free his aching cock. The realization that he had masturbated more since Buffy had gone in the hospital than he had in years was not exactly something he was proud of, but he couldn't help it. All he could dream of was making love to her and spending the rest of his life pleasing her. Wrapping a large hand around his erection, he closed his eyes and surrendered to his visions of her.


vague memories keep me alive
like when she used to call me ‘baby'

Faith and Buffy managed to duck into the elevator successfully and reached the fifth floor with no problem, but every step of the way made Buffy extremely nervous. She had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach and it was growing larger by the second. She stopped expressing those fears to Faith after they entered the hotel, however. Mostly because she didn't want to be heard but there was also the part where her friend just kept telling her to stop being a wimp.

When they knocked on Angel's door, the rapping sound seemed to echo loudly everywhere around them, causing Buffy to grow more nervous. They had to knock three times before the door opened and instead of Angel standing in the open doorway, they saw Xander and Willow looking sleepy and alarmed.

"Buffy!" Willow announced excitedly, sweeping her friend into her arms. Faith cursed under breath, shoved them all in the room and shut the door quickly behind them.

"We just broke out," Faith snapped irritably, "So if you could not let everyone in the hotel know we're here, that'd be great."

"And who are you with the attitude problem?" Xander grouched back at the pretty brunette.

"I'm the girl who's going to-" Faith started bitchily, but Buffy interrupted. "‘Kay, let's all just calm down. Guys, this is Faith, she's responsible for the new and improved free Buffy. Faith, these are my best friends, Willow and Xander. Which brings me to the question: Where's Angel?"

"Oh, you mean drunk out of his mind guy?" Xander said, rolling his eyes before jerking his thumb to the closed door behind him, "I think he's passed out in there."

"Drunk?" Buffy echoed worriedly.

"We found him at the bar after he tried to visit you tonight makin' friends with the whiskey," Willow explained gently, "But we put him in bed and we decided to stay here tonight to make sure he's okay."

"Thanks guys," Buffy said gratefully, stepping in to hug each of them. It seemed like forever since she had seen either one of them and there was so much to say, but there wasn't time for long explanations or awkward pauses in difficult conversations. They had to get out of there before they were found.

"Guys, we gotta get out of here," Buffy said, "I'm going to wake up Angel and you guys get dressed. We've only got a little bit of time before the staff realizes we're gone and they call my mom. I'm sure her first stop will be here."

With that Buffy made her way to the closed door and slipped inside, closing the door tightly behind her. She didn't want their reunion to be witnessed by her friends and when she heard him moan in his sleep, she was thankful that she had carefully shut the door.

A couple of seconds were required for her eyes to acclimate to the dim light. When they did, she sucked in a harsh breath in response to see him lying crookedly across a large bed, shirtless. Her gaze traveled from his beautifully sculpted face, thrown back in pleasure, to the smooth column of his throat, over his muscled chest, past his perfectly defined stomach and finally down to his pants, which were pushed low on his hips, where his erect cock was being stroked by one of his large, elegant hands.

She froze, unsure of what to think of him alone in his room drunkenly masturbating in the dark, until she heard her name fall off his lips in a hiss of pleasure. She moved closer and looked over him greedily. His head was thrown back on the pillow, his face contorted in pleasure and she was sure she had never seen anything more beautiful. Normally when he was in the throes of ecstasy, she didn't have the freedom to study him so intently, but tonight she took a spare moment to rake her eyes over him.

"Yesss," he hissed again as she climbed on the bed to watch him more intently. She froze again afraid that if she woke him that second they both would be horribly embarrassed but the more she watched him, the more she was turned on by what she saw. The idea that he was thinking of her, even if he was partially asleep was inspiring.

"That's so...so good, baby," he groaned in a slurred voice, squeezing his eyes closed more tightly and jogging his hand faster along his length, "Buffy...Buffy...you're so beautiful with your sweet mouth filled with my cock."

Her hand flew to her mouth at his words. He had never said anything like that when she had performed oral sex on him before. It was so dirty...and seriously turning her on. She inched closer listening to his babbling stream of words, "That feels so fucking good, Buffy. Don't stop."

Emboldened by his words, she placed her hand over his and stilled his movements, peeling his hand away from his shaft and replacing it with her own. If he were to open his eyes that second, he would have seen that her face was blushing furiously both from her embarrassment and her increasing need.

"Buffy..." he groaned from the loss and then groaned again in pleasure as the mouth he dreamed of tentatively covered his as her small hand mimicked his movements on his sex. He responded immediately, bucking his hips against her hand and pressing his lips more firmly against hers.

She tasted alcohol inside his mouth as the kiss deepened and their tongues dueled. It was a strange taste but not altogether unpleasant, especially when she thought about the reason he had been drinking that night. Although it didn't make her happy that he was driven to such sadness, she did revel in the knowledge that he missed her and when he fantasized, it was her and not some other woman that filled his thoughts. His drunken, half conscious and aroused state proved that. Despite herself, she was incredibly pleased.

"Missed you so much, love," he murmured as she kissed him again, struggling to focus on both his mouth and his excitement at the same time. With a final kiss to his lips, she grinned evilly for what she was about to do. Somehow taking him in his helpless state filled her with a sense of power that she had been lacking for a long time.

His whimper of pleasure as she kissed the underside of his length, laving long licks to his heated flesh, intensified her feelings. Brushing aside her guilty feelings and her fear of being caught, she worked her way up to the top of his sex and circled her tongue around the sensitive tip. She squeezed her thighs together to alleviate her own need as she swirled the head of his cock with her tongue. Closing her eyes, she relished in the feel of his iron hard, warm and velvety skin.

Angel threaded his fingers through her hair and the feel of the silky strands slipping through his fingers forced his bleary eyes open. Somehow his dream of his beloved had materialized significantly more than she ever had previously. Her hot mouth on him, her hair through his fingers and her free hand idly caressing his thigh were all proof that he had certifiably gone insane. He blinked several times as he watched her move over him, dipping lower every time and moving so slowly, he gritted his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut once more.

"You feel..." he whispered, shaking his head to clear it and then venturing for another peek at the vision before him, "I'm going crazy."

"Not crazy," came her sultry whisper as she rubbed the tip of him against her lower lip. Even in the dark he could see that her eyes were twinkling and her mouth was curled into a satisfied smile as she met his half lidded gaze. He watched as her tongue snaked out to taste him once and then again. She flashed him another tingling smile before taking him inside her mouth. He involuntarily arched against her as she pleasured him. The slow, hurried and then slow strokes sent him whirling into oblivion. Sobbing out her name, he climaxed.

"I have to figure out how make this stop," he slurred as she crawled up his body and laid her head on his chest. He let his hands slide all over her clothed body, trying to prove to himself that she either existed or didn't - he wasn't exactly sure. Defeated, he wrapped his arms around her and held her to him as tightly as he could. Everything was so real. Her breath against his chest, her leg tossed over his, her hands gripping him - everything was so terrifyingly perfect he was afraid to breath that she might disappear. "Every night I think it's you and when I wake up, the morning breaks me."

"Make what stop?" she whispered in the dark. She knew she had to get him dressed and out, but it felt so wonderful to be in his arms once more that she stalled. If he even suggested it, she would disrobe and make love to him, knowing that any second they could be caught. Being this near to him and away from prying eyes was causing a strange wave of euphoria to wash over her.

"The dreams of you, love. I can't take this dreaming of you every godamn night," he whispered drunkenly, kissing the top of her head tenderly. This dream was more real than any of the others had been and he knew it would be the hardest to wake from. "These last few days...this is fuckin' torture."

"This isn't a dream, Angel," Buffy said, sitting up and shaking him, "You're awake. Want me to pinch you?"

"That's what you said last night," Angel answered bitterly. He hadn't drank that much in years and it was hard to get his mouth to form the words correctly. "It's alright," he added, "I just need to remember not to drink so much next time. God, you feel so real, baby."

"Angel, this isn't a dream," Buffy insisted, scooting off the bed. He reached out drunkenly for her, large hands clutching thin air. A groan of disappointment rumbled out of him, before her hands closed on his arm and she tugged him off the bed. He reluctantly stood, attempting to buckle his pants while he wobbled on uneven feet. Holding him steady, she whispered, "I escaped tonight and we have to go hide somewhere where they can't find me."

"This is gotta be the best one yet," Angel said, smiling down at her wistfully. He caressed her face, running his thumb over her lower lip. Leaning in, he informed her, "‘Specially if we get away. We usually get caught."

"We're going to get away," Buffy interjected nervously as she located his discarded shirt on the bedroom floor and helped him back into it. She turned on the light and apologized to him, when he sat back on the bed and winced. She gathered his bags and began packing quickly, shoving all his things into it while he trudged to the bedside table and gathered the change he had been tossing there.

"We're going to get away, Angel," Buffy announced again, verbally equipping herself for their adventure.

"Course baby," he said, kissing her clumsily. The look in his eyes reflected true, unadulterated love and she kissed him back. "I believe you," he added.

"You're drunk," Buffy said, as she dragged his suitcase toward the door with one hand and dragged him with the other, "You'd believe whatever I said right now."

"Yes, I would," he agreed happily.


Part Twenty-One

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!

FEEDBACK: Please! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to feedback for all the parts of this fic. You guys really keep this going!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear



heaven lives and i know where

Buffy made sure the hood of her jacket was over her head and hiding her face before she ventured out into the hallway with her intoxicated boyfriend and three friends in tow. The elevator took less than a minute to open, but Buffy was a nervous wreck until they could pile in it and descend to the first floor. Once inside, Angel leaned drunkenly against the wall and then grinned as Buffy leaned against him. Even before the doors closed, he snaked one arm around her waist and used the other to pull her hood down and her hair aside, leaving her neck open to his kisses.

He smiled against her skin as she tried to wiggle away. He wrapped his arm more tightly around her and pulled her against him, allowing her to feel his arousal as he nibbled on her neck. She took a deep breath and prepared to move away when she felt his hand moving up her abdomen to dangerous territory.

"Angel," she hissed, jerking away and turning around to face him, "What are you doing?"

"Kissin' you," he said, smiling crookedly at her. He swayed unevenly as he adored her with his eyes, unable to wipe the silly grin from his face.

"No PDA when we're escaping buddy," Xander said, holding up one hand as if the gesture could control Angel, "You're just gonna have to wait."

"Why're you in my dream anyway?" Angel growled, nearly stumbling forward as he tried to make the annoying boy disappear. Buffy pushed lightly on his broad chest to keep him back and he fell against the side of the elevator as if she had shoved him.

"Dream?" Xander echoed, shaking his head tiredly, "No more drinky for you."

Buffy opened her mouth to explain but the doors opened, so she put her hood back on and tiptoed out the elevator, looking around her in such a suspicious manner that if anyone had happened to see her, they would have thought she was up to something. She pulled Angel toward the side door, but he pulled back and looked in the other direction.

"I gotta pay the bill, baby," he explained loudly when she kept trying to yank him in the opposite direction and gaining no ground.

"Shhh," Buffy said, looking around them nervously, "You can pay later."

"But I owe-" he started in drunken confusion.

"Angel!" Buffy shouted and then covered her mouth quickly with her eyes wide with shock that she had been so loud. Lowering her voice, she whispered firmly, "We'll pay later, okay?"

"‘Kay, baby," he answered lovingly before padding down the hall behind her, completely missing everyone's rolling eyes at his condition.

Buffy held her breath until they reached the door and were finally in free air again. Willow went with Xander went to get his car and Angel lead Buffy and Faith to his. He took out his keys and even before he could attempt to open the door, Buffy pulled them from him and handed them to Faith.


people try to tell you things
bad things that you don't want to know about
tell you tomorrow what you did today

Lindsey McDonald woke from a sound sleep and a pleasant dream to his phone ringing. He glanced at the clock at his bedside to see that it was barely 5:00 AM. He gritted his teeth and swore as he reached for the receiver. If it was Angel, he would hang up and drive straight to LA and beat him to death.

"Hello?" He barked.

"Mr. McDonald?" A female voice said crisply and politely.


"I understand you represent Liam Angelus," she said, keeping her voice even, "He is seeing my daughter, Buffy."

"Hello Mrs. Summers," he said, closing his eyes as he swung his legs over the side of the bed. He didn't know what was going on, but he was certain it wasn't good. "What can I do for you?"

"My daughter is missing from the facility where she was being treated," Joyce continued in a forced calm voice, "And I believe your client is responsible for her whereabouts. I know that you will be able to get a message to him since his cell phone is conveniently turned off at the moment. The doctor and I have both spoken to the police and will be filing a missing persons report. Should you speak to him, it would be advisable to inform him that my daughter needs to complete her therapy. I will press charges for kidnaping."

"With all due respect, Mrs. Summers," Lindsey answered in his favorite condescending professional tone of voice, "Your daughter is over the age of eighteen. If she has left the institution of her own free will, my client is not responsible for that. I will be glad to pass your message should he contact me, but as you know, he is innocent until proven guilty. I think I can state fairly accurately that if your daughter is with him, she has done so of her own accord."

"She's not mentally stable, Mr. McDonald," she spat angrily, "I think we both know that changes the slant of the law."

"Your daughter is not insane, Mrs. Summers," he said politely with a cool smile on his face that he knew she couldn't see, but was certain she could hear, "She was not in an insane asylum, she was receiving therapy for depression. I'm sure we both know that sets the law back on course."

"Pass on your message to Angel," she snapped, "You will be hearing from my lawyer."

"Gladly," he said, grinning broadly, "Good day, Mrs. Summers."

As he hung up the phone, his smile turned to a grimace. He quickly dialed Angel's mobile phone number only to get his voicemail as Buffy's mom had predicted. Growling into the phone he said, "Angel, it's Linds. Call me as soon as fucking possible. I just got off the phone with Buffy's mom and check the time on this message! It's 5 o'fucking clock in the morning! I don't know what the hell you think you're doing, but I'm sure you've finally lost your godamn mind."


i need the strength i see in her
i need the love i feel inside
we talk about leaving behind the hell we're in
we laugh about making it out alive

Angel groaned as he awoke and tried to open his eyes several times before he was successful. He heard the shower running and vaguely remembered that Willow and Xander had spent the night in his hotel room. The ceiling looked a bit strange when he finally was able to focus on it. It wasn't the startling white it was the morning before. He turned his head and realized that nothing in the room was as it had been. In fact, it wasn't even close to being the same room.

He sat up quickly and groaned as a streak of pain thundered through his brain. As he laid back against the wilted sheets, he realized that he was nude. The thought forced him from the bed once more. He looked around the room in a panic and he found his clothes folded neatly on the chair across the room. Cursing under his breath, he began to quickly dress.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," he breathed as he struggled to dress faster. He heard the shower shut off and the idea of seeing the face of the one stand he must have had the night before was more than he could stand. He knew that he couldn't see her face in his nightmares again and again when he laid next to Buffy. She would never forgive him for this trespass.

The more he thought about it, the more he hated himself. He remembered dreaming of Buffy, remembered thinking she had escaped with Faith and they had made their way out of the hotel without being seen. God, had he actually left the room and gotten past Willow and Xander? Had he met some woman in the hotel somewhere and drunkenly thought she was Buffy?

This hangover rivaled all others in the past and it was taking an inordinately long time to get dressed. He just had to escape and get back to the hotel and then he would deal with this. He would think of a way to explain it to Buffy. Sure, she would never trust him again, but maybe in time she would forgive him. Already he was planning out the begging and pleading to keep her in his life as he hurried toward the door. As he turned the knob, the bathroom door swung open.

"Angel?" He turned around slowly and blinked at her, as she stood in the doorway, a towel around her perfect golden body, water dripping freely from her. "I thought I heard you," she said quietly, "Are you leaving?"

"N-no," he stuttered. He cleared his throat and stared at her for a moment before he realized that she was waiting for an explanation. "I couldn't remember where we were," he said slowly, pointing toward the door which was still half open, "I thought if I went outside, I would recognize something."

"You were leaving?" she asked again. Her voice sounded as shattered as the expression on her face and Angel swung the door shut. She hadn't been Angel's girl for very long, but she knew the difference between a lie and the truth - mostly because she was fairly certain he had never lied to her before.

"No, baby," he answered. He crossed the room as he started again, "I couldn't remember. I didn't know you were in shower, so I just thought...cause I woke up...and I..."

"Oh God," she said, eyes widening as she realized what he was saying. She felt bile rising in her throat as she thought about him being with someone else. What if he had done this before? It's not like he would have told her, not when she was all crazy and in a mental facility. Gulping for air, she added, "You thought you had...oh. Oh."

"But see, it is you," he acknowledged weakly, preparing to drop to his knees if he had to, "So now...damn it, it is you."

"Angel," Buffy said slowly, taking her time to formulate her words, "Have you...I mean, since I've been away-"

"NO!" he shouted without meaning to, "No, love. I have not been with anyone else since I met you. I was really drunk last night and I fell asleep one place and woke up someplace else, that's all. I was confused. I thought you were a dream. God knows you were every other time."

"It's okay," she said, circling around him in broad steps, "I mean, you are dating a crazy girl who tried to kill herself. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to be with me." She flung her suitcase on the bed and opened it, rummaging through her clothes as she spoke. "I would just hope if you cared about me that you would break up with me before you slept with someone else. I mean, I know I seem weak," she added furiously, "But I can take it if you don't want me."

"Buffy," he said, turning her around and ignoring the fact that she had just thrown on a t-shirt and was wearing skimpy panties that were twisted on the sides, "I love you. I haven't been with anyone else. I swear, love."

"How would you know?" Buffy demanded, "You were so drunk last night-"

He slid his hands down her sides to her hips and straightened her panties with shaking hands as if that were the key to her understanding. He fought the urge to groan when she flinched from his touch. He met her eyes and gently ran his fingers through her wet hair, untangling the long strands slowly.

"There hasn't been anyone else," he said quietly as he methodically smoothed each strand, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you, marry you, grow old with you. There isn't room in my life for another woman, Buffy."

"You..." she said, biting her inner cheek as she tried not to cry. She swallowed harshly and took a deep breath, but she knew her voice would break when she spoke. "You," she rasped out again, "are the only person who can truly hurt me now. I put so much of my love and trust in you, Angel. Too much. I need to know if I can count on you. I need to be able to trust you."

"You can," he promised, "In fact..." His jaw dropped as an idea came to him and he smiled broadly at her. "I can't believe I didn't think of this before."

"Think of what before?" Buffy asked quizzically.

"Why your mother was able to check you into that place," Angel said, sitting down on the end of the bed next to her suitcase as his hungover mind chugged along.

"My mother checked me into that place?" Buffy shouted angrily, "No one ever told me that there was a choice in the matter! Angel, why didn't you tell me?"

"Marry me," he said, pulling her to him and kissing her belly, "Marry me today."

"Angel, have you lost your marbles?" she asked, feeling his forehead, "I think you're still drunk. We're fighting here, remember? I was going to be mad and you were going to grovel and then we were going to make love. Later we were going to figure out how to hide until all this blows over. Marriage comes later when I'm not insane."

"Huh?" he said, looking up at her. Shaking his clouded thoughts away, he swung her onto the bed and knelt by the side at her feet. "Your mother still technically has guardianship of you even though you're over eighteen. She claims you as a dependent, I'm guessing, and she puts you through school. If you marry me, she can't make you go back there."

"Maybe I'm not the insane one," she mumbled down at him. "I don't want to marry you so you can protect me from my mother."

"Then marry me because I love you," he said, looking intently into her eyes, "Marry me because I can't imagine my life without you in it. Buffy, I'm sorry. I planned to buy you a big ring and take you somewhere romantic to do this and I still can if you want, but the truth is I want you to be with me forever. Love, I was going to marry you anyway."

"Oh," she said quietly, looking down at her lap. He tipped her chin up to see the tears in her eyes and tried not to think the worst. He was already on his knees. He didn't mind begging and pleading.

"Oh?" he echoed after a moment, searching her tearful green eyes for a clue of what that meant.

"A few minutes ago I thought..." Buffy said, trailing off. "Do you really want to marry me? You remember how I've ruined your whole life, right?"

"No, you are my whole life."



Part Twenty-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: All the usual suspects. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: Please! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to feedback for all the parts of this fic.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: I also posted several parts to my new fic, “Choose Your Own Buffy Adventure.” *G*

DEDICATION: For Margriet



i can’t take the pain of wanting her, needing her

“You are my whole life,” he said, looking up at her from where he knelt in front of her, “Marry me, Buffy.”

The long pause after his question left Angel plenty of room to panic. The air felt heavier and the room started to tip crookedly – or maybe that was just his stomach flip flopping with no food and too much alcohol. He craned his neck to try and meet her eyes, but was left waiting for several long moments before she looked back up at him.

“It’s not that I don’t love you, Angel,” she whispered finally, her eyes welling up with tears, “It’s just-“

“No…it’s okay,” he croaked, as he backed away on his knees. He stood quickly and felt his nausea grow worse. He looked nervously around the room and ran his fingers through his bed tousled hair. Turning on his heel, he headed for the door, “I just…I need to…uh…breathe. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Angel walked out of the front door of the cheap motel they were staying in and leaned on the railing, taking deep breaths as he looked over the parking lot below. He stared at his car for a moment, trying to remember how it had gotten there and who had driven it. He couldn't seem to focus on the answers. His body was swaying slightly and his head was pounding as his hangover clung to him.

He fought to regain control of his emotions and to process rationally what had just happened. He had just knelt before the woman he loved more than anything in this world and asked her to marry him and she said no. A tremor ran through him as he thought about spending the rest of his life apart from her. He had no idea where to go from there. He wouldn’t leave her if she wanted him to stay, but he knew it would take quite a bit of strength to keep his heart from breaking every day.

“Angel,” Buffy said from the door, looking both ways before she stepped out onto the terrace, still wearing just her panties and t-shirt. “Come back in here and talk to me. I didn’t say ‘no.’”

“I distinctly heard ‘no,’” Angel rasped, turning around slowly to face her. He tried to prepare himself to face her, to pretend that nothing was wrong. When he finally turned around, everything had been thinking flew out of his mind and he narrowed his eyes in anger to see that she was barely dressed and standing out in the open where any passerby would get a lovely eye full of semi naked flesh. “What are you doing, Buffy? You’re naked!” he announced, backing her into the room. “Anyone could walk by and see you!”

“Then come in here and talk to me,” Buffy said, holding on to his arms as he guided her into the room, “I don’t care who sees me. Besides, I’m not naked. What’s important right now is that you listen to me.”

“Don’t worry, Buffy,” he said quietly as he shut the door behind him, “I’m not going to leave you just because you won’t marry me.”

“Angel,” Buffy groaned. Nearly snarling at him in frustration, she pushed him back on the bed and climbed on top of him, pressing his hands against the covers above his head as if she thought she could overtake him, which of course she couldn’t. Course, she also knew he wouldn’t move to push her away. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t marry you ever,” she clarified, “I just don’t want to marry you today. There’s a difference.”

“I heard what you said,” Angel answered calmly, shifting his eyes to the barren wall to the side of the bed to keep from looking into those mossy green eyes. He had been foolish to think that those would be the eyes he would wake up to every morning for the rest of his life. He always knew she was too good for him. He had meant what he said when he told her he wouldn’t leave her. He just needed a few minutes to get over the idea that she wouldn’t marry him.

“Did you?” Buffy demanded, shaking him until he looked at her, “Cause I don’t think you did. Let me rephrase it for ya. I love you, Angel. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I already know that. I think I’ve known it since the moment I met you, but I don’t want to marry you just because I’m afraid of my mother. I don’t want the beginning of my life with you to start out with fear. I love you too much to ruin it. I’ve been blind to what she’s been doing and I can’t hide behind you, as wonderful as that sounds.

“I want a real wedding, with real flowers and a real dress with my friends around me. I want to walk down a long aisle and have that moment where I’m looking at you and you’re looking back at me. I want the real thing, not some hurried wedding to escape the wrath of my mom. I’m not running away from you, baby. I’m not afraid to commit to you. Did you really think I was going to let you get away from me?”

“Yeah,” he answered honestly, “I did.”

“Well pay attention, buddy,” she huffed triumphantly, releasing his hands and poking one of her little fingers into his chest, “You belong to me, so if you think for one minute-“

She stopped talking and squealed when he flipped them and tossed her against the pillows, reversing their positions. Holding her arms gently above her head as she had his previously, he leaned in and kissed her, unable to keep the grin of relief from covering his whole face.

“So…” he said between kisses, “You’ll marry me?”

“Yes,” she answered against his lips, slipping her hands free to wrap them around his neck. “So, what now?” Buffy whispered.

“Well,” Angel said, giving her one final kiss before moving away, “First, I need to take a shower, cause there should be a law against this smell…and then we’ll go from there. I need a few minutes to knock around some ideas.”

“Okay, I’m going down to see Faith,” she said, flashing a smile at him as she hopped off the bed.

“Faith?” Angel asked curiously, “She’s here too? What ever happened to Willow and Xander?”

“Faith’s in a room down the hall,” Buffy explained, “And Willow and Xander went back to Sunnydale last night. They’re telling everyone that they couldn’t get in to see me, so they stopped by to see you then they came home.”

“Oh,” Angel said, realizing just how much he didn’t remember from the last night. In fact, he wasn’t sure what he actually remembered and what had been a dream. His dreams lately seemed to be fading together anyway. On any given night he was dreaming about what had actually happened.

“When I get back, we really need to get something to eat,” Buffy said, “I’m so hungry.”

Angel groaned on his way to the bathroom. The sound of food was enough to make his stomach twist in knots. Just before closing the door, Angel ducked back out of the bathroom to catch Buffy before she left. “Buffy, I’m trying to remember just what happened last night. Did we make love? I think I remember something happening…”

Grinning broadly, she winked at him, “Maybe you shouldn’t drink so much that you can’t remember what happened the night before.”

“I don’t plan on it,” he said, “Unless I’m forced to be away from you again.” As she headed back toward the door again, he said, “But seriously, what happened?”

“Well,” she said, sighing dramatically, “Besides the fact that you swore you would be my personal sex slave for the rest of my life, you also promised to start a cult in my honor. You’re not going to go back on your word, are you baby?”

Smiling innocently, she slipped out without answering.


i can taste the heaven waiting there
shake and tremble, broken grace
i admit it, i’m in love

Angel stepped into the bathroom and shed the clothes he had hurriedly put on earlier. He turned on the water and adjusted the temperature to a scalding hot. He liked the feel of the water washing away everything and he definitely wanted to wash away the last few days. The alcohol still in his system felt like poison and he thought he was going to be sick from the heat and steam. Bracing himself against the shower wall, he gulped for air, trying to keep himself from throwing up.

He was thrilled beyond description that he had misunderstood Buffy’s initial refusal to marry him, but that cavern in the pit of his stomach was still slowly refilling itself. He thought back to what it was like before he had her in his life, before he even knew what love was. He wanted her long before he loved her, he knew that. A shiver ran down his spine in spite of the heat when he remembered stalking her and watching her with Riley Finn.

Now the idea of losing her was nearly as great as the revulsion he felt at the thought of some other man touching her. He had cringed inwardly when he saw Riley touching her and how she had allowed it with that lost look in her soft green eyes. Angel was sure if she hadn’t been able to escape him, it would have only been a matter of time before she died inside.

He knew the second she entered his life that he would never be the person to take that light from her. He would never push her so hard that she gave in against her will, would never stay so long that she would hate him for his existence. He knew when she said she couldn’t marry him that he would walk away the moment she asked him. It didn’t matter that leaving her would probably destroy him. Her happiness was worth much more than his.

He shook off those thoughts and finished his shower quickly, moving back to bask in the joy that fate had afforded him. She was his completely now and he didn’t need a marriage certificate to prove it. As he stepped out of the shower, a thought jolted him and barely bothered to dry off before he wrapped the damp towel around his waist and picked up the phone. He dialed the familiar number quickly and waited for an answer.

“Lindsey McDonald’s office,” his secretary answered, “Fred speaking. How can I help you?”

“Fred,” Angel said, smiling as he remembered the sweet, country girl who had somehow gotten roped into being Lindsey’s assistant, “It’s Angel.”

“Angel,” Fred said lowering her voice, “Mr. McDonald has been trying to reach you all day. He’s very angry at you, sir, and I think you should talk to him but-“

“It’s okay, Fred,” Angel said, laughing, “I’m not surprised that he’s mad at me by now. Put me through.”

“Remember I warned you,” she said seriously before transferring him to her boss’ line.

“I hope you and your princess are having a great time,” Lindsey barked into the phone, “Cause I’ve been fielding threatening phone calls since-“

“Sorry Linds,” Angel said happily, “No need to take it personally, buddy.”

“I’m getting a raise when this is over,” Lindsey grouched back, but was actually extremely glad that Angel had finally called. He was running out of things to say to the barrage of callers.

“Yeah,” Angel said nodding, “And a bonus, but there’s some extra legwork required on this one and a lot of research. I’m sure you already know that Buffy escaped from the-“

“Didn’t you get the message I left last night?” Lindsey asked, “Turn on your cell phone more often, Angel. Buffy’s mother called to inform me that her daughter was missing and to threaten to press charges.”

“You know, I wish I could say I was surprised about that,” Angel breathed irritably, “But that woman hates me. Anyway, I have an idea of how to resolve this. Ready?”

“Not really, but go ahead.”

“It involves a beautiful brunette,” Angel teased.

“Growing more interested by the second,” Lindsey said propping his feet up on his desk and leaning back in his chair, “Exactly how beautiful?”

“Pretty deadly,” Angel answered with a smirk.


i think I’m better now than I used to be
always nervous and weird, scared most of the time
i think it’s better now than it used to be
always up in the night afraid to live in the day
afraid of being afraid

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” Buffy asked Faith nervously two hours later as they all stood by Angel’s car a mile from the hotel they had just checked out of. “Cause you can back out anytime,” Buffy added.

“I’m five by five, B,” Faith said confidently, “Besides, do you really think some pussy lawyer can take me? Please, girlfriend.”

“I’m pretty sure a serial killer couldn’t take you,” Buffy answered wryly, “But still, if you have any problems or if you need help, just call Angel’s cell phone, okay?”

“Sure. Whatever,” Faith answered with a shrug. They all turned as a sleek, black M3 BMW came roaring into the parking lot they were waiting in. Faith had prepared herself for the worst and expected some little weasel to step out of the car, so her eyes nearly bulged from the sockets the door opened and the “pussy lawyer” in question stepped out. She eyed him up and down from his short dark brown hair standing in disarray, over his handsome face, to his sharp blue eyes and down over his flannel shirt, tight jeans and cowboy boots. Faith squirmed in her leather pants as she saw he was eyeing her just as predatorily as she was eyeing him.

“Lindsey,” Angel said as he caught the keys that his friend launched at him, “What part of “plain, nondescript car” did you miss? People tend to remember Beamers, you know.”

“I liked it,” Lindsey said casually even though the glint in his eyes betrayed him, “Besides, you need to own something other than that hooptie you insist on driving.”

“It’s a classic,” Angel said sharply, “And own? What the hell happened to renting a car?”

“It’s not like you’re going to miss the money, tight ass,” Lindsey answered almost gleefully, “Besides, remember when we talked about me getting a bonus?”

“You can forget about the raise now, asshole,” Angel growled as he tossed Lindsey the keys to his precious Belvedere and began loading his and Buffy’s suitcases into the trunk of the brand new car.

“How I did I know you were going to say that?” Lindsey laughed and winking at Faith who laughed while she shook her head at the crazy bastard she was going to be spending time with in the next couple of weeks.

“You’re fucking psychic,” Angel bit out as he shut the door after Buffy had climbed into the car.



Part Twenty-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: All the usual suspects. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: Thank you to everyone who has sent feedback so far! You're the reason the monster still exists. please let me know what you thought of this part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear



i think it's getting better for the two of us
yes, i think it's getting better in the worst way
i refuse to be afraid of almost anyone
afraid of all the things they do, all the words that they say
let's live the way we wanna live and hope they all go away

Once inside the car, Buffy snuck a peek over at Angel who was driving and simultaneously fuming about Lindsey's frivolous misuse of his money. Despite herself, Buffy began smiling as she held in a giggle. The idea that Angel could care enough about someone to be this mad and yet do nothing to alter the cause, made her realize once again just what a wonderful person he was. Lindsey, after all, was his is best friend. And he had chosen a car with leather seats that were so comfortable, she could melt into them. It was interesting that they were heated considering it was California.

"How long are you going to be mad about this?" Buffy asked, sliding a finger over the brand new dashboard and coming up with not a speck of dust. She smiled at him, rubbing her fingers together in the imaginary dust, fully aware that most people would be intimidated by his current mood.

"Years," Angel grouched, pressing down the gas pedal in frustration. He wouldn't admit it, but he loved the power of the car, the way that he couldn't even feel the speed as it smoothly lurched forward on the highway. He definitely was not keeping it under any circumstances, but it was okay to enjoy it just a little for this trip.

"So I guess you don't want to know what really happened last night," Buffy mused, looking out the window, pretending to be fascinated by the passing scenery.

"Yes, I do," he announced, his words rushing out of his mouth slightly too quickly and filled with a heat that he didn't even realize he was feeling until the short sentence had already reached his lover. When he woke up that morning, he was certain that his dream had not entirely been a dream. He knew from the way his body felt that something had happened, which was partially why he thought he had cheated on Buffy - not to mention the fact that he was nude.

"I'll skip the beginning parts," she said with a flirtatious smile that he barely caught when he looked across the car at her, "and skip over to the car ride to the motel. Faith drove and you and I sat in the front seat with her. It took about a half hour to get from your hotel to the place we stayed last night."

Maybe it was being free of the facility or it could have been Angel's proposal or the fact that they had been deprived of each other over the last month, but she felt naughtier than she had in quite some time. The fact that Angel thought he had slept with someone else when he woke up in the motel was not something that Buffy was prepared to forget easily, even though she had already forgiven him for it. She leaned against the seat and slipped off her shoes as she warmed to the idea of torturing him.

"While we rode in the car," she said, tracing his bicep with her fingertips, "You couldn't keep your hands off me. I know Faith was watching when you pulled me onto your lap and slipped both of your hands under my shirt. I could feel that you were hard underneath me and you lifted your hips to press harder against me. Then you pushed my bra down and covered my breasts with your hands."

"I did?" he asked hoarsely, "You didn't stop me?"

"I yelled at you and tried to push you away," she said smiling, leaning further in the seat. She propped her bare feet on the expensive dashboard and snuggled into the seats as she remembered the night before. "But you whispered in my ear..."

"What did I say?" he asked, shifting in his seat as well.

"You said you needed to touch me," she said, whispering like he had the night before. He strained to hear her as she spoke in a low, quite voice. "You said I had made you feel so good before when my...hmm...how did you phrase it? Oh yeah, ‘when my beautiful mouth was sucking your cock.'"

"W-what?" he stuttered, tightening his hands on the steering wheel, "Buffy, I don't re-"

"And then you said," Buffy continued, interrupting him happily as she looked over at him squirming in his seat. She had the distinct feeling that not many women in his life had made him do that and it made her feel powerful and giddy. "You wanted to return favor. You said you wanted to spread my legs and lick my... quote... ‘hot little pussy' until I screamed."

"I did?" he asked huskily.

"Faith was watching while she drove," Buffy said sweetly, "As you pinched my nipples under my shirt. You twisted them so hard, I moaned out loud and I wondered if she could hear what you were saying cause you weren't whispering all that quietly. You kept asking when we would get there and when you could have me all to yourself. You kept saying that you couldn't wait cause you had to be without me for so long. You said you wanted to fuck me until you passed out."

"Buffy," Angel explained, willing his throbbing erection to go down, "I'm sorry if what I said upset you. I was not in my right mind. I hope you know-"

"How much you want to fuck me?" she asked innocently with a carnal smile on her pink lips. Angel jerked his head over and swallowed harshly as the look on her face sunk in.

"Make love to you," he offered weakly. He felt like a school boy ten seconds from detention, forced to go to the chalkboard when he had been staring at the perky, new breasts of the girl in the next seat.

"When we got to the hotel, I checked us in and then we went to our room," Buffy explained, "I went to the bathroom and you got undressed. When I came out, you were passed out on the bed. So there I was all hot and bothered and you were asleep."

"I'm sorry?" Angel said, more of a question than an apology.

"Well, then I had to go out and find someone else to make me feel better," Buffy offered in sultry voice and jumped when Angel roared out a rousing, "WHAT?"

"Just kidding, baby," she said, patting his large, heaving chest with a giggle, "Of course, I didn't do that."

"If you're trying to torture me, it's working," he commented dryly.

"Good," she announced, "That was what I was going for. You so deserve it."


breathing fire doesn't look good on a resume`

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Summers," Lilah said, plastering on her most polite and diplomatic smile. She perched casually on the edge of her desk in an impeccable suit as she continued, "I don't think I'll be able to help you with this case."

"Why not?" Joyce demanded forcefully. With most people her outrage worked and she was able to get her way by assuming the role of damaged mother defending her poor, defenseless child, but she was an amateur at deception when compared to Lilah Morgan.

"Mrs. Summers, I understand that you're upset about your daughter's choices, but even a law firm with the power and prestige of Wolfram & Hart can only bend the law so far," she answered just as pleasantly before but allowing her forcefulness to lie hidden under her tone, "Your daughter, as manipulated as you paint her, has not only the backing of her boyfriend, Liam Angelus, but Angelus' lawyer, Lindsey McDonald."

"So?" Joyce blurted before she was able to stop the words from coming out of her mouth. She was aware that she sounded like a school girl, but she was determined to get her daughter back. "Who cares? Angelus, as you call him, has taken over my daughter's entire life and turned her against me! She was healing and now she's a ticking time bomb. Doesn't the fact that she tried to kill herself to escape him mean anything to anyone? Is this giant law firm afraid of a couple of men with means?"

"Calling Angelus and McDonald ‘a couple of men with means' is like calling a tricycle a sports car. Besides the fact that you haven't a legal leg to stand on, McDonald is the best lawyer on the west coast. He started out here at this firm and outgrew us. We didn't even realize that was possible. His main office is in the sweet, sleepy little town of Sunnydale but his firm is nationwide. Many of his connections exist because of his best friend and top client who happens to be the man your daughter is running away with as we speak. Don't be fooled if you think, Lindsey is just handling real estate. He is a criminal lawyer. He only does those mundane tasks for his friend.

"Liam Angelus is the son of Connor Angelus and has more connections than the phone company, Mrs. Summers. If you want character references for your daughter's lover, just break out the Fortune 500 listing and we can start from there. Connor was killed in a plane crash several years ago, leaving Liam without a family. No matter how much of a shrewd businessman his father was, no one in this town will speak poorly of his orphaned child. But that's not why we won't take the case."

"Then why?" Joyce snapped, "because I don't have a ‘legal leg' on stand on?"

"Precisely," Lilah answered, undaunted by her client's tone of voice, "Your daughter is of age to check herself out of that facility, barring any serious mental illnesses, which she has none. She does not have a history of any criminal activity. The only choice would be to press charges with the aid of the facility as her being Faith's accomplice in assaulting the nurse and the guard on duty. Of course, the facility is more than willing to charge both of them. If we take that route, however, it is important to note that McDonald will take this all the way and you will probably have to sell your house to cover our fee before this is all over. Wolfram & Hart does not care about character debates or connections, Mrs. Summers. We could turn Buffy into a black smear on the front page of the LA Times, if that's what you wish, but the only thing that will be cheap about this when it's all over, will be your daughter's character."


it's hard on a young girl
she thinks it's all her fault when it all goes wrong
it's hard on a grown man too

It was after dark when Buffy and Angel reached Sunnydale and they parked the flashy BMW on a side street a couple of blocks from the mansion. Angel lugged both suitcases as they made their way toward the mansion. They slipped silently in through the back door and tiptoed up to the third floor, stopping to hide in the closet once when they heard voices coming toward them.

Angel led Buffy down to the end of the hall to the second largest suite of rooms in the mansion. Setting the suitcases down quietly, he produced a set of keys, opened the door and motioned for Buffy to enter ahead of him. Once inside, he relocked the door and flipped on the light.

"Kathy's room," Buffy whispered, as she took in her surroundings. When Angel said they were going to hide at the mansion, Buffy was dubious, certain that they would be found within a short amount of time. When he said they were staying on the third floor and not his room, she felt better about it, if only slightly. Now that she saw that they were standing in the room of his deceased little sister, she felt a chill go over her. It seemed like more than just a trespass to be here among her things.

It looked like nothing had been touched since she died. In the corner a couple of pairs of girl's shoes looked as if they had been kicked off, maybe when she came home from being out somewhere. A t-shirt lay rumpled on her twin bed and Buffy shivered as she looked at it. It had probably been taken off by the girl years ago and never put away.

"No one's been up here," Angel explained silently, "I just locked the door."

"Are you sure you want to stay in here?" Buffy asked softly, "We can go somewhere else."

"No," Angel answered after a moment, "I need to deal with this sometime."

He crossed the room and picked up a framed picture lying on her dresser. He handed it to her without commenting and she looked over the happy faces in the photo. A stern looking older man who was a middle aged version of Angel stood behind Angel and Kathy, his hand on each of their shoulders. Kathy looked much like Buffy had expected, slender and lovely, with sculpted features softer than the two men. She and Angel were both grinning as if they were struggling not to laugh. It looked like their father was squeezing their shoulders in a vain attempt to hold in their hilarity until after the picture. She could almost see them collapsing into guffaws afterward, clutching their bellies as they laughed.

"She's beautiful," Buffy said, tracing Kathy's face with her fingertips.

"She was," Angel agreed, taking the picture from Buffy and setting it back on the dresser, "She was the only one who really could change Dad's mind about anything. He always thought she would be the one to run the business when he retired, not me."

"Business?" Buffy echoed.

"He had his fingers in everything," Angel explained, "He owned a lot of different companies. He liked variety. When he died, Giles and I sat down and decided to sell some of them and keep some of them. I guess I own them, but they are all controlled by a board of directors."

"Do you ever check up on them?" Buffy asked, "Or get reports or anything?"

"The world's secret, my love," Angel said with a sad smile, "Giles controls the Angelus fortune for the most part. He tells me what I need to know and for a long time, I didn't want to know very much. Eventually, I'll take over, but I haven't been ready. I never wanted to run the business anyway. It was always what Kathy wanted, so I never even thought about it before they died."

"What do you want to do?" Buffy asked, following him into the sitting room area and curling up on the small sofa by his side.

"I don't know," Angel said, "Not that. It made my father a hard person. He was stressed out and busy all of the time. I don't want to become that person. Somehow Giles handles it all without being burdened by it, maybe I could too."

"You don't have to," Buffy said, leaning against his chest, "You can do whatever you want to."

"All I really want," Angel said, pulling her in closer, "Is to be with you and maybe finish school if we ever make it back to classes."

"Sounds good," Buffy answered inside a yawn, "If we don't get caught."

"No one's taking you away again, love," he said, kissing the top of her blonde head and pulling her in tighter against him.


you know all the right people
you play all the right games
you always try to be everything to everyone

Faith heard the phone ring as she stepped out the shower. She had been trying for the last twenty minutes to get the sterile smell of that damn facility out of her hair. Even after showering at the hotel, she still felt it on her skin, in her nose. As far as hiding places went, Lindsey's luxurious house was the way to go. His guest room shower was big enough to fit four people and his towels were so soft and fluffy. Compared to the stiff towels she had been dealing with at that place for the last month and half, any thing that used fabric softener would feel like heaven.

Wrapping the towel around herself, she hovered over the phone next to the guest bed and with not the slightest twinge of guilt, she picked it up to hear Lindsey's voice saying, "So she's not going to press charges?"

"No," a woman's voice answered on the other line, "One remark about dragging Angel's little slut through the mud and she ran out of here like her ass was on fire."

"Lilah..." Lindsey warned, "You breathe one word about our agreement to chase off Joyce and I'll make sure you're disbarred."

"You do that I'll make sure you go down with me," she answered in her most saccharine sweet voice. "I'll expect my payment in full by the end of the week."

"You are a cold hearted bitch, Lilah," Lindsey barked.

"You're the bitch, Lindsey. You always drop everything to bend over for Angel," Lilah laughed, "We both know who has the balls in this relationship."

"I don't know," Lindsey said with a dry, sardonic laugh, "You're pretty good at bending over if memory serves."

"I'll be waiting for my payment," she snapped and slammed down the receiver. Faith waited for him to hang up as well before she set the phone down on its cradle. Her head snapped up as she heard footsteps coming down the hallway and she was halfway to her suitcase to get clothes before her door swung open.

"Can't you knock?" she asked, placing a hand on her jutting, towel covered hip.

"Why should I respect your privacy when you obviously don't plan on respecting mine?" he asked, raking his eyes over her nearly naked body, "Did you like what you heard?"

"I don't know, do you like what you see?" she shot back.


Part Twenty-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: All the usual suspects. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please ask me first. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: Please and thank you!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: RL's been a bitch lately, so this was written fairly quickly. Sorry if it's not up to par. *G*

DEDICATION: For Margriet, Gia & DarkRhiannon.


i think you like to be the victim
i think you like to be in pain

Lindsey McDonald stared at the ceiling above him and wrenched the hand free that was clutching the leg of the couch to wipe the blood from his nose. Groaning, he turned over onto his side, noting that the glossy hardwood floor felt like it had molded around his body - or maybe his body was molding to the floor.

"Did I break you?" Faith asked with an unapologetic grin. She stretched like a cat, nearly purring as her deceptively powerful naked body arched over the floor.

"Takes more than that to break me, darlin'," Lindsey lied in a tired, slurred voice. He forced himself to sit up, then stand and finally make it the couch, which was the only piece of furniture in his living room that wasn't overturned. Hell, it was probably the piece of furniture in the house that wasn't overturned.

"If at first you don't succeed," she answered happily, hopping up and straddling his lap on the couch.

"I've gotta call Angel," Lindsey said, willing to use anything as an excuse to take a break from her sexual onslaught. The woman gave the phrase "fucking your brains out" a whole new connotation. He could only imagine what his maid would think when she showed up that afternoon to find the whole house looking like Cyclone Faith had torn through it, especially since she was not new to the strange messes that resulted in his sexual exploits.

"Sure," she agreed, grinding in his lap, "Can't keep B locked in that little room in the mansion with nothing to do but bang her stud. That'd be tragic."

"Then shower," Lindsey continued, "Then work. Buffy's off the hook, but you still have a warrant for your arrest."

"Gonna save me, is that it?" she said, starting to move away from him. She didn't need a white knight and she certainly didn't need some lawyer, no matter how sexy he was, galloping up to save her. She had no intention of letting him help her for free and then trying to control her. She'd rather go to jail first.

"Well," Lindsey said, a slow smile spreading across his face. He grabbed her hips before she could move away and pulled her roughing against him. "For a pro bono case, I'm definitely getting more bang for the buck."


i have given up on that sparkle i thought i saw in you

Buffy stood nervously outside of her mother's house and wished she didn't see the Jeep in the driveway, announcing that her mom had come home. When Lindsey called early that morning, waking them up and telling them that they didn't need to hide anymore, she was relieved and terrified at the same time.

She didn't want to face her mother and she didn't want to start real life again. She had no idea how she would face everyone when the whole town undoubtably new that she had tried to kill herself. Angel had proposed when they were still in trouble and although she knew he meant it, she wondered how their life would come together now that the danger was gone - now that he was free to walk away if he wanted.

After Buffy had told Angel that she wanted to make this trip on her own, he had left after showering quickly, saying that he had some things to take care of. She had made a point to get ready slowly and take her time before going over to the house she once called home. She would have rather done anything than spend her first day free seeing her mother, but she knew that in order for anything to get better, she had to start there. Gathering her wits about her, she mounted the stairs, opened the door and walked in, holding her breath until she called out, "Mom?"

Joyce rushed into the living room from the kitchen and skidded to a halt when Buffy held her hand up to stop her. She looked over her daughter carefully and fought back the tears when she saw the anger on Buffy's face. "Buffy," Joyce gushed, "I want you to understand-"

"No, Mom," Buffy snapped, "I want you to understand. I've never been this angry with anyone ever...not even Riley. You're my mother! You're supposed to help me and be on my side-"

"Honey, I am on your side," Joyce begged.

"No, you're not," Buffy answered, keeping her tone stern and making sure she kept up the strength to say what she had to say, even as hard as it was so see her mother reduced to a level she never thought was possible. "You lied to me and manipulated me. You almost ruined my life!"

"Your life?" Joyce scoffed, "You tried to kill yourself, Buffy! What life?"

"I'm not saying I didn't make mistakes," Buffy said, "I did and attempting suicide was one of them. I came here to tell you that if you want to be a part of it, then things have to change. As of now, you will no longer have any control over anything in my life - not school, not who I'm with, nothing. If you want to see me, then you call and make an appointment with me."

"An appointment?" Joyce sputtered, "What? You're just going to let Angel control you instead? Is he going to be paying for your school now?"

"I don't know," Buffy answered truthfully, "We haven't talked about it, but guess how much that doesn't matter! You know what's sad, Mom? You hate Angel so much and you never spent one second trying to get to know him."

"Do you want to know why I hate Angel?" Joyce asked, sitting tiredly down in a living room chair. She felt like she had aged ten years in the last few months.

"No," Buffy said, sitting on the opposing couch, "I don't. Nothing you can say will vilify him in my eyes. I hate to even say this out loud, but I think you need to hear it. You are just like Riley, mother."

"Buffy!" she shouted angrily, "How dare you compare me-"

"You take what isn't yours and you try to manipulate your way into people's lives," Buffy continued calmly, in an oddly motherly tone, "Guess what, Mom? Angel isn't like that. He isn't like you and Riley and Daddy. He doesn't try to take from me what I'm not willing to give. I'm sorry that Daddy did the things he did, Mom. I am. I'm sorry because it screwed both of us up so much, but Angel isn't Daddy and he never will be. Unless you want to become the monster you fought for years, then you need to think about what you've done."

"Buffy, I'm so sorry, honey," Joyce said, letting her tears flow freely.

"I know you are, Mom," Buffy answered, rising to her feet, "That's the worst part. You're so sorry and you're not even sure why. I came here to tell you that if you want to be in my life then things are really going to change. If you think I won't cut you off, you're wrong. I would hate to do it, but I will."

"I'll do anything to make things right between us, sweetheart," Joyce sobbed, "I never meant to hurt you. I just want you to be happy and safe."

"I am safe," Buffy said, "and I plan to be very happy. I'm marrying Angel."

"What?" Joyce sputtered, "No, Buffy, you can't! Just wait a little while and then-"

"You don't have to approve," Buffy said, walking towards the door, "I'm not asking for it. I'm telling you that I love him and I'm marrying him. Whether you're a part of the wedding plans or my life is entirely up to you. I can take being hurt by you, Mom, but if you try any underhanded things to keep us apart or if you hurt him at all, I'm going to write you out of our lives."

Joyce opened her mouth to protest, but closed it again as the door swung shut behind her daughter. Curling up in a ball, she wept for her daughter's future and for the hole inside the pit of her stomach that nothing could ever seem to fill.


forget about all the losers that we know
forget about all the memories that keep you down
forget about them

Angel sat down in Sunnydale jail and picked up the phone to talk to the prisoner who was just sitting down. Riley Finn still looked beaten up and Angel wasn't surprised considering the officer had told him that Finn was being kept in the small jail until he was well enough to be transported to another prison on the other side of the state.

"Finn," Angel said, unable to keep the ferocity from his voice, "How's prison life treating you?"

"What do you want, Angel?" Riley said, his expression angry and pained. He had been hoping like hell that his visitor was Buffy, that he would be able to see her again before he was shipped off even if it meant seeing her anger.

"I asked Buffy to marry me," Angel said clearly, happily noting Riley's flinch, "And she said yes. When you get out of here - if you ever do, I suggest you stay far away from my wife. Not that you'll have a parole without my objection. I plan to use all the power and connections I have to make sure that you serve your whole sentence, Finn. You deserve to pay for what you did to her."

"How are those gunshot wounds healing up?" Riley snapped back, irritated that he couldn't hide his own anguish at the news that Buffy was marrying him.

"They're healing up nicely," Angel said with a satisfied smile, "You know, Buffy has been doing everything she can to make sure I'm...comfortable."

"I bet," Riley answered gruffly, "I'm sure she's been able to help you a lot from the facility she was being held in. You must be one hell of a fiancé since she tried to kill herself to get away from you. The papers really had a lot to say about how she was with you when she did it."

"I think we both know the truth, don't we, Ri?" Angel shot back, "Doesn't matter. She's going to marry me and soon you'll be nothing but a jailbird singing about the good times when you were free to rape whoever you wanted."

"Fuck you, Angel."

"Don't be upset," Angel chided happily, "I'm sure you'll be someone's bitch in no time. I can see you in that big, real prison with some big guy showin' ya what it's like to be taken against your will. Damn, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside." Narrowing his eyes, he leaned in towards the glass, "If you get anywhere near my wife when you get out of here, I'll fucking kill you. If you show your ugly face on my property, I'll kill you. Got it?"

"Buffy's a beautiful woman, Angel," Riley sneered back, "Are you sure she'll still be your wife when I'm free?"

"Even if she wasn't," Angel scowled, "it still wouldn't save your pathetic life. Even if it was possible for me to ever hate her, I would still keep her safe. The minute you walk from behind those bars, I'll know about it. I can promise you that."


she says she likes to go outside
she gets hung up in the wind

Angel sat nervously on the couch and fidgeted with the keys in his hand. He had been running around Sunnydale since Lindsey's call, after his little visit to Finn, and now he wished he had a few more things to do to keep his mind occupied until Buffy came home.

He had really wanted to go to her mother's with her, but he knew it was best for her to go by herself, to face her mother on her own two feet. The dark side of him wanted to stand in that house on Revello drive and tell Joyce Summers just what he thought of her. He idly wondered what their children would think of their Grandma. Just the thought of having a life and children with Buffy caused the dark side of him to dissolve into a big pile of happiness, which then led him back to nervousness, where the circle began. If she didn't come home soon, he would have to find something to do to make his mind stop working. Course, there was only one thing that made his mind stop working altogether - and here we are with the circle.

He growled at himself and stood up, preparing to pace or something when she walked through the door. She looked tired and frazzled as she entered, but glided easily into his arms and pressed her face against his chest.

"How'd it go?" he asked quietly, holding her close to him.

"Eh," she grunted, her words muffled against his shirt, "It's a work in progress."

"Wanna talk about it?" he asked, pulling her over to the couch and forcing himself not to fidget.

"Not really," she said, "She's upset and with good reason. Guess we'll just wait and see what happens."

"Good idea," he remarked, clutching those keys in his hand so tightly, he was sure they were going to break into his skin any second.

"What are you all twitchy about?" she asked, regarding him closely, "Is something wrong? Oh God, something's wrong."

"No, baby," Angel said, cupping her chin, "Nothing's wrong. I just wanted to give you something." Opening his hand, he held out the keys for her that were nearly imbedded in his skin. She gingerly picked them up and eyed them before looking at him in askance. They were not house keys or car keys. They were too small for that.

"What are they to?" she asked, peering down at them as if the answer were inscribed on them somewhere.

"A safe deposit box at the bank," Angel answered quietly, watching her intently for her reaction.

"Safe deposit box?" she echoed in confusion, looking up at her lover, "What's in it?"

"Stocks, bonds, deeds to the house and the businesses," Angel rattled off, "You know, the normal things and your engagement ring."

"My e-engagement ring?" Buffy stammered, "Well, why is it there?"

"Because," Angel said, "I want you to wear it when you're ready. I bought it today, but I didn't want to pressure you to marry me or even be officially engaged until you want to. When you think you're ready, we can go to the bank and get it. While we're there, you can sign the signature cards."

"Signature cards?" Buffy echoed in confusion.

"Yeah, to our bank accounts," he said nervously, still watching her reaction.

"Our bank accounts?" Buffy repeated, "Please tell me you mean that you set up a mini account that doesn't really have any money in it but you thought it'd be nice to have a joint account."

"No," Angel said, shaking his head, "I mean that I called Lindsey today and told him I want to add your name to everything including the mansion and the businesses. I mean that I am putting your name on all of the bank accounts as soon as someone can hand you a pen. Course, all of the accounts aren't here in Sunnydale, so we'll have to handle some of the other ones later. Love, I don't know any other way to make sure that you know that I intend to marry you, that everything that belonged to me, now belongs to us."

"Angel," Buffy said, handing the keys back to him quickly as if they singed her skin, "I can't let you do that. You have too much...I don't even know how much money you have. Why don't you have Lindsey do a prenuptial agreement? I'll sign it."

"I knew this was a bad idea," Angel said, tossing the keys on the coffee table and turning back to her, "I didn't mean to upset you, baby. I want you to be able to have money, to go shopping, to not worry about school, Buffy. I'm not doing this to tie you down, love. I wanted to you to know that you're free to do what you want. This isn't about you marrying me...well, it is, but it's mostly about you knowing how much I love you. I wouldn't give everything I have to anyone else. It's all for you and if you decide tomorrow that you can't marry me, I still want you to have it. You already own my heart and body, Buffy. It's only fair that you have everything else too."

"You're insane," she said, shaking her head, "You're certifiable, Angel! You can't do this! Ask Lindsey. He'd say the same thing."

"This isn't about Lindsey," Angel said, holding her shoulders and looking directly into her eyes, "This isn't about your mother or Riley or Spike or Giles or anyone else. This about you and me. This is about me giving you everything I have and letting you know that no matter what happens, I will be there for you. I will love you for the rest of my life. And I'm not saying you have to sign all the stuff today or that you have to wear the ring. I just wanted you to know that when you're ready, it's all yours."


Part Twenty-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.

FEEDBACK: Please and thank you!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: This is the last part! *G* There will be an epilogue following soon. Sorry this has taken so long to get out.

DEDICATION: For my kindred spirits, indie and trammie.


you seemed real shiny with the sweat of your voice

Buffy went straight from her appointment with her new therapist, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, across town to the high school outdoor basketball court. She had been having sessions with Wes twice a week for the past two weeks and felt like he was becoming a part of her routine. This week, he had even managed to get a detail or two about her life out of her.

Sitting down against the giant oak tree off the side of the court, she watched as Angel and Gunn faced off. Both were shirtless and sweating, having been out there for an hour already. She watched her lover's chiseled body move across the court. He looked serious for a moment, keeping his poker face intact as he dribbled the ball close to the ground.

With a fake to the left, he spun back to the right and went for the shot. The ball arched high and hit the rim, rolling around for a moment before falling through the metal mesh net. She felt the corners of her mouth twitching to a smile as she saw his stoic expression turn into a smug grin. His mouth moved with his words but she was too far away to hear what he was saying. From the look on Gunn's face, he was probably something rude.

Buffy scanned the other side of the court and saw several college females standing around watching. She watched them closely as they eyed the two men who digressed to preteen boys every Wednesday when they hit the courts. Apparently, she wasn't the only one who had figured out their schedule. They seemed to have more and more spectators every week.

She opened her book bag and dug through it, emerging with a bottle of water, which she sipped on while she thought about what had plagued her mind every day for the last two weeks - marrying Angel. She kept her eyes trained on his naked upper torso and thought about waking up with her head pillowed on it every morning and falling asleep with it pressed against her back every night. She smiled at the thought, taking a tiny mental step closer to admitting that there really wasn't a reason why she was waiting except for her fears of disappointing him.

All of her thoughts flew from her mind as the ball bounced out of bounds and rolled towards one of the pretty girls on the other side of the court watching the show. Buffy watched intently, eyes narrowed to green slits as a lovely brunette, bent over to pick up the ball and gave everyone a glimpse of her cleavage as she did. Angel jogged over casually and waited patiently for the return of the ball while the girl rested her weight on one tanned leg, her hip cocking out flirtatiously. She didn't look like she was planning on handing over the ball anytime in the near future.

Scrambling to her feet and dusting herself off, Buffy sauntered toward her lover and the girl who looked like she was three seconds from asking to have his children. She breezed past Gunn, nodding her head at his greeting and kept going. Grinning evilly, she stopped just behind him and slid her arms around his waist and struggling to keep from laughing as he nearly jumped out of his skin at the sensation.

"Hello lover," she crooned, circling around him and upturning her face for a kiss. He leaned down with a smile to oblige her, trying to hold in the glee at her obvious jealousy.

"Mmmmm..." he moaned as she deepened the peck he was expecting into a passionate dueling of tongues. Breaking away reluctantly, Buffy turned with mock surprise at the girl still standing there with the basketball propped against her hip.

"Hey there," Buffy said with a sweet smile, dripping with honey, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude." Leaning in, she whispered, "He's just so sexy when he's all sweaty like this I wanna lick him all over."

"I bet," the brunette chirped back.

"If you wanna play," Buffy said, threading her fingers with Angel's, "Gunn might need someone to play with. I'm going to keep this one occupied for the rest of the afternoon."

"Nice talking to you," Angel said good naturedly, with a look of apology on his face for his girlfriend's behavior as Buffy pulled him away. Once they made it a few steps away, he looked down at her with a grin, "Jealous?"

"Of her?" Buffy answered, "Nope. Uh-uh. No way...Did you see how short her skirt was?"

"Can't say I did," he answered quickly.


walk right out into a brand new day
insane and risin' in my own weird way

Maybe it was the way he made love to her the night before, swearing she was the only woman for him or maybe it was the thought that she had no hold on him whatsoever, but the following day after her afternoon classes, she made two stops - one to Giles' office for a favor and one to the bank.

As she entered the small Sunnydale branch bank, she tried to still her shaking hands as she headed up to the teller's window. She stumbled over her words as she showed the girl the keys, realizing that she had never even seen a safety deposit box, let alone opened one.

"Miss Summers," the girl said, widening her eyes as she realized who the nervous blonde was after several minutes of explaining. Everyone who worked at the bank knew who Buffy Summers' was and all of them had heard the story again and again of how Liam Angelus was sharing his entire fortune with a girl he hadn't even married yet.

It seemed to take an incredibly long time between the explanation and all the signatures, which looked shaky and scrawled to Buffy, before she could even get the safety deposit box. She took a deep breath as she signed the last one and said, "I'm sorry these are so bad. I'm a little nervous about signing them."

"I don't blame you," the girl answered with a equally nervous smile. "We're almost done. If you would like to pick out your new checks, Miss Summers, we'll be finished."

"Doesn't he already have checks?" Buffy asked in confusion, squirming under the scrunity of the entire bank staff.

"Yes, ma'am," she answered, "But Mr. Angelus said he wanted to order new ones with your name on them. He specified that you could choose whatever you wanted." Leaning in confidentially, she almost giggled as she said, "He said even if you wanted flowery ones that was fine."

"S-something simple," Buffy answered, flipping through the leather display book quickly, "Which are the nicest, most elegant, business-y ones?"

By the time Buffy reached the safety deposit box, she felt like she had aged a couple of years. She was still shaking as she opened the lid of the box, stunned by the numbers on the paper work. Real people didn't have that kind of money and she wasn't even sure it was possible to spend it in a lifetime. She kept checking to make sure her purse was still on her shoulder, which held her new debit card.

Peering in, she saw a stack of official looking paperwork and on top was a blue velvet box. She opened it slowly and gasped as she peered inside at the ring. It was a one carat solitaire with two half carat diamonds on either side, set in a delicate platinum band. She gingerly pulled it from its velvet incasement and looked at it closely, petting it as if she didn't think it was real. Something inside the band caught her eye and she turned the ring to see the script inside the ring, "Soulmate."


i tell you she was cool
she was red hot
i mean she was steaming

Angel had been watching Buffy for days and days, wondering what she was thinking. He had kept his silence, not wanting to pressure her to wear the ring or accept his money. He counted his blessings that she loved him, that she had consented to marry him...someday. He couldn't help being impatient though, wondering when she would start the engagement. It wasn't like they had to set a date, so why wouldn't she wear the ring?

He was getting more and more frustrated with his own inability to wait. He felt like Buffy was this distant goal that he couldn't quite reach. Even when she was in his arms lately, he found himself struggling not to ask her if she really wanted to marry him after all. Maybe she had changed her mind and couldn't figure out how to tell him. Maybe she thought that he was trying to buy his way into her life. The more he thought about it, the more problems he found with how he handled the situation.

That Wednesday when her jealous streak flared, he was thrilled by it, although he couldn't imagine what she thought he might see in the girl who had held his basketball hostage.

Friday night, two weeks following the safety deposit box mistake, Angel grumbled through an elongated business session with Giles. Although he understood Giles' anxiousness to offload the Angelus business details on Angel, he couldn't see why it had to be on Friday night. Mostly, he didn't understand why it had to last so damn long on Friday night.

Finally at nine o'clock that night, he was able to escape Giles' tedious explanation of every single teensy profit margin and rising market value. He hurried across campus in the middle of the night and entered the mansion quickly. He skidded to a stop just inside the front door when he realized that the whole place was pitch black and there wasn't a sound anywhere. If he didn't know better, he would think that every single inhabitant of the whole place was gone, but it wasn't possible. That never happened.


He entered the great room and he saw that the fire place was softly burning, which seemed strange, since most of the guys didn't mess with it. As he moved closer, he realized that the furniture had been pushed back from their regular position.

"Buffy?" Angel whispered, almost afraid to break up the peace in the room.

"Hmmmm?" she purred, looking up at him when he appeared, looking over the couch to find her naked and nestled in a pile of pillows and silk, her blonde hair streaming out around her. She smiled at him and stretched provocatively in the silks. Not far from her reach was a bottle champagne chilling and two crystal flutes.

He opened his mouth, intent on scolding her for being so breathtakingly beautiful and seductive where anyone could walk in at any moment, but he couldn't seem to make the words come. Swallowing harshly, he moved toward her as she sweetly held out her arms for him.

"Buffy," he started but was silenced as her mouth covered his, nibbling at his lips. She was warm and snug from being so close to the fire and her perfect naked body was irresistible there, surrounded by silk as she should be, her golden skin flickering with the flames.

"Shhh," she hushed him, pulling him closer to her, "No one is coming home tonight."

"No one?" he echoed in confusion, as she laved sweet little licks on his neck, "How is that even possible?"

"Well," she answered huskily, unbuttoning his shirt and kissing the flesh as it appeared, "When I was at the bank yesterday, it occurred to me that we had never made love in front of the fire place, so-"

"You went to the bank?" he asked, sliding his hands over hers to look for the ring and finding her without any jewelry.

"So," she continued, "I asked everyone to spend night somewhere else tonight, so we could be alone. I ended up putting a couple of the guys in the motel across town and of course, Spike and Dru needed a room."

"Buffy," Angel pleaded, "You went to the bank?"

"Take off your clothes," she whispered, kissing him patiently. She smiled at him and slipped her hand beneath one of the pillows at her side and produced the velvet box. "Take off your clothes," she repeated, running the box between the valley of her breasts, down to her belly button and back. Quickly, he stood and shed his clothes. Seconds later, he was back at her side on the mountain of silk.

"You've been so patient with me," she said quietly, as her eyes filled with tears, "You've given me everything and I've been so afraid that I'll let you down. I've messed up so many things in my life already, Angel. Then the other day, when I saw that girl flirting with you and the look in your eyes when you saw me, it occurred to me that whatever mistakes I made, being without you would be so much worse. I don't want to lose you."

"You'll never lose me," he said, "You don't have to marry me, Buffy. I'm sorry I pressured you. Take your time, love. I'm not going anywhere."

"You're always promising me that," she said seriously, flipping them over and coming up on her knees at his side, "Now I'm promising you. I'm not going anywhere, Angel. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I'm tired of making you worry and making myself worry. For now on, no matter what else is wrong, we're going to be together."

She tucked the box in his hand and curled a stray lock of hair behind her ear, "Angel, will you marry me? Cause I am completely, madly, head over heels, can't think straight, insanely in love with you."

He smiled, hearing his own words tumbling out of her full lips and the tears shimmering in her bright green eyes. "Are you sure?" he asked, rolling the box over in his hand nervously. She nodded and held out her left hand for him.

"I didn't want to wear it unless you put it on me," she said quietly. He opened the box and pulled out the ring, nearly dropping it as he slipped it on her finger. She leaned down and squealed as he pulled her against his chest, devouring her mouth greedily. Giggling in delight at his wandering hands as they smoothed over her back and cupped her bottom, she kissed down his neck and chest.

She paused in her movements and lowered her gaze to his belly button, then his hardened sex. Giving him an evil smile, she kissed down his belly and kissed all around his pelvic bone, carefully avoiding his sex until he was groaning in anticipation.

Finally, when he moaned out a "Please baby," she lowered her head she licked the tip. She smiled up at him as she tasted him, loving the way his eyes darkened in passion, turning a liquid black. Encouraged, she took him into her mouth, sucking lightly as she cupped his balls in her hand. She increased the pressure and the speed, loving the feel of his hardness inside her mouth.

Angel gasped in pleasure as she sucked him in harder and deeper. Her eyes locked with his, increasing in pressure and speed, her tiny hand squeezing the base of his cock as she tried to take more of him in. She moaned as she moved up and swirled her tongue around the tip of his cock once more.

"Buffy," he groaned between gritted teeth, "I want to be inside you." As much as he loved oral sex, he wanted to make love to her. He reached down to pull her to him but she swatted his hand away, grazing the tip of his cock with her teeth as she reluctantly pulled away and glared at him.

"Wait your turn, baby," she whispered, her hot breath teasing over the sensitive tip. He breathed a long, shaky breath and he gripped the silk above his head with white knuckled tension as she laved long, slow licks on the underside of him before taking him in her mouth once more.

She continued to look at him, watching his reaction to her actions. She moved more slowly, sucking him harder in long, wet strokes, watching as he trembled under touch. He arched off the bed of pillows as he drew closer to climax, twisting his hands in the silk. It vaguely registered in his clouded brain that he ripped the silk sheet as he groaned her name, releasing into her hot mouth.

Buffy smiled in satisfaction, licking her lips like a wild cat, but had little time to bask in the feeling before he pulled her up to his lips, delving passionately into her mouth, tasting himself there. Breaking the kiss, he flipped them over and dove down to take her breasts in his mouth and hands.

She moaned with pleasure as his fingers and tongue caressed her nipples. Kneeling over her tiny frame, he sucked in ravenous mouthfuls of honeyed flesh, gorging himself on his lover's taste and smell as he made his way down her body. She cried out as he splayed her thighs apart and leaned in for a taste, resting one large hand on each of her inner thighs.

She raised her hips, panting in pleasure as he opened her with his thumbs and laved a long lick of her sex, before delving inside her, stabbing inside her with his rigid tongue. She whimpered, crying out his name and clutching his broad shoulders as he circled her little nub with his tongue, teasing her mercilessly.

"Angel," she hissed, "Please!" He growled against her as he finally sucked her clit between his lips, nibbling on it and lashing at it with his tongue, twisting his long fingers inside of her. Buffy moved her hips against his fingers, trembling violently as she neared her climax.

He scraped his teeth against her clit and sucked her in again, feeling her buck and scream his name in pleasure underneath him. He lapped the honey that poured from her core, feeling her against his ever moving fingers, arching to find her pressure points inside. He continued until she collapsed, shaking violently beneath him.

He didn't wait for her to calm before crawling up her body and claiming her lips. He entered her slippery heat without a moment's hesitation, groaning with the sensation of her inner muscles tensing and squeezing around him. He thought he was going to collapse from the pleasure before it even started.

Buffy wrapped her legs around him, pulling him inside her deeper, tighter. She knew from the first time he made love to her that she was lost to other men when she first felt him perfectly filling her, stretching her and making her want to die from the overwhelming pleasure of it. Now she was reeling with the knowledge that for the rest of her life she would have him by her side.

She bucked up against him, wrapping her legs around his waist. He groaned in response, rolling in waves of pleasure inside her. She dug her nails into his back, writhing against him as he slammed inside her. The claiming of each other, the possession of each other intertwined with reckless calls of love as they tried to invade each other's bodies.

"I love you, Buffy," he said hoarsely as he moved inside her.

"I love you, Angel," she said back, sliding her hands his skin, memorizing each plane of him. They reached orgasm together, exploding with perfect passion and love in celebration of their sealed commitment. Angel rolled over with a happy sigh, pulling Buffy to lay directly on top of him. Buffy laid with her head on Angel's chest, smiling as she listened to his heart beating.

"Ask me later how much I spent tonight on silk and pillows, beer for the guys and hotel rooms," Buffy said, puffing sweet breaths against his skin, "From our new bank account." He squeezed her sides, tickling her and she fell into a breathless heap of giggles, scrambling across the silk makeshift bed to escape his attack.

"Are you happy?" he asked, when he finally caught her, pinning her to the floor, half on the marble floor and half on the pillows.

"Couldn't be happier," she purred, arching against him, "Are you happy?"

"Happy doesn't begin to cover it," he answered, stroking his thumbs on her open palms. Leaning in, he kissed her gently. Losing himself in her kiss, he didn't even notice her hands slip free to tickle him back. He fell back on the pillows as she descended on him, falling into his arms.

"Happily ever after is really gonna suck," she announced, pressing her face against his chest.

"Tell me about it," he answered hoarsely.



By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

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

FEEDBACK: Please and thank you!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


AN: This epilogue takes place ten years after part twenty-five.

AN2: The descriptions of the children do not lend much credence to my knowledge of genetics and dominate/recessive genes, however, since this is my fic, I decided to bend the rules as I saw fit. *G*

DEDICATION: For Vatrixsta. Feel better, sweetie! And for Trammie, for beating me into doing this right. *G*


they can kiss my ass

Angel headed into work in the late afternoon and had been in his office for approximately ten minutes when his secretary informed him that Penn was there to see him. Correction, Penn was insistent to see him. Angel acquiesced reluctantly, already feeling the headache coming on from his employee's arrival.

Penn was a bright young man, a brilliant businessman for a person his age and anxious to rise higher than he already had within the ranks of Angelus Enterprises. He was sharp witted and paid attention, remembering almost every single detail of every client to walk through the door, but his shortsightedness about how the company was run and would continue to run was always a pain.

"Penn," Angel drawled, "What a surprise."

"Hear me out, Angel," he said, perching on the edge of the leather chair opposite Angel's desk. Angel grimaced at the determination on the young man's face and nodded slowly. "What's the emergency?" Angel asked, "Building on fire?"

"The new acquisition in the pipeline," Penn said, "No offense, but it's suicide for a company of this size and reputation to continue buying out these sorts of establishments. It's against everything that Angelus Enterprises stands for."

"We're not buying a brothel," Angel chuckled, "And how could I ever take offense to you telling me that decisions made here are suicidal?"

"I know you don't often agree with my-"

"Often? Don't you mean ever?" Angel countered happily. As much as he was annoyed by Penn's constant berating and haranguing, he did take pleasure in knocking him down a few notches. He saw that today, he was finally going to have to give it to him straight.

"Fine," Penn snapped, "But you have to admit that I'm right! Your father, sir, built this company shrewdly and brilliantly and now we're buying battered women's shelters and orphanages? What's next?"

"Don't speak to me about family," Angel said, narrowing his eyes across the desk and causing Penn to shrink back in fear. Angel stood, raising himself to his full height and flashed a dark look in Penn's direction, pulsing power and authority across the room. "On second thought, maybe we should talk about family for a minute. You know, clear the air."

"I didn't mean any disrespect-" Penn gulped, taking in a deep breath. He wasn't sure if he was fearing his health or his job. Of course, to him, it was one in the same.

"You've heard the rumors, Penn," Angel said, flicking the blinds open to look out the window. He saw the green grass swaying softly in the breeze and it reminded him that he hadn't planned on being in the office long today. He would clear up this little misunderstanding, take care of a few things and be on his way as soon as possible.

"Sir," Penn said, hoping the added formality would help his cause, "I didn't mean to suggest..."

"Angelus Enterprises is a very large, very successful global company," Angel droned, showing his boredom in his words. He moved to his chair and sat back down, before continuing, "And you've worked here for what? A couple of years?"

"Four," Penn replied hoarsely.

"And in those four years, has it occurred to you who runs this company?"

"Angel, look, I'm just saying-"

"Penn, who runs this damn company?" Angel demanded, leaning over his desk. Penn squirmed in his seat, showing none of his usual cool demeanor and callus business sense at that moment. Angel lowered his voice and repeated, "Who runs this company?"

"Mrs. Angelus," Penn answered weakly, gripping the sides of his chair in white knuckled nervousness. He looked up in shock as Angel laughed heartily at his answer.

"Yes," Angel replied, "My wife runs this company. The rumors about me not making any decisions are true. People say that I'm a decoration on her arm. Well, guess what? Right again."

Angel paused a second to let the shock run through his employee. Everyone in the company would tell you, should you sit still long enough, that Liam Angelus was simply a man lead around by his cock and that his wife held all the power. It had not gone unnoticed that no decision Buffy ever made was contradicted by her husband. In fact, if any opposition came up, he reinforced her move, no matter how strange it seemed.

"Just because she is beautiful and blonde, doesn't mean that her authority should be undermined," Angel added seriously, "Buffy runs this company. If you have a problem with a decision she's making, then you need to take it up with her...and a great deal more politely than you brought it up with me. I am not the key to changing her mind. Know why?"

"No," Penn lied uncomfortably.

"Yes, you do," Angel protested, "Why don't I care?"

"You never cared about this company," Penn answered finally, "You have never shown one ounce of concern for its welfare. You spend more time golfing and playing chaperone on your children's field trips than you ever have in the office." Gathering steam and anger, Penn continued, "You let your wife and that smart ass, flaming bitch side kick of hers to control everything!"

"Exactly," Angel agreed nonchalantly, "I could care less if Buffy took an interest in ant farms and spent all day staring at them while the company goes down the drain. What I care about, Penn, is my wife's happiness and my family. That's it. End of list. The minute she gets tired of working, she's done. This corporation ranks about as high as my gym socks. The only reason I even show up is because Buffy wants my help from time to time. I don't give a shit if you dislike her or if you hate Faith, but you will respect them. Get used to it, buddy, your boss is a woman and she has more power than most people on the West Coast."


like magic in the hand
when i lose my sparkle, she's the only one that understands

Since Angel didn't really handle that many things in the company - just a few details here and there that Buffy didn't want to do - he was able to wrap things up quickly. He gave instructions to his secretary, Cassie and made all the travel arrangements for their family trip to Ireland. Considering how quickly they were leaving, he paid a pretty penny for four first class tickets overseas.

"Cassie?" Angel asked as his secretary headed toward the door, "One more thing. Is Faith in the office today?"

"Yes sir," Cassie chirped, happily. "She's in Mrs. Angelus' office."

"Great," he said, unfolding himself from his chair and standing up, "I'm headed that way and then we'll be leaving tomorrow morning. Please make sure that whatever calls come in for myself or my wife are diverted to Faith McDonald. She will be controlling all top priority decisions while we're gone, which means, don't call us."

"Course sir," she answered with a smile and cheerful wave. She already knew that all calls went to Faith. She hadn't transferred a phone call to him that wasn't family related in years. In fact, the only thing she did for him was redirect things in other directions. Much time was left during the day for long lunches and rousing games of Solitare. "Have fun in Ireland!"

Angel strode languidly down the hallway to his wife's plush office and stopped just outside her door, eyeing a strange sight. His normally impeccably dressed wife was in her office in a little tank top and cut off shorts, which needless to say was unheard of while she was working. Course, she wasn't working. She couldn't be when they had specifically discussed that she would take a day off.

The fact that she was in the office at all really wasn't what was bothering him, though. She was leaning over her desk, writing down something - no doubt, a long list of things for Faith to do while she was gone - and the top of her little shirt gaped open giving a tantalizing view of her breasts. Her male secretary, Connor, whose existence Angel begrudgingly tolerated, was staring down her shirt with a lustful look on his young face.

Angel cleared his throat loudly, causing Connor to swivel in his chair toward the sound. Guiltily, he faced the husband of the woman he had been having wet dreams about for the past couple of years. "Mr. Angelus," he croaked out, pulling on the edge of the desk to roll his chair to it.

"Connor," Angel answered in greeting. Stepping closer, Angel propped his hands on the boy's desk and leaned over, "Ogling my wife is something I can't control, but if you ever make a pass at her you'll be out of a job. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," Connor answered nervously, trying to hide the scowl of contempt that curled over his face. He hated Angel more than any other person. He couldn't understand how Buffy could be married to someone so obviously unworthy of her affections. Liam Angelus went out and played golf while his wife worked her ass off and did next to nothing to help her. Despite that fact, they seemed deeply in love, which made him even more furious.

"Good boy," Angel growled before standing up straight and heading into her large office. He watched a moment from the doorway, knowing his large frame was blocking Connor's view of her full breasts. He felt a tightening in his groin as he always did when he first saw her. Over ten years of being with her and he still had a erection every time she crossed his path. Some things never changed.

"Somebody's totally busted," Faith said grinning from the corner. Her feet were propped up on a coffee table while she lounged on Buffy's leather couch. "We're both supposed to have the day off, B," Faith reminded her, "So I'm gonna go before your lump tells Linds."

"I'm sure you're terrified of what Lindsey would say," Buffy said dryly as Faith headed out the door, checking Angel playfully with her hip as she did.

It had taken Lindsey three times as long to drag Faith to the alter as Angel had to convince Buffy to marry him. Sometimes, over beers, they both chuckled on how hilarious it was that they, of all people, had begged their women to marry them. They both would have been happy to remain bachelors forever a couple of months before they met their wives. Course, Lindsey was still trying to talk Faith in bearing his children. Angel and Buffy had both joked that he would be fatherless for life unless some unforeseen miracle occurred.

"Faith!" Buffy called out, "Remember, the Gregory case-"

"Got it, Pollyanna," Faith called back without breaking her stride, "Get the hell outta here!"

Buffy smiled invitingly at Angel as he stepped in and swung the door shut. She wrapped her arms around him and nuzzled his neck before kissing him hungrily. "You're not going to charm your way out of this one," Angel rumbled, "You were supposed to be home today."

"I just needed to-" Buffy started and then squealed as he picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder. "Angel!" she shouted in protest, "Put me down! I have work to do! Just a few more hours and then after I make sure everything is done...Angel!"

"Promise me, we're leaving right now or I'm carrying you out of the building this way," Angel said, holding her squirming body firmly against his broad shoulder.

"Angel, please!" Buffy pleaded, "Just a few more hours. I'll be home way before dinner and have plenty of time to pack for our trip."

"Alright," Angel sighed, grinning when she relaxed and prepared to be set back on her feet, only to start kicking and wiggling again when he said, "Guess I'm going to have to carry you out."


i wake up weird in the middle of the night

That evening, Angel checked and double checked the security system and all of the doors and windows in the mansion before he settled uneasily in bed, curling around Buffy. He laid in quietly, softly caressing his wife's stomach in an effort to calm himself, but only managed to become more agitated. He had kept the door open a crack every night for the past three and had kept his ears sharply tuned to every sound in the house.

During the day, the possibilities of his house being broken into seemed far away and nearly impossible, but at night tension soaked through him. If they could just get through one more night, he would have them all safely on a plane to Ireland. He curled more tightly around her body and closed his eyes, burying his face in her blonde curls, inhaling that familiar, precious scent.

"We're safe," Buffy whispered finally, caressing the large hand covering her belly.

"I know," he choked out in a tone that was less than believable. Slowly, she turned over in bed and looked into his eyes in the dark, which were glittering pooled mirrors of tense fear. "Angel," she whispered again, "Do you think after all this time he'd try something? We're safe, honey."

"I think he's been out of jail for three nights," Angel growled in the darkness, "And he's had ten years to think about getting his revenge. He's in Sunnydale, love. He'll come. I don't know when, but I'm not going to close both eyes until he does."

"He's not that stupid," Buffy chided in a strangled voice. She didn't want to admit that she had been worried too, that she checked the windows and doors when Angel wasn't looking, knowing he had just done that himself. Riley Finn had sent at least a letter a year to the mansion since he'd been in jail, sometimes more. They both knew he hadn't forgotten.

"When he comes close to you or the girls..." Angel warned.

"Don't," Buffy whispered. It hadn't escaped her notice that he said "when," not "if." She snuggled against him and tried to soothe him with soft whispers and gentle caresses, but three nights of rigid fear had left her exhausted. It was only a matter of minutes before she was asleep against his chest.

Angel held her tightly as she slept, struggling to keep himself awake without leaving her side. After almost a decade of marriage, he still couldn't believe that she was his, that his daughters were from her body. It was like a long, wistful dream that he suddenly was afraid he would wake from. The prospect of everything turning nightmarish was frightening. Every night he thought about hunting Finn down and killing him just for peace of mind. It was a strange feeling to think that murder would ever bring anyone peace, but in this case he was willing to make an exception.

He must have fallen asleep as well, because he woke with a start when he heard a scream coming from the direction of his daughters' room. Foggily, he untangled himself from his wife's warm body and moved to stand. Just the twinge of sleep he had been afforded was enough to make him forget, even momentarily, that he had spent more time in wakeful terror than pleasant slumber.

"Molly," he yawned as if Buffy had asked him a question, "Just another nightmare-"

He interrupted himself as he realized that the scream of terror was not one of his daughters, but both of them. He bare feet slapped against the floor as he ran toward the door, but halted as he heard Buffy's terrified gasp and the sound of her jumping from bed. "Stay here," he commanded harshly, barely seeing her slender silhouette scrambling from the bedclothes in the darkness.

"Angel!" Buffy shouted, following him closely, unwilling to be commanded when her children were screaming.

"I can't lose you," he choked out hoarsely as if he had been torn in half, "Please stay here." He closed the door behind him and followed the sounds of screams. Halfway to their room, he heard heavy footsteps behind him and spun, kicking his leg out to strike at someone who made a much larger sound than Buffy could have made.

"Bloody hell," Spike whispered harshly, jumping out of the way. "It's me, you bleeding moron."

Without apology, Angel ran forward once more, livid with his brother for slowing him down, even if he only meant to help. A few long strides later, he burst through the door to the room his two daughters shared and flipped on the light. Spike nearly slammed into his brother's bare back as he skidded to a halt behind him.

"Daddy," Kathy sobbed. She ran across the room as fast as her eight year old legs would carry her with one hand attached to her equally mortified six year old sister. The two Angelus girls were like night and day normally. Kathy had her father's velvety brown eyes and chocolate locks. She had high cheekbone and sculpted features. She was tall and slender, a spitting image of Angel's late sister. Molly, on the other hand was tiny and petite, a bursting ray of sunshine with blonde hair and green eyes like her mother.

Normally, Molly was braver, even though she was the younger one. She had a motherly demeanor that was odd for a six year old. At that moment, however, they were both crying and clinging to their fathers as he stared at the battered criminal coming slowly to his feet.

From the time they were old enough to walk, Molly and Kathy Angelus had been trained in self defense, not only by their father but by Uncle Spike. Both men had vowed that no one would hurt the girls the way that Buffy had been hurt. Knowing that they were trained weekly did nothing to stop Angel and Spike's shock at seeing a felon on the floor of their bedroom, clutching his head while he clambered to his feet.

"Go check on Mommy," Angel said brusquely, pointing in his daughters in that direction and giving them a nudge without taking his eyes off of Riley. Addressing his brother, he barked, "Go make sure they're okay, Spike, and then call 911. Tell them I just killed an intruder."

"You arrogant fuck!" Riley cried as Spike left the room. He hadn't expected the children to fight back and was completely caught off guard when a hard object struck his temple. The surprise of their little hands and feet had actually knocked the wind out of him. He was prepared, however, for what Angel was going to deal out and he took a deep breath as the only person he truly hated stepped toward him.

Spike walked down the hallway quickly to check on the girls, reaching for Drusilla as she met him down the hall. She was shaking and moaning quietly as she felt the impending death fill the house. He tugged her toward his brother's bedroom and closed the door firmly behind them, but the solid oak did nothing to block out the sound of blows striking human flesh.


something bad is going to happen
i can feel it deep inside
there are shadows all around me
like a bad moon on the rise

Buffy was already out in the hallway and creeping toward her daughters' room when her two girls came running toward her at a frantic pace, their faces sheet white and their mouths hanging open in silent screams.

"He cut the window," Kathy sobbed, hitching terrified breaths as she clung to her mother, "And I woke up when he climbed in and then he was coming over to our beds and I knew it wasn't you or Daddy and I picked up the alarm clock and threw at him and hit him in the head."

"I screamed," Molly explained tearfully as Buffy extracted herself from her daughters' vice grips to check on them, looking for wounds or bruises on their bodies, "And Kathy got up and kicked him, Mommy, so I ran and hit him at hard as I could in the sullen plexy."

"Solar plexus, Nibblet," Spike offered quietly, ruffling her blonde hair. Buffy looked up and smiled at him gratefully, but as her gaze shifted over to Dru, she froze. Dru was trembling violently and her dark eyes were filled with terror and pain. Her mouth was clamped closed in a thin line as if only the children's presence kept her wails at bay.

"That's what I said," Molly sniffled defensively.

"Stay here with them," Buffy said crossing the room and gripping Spike's hand, "Make sure he doesn't hurt them."

"Buffy, don't go in there, pet," Spike said, squeezing her hand gently, "Let your big ponce of a husband take care of him."

"He's here because of me," Buffy said, looking down at her nightgown with despair, which was just one of Angel's shirts. She had been sure to wear one to bed every night since Riley was released and now she wished she had gone to bed fully clothed instead. "He hurt Angel before," Buffy whispered, hoping the girls wouldn't overhear, "And I can't let him hurt him again."

"What if he hurts you, love?" Spike offered as Buffy tiptoed from the room, intent on stopping the nightmare once and for all. Buffy shook her head and hurried from the room, urged on once she was in the hallway by the sound of Riley and Angel fighting.

She stopped just inside the doorway and looked on at the combat. Angel and Riley were both bleeding and bruised, trading fierce blows. Riley had bulked up while he was in prison. He looked like a giant looming over her husband, casting a dark shadow. His eyes, which used to be blue and almost innocent looking, were filled with an murderous, icy glare that made her want to run away, take her daughters and not look back.

She gasped out loud as Angel flipped Riley onto his back. Riley roared as he hit the floor and then reached behind him, flinging a large dagger-like knife into Angel's shoulder. He jumped to his feet and retrieved his weapon, yanking it roughly from Angel's body. Angel grunted in pain as the knife was pulled from his body. He saw it coming again and tried to dodge the blade, but was slightly too slow to avoid being cut.

"Bitch," Riley sneered as he looked in her direction, "I was hoping you'd show. Looks like all my time spent studying this house worked to my advantage. Your security system is shit, you know that?" He dodged a blow from Angel and kicked out, forcing him to the floor. Riley stomped down on Angel's back and a sickening crack reached Buffy's ears. "Too bad I didn't wait to get a gun first," Riley sneered, pointing the bloody knife at her, tilting it back and forth for her to see, "or you'd all be dead by now."

"Get away from him and deal with me," Buffy demanded as clearly as she could over the lump in her throat. "It's me you want, not Angel."

"Buffy, get out of here," Angel shouted, bucking against Riley's leg and reaching out to knock him back. A scream erupted from Angel as Riley stabbed through Angel's right arm and stomped on him harder.

"No, sweetheart," Riley sneered. "You're wrong. He was the one who ruined everything for me! He took you away. Those little girls should be mine, but instead I've been rotting away in prison! Not rotting, actually. I've learned quite a few things since I've been away."

"Looks like you want to go back," Buffy said, inching forward.

"You stupid bitch," Riley growled out, "You're even more beautiful than I remember. After I kill this bastard, you're going to be mine again."

"You won't make it out this d-door," she stammered, moving forward a little more with every word. "Spike already called the police. You'll never have me. Never again."

"Sunnydale isn't prepared for a hostage situation," Riley explained angrily, slamming the knife into Angel's arm again as he tried to move. "You'll go out the window with me just like I came in and they won't be able to stop me. I know every inch of this house now. An hour from now, you'll be in a warm bed with me again."

With a loud snarl, Angel flipped over and kicked up, knocking Riley back a pace. He scramble to his feet, only to be kicked in the mouth. Blood flew from Angel's mouth and Buffy saw in slow motion, the large knife swinging down. With gasp of terror, she ran forward to save her husband. Her slender, bare leg swung out and she kicked him as hard as she could, striking him in the center of his chest.

Riley stumbled back with the unexpected kick. Buffy closed her hand over her mouth as his black boot landed on Molly's doll. He slipped further and trying to regain balance, was propelled backward. He let out a deafening scream as he fell through the window he had climbed in. Buffy fell to her knees beside Angel with a muffled sob, burying her face in his shoulder. Bloody arms wrapped around her as he crooned in her ear, trying to drown out the sound of Riley screaming and falling to his death.

"You're safe," Angel murmured in her ear as she clung to him, "We're all safe now."

"I thought I was going to lose you," Buffy sobbed into his neck, "I can't live without you. I need you, Angel. We need you."

"Everything's alright now, love," he whispered as Spike, Dru and his daughter came running into the room. He ignored the pain of his body being jostled about as their daughters joined the embrace. Sirens screamed in the distance, getting closer to the house.

"Everything's okay now," Angel assured them all, holding his whole world in his arms as tightly as he could.


The End!


"I want it to be hot, disturbing. Yet gorgeous always." -Anne Rice

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