Fragility by Tango



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

DISTRIBUTION: Of course you can have it! Please let me know though.

SPOILERS: Occurs during "Into the Woods" on BtVS and "Reprise" on Angel. What if Angel went to Sunnydale instead of going home to the hotel and sleeping with Darla? Probably not an original idea, but I hope you all will like it anyway.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

FEEDBACK: Please, please, please!

LYRICS: All lyrics are by Fiona Apple

RATING: Definitely NC-17. *SMUT alert* PLEASE do not read this if you are underage.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know I'm in the process of working on several different projects right now but I took a break tonight to write this one. I just have to go where the muse takes me, which lately, isn't very far. lol This is just a little tension release for me. *G*

DEDICATION: For Lela Rose, who has asked for a one part "Classic Tango" fic. Hope this fits the bill.


//you've got your head in the clouds and you're not at all what you seem//

Buffy sighed with relief as she strolled through the park on a quick sweep before heading out to meet Riley for their "alone time." Dawn was with Xander and Anya for the evening, her mom was recovering in the hospital from her successful surgery and Buffy was free to have a peaceful evening with her honey. She felt like dropping to her knees and sobbing with consolation.

She swung her arms loosely at her sides as she walked through the quiet night and despite herself, her eyes were welling with tears. So much had happened and now she felt she was finally reaching a grace period. Maybe everything would be okay now. Maybe she would get a brief rest from the constant tension she had been feeling. Even as the thought flitted through her mind, her gut twisted with a familiar twinge, a sensual mixture of rapture and misery. She paused for a moment as the feel of her soulmate sunk in and then whipped around when she heard a slight movement in the brush behind her.

"Angel," she breathed, tucking her stake back in her pocket. She looked over the lover who had abandoned her as he approached. His face was twisted in a cold scowl and his jaw was set as he moved forward, not as a friend or lover, but as a predator preparing to seize his prey. She felt like a lost child under his forceful gaze and simultaneously as if the true woman inside her was reemerging, "What are you doing here?"

The thick woods around them made no sound and betrayed no other presence as he pulled her roughly into his arms and smoothed a large hand over her hair, following it over her shoulders and halfway down her back. It was only a caress and with Angel, those gentle touches were symbols of love that lead no further, but as he swept down and captured her mouth in a brutal kiss, she knew tonight his heart held something different entirely. He backed her against a large tree and twined his fingers into her hair as he continued to abuse her mouth. She felt her lips bruising, but couldn't keep herself from returning with equal fervor. He pressed his arousal against her as he dug his fingers into the soft flesh of her hip. After a moment, she gathered her senses and twisted away. Looking over him in disbelief, she demanded, "What the hell do you think you're doing? You can't just waltz into town and-"He cut her off with another kiss and slipped around to cup her ass, pulling her flush against him again. Pulling away as abruptly as he began, he spoke for the first time in a low rumble, "This is what we want. This is what we always wanted, isn't it?"

He didn't wait for her answer, but kissed her lips again, softly this time, pecking at them, teasing until she pushed him away, forcing him back a foot. Her eyes swept over him, flashing with a strange mixture of irritation and arousal.

"Don't play games with me," she said, lower lip trembling as she tried to keep her emotions in check. She had forgotten how well she fit into his arms, how his cool touch burned over her skin, singeing more heat in her than human males ever could.

"I'm not playing," he said, stepping forward again and tracing her delicate jaw line as he spoke, "I just want to feel something besides the cold." He followed the trail his fingers made with his lips, puffing cool unnecessary breaths as he went. He nudged his way between her legs, urging one leg up to his hip, grinding his arousal against her already dripping heat.

"Angel, I don't understand," she groaned as he bent to suckle the scar on her neck. He bit at the scar tissue with his blunt teeth forcing a moan from his mate.

"Don't you feel the cold, Buffy? Everything is...cold...numb...dead..." he whispered against her skin, smoothing his hand over her shirt and sliding his hand slowly up the valley between her breasts. He inched his way up to her modest neckline before ripping the material from her body, watching with golden imbued eyes as her breasts were bared to his gaze.

"Angel!" she shouted in protest at his actions. She covered her chest and glared at him, "What are you doing?"

"It doesn't matter," he muttered as he gently pulled her arms away from the delectable flesh she was covering, "None of it matters."

She surprised herself when she didn't rebuff his next kiss or the wandering hands that traced her spine. She tried to focus on the soul dangerously hanging in the balance or the boyfriend who was probably waiting for her, but she couldn't. Instead she pushed his leather jacket from his shoulders and let it fall to the ground behind them. Tiny fingers flew over the buttons of his shirt as he suckled her breasts, biting at her nipples. He rid of her of her jeans and panties, tossing those, along with her shoes, aside.

Once she had his shirt off and away from his chiseled chest, she rubbed over him, amazed at the feel of him again. His pale, marble skin was readily available to her lips, tongue and teeth and she took full advantage. Her feast was interrupted when he tugged her to the ground and laid her on the pile of clothes. She whimpered as he moved away to unzip his pants and tug them off. He settled between her thighs swiftly, nudging them further apart as he traced her moist opening with the tip of his cock.

"We...oh God, Angel, we can't," she gasped as he pushed at her dripping core. He pulled her hand down and curled her fingers around the base of his cock, wrapping his hand around hers for a moment before moving away. He waited for her to guide him and was forced to wait several long seconds until she moved, giving her consent. When he finally seated himself all the way inside of her, burying himself to the root, they moaned in pleasure together. She clenched around him and tears squeezed from her eyes as she arched against his movements.

Every kiss added warmth to her long cold flesh as he began moving inside her, harder and deeper with each thrust. They bucked against each other under the moon in a caustic dance of flesh, each connection was another slice of proof of their eternal love. Their lovemaking had a violence to it that would have been harmful if they were with someone else, but the raw, aching need forced them into clashing waves of liquid force.

He growled, revealing the demon he wasn't trying to keep hidden and she tossed her head back in invitation, abandoning any rational thought. Growling against his mark on her, he didn't even contemplate another option as he sunk his fangs into her bared throat. As her blood poured over his tongue, as he rolled her essence in his mouth, she came violently screaming in release, her voice breaking. He lapped at her wound, sealing the broken flesh as he slammed inside her with renewed fervor, fed by the blood of the Slayer. She writhed beneath him, wrapping her legs around his waist as she lost herself in the throes of ecstasy, flexing around her lover inside and out.

Buffy was certain he would never stop, that she would keep climaxing until she died in his arms and she couldn't make herself care. Years she dreamed of being awakened again like this, of being with the one man, the one demon who filled her mind, body and soul as no other creature could. As she felt the tension building for his orgasm, she closed her eyes and moved with him, waiting for the moment that would cost him his soul.

"What happened?" she whispered as they laid half in the grass, half on their scattered clothing. Her head was resting on his chest which heaved artificial breaths and she listened to a heart that hadn't beat in over two hundred years. He didn't answer her question as he idly caressed her bare back. Instead, he stared up at the sky as if the stars could answer all of his questions about life and death.

"Don't make me beat it out of you," she said, sitting up to rest her head in her hand so that she could look at his face. She saw more emptiness there than she ever feared and stilled the shiver inside her as she waited. For the first few minutes, she didn't actually think he would answer her, then finally the story came pouring out. He couldn't meet her eyes as he told her about Doyle and his heroic death. He bared every detail about Darla and his firing of his staff, confessing to the stars. The time that had passed them by disappeared as he told her every feeling, every piece of information, leaving out only the forgotten day.

When he was finished speaking, she touched his face, her fingers trembling with the knowledge of his life without her. She waited for him to look at her before she asked, "You came to me to lose your soul, didn't you?"

He looked away but she grabbed his chin and turned his face to her, "That's why you came to me, isn't it?"

"Yes," he choked, bravely meeting her furious green eyes, "I'm sorry, Buffy. I know it's not fair."

"You're damn right, it's not fair," she said, sitting up and scrambling to her feet, "Did it ever occur to you what it would do to me if I had to go through that again? My friends? My sister? My mother?"

She picked up her shirt and held the tatters in her hand for a moment before scooping up his and putting it on, "I thought you loved me, Angel! How could you knowingly try to release...*him* again? I can't deal with that again. I won't live through it this time."

"Buffy," he said, rising to his feet as well and grabbing her shoulders to keep her still before him, "I'm sorry. I just needed to take comfort in only person who has ever been able to comfort me. I didn't mean...Baby, I do love you. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here."

"I have a boyfriend," she protested, pulling away from him and pulling on her jeans, "A boyfriend and a mother who's in the hospital and a sister who...never mind. Why would you care about my problems anyway?"

Angel slipped on his pants and said gently, "I do care. I want to hear about it."

"Why?" she shouted, "You're just going to lose your soul in few minutes and try to kill me!"

"No, I'm not," he said, shaking his head sadly, "That wasn't perfect happiness, love. That was absolute desperation. I won't lose my soul. Not this time."

"That figures," she said as she rooted around for her shoes.

"What do you mean by that?" he asked, watching her closely. She ignored him until he forced her to stop and look at him again. He spoke in a low voice as he repeated his question, "Buffy, what do you mean by that?"

"‘You've got a lot to learn about men, kiddo,'" she whispered, quoting Angelus' words from all those years ago, "‘Although, I guess you proved that last night.'" Her voice cracked as she said it and the tears she had been holding in escaped, rolling down her face in sorrowful acceptance of the horrible truth she had been keeping with her all this time. The skies nodded their agreement as rain began to pelt gently around them, rising in ferocity with each passing second. She gulped and continued, "I know you didn't l-like making love to me, Angel. You don't have to try and make me think you did. I d-don't know why you came here tonight."

"Oh my God," he groaned as they both ignored the rain that was now pouring from a furious sky. He wanted to stake himself when he thought about all the time that had passed with those awful lies finding truth in her memory. It never occurred to him that she actually believed anything his souless counterpart had said. Thunder crashed in the sky, marking his words as he explained, "Buffy, I didn't have a soul when I said that. That wasn't me. It's not sex that brings perfect happiness, love, it's you."


"I didn't spend a hundred years in celibacy before I met you," he confessed, "I slept with Darla again after I regained my soul and one other woman later."

"You did?" She asked, eyes wide in her sad face. He nodded and then cupped her face as he continued, "Buffy, it's you. It's always been you. Angelus was trying to hurt you. That's why he said that. It wasn't true."

"But you left," she said, shoulders trembling with oncoming sobs.

"I left because I love you," he said pulling her into his arms, "I left because I was killing you...inside. You were smothering in the dark with a freak would couldn't touch you without putting the world in danger. I would have given anything to stay with you, but all I had to give was my soul."


//i have never been so insulted in all my life

i could swallow the seas to wash down all this pride//

Riley stood in the pouring rain and watched as Buffy lost herself in her ex-lover's arms. She poured out her heart to the demon, snuggling against cold vampiric flesh as she told him everything that had happened since he left. She was wearing Angel's silk shirt as she curled up in his lap. He rocked her like a child as she sobbed, setting loose the bottled emotions he was never fit to hear or see. Riley was prepared to walk away when he heard his name and moved closer, leaning in to listen to her broken words.

On rain drenched lips, she confessed that she never loved him, that she only loved the vampire. He fought the urge to throw his head back in maniacal laughter at the final truth. He knew it all along. He knew when he saw the way she looked at Angel the first time he met him. He knew every time he made love to her that she wished he was someone else - someone dead...or undead.

He absently rubbed the bandage on his lower arm that hid the bite marks. He had tried so hard to embrace the darkness she craved, to understand it, but he only came back feeling more empty, more disgusted, more dirty. When he thought about that monster fucking his girlfriend, he felt bile rise up in his throat.

He stood and stumbled away from the couple, blindly making his way through the storm while he was tossing another around inside. He wanted nothing more than to close his eyes and make it all go away, but there was no turning from the truth. Buffy Summers did not love him. She loved a bloodsucking fiend, a thing whose heart didn't beat.


//so darlin' i just wanna say

just in case i don't come through

i was on to every play

i just wanted you//

On the other side of the lovers, another stood, dripping as the others were with love, sorrow and rain. Spike watched his Sire holding the tiny, trembling body of the woman he loved and cursed under his breath. He couldn't believe that he almost believed the Poof was no longer a threat. He contemplated causing a scene when he saw Riley stumbling away out of the corner of his eye. He cast a final glance at his Grande Sire and the Slayer before following the boy.

It seemed strange to Spike that Riley wouldn't even confront his cheating girlfriend, that he would walk away without a fight. If it were him, he would have gone in and beat the living shit out of the pansy before he went anywhere. Why Riley would come into *his* lair and stab a fake stake through *his* chest, but leave without a word to Angel didn't make any sense. He was hardly more of a threat than Angel.

He followed the boy to the shadier part of town and inside a sagging little house with broken windows. He knew before he entered that it was a lair, or a flophouse for vamps, actually. It reeked of blood and death. There were fledges all around and the tiny bit of snob inside William the Bloody turned his nose at their lesser line. They didn't even have the decency to find a suitable crypt and inflict themselves on the populace. Instead they were sucking blood for money from wankers like Riley Finn.

At first he thought Riley was going to take his anger out on the nest and start staking vamps left and right. He was a little surprised when the vampires ignored him, comfortable with his presence. When he gave a little, dark haired female vampire a handful of cash and settled into a spot on a bare mattress, Spike backed out of the house. When Buffy found out about this, she would be through with Finn. Angel would leave and he would have her all to himself. He felt a smile tugging the corners of his mouth as he tramped back out to the woods.


//just go back to the rock under which you came

take the sorry you gave and all the stakes you claim//

"Buffy?" Dawn called out tentatively as walked through the second floor of the Summers' house. She knocked loudly on Buffy's bedroom door before pushing it open a crack and yelling inside. The last thing she wanted to see was Buffy and Riley boinking. When no answer came, she pushed the door open a little further and peaked inside. She wasn't surprised to see Buffy in bed with a large, handsome man, but she was shocked to see that he was Angel rather than Riley.

"OH MY GOD!" she shouted, backing away. Buffy and Angel both looked up at the screaming teenager and blinked awake.

"It's okay, Dawnie," Buffy said, tiredly, "He's still Angel."

"Hi Dawnie," Angel said as he yawned.

"What about Riley?" Dawn whispered.

"Oh God," Buffy groaned, falling back against the pillows, "What am I going to do? What are *we* going to do?"

"Dawn," Angel said gently, "Could you give us a minute?"

He waited until Dawn pulled the door shut and padded away before pulling Buffy into his arms and kissing her forehead, trying to think of anything but the fact that she was naked and in bed with him.

"Are you leaving?" she asked finally, breathing her question over his bare skin, wondering why the hell they hadn't put on more clothes when they shed the wet ones because now they were flesh to flesh, touching skin everywhere.

"I don't know," he admitted, "I hadn't gotten that far."

"If you're leaving me again," she said numbly, "Then go now. I need to figure out how to clean up this mess."

"Don't," he said, gritting his teeth, "Don't shut me out now."

"Why not?" she said flippantly, slipping from his arms and the bed. She opened her closet and pulled on her robe as she spoke, knowing that he was watching her every movement, "You're just going to leave me again and I have shit to do. I have to take care of Dawn and go see Mom in the hospital. Then I guess I'll go tell my boyfriend that I screwed my creature of the night ex-boyfriend when I stood him up last night. I'm just trying to figure out how to word that exactly."

"Buffy," Angel said, pulling on his still damp pants, "I didn't come back here to hurt you."

"Really?" she snorted, "Coulda fooled me cause you're doing such a great job."

"How can I possibly stay?" he asked, a shade below a yell, "Nothing's changed. It was stupid of me to come here to begin with."

"You're right," she snapped, "Just go. Leave."


"No," she shouted, "You're great at it. Show me how it's done, lover."

"Godamn it," he said, closing the distance between them, "I love you, Buffy, but I don't know what the hell you expect me to do!"

"Stay," she cried, slamming her fist into his chest, "Stay and love me! Stop leaving! Stop making up excuses! Stop pretending that you're doing the best thing for me because we both know that's not true. You're leaving because you're doing what's best for YOU. This was NEVER about me."

"There's nothing but YOU!" he shouted back, "If this was about me I would hide you away in the dark with me forever."

"No," she said, shaking her head violently, "That's complete and total bullshit."

"It's true," he answered, "The hardest thing I ever did in my entire existence was walking away from you. It hurts every day. Some days I don't know how I'm going to live without you, but I can't stay here and ruin your life. I can't be here while you're wasting away in the dark with a fucking DEMON!"

"You're MY demon," she growled, "And I'm the Slayer. Do you really think I have time to romp around in the sunshine? You know, you spout all this mate crap and go on about how you love me, but did ever occur to you that I die a little more every day that I'm without you? Did you ever stop to think that when you hold me it's better than making love to someone else? I don't want to pretend to have a normal life. I can't have one."

"Yes, you c-"

"Shut up," she snapped, "Just go back to LA and pretend you're doing the right thing. If you want to brood about how you're suffering for my best interest, then go ahead. Don't let me stop you."

He stood there and stared at her as she ranted. She waited for him to speak or move, but he simply stood there in shock until she screamed, "LEAVE, ANGEL!"

"It's day," he muttered, nodding at the closed blinds.


//don't you tell me to deny it

i've done wrong and i wanna stuffer for my sins//

Angel waited all day for Buffy to come back, to call, to scream or beat the shit out of him, but she didn't. He hadn't expected that reaction from her. He expected her to be angry and hurt, but she was livid. When night fell, he found himself on the front porch, still weighing his options. Finally, he propelled himself into action. He swept all the parks and graveyards after stopping by the Magic Box and found no trace of Buffy. He was three blocks from Willow's when he heard an old familiar voice, "Hey Peaches. I see you fucked everything up again."

"Bite me," Angel growled, not bothering to even cast a glance in the direction of his childe.

"Love to," Spike said with a grin as he fell in step with his Grand Sire, "But before we have old time fun, there's something you should know about your mate's boy toy."

"What?" Angel said, stopping in his tracks and turning to face the bleach blonde vampire who had ceased to smile.

"Captain Cardboard's been paying vamps to bite him," he confided, stepping in a bit closer, "Followed him last night after he witnessed your reunion with the Slayer."

"Where's the lair?"

"Burned to the ground," he said, "I spent an interesting evening with your girl while you were looking in all the wrong places. Guess I know her a little better than you do these days."

"Where is she now?" Angel demanded, ignoring Spike's little comment, "Or better yet, where is he?"

"They're both at the Magic Box," Spike said, puffing up proudly at his knowledge of the Sunnydale happenings, "Maybe they're working out their differences."

"I'm sure they are," Angel said, turning in that direction.

"You could smell him on her, couldn't you?" Spike asked, prodding his Sire as much as possible while he had the chance, "He's probably already inside her again right now, fucking away the memory of you."

"Shut up, Spike," Angel warned, moving more rapidly toward his destination.

"Why?" Spike asked, easily keeping up, "Why are you even going there? Do you really plan to stay? Think you can just sweep through town whenever you want and break her heart again?"

"You're in love with her," Angel said, stopping and slowly pivoting to face his childe again, "You're in love with my mate."

Spike glared back, "Someone's gotta love her."


//you made me a shadowboxer baby

i wanna be ready for what you do

i been swinging all around me

cause i don't know when you're gonna make your move//


"We need to talk," Riley said as Buffy pummeled the punching bag in front of her. Between Riley, Angel and Spike she had enough anger to keep up her heart rate for hours to come.

"I'm not ready to talk to you yet," she answered, continuing her abuse of the innocent bag. Riley walked around and grabbed the bag and held it still, a look of determination covering his face. She stopped punching the bag and fought the urge to punch him, "I'm serious. Unless you wanna fight..."

"So let's fight. We need to have this out, Buffy. Right now."

"And say what, Riley? ‘What were you thinking? How long have you been lying to me?' Nothing you say right now is going to make this better." She turned around and moved angrily away from him, only to find herself spinning around from his grip on her upper arm.

"I realize that," he said, "I just need you to hear me out."

"Fine," she answered, meeting his eyes, "Get your hand off me."

"I think, when this started, it was just some stupid, immature game. I wanted to even the score after you let Dracula bite you."

"I did not *let* Dracula-"

"Dracula bit you?" Angel roared, storming into the room, closely followed by Spike, who was grinning brightly. Nothing like a bit of Angel jealousy and a hopefully a beating of the Fish boy. If he had to, he was willing to live vicariously through Angel's violence.

"Great," Riley groaned, "You're still here? Aren't you due to be leaving her again right about now?"

"Sure would help me out," Spike admitted, leaning against the wall for the show.

"Shut up, Spike!" Buffy shouted, before turning to Angel, "Look, I need to talk to Riley and you're late to get back to brood land. Please don't let


Angel wasn't listening and her statement was stopped as he smoothed a hand over her neck, searching for a bite mark that had since faded away. He growled as he looked over her golden skin, finding only his scar there.

"Get your hands off of her," Riley said, stepping forward, "I think you've touched my girl enough, don't you think?"

Golden eyes flipped up to meet with icy blue ones and Angel snarled as he stepped forward, speaking over a mouthful of fangs, "You're out paying undead whores to suck your blood and you think you have rights to my mate? You won't have to pay me to drink your blood, Finn."

"Angel," Buffy said, stepping between them, "This is not about you. This is about *us.*"

Angel might have winced from her statement if he weren't seething with anger. He pressed against the small hand on his chest, showing his unwillingness to let this one slide, "This *boy* needs to learn some sense."

"Sense?" Riley shouted, stepping closer, nearly at Buffy's back, making her a jealous, testosterone sandwich, "Like ripping my girlfriend's clothes off and fucking her into the dirt? I see you still have that pesky soul, Angel. Is that why you're still here? Didn't get enough?"

"Riley..." Buffy said, turning her back to Angel to face her boyfriend, "I can explain..."

"This isn't your fault, Buffy," Riley sneered, keeping his eyes on Angel, "It's mine. I wanted to know why Angel and Dracula had so much power over you and I'm starting to get it." Slowly, he looked down to meet her eyes, "The vampires...they wanted me completely. My body, my blood. When they bit me, it was beyond passion. They wanted to devour me. All of me. I know it wasn't real. I know it was just physical but the fact that I craved it, that I kept going back, even if it was fleeting...they made me feel like they had such a hunger for me."

"Don't compare Angel to those...whores," Buffy shouted, feeling Angel's anger dangerously coating her back, "Those vampires aren't about feeling! You aren't a passion to them! You're a snack! A willing, idiotic snack!"

"No," he answered, swallowing harshly. He didn't know how he was going to get this out, bare his soul for Buffy while those two vampires were looking on, but he continued, knowing this was his last shot, "I know they feel when they bite me because I feel it every time we're together. It's like the whole world falls away and all there is is you."

"And you don't think I feel the same way about you?" Buffy asked, feeling Angel tense behind her. She felt strident waves of the same tension coming from Spike across the room, "How dare you tell me what I feel?"

"If you loved me, Buffy," he said sadly, "You wouldn't have had sex with Angel last night."


"No, I saw you, Buffy," he said, stepping back, "I saw the way you gave yourself to him in ways you've never given yourself to me. You lost yourself in him, you cried on his shoulder and confided in him. You did all those things that I kept waiting for you to do with me. I can't wait anymore, Buffy."

"What are you saying?" she said, stepping forward, feeling as if she were strung around the room. If Angel was going to leave and Riley was leaving too, then where did that leave her? She glanced over at Spike who had stopped smiling. The strangest thing was coming from the blonde vampire. It was comfort and strength in a blanket of love. She broke the connection and looked back at Riley, feeling odd that in this confrontation, Spike was the one comforting her and Angel was snarling behind her.


"They want me back, Buffy," Riley said, taking another step away as if it would be easier to leave if he did it just a little at a time, "The military. It's deep undercover. No contact with civilians. Transport's leaving tonight...and I'm going to be on it."

"So that's it? Just like that? This is goodbye?"

"Yes," he said quietly, stepping back one more step, "I love you, Buffy, but you don't love me. You love *him.*"

Riley forced himself to look up into the beast's face who had her heart for a second before looking back at her again, "I thought I could live with it. I can't. Not anymore."


"Goodbye, Buffy," he said, before turning and leaving the room, the building, Sunnydale, her life. Buffy blinked back tears as she watched him leave. Mass confusion was wrecking into mountains of fury inside her mind. She felt Angel's stare and she told herself to turn around, face him, but she didn't think she could. Taking a step, she moved to take the path that Riley had.

"Buffy, please talk to me," Angel pleaded at her retreating form.

"Go back to LA, Angel," she said, moving ahead, "I can't take anymore. Not tonight."


//i've come to you because i need guidance to be true

and i just don't know where i can begin//

"A-angel," Willow stuttered, rubbing her eyes sleepily to see if she was imagining things.

"Hi Willow," he said, forcing a grim half smile on his face, "I'm sorry to drop in so late, but I need a favor."

"‘Kay," she said, stepping aside and then after a moment, she added, "Sorry! I invite you in."

"Thanks," he said, winking at her, "I promise to behave myself this time too."

She smiled at him nervously as Oz sat up sleepily in bed, "Hey."

"Hey Oz," Angel said, "Sorry to drop in so late."

"What did you need?" Willow asked quietly, "Does um...does Buffy're..."

"Yes," he answered quickly, "That's why I'm here."

"Oh! Oh, no," Willow said, prepared to dart around for shoes, "Is she in trouble?"

"Not exactly," he said, "I'm the one that needs the help."

"Oh. Are you in trouble?"

"Yes," he said, pouring sadness and regret out to the little witch in palatable waves, "I'm in a lot of trouble, Willow."


//and my big secret - gonna win you over

slow like honey, heavy with mood//

When Angel made it back to Buffy's house dawn was dangerously near, but it was long before breakfast. He was sure the entire house would be asleep, so he was surprised when he let himself in the front door and found Spike sitting on the couch, sipping blood from a novelty mug.

"What are you doing here?" he growled at his Grande Childe.

"I followed the chit home last night," Spike admitted with a shrug, "And she asked me to watch over the Nibblet while she went out to kill some things. I was kinda hoping she'd want to take her aggression out on me instead."

"Get out," Angel growled stepping up to the sofa so that he could more effectively tower over and intimidate Spike.

"Sure, mate," he said, rising to his feet easily, "Doesn't matter if I leave now, I'll be back tomorrow. See, that's the difference between us. I'll be here when you're gone again. I'll be the one she can depend on. She'll understand that one day and when that happens, you'll be a distant memory."

"Stay away from my mate."

"What happens if she won't stay away from me?" Spike asked, raising his scarred eyebrow questioningly, sporting a smirk.

"I'll stake you," Angel said, moving toward the stairs and mounting them quietly, "That should help."

"You'll have to," Spike said softly as he pulled open the front door and prepared to dash out into the dawn.


//my feel for you, boy, is decaying in front of me

like the carrion of a murdered prey

and all i want is to save you, honey

or the strength to walk away//

Angel looked down on his sleeping mate for a moment before slipping off his jacket and shoes. She looked troubled in her sleep, if you could call the light slumber she was in actual sleep. Her brow was furrowed and her hands were curled into fists that clutched the blanket. He slipped into bed with her and pulled her against his chest. The movement woke her immediately and she breathed a sigh before speaking, "Why are you still here, Angel?"

"Because I'm not leaving," he answered flatly, confirming his statement by pulling her in more tightly against him.

"I don't believe you," she answered after a long pause, her voice betraying unfallen tears.

"I went to Willow's last night," he said quietly, "to see if she would help me bind the curse. If you still want me, I won't leave."

"I c-can't," she whispered, "I can't live through you leaving again, Angel."

"You won't have to," he answered, moving his hand over her belly in a slow, comforting caress that was quickly becoming distracting to both them.

"What if she can't bind the curse?" she said, turning over to face him.

"I'll stay as long as you still want me."

"Promise me," she said, voice and eyes brimming with tears. She smoothed a hand over his face as he answered, marveling in the feel of him after so long.

"I promise, love," he answered, as she snuggled in closer. He closed his eyes and rested there for a moment, daring himself to get used to the idea of being with her again when he heard a little voice, muffled against his chest, "Promise me again."

He looked down and met her gaze, which despite his first promise, was still filled with fear and sadness. She clutched his arm as she waited, breathing in short bursts of life against his cool skin.

"I promise," he said, "I'll stay. Forever." He leaned down to kiss her and marvel once again about how passionate she was, how she gave her whole soul in her love. She allowed him to roll on top of her and admitted his weight as he continued to worship her mouth. Before he knew it, he was hard and pressing against her. She mewled in his mouth and arched back against him, wrapping her strong legs around his waist as they ground at each other through their clothes.

She tasted like heaven, so soft and warm and alive, that he couldn't keep himself from lifting the edge of her pajama top and kissing her perfect, bare breasts. He inhaled her arousal and was getting dizzy from the sweet scent of her pooled want as he latched his cool mouth on one of erect nipples. Before he knew it, one of his hands had found it's way into her silky pajama shorts. He groaned against her breasts as his fingers came in contact with her dripping folds.

"Angel," she gasped finally, even as she arched against his invasion, feeling his fingers slip inside her slick heat, "Have to stop."

"Just let me taste you," he whispered against her tight belly, kissing down as he pulled her shorts down and off. She blushed as he spread her legs wider and pressed his face in at the juncture of her thighs, inhaling deeply, "God, you smell so good."

She shuddered as pleasure shot through her body when he lapped up her honey, twisting his fingers in and out of her. Her breaths were coming out in short gasps as he slipped his fingers away and replaced them with his tongue, delving into her silken channel, lapping at her velvet core.

"Angel," she whispered as she pressed herself against his face, lifting her hips from the bed, "Please..."

Smiling against her sweet flesh, he moved up and scraped his teeth over her neglected clit, slipping his fingers back inside of her. She ground out a moan as he sucked the swollen flesh into his mouth and traced it with the tip of his tongue. It was all he could do not to tear off his clothes and seat himself inside her again, but even as he lapped his way closer to tasting her explode in his mouth, he knew that he would not, could not. His cock throbbed as she finally came, writhing beneath him, trembling violently as her inner muscles clamped around his fingers.

He kissed his way back up her body and found her lips again. She was breathing hard life into his mouth as he kissed her, nestled between her thighs. Her arousal was seeping through his trousers as he pressed against her, knowing he was making contact with her now more sensitive clit. Taking the hint, she pressed up, rocking with him. Surrounded by her warmth and wet heat, even if he wasn't inside her, was enough for him to pretend he was making love to her. He ground against her, sucking her tongue into his mouth until finally, he came and moments later she followed. He laid his head against her breasts and breathed heavily, slacked with spent passion against his lover. Willow *had* to find a way to bind his soul because if she didn't forever with Buffy would be a long, long time.


//so i stretch myself across like a bridge

and i pull you to the edge

and stand there waiting//

They had to wait three weeks, two days and fifty seven minutes before Willow found the binding spell and performed it. Buffy was hinged on the final words of the spell, the ones she confirmed with Willow twelve times before the ritual started. She had to be sure when it ended that she could see that he was alright and now that the anticipated moment had finally arrived, what she saw was her lover reeling in writhing pain on the mansion floor.

"Is this what's *supposed* to happen?" Joyce asked, craning her neck as she watched her daughter's normally stoic boyfriend screaming like he was dying. Buffy mumbled a quick "I don't know, Mom," as she hurried to kneel beside him. Why everyone had to be here to witness the ritual was beyond her, but she didn't care as she pulled his head into her lap.

"Angel?" she asked quietly, breathing deep breaths as she looked down on him, sweating and convulsing in her arms, "Are you okay?"

"I don't know," he answered, echoing the same frustration as she had to her mother a few minutes before. This was a new experience for all of them and no one knew if it was supposed to work or when. Willow had tailored the spell specifically for him, so she could only hypothesize what would probably happen. After a few minutes, she helped him to his feet and stumbled back into the bedroom. Easing him to the mattress, she covered him up and perched on the edge, wiping his face with the damp cloth her mother had provided.

When he fell asleep, she tiptoed back into the Great Room where all her friends stood waiting.

"How is he?" Dawn asked, listening for sounds coming from the bedroom.

"He's asleep," Buffy answered, then turned to Willow, "How long will we have to wait until we know it worked?"

"There's only one way to be sure," Willow said uneasily, squirming under the stare of the room.

"Oh, right," Buffy nodded, blushing. The thought of making love to Angel at all again filled her with apprehension and dizzying arousal. She couldn't seem to wrap her mind around the idea that soon she could be in his arms whenever she wanted without worrying about the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

"I s-suppose that would be logical," Giles stammered, breaking into the silence.


//you'll never see the courage i know

its colors' richness won't appear within your view

it'll never glow the way that you glow

your presence dominate the judgements made on you//

Angel slept for three and a half hours and in that time, Buffy did her best to rid the mansion of all the onlookers, wondering how the hell they were going to make this work. She managed to get rid of her mother and Dawn but Xander, Anya, Willow, Oz, Giles and of all people, Spike, refused to leave.

"Buffy?" Angel called from the bedroom and Buffy stood, calling out, "One second!"

"Kay, thanks for your help everyone," she said, gesturing in an unsubtle manner toward the door.

"We have to stay and make sure," Willow said quietly, holding up her bag of supplies, "I brought the stuff for the curse, if we need it."

"Everyone doesn't need to stay," Buffy complained, "Spike, you can leave."

"Uh-uh," he grunted, "No way, Slayer. If Peaches loses his soul, you'll need me for damage control."

"Great," she muttered. She heard Angel moving around in the bedroom and back in that direction, "Why don't you guys leave for an hour or so and then come back?"

"I'm not going anywhere," Xander said, crossing his arms, "I'm staying until we know you're safe."

"I'm safe," Buffy said, "Please just...give us some time."

"Buffy?" Angel called again, his voice sounding as though he were moving closer. Buffy turned and met him at the door, pushing him back in and closing it behind them.

"Are you okay?" she said, looking over him carefully, "Do you still hurt anywhere?" He didn't appear to be wincing in pain or hurt at all. He had a sleepy little smile on his face along with the wanting that had built up over the past three weeks of them being together again. The thought of his hands on her body again was almost enough for her to forget that there were people outside listening to them, waiting.

"I think I'm fine," he said, running a hand over his hair, "I don't feel any different. Are you okay?"

"Yes," she said, leaning against the closed door, "It's just that they're all out there waiting for us to..."

"Oh," he said, his eyes widening, "Oh."

"Yeah," she said, grimacing, "I tried to make them leave, but they're preparing the curse in case they need it."

"Okay," he said, taking a deep breath and then smiling, "Talk about performance anxiety."

He pulled her into his arms and hugged her for a moment before sweeping her off her feet and carrying her to the bed dramatically. She squealed as her feet left floor and she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"We could sneak out," he said, smiling down at her as he sat down on the side of the bed, "There's a window in the bathroom."

"What and disappoint our audience?" she asked with a sly smile, and then sat up in bed, biting her lip nervously, "Do you want to...I mean, should we..."

He leaned in and kissed her gently, "Yes, I want to make love to you," he answered. With that he stood and walked out of the bedroom, leaving her sitting there alone and confused.

"Giles," Angel said, as he entered the Great Room, "Can I speak with you for a second?"

"That was quick," Spike said with a smirk that infectiously took root on Xander's face as well, "A little rusty after all this time, Peaches?"

"Yes, Angel?" Giles said, shooting Spike an irritated glance, which the vampire shrugged off easily. Spike was certainly used to the Watcher's disapproval.


//oh you creep up like the clouds

and you set my soul at ease

then you let your love abound

and you bring me to my knees//

Buffy finally walked in the Great Room, tired of waiting for Angel's return and saw them all shuffling out, much to her shock. Angel was speaking quietly to Giles and shook his hand before her Watcher followed the rest of the group out. Angel stood at the doorway and watched as they all left. Finally, convinced they had departed, he turned out to see her standing there.

He swallowed harshly at the sight of her, hair slightly mussed, a question hovering on her parted lips, body tight with tension. He moved toward her, propelled by the promise of what he had waited years for. She arched her little body against him as he kissed her and he pulled her in closer, feeling her warmth spread through his undead body.

"They're not coming back?" she whispered as his hand made its way up to cup her breast and caress it through her light tank top.

"No," he said, moving to her neck and peppering kisses there, "They're setting up the curse at Giles' house. I said we'd call."

"I love you," she whispered as he licked the scar adorning her neck. She finally allowed the tension to drain from her body and lagged in his arms as he moved to the other side of her neck, biting lightly at her flesh.

"I love you too," he whispered, moving back up to her lips. Growling lightly, he added, "And I want you. I want to be inside you."

"Yes," she whispered, tearing at his clothes. Angel had planned to wait, to take it slow and make love to her, but he couldn't and neither could she. They hoped they had forever to make love, but now, they just needed to be together, to work out the sexual aggression they had been building for weeks and weeks. He smiled as he pulled up her skirt, wondering why she worn one that day and pushed the crotch of her panties aside so that he could feel her. She pulled at the button of his pants, not caring that she pulled it off and sent it flying across the room. The hiss of metal was a welcomed sound as she lower his zipper, released his cock and wrapped her small hand around him.

They went crashing to the floor and Angel tugged her panties to the side, ripping them in the process and plunged inside her. Deeper and harder, they moved against each other, until he scooped her legs up under his arms and spread her wider, moving in as far as he could before rearing back and repeating the process. They grunted loudly as they slammed against each other, crashing into the oblivion they had waited so long for. Angel growled loudly with pleasure as she squeezed around him, bucking up to meet his thrusts. Reaching up, she pulled his head to her neck, flipping her head to the side. Seconds later, he bit in and drank, coming as he tasted her blood. She climaxed with him and tasted remnants of her own blood in his mouth as he kissed her again.

He stood and carried her back to the bedroom, taking a second to pull off her clothes and his before climbing into bed with her. He immediately began kissing over her body, taking in every inch of her when suddenly he was flipped on his back. He gasped in surprise when she began greedily kissing over his flesh as he had just been doing to her.

"My turn," she said between kisses. He purred in satisfaction as her hot little hands moved over his body, touching him everywhere, leaving no patch of cool skin unclaimed. Finally, she wrapped her hand around his erect cock and licked the tip. He moaned in pleasure and forced himself to remain still as she moved her hand up and down his shaft, caressing him as she sucked the swollen head between her lips, swirling her tongue around it. He nearly came when she took all of him in and he felt himself touching the back of her throat. Soft fingers cupped his balls as she began moving, worshiping him as he had her weeks before. He warned her when he was about to come but she didn't move away. Instead, she kept going, increasing the intensity as she swallowed his seed.


//i'll let you see me, i'll covet your regard

i'll invade your demeanor

and you'll yield to me like a scent in the breeze

and you'll wonder what it is about me//

Buffy and Angel both had forgotten entirely about Giles and the group and the phone call that was supposed to be made hours before. Instead, they continued making love until late in the night when someone entered the mansion. Angel released a low growl and got up from bed, listening to the intruder. Whatever it was, it wasn't human. He slipped on his pants quietly and tossed his shirt to her. She put it on quickly and was still buttoning the buttons as he headed out of the room. She stayed with him, swearing to protect him from whatever had come into the mansion.

Angel growled loudly into the Great Room as he sensed the vampiric presence. Buffy was painted at his side, much to his irritation. The last thing he wanted was some vamp smelling her blood and arousal.

"Calm down," Spike said, coming out from the shadows, "I was sent to see if you two were still alive."

"Shit," Buffy complained, realized they had forgotten to call, "Uh...can you tell them we fell asleep?"

"Yeah," Spike said, nodding as he inhaled deeply, taking in her perfect smell, "But we both know that isn't true. In fact, I could tell you some stories about the old Sire here and his-"

"Thanks for stopping by, Spike," Angel said, growling loudly and tucking Buffy behind him as if he could hide her supple skin and deliriously wonderful scent from his childe.

"Don't worry, Poof," Spike said, "I'll go."

He moved toward the door and paused, looking back on them. Lighting a cigarette, he looked back at his Sire and his eyes flashed golden for a second, matching Angel's, "Take care of her, mate."

Before he could answer, his favored childe was gone, leaving the curtains swaying slightly with his absence. He felt Buffy's arms wrapping around him and he turned in her embrace to look down on her sleepy, sated face.

"Come on," she said, tugging him toward the bedroom. Grinning, he followed, settling into the knowledge that she was his again.

Forever this time.

//give me the first taste

let it begin

heaven cannot wait



The End. Please feedback!