Guardian by Tango



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

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human...mostly.

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 let me know if you would like me to continue this!

RATING: NC-17 (It will be at some point anyway.)

AN: I have been battling with the Epilogue of "Abused" lately, when I've had time in my hectic RL and have decided to set it aside for the moment to start this. I'd rather write than be stumped by that final part. I apologize to those who have been waiting for it and I thank everyone who supported that fic.

I am currently working on two other fics in addition to this one, which I hope will reach the light of day soon. One, I am co-authoring with my twin, indie, and the other is being masterminded with my kindred spirit, trammie. In response to other requests, I do hope to add to "Slayers and Witches and Vampires, Oh My" sometime soon and I have not forgotten "Portraits." My muse is a bit rascally, so I appreciate everyone's patience. Thanks!


Rupert Giles practiced his best clipped tone of voice and expressionless face as Liam Angelus was lead into his library and personal office. He stared through the window and kept his back to his visitor, looking out at his daughter sparring with one of his men in the back of the house. He scruntized every slight muscle movement, making mental notes to guide her improvement later.

"Mr. Angelus," Wesley announced in a butleresque tone. Giles' employee and friend often posed in a servant capacity, allowing him to overhear conversations and appear neutral. They found that people often ignored servants as if they weren't in the room, sometimes not even noticing their presence. They often gathered needful information that way. Angel, however, knew a dangerous man when he saw one. He also knew fear when he saw it, which was exactly what was written all over his potential employer's face.

"Thank you, Wesley," Giles said, turning slowly as if he didn't fear the man who had just stepped inside his home. He nodded curtly at Wesley and waited until he left the room before turning his eyes on Angelus, "Welcome, Mr. Angelus. I trust your journey went well."

"Yes," Angel answered, regarding the other man through guarded, dark eyes. He never betrayed a single emotion to his potential employers, but in this case he was fairly certain his irritation of being called here would come through quickly.

"Excellent," Giles answered, keeping with the pleasantries, "Can I offer you a drink?"

"No thank you," Angel said, seating himself without invitation on the opposite side of Giles' desk, "I'm assuming you've called me halfway across the world for a reason?"

"Yes," Giles answered, "I have an assignment which requires your finesse. It's of the utmost importance to me and I am willing to pay twice your normal fee to have it carried out successfully."

"Twice?" Angel asked, raising an eyebrow. "Who's the target?"

"My daughter," Giles answered coolly, waiting for the expected reaction and finding none. Angel simply nodded and waited for further instruction. Giles took a deep breath and continued, leaning forward confidentially and speaking in a low voice, "I don't wish for you to kill my daughter, Mr. Angelus. Only an imbecile would hire a cold blooded killer to take out his own flesh and blood."

"Assassin is more appropriate," Angel answered calmly, "and you'd be surprised." Leaning forward, mimicking Giles' movement he asked, "If you don't want me to kill her, then why am I here?"

"I want you to protect her."

"You want to hire a bodyguard," Angel answered, unfolding his large body and rising to his feet, "That's not my line of work."

"Mr. Angelus," Giles said sharply, "Making money for performing dangerous tasks is your line of work and I assure you, this job will be both dangerous and lucrative. My daughter has been protected by the anonymity of her parentage and shielded from danger until her mother died and she was delivered to me. Now that it's been made common knowledge that I have a child, I have received hordes of threats on her life. The only way to keep her from being assassinated or kidnapped to keep her under the supervision of the most dangerous man I can think of. Your reputation proceeds you, *Angel,* and there isn't a man in the underbelly of the criminal world who isn't afraid of you."

"You would know," Angel bit out darkly, "But I'm not a babysitter. I think I've made that clear. Besides, what makes you so sure I won't rape her or kill her myself? I could sell her on the black market easily for more than what you're offering."

"Everyone else might assume that just because you kill things for a living that you have no honor, but I think we both know better," Giles answered feeling completely calm for the first time since the assassin walked through his door, "I studied you thoroughly before I invited you into my home. I didn't build my fortune or power by being naive. You, sir, are the only assassin out of the whole bloody lot of pillocks out there who has never botched a job and has never turn coated for the highest bidder. That's what makes you so dangerous and that's why you're the only man I would trust with my child."


Angel was still in a foul mood when he returned to Los Angeles from England. He entered his hotel silently, still brooding on his latest mistake. Why on earth he had agreed to take on temporary guardianship of Buffy Summers was beyond him. He didn't need the money, despite the large sum Rupert Giles dangled in front of his nose, nor did he need the headache of taking on a job that required more of him than just the normal hunt and kill.

He didn't care about the money or the girl or even the challenge she would undoubtedly prove to be. The truth was the constant blood on his hands was becoming harder and harder to wipe clean. Every assignment he had completed in the last six months was just another step toward his last. The feel of a weapon in his hands was too familiar and he knew that his soul was perilously close to disappearing altogether.

He routinely inspected the hotel for signs of tampering or intrusion, methodically examining all of the rooms and the secured basement before checking the messages on the machine. There were three and he wearily leaned on the counter as he listened. The first was from his sister, Faith, announcing that she was off with yet another fuck buddy and that she had taken a grand from the safe. The second was from his only true friend, Spike, telling him a bit more rudely what Faith had just said in the previous message and the third was from Giles, leaving only the time and date that Buffy would appear on his doorstep.

Picking up the phone, he dialed waiting for a familiar feminine voice to answer. "I'm back in town," he said into the receiver, smiling at the purr of pleasure coming back at him, "Busy tonight?" Thirty minutes and a hot shower later, he was strolling back out of the front doors.


Buffy Summers walked with Wesley Wyndom-Pryce from the gate to the curb of the airport where he walked past the cabs and looked intently at each one before he chose the taxi that looked the safest. She rolled her eyes and shook her blonde head as they climbed inside.

"Do I really have to do this?" Buffy asked for the hundredth time since they left England. She had hardly even gotten used to living abroad and mourning her mother's death, not to mention learning the identity of her father. Now she was being dropped into the custody of some strange man, who they would tell her nothing about except that he would protect her.

"Buffy," Wesley sighed, "We've been over this. You've made your feelings clear. Unfortunately, your father has left no room for argument."

"Why can't I just hide somewhere with you?" Buffy groaned, "I mean, I've done nothing but study martial arts for the past ten months and you could kill anything with your bare hands."

"This is not the place to have this discussion," Wesley said, whispering harshly while he watched the cabbie peek at them nervously through the rearview mirror. Clearing his throat, he raised his voice, "Drop us off at the next corner."

"Whatever you say, buddy," the driver said and squealed to a stop outside the restaurant on the corner. Wesley guided Buffy carefully toward the entrance, gripping her elbow tightly until the taxi was out of side. Then he strode in the opposite direction and hailed another cab.

"Refrain from discussing things in front of people we don't know," Wesley said, opening the door for his charge.

"God, Wes," Buffy said, "Gimme a break. This cloak and dagger crap is getting old."

Buffy slid across the cracked leather seat and stared sullenly out the window as the car lurched into motion. She kept silent this time, refusing to meet her chaperone's irritated gaze as they went along. They were both thankful that the driver didn't seem chatty either for the ten minutes travel time.

When they stopped again, they were outside of a large hotel bearing an old, beaten sign that read "The Hotel Hyperion" in letters that looked as if they once had been elegant. They entered through a lovely atrium that was swept clean but the foliage was overgrown and crawled along the walls. Despite the sunshine that filtered through, the place had an eerie loneliness about it that made her shiver.

She walked briskly to the set of double doors leading to the lobby and pushed through them. Leaning against the counter was a tall, dark haired man clad in all black. He held a book, his large hand spanning nearly all of it as it lay flat in one of his palms, the pages lying down obediently as if they had been pored over many times before. He closed the volume with a dull thud as he looked up at his visitors.

"Wesley," he said with a nod, before looking over Buffy closely. She stepped forward so that the tips of her toes met edge of the landing and then went no further. The man before her, Liam Angelus, also known as "Angel" was the most beautiful and dangerous looking being she had ever seen. He stood at a towering height even from across the room and intimidated her at first glance. He sauntered closer with a catlike grace, his eyes hard and steeled.

"I'm Buffy Summers," she said, standing up straight and stepping down the stairs to meet him halfway. She was not going to let this gorgeous giant have the upper hand. Especially since she would be stuck with him for God knew how long. "You must be Angel."

"Yes," he said, allowing the frown he was fighting to hide to crawl over his face. The picture he had been given of her didn't do her justice. She was breathtaking. Simply stunning with fierce, defiant green eyes, a lithe, sensual shape and tiny bright features that made him want to drop to his knees. The frown turned to a scowl when he realized just how violently attracted he was to her in the first thirty seconds of meeting her.

"Thank you, Wes," Angel said, his words coming out in a snarl, "I'll take it from here. Have a safe trip home."

"I needn't remind you that-" Wesley started only to be interrupted rudely.

"I'm fully aware of the job," Angel answered, having returned to his guarded, cold demeanor, "I think you can see your way out."

"Very well," Wesley answered, tightening his lips. He fought the urge to grab Buffy and run back out to protect her himself. He didn't trust many people, but leaving this child with an assassin was nothing short of lunacy! Reluctantly, he leaned down and whispered into her ear, assuring her of her safety and promising to be in town for the first couple of weeks in case she needed him.

Buffy bit her lip and nodded, looking over at Angel from the corner of her eye as he spoke. Her hands were clenched in fists to keep from clinging to Wesley and begging him to stay there with her, if only for the first night. Time seemed to move in slow motion as he pulled away and headed toward the door.

"Well," Buffy said, looking around her, feigning calmness once Wesley had left. She ran her foot along the side of her suitcase nervously, keeping close to the only thing that was familiar. "Quite a place you've got here, Angel."

"My job is protect you," Angel said calmly, "And your job is to listen. You will not leave this building without my permission. You will do exactly what I tell you, when I tell you. I am not your babysitter and I'm not here to entertain you. I don't care if you're bored or need some excitement outside of these doors. If you disobey me, I'll chain you down. Do you have any questions?"

"Yeah," she said, placing her hands on her hips and narrowing her green eyes angrily, "Are you going to be an asshole all the time or just today?"

"You're not here so I can coddle you," he returned coldly.

"I can see we're going to have to work on your social skills," Buffy mused with equal coldness, "I mean, God forbid you say ‘hello' or ‘welcome' or ‘how was your flight.'"

"Well, hello and welcome," Angel said, brushing past her, "I don't give a damn how your flight was. Get your bag and follow me. I'll show you to your room."

"Oh goody," she intoned, "A tour. How sweet."


Buffy sat in her room for a few scant minutes before getting restless and walking through the hotel, looking at all the rooms. She found most of them to be dusty, neglected and in desperate need of revamping. She was sure that any minute she was going to wake up from this horrible dream and be back in her room with her mother down the hall or in the kitchen or doing laundry or even yelling at her...anything.

She was afraid that when her little tour was over, she would be left with her thoughts and memories once again so she explored slowly, opening every door. There were only a couple that looked as if they were set up to have guests and a few at the end of the hall on the second floor looked like they belonged to someone already. The idea that someone else might come in and visit lifted her spirits. If she was lucky, they might even be nice.

Once she had looked through all of the musty and broken down rooms, she headed back downstairs to the lobby. She wandered around the first floor, stopping off in an office that bore a slight resemblance to her fathers'. It was lined with bookshelves containing all sorts of old volumes, a painting that very obviously covered a safe and a large desk.

She curled up in the leather desk chair and closed her eyes. The past year had been nothing less than a complete nightmare. Her mother's sudden death, days before her high school graduation, had been horrible. Then, at the funeral, her long lost father appeared, uprooting her from her friends and boyfriend in Sunnydale to whisk her off to England where he expected her to inform him of every single thing she did - not that he had given her any time to do anything but sleep and train.

The knowledge that her father was a very wealthy and apparently unpopular man came as a shock and she spent many months being angry for every time her mother said she couldn't afford something. The nightmares hadn't even stopped when she was attacked for the first time. Nothing could have prepared her for a gun shoved into her spine, but she was even more surprised when one of her father's men killed her attacker in the middle of a busy street in London.

Now the nightmares were worse, her body ached from nonstop training, her heart was broken for all that she'd lost and she was stuck inside the largest, loneliest place she had ever been with a cold, arrogant man as her prison guard. Before she could stop herself, hot tears coursed down her cheeks and she brought her hands up to cover her face as sobs wracked her small frame. Just when she thought she had lost everything, there seemed to be more badness to endure.

"What...what's the matter with you?" a low, rumbling voice said from the doorway. She looked up quickly at Angel and then pushed off his desk with one foot, to cause his chair to turn away.

"I'm not hurting anything," Buffy answered with a muffled sob, "Just go away."

Angel stared at the back of his chair, unable to see her at all as the back was facing him, but it moved slightly with her violent tears. He stepped forward awkwardly and opened his mouth to speak when a tiny noise rang out behind him. He pivoted and searched out the darkness in front of him, cocking his head to the side as he strained to hear over her shuddering breaths.

"Shhh," he ordered harshly and took a step toward the door, gliding silently as he listened. Whispering over his shoulder, he said, "Don't move a muscle," before closing the door behind him.

Buffy slipped from her chair and tiptoed to the door, turning the knob as quietly as she could and opening it just a crack. She peered out into the lobby, struggling to see movement in the dim light. A dark figure she assumed was Angel was inching across the marble floor. She slipped out and closed the door again behind her, unwilling to remain trapped in that room if something happened to her grouchy guardian.

A flash of metal flew through the air and Angel's hand flew out to knock it away, judging with spot on accuracy when to strike so that he wasn't cut by the knife. He moved quickly across the floor, preferring hand to hand with someone with such a penchant for flying fatality. He struck out, breaking the intruder's nose, dodging a blow and then caving in person's solar plexus with a sickening crack. Gasping for air for a second, the intruder paused to catch his breath, but breathed in only twice before his neck snapped.

Angel moved to the light and flipped it on, searching the perimeter carefully before glaring at Buffy. "What part of ‘don't move a muscle' didn't you understand?" he growled angrily.



Part Two

By Tango


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

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human...mostly.

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 sent feedback and encouragement! *G*

RATING: NC-17 (It will be at some point anyway.)

DEDICATION: For Margriet - just to make sure you keep that smile like you promised. *G*


Angel moved to the light and flipped it on, searching the perimeter carefully before glaring at Buffy. "What part of ‘don't move a muscle' didn't you understand?" he growled angrily.

"The part where I'm trapped in a little room waiting to be killed," Buffy spat back angrily, refusing to be intimidated by his presence as he stepped closer, invading her personal space almost to the point of touching her. Angel feigned a cool, collected demeanor as he stepped over the recently dead intruder and headed toward the weapons cabinet. Smoothly, he pulled a set of keys from his pocket, unlocked the secure door and slipped his hand in to pull out a weapon.

He wasn't sure why he shielded her eyes from the contents of the cabinet or why he slipped the weapon in the back of his pants too quickly for her to ascertain for certain just what exactly it was, but he closed the cabinet and turned the key in the lock, swiftly depositing the keys back in his pocket. He glared over her for a moment, giving his gaze time to sink in and make her uncomfortable. In fact, he was so busy intimidating, that he didn't even notice that someone else was there.

Buffy was tensed under his glare and was incredibly jumpy as she looked from Angel to the dead man and back again. She searched her mind for something scathing and witty to say, but came up empty. She was jolted from her thoughts as a slight rustle of clothing moving from behind her reached her ears. She whipped around without even thinking and her leg moved as if she were sparring with one of her father's men. Raising her foot in a well trained arc, she slammed it into the person behind her, crushing her deceptively small foot into his sternum.

Unknowingly releasing a battle cry, she whirled fully around, raining punches and kicks in the direction of her foe, only to be punched back with such force that she had to struggle for breath. She stumbled away and immediately reeled back to ram her fist into him again but found herself striking air. Gasping in fear and surprise, she realized that he was on the ground, not from her attack, but from the knife jutting out of his chest.

"Y-you killed...both of them," Buffy stammered through her hand which had flown to cover her mouth in horror. She stared at the man who had just been violently attacking her, but now laid still. Bile climbed up her throat as she looked down on him, unable to turn away.

"Would you prefer that they killed you?" Angel asked irritably, strolling across the room to yank one of his best daggers from the intruder and carefully wiping the blade on the dead man's shirt. She saw now that the knife had a holster, which was clipped on the back of his pants as he returned it to its sheath. He stared at her waiting for an answer, growing more irritated by the second.

Normally of even temper, Angel couldn't fathom why he had been so frustrated in the short time he met her. Actually, he did know, although it made no sense. He was irritated by the ashen look on her face and the fear in her eyes. He was frustrated that he had just taken not one but two lives in the lobby of his hotel and still was aroused by the sight of her. He was infuriated that the two men had managed to get past his security to begin with and to top it all off, he was actually impressed by the way she had just defended herself. He bit back the urge to snarl at her like an animal but he felt his lips curling with the gesture.

"I'm going to my room," she managed faintly as she willed her legs to carry her to the stairway. After a moment, she propelled herself into motion trying to stomach what had just happened.

"Let's get something straight, princess," Angel said, recollecting his self control, "You aren't a guest here. You're a job. You'll go where I tell you, when I tell you, unless you want to die."

"Did my father pay you to protect me or just slaughter people and be rude?" she snapped back, taking a step away from him as he neared her.

"My disposition is what's going to keep you alive, baby," he crooned icily, "It might help if you remember that. Now sit your ass down while I take care of the carnage."

"Or what?" she shot back, "You going to kill me too?"

"Maybe," he muttered, moving across the lobby to pick up the phone. "Probably," he mumbled.


"Wes," Willow urged quietly, "You're making me dizzy. Stop with the pacing."

"This is not just something one just deals with," Wesley exclaimed in exasperation, "Buffy's life could very well end at any moment because of this foolishness and I'm not even allowed to help protect her!"

"You'd be in the way," she said softly, almost too quietly for him to hear, but he heard it as if she had screamed in his ear. The apartment he'd rented a few miles from Angel's seemed like a country away. Much too far away for his liking.

"Thank you, darling," he said dryly, "The things you say."

She rose from her chair and crossed the room, enfolding his hand in hers gently, soothingly. Tugging with the least amount of force, she guided him to the beige couch and once he sat down, she curled up by his side.

"You know why things are happening this way," she offered simply, "I wish you could be there to help. Sweetie, I wish *I* could be there to help, but we both know why she's with Angel. Giles is right. This is the only way."

"It's maddening," he said, wrapping one arm around her shoulders and running the other through his hair, sending it in more disarray than it already was. "I can't stand this slouching about."

"Maybe I can distract you," she offered, pressing her lips against his neck, nipping against his skin.

"Can you at least tell me if you've put a protective shield or some other spell..." he asked his Wiccan fiancé, but tapered off as her hands began roaming over his body. He closed his eyes and surrendered to her touch. They both knew she hadn't and even more frightening was the knowledge that she wouldn't.


Buffy thought she could handle anything at this point. She had lost everything - or so she thought. Before she came here, she had no idea her life was really in danger. Of course, she had been told by her father and Wesley and anyone else who could get her to sit still long enough, but her invincible youth mentality didn't leave room for preparation that someone actually wanted her dead.


As in rigor mortis.

As in ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Now that she was in the room next to Angel's cowering beneath the covers, fully clothed in case she had to run, she knew that it was for real. She couldn't close her eyes without seeing those two dead faces, staring up at the ceiling as if their eyes still had sight. She couldn't stop her hands from shaking, thinking about how close she had come to dying.

The longer she sat there, the more it became obvious. The killer knew where she was and knew now or would soon know what he or she was up against. She couldn't stay there like a sitting duck. She had to go where no one would know where she was. She couldn't go alone, of course, so she tiptoed down the hallway and downstairs to the lobby, which seemed to be the only room that had a telephone.

Angel had been listening to every sound his little visitor had been making since he allowed her to go to her room, so when she tiptoed past his door, he slipped out and followed her soundlessly. He tracked her to the lobby where she ducked behind the counter, carefully pulling the phone off of it's cradle and taking it down with her. He distinctly heard each of the digits as she dialed a number. She got halfway through them when he yanked the cord from the wall.

" bastard!" she shouted.

"My parenting isn't the point," he said, gripping her arm and dragging her up to her feet effortlessly. He pried the now useless phone from her hand and tossed it aside. She winced as she heard her link to the outside world crack rudely and plastically against the floor.

"Wait!" she screamed as he tossed her over his shoulder like a living sack of potatoes, "I want to leave! Put me DOWN!"

"You're right," he said calmly, ignoring her kicking legs and pounding fists. He kept her cinched against his broad shoulder as he mounted the stairs. "We have to leave. Whoever wisely chose to kill you knows we're here."

"I hate you, you murdering bastard," she cried, unrelenting in her attempts to break free from him. "You can't do this to me! I'm an adult. You can't keep me prisoner!"

"Either you're with me or you're in the morgue," Angel answered in low voice despite her screams. He mounted the top step and pivoted easily, heading into his bedroom. Dropping her unceremoniously on the bed, he loomed over her as he spoke again, "Right now, I want the money Giles is going to pay me, but honestly, every second of your bitching and complaining makes me lean toward killing you my fucking self."


"Rupert, this is insanity!" Jenny shouted forcefully, leaning over his desk with her brown eyes reeling in frustration. She gripped the edge of her husband's desk, her knuckles white with tension. Buffy wasn't even her child and she had only briefly met her, but she felt a maternal instinct kicking in for a child that wasn't hers.

"Jenny," he said, rising from his chair and circling the desk, keeping his eyes as serene as he could, "I know you don't approve but I couldn't very well keep her here, could I? I love Buffy. I always have and I'm doing what is necessary."

"There has to be another way," she fumed, turning and following him with her eyes as he moved around the desk. She leaned against the polished mahogany desk, unwilling to be folded in his arms. "People are going to die! Rupert, Buffy could die!"

"Do you really think she was safe here?" he questioned gently, "Don't you think that I am doing everything I can to ensure my daughter's safety?"

"No," she answered sternly, "Not even close."

"Everyone has to be safe," he offered, rubbing her swelling belly, "I'm keeping my family safe. All of my family."

"There has to be another way," she whimpered, looking down at his hand covering her womb. When she looked up again there were tears welling in her eyes. "Just bring her back here. We'll all be okay here."

Sadly, he shook his head and then leaned his forehead against hers. Enfolding her in his arms, he held her close, gripping the hem of her shirt in two handfuls. He was certain he had aged thirty years in the past twenty-four hours but he knew he was doing the right thing. Buffy would be safe. He was sure of it.

But lies always become truth when told to oneself enough times.


"Pay attention," Angel said as he packed a bag quickly and efficiently, giving Buffy the impression that he had done this many times before. "You don't like being with me and believe me, I'd rather be doing something else, but when we leave here things have to change. No yelling. No fighting. No screaming like a child. If we bring attention to ourselves, it'll get you killed. Do you understand?"

"Sure. Whatever," she said, sitting in the center of his king sized bed. She felt strange being in his bed, watching him pack, taking the time to look over him more closely. He didn't just walk, he stalked. Even when doing something as mundane as packing a bag, every move had a purpose, every muscle was gracefully in concert with the rest of his body. She could tell from the way his clothes moved over his body that he was muscular, that his

bulk was of toned flesh.

She looked over his face as he moved around, taking the time to watch him closely. He was sculpted and ominous looking. His eyes were a dark, velvety brown that didn't look so cold when he wasn't focused on her. His hands were large, but not thick and rough. His fingers were long and elegant, like those belonging to an artist or a musician. Of course, she knew that those were the hands that had been responsible for two deaths less than an hour before.

She had only just realized that she had stopped looking and moved straight toward staring when a ringing sound broke into the silence. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone, flipping it open. He glanced at the number on the display before answering.

"Spike," he said, rather than greeting the caller. Buffy thought briefly that someone named "Spike" probably didn't require a large amount of pampering anyway. "No, I can't. I'm working," Angel explained after a moment of listening to the other end of the line. "In fact, I'm going to be out of town for awhile."

Buffy watched as subtle emotions tracked across his face as he listened for another moment before he growled, "I don't have time for this. Tell her I'll be gone for awhile...No, I don't know how long...She'll live...Godamn it, Spike! If you're that worried about it, you fuck her! I'm leaving tonight...No, I'm not testy. I'm...busy."

Angel snorted out a dismissal and stared at the wall, ignoring her look of amusement. Maybe she wasn't the only one who annoyed him. Maybe he was just generally annoyed by the whole world all the time. Strangely, the thought made her feel a little happier about her situation.

"Look," Angel said, only to be interrupted, "Spike, just do me a favor, okay? If Faith comes home, tell her not to stay at the hotel. It isn't safe...Just tell her...Great...Yeah...Okay...Yeah. Bye."

"Who's Faith?" Buffy asked, raising a delicate eyebrow as Angel stuffed a last shirt in his bag and zipped it closed. Shrugging into his leather jacket, he motioned for her to follow and ignored the question.


Angel watched Buffy curiously out of the corner of his eye as he drove away from Los Angeles. She seemed a bit more resigned to her fate or maybe she was just glad that they were leaving the death trap that his hotel had become. He was extremely aggravated that the two men had so easily gotten inside, although, truthfully, he had never had anyone trying to kill him.

Usually, he was doing the stalking and had no need for an overly secure home. He slept with one eye open anyway, but the dead weight (no pun intended) that little Buffy Summers had become left him edgy. He hadn't thought that killing and protecting were so very far apart.

He snuck a glance over at her as he drove in the darkness. One moment she was this inflamed woman with razor edged wit and the next she was curled up in the seat of his car like a little girl afraid of the monsters in the night. It made absolutely no sense. He thought back on how caught off guard he was when she started fighting the hired thug...and with deft efficiency. She was certainly no cheerleader pounding on the guy's chest - or at least she wasn't anymore.

He frowned as he glanced over at her. He saw in the rough edges of her movements that she hadn't been training for a long. Most definitely a novice. Probably had only been training since she joined her father in England. For a moment, his thoughts traveled toward the idea of working with her himself, showing her how to use her slight weight to her advantage, how to find the weakest part of her attacker and exploit it.

Glancing from her wistful face, flashing his eyes back from the road to his impish prisoner and back again, he lowered his gaze to her small hands. Could he really imagine making her into a weapon? When she first stomped into his hotel with her arms crossed like a brat, no, but now that he had seen what she had already mastered, it seemed possible.

Sternly, he forced his eyes back to the road. He knew that he was treading on dangerous ground even after their short time together. He had already caught himself half a dozen times silently devising plans to get her in his bed. Although teaching her to be self sufficient should she be in a dangerous situation when he wasn't close enough to get to her would help him protect her, he knew that it would also lend aid in other areas. It would be too simple to teach her, get close to her and then ruthlessly seduce her. After all, the easiest way to keep her safe would be if her hot little body was next to him in bed.

Smiling coldly at the desolate highway before them, he gripped the steering wheel in anticipation. He brushed off the fact that he had just rationalized how fucking the job was the way to go. It didn't matter eitherthat he had solemnly vowed that he would never get close to an assignment. Besides, he wasn't killing her, so this was entirely different.

"You look awfully smug over there," Buffy said with a yawn, speaking her first words in over an hour. She looked over him closely as he turned and smiled at her, peeling his eyes off of the road. The smile disappeared within seconds and he turned back to the road, remaining silent, but howeverfleeting, she had seen it. In spite of her near hatred for the man, she felt her heart lurch in her chest. Liam Angelus should never ever smile. It wasn't fair to use that weapon against anyone. Licking her dry lips, she looked back out the window again. She suddenly had no desire to know what

would make him grin wolfishly that way.


Part Three

By Tango


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

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human...mostly.

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 sent feedback and encouragement! *G*

RATING: NC-17 (It will be at some point anyway.)

DEDICATION: Happy Belated Birthday, Jennem! And for Margriet.


Buffy dozed as the sound of the car's tires on the highway melted into a soothing rhythm. Angel didn't speak or listen to the radio or even breathe loudly. He kept his eyes peeled on the road before him, narrowing his eyes at any car that dared move too closely behind them. Occasionally, he glanced over at his sleeping charge and a part of him was almost thankful that she would be comfortable enough to be so vulnerable and unguarded in presence. Naturally, an argument could be made that she was exhausted, but he chose to ignore it.

Instead, he filled his mind with what bothered him most: how it was that so many people wanted this little blonde girl dead. He couldn't decided what was more disconcerting - whether her would-be assassins wanted her death so badly that they would dare tread on his territory or that they had attacked so quickly. It didn't make sense.

Rupert Giles had admitted that his enemies sought to use his daughter to their advantage, but why? He knew Giles was a relatively wealthy man with a house in London and a permanent apartment in New York. He also knew Buffy's father was in the shipping business, but all other details were decidedly vague. Angel had every intention of finding out what sort of man hired an assassin to protect his daughter and who would want to kill her.

Angel had to admit that at first the change in job description, not to mention the hefty sum involved, seemed like a dream come true to someone who had grown weary of endless killing. He hadn't asked many questions. In fact, he didn't even know how long Buffy was to be with him. He only knew that Giles would be wiring money into his numbered account every month until the job was completed.

Previously, he had every intention of doing his job and ridding himself of her as soon as possible. Now, after spending long hours with an aching arousal and a horrible disposition, with nothing but her deep, sleeping breaths in his ears, nearly drowning out the desolate sounds of the highway, he had plenty to time to think. Along with his plan to seduce her, a whole volume of questions and manipulative scheming was entering his mind. Something was not right with this whole situation and he had every intention of finding out just what the hell was going on.


Giles rose from his bed at 6:00 AM, carefully untangled himself from his wife and donned his glasses before padding down to his office to take the expected call. Why on earth they couldn't arrange these meetings at a better time, was beyond him, but it was just as well. At this hour, Jenny was less likely to overhear any of it. In the short time Buffy had been gone, Jenny had been so worried about her that Giles had begun to fear for his unborn child.

As he entered the library, his private line was already ringing. "Hello?" Giles said into the mouthpiece even though he knew the identity of the caller. It wouldn't do to say her name until he was certain it was her.

"He's already taken her out of the hotel," a female voice replied without reciprocating the greeting.

"You were supposed to keep him there for as long as possible," Giles clipped irritably, "I thought you said you held some sway over him. I need to know where the ponce is taking my daughter!"

"No, I didn't," she snapped back, "No one has sway over Angelus, least of all me. That was clear from the beginning."

"Were Wesley and Willow able to follow at least?" he asked tiredly, taking off his glasses to rub the bridge of his nose with his forefinger and thumb. "Or do you have any idea where he's taking her?"

"Wesley lost him after a couple of hours," she answered, "He's been driving in godamn circles to make sure he isn't followed, we've gathered that much. I have no idea where he's taking her. He never tells me about his hideouts, Giles. Willow is going to do a locator spell but it won't matter until he's gotten wherever he's going. She's going to try in the morning."

"Gwen," Giles said slowly, "I fully expect for the location of my daughter to be known by this time tomorrow. I will somewhat ruffled if my daughter dies."

"If I know nothing else, I know that my thug of a lover will kill anyone who threatens your brat," Gwen answered acidly, "I'll call tomorrow."

Ending the call with no niceties, just as she began it, Gwen hung up the phone with a pronounced click that lead Giles to believe she had slammed down the receiver. Sighing, into the dial tone, he dialed another number. The phone went unanswered and he hung up as the voicemail started.



Buffy was startled awake as Angel's cell phone rang and looked blearily over at him. He rummaged in his coat pocket and produced the phone. Checking the display, he slipped it back in his pocket rather than answering it.

"Who was it?" she yawned, "And why aren't you answering it?"

"I don't want to talk to your father," he answered, keeping his eyes on the road, "As I suspected, he's having us watched. If he can watch us, so can anyone else."

"I should call him in the morning," she said as she ran her fingers through her tousled hair, "He'll be worried. So will Wes."

"Buffy," Angel said, choosing his words carefully. If he ever planned to succeed in being her protector, not to mention her lover, he knew that he was going to have to deal with her a little differently. He could easily get into her pants even if she hated him. He was well and proudly aware of that fact, but if she trusted him, everything would go along much more smoothly. By the time she realized that she was only a job to a cold hearted assassin, hopefully the assignment would already be over. In the mean time, he needed her to be on his side. Taking a breath in the attempt to make his next words seem heartfelt, he continued, "I know we've gotten off on the wrong foot, but it's important that we work together to keep you safe. Now I know you don't like me very much-"

"Understatement," she chirped dryly.

"But," he said sternly, "You know that it's my job to protect you."

"And you want my father's money," she added, "I get it. What's your point?"

"If he knows where you are," Angel said, "There's possibility that someone on his staff has access to that knowledge as well or the people watching you could be moles."

"You sound like a damn blockbuster movie," she said, rolling her eyes, "I'm sure my father's people are white hats. Besides, Wes was watching me. I'd trust him over anybody else."

"Doesn't matter," he said, "The reason we're both going to live through this is because I don't trust anybody and if I don't trust them, you don't. I'll have someone send a message to your father letting him know I'm taking you to a secure location. I'm not telling him where you are."

"Could you be a little more paranoid, Angel?" Buffy blustered, "It's my Dad, for crying out loud. And where *are* we going? Zimbabwe? We've been in this car forever."

"I have a house in Sunnydale," he answered, "My family's estate, actually. No one knows about it except for Spike and Faith and no one will find us there. It's about 120 miles from Los Angeles."

"We've been in this car for like five hours!" she exclaimed, "Can we stop with the scenic route? I have to pee."

"We were being followed," he said, shrugging his large shoulders, "Now we're not. Calm down, baby, we're almost there."

"Well, how do you know Spike won't help those people find us?" Buffy huffed, crossing her arms over her chest, "Anyone named ‘Spike' can't be that trustworthy. And who's this Faith person?"

"Spike," Angel bit out, "is more dangerous than any of the people who are trying to kill you for the exact reason that I am. People like us can't be bought."

"Why's that?" she asked warily, still wondering how she could trust a man like him. Anyone who could kill a person with as much ease as tying his shoes should not be taken lightly. She waited in silence for his answer and received none. It occurred to her that he might have said more than he meant to. After another pause, she asked, "Well, who's Faith? Your girlfriend?"

"Faith," Angel answered, "is my sister."


*Faith is my sister.*

For some reason that idea struck Buffy dumbly. She couldn't imagine what it would be like to be the sibling to someone like him. He didn't seem to care about anyone or anything. Nothing scared him that she could tell. His caution wasn't protectiveness over himself or her. It almost seemed like a game, like none of it was touching him.

Ten minutes later, when they arrived at his family's estate, which was a large, towering mansion in the outskirts of town, she was still thinking about Faith. What sort of girl would be his sister? Did he care for her at all or was she just a person who happened to be related to him?

As she dashed toward the bathroom in the back of the mansion, she remembered the few rooms in the hotel that looked like they belonged to someone. Had one of them been Faith's room? Neither seemed very feminine or filled with personal items. Like everything else in the hotel, they were Spartan and more efficient than homey. The same held true for the mansion. It didn't look like a place where the word "family" had been used too often.

As she walked back into the great room, she was surprised at how clean everything was and yet unused. It looked like no one had sat on the couch in years but it was not at all dusty. She shuddered thinking about how lonely his life must be and then forced back the thoughts as quickly as they came. She couldn't sit here and feel sorry for a deranged killer and his probably equally mental sister.

"I'll show you your room," he said, making her jump in surprise. He hadn't even been in the room a moment ago when she sat down and all of a sudden he was standing right next to her. She looked up at him and saw amusement in his dark eyes, even though he didn't bother to transfer the gesture to his


His face was outlined in the dim light in the room, making his sculpted face appear menacing in the dark. He towered over her with a sort of power and grace that would have left her intimated if she hadn't already resolved herself to feel no fear from him. She wasn't about to be afraid of him or she would never sleep. Not that she thought she would be doing much of that anyway when people were trying to kill her.

"Don't sneak up on me like that, stealth guy," she said as she stood quickly, "Stomp or...or...yodel."

"I don't yodel," he said as the corners of his mouth quirked in response. He pivoted and stalked from the room, just as quietly as he came. He didn't look back, expecting her to follow. She did keep up with him, feeling as if the mansion had a thousand eyes on her. She would be grateful when this whole thing was over and she could go home.

As he led her to her room, it occurred to her that she didn't know where home was. Not anymore. When her mother had died, all thoughts and feelings of home had gone with her. Her father's home certainly hadn't become home in the short time she had lived there. This house that supposedly belonged to Angel's family was not even close to a home. Sadly she wondered if she would ever again feel that warmth and safety that she had felt with her mother and took for granted all those years.


Angel laid in bed that evening and was further from sleep than he had been while driving earlier. He was still fully dressed and his whole body ached in arousal for the small blonde in the next room. Brilliantly, he had put himself in a situation where he had absolutely no release and was going to be forced to take his time in seducing her. And he was miles away from any of his lovers.

Muttering irritably under his breath, he was tempted to go in there and fuck her right now. Or he could call someone to come there...maybe Gwen. She would be more than willing to drive a couple of hours to get laid. Hell, she might even come and go before Buffy even knew she was there.

He toyed with the thought briefly before he tossed it aside. From what Spike had told him, she was seriously pissed that he was leaving town without seeing her and would probably raise holy hell. Unfortunately, the reason he was so attracted to her was because she was filled with a mean streak, filled with fire and passion, but it left her out of this delicate picture. She'd probably try to kill Buffy just to get her out of the way.

It occurred to him, while he was thinking about dangerous females, that it would only be a matter of time before Faith showed up. Whenever her latest lover bored her, she would come home only to find she was barred from the hotel. Cursing to himself, he realized this whole thing would quickly become a big mess when his sister came home.

Every second he thought about it, the more he knew this job was a bad idea. He glared at the ceiling angrily. If Faith was killed during the crossfire of this assignment, he would murder Buffy before he traveled across the ocean to take out Rupert Giles as well.


Buffy rose the following morning achy and still sleepy from tossing and turning all night. She woke up three times in a cold sweat from her nightmares and found herself gripping the bedclothes as if they were her only link to survival. She wandered downstairs in her t-shirt and shorts with her tummy growling loudly only to find Angel sitting at the kitchen table looking well rested.

He was fully dressed in all black, sipping a cup of coffee, sitting in one chair with his feet propped up on another. He looked up at her and she turned away as his eyes swept up and down her body. The baby tee and shorts she had chosen to sleep in seemed scandalous all of a sudden and she blushed as she looked down at her braless breasts.

"Any food in here?" she croaked, embarrassed by her failing voice. Hopefully, he was just thinking that she wasn't speaking well because it was first thing in the morning. Sneaking a glance in his direction, she saw immediately that he wasn't convinced. In fact, she felt like a nun in a brothel.

"No. There's just coffee," he answered, taking a sip of the dark liquid in a plain blue mug, "We'll have to go grocery shopping, I guess."

"I can't imagine you in a grocery store," she grunted, flipping through the cabinets until she found a mug, "What about milk and sugar?"

"There's just coffee," he repeated, with a taunting grin, "No one lives here, Buffy. I have caretakers that clean periodically, but that's it."

"Great," she said scowling as she took her first drink. Her nose wrinkled in distaste and Angel felt his groin twitch in response. He could already see was going to have to step up his plans to seduce her. There were only so many cold showers a man could take. He allowed himself another slow sweep over her body as she perched on the chair across from him with one golden leg against her chest.

"Well, great protector," she mused sardonically, "What's the sitch? I'm sure you have all sorts of activities to keep me busy while I'm trapped here."

"Yes, I do," he rumbled back at her, his eyes flashing darker. His voice almost purred across the table, sounding low and primal, which was just wrong for first thing in the morning. She immediately took a drink of her dark coffee, gulping down the liquid. She was tempted to spoon it out, it was so thick and strong.

"Well, lay it on me," she answered and then flushed red at her choice of words.

"While we're in Sunnydale, you're going to pose as my wife," he answered. Her eyes widened as he reached into his pocket and tossed a box across the table. They both watched as it rolled unevenly across the surface and bounced against her coffee cup.

"Your...what?" She looked wildly from the box to him and back again. He lifted his cup calmly and took a sip. Only then did she realize that there was already a ring gracing the ring finger of his left hand.


Part Four

By Tango


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

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human...mostly.

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 sent feedback and encouragement! *G*


DEDICATION: Happy Belated Birthday, Margriet! And for Kumiko.


Gwen's early morning call the following day proved fruitful just as Giles hoped. Even though it was difficult to be jubilant at that unGodly hour, he managed a satisfied smile knowing his daughter's whereabouts. Gwen reported that Willow had carefully conducted the locator spell and was successful, just as Giles suspected she would. However, the shocking news that Angelus had taken his daughter to Sunnydale nearly had him sputtering tea across his desk. Of all places to take Buffy, that was the last place he would have chosen.

Giles was still wary of the assassin that he held left his daughter with and couldn't fathom why Angelus would take her to Sunnydale of all places, where people were certain to know and recognize her. Although, it may have been Angelus' brilliant plot to take Buffy to the town she had last lived in, in the hopes that potential attackers wouldn't look for her there, Giles was doubtful.

The next day's call revealed that Willow and Wesley went to Sunnydale and had rented a small apartment fairly close to the mansion Angelus was staying in. They would be keeping active surveillance on what was going on and report back to him daily. Giles felt like this covert operation, as short as it had been already, was tiring. Especially the part about piecing together Angelus' checkered past. Investigation revealed that the hulking, dismal mansion was actually his childhood home, purchased back by him from its new owners ten years ago. The previous owners, however, could not be traced anywhere. It begged the question: Where had they gone?

Giles sipped his tea thoughtfully as he mulled over the news of the past few days with no inclination to go back to bed. Since Buffy had been gone he had been having many sleepless nights and rising early for these calls, despite the inconvenience and weary days, at least his absence had given Jenny more rest in the mornings. At seven months pregnant, she needed it and his tossing had waken her every night for weeks on end.


Buffy twirled her wedding ring nervously around her finger as she had been prone to since Angel had none too gently tossed the velvet box at her three days before. She was still reeling in the shock. The argument that had ensued from his faux proposal had been explosive at best. She had been seated at the kitchen table when she opened the box and found, not a simple gold band, but a platinum one with a two carat marquee resting on top of it.

She balked at his request, after staring slack jawed at the ring for several long moments, unable to understand why he had purchased such an expensive ring for a fake marriage. The disagreement over the plan had become explosive when he demanded that she change her first name as well as her last to hide herself. He even suggested changing her hair and that was when she lost it. She clapped shut the box and tossed it back at him.

"Why should I change when you stick out like a big, brooding sore thumb anyway?" she snapped angrily, "Are you going to suck so badly at protecting me that you'll lock me in a room next? Anyway, I can't change my name!"

"Why not?" he asked icily, not raising his voice to match her infuriated tone, which only made her redden and become more frustrated. Seething a smooth chill across the room, he continued, "As classical as ‘Buffy' is, I'm sure you can live with something less fitting for awhile...and quit looking at me like I'm going to consummate this fake marriage by fucking you over the kitchen counter."

"I lived here with my mother!" Buffy stammered out, "There will be people here that know me. If you had done your homework you would know that I can't change my name or my hair here!"

"Your father said you grew up in Los Angeles," he growled furiously, "He said you went to Hemery High."

"I did," Buffy admitted, "But I lived here for a year and graduated from Sunnydale High. My mother died a couple of weeks after graduation and then I went to England."

"Fuck," he muttered thoughtfully, swirling his coffee around in his mug, not seeming to notice that it was close to sploshing over the sides. After a moment, shoved the ring box back across the table at her. "You still need to pose as my wife."

"Why?" Buffy shot back, fingering the box nervously. She wasn't sure what it was about posing as his wife that made her so gun shy, but she was certain it had a lot to do with the predatory way he looked at her, as if he was just steps away from nestling those lean hips between her thighs.

If she was going to be truthful to herself, she had to admit that she was more than a little intimidated by the fact that she might just allow him to seduce her. After all, despite being an asshole and a cold blooded killer, he was extremely easy on the eyes. The rumbling tone his voice took sometimes was enough to make her weak in the knees. She could almost hear him whispering naughty things in her ear as he moving in and out of her body. Biting her lip nervously, she looked over at him and shrank before his feral gaze, which had moved down to her chest, only to snap up to her eyes when she lifted her head.

"People know me here too," he answered in the same deadpan cold voice, "Not many, but some. What better explanation for you being here is that you're my wife? I don't like questions, but they will be inevitable, especially if we run into an old acquaintance."

"And this ring?" Buffy asked holding up the box, "What's this about? You thought it would be more believable if I had some huge rock?" Unable to resist, she added, "Did you cut this off some woman's finger?"

"Yes," he bit out sarcastically, "I raped her, then I cut off her finger and now she's swimming with the fishes." Pausing for the dramatic effect, he waited a couple of beats before cursing. "I bought it. God, what is it with you?"

"Why?" Buffy asked again, narrowing her eyes at him in suspicion. "This ring must have put you back a lot of money. Why didn't you just get some cheap little wedding band?"

"Come on, Buffy," he said, as he stood to leave. "Do you really think it would be believable if you had anything less?"

Now days later, she was still wondering what he meant by that. She twirled the expensive ring around her finger all the time now. It had started as just a random check that the thing was still there, because she knew if she lost it for some reason, he'd probably kill her. God knows they'd fought almost constantly since they met and it didn't seem to be getting any better. The absence of the wedding ring would certainly send him over the edge.

After many random arguments since that morning in the kitchen, they had decided that she couldn't go anywhere unaccompanied at night, that she had to stay away from walking alone anywhere and after a final hell raising tantrum, he let her enroll in college. She still couldn't believe she'd talked him into that one, but she knew she had to do something other than sit around that gloomy mansion all day or they would kill each other. She wasn't particularly curious about what filled his days anyway. She was certain it had to do with dismembering small children and fuzzy bunnies.

Now all her nervousness stemmed from the idea of returning to school and possibly seeing people she used to know. Namely Parker Abrams. They had started dating pretty seriously before she left but everything collapsed when her mother died and she was whisked away to England. She couldn't help wondering if he was still there and if he had tried to contact her at all. Cordelia Chase had been her closest friend in school, along with the other Cordettes, but she hadn't contacted any of them. She left her forwarding address in England, but no letters or calls had arrived in the months she had been away. Now she wondered if they had missed her at all.

When Angel said she had to pose as his wife in Sunnydale of all places, she had completely lost control of her sanity. What if she saw Parker when she started the Spring Semester next week? Did he leave town like he always wanted to or did he go to Sunnydale University like he thought he would? She wasn't in love with him by any stretch of the imagination, but things had been getting pretty serious. Undoubtably, she would have slept with him within weeks if she stayed. How would he react when he found out she was married?


Angel paced in the great room in the dark, fuming with impatience. He had been waiting for Gwen to show up for two damn hours and she still wasn't there. He didn't feel especially proud that he had resorted to call her to visit in the first place, but it had been over a week since he had a warm body to please him. Although this wasn't an usually long time for him to go without a willing body underneath him, being around the little innocent Buffy Summers was causing him to ache in more than one place.

What the hell was with her and her sharp tongue and her not quite revealing fashionable outfits that drove him nuts? She really didn't dress like his other lovers. She didn't wear clothes that looked like they had to be greased on like Gwen and he had yet to glimpse even a peak of cleavage, but she still made him hard every time she graced him with a glance.

Just thinking about her legs peeking out from the shorts she wore to bed or the tank tops she liked with no bra underneath made him suck in a breath. She had no idea how sensual she was in the morning, tousled from bed, her long blonde hair hanging mussed down her back, her breasts moving in a sensual, natural motion as she performed her sleepy little trudge to the coffee pot. Buffy made Gwen look like a garish whore even when she wasn't looking her best.

Angel had already been keeping himself from entering her bedroom at night when she was asleep or first thing in the morning before she rose with the blinding light that filtered into the guest bedroom she slept in. Of course, he hadn't been able to keep himself from going to her door and looking in on her while she slept. He told himself that he was recognizing the sounds and habits of his charge so he wouldn't be caught unaware by anything she did, but he knew that was just his mind making excuses for his libido.

That morning as he looked into her bedroom as she slept, he had made the decision to call Gwen. Buffy had been lying in her bed, sprawled on her back in the center of the large bed, her legs tangled in the sheets and her shirt had ridden up to give him a glimpse of her bare belly and the velvety underside of her breasts. One of her legs was out of the sheets and her little shorts did nothing to hide any of her shapely leg or thigh. Liam Angelus, seasoned assassin and lover, nearly combusted on the spot.

Ten minutes later, he was on the phone calling his lover for an overnight visit from LA because Gwen was available right now and Buffy was not. He wanted to seduce the little blonde tease as soon as humanly possible, but he knew he had to take things slowly. Presently, he was far from any condition to be slow about female flesh. The second his lover walked through that door, he wasn't going to waste any time before he fucked her senseless.

He paced around the dark room for another ten minutes until he heard footsteps. His head snapped up and immediately, he saw the soft outline of a female in the darkness. "Finally," he snorted as he crossed the room to get to her, "What took you so fucking long?"

Before she could answer, he pulled her into his arms and attacked her mouth greedily, unleashing his frustration and passion on her. Pulling her more tightly against him, he clamped a hand on her lower back and threaded the other through her hair, pressing his erection into her stomach. Slowly, as he moved against her mouth, he realized that the lithe body in his arms was more slender and shorter than Gwen had ever been. Strangely, she tasted different, sweeter almost, and her hair was not the courser feel of his lovers' but silkier and finer, sifting easily through his fingers.

Panting with need, he pulled back and stared into the shocked face of his charge. He knew before he opened his eyes who he had just mauled and nearly tossed to the floor, but he took a moment to look at her, barely making out her shocked face in the darkness.

"Buffy?" he breathed in a tone that wasn't very apologetic. He kept his arms around her, even though he meant to let go. He wasn't sure if he should expect her to knee him in the groin or if he would get away with kissing her again. Gwen be damned, he hoped for the latter.

"Who were you expecting?" Buffy asked. She meant to snap at him and sound angry for his sexual harassment, but it came out as a breathless whimper. She had never been kissed like that with such need and passion. She was thankful it was dark because she was blushing furiously from head to toe. Not only for the kiss, but from the erection that had jutted into her belly and the wandering hands covering her back and then her bottom before he released her.

"I'm expecting someone...else," he muttered, noting that she hadn't pulled away. He was caught in the balance between kissing her again and explaining when he heard the click of familiar high heeled booted footsteps coming across the floor in the proud stride that was only shared by women like Gwen...and his sister. He wasn't surprised at all when the rude glare of a flashlight landed on them.

"Am I interrupting something?" she asked saucily. He didn't need to see her to know there was a jealous sneer on her fire engine red lips. His own lips curled into a satisfied smile as he looked into the beam of the flashlight.

"Gwen," he purred, pulling away from Buffy and turning away from her as if she wasn't even there. "I've been waiting for you."


Buffy had practically run screaming from the room as Angel had his not so secret rendevous with the woman he had called "Gwen." Before she could stop herself, she felt a strange sort of jealous streak run through her. It was unthinkable that someone would kiss her that thoroughly and then turn to another woman seconds later, but that's exactly what happened. She leaned against the wall at the top of the stairs trying desperately to collect herself. Her whole body was shaking and hot, almost feverish, and her heart was pounding so hard she was half expecting it to break free from her chest.

"Build a fire," she heard Gwen's purr traveling up the stairs to her ears, "I want to be able to see you."

Despite her better judgement, Buffy inched down the stairs. She had to see just for a second if he kissed Gwen the way he had kissed her, if it looked like it felt. She held in her gasp of surprise when she heard Angel bark, "I didn't call you here to romance in front of the fireplace. You know damn well you're two hours late, Gwen."

"Tell your cock to hit the brakes," she answered calmly, "You left town without so much as a *see you later* and then order me to come down here for a hard fuck and then I walk in on you and the teenager making out like you're afraid Daddy'll look out the front window. I may not be your only girl, Angelus, but I do deserve more than that."

"I thought she was you," Angel snapped impatiently, "I attacked her thinking she was you. Sorry. Now will you get undressed?"

Buffy inched down the stairs and scooted along the wall just in time to see the fire light up even though Angel sounded like he wasn't willing to light one. She watched with her mouth slack, nearly missing Gwen peeling out of her leather bindings, because Angel was pulling off his sweater and tossing it away from him. She licked her lips unconsciously as she raked her eyes over his muscled chest and torso tensed with lust.

She sucked in a breath when he unbuttoned the top button of his pants and was caught between dashing up the stairs and squeezing her eyes shut, but she couldn't seem to do either. His hands fell away from his still closed zipper and his arms fell to his sides as he looked across the room at his lover. Buffy's eyes traveled over to look over her sleek naked body, nearly perfect in every way.

"What are you waiting for?" Gwen asked huskily.

"I'm waiting for you to do it for me," Angel answered carnally. Buffy's hands tightened to fists as Gwen slithered across the room to him and as she lowered herself to her knees, Buffy turned and dashed up the stairs.


Part Five

By Tango


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

SPOILERS: Yet another AU. *G* Everyone' s human...mostly.

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 sent feedback and encouragement! *G*



Had Buffy known that Gwen was going to scream like a banshee during sex with Angel, she wouldn't have bothered to spy on them for the few scant minutes she allowed herself before sneaking back up to her room. Her imagination did more for her than the quick glance had done now that she had sound effects. She laid in bed and stared at the ceiling as every once in awhile Gwen screamed so loudly her voice nearly shook the rafters.

Buffy closed her eyes and opened them again feeling slightly nervous that her gruff protector slash fake husband was so indisposed should someone sneak in and try to kill her. Course that wasn't the reason she wouldn't be able to sleep. It was indescribably hot in the room and the pit of her stomach felt like it was filled with drugged butterflies. There was no way she was going to sleep like this.

Her mouth was dry and she licked her lips nervously, idly wondering what sounds Angel made during sex. She couldn't hear him, not that much sound made it through the heavy walls of the mansion... except, of course, for the screeching of the woman downstairs. Chiding herself for ridiculous questions, she thought about sneaking down to the kitchen for something to drink, but she could almost picture herself standing there like a embarrassed freak if one of the naked people wandered in there while she was raiding the fridge.

Her body's cry for liquids finally made the decision for her and she tiptoed from her room, stopping to listen just outside the door for the reckless cry of the lovers. Hearing silence, she hoped they had fallen asleep. Absorbed in the activity of listening for Angel and Gwen, she nearly collided with two dark figures standing several feet from her in the dark hallway.


"Thank you for coming," Angel purred carnally, rolling over onto his back and panting as he stared at the ceiling. His double entendre was not lost on Gwen and she chuckled lightly before straddling him and bracing her hands on his broad chest.

"Up for a third round?" she asked huskily. Not waiting for his answer, she tossed her hair to the side before bending forward and suckling his neck. Despite the fact that she didn't trust Angel and knew he took other lovers whenever he felt like it, nothing was better than pulling an all nighter with him. She had witnessed several times when he took her all night and then went on a job without looking the least bit weary for his efforts. He had more stamina than anyone she had ever met and that was the least on a long list of his skills.

"Shhh," he grunted suddenly, placing an arm around her to still her movements. Cocking his head to the side, he listened intently for several seconds before rolling them over and depositing her on the floor. He crouched over her and narrowed his eyes accusingly. "Get dressed and get out."

"What?" she balked, "You're just tossing me out? What the hell is that about, Angelus?"

"Someone followed you here," he whispered, jumping to his feet and quickly pulling on his pants. "No one knows about this place and no one followed us here, so that means they followed you."

"Oh," she said, hopping to her feet as well and crossing her arms across her chest before throwing back icily, "It's us now, is it? I think there's more to Buffy Summers than you're letting on."

"Get out," he growled quietly before mounting the stairs and disappearing from sight. She watched him for several seconds before taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly. She stretched languidly before pulling on her clothes. When she was dressed, she heard scrambling feet upstairs and smiled as she put on her fire engine red lipstick. Tucking her lipstick back in her pocket and retrieving her keys, she headed for the back door.


Buffy panicked as the two intruders quickly overpowered her. They deflected her blows in perfect concert with one another and seemed intent on keeping her as quiet as possible. They knew Angel was downstairs otherwise engaged and that in the middle of coital bliss he would not hear her whimpers of frustration as she tried to break free. The strange part about it, however, was that they didn't seem to be trying to kill her or even kidnap her.

"Calm down, princess," a female voice whispered through the darkness as she and her counterpart dragged Buffy into her bedroom. "We just wanna ask you some questions and we can't do that if we knock you the fuck out."

"Let me go," Buffy muffled behind the hand clamped brutally over her mouth. She bucked and fought as they pushed her into the bedroom she had just exited. Her mind raced for any of the training she had been taught while living with her father in England, but unfortunately, her attackers seemed to anticipate her every move. As much as she desperately wanted to believe that they only wanted to ask a few harmless questions, she knew better than to even dream that possibility. She was a target. People wanted to kill her. And Angel was downstairs enjoying himself fully while she was about to die.

"Yeah," a British voice chuckled in response, "That'll work. Now say ‘pretty please.'"

Light flooded her bedroom and she looked at the people accosting her as much as she could, looking for a weakness. Any weakness at all would do. Mostly, she just found that they were both strong and strangely beautiful with the same cold gleam in their eyes that Angel always carried even when he smiled.

The female was about her age, maybe a year younger, with dark hair and deep brown eyes nearly the same color as Angel's. Her clothes were dark and form fitting, heavy on the leather, and her breasts were hard to miss as they threatened to spill from her plunging neckline. The man was her exact opposite with bleach blonde hair and crystal blue eyes. He looked like a Billy Idol wannabe, only she wasn't usually afraid of Billy Idol. Well, there was that one video...

"Now, who the fuck are you?" the dark haired girl demanded with her hands resting on her narrow hips, "And be quiet about it or I'll kneecap you."

"Who am I?" Buffy demanded in a harsh whisper, "You came here and attacked me! Who the hell are you?"

"Chit's got spunk," the man said with a grin as he lit a cigarette like he didn't have a care in the world. He leaned lazily against the wall near the door as if he was just chatting her up rather than interrogating her. "No wonder Angel wants her all to himself," he mused through a haze of exhaled smoke.

"If you're so cozy with Angel," Buffy spat, "Why don't you just ask him?"

"Cause they always want to do things the hard way," Angel growled as he stepped into the room and glared at the two intruders. "Buffy, this is my nosey sister, Faith, and my friend, Spike. I'd like you to meet Buffy Angelus. My wife."

Time stopped for several long seconds as Angel crossed the room and peeled Faith's fingers from Buffy's wrist. He rubbed her skin lightly in a sensual caress, easing the reddened area as Faith and Spike looked from Buffy to Angel and back again in a momentary dazed stupor.

"Your WHAT?" Faith exploded, turning on her brother forcefully, "Angel, if you really married this little twinkie, I'll kick your fucking ass!"

"Right and I'm bloody Jolly Green Giant," Spike snorted, "Faith, just look at her. This bint hasn't rutted with Peaches or anyone else. I'd stake my life on it. Besides, if he was married he wouldn't have been downstairs drilling Gwen into the floor."

"I want to talk to both of you downstairs," Angel demanded cooly. He wasn't even looking at Buffy but she could imagine the glare they were receiving nonetheless. It was the most familiar expression on his face when he was with her. She watched as he headed for the door, sitting motionless on the bed as they followed him out. Faith cast one last accusing look at her before following Spike and her brother downstairs.


"You've gotta be kidding me!" Faith roared as they made their way to the Great Room. "The little princess up there is your wife? What fucking ever."

"Of course she isn't my wife," Angel said, shaking his head. He poured himself a drink and sat back on the couch, ignoring that most of his clothes were still strewn on the floor in front of the fireplace. "But I'd never rob a bank with you, Faith. Way to keep things quiet."

"Well, what the hell are you doing then?" Faith demanded, crossing her arms over her chest. "Isn't she a job? Shouldn't she be a grease spot on the bedroom floor? Need help getting it done cause I'd love to wrap my hands around her skinny little neck?"

"This is a different kind of job," Angel answered calmly. He rolled the amber liquid around in his glass and smirked at his sister's rage. Shaking his head, he couldn't help but chuckle. She acted like a jealous girlfriend sometimes. "I was hired to protect Buffy and since my brother assassins have been climbing out the woodwork lately, I decided to hide out for awhile."

"And the wife business?" Spike asked, knocking back his own drink and pouring another before slumping in a chair across from Angel.

"Just a cover," Angel said shrugging, "But I want her to think that you think we're married."

"Oh, this is priceless," Spike said, grinning widely, "The Poof has sunk so bloody low that the only way to fuck a virgin is to pretend to be her husband. Hell, you just made my whole night!"

"Big brother, say it isn't so," Faith laughed, calming visibly as she plopped down next to Angel on the couch, "You were my hero in the pussy department until just now."


Buffy sat on the edge of the bed and debated on what to do. Her nerves were jangling from being attacked, even if they weren't trying to kill her and she was stunned that Angel would lie to the two closest people to him about their bunk marriage. Not that she trusted him before, but now she trusted him even less. How could he tell them that they were really married? What did that hope to accomplish? And what the hell was wrong with Faith and Spike?

She didn't particularly think that Angel's family or friends would be normal by any stretch of the imagination, but was everyone he associated with caustic and violent? She was sure that his beautiful lover, Gwen, could throw down with the best of ‘em. In fact, they all moved the same way - with cocky, deliberate movements in a sort of gliding strut that could be easily shifted into a fighting stance. His sister and Spike were obviously trained fighters. Had Angel trained them? Who trained Angel? How the hell did all these people know how to handle themselves?

Lost in a sea of confusion and demanding questions, she was startled when Angel came back in the room. He closed the door quietly behind him and listened as the footfalls of the two visitors moved to bedrooms further down the hall. His gaze dug into her as he waited.

"Why did you lie to them?" Buffy asked quietly.

"If they buy it, everyone else will too," Angel answered automatically. "I'll tell them the truth eventually but in the meantime, we need to act like husband and wife."

"Is this some kind of get in my pants thing?" Buffy huffed, rising to her feet, cocking out one hip and crossing her arms over her chest. "I mean, who cares if anyone really believes it or not? It's not like we're going to be attending social events or having dinner with the in laws."

"Yes," Angel answered simply with a feral grin that soaked through her like a shower of lust. She stared at him with her mouth ajar for a moment and was quickly reminded why she was so desperately thirsty before and now the urge to get a drink was more intensified than before. His low cut leather pants were the only thing covering his large, muscular frame and he stood like a man who knew he could have anything he wanted. Buffy was unnerved by the fact that it was most definitely true.

She cleared her throat before speaking again, frustrated when her words came out hoarsely. "You're not weaseling your way into my bed, if that's what you're thinking."

"Of course not," he said with a gleaming smile, shaking his tousled head in amusement. "We'll sleep in the Master Bedroom." He crossed the room, opened the closet and pulled out the suitcase he knew she had not yet unpacked. Without looking at her to see how she reacted to the news, he opened the door and walked out, heading to his room with her things.


Angel laughed silently as he headed down the hallway with Buffy's bag. Spike and Faith, annoying as they were, couldn't have arrived at more opportune time. She was already putty in his hands and now with the arrival of his family, he had the perfect accuse to scoot her cute little ass into his bed. He knew she would be expecting him to try something, which is why he wouldn't, of course.

If Angel knew anything, he knew women. Despite what she said about not wanting him, he knew she did. And he knew he could have her tonight if he seriously put his mind to it, even though he had rolled around the floor with Gwen for the better part of the night already, but it would be so much sweeter when he made her wait. She would begin to think that he didn't want her and he could already see that it would hurt her feelings.

Maybe this whole change of work was the best thing after all, he thought as he slipped out of his leather pants and put on a pair of black silk pajama pants that he hadn't worn to sleep in since...well, ever. He would oblige her delicate senses for awhile and behave himself. It would make seducing her that much easier later. He climbed into his king size bed and waited patiently until she made her way down the hall. Closing his eyes, he turned on his side.

"I want my stuff," she said sternly from the doorway.

"Get in," he ordered with a yawn. "This bed is so big you won't even know I'm here."

Minutes passed with no movement and finally Angel opened his eyes and met her burning glare. He smiled as he rolled over and reached for the covers on the other side of the bed, pulling them down for her. The only sound in the room was the rustling of black silk sheets.

"Think of it this way," Angel said, turning back over and closing his eyes again, "At least you'll be safer in this room than any other."

"I violently dislike you," she bit out as she closed the door and crossed the room. He waited for her to slide in between the sheets and grinned. He reached up and turned off the light happily, inhaling as her sweet scent filled the bed. This was going to be so much fun.


TBC...Please let me know what you think of this so far. Thanks!




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