Part One

By Tango

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.
SPOILERS: Completely AU. Everyone's just plain ‘ole human.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

FEEDBACK: Please let me know if you think I should continue this. I'm not sure about it yet.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from the Counting Crows

RATING: R? For now.

DEDICATION: For Eleni Angel. I hope this meets the challenge. I don't follow directions too well. *G* (I will post the challenge at the end of the fic.) And to trammie.


it doesn't get much worse than this

Most police officers go through their entire careers and never even discharge their weapons. Even in big cities like LA, New York and Chicago, there are police officers that have never released a bullet outside of a shooting range. Detective Liam Angelus wished he was one of those people.

He wasn't.

Three people had lost their lives while he was on duty, by his hands. He shuddered every time he thought about it. He cringed to think that their deaths had made him a hero and spurred on his success, causing him to become the youngest detective on the force. That's when they started calling him "Angel." It sounded like sacrilege coming from these people who barely knew him. It had always been his nickname from his mother and they made into something bloody, something that tasted like death when it came off their lips.

That was all before he became Hank Summers' partner.

Hank was well known on the force and highly respected. Angel knew very little about him for the first few months they worked together but as time passed the details began to leak into daily life. Summers was married with one child. He seemed to care about his family though he rarely talked about them. He had a dry sense of humor that occasionally bordered on offensive, or would have to most people, but it took more than the usual amount of crassness to offend Angel. After the first few weeks, it became clear why they were made partners. Hank had been forced to kill a man twenty years before and because of that he immediately picked up on the callousness that was growing inside Angel.

It stays with you, boy, Hank had said one night while they were on a stake out, You never get over killing someone. Don't let the guys get to you though. They laugh about it because they're afraid of it and jealous at the same time. Remember that. You saved lives that night, that's what made you a hero. Hank was right, of course, but he felt like he would never wash that blood off his hands. Every time he heard the name "Angel," it was like he killed them again.

He was beginning to think that his life had plateaued. He would get by with whatever female acquaintance he found, which were many, would carry on affairs that were string-free and never let any of them into his heart. He would do his job every day and go home every night, stopping off occasionally to drink himself into a stupor and that would be it. It seemed like a passable existence until Hank invited him over for dinner. His immediate instinct was to say no. He didn't want to carry his gloom from the work day into their lives but eventually he agreed when he couldn't think of a single reason to give Hank to not come.

He headed over to the Summers' house at 4:00 PM on Sunday afternoon and trudged up to the door, taking a deep breath before he knocked. He used to be so good at this. He used to be a pro at joking around and blending in with other people. Now all he could think of was if he could carry on enough passable table conversation to get by.

The door opened after a few moments and standing in front of him in mid-laugh was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She had golden blonde hair, sparkling green eyes and a tiny hand with perfectly manicured nails pushed open the screen door to let him in.

"Xander!" she shouted, speaking to someone else in the house, giggling like the schoolgirl she was. She kept her smile as she turned to him, "You must be Daddy's partner."

"Yes," he said, swallowing harshly at the sight of her and the sound of her voice. She was exquisite and he had to make himself look away as she stepped back to let him in, trying to miss the swing of her narrow hips. Instead, he looked down and caught sight of her bare feet on the hardwood floor. Her toenails were painted a sparkly purple color and he felt the strangest urge to kiss them. "I'm Liam."

"Hi Liam. I'm Buffy," she said, almost shyly. She shut the door behind him and gestured at the other two teenagers in the living room, a shy little redheaded girl and a gangly dark haired boy, "Those are my friends, Willow and Xander. Guys, this is Daddy's partner, Liam."

"Hello, Liam," Xander sneered, eyeing him viciously, as if he were a serial killer rather than a police detective.

"Hi!" Willow announced brightly, waving a little as she hopped to her feet, "So you're a detective like Mr. Summers, right? I didn't know they could be that young."

"Uh...special circumstances," Angel muttered, shifting uncomfortably.

"Whatever," Buffy scoffed, waving her hand at him dismissively, "He's a huge hero. Even Daddy says that he saved a bunch of people's lives. They promoted him because of that. Come on, Liam. I'll show you where Daddy's burning hamburgers."

Angel followed Buffy through the house, into the kitchen where he met a very pleasant Mrs. Summers, and out to the backyard where Hank was cursing at a barbecue pit. He thought Buffy would go back to her friends right away but she led Angel right up to her father, padding barefoot through the soft grass and bumped her father's hip with hers playfully.

"Hi pumpkin," Hank said, kissing her forehead. Angel struggled to breathe through the smoke rising up from the pit and through his nearly unchecked very, very wrong lust for a seventeen-year-old girl.

"I found your partner," she said, smiling shyly at Angel.

"Hey Angel," Hank said, reaching out to shake his hand, "Glad you could make it."

"Thanks," Angel said, peering uneasily at the burning patties on the grill, " you need help?"


she don't deserve this
she is a flower and i am a flower
and we are alone

Despite Angel's better judgment, he started making every excuse in the book to appear at Hank's front door after that day. They began watching baseball games together over beer on the weekends and the amusing part of it all was that Angel never really liked baseball. It was a frightfully boring sport but when Buffy came bounding through the room, regarding their television choice with disdain or just passing through, he knew that hours of watching men run around a baseball diamond was more than worth it.

He wasn't even sure when he noticed it, but she started making excuses to come into whatever room he was in. Sometimes, she passed through four or five times during the game, thankfully disrupting the room, the air, the pace of his heartbeat. She started batting her eyes at him and smiling at him like that. And when she started calling him "Angel," rather than Liam, it rolled off her pink lips like a sigh, like a promise, a vow and all of a sudden his name was no longer dipped in the blood of those deaths. She had returned it to its former status; it was a loving caress again.

He wasn't sure at which point he actually admitted to himself that he was falling in love with her but one night when he was leaving, she was sitting on the front steps and as he realized she was crying, he knew without a doubt that he loved her. She wiped her face quickly with the back of her hand, unable to hide the wetness on her cheeks, and forced a fake smile, "Hi Angel."

"What's wrong?" he asked, settling on the step next to her. Buffy looked away, focusing on the grass rather than him. She couldn't believe this was happening to her. The most beautiful man ever to grace the planet, who probably thought of her as an immature little girl, happened to walk out when she was sniffling and crying. She wished she was an ostrich so she could bury her head in the ground and pretend he wasn't there.

"Nothing," she muttered, "I'm fine. Thanks."

"Something's bothering you," he prodded gently, "I'm a good listener."

Angel had suspected for some time that there was trouble in the Summers' household. As of late, Hank had been becoming more and more bitter at work, speaking of his family less and whenever Angel came over Joyce was rarely in the same room. Angel knew it would only be a matter of time before the bitterness flaring off of Hank in palatable waves seeped into Buffy. He wanted to rush in and preserve her innocence, but it wasn't his place. He couldn't protect her and he knew it.

But God, he wanted to. For weeks his dreams had been filled with those deep green eyes, shimmering with unshed tears, even before he had ever seen her cry. In the middle of the night, they fell, streaming across her cheeks. Sometimes he was able to brush them away, lightly swiping them with his thumbs. He imagined touching her silky skin, gliding his fingers over the soft line of her jaw, over her round cheek. In some of the dreams he was allowed to pull her into his arms and he would promise over and over that he would keep her safe.

"It's stupid," she said, shivering slightly in the night air, "And you have better things to do than talk to me."

"You're cold," he said, craning his neck to try and catch her eyes, but she kept her gaze planted firmly in the surrounding foliage.

"You can take it," she replied saucily. For the last six months, she would have given anything for Angel to give her the time of day. Now that she was all in pieces on the front porch he thought he could pity her and lower himself to speak to her? The mere idea of his sympathy pissed her off.

"No," he said, shrugging out of his leather jacket and putting it around her bare shoulders, "I mean, you look cold."

"Thanks," she said, turning toward him finally and looking at him questioningly. Even in the dark, she could see the caring coming from his dark eyes and she was slightly more than confused.

"Sure," he said, leaning in and kissing her temple softly. He surprised himself at the gesture and stood quickly before he could touch her again. Struggling for something to say he pulled out his wallet and extracted a crisp, white business card. He handed it to her and backed away a couple of steps, "If you ever need me, call."


wait for the hunger to come

"Where'd you get that?" Willow asked the next day at school as Buffy sauntered into the library.

"Angel," Buffy answered. Her hand was tucked inside the pocket and she shifted her fingers over the edge of his business card.

"What?" Xander shouted, "You know him for ten minutes and you're exchanging clothing?"

"Children," Giles said, ducking out from his office, "Although I am thrilled that you find comfort in lounging in the library in your free time, you might pretend that you are here for studies."

"Sorry Giles," Buffy said, shooting him a bright smile, "Anyway, Xander I have known him for months and I was cold."

"You live in California, Buffy," Xander retorted, rolling his eyes, "It was balmy last night! There was no need for the giving of very expensive leather jackets that are way too big and could-"

"Xander!" Willow shouted, clamping a hand over her mouth and then whispering harshly, "Could you let her finish the story?"

"Angel, Angel, Angel," Xander muttered heading toward the library doors, "Why does every conversation have to revolve around that freak?"

"He thinks I'm a little girl," Buffy whispered, not for the sake of Giles, but to keep him from hearing, "He doesn't even talk to me."

"But you like him," Willow protested, "And jacket! He gave you his jacket!"

"He's a honey," she sighed, slumping in her seat dreamily, "When he's around, it's like the lights dim everywhere else. You know how it's like that with some guys?"

"Yeah," Willow said, looking over at the library doors still swinging from Xander's exit, "I do."


dreaming of wrong and right
wrapped in grace and in sin

The following Wednesday night, Hank invited Angel over for lasagna night and baseball. He searched his mind for any reason not to go, but in the end he knew that he was going to be there. He walked in without knocking as he had been for months and found Buffy curled up in Hank's reclining chair, her face scrunched up over a history book.

"Hey," he said, startling her. She looked up at him in surprise, obviously not knowing he was coming tonight and then looked back down at the leather jacket that had become an integral part of her outfit in the last couple of days. Starting to pull it off, she said, "Here you can have your jacket back."

"Looks better on you," he said in his sexy rumbling voice and tossed her a tiny half smile that made her heart bubble over. She sat there in shock and listened to him enter the kitchen. His voice sounded far away as he greeted her mother and commented on the smell of the food. She could almost predict where he was standing and what he was doing after months of watching him. He had slowly become a part of their family and she pictured him setting the table while he chatted easily with her mother. Groaning at herself in frustration, Buffy gathered her books and headed up to her room to deposit them. No man that sexy should be allowed to come over for dinner only twice a week and fill her dreams all seven.

Dinner was a disaster. Buffy ended up leaving the table early when her parents began arguing at the table. She couldn't believe that they weren't able to restrain themselves at least until Angel left. She lowered herself to the ground in front of the oak tree out front and wished it would swallow her whole. She had never been that humiliated in her life and was beside herself with panic when Angel walked out the front door and made his way toward her.

"Hey," he said, offering his hand, "Come on."

"Are you under the impression that I'm going somewhere with you?" she snapped, but accepted his hand anyway. She couldn't believe how large his hands were and gentle, how hers seemed to get lost in his.

"Ice cream," he said matter of factly, pulling his hand away from hers quickly, "I already told your parents."

"Do you think I'm some three-year-old that can be appeased with ice cream when Mommy and Daddy get in a fight?" she demanded. She had no idea why she was so angry with Angel, but she couldn't help it. There was so much irritation and frustration inside her and he was treating her like a child again. It made her insane.

"I want ice cream," he said, unfazed by her outbursts, "and I thought you might want to come along. Was I wrong?"

"No," she admitted, falling in step behind him. He opened the passenger side of his convertible with a dramatic sweep of one of his large hands and smiled as he said, "My lady."

"Thank you, kind sir," she said, giggling despite herself as she sat down.

She tried to pay attention to the road ahead of them, her ice cream, anything to keep herself from looking at him during their little trip, especially since she had to continually convince herself that it wasn't a date. Buffy was aware, even though she didn't want to admit it, that the terms "police officer" and "jail bait" were mutually exclusive. There was just no way he would be interested in her. And yet, every once in a while, she could catch him looking at her or stopping himself from saying something. Her seventeen-year-old mind raced with what those sentences could have been.

When they reached her house, he walked her up to the door and she saw that her father's car was gone. She knew he was probably "out for a drive" again. The lights were off in the house, which meant her mother was pretending to be asleep. She sighed loudly as she mounted the front steps. Turning to face Angel, she found him standing so close to her that she had to crane her neck to look into his handsome face.

"I have to go," he said, not moving from his spot as he looked into her vulnerable green eyes. If she wasn't quite so lovable, just a tad less beautiful, he might have been able to walk away, but she was those things and much more.

"‘Kay," she whispered, moving her lips very, very slowly over the single syllable. She curled her fingers around the cuff of the leather jacket she wore and kept her eyes on his, holding her breath while she waited for him to move away.

"I really can't be around you, Buffy," he said, looking down on her, so close he could smell her perfume and her shampoo, "Because when I am..."

"Hey, no big," Buffy pffted, looking down at her feet but seeing his instead, "Water...over the bridge, under the bridge..."

"When I am, I can ever think about is how badly I want to kiss you," he said, rushing the words out in a single breath, running them together.

"...Over the dam," she continued until his words registered and she snapped her head up to look at him in shock, "Kiss me?"

"I'm older than you," he whispered, "and this can't ever...I better go."

"H-how much older?" Buffy asked quietly, still meeting his eyes.

"I should...,” he said, tapering off. She had that look in her eyes that often blinked through his mind during the day, that look that made him wonder if there actually was real love in the world.

"'Go,' you said," she whispered, stepping forward. She turned her head up and they leaned into each other at the same time, meeting lips gently at first. He wound his fingers through her hair as he urged her lips apart and slipped his tongue into her warm mouth. He was certain he heard her sigh as she wrapped her arms around him, pressing her tiny body delightfully against his.

He meant to stop it. He really did, but she tasted so sweet and for the first time since he killed those drug dealers a year ago, he thought he could find peace. Passion rose inside their kiss and he pulled apart finally, breathing harshly.

"What? What is it?" she gasped through swollen lips, "What's wrong?"

"I'm sorry," he said, stepping away, "I shouldn't've done that."

"Angel..." she said, her voice threading through his skin and taking root in his veins.

"Look, Buffy, this can't..."

"Ever be anything," she breathed bitterly, "I know. You're like 10 years older than me, right?"

"Seven," he said quietly, "I'm twenty-five. It's not that I don't want..."

"I get it," she said harshly. She didn't mean for it to come out like that, but the idea of losing him when she'd only just gotten him made her blood turn cold. No other boy ever kissed her like that. No other boy ever made her feel like that either, like she was alive for the first time, burning all over and cold at the same time.

"Your father would kill me," he said, "I could lose my job. I just gotta...I gotta walk away from this."

"I know," she replied dejectedly, "Me too...One of us has to go here and since I live here..."

"I know," he said, licking his lips as he looked down at her. Once again, he dipped down and captured her lips. Knowing it had to be the last time, he allowed himself one final taste of her. Again their emotions got the better of them and the kiss became more passionate. He felt her fingers moving through his hair as they plunged in each other's mouths. Angel was about to break away and make a run for it when it died down and they stepped away from each other reluctantly. Giving him a sad little smile, she opened her front door and went inside.


she's trying to be a good girl
and give ‘em what they want

They were halfway into their second baseball season as partners, when Buffy came trotting through the living room wearing a mini skirt that should have been outlawed in several states. Angel nearly choked on the beer he was sipping when she came in - beautiful, tiny and eighteen. Her golden, toned legs were blurred to his vision for a second and he glanced at Hank with alarm as she told him she was leaving. He was actually letting her leave like that? The slice of skin visible between her shirt and skirt was sending sirens off in his brain. It was all he could do not demand that she change clothes. I mean, someone could see her!

Instead, he took a long pull of his beer and scowled at the baseball game. He fucking hated baseball and now the woman - correction, girl - of his dreams was sauntering out the door and climbing into - whose godamn car was that?

"Don't even think about it," Hank said, shaking him out of his thoughts.

"About what?"

"Don't play innocent with me," Hank said, eyeing his partner severely, "I'm not stupid, Angelus. I know you've had a hard-on for my daughter for a long time. I'm fully aware of how beautiful she is as I know you're fully aware that she is only eighteen years old. You're my friend, so let me make this plain - You ever touch her and I'll kill you."

"I wouldn't-"

"Yes, you would," Hank said, cutting him off and turning back to the television, "But you better fuckin' not."

Angel most certainly would. In fact, most of his dreams were filled with just how he would. He could already taste the sweet salt of her skin, could already feel her hair slipping between his fingers again. He might have been able to resist though. He told himself that he might have been able to carry on his miserable existence without her in it if that same evening she hadn't called his cell phone as he was driving home.

"Angel?" she whispered into the phone. He strained to hear her over the rushing of cars and wind. Pressing the phone closely to his ear he said, "Buffy?"

"Don't say my name!" she shouted and then realized it was too late, "Please say you're not at my house."

"I'm in my car, Buffy," he said, pulling over and gripping the steering wheel as he tried not to panic yet. Her voice sounded strained and he was sure he heard the familiar ring of tears there. He cleared his throat and continued, "By myself. What's wrong? Are you in trouble?"

"Yes," she whimpered, "Can you come get me?"

"Where are you?" he demanded, starting his car and putting it in gear. She gave him directions to a dance club ten minutes away and Angel's car lurched onto the road as he pulled a U-turn in the center of the busy LA street. Street laws be damned, he thought as he pressed on the gas, he was going to make it there in five.


Part Two


i am covered in skin
no one gets to come in
pull me out from the inside
i am folded and unfolded and unfolding
i am colorblind

Angel pressed on the gas and drove at a dangerous speed until he reached the club. He flashed his badge at the doorman who made a shocked gasping sound as he passed by. Behind him, he vaguely heard the sound of the bouncer asking him why he was there, but he ignored it. He had no desire to waste time while Buffy was in danger.

He stopped just inside the door and scanned the room, which was filled with hundreds of gyrating bodies and exposed flesh. Walking quickly through the room, he wound his way around them searching for one tiny blonde tossed somewhere in the throng. He felt something akin to a growl edging its way to his vocal chords as he searched for her and found nothing. For all he knew she was dying in a corner and none of the hormonally imbalanced crowd even noticed she was there.

Finally he spotted her, sitting in a chair in the far corner of the club, half turned to the wall. He picked up the pace, nearly knocking over a teenaged boy in the process.

"Buffy?" he asked, towering over her for a second before crouching in front of her chair, "Are you okay?"

"Can we leave?" she croaked, just loud enough to be heard over the pumping music. He leaned in closer and waited for her to look at him, but she didn't. She kept her eyes trained on the floor in front of her, keeping her eyes from meeting his. Finally, he reached up and hooked a finger under her chin. His hands were shaking as she reluctantly allowed him to turn her face to meet his.

"Oh my God," he said through gritted teeth as he looked at her. Dried blood was on her mouth and chin, looking as if it had trickled from her lips and a dark bruise was already decorating the side of her face, marring her perfect skin. He stood and took her hand, helping her to her feet and she hissed in pain, which caused him to notice the bruises on her wrists. He fought to remain in control, as he demanded, "Who did this to you?"

"Can we just go?" she whimpered.

"No," he said, gently holding her shoulders as he met her eyes, "We cannot just go. I want to know what happened and who did this to you."

"A boy from school asked me out on a date. Cameron. He's on the swim team," she started, taking a deep breath, "He started kissing me and when I wanted to stop he wouldn't. Then know..."

"No," he growled, feeling his whole body shaking in frustration, "I don't know."

"Touching me," she forced out, feeling stinging tears escaping from her eyes. She didn't want to have this conversation with Angel. She couldn't stand the thought of him thinking less of her because of this. All she wanted was to leave the club before Cameron came back. Looking into his eyes, she saw he was not going to let it go until she told him everything. Taking another deep breath, she continued, "I kept asking him to stop and trying to move away but he held me there."

She held out her wrist to show him how he had held her there and he took her hand, caressing it gently. Drifting his thumb over the top of her hand, he waited for her continue, "When he wouldn't stop, I screamed and pulled away but he grabbed me again, so I kicked him between the legs. Then h-he hit me."

"What happened after that?" he asked, shifting his fingers over the side of her face, "How did you get away to call me?"

"I hit him back," she said, feeling the urge to giggle all of a sudden at the look of shock on Angel's face, "I think I gave him a bloody nose."

"You gave him a bloody nose?" he echoed and watched as she nodded, smiling and wincing at the same time. He felt a grin twitching over his lips and sighed, "That's my girl. Where is he now?"

"No, Angel," she said, "Just wanna leave."

"Where, Buffy?" She cast her eyes towards the men's room and he catapulted a "wait here" over his shoulder as he headed in that direction. He wasn't going to take one step out of the door until he knew that little date raping piece of shit was clear on what the rules of the world were - in a nonofficial capacity, of course. The restroom had the same public stench that he was used to in places like this and he found the culprit immediately, cursing in front of the cracked mirror over the sink.

"Fucking bitch!" Cameron shouted at his reflection, dripping blood into the basin freely.

"Damn," Angel said, letting out a low whistle, "Who did that to you?"

"Fucking cunt I brought here," Cameron hissed out, turning to get toilet paper from the stall only to find there wasn't any.

"What'd she do that for?" Angel asked, stepping slightly closer, "Looks like she broke your nose, buddy."

"I knew it," he cursed, "She hit me because she's a cock tease, that's wh-"

Cameron stopped speaking when Angel slammed him against the wall between the urinals and sink. He kept one hand on his nose and one pushed against Angel's much larger shoulder as he muffled out, "What the hell is your problem?"

"Buffy Summers is my problem," Angel roared, "If you ever want to swim again, you stay away from her. Got it?"

"Look," Cameron explained, "She hit me. I was just protecting-"

"Lay off the bullshit," Angel demanded, "I don't have time. I have to take your date home and see I can get the fucking swelling down before her father finds out what you did."

"I can-"

"SHUT UP!" Angel shouted and pulled him back from the wall slightly so he could slam him back into it, "Touch her again and I'll come find you, boy. You'll have more to worry about than your nose."

"I'm s-sorry, but she-"

"Cameron," Angel sneered, leaning in closely to make sure he got his message across, "That's your name, right? I want to hurt you so badly, I can barely stand it, so keep talking, okay?"

Angel waited and was greeted with silence. Taking a deep breath and reminding himself he liked his job, he said evenly, "What you attempted to do tonight was date rape. It's a violation of a person and it's against the law. Buffy won't press charges, but believe me when I tell you I'm going to try and convince her to. Being able to touch a beautiful girl is a privilege. It isn't yours to take as you wish. Do you understand?"

"Yes," Cameron said, only after Angel glared at him for long seconds waiting for an answer.

"Good," Angel said, standing up straight and releasing him, "Touch her again and they'll never find your body."


keep some sorrow in your hearts and minds
for the things that die before their time

"You broke his nose," Angel said with a grin as he opened his car door and waited for her to climb in. He circled the other side and climbed in before taking her hand and inspecting her. He knew it wasn't uncommon for someone to hurt themselves as much as the person they hit when it was done incorrectly, "You didn't hurt yourself when you hit him did you?"

"No," she said shaking her head, "Daddy taught me how to punch straight a long time ago."

"Good," he said, starting his car and pulling from the parking lot, "I'm going to take you to my house to get cleaned up before I take you home, okay?"

"Well...that's the other thing," she said, sniffling again, "I called home after I called you and told Mom I was staying at Willow's because I knew Daddy would lose it if he saw me like this."

"Okay," he said, nodding with uncertainty at why this was upsetting her, "I can take you to Willow's. That's not a big deal."

"Well then I called Willow and she said her parents were having house guests and that I couldn't stay there tonight," Buffy added, "And now I don't know what to do."

"Buffy," Angel said, casting a glance toward her as he drove, "Hank is going to see it tomorrow if he doesn't tonight."

"I know," she said, "But...he's going to freak when he sees it and I just can't...I can't face him tonight. I just need some time to think about how I'm going to explain this."

"Can't you sneak into your room?" Angel asked, keeping his eyes on the road and his hands on the steering wheel. There was no way Buffy was staying the night at his house. He would have of think of something else. Not only did he not trust himself but Hank would crucify him if he found out. No, there had to be a better option. He just didn't know what it was yet.

"He'll see it," she moaned, "Trust me. I can never sneak anything like this past him. I've tried before."

Angel kept silent for the rest of the drive, if only to keep himself from begging her to go home. He knew if she stayed there he wouldn't be able to resist pulling her into his arms and swearing he would keep her safe for the rest of his life.

"Geez," Buffy said as he pulled into the driveway, "Does a small country live in there with you?"

"What?" he asked distractedly as he climbed out of the car. He glanced up at the mansion and then walked around the car to open her door, which she was already opening, "Oh. No, it was my mother's family's house."

"Was?" Buffy asked as they headed for the front door.

"My mom and sister died in car accident six years ago," he said, unlocking the formidable front door and pushing it open, "Now it's just me and my little sister, Cordelia. I got custody of her when my mom died."

"Oh, I'm sorry, Angel," she gushed, "I didn't mean..." Realizing he said "Cordelia" caused her to clamp her mouth closed. She squeezed her eyes shut and opened them again. This whole night had to be a nightmare.

"That's okay," he said, shutting the door behind her, "You couldn't have known."

"Is she here? Your sister, I mean?" Buffy asked. She tried not to gape at her surroundings but the house was nothing short of magnificent. The furnishings looked as if they had been placed there for a movie scene, complete with lush plants in the corners and Persian rugs on the marble floors.

"I think she's staying at Harmony's tonight," he muttered absently, tossing his jacket over the couch and reaching to relieve her of the identical one she wore.

"Harmony," Buffy echoed in shock, "Like the blonde, ditzy girl who talks too much?"

"That's the one," Angel said, "She's one of my sister's friends. Do you know her?"

"Angel," Buffy said, taking a deep breath and holding it, "Please tell me your sister isn't Cordelia Chase"

"Uh, yeah," Angel answered with confusion and then more confusion when Buffy groaned at his answer. He looked at her for a second before it hit him, "Oh God, you go to school with her don't you?"


"And you don't like each other?"

"More like a seething animosity," Buffy answered, wandering around the room. She picked up a picture on the mantelpiece of Angel and Cordy laughing together. They looked like family. It was strange that she never saw it before, but it made sense. They were both so damn beautiful with their sculpted cheekbones and dark hair, "I thought your last name was Angelus."

"It is," he said, "My father died when I was a baby and my mom remarried Cordy's father, Richard Chase."

Angel sat down on the couch and watched Buffy wandering around. He could already see her living there with him and making this her home. He could even see Cordy warming up to Buffy after a while. Planning to start the process, even if it wasn't purposely, he began explaining as he led her to the bathroom to get cleaned up, "I know Cordy can be difficult, but you have to understand why she is the way she is."

Buffy bit back the urge to blurt out, "Spoiled?" She always knew that Cordelia was rich and had heard that she lost her family in a car accident, but the girl was just too mean to feel sorry for.

"Her father left when my sisters were in grade school," he said, "He couldn't handle the idea that my mother's family was so powerful and wealthy, even though Mom never held that over him. He just couldn't stand not being the man of the house. Then Mom and my other sister, Kathryn, died. She was Cordy's twin, Buffy. Ever since Kathy died, Cordy has felt like a part of her was missing."

"Was Kathy like Cordy at all?" Buffy asked, unable to help herself. The idea of two identical Cordelia's running around was enough to send her into a full blown shudder even though she was starting to feel a little bit of sympathy for Queen C.

"No," Angel said, shaking his head sadly as he opened the first aid kit, "Kathy was shy and quiet, always standing in Cordy's shadow. She was the kindest person you'd ever want to meet. Cordy used to protect her from the world. No one could ever pick on Kathy if Cordy was around. They were a sight when they were together, especially when they were happy. Those two brilliant smiles...they could talk me into anything."

"I'm so sorry," she whispered, touching the side of his face. He met her eyes for a second and blinked, "No, I'm sorry. I don't know why I'm spilling all this to you. I've never talked about this to anyone."

"I'm glad you told me," Buffy whispered.


come on, color me in
come on, color me in
give me your blue rain
give me your black sky
give me your green eyes
come on, give me your white skin
come on, give me your white skin
come on, give me your white skin

Buffy tossed and turned in the guest bedroom feeling overwhelmed by the evening's events. There was no way she was going to sleep after being beat up by some creep on the swim team, coming home with Angel and then finding out about Cordelia. It was too much to handle, although to be honest, she wasn't certain she would be able to sleep anyway when she was so close to Angel's bedroom.

Angel's bedroom.

Those two words were taboo in her mind. She could even begin to allow her brain to comprehend what it would be like to be in his arms there even for a few minutes. If she had any guts at all she would already be down the hall and climbing in with him.

It had been a year since he kissed her and although they both agreed they would stay apart, she knew he still was attracted to her. Just the way he lost his temper at the club gave him away. After he had gone in the bathroom after Cameron, she had snuck up to the door and pressed her ear against it to listen. His voice was so angry and full of emotion as he talked to her date. Buffy knew Angel cared about her. She knew he did. Now all she had to do was convince him to follow through with his emotions.

She heard a knock on the front door and she crept out of her room, watching as Angel walked down the grand staircase and through his house in drawstring pants and no shirt. She was so mesmerized by the flexing muscles in his back and the sight of the large tattoo on his right shoulder blade, that she couldn't even get her mind to wonder who was at the door.

"Liam," a female voice crooned and Buffy hurried over the landing, crossing where the staircase went down so she could downstairs better. Standing mere feet from Angel's bedroom, she was torn between eavesdropping and snooping. She stayed where she was and watched as an annoyingly beautiful blonde woman entered the foyer.

"Darla," Angel breathed in a voice that sounded like irritation, "It's late. What are you doing here?"

"Is your sister home?" she asked coyly, stepping closer to him and smoothing her hands over his muscular chest. Buffy was certain that woman wasn't there to see Cordy.

"No," he said, stepping away, "Is there something you needed?"

"Needed?" Darla echoed sensually, stepping closer again, "I don't know if I need it, but I know I want it."

"Listen," Angel said and Buffy listened closely to see if there was any interest or emotion in his voice, "I already told you that it's over."

"I know what you said," Darla purred, "But you said that before and still weren't able to keep me out of your bed. What do you think? One more time for old time's sake?"

"No," he said, firmly, "It's time for you to go."

Buffy watched them going back and forth, feeling an intense jealousy nipping at her. She had never been jealous or protective over a guy before, but somehow she had always thought of Angel as hers. She looked down at her mini skirt and shirt for a second and then back out to the ex-lovers in heated discussion. Making a decision, she hurried into Angel's bedroom and pulled one of his shirts from the closet. Quickly, she shed her own clothes and donned his shirt, taking a second to rumple her hair. She went back out and pressed the bruised side of her face against the wall near the top of the stairs, so Darla wouldn't be able see it and think that Angel had hit her.

"I'm tired. I'd like to go back to sleep, so if you don't mind..." Angel's voice wafted up to the top of the stairs.

"Maybe you need company," Darla persisted, not planning on leaving any time soon. She had gone there to sleep with Angel and wasn't going to leave until she got what she wanted.

"Angel?" Buffy called out, pretending to lean tiredly against the wall at the top of the stairs. She tried not to smile as she faked a yawn, "Are you coming back to bed, baby?"

Angel turned around and nearly swallowed his tongue. Jesus, she was fantastic drowning in one of his best silk shirts. She had left most of the top buttons unbuttoned and he could see the perfect rise of her breasts. Her naked legs peered out from the bottom of the shirt and he fought to breathe as he choked out, "Just a second, love."

"Who is that?" Darla demanded, pointing up at Buffy with one red, claw like fingernail, "You think some little cheerleader can replace me?"

"No," Angel said, turning his back on her and heading up the stairs, "I think she already has. You can you let yourself out, can't you?"

The steps seemed to triple in number as Angel climbed them. At some point he would reach the top and then he would have her there nearly naked in his shirt, waiting for him with Darla watching. He knew without looking back that she hadn't left yet.

When he reached her, he saw that she was leaning against the wall trying to hide her injuries from his ex and he had to smile. She was so damn smart...and beautiful...and perfect. Thinking fast, he pulled her into his arms and strategically covered the side of her face with his large hand as he kissed her. She squealed in delight as he pulled her into his arms and headed for the bedroom, momentarily forgetting the Darla was still there and this was just an act. He kicked his bedroom door closed behind him and continued to kiss her, lost in the sweet taste of her mouth.

He groaned as her warm little hands moved around his neck, pulling him harder against her. He had almost allowed himself to forget out he loved the way she felt against him, how when she kissed him the whole world fell away leaving only the two of them. It was almost as if the rest of the world could disappear and he wouldn't notice or care. The jarring sound of the slamming of his front door brought him back to reality and he pulled away from her lips.

"I-I'm sorry," he said, setting her gently on her small feet and stepping away, "I got carried away."

"That's okay," she said, stepping closer and allowing herself to touch his chest. He was so perfect all over, so much better than she had even imagined. She didn't even care that kissing him made her sore jaw ache. She didn't care if it hurt twice as much as long as he did it again. She looked up at him and pleaded silently with her eyes for just one more kiss and he had no choice but to oblige her, sliding his hands over her silk clad body, meeting her lips once more.

"Thanks for helping me out," he managed to force out when he backed away again, knowing he would need a cold shower before he could sleep that night.

"You're welcome," she said, "I hope you don't mind that I did that, it just looked like she wasn't going to leave."

"She would have...eventually...I think," he said, not willing to admit to Buffy that usually he gave in before he could get her to go. He took a long shaky breath and then added, "I think you can get dressed now though."

"What if I don't want to?" Buffy asked coyly, stepping closer. He promised himself he would burrow through the wall before he touched her again. He just couldn't allow himself to touch her again. Could he?

"We've been over this," he stammered, "I wish things were different but they aren't. Nothing's changed. You're still in high school and I'm still your father's partner. I'm seven years older than you, Buffy."

"I've done the math," she answered, defiance flashing through her eyes, "I'm eighteen now and I can do whatever I want."

"He'll kill me," Angel said, "Not that I wouldn't risk it, but I'm just trying to protect you, Buffy. If we start something here, it could get out of control and it'll be over before it starts."

"Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?" she demanded, taking a step closer, "Isn't it supposed to get out control?"

"This isn't some fairy tale," he said angrily, quelling the urge to yell at her, "When I kiss you, you don't wake up from some deep sleep and live happily ever after."

"No," she said as a knock sounded on the door, "When you kiss me, I wanna die."

Angel met her eyes for a long time, catching the fear and love in them, before brushing past the delectable body of his partner's daughter, out the bedroom door and back down the stairs to answer the door.

Buffy followed him out, leaning against the wall again in her former position as she waited. She heard Angel talking to someone and strained to see who was at the door, if it was Darla again, but couldn't see that far without moving from her spot.

"We have an emergency situation," she heard her father say as he stepped into the house. She was prepared to run into the bedroom and hide when Hank Summers looked up and saw his daughter half naked standing at the top of Angel's staircase, "What the fuck is going on here?"

"Listen Hank," Angel said, holding his hands up and backpedaling several steps, "I can explain."

"Daddy," Buffy called out, forgetting out her injuries and buttoning the top of Angel's shirt as she ran down the stairs, "Please wait! This isn't what it looks like.

"What happened to your face?" he screamed. Not waiting for an answer, his arm flung out, contacting with Angel's jaw, "I can't wait to bury your useless fucking body!"

"Daddy!" Buffy screamed jumping in between them and pressing her back against Angel's chest to protect him, "It's not what you think. Just calm down for a second."

"I'm glad it's not what I think," Hank said, "Because it looks like you've just gotten out of his bed. Was that before or after he hit you?"

"I wasn't in his bed and he didn't hit me," she said, firmly and angrily, "Don't come in here punching people before you know the whole story."

Hank's phone rang and he answered it with a furious, "Hello?" He spoke for a second and when he hung up, he looked up, glowering at Angel, "We need to go now. Get dressed, Angelus. Buffy, call your mother and get your ass home. We'll talk about this later."

"Hank," Angel said, "I swear to God..."

"We have an emergency," Hank said, crossing his arms over his chest, "Hurry up."

Angel looked from Buffy to Hank and back again before jogging up the stairs to get dressed. He shut his door quietly and leaned against it for a second before moving into action. Even through the closed door he could hear Hank demanding that Buffy get dressed as well. Angel stopped, looked down at her clothes lying in a pile at his feet and closed his eyes.



Part Three


i wanna be the knife that cuts into my hand
and i wanna be scattered from here in this catapult.

Angel cursed under his breath as he got into Hank's car and put on his seatbelt. This whole day had been a whirlwind of nightmarish events intermixed with the sweet, surreal memories of having Buffy in his arms. All he ever wanted was to make sure she was happy and as he looked back at her standing in his doorway, still wearing his maroon silk shirt with a look of utter destruction on her beautiful face, he knew he had failed.

He didn't need to be able to see her tears to know they were there and found himself wondering what she was going to say to her mother when she called. He wanted to think that Joyce would be Buffy's ally, but her parents had been so wrapped up in hating each other lately, that he wasn't sure.

The two detectives sat in silence for as long as Angel could stand it, which turned out to be approximately six and a half minutes. He cleared his throat and broke into the car's violent silence, "I didn't touch her."

Angel looked over and saw Hank setting his jaw tightly, not even contemplating speech. Although his partner looked as if he were steps from pulling the car over and bludgeoning him to death, he forced himself to continue, "She called me as I was driving home because the guy you let her go out with tried to date rape her in the club."

"And she just took off her clothes and went into your bedroom without any help from you?" Hank said, nearly twitching with anger. Angel sighed. There was no plausible way to explain how she had come to be nearly nude in one of his shirts. He couldn't help but remember how she brazenly stepped forward and touched him when he tried to back away, placing her hands on his chest and burning a new sort of humanity through him. A consuming urge to blare out at Hank overtook him. He wanted to scream until his throat was raw and keep screaming until his voice broke.

"I didn't sleep with your daughter, Hank," Angel said when the urge to scream had passed. He spoke slowly and evenly, making sure he enunciated every word.

"When this case is over, you are out of our lives. I'm asking for a partner change and I don't want you anywhere near my house or my family," Hank said as he pulled in front of the police station. He didn't wait for Angel's response. Instead, he strode directly inside, intending to leave Angel as far behind him as possible. His partner, however, had different plans.

Angel scrambled out of the car and jogged after him with panic shooting through him. He had told himself a thousand times or more that he would stay as far away from Buffy as humanly possible and he could almost grasp the thought of never making love to her, never marrying her, never being able to tell her his true feelings, but he couldn't fathom the idea of being completely tossed from her life. He wouldn't let her father or anyone else keep him from her. She needed him. He knew somewhere deep inside that she needed him just as much as he tried to forget he needed her.

"I think your daughter should be able to decide whether or not she wants me in her life," Angel forced out, half a step behind him.

"She's a child," Hank answered without turning.

"She's eighteen," Angel retorted firmly as they mounted the steps into the police station. He knew this was insane. He knew that less than an hour ago he was telling Buffy why they couldn't be together, but the idea of never seeing her again was more than he could take.

"She's my daughter!" Hank screamed, not even noticing that they had reached the office and were surrounded by their peers. Neither felt the shocked eyes of the officers around them and neither would have given a damn if they had noticed.

"I'm in love with her!" Angel screamed back and then snapped his mouth shut in shock. Had he just said that out loud? He felt a lump forming in his throat and he knew for the first time that it was the absolute truth. It was the only truth he had known since his family died, since he killed those people. Buffy was the only thing he saw in the future and without her there really didn't seem to be a point.

"Are you so supremely stupid that you think saying that to me is going to justify what I saw tonight, Angelus?" Hank demanded, "My daughter was naked, three steps from your bedroom and you're telling me you didn't touch her one second and that you're love with her the next! Get the fuck out of my sight!"

Jaws gaped all over the room as they watched the interchange between the two detectives. With Hank's last statement, Angel stepped closer, flaring with a sort of anger that made everyone want to take a step back, "Hank, I am in LOVE with your daughter. I haven't touched her. I didn't make love to her tonight, but I promise you, I will. I'm not leaving her life. I'm becoming a permanent part of it if I have to marry her without your blessing!"

When Hank coiled his arm back in preparation to hit him, Angel saw it coming as if it was in slow motion. He didn't move to block it or even sway to get out of the way. He wanted it. He deserved it and if his partner needed to beat the shit out of him, so be it, but he knew for the first time in that moment that his future was sealed.

The punch came hard and fast and Angel's head snapped to the side when Hank's fist caught his jaw. He turned back around to face his love's father, feeling his mouth flood with his own blood. Bending, he spit into the nearest trash can and looked back at his attacker.

"I'm in love with her," Angel said, "I want your blessing and I know Buffy does, but she's...Hank, she's everything to me. I've stayed away out of respect for YOU, but guess what? Now, I'm going to do the opposite out of respect for the woman I love."


these seconds when i'm shaking leaving me shuddering for days
and i'm not ready for this sort of thing
but i'm not going to break
and i'm not going to worry about it anymore
i'm not going to bend
and i'm not going to break
and i'm not going to worry about it anymore

Hours later, Angel balanced precariously on the edge of insanity, as he stood on the Summers' front porch. The dawn that was already starting to crease that sky made his skin itch. It couldn't be a new day because the nightmare hadn't ended yet. If he could just wake up, he knew it would be fine again. But he wasn't waking up and her door stood there in front of him, taunting him with its solid existence.

He knocked on the door, rapping on the window pane lightly, as if he hoped she wouldn't hear. Blood was smeared on the glass where he had knocked and he stared down at his bloody knuckles disjointedly. He hadn't known he was bleeding and his hand seemed alien to him. Dazedly, he looked away from his hand and tried to peer into the large front window for signs of movement as he forced himself to knock louder.

Finally, after several minutes, he turned around and lowered himself to the front step. It was slightly chilly out and the cold of the concrete underneath him was almost soothing. It seemed real when nothing else did. He knew he had to get up and knock again but it was so hard to focus and wasn't sure he could. It took all of his strength to do it the first time.

His head was pounding with a delicate mix of physical and emotional pain. He blinked, swiping at his eyes and finding he still couldn't see the steps in front of him. Somehow his jacket and had disappeared and he had no idea where it was. Strange, that he thought about that for a moment, just to concentrate on something else besides what he had to do. Unfortunately, that thought led to the rehashing of the evening and he closed his eyes, trying to shut down his brain again.

But it wouldn't shut down. He could still hear the bullets tearing through the air, through glass, through flesh. He remembered leaning through the window of the car and unloading round after round of flying fatality as Hank drove. The memory of a body slumping in the backseat of the car they were chasing was imprinted on his brain. He had killed again and this time he was no hero.

He took out their two rear tires despite the mad weavings of the car chase but they kept driving as fast as the car would allow. They were all over the road and in Angel's memory, the smell of burning rubber was so intense he felt like he was going to vomit in Joyce's flower garden. The memory, however, didn't leave time for such relief.

There were three men left alive in car and one of them had been shooting holes in Hank's car for miles. Angel had long ago kicked the windshield out so they could see through the spider webbed glass, which is probably why he didn't know Hank had been shot until the car veered off to the side and out of control. Shocked, he had turned and grabbed the wheel to steady the car but let it go when he saw his partner. When he saw the bullet wound in his partner's head, a part of him wanted to die too.

The rest of the events were distorted as he struggled to remember anything but the sound of the car crunching against a building. He still felt like he was still in flight as he recalled being tossed through the windshield. Even though he was fairly certain he had a concussion and his right wrist might possibly broken, he had staggered away as soon as he could escape and came here. He could still hear the paramedics demanding that he stay and the six uniforms that had been following the chase trying to physically detain him.

Ten long regret filled minutes passed before he stood from the cool porch stoop and curled his hand into a fist. Twisting his wrist, he hovered there for a couple more minutes and then he banged the side of his hand against the sturdy wooden door. He kept banging until a light came on inside and he stopped, taking a deep shaky breath. Any second she would open the door. Any second he would have to tell her and he knew that he would sacrifice anything if he didn't have to.

She appeared finally, still wearing his shirt and gray cotton pants covered with little red hearts. Her eyes were barely open and her hair was delightfully bed rumpled, hanging around her shoulders. Half of her face was still black and blue and she was still the most exquisite thing he had ever seen. He fought the urge to run full speed in the opposite direction but he met her eyes reluctantly and saw them change from a sleepy yawn to alarm.

"Angel," she gasped, wrapping her little hands around his arm and tugging him inside, "You're bleeding! Are you okay? Oh my God, was Daddy with you?"

He knew he opened his mouth but he wasn't sure if he actually said anything or if he only mouthed the words, as she guided him to the kitchen and went about gathering the first aid kit. He stood there staring at her, trying to make those words come out. She shushed him as she began to clean his wounds, apologizing for the pain.

"What's going on?" Joyce said, appearing sleepily at the kitchen door. She trudged over the kitchen table and sat down slowly, resting her chin in her palm, watching her daughter tend to Angel's wounds. He moved away from her and she pulled him back, "Don't be a baby. I won't hurt you."

"No, it's not that," he finally managed to spit out and looked from mother to daughter and back again. Taking a shaky moment of strength, he leaned heavily against the counter and said, "I don't know how to tell you this...but Hank..."

"Is okay," Joyce said with a fierce determination, pulling herself to her feet quickly as if she hadn't just been half asleep, "He's okay, right, Angel?"

Angel shook his head slowly, feeling tears welling his eyes as he watched them well in theirs, "I tried to save all happened so fast..."

"No," Buffy said, shaking her head violently from side to side, "It's not true."

"I'm sorry, love," he whispered, "I wish it weren't."

Before they could stop her, Buffy crossed the room and dialed her father's cell phone number. She listened as the phone rang, whispering, "Pick up, Daddy."

"Buffy," Angel said gently, prying the phone from her hand, "Please."

"No!" she screamed, pounding on his chest with little fists. He tried to grab her shoulders to still her but she shrugged him off and rushed over to her mother's side. Joyce had sank to the floor, kneeling there on the ivory tiles. She didn't move or cry, but just sat there, looking at that floor that they had installed together, tile by tile so many years ago. She could almost hear the music coming from Buffy's baby swing as she rocked in the corner, sleeping through the installation.

Buffy dropped to the floor in front of her mother and Joyce slowly looked up to see her daughter. Could she explain to her child that if Hank had lived he would have moved out the following week? She didn't even know if she loved him anymore or not, but she had to because grief was twisting its way through her body, entangling itself in her own self hatred. Maybe she could have tried harder, maybe if he hadn't been so angry at her, at the world then he might have lived.

Meeting her daughter's eyes, they sat there for a moment, letting it soak in. It was just the two of them now. Moving in unison, they leaned toward each other and accepted the news. Angel stood there and watched them grieve for a moment before backing out of the room. He stopped at the doorway and looked down at his adopted family.

"If you need me..." he said, trailing off at the end. There was no point in continuing the sentence. They couldn't hear him.


it's getting cold in california
i guess i'll be leaving soon

Angel walked out of the front door and realized that his car wasn't there. He had convinced one of the uniforms to bring him here and now he had no way home. A long time must have passed while he tried to focus on how to get home without going back inside the house. His cell phone was still in his pocket but was irreparably broken from the crash.

"Angel?" Buffy said, coming out of the front door and whisking her feet through the grass as she approached him.

"I don't have my car," he mumbled as she pulled him back toward the house.

"Stay here," she whispered hoarsely. She pushed him back on the couch and he sat there in stunned silence as she gathered her mother from the kitchen and ushered her off to bed. He could hear her speaking in low, soothing tones to Joyce as she tucked her into bed. As he heard her footsteps coming back down the stairs, he wanted to run back out the door rather than face her but he couldn't get his body to move.

"I'm so sorry, Buffy," he said as she crawled into his lap and buried her bruised face into his shirt, "I tried to save him. I'm so sorry..."

"I could have lost you both," she whispered back, looking up and touching the fresh wounds on his face. Fresh tears sprung in her eyes and he wanted to wipe them away but thinking he had caused them made all the difference. Even though she was tucked in his lap, he couldn't touch her.

"I wish it would have been me instead," he said. She laid her head back against his chest and he could have sworn he heard her muffled voice say, "Shut up, Angel."


the reason that I'm driven straight to tears
waiting here for you
wanting to tell you
how i get my endings my beginnings mixed up too
just the way you do
i thought if i told you
you might want to stay for just another day or two

A month later, Cordelia Chase stormed into the Sunnydale High School library and whipped her dark head toward the table where Buffy sat talking quietly to Giles.

"This is trying time for you, Buffy," Giles said, "I wish I could do more to help, but I'm not certain I understand what you are asking.

"Mom told me about you two, Giles," she said, "I know you never stopped loving my mother."

"Buffy," Giles stammered, "Your mother and I...that was over long ago and she is hardly a month into her grieving process. I cannot enter her life again now."

"She needs a friend, Giles," Buffy begged, "Can you just call her or something?"

"I know who else needs a friend," Cordy said, placing her hands on her hips. She glared down at Buffy like she was preparing to go into war.

"Cordelia, I'm trying to have a conversation with Giles-"

"Buffy," Cordelia said with a tremble of anger in her voice, "I don't know what you did to my brother but he won't leave the house. He hasn't been back to work and he won't even...He won't even talk to me!"

"W-why do you think I have anything to do with that?" Buffy croaked. She had been crying herself to sleep every night since her father died. She had fallen asleep with Angel on the couch and when they woke up in the morning, she felt so perfect sleeping in his arms, but he panicked. It was almost as if he couldn't wait to get out of there and before she knew it he had called a cab and left.

Other than a few polite words, an earnest apology at the funeral and kiss to her forehead in the cemetery, she hadn't seen or spoken to him. She had originally felt incredibly guilty because she was glad she hadn't lost them both. That smidgeon of happiness that had broken into her grief had been a much needed relief no matter how remorseful she was for feeling it and now she realized she that had lost them both after all. She just had been hoping that wasn't true during these weeks she had spent without him.

"He's in love with you!" Cordelia spat at her, "I can't begin to understand what he sees in someone like you, but I know my brother and he can't stop beating himself up for your father's death."

"I don't know what you expect me to do about it," Buffy said, rising to her feet, "He left! I tried to talk to him and he won't even look at me. You saw him at the funeral, Cordy!"

"Buffy," Cordy said, grabbing her shoulders with desperation in her eyes, "He's dying inside. You have to do SOMETHING before I lose the only thing I have left in my life. Please. Help him."

Cordelia Chase has feelings. The idea was like a freight train to Buffy. Even when Angel had told her about his mother and his other sister, she still couldn't wrap her mind around the idea of Cordelia caring for anyone but herself. She stared at the taller girl for long moments, letting the knowledge set in. Finally, she nodded slowly and followed her out of the library. Cordelia led her out to her car and drove like a madwoman home.

Buffy found Angel in the living room with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, staring at the walls as if he were listening to them speak.

"Hi," she said, sitting down on the table in front of him.

"Why are you here, Buffy?" he asked, taking a long pull off of his cigarette and looking at her blankly.

"I came to find out why you aren't speaking to me anymore."

"Maybe I don't have anything to say," he answered bitterly.

"So you lived and Daddy died," Buffy announced, "but you decided that you would rather die, right? You wish it so much that you're going to sit here until you rot."

"What do you want?" he asked, his mouth twisting into an acidic frown.

"I want to know if you love me," she asked, fidgeting there on the edge of the table.

"Forget about me," he said, pulling himself to his feet and brushing past his sister without a glance as he left the room. Buffy charged after him and grabbed his arm, pulling him around to face her. He saw fury flashing in her eyes as she began to shout, "I know you love me. You feel guilty that my Dad died. I get that but what you're doing is...fucking stupid!"

"You're eighteen years old, Buffy," Angel shouted back, coming to life, "What do you know about love? What do you know about guilt? Huh? I killed three people two years ago and last month I killed someone else and your father died anyway. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to-"

"What brood some more?" she shouted, "Feel sorry for yourself a little bit longer?"

"I can't become a killer, Buffy," he said, "That's what I'm turning into. I'm turning into this thing that won't be able to love anything."

"Then fight it."

"It's too hard," he said, pulling away from her, and leaning against the wall, "I can't live like this. All I want to do is take comfort in you, but I can't. Before your father died, we got into a fight about you. He told me that he would never approve of me being in your life and I was going to do whatever I could to convince him that we should be together, but now he's dead. It's all my fault and nothing you or anyone else says can change that."

"I know what happened, Angel. Mom and I read the police report. It wasn't your fault!" Buffy answered. She waited for him to make any motion of acknowledgment, but he just stood there staring at her blankly. She took a deep breath trying to fight the tears she couldn't stop, "What about me, Angel? I love you so much and I tried to stay away but I can't. And I hate it! I hate that it's so hard...and that you can hurt me so much. Oh God! I felt so guilty because I was glad you didn't die too. I wish that I wished you died instead, but I don't. I can't."

"Buffy, please," he said, weeping as he spoke, "Just let me follow your father's wishes. Let me be strong."

"Strong is fighting!" she shouted, "It's hard and it's painful and it's every day, but it's what we have to do. You can sit here and waste the rest of your life and mine, or we can do it together! But if you think I'm going to move on with my life and fall in love with someone else, you're wrong. If you just drink and smoke yourself to death, then all my love dies with you."

Liam Angelus and Cordelia Chase stood in shock and watched as Buffy left the house, slamming the door behind her. Tears streamed down her face as she walked away, not knowing how she was going to get home. She wished she cared about getting home, but she didn't. Everything she cared about was back there in that too large house with his little sister.


Part Four


DEDICATION: For Eleni Angel.
For Starrkitty for making me smile and missing me. *G*


it does not bother me to say this isn't love
because if you don't want to talk about it then it isn't love
and i guess i'm going to have to live with that
but i'm sure there's something in a shade of gray
or something in between

"Angel," Buffy said into the telephone after she'd dialed, after she'd walked for a long time to get home. She wasn't sure how long it had taken. An hour? Longer? She knew that Cordelia came running out of the house and roared in her candy apple red car after her. Buffy had hidden behind a tree and waited until the car had passed before trudging back out to the sidewalk and crying her way home. If Angel hadn't come after her, then she would rather walk.

Each step reminded her of another horrible part of the last month. Spending all that time without her father or the man she loved was not nearly as horrendous as she had imagined it would be. It was much, much worse.

All she wanted when her father died was to curl up in Angel's strong arms and cry. She wanted those fears and feelings to spring free, only reaching the safety of his ears. But she wasn't allowed that. Her mother was either drunk or catatonic every day, her father was dead and Angel wanted nothing to do with her. Buffy couldn't help wondering why she was being punished.

"Thank God," he breathed into the receiver. She could imagine him smelling of liquor and cigarettes rather than that clean smell he always had, like leather and soap, "Cordy came after you and-"

"Shut up, Angel," she snapped, trying to keep her voice strident. She couldn't let him hear her voice break in pain. Not again, "I just called to tell you one thing."

She paused, but she could only hear his breathing as he waited for her to continue. She almost smiled. He was shutting up.

"I'm a real person," she said clearly, "I decide who I love and what I want to do with my life. My father told you to stay away from me, but it was never his decision. It wasn't my mother's either. This is my life. I decide. Not them. Not you."


Angel was silenced when the line went dead on the other end. He sat down in his chair again, cradling the cordless phone in his hand as if he thought it would morph into Buffy if he waited long enough. He should have been the one to go after her. He should have run out that door and kept running until he caught up with her. Already, he could feel her lips against his and the imaginary sigh that was escaping into his mouth from hers was so sweet, he was trembling.

"Why?" Cordelia said, perching on the arm of his chair and looking down on him. He peered up at his beautiful sister and watched as she pushed her long, dark hair over her shoulder so that it wouldn't block his face.

"Because I love her," he said, tossing the phone and watching as it bounced on the adjacent couch, "Because I don't deserve her."

"She loves you too," Cordy said, taking his hand and squeezing it. She gritted her teeth for a second as she made the words she had to say come from her mouth, "Listen very carefully Angel because I won't say this again. I don't like Buffy Summers. I never have and I don't think I ever will, but she loves you. She makes you happy like no one ever has since Mom died. You need her in your life and the little...she needs you. I hate the idea of thinking of her as family but I already do. I have to."

"Cordy," Angel said, leaning his head back against his chair, "Don't you think-"

"I think that I need my brother," she said, clutching his hand tighter and blinking back her own tears, "I can't do this without you, Angel. You're the only one who really loves me. I can't lose you and if that means accepting Buffy into our lives then I can live with that."

"What if I ruin her life?"

"What if you ruin ours?" She demanded standing up and straightening her skirt. He watched as his sister's bitchy demeanor returned. She placed her hands on her hips and tapped her foot urgently, "Now get your ass up and shower because you're smelling up our house."

"Cordelia," Angel warned, narrowing red rimmed eyes at his sister.

"No," she said, turning and walking from the room with a flipping cloud of dark hair trailing behind her, "Go make up with her, Angel! Grovel for her forgiveness and don't bring your sorry ass home until you have."


it's not all that easy
so maybe i should nap her up in butterfly net
pin her down in a photograph album

"Buffy!" Joyce called as she entered the house and slammed the door. Buffy called out her response as she tramped down the stairs. She met the worried eyes of her mother and Giles as she reached the bottom.

"We were looking all over for you," her mother shouted, "You left school early without permission and then disappeared without a trace. We called Angel's and he said you left hours ago."

"I walked home," Buffy said, shrugging her shoulders, "Sorry you were worried. Didn't think you'd miss me that much."

"We were preparing to call hospitals," Giles said, calmly as he pulled out the handkerchief that was always tucked in his pocket and began wiping his glasses.

"Giles," Buffy complained, "When I asked you to talk to my mother, I didn't mean you needed to rat me out for ditching school early."

"I certainly didn't ‘rat' you out," he answered, perching his glasses on his nose once more, "She called me and that is entirely beside the point."

"Do you want to lecture me?" Buffy asked, sinking to the third stair, "Cause I'm all yelled out for the day. Why don't you two just let me know when you're done, okay?"

Buffy nearly choked when Joyce pulled her roughly into her arms and embraced her tightly, "I was so worried. Please just tell me when you're going to be late, okay?"

"Okay," Buffy muffled in bewilderment as she patted her Mom's back lightly, "Okay, Mom...oxygen is becoming an issue."


we're gonna have to think about the consequences
she can't stop shaking and i can't stop touching her and...
this time when kindness falls like rain
it washes her away

Angel showered extremely slowly. He dried off, dressed and headed out the front door even more slowly. He observed the exact speed limit all the way to Buffy's. Not because he was a police officer but because he didn't know what he was going to do once he got there.

All the lights were off in the house when he finally arrived and he almost turned around and went home until he saw that her bedroom light was on. Taking every bit of courage he had, he slipped his keys in his pocket and climbed the tree by her house, stepping off the branch onto the porch overhang in front of her window.

She was sitting on her bed with her knees against her chest hugging a stuffed pig. Her long blonde hair was streaming down her back, slightly damp in some places. He loved the way it contrasted with her blue silk pajamas, looking like the beginnings of an Indian summer sunset.

"Buffy," he whispered, crouching near her window and bracing his hands on either side of it.

"Angel," she said, tossing her pig away and sliding to her feet, "What are you doing here?"

"I...I came to apologize," he said. He watched as her feet landed on her floor and remembered the first time he saw them. They weren't painted sparkly purple this time, but a blushing pink color. He almost smiled as he recalled that he wanted to kiss them. He still did.

"For what?" she asked, her anger coming through in her words.

"For being an asshole," he said, "For not coming after you, for loving you too much. I don't deserve you, Buffy and I'm not sure how to make this right."

"You can start by getting off my roof," she ordered. His face fell and as he began to pivot to leave, she reached through the window and caught his arm. She tugged him lightly toward her, "and coming inside."

Gingerly and gracefully, he slipped through and found himself in her bedroom. Suddenly, this seemed like a very bad idea. He could see the faint outline of her bare breasts through the fabric and her tanned legs were visible underneath the shorts she wore. He tried to look anywhere but at her as he struggled to speak.

"Do you love me?" she asked, repeating her earlier question with even more trepidation than before.

"I-I love you. I try not to," he said, meeting her beautiful green-hazel eyes, "But I can't stop."

"Me too. I can't either," she whispered, stepping forward and pressing herself against him. His arms automatically wrapped around her and his lips acted on their own as they sought out hers. She opened her mouth to his tongue and tentatively slipped hers inside his warm mouth. He tasted like toothpaste and love, air and life.

"I should go," he said, breaking the kiss and backing away quickly. She ignored his words as she stepped forward and caught his lips again. He was so delicious and she could feel her whole body tingling from his closeness.

"Don't go," she murmured against his lips before sucking his tongue into her mouth again. He threaded his fingers into her hair and delighted in the feel of her body pressed dangerously against his. It was perfect and alarming at the same time. Nothing had ever felt that wonderful.

"You need to go to bed," he whispered back, allowing himself another kiss. He thought he could explore her mouth for the rest of his life and never get over what he was feeling right then. He never wanted to stop.

"God, you feel..." she moaned, holding him tighter and more desperately. Her tiny hands roamed over his back, tracing the lines of his muscles.

"Tell me to leave," he begged against her lips, "Tell me that I don't deserve you."

"Stay," she answered, "Never leave me, Angel."

Swiftly, she pushed his jacket from his shoulders, shoving it lifelessly to the floor as if she had done it a thousand times before. Nimble fingers released the buttons from his shirt and sweet lips kissed the flesh that was revealed.

"Buffy," he groaned, catching her hands, "Stop. We can't do this."

"Why?" she asked, looking up at him demurely, "We love each other."

"Not tonight," he said, kissing her fingertips, "It's too soon."

"Will you stay," she asked quietly, "and hold me?"

He nodded after a long moment and slipped off his shoes. She unbuttoned the final two buttons on his shirt and was careful not to meet his eyes as she pulled it off of him. Taking an extra second, she caressed his beautiful chest and abdomen while he stood very still, breathing heavily. She avoided the urge to kiss him again as she turned and shut the door. Even as she turned out the light, pulled the covers aside and crawled in, he knew this was a mistake. He already knew if he held her for one night he would never be able to turn away.

Casting aside his fears, he crawled in behind her and wrapped his arm around her waist. He buried his face in the crook of her neck and inhaled her intoxicating scent as she molded against him. Her small frame fit perfectly against his as no other woman ever had.

The movement of her silk top felt like water beneath his fingers as she pulled it up inch by innocent inch until his fingertips touched her bare belly. When she had slipped the fabric completely away and his whole hand was in contact with her skin, he tried to think about anything that wasn't sensual, anything that wasn't Buffy but when her tiny hand covered his, his brain exploded. She nudged his hand up until it covered her breast.

Her breath came out in nervous puffs and he could feel her heart pounding beneath her skin as he tried to think about how to get out of the situation. Losing his resolve, he brushed his lips over her neck and rolled her hardening nipple between his thumb and forefinger. She moaned as she turned over, lying on her back.

Her promised himself that he would not let it go too far as he bent and licked her perfect nipple before sucking it between his lips. Buffy felt warmth spreading through her entire body, beginning in her lower belly and spanning her limbs. His other hand covered her other breast as he suckled her nipple, switching sides after a short while to lave the same pleasurable ministrations there.

He felt her arching urgently beneath him and moved away, knowing it had already gone too far for the evening. Tugging her top down again and ignoring her whimper of protest, he pulled her into his arms and held her closely once more.

"Sleep," he whispered, kissing her forehead, "There's time for this later, baby."

"Angel?" she asked, gliding her fingers over his forearm.


"Do you snore?"


it's a sin to be fading endlessly
yeah, but she's alright with me
she is leaving on a walkway
she is leaving me in disarray
in the absence of a place to be
she stands there looking back at me
hesitates and then turns away

"Buffy?" Joyce said as she pushed open her daughter's door, "Time for school...Oh my God."

She stared at the two bodies wrapped around each other in Buffy's bed. Sometime in the middle of the night, they had kicked the covers away and Buffy had turned in her sleep, pressing her face against Angel's bare chest. His large hand was outlined by the material of Buffy's pajama top as his hand spanned her back underneath it, pressing against her bare skin. Their legs were hopelessly tangled with one another and they clung like lovers who had been too long apart. Barely awake, Buffy kissed the patch of chest in front of her and snaked around him to spread her hand over his back.

"Buffy!" Joyce shouted, taking a step forward in her frenzy. Buffy opened her eyes and met with Angel's chest before shooting her gaze to the door where her mother stood. Seconds later both Buffy and Angel leapt from the bed, each escaping from a separate side. Buffy shook her head in regret as she realized that she had forgotten to set an alarm.

"Joyce, I assure you," Angel began and closed his mouth when she glared at him menacingly.

"Buffy," Joyce demanded, "Get ready for school. You're late. Angel, please see yourself out."


"School!" Joyce shouted, "Weak explanations later. I'm sure having an entire day for preparation will allow you to come up with an acceptable reason why a 26 year old, half naked police detective spent the night in your bed."

"Shit," she grumbled as her mother strode away. She turned to Angel who looked sufficiently guilty and seemed to contemplating something to say. She interrupted him before he started, "Please don't say it."

"You don't even know what I was going to say," he objected, crossing the room for his shirt.

"You're right," she answered, stepping closer to him, "And I don't want to know."

He looked up at her bed rumpled hair, streaming over her shoulders. The top couple of buttons of her top had come free in the night and he had an extra glimpse of her bare skin. Arousal for her fanned throughout his body as he met her eyes and watched her skin flush in response to his inappropriate gaze.

"Kiss me," he said, smiling despite himself.

"Finally something I want to do," she whispered, meeting his lips. Lost in the moment and in the soft body pressing against his, he began moving her toward the bed again. He caught himself just before he lowered her to the mattress and broke the kiss. Slipping on his shirt, he breathed in deeply before sitting down to put on his shoes. Suddenly, she was on his lap, straddling him and greedily stealing another kiss.

"You're going to be late for school," he said hoarsely, mentally denying himself the knowledge that she was now on his lap. She silenced him with another kiss, wiggling in the most delightful way.

"Promise me you aren't going to spend the day trying to think of another reason why we shouldn't be together," she said, keeping her arms around him.

"I promise," he answered reluctantly, shifting his eyes away from her. Something that felt so right and was so wrong was a contradiction that he wasn't sure of how to deal with.

"I want to be with you, Angel," she said quietly, "And I know you want to be with me. Why do we have to fight it? Can't we just be together now?"

"It's not that easy, love," he said regretfully.

"You said you loved me," she retorted, "You came here and held me all night long. I think it is that easy."

With that she slipped off of his lap, grabbed her robe and left the room. Angel finished putting on his shoes quickly and thought about climbing back out the window. Instead, he took the stairs and planned to slip out the front door before Joyce had an opportunity to speak to him. Unfortunately, she was waiting for him, nursing a steaming cup of coffee.

"Joyce," he said, acknowledging her with a nod.

"I want to talk to you," she said, turning and heading for the living room. He followed and sat down on the couch, waiting for her to yell at him. She crossed her legs and said nothing. Instead, she simply sat there.

"I love your daughter, Joyce," he said finally, "I have for a long time."

"What are you intentions?" she asked, taking another sip from her mug.

"I don't know," he answered honestly, leaning his head into his hands.

"I think you'd better decide soon because if you think you're going to spend the night in my daughter's bed and then disappear without any consequences you're sorely mistaken. She may be eighteen but she's still a child. My husband told me of your...exploits. I don't want her to be another notch in your bedpost, Angel."

"She will never be that to me," he said, "I've never loved anyone the way I love her. I would never hurt her."

"Then decide what you want from her or walk away," she said, rising to her feet, "I've seen that look in her eyes for quite some time. She stopped talking about other boys after you showed up. She's just like any other young woman in love. All she can see in the future is you. I hope you're mature enough to decide what's best. If you're going to break her heart, all I ask is that you do it now when she can still heal from it."

"I don't want to break her h-heart," he stuttered, feeling a lump rising in his throat.

"You might have to," she said before heading out of the room and back up the stairs. Angel watched her leave before stumbling to the door and letting himself out.



Part Five


won't somebody save me please

Cordelia's fake, cackling sort of laughter was disturbing as Buffy and Willow stepped into the hallway of Sunnydale High. Buffy glanced over and saw Cordelia's head purposely tossed back in mid-laugh before her entourage of little mindless followers.

"...See?" Cordelia said, taking on a serious instructional gaze for her audience, "Dr. Debi says when a man is speaking to you, make serious eye contact, and you really, really listen, and you laugh at everything he says."

Buffy cringed at the second bout of cackling that erupted from Cordelia Chase and thought about being a part of her family. She nearly stopped in the hallway as the realization struck her that she had every intention of becoming a permanent part of Cordelia's life. She knew she loved Angel and saw nothing but him in her future, but real life was weaving its way into her fantasies. She wanted to be with Angel forever and in the serious, marry him and be his wife sort of way.

She was already blushing when she and Willow stepped out of class, knowing they were about to take on an Angel-y sort of topic, but her blush deepened as her friend whispered conspiratorially, "He spent the night? In your bed? With your mom there?"

"Uh-huh," Buffy nodded, as her face twisted into a wistful, dreamy smile and then snapped back to reality, "With Mom there to catch us in the morning."

"Oh..." Willow said, gulping nervously as if she had been there herself, "Wow. Big trouble, huh?"

"Biggest," Buffy said, "I'm sure when I get home I'll have a lecture coming."

"So...when you know in bed together...what happened?" Willow asked, stumbling over her words and reddening furiously.

"Stuff," Buffy said, smiling at her friend's nervousness at the conversation.

"Oh! Stuff!" Willow blubbered, wringing her hands, "But you didn't..."

"No," Buffy said and nearly laughed as Willow released a loud almost thankful sigh. Buffy couldn't resist adding, "But only because he stopped me."

"BUFFY!" Willow shouted in shock, "So...was it like in the movies?"

"Will," Buffy said, stopping to eye her friend gravely, feeling that warmth feel her belly as she thought about the night before, "The memory is in surround sound. It was a the hills are alive sort of experience. But between Mom doing the disapproving parent thing and Angel being all mature and standoffish, I don't know how this is going to work."

"You two are so right for each other," Willow protested, "Except for the him being a cop and older thing. And the Mom thing."

"And the Buffy is doomed thing," she pouted, "I'm brainsick, Will! I can't have a relationship with him. I want to but I already know he's not going to give me what I want."

"Well, you can start slow," Willow suggested, "Like have him take you out for coffee. It's not a date; it's a caffeinated beverage. Okay, so it's hot and bitter like a relationship, but..."

"I think we're a little beyond coffee now, Will," Buffy said dryly.

"Who's ‘we'? What's like a relationship?" Xander questioned, as he rushed out of his classroom like a boy on fire, fleeing the dragon at the chalkboard most liking emitting it.

"Nothing I'll ever have," Buffy complained and then caught the confusion on her friend's face, "Coffee."

"Huh?" Xander said, still confused as he watched his two female best friends stopping to drink from the water fountain. He glanced over where Cordelia stood and felt a sort of giddy irritation as he always did when he saw her. His body told him he wanted to be around her and his mind told him to run in the opposite direction. Her bossy voice wafted to his ears as she told her sheep, "There's no comparison between college men and high school boys. I mean, look at that."

"So, Cor, you're dating college guys now," Xander said, his mind racing to be quick on his feet with her and trying to forget that her finger was pointed his direction, showing how she felt him to be so much lower than whatever creature she was dating then.

"Well, not that it's any of your business, Xander, but I happen to be dating a Delta Zeta Kappa."

Buffy's ears perked at that part of the conversation as she realized that Cordelia was dating an older guy. An out of high school older guy. What was the difference between Buffy dating Angel and him letting Cordy go out with some frat guy? Her plan to explain things rationally to her bullheaded would be boyfriend was already coming together. There was no way Cordy was going to have all the fun when she was going to be stuck...

"Buffy," Giles said, poking his head out from his sanctuary and interrupting her thought process, "If I might have a word..."

"If you're going to lecture me on behalf of my mother," Buffy groaned, stomping toward the library after sharing a look of commiseration with Willow, "I'd like to request that you kill me now."

"Actually," he said diplomatically, having already planned his words carefully beforehand, "I am going to be reorganizing the library as I have intended to do since my arrival in this godforsaken school and I would like you to help me after school if you have the time."

"Oh! I get it," Buffy said, plopping down into a library chair, "You're all working with Mom to occupy me so I won't hang with Angel. I totally tried to help you out and Mom at the same time and you repay me with plotting behind my back. Great! I'm sure when I get home Mom will have activities for me too. Let me ask you this, Giles: That little slice of life that will be mine from, I don't know, seven to seven-oh-five in the morning, can I do what I want then?"

"Buffy," Giles said, taking a seat on the other side of the table, where it seemed safer, "I understand that you want to be with Angel. Your mother and I-"

"Oh, now it's ‘your mother and I,'" Buffy shouted, "What happened to ‘she needs time to mourn' and all that crap?"

Giles straightened his back more tightly and gripped the arms of his chair for strength as he looked over the girl in front of him. Taking a deep breath, he launched into the rest of his planned conversation, which already wasn't working out according to the pretend Buffy he had spoken to in his mind. From the glare on her young face, he was certain he was going to get nowhere with her and silently asked the pretend Joyce in his mind why he was going through this torture.


get away from me
this isn't gonna be easy
but i don't need you
believe me

Buffy stood still in Angel's living room that day after school, staring at him until he looked up. She had already had enough of people telling her how to live her life for one day and she wasn't looking forward to going home to speak to her mother, which is why she came straight over here. Before she expended one more minute of energy fighting for this relationship, she had to know that Angel would back her up. Having caught a ride with Cordelia, she wasn't going to leave until he took her home. She wasn't going to run away again and allow him any more brooding time.

After a few moments, he glanced up from his book, sensing her presence and sucked in a breath as if he hadn't seen her in weeks rather than hours. He was always taken back by her beauty, as if he had convinced himself that she wasn't really the goddess he pictured in his mind. But she was. She was dressed like an adult and even though his fantasies were with her womanly side, he still saw her as a girl.

A simple black camisole and gray dress pants should have been innocent enough but Buffy made it look erotic as she crossed the room and sat down on the couch next to the chair he sat in. The pants fit well, slipping over her curves with each twist of her tiny hips and each flex of her toned muscles. The camisole was loose but it held tightly over her breasts, announcing their fullness and refusing to be ignored.

"Buffy," he said finally, as she sat waiting patiently with her hands resting on her crossed knees. One leg swung loosely over the other. Not angrily, but sweetly. Calmly. As if the storm was that brewing so deeply her eyes hadn't been sensed by her body yet, "What are you doing here?"

"Cordy gave me a ride," she said, arching an eyebrow at him, "Should I have called and asked permission first?"

"No," he said, placing his book on the table next to him. He watched as a small puff of dust came off the old volume and turned his eyes back to the real attraction in the room, "How was your day?"

"Did you break your promise?" She asked, ignoring his question and jumping right to the point. She couldn't stand one more moment of the casual facade he was failing miserably at. What she wanted was to be in his lap, nestled against that worn denim. She wanted to press her face against the soft cotton of his t-shirt for a moment and then proceed to tease him until he made love to her.

"What promise?" he asked, wrinkling his brow in confusion as he tried to remember what promise he had made.

"The one where you promised you wouldn't spend the day trying to think of another reason why we shouldn't be together," she said, meeting his eyes directly. All day she had been filled with a sort of determination that wasn't rare in her personality. What was rare was how focused she was, how she knew exactly what she wanted and how she planned to get it. Or him actually.

"I kept that promise," he said softly, easing his tongue out of his mouth to wet his dry lips. He was trying to center his attention on what she was saying but mostly he found that he was watching her mouth move. He was entranced on the way her lips shifted around her words and the tiny glimpses of her pink tongue as she spoke.

"Did you really?" she asked, trying to remain calm and adult about this. She had a plan and intended to keep the plan in motion. She wanted Angel to decide to be with her and discuss it in a mature manner. If he objected, then she already had a mindful of arguments that she carefully prepared during her ignored classes.

"Yes," he said, keeping his eyes focused on her sharp green eyes, steeling his resolve for the fight to come, "I never had to think about it. I already know why we can't be together."

"So, you've just decided that you really don't love me," she choked, looking up at the ceiling briefly as if she were checking her notes before curling her tiny mouth around the rest of her sneered sentence, "And you're just going to be alone brooding for the rest of your life while I find someone like Cameron to punch me in the mouth when I don't give it up quick enough. Is that right?"

"Buffy," Angel growled, "I didn't lie about loving you. I do love you. More than you will ever know. That is why I am going to stay away from you. All guys are not like Cameron. You'll find someone better."

"Like the frat guys that Cordy dates?" she demanded, "Want me to hook up with some of them?"

"What frat guys?" Angel asked, rising to his feet, "She's not dating any frat guys! They're too old for her just like I'm too old for you."

Rising to her feet, she looked over him with a stern anger that surprised him, "Right. Whatever. Take me home, Angel. If you want me out of your life so badly, you'll have to personally remove me from it."

"All that surrounds my life is death and darkness!" he shouted, rising to his feet, "I don't want you to be a part of that!"

"I understand," she said, walking towards the door, "Please take me home."

"Buffy," Angel whimpered, padding after her like a lost child, "You have to understand why I'm doing this."

"I already told you, I understand completely," she said, stopping at the front door with her hand poised on the doorknob, "Do you have your car keys?"


cause i got all this shit to say
but i've come back to find my way

"Will," Buffy fumed the next morning as they stood on the front stairs of Sunnydale High, "I completely stalled last night with Angel. I had all these arguments planned perfectly and I just went blank! I let him take me home without so much of a teensy retort to his stupid I-can't-be-with-you crap."

"Well," Willow said, biting her lower lip thoughtfully, "It sounds like he at least felt bad for taking you home."

"Yeah," Buffy grumbled, "I made him feel like shit, which might I add was part of the plan, but that didn't make one bit of a difference. Giles is trying to make me work in the library to occupy me and I thought Mom would never stop talking about why I shouldn't date an older man. That was nothing compared to the why-you-shouldn't-be-involved-with-a-cop part of the argument-"

"Buffy!" Cordelia shouted as she stormed up the front steps, "How could you tell Angel about the fraternity? What the hell is your problem?"

"Sorry, Cordy," Buffy said, slumping against the railing, "I was trying to make Angel understand that we should be together, not get you trouble. I didn't know he didn't know."

"Well, thanks a lot!" she fumed, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder with fury, "I had to have a long conversation last night with my brother about the party tonight and I'm just barely getting out of the house now. My night was ruined last night and it's all your fault!"

"I'm sorry," Buffy mumbled, feeling tears fill her eyes. Normally, Cordelia wouldn't get to her and the fact that she was yelling hadn't. It was the idea that she would never have her as a bitchy and annoying sister-in-law, that Angel would never let her into his life.

"Well, don't cry," Cordy snapped and then softened, feeling one of the rare moments that weren't focused on herself. She knew during her fight with Angel last night that he was hurting, that he wanted to be with Buffy and still was keeping himself from it.

"It's fine," Buffy said, wiping her face with the back of her hand and strutting away. Cordelia caught her arm and kept her there, but was glad they had moved away from Willow. Leaning in, she said, "He still won't give up with the stubborn?"

"Not even kinda," Buffy said, wishing there was a cave she could jump into and hide in.

"Huh," Cordelia said, her brilliant and somewhat conniving mind going into full force. The gears in her head were grinding loudly as she looked at the girl she knew would someday be her brother's wife. Cordelia knew that the only thing that had made Angel happy in a long time was Buffy and the only way they were going to be together was if he was forced to see the light. Smiling brightly, she patted Buffy on the shoulder.

"What?" Buffy asked, clearly confused.

"Come on," she said, tugging her aside, "I have an idea."


it's the breathing
it's the breathing in and out in and...

"Does this look okay?" Cordy asked as she stepped into the living room and looked over her brother sitting in the same chair he had occupied for weeks. She spun around for him, knowing that she never asked his opinion before. She really didn't care whether Angel liked her dress or not. Actually, she was hoping he didn't.

"Look okay?" Angel asked, narrowing his eyes, "For what? You aren't going to some fraternity house in that tiny excuse for a dress, Cordelia. That'''s obscene!"

"Oh, I see," she said, nodding, "It's not okay for me to dress like this, but Buffy's dress is much skimpier than this. I bet you'd think hers was okay!"

"B-buffy's dress?" Angel asked, stumbling out of his chair and nearly tripping over his own feet, "What do you mean ‘Buffy's dress?'"

"The dress that Buffy is wearing," Cordelia said, rolling her eyes in mock irritation and trying to keep from allowing her equally mocking smile to come through as she stared at her brother with her hands on her hips.

"For WHAT?" he roared.

"For the party," Cordy answered, "She's not wearing it for her Mom, if that's what you were thinking."

"She's going to the party with you?" Angel snarled so menacingly that if he had been speaking to anyone else, they would have backed up and maybe ran away, but Cordelia Chase stood her ground. No one intimidated her. Certainly not her brother.

"Uh, yes," she said, looking at him as if he were stupid, "My date told me I had to bring a cute girl with me tonight to even out the guy-girl ratio. His friend, Tom, saw Buffy today and thought she was a hottie. He asked me to ask her and I told him no way, that she was totally involved with someone. Then she told me that you guys were over, so I asked to her come along. I mean, as much as I hate to admit it, she's okay looking and Tom seemed to think she was cute. Why? It doesn't bother you, does it?"

"You know DAMN WELL it bothers me!" he shouted.

"Well, why should she sit home crying over you on a Friday night, Angel?" she demanded, "She might as well have some fun before she seriously looks into the convent because my STUPID brother broke her heart."

"She is not going to that party, Cordy," Angel growled, "I can't believe I'm letting you go either. In fact, I don't think you should. Neither one of you should have drunk hormonally charged college guys grope you."

"You can't stop me," she said, heading for the door, "You may be my guardian but you don't own me. I'm eighteen now and I can do whatever I want. So can Buffy, by the way. Oh, and don't wait up!"

Angel struggled to breathe as he stared at the front door his sister had just slammed. It seemed to be bleeding into a crimson red color the longer he stared at it.

Buffy was going to the frat party.

He paced around the room, running his hands through his hair as he thought about it. And his sister of all people had invited her! He felt betrayed, hurt and above all else, jealous. He knew he couldn't follow them and demand that they stay home. Cordy was right. He didn't own either one of them and he couldn't control how they lived their lives. He knew he told Buffy that they should stay apart. When he said he thought she should see someone else, he didn't mean she should see someone else. And certainly not tonight! And not a frat boy for crying out fucking loud!

He felt like pounding his fist into the wall. The idea of her being in that house where he knew there would be all those men looking for some girl to initiate into their collection of fraternity triumphs made him want hurt someone. He had no doubt that a girl as beautiful as HIS Buffy would be just the thing for their ideas of how to spend a Friday night.

There was no damn way he was letting someone touch his girl. He was sick and fucking tired of trying to rope in his feelings. Some part of him realized that Cordelia was doing this on purpose to make him jealous and even with that realization, he couldn't help feeling just as she wanted him to feel - a blind, raging jealousy that went far beyond the simple green that it was usually associated with.

Running up the stairs, he took two at time. When he reached his room, he glanced at the mirror in passing and then backed up to take a second look. He looked like shit. He hadn't shaved since before he spent the night with Buffy. His hair was standing in more disarray than usual and he was certain he smelled.

He jumped into the shower, washed and quickly shaved, thankful that he didn't slice his face open in his haste. Hurrying around, he tried to make himself look as presentable as he could, thinking that maybe Buffy would see in him what he couldn't see in himself. He couldn't lose her. Not now. Not when he had already lost everything else.


i can't remember all the times i tried to tell myself
to hold onto these moments as they pass

"Did you lie to your Mom?" Cordelia asked as Buffy climbed into her car.

"Not totally," Buffy admitted, "Because I told her I was staying at your house tonight, which is true. But she doesn't know I'm going to a college party, if that's what you're asking."

"You told her you were staying at my house and that was cool with her?" Cordelia asked in surprise.

"She doesn't know your house is the same as Angel's house," Buffy explained, "And I hope to keep it that way."

"I'm sure she'll find out soon enough."

"I'm not so sure this is a good idea," Buffy said, biting her lower lip and pulling the hem of her short dress down, "I really don't want to upset Angel."

"You have to upset Angel," Cordy said, driving fast and carelessly as she spoke, "Besides, it's too late. He's already upset. God, if you could have seen the look on his was priceless!"

"You're enjoying this a little too much," Buffy answered, holding onto the door handle with dear life. If Angel didn't kill her first, Cordelia definitely would, "What did he say?"

"He completely and totally flipped out," Cordy answered, flashing her a brilliant smile and nearly running over someone as she turned her eyes toward Buffy rather than the road.

"Really?" Buffy asked weakly. She was starting to feel nauseous and it wasn't completely because of Cordelia's driving. She didn't want to be with some other guy. What if Angel was so angry he didn't want to speak to her ever again? Would she be able to stand spending the night at their house tonight?

"Oh yeah," Cordy answered as she pulled in front of the Delta Zeta Kappa house and bumped the car in front of her, "Oh, why do they have to park so darn close? Are you ready for this?"

"Nope," Buffy said, slumping in her seat.

"Me too!" Cordy said excitedly as she opened the door, "Let's go!"


Part Six


but we only stay in orbit for a moment of time
and then you're everybody's satellite
i wish you were mine

"Richard!" Cordelia squealed as she saw her date approaching with drinks in his hand. Buffy groaned inwardly. She knew the minute they walked through the door that this was a mistake. As much as Cordelia did actually want to help, she knew damn well that now that they were there she was only interested in her date.

"Welcome ladies," Richard said with a charming smile that made Buffy want to wretch. If he were any less genuine, she would have to insist that he came with a warning label. She took the drink he passed to her and peered at the liquid in the plastic glass cautiously, "I-is there alcohol in this?"

"Just a smidge," he said with a wink. Now she was definitely going to have to look around for a bathroom. The guy was a total player. Buffy looked at Cordelia to see if she saw it, but she didn't. She was smiling blindingly at her date.

"Come on, Buffy," Cordelia said, elbowing her, "It's just a smidge."

Buffy set her glass down as they wandered away, not even hearing what they said. She didn't want to drink or dance or do anything but find a way to get to Angel and explain everything. She just wanted to be with him. That's all. Why was that so difficult a concept to grasp?

Lost in her thoughts and fidgeting nervously, she soon found that she had drank all of the contents of her plastic glass and was feeling the rush of the smidgeon of alcohol Richard had promised was in it. Trying to keep herself on her feet, she probably would have missed the drunk guy rushing to tackle her if he hadn't shouted, "New girl!" first.

"Can I have this dance?" Tom asked, pulling her quickly out of the line of fire and onto the dance floor. She stumbled along after him and fought the urge to rest her face on his chest. The room was spinning and it made the dancing process was so much more difficult as she tried to teeter on her too high heels.

"Thanks," she slurred, holding on to him to keep standing.

"You know," he said, shaking his head, "We're not all drunken louts. Some of us are sober louts. I'm really glad you decided to come...and you're not."

"No," she said, keeping her emotions in check even though the drink was racing through her veins, "it's...I shouldn't be here."

"Because you're seeing someone," he said, looking down at her through sympathetic clear blue eyes. She really liked Tom and thought that if she weren't already in love with Angel she might have liked to date him. Unlike Richard, he seemed really sweet.

She wanted Angel though, she thought drunkenly. She could just imagine his soothing voice right then and his large hands cradling her body against his. His eyes would sweep over her and pretend not to as he kissed her forehead and...

"No," Buffy said a bit too abruptly.

"You're not seeing someone?" Tom asked, as a light of hopefulness seemed to shine in his eyes.

"Someone's not seeing me," Buffy said, starting to sag more in his arms. She hadn't drank much but this was so much stronger than anything else she had ever experienced. She felt heavy and light at the same time and the feelings of doubt were beginning to fade.

"So, why shouldn't you be here?" Tom asked, running a hand over her back. Up and down, up and down. Buffy thought she was starting to wave with his motions.

"Dunno," she slurred, finally leaning her head on his chest, "Feel funny."

"Why don't we go find a place to sit down?" he asked, nudging her toward the stairs. He tried to urge her there carefully and slowly, keeping one hand on the small of her back, right above her perfectly round ass.

"Okay," she answered, nodding unevenly. She stopped at the railing and peered uneasily up the stairs before turning and resting on the bottom step, "Why don't I just rest here?"

"Sure," he answered, allowing a little of the disappointment to creep into his voice. She leaned her head on the railing and closed her eyes, only to open them again when the spinning became even worse.


i'm falling from the ceiling
you're falling from the ceiling now and then
maybe you were shot down in pieces
maybe i slipped in between
but we were gonna be the wildest people they ever hoped to see
just you and me

Angel let his fingers glide along his sister's car as he walked past it. It didn't escape his notice that she had rear ended the car in front of her but he could care less if he was going to have yet another hike in his insurance rates. There would be plenty of time to yell at his reckless sister later.

He moved silently forward and caught one of the frat boys as he attempted to enter the house. Pulling him back roughly, Angel nearly knocked him off his feet, but the boy wobbled, taking several steps back to keep his feet on the ground.

"What the hell is your prob...Angel?"

"Xander," Angel said, realizing who he had just assaulted, "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Looking out for my girls," he answered, puffing his chest out proudly. Having gotten over his grandeur, he stepped closer to Angel nervously, "Something's up, man. The party's almost over and I haven't been able to spot them for a long time. I don't know where they are but they're still in there somewhere."

As far as back up went, Angel would rather have the tooth fairy with him than Buffy's witless foil, Xander Harris. The boy had no common sense whatsoever and he didn't like that he referred to his sister and his...Buffy as being "my girls." Shrugging off his questions, he headed toward the house, knowing that Xander was still mumbling behind him.

"Be quiet," Angel hushed, flinging a deadly look over his shoulder at the teenager, "When we get in there, follow my lead. If you can avoid it, try not to speak unless you're spoken to."

"Fine, Mom," Xander whispered bitterly, remembering once again why he hated Liam Angelus.

The inside of the house was littered with alcohol bottles, cups and trash. Riddled amongst the trash were couples making out sloppily, exchanging inebriated kisses with wandering hands in full force. Angel quickly scanned the room and not finding either girl he came there for, he made his way up the stairs.

The first door at the top of the steps was unceremoniously tossed open and Angel flipped on the light, gazing over the couple rolling around in bed naked. The girl hid behind her angry partner, nearly screaming in shock and embarrassment. Not speaking, Angel shut the door with a warning glare and heard the boy breathe a sigh of relief. The boy didn't have to fight the furious and not to mention large man that burst in, for which he was supremely grateful.

Angel was planning on opening every door until he found them, but he didn't have to when he heard voices wafting down the hallway. The first was undoubtedly his golden love, shouting, "Let us go!"

The second was the shrill voice of his sister, "My brother is a cop! Not just a cop, but a detective! You're going to be in deep shit, buddy. He's not even going to take you right to jail. He's so gonna kick your ass first!"

Angel glanced at Xander and hurried down the hallway. They probably would have smiled at Cordy's scolding if the situation wasn't so serious. Angel stopped at the door and felt Xander collide clumsily with his back when he heard an older man's voice, obviously speaking to another and not the girls, "You chose someone who has a police officer in her family?"

"I'm sorry," a younger voice replied shakily, "I didn't know."

"Well, if you would have asked," Angel said, pushing the door open and strolling inside, "I'm sure she would have told you. My sister isn't much with the secrets, you know."

"Angel!" Buffy and Cordelia cried out together. He turned to look at them and grew angrier than he had been previously. They were tied to a king size bed, side by side, clad only in bras and panties.

"You're dead men," he said, moving in on the three men, standing in the center of the room - two young and one middle aged. The identity of the older man sunk in just as Angel's fist flung out to strike the younger man closest to him. He felt the boy's jaw cracking under his fist as the unmistakable sound of a gun cocking caught in his ears. Angel twisted his body, dragging the boy's body in front of his in time to catch the bullet.

The boy screamed in pain as the metal tore through his flesh and continued screaming as Angel tossed his bloody screaming form at Mayor Richard Wilkins, effectively knocking the gun out of his hands. Not stopping to admire his work, Angel shot forward and spun. His mouth twisted into a cold smile as his boot contacted with the second boy's surprised and frightened face. Busying himself on kicking the gun away before the Mayor was able to retrieve it, Angel didn't hear another person entering the room.

"Angel! Behind you!" Buffy screamed, tugging on the ropes that Xander was hurriedly untying, but it was too late. Angel turned around just in time to see the blunt end of a gun striking his face. He fell into a slump on the floor.

"Shoulda brought an oozie, chump. Would've saved your ass right about now," the intruder said, looking down at Angel with a smile.

"Thank you, Mr. Trick," Mayor Wilkins said as he pushed Richard's body off of his and looked down at the blood on his shirt in disgust, "It seems that our lovely captives here have friends on the police force."

"Yeah," Trick said, turning toward Xander, "And he brought another little hero with him."

"Hey," Xander said, holding up his hands. Both girls were untied and had scooted off the bed. Standing not behind him, but boldly beside him, they watched the men holding them captive, "I'm not a hero. Just came for my girls. If you're done with them, we'll just be going now."

"Sorry, young man," the Mayor said, pulling his handkerchief from his pocket and wiping his hands off, "But after what you saw, I'm afraid that I can't let you leave. Oh, don't worry, we'll tell your family you were really brave...even at the end."

Buffy looked sadly down at Angel and her breath caught in her throat as he stirred, thankfully not making a sound. Taking action, Buffy stepped forward, ahead of her friends, "So, you just think you're going to get away with killing us? That's pretty ballsy, if you ask me - even for a mayor."

"I didn't mention killing you, did I?" the Mayor said, keeping his voice upbeat and polite, "That's because we don't want you dead. You see, in order to keep myself in my office, I have to provide certain acquaintances with their requests from time to time. This time they wanted girls. Two pretty ones. You and your friend will do nicely."

"Hell no, we won't!" Cordelia shouted, stepping up beside Buffy. Shifting together, they blocked Xander from the point of Trick's gun, both trying to keep their eyes from the awakening Angel.

"I'm a total spoiled bitch," Cordelia said, continuing.

"She's not wrong about that," Buffy agreed, receiving a dirty look from Cordelia for her efforts.

"I won't do anything they tell me to and neither will Buffy," she said, crossing her arms over her bare torso, "As beautiful as I am, I think you should chose a less pretty girl for more cooperation."

"You'll cooperate," the Mayor threatened, "Or you'll die. Now, I have one of the boys getting milkshakes for us, so if you would please return to the bed, we'll talk about your new life over a little snack."

Angel groaned in pain as he reached for the gun at the tip of his fingers, alerting the room to himself. Tom scrambled from the corner to get to the gun, while Trick turned and aimed.

"No!" Buffy screamed, running forward. Cordelia grabbed Buffy and pulled her back as Angel gripped the weapon and rolled over, releasing a round into Trick's chest. Wrenching herself free, Buffy flung one bare leg out and caught Tom in the groin as he crossed the room. He dropped to his knees with a choking groan, doubling over in pain.

Pressing the gun against the Mayor's temple, once he had dragged himself to his feet, Angel growled out his demand, "Hands on your head."

"Now young man," the Mayor said calmly, "Please remember that you are now holding a weapon that was procured from the police department and is responsible for killing two people."

"Walk forward," Angel ordered, pressing harder against his scull.


round here we always stand up straight
round here something radiates

When the police arrived, Angel had the Mayor tied up near the door with the ropes that had previously held the two most important people in his life and he forced all of the house's occupants to sit on the living room floor. No one made a sound, but sat quietly and nervously. Many of the partiers were still intoxicated, including Buffy and Cordelia.

When Angel had finished organizing the party into what looked like a hostage situation, he turned around and faced Buffy & Cordelia. Both were huddled in the corner. Both clad in only bras, panties and high heel shoes. Angel took off his coat, cursing himself for not finding clothing for them earlier, and tossed it around his sister's shoulders. He quickly removed his shirt and handed it to Buffy. She put it on without comment and looked at the floor.

"Detective Angelus," The first uniformed officer said as he stepped onto the scene, "Sir, it was my understanding that you were on an extended absence. The Chief said that-"

"This was personal," Angel said, interrupting him.

"What's up here?" another man said, walking in behind the two uniforms and looking around the room. He was not dressed in a uniform as the other two, indicating to Angel that he was probably a detective, although he had never seen him before, "I'd hate to see what you do when you're on official business. I'm Detective Charles Gunn, your new partner."

"Gunn," Angel grunted in greeting, taking the man's offered hand.

"These two ladies must be the personal part," Gunn said, eyeing the two attractive girls that had pressed themselves at Angelus' sides, as if they could protect him from the impending investigation. Gunn forced his eyes away from the two girls and refocused on the man who, before this night, was the guy who was supposed to be his partner. He was a little thrown by the two girls. They were complete opposites, both extremely beautiful and nearly naked, clad in what he had to assume were Angelus' clothes, as his partner's bare chest betrayed.

"Yes," Angel answered with another angry grunt. His arms were crossed over his broad, bare chest, ignoring the women at his side. He radiated anger at the room, focusing most of it on the Mayor bound on the floor.

"We're gonna have to take them in for some questions," Gunn said gently, feeling the tension in the room escalating at his words.

"Of course," Angel answered and looked down at Buffy as she whimpered in response. He wrapped an arm around her and she took the opportunity to glue herself to his side.

"We'll need to ask you a few too, Angelus," Gunn said firmly, knowing his partner was already well aware.

"I understand," Angel said as Buffy pulled herself out of his arms and approached Gunn. Her green eyes were filling with tears as she took his hand in hers, "It wasn't his fault, Detective. It's mine, okay? He didn't do anything."

"We're not arresting him, ma'am," Gunn said, squeezing her hand gently, keeping the "yet" out of his answer, "We just need to find out what happened."

"Buffy," Angel said, coming up behind her and touching her trembling shoulder, "It's okay, baby."

Flinging herself into his arms, he nearly staggered back at the force of her tiny body colliding with his. He heard the tears before he felt them against his skin as she sobbed in his arms.

"I'm so sorry, Angel," she wailed, "This is all my fault."

"It's not your fault, love," he said, kissing her hair and smoothing his hands over her back, "It's going to be alright."


she walks along the edge of where the ocean meets the land
just like she's walking on a wire in the circus

Buffy was sure that they had been at the police station for longer than sanity allowed as her statement was taken, along with Cordelia and Xander's. When they were all finally released, Buffy looked around for Angel, forgetting her desperate need to leave. Not seeing him, she approached the nearest police officer and jabbed her finger into his arm to get his attention.

"Ms. Summers?" he asked, "Can I help you?"

"I'm looking for Detective Liam Angelus," she demanded, smoothing his shirt absently, which was flowing around her body and reaching her knees. She tapped her high heel shoe on the floor as she waited for his answer.

"He's still...uh...debriefing," the officer answered.

"When will he be done?"

"I'm not sure, ma'am," he said, "If you'd like, I can take you home and have him call you when he's finished."

"No," she said, "I'll wait for him."

"It could take a long time," he said, "There's a lot of information to cover."

"I said, ‘I'll wait for him'," she repeated, turning on her heel and preparing to stomp away, when he touched her arm, stopping her.

"I just wanted to tell you," he said quietly, "That your father was one of the best detectives, I've ever seen."

"Thank you," she said, wincing from his words. Feeling tears, fill her eyes yet another time, she wandered back to Cordy and Xand. She could hardly believe that this nightmare was actually her life. Blinking back her tears, she tromped across the room. There were too many emotions to deal with them now.

It took a while, but Buffy finally convinced Cordelia and Xander to go home. She didn't think it was fair to keep them there when they were both so tired and freaked from the night's events. She curled up in a chair and waited, sternly refusing to leave to any officer that bothered to speak to her.


if i could make it rain today
and wash this sunny day down to the gutter
i would
just to get a change of pace
things are getting worse, but I feel a lot better
and that's all that really matters to me

Angel felt all of the eyes in the office on him as he approached Buffy. She was laying over three chairs, curled up asleep and drowning in his shirt. He was glad that had been able to retrieve a t-shirt from his locker before his "debrief" or more aptly "interrogation," since everyone was so focused on him right then. He felt strange being back in the office after over a month of being gone. Now he wasn't sure if he ever wanted to come back. Not after Hank had died and now this. It was very discomforting to be on the receiving end of the questions after so much time being the one who was demanding the answers.

"Why is she still here?" Angel asked Gunn quietly.

"She wouldn't leave," Gunn answered, sweeping his gaze over the beautiful blonde sleeping on the hard chairs along the wall on the other side of the room.

"Damn," Angel muttered, preparing to go wake her up.

"Angelus?" Gunn asked.


"Just for the record, I know tonight wasn't your fault. Everyone does," he said, "No one's blaming you for this or for Hank. We're going to do what we can to keep you on the force...if you want to come back."

"I almost killed the Mayor, Gunn," Angel said blandly, moving away, "And it would have been one death that I had no remorse for."

Everyone watched Angel closely as he approached the lovely young girl on the chairs. They all had either witnessed Angel's fight with Hank over her or were told about it. After what had happened that evening, they wanted to see what happened when she woke up.

"Buffy," he whispered, sliding his hand along her arm. He couldn't help but want to take her in his arms and never let her go. Lying there, clad in his shirt, he couldn't help but think it looked right. It seemed right that she would wait for him, that she would want to protect him as much as he wanted to protect her. Everything about Buffy Summers seemed so perfectly right. Why was it wrong then? He couldn't seem to make himself remember.

"Angel," she murmured in her sleep, reaching out one small hand to feel for him without opening her eyes.

"Wake up, love," he whispered, feeling the eyes of the whole department burning into his back. She blinked her mossy green eyes open sleepily and took a second to focus on him before sitting up slowly, "Are we done?"

"We're done, baby," he answered, smoothing his hand over her face. She turned into his hand and kissed his palm, as if she didn't realize where they were, "Come on, I'm going to take you home."

"No," she mewled, sitting up, looking around her urgently and waking up completely. Pressing her hands on the side of his face she asked, "Are you in trouble?"

"We can talk about it later, baby," he said, "Let me take you home."

"No," she said, sliding out of the chair and stepping around his crouching form gracefully, "Where's the boss guy?"

"The Chief?" he asked, quizzically.

"Yeah, him," she said, looking around the room with her hands on her narrow hips. His shirt ballooned around her fingertips as she charged her glare around the room.

"No, Buffy," he said, tugging her back, "It's time to go."

"The HELL it is, Angel," she said through gritted teeth, "I have some things to say."

"Buffy," Angel said, nervously, placing his hand on her hip, "It's time to go. There's nothing you can do here. You're tired and you need to sleep. Let's go."

"I'm not going to leave here when you could still be in trouble," she said firmly, "I know that you wouldn't tell me if they were going lock you in some little, dingy cell forever. You'd just send me off to my house like a good little girl while you rotted for something that wasn't your fault. Now, where's the damn Chief at?"

Crossing his arms defiantly and saying nothing, he glowered at the woman he loved. He was not going to say a word. Gathering up her small frame, she approached the nearest onlooker, who tried to pretend he was sifting through some files.

"You," she said, looking up at him with her green eyes flashing so furiously, he felt like he was an inch tall, "Where's your boss?"

Sighing, Angel ran his fingers through his hair followed after her. He grabbed her arm and spun her around, bending slightly to scoop her tiny body in his arms. Ignoring the department stares, he plunged against her mouth. He smiled into their kiss as her body relaxed against his.

"He's not here," Angel lied as he broke the kiss, glaring at the officer for confirmation who nodded vigorously, "Now, we're leaving. You can yell at people later."

"Angel," she pouted, "You're not just going to take me home and make me forget about this."

"Wanna bet?" he asked, smiling down at her with a twinkle in his eyes. Turning, he carried her out of the office, leaving them all surprised and grinning behind him. No matter what happened, Liam Angelus was going to be all right.



Part Seven

you know, I'm doing all right
these days
and in one of these dreams
you forgive me

Angel barely made it a mile from the police station and Buffy was already asleep in the car. He could tell that whatever they had put in her drink still hadn't worn off. He smiled at her, curled up against the seat in a little ball, sleeping soundly. He steered toward his house knowing Buffy had told her mother that's where she was going to be, although he wasn't certain just why that was okay.

He decided not to worry about it as he scooped up her tiny body and carried her into the mansion. He loved the feel of her against his chest, her head lolling against his shoulder and the way her fingers curled around a piece of his shirt as if that bit of material was proof of his existence. He managed to unlock the door without dropping her and made his way into the house, leaning against the door to close it.

It took a great amount of willpower on Angel's side to take her to the guest room rather than his bedroom and even more self control was required when it came time to leave her there alone. He pulled back the covers, slipped off her shoes and tucked her in. He looked down at her for a second before he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead and left the room.

Tiptoeing down the hall, he opened Cordelia's door and stuck his head in to see that she had made it home safely. His jaw dropped as his brain made sense of what he was seeing. His little sister was lying in bed, freshly showered and changed. She was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and Xander Harris. He flung the door open and stormed across the room. Without thinking twice, he wrapped his large hand around the boy's throat and squeezed until he woke up. Xander tried to scream but managed to squeak out a gurgled choke instead.

"What the fuck are you doing in my sister's bed?" Angel growled down at the boy, squeezing a little bit tighter. Xander tried to speak but couldn't make words come out of his crushed windpipe. Angel loosened his hold reluctantly and waited for his answer.

" We fell asleep," Xander croaked.

"Fell asleep?" Angel shouted, "Why the hell are you even in her godamn room?"

"Angel?" Cordy said, blinking her eyes open at the sound of her brother's raised voice. Seeing what was happening, she lunged forward and repeated his name, this time louder and more angrily. Angel didn't seem to notice her or the shrill sound of her voice.

"Angel!" she repeated, smacking her brother's large shoulder, "Let him go!"

"What is he doing in your bed?" Angel said, releasing Xander's throat and fuming down at his sister instead.

"Sleeping, you dolt!" she said, "Now get out."

"That little...he is not sleeping in your bed. No fucking way. Time to go," Angel said. Xander had already scrambled from her bed and Angel grabbed him, preparing to toss him from room and the house. Cordelia ran after them and released a succession of poorly executed punches to Angel's arm until he let go of Xander's arm.

"Ow," Angel said, turning to look at his attacker, "I didn't hit him even though he deserved it. Stop hitting me."

"Get out of my room, Liam," she demanded, pulling Xander back, "Don't you have an elsewhere to be?"

"No, but he does," Angel said, pointing a finger at the interloper.

"We were only sleeping! And I'm eighteen," Cordy persisted, "We've already been over this. Now out!"

"Cordelia," Angel warned. She turned, signaled to Xander to stay there and pulled Angel into the hallway, slamming the door behind her. Lowering her voice, she looked up at her brother, "Angel, he saved my life tonight. He's a good person. We were only sleeping, so please just so brood somewhere, okay?"

"I don't like this," he growled, shooting threatening looks at her bedroom door as if he thought Xander could feel it through the door.

"You don't have to like it," she whispered, "Just shoo."

"If I hear anything coming from your room besides snoring, I'm coming in there."

"Don't threaten him," she said, giving him her best icy glare. He glared back and prepared to release a stream of threats that would come to life if that little weasel dared touch his sister, but instead, he pivoted and stormed away.


these seconds when I'm shaking
leave me shuddering for days
and I'm not ready for this sort of thing
but I'm not gonna break
and I'm not gonna worry about it anymore
I'm not gonna bend and I'm not gonna break
and I'm not gonna worry about it anymore

Buffy woke up in the guest room from the sound of a slamming door and sat up in bed, looking around anxiously. At first she wasn't sure where she was and then recognized the bedroom from when she had slept there before. She pouted for a second when she realized that once again, Angel had put her in another room. He couldn't even hold her?

She padded toward the bathroom and tossed his shirt on the floor, along with her bra and panties before stepping into the shower. She hadn't felt so dirty in a long time. Just the memory of Tom and Richard tying her up, their hands gliding over body, made her shiver with disgust. She scrubbed her skin until it was pink and still felt like the memory was crawling on her skin.

Wrapping a towel around her head and one around her body, she looked down at the clothes she had discarded and wrinkled her nose in disgust. There was no way she was putting those back on. Buffy assumed her change of clothes were still in her backpack in the back of Cordy's car. The idea trying to find keys and going outside to get them was almost as bad as putting the dirty ones back on.

The hell with it, she thought. She toweled her hair off and ran her fingers through it before padding through the house with a towel wrapped around her body. She crept into Angel's room and stopped just inside the door to admire his sleeping form. If anything was beautiful, it was the sight of Angel sleeping. One of his large arms was tossed over his face, covering his eyes and the sheet was at his waist, sitting low enough to indicate that he probably was not wearing anything but the sheet.

She had to force her eyes in another direction to keep from going to his bed and climbing in with him. Instead, she went to his closet and opened the door to look for a shirt to steal. The door made a loud creaking sound and she looked quickly to see if he heard it. His eyes were still closed and she breathed a sigh of relief.

Everything seemed to be incredibly loud as it always did when she was trying to be quiet. The hanger made a clanging sound as she pulled one of his shirts out. The closet made another loud creak as she shut it and she peaked at him again, finding his eyes closed. She meant to go to her room and change into the shirt, but she didn't. Instead, she went into the master bathroom off of his bedroom and dried off before stopping to look at herself in the full length mirror hanging on the back of the door.

She twisted and turned as she looked at her naked body, wondering what Angel would think of it if he saw it. She knew she definitely wasn't as voluptuous as Cordelia or as sultry as Darla. She had never shown her body to anyone and the longer she looked the more she wasn't sure if it was what he would find attractive. After a couple of minutes, she tossed on his shirt in irritation. Why couldn't she have a few less imperfections and a few more curves? Apparently, women like Cordelia and Darla got more than they deserved. Sighing in frustration, she opened the door, flipped off the light, walked out and collided with a broad, muscled chest.

"Angel," she gasped, stumbling backward. He caught her before she fell and steadied her for a second longer than was necessary before pulling back quickly.

"Buffy," he said in low, tired voice, "What are you doing?"

"I just took a shower and then I didn't have anything to wear," she whispered, "So I borrowed one of your shirts. Is that...okay?"

"Uh, sure," he answered, allowing himself a quick sweep of her body. As if she wasn't delectable enough, she had to keep wearing his shirts. Couldn't she steal something from Cordelia? He turned away from her and walked a few steps only to stare at his bed. He took a couple of deep breaths before turning back to look at her. Even in the dim light coming from his bedside lamp, he could see every detail of her nakedness. There was nothing more desirable in the world than Buffy Summers in his bedroom in one of his shirts...unless it was the same nubile girl in his bed.

"You're upset," she said, biting her lower lip as she looked over his nearly naked body. He was staring at her hungrily, licking his lips as his eyes greedily took her in. She knew she was blushing from both the sight of him in nothing but boxer shorts and his weighted stare, but she couldn't make herself care. All she wanted was for him to touch her, "I'm sorry I woke you up."

"I'm not upset because you woke me up, Buffy," he explained, shocked at the lust coming through in his voice. He cleared his throat and looked away from her, focusing his eyes on anything but her little body drowning in his shirt...his white shirt...that he knew if he looked back he almost would be able to see through.

"Well, I'm sorry I took your shirt." She took a tiny step closer and whispered, "Want it back?"

"Please, go back to your room," he groaned as he backed away. He turned away from her and went to the window, willing his arousal to go down before she noticed it. He gripped the windowsill and pressed his forehead against the cool glass. This was too much willpower in one day to ask of any man.

"Can't you even hold me, Angel?" she blurted, "I mean, I thought you wanted me and you act like you can't stand to be around me!"

"Buffy, I don't want to be around you because I don't think I can control myself around you!"

"What's so wrong with that?" she demanded, placing her hands on her hips and glaring at the tattoo on his back, resisting the urge to trace it with her fingertips.

"It just..." he said and tapered off. He knew he wasn't going to win this argument with Buffy and if she stayed in the room much longer, he wasn't going to win the argument with his body.

"Angel," she whispered hoarsely, "Please turn around....please."

Slowly, he turned around and looked at her. Her hair was falling around her shoulders, half dry and her tiny body was dwarfed in his shirt. She was exquisite, standing there with her hands on her hips, her lips in a little pout, her chest heaving with her breaths.

"C'mere," she whispered, taking a tentative step forward. Angel crossed the room in two broad steps and captured her lips, feeling her gasp in surprise into his mouth. She immediately opened her mouth and he dipped his tongue inside, exploring her. He pulled her against him, mashing their bodies together as the kiss deepened and intensified.

"Buffy," he groaned as he forced himself to pull away. Placing a finger on his lips to hush him, she hoped he didn't notice that her hands were shaking as she unbuttoned the shirt she had just put on. Allowing it to slip off her shoulders and fall to the floor behind her, she stood there and awaited his judgment, looking at the floor while she suddenly wondered if this was a good idea. After a moment of silence, she looked up at him, peeking at his reaction to her nudity.

Angel allowed himself the pleasure of taking in her body. He couldn't help but stare at her perfect curves as his eyes spanned inch upon inch of flawless creamy skin. He had seen more than his fair share of naked women, but Buffy Summers was perfect, untouched...a miracle of blooming womanhood.

When Angel pulled her into his arms, it didn't escape her notice that his arousal was pressing insistently against her bare belly, shielded by the silk of his shorts. She breathed heavily as he lowered her onto his bed and covered her with his own body. He kissed her deeply, knowing she was trembling nervously beneath him.

"Buffy, are you sure..."

"Don't," she whispered, threading her fingers through his hair and praying that her body would stop shaking, "Just kiss me."

Angel looked into her eyes, searching for any trepidation and found none. Her nervousness was to be expected and he thought about stopping once more, but as he began trailing kisses on her neck, he knew it was too late. He couldn't spend the rest of his life loving her and trying to stay away from her. The only time he felt whole and unbroken was when he was in her arms. As he brushed his lips over her shoulders, he realized that she was the one thing that could heal him.

"I love you, Buffy," he whispered as he peppered kisses over the delicate rise of her breasts. As he took one dusky nipple into his mouth he heard her sigh, "I love you too, Angel."

She sucked in a deep breath and released it in a ragged moan as he sucked one nipple into his mouth, then the other, worshiping her flesh. She allowed her hands to move over his arms, shoulders and hands, relishing in the feel of his skin. As he laved long slow licks over her sensitive nipples, caressing the soft undersides of her breasts, her nervousness fled, exchanged for the heat that coursed through her body. A burning warmth began in her belly and moved lower, making her entire body tingle with want for him. She arched against him, moaning lightly as he nuzzled the valley between her breasts and moved down, taking in mouthfuls of flesh as he went.

As he made his way down her body, tasting every inch of her salty skin, he throbbed for her, becoming lost in the taste and feel of her after waiting so long. He pressed his face against her flat belly and rubbed his cheek on her soft flesh. He moved lower, nestling between her thighs. Inhaling her musky, sweet arousal, he felt his mouth watering in delight as he allowed his gaze to settle over her silky, pink, glistening flesh. He hesitated and looked up at her green eyes for doubt before daring to touch her. When she showed no reluctance, he leaned in, inhaling her heavenly scent once more as he smoothed his large hands over her inner thighs. He focused on her outer lips, kissing them before as he teased her folds open with his tongue, delighting his first taste of her honey.

He purposefully avoided her sensitive nub as he tasted every other inch of her sex, building heat until she squirmed beneath him. Finally, he circled her clit with the tip of his tongue and concentrated on her desperate whimpers before sucking it between his lips. She moaned loudly as he lashed her clit with his tongue and nibbled on it, building her up and then sliding down lower to glide his tongue inside her. He alternated his attention between her untouched depths and her inflamed clit. She came quickly, bucking beneath him, gripping his shoulders as she came. Greedily, he lapped up the juices escaping, drinking in her ambrosial release.

He kissed his way back up her body, finally inhaling her ragged breaths into himself when he reached her lips. He was throbbing for her as they kissed once more, knowing that she could taste herself in his mouth and he was certain that he had never wanted any woman as much as he wanted her.

Buffy watched as Angel pulled away from her to open his bedside drawer. In the dim light of the bedroom, she watched as he opened the small, square package. For the first time, she saw his sex as he slipped off his boxer shorts. She watched as he rolled the condom over his erect cock and felt her nervousness returning. As he began kissing her once more, she kept thinking about how large he was or more importantly, how small she was. She tensed as she felt him pressing against her moist opening and he groaned as he felt her inner muscles tighten around the head of his cock.

He paused there, poised just barely inside her as he smoothed his hands over her body, kissing her deeply until her thighs fell apart, beginning to relax. Moving slowly, he inched inside her until he felt the barrier of her virginity. He thought he would explode before it even started as he felt her squeezing him so tightly, so wet and warm. Breathing deeply, he settled his fingertips on her sensitive clit, rubbing lightly. She moaned into his mouth as he continued to kiss her and felt her flexing around him, growing accustomed to his trespass of her.

He wished there was a way to avoid the inevitable pain he was about to cause her as he increased the pressure of his fingers on her swollen bud, waiting for her second orgasm to arrive. As she neared her second climax, she lifted her hips to press against his fingers and he moved deeper inside her, breaking through the barrier of her innocence. Her eyes flew open and she gasped in new pain as he settled inside her and felt the waves of her orgasm come over her. She panted in pleasure and pain as he pushed in further, feeling her flutter around him.

He gently pulled way and moved back in, moving his hands over her body and whispering endearments that she couldn't make out but understood. As he angled his slow thrusts to press against her clit, sending jolts of pleasure through her with each stroke, she couldn't help be surprised at how good it felt. Despite the soreness that continued to throb, she also felt an indescribable pleasure flowing through her. She lifted her hips to meet him, feeling his muscles rippling underneath her fingertips as he moved inside her. She heard him moan her name as he increased the speed of his thrusts. As Buffy reached climax the third time, she screamed his name, bucking against him and wrapping her legs around his hips. He called out her name as he found his own release, unable to hold back any longer.

He remained inside her for a moment and kissed her lips, still breathless from her release. Pulling out slowly, he removed the condom and tossed it into the trashcan before settling on his back and gathering her against his chest. She looked up at him and arched for another kiss.

"Was I...was I okay?" she whispered, searching his eyes for a snippet of response for what had just happened.

"You were perfect," he answered, brushing her lips in between his words, "wonderful. You're so beautiful, Buffy."

"So are you," she said, snuggling against his chest, "I love you."

"I love you," he murmured back as he fell asleep holding her tightly against him.


Part Eight


DEDICATION: For Eleni Angel.
(Eleni Angel, just in case you were wondering, I do realize that I have seriously wandered off course and am in no way keeping with your challenge whatsoever. Sorry. *G* I have a tendency to get carried away. I will try to at least meet some of your specifications at some point. LOL)


stay beside me where I lie
she's intertwined in me
crazy as can be
yeah, she's alright with me

Angel woke up and started to shift in his sleep when he realized that he was wrapped around a tiny, warm body. Opening his eyes slowly, he looked down and found his little lover fast asleep, nestled against his chest. Her firm bottom was pressed against his stomach and he released a nearly silent groan as she snuggled against him in her sleep.

Brushing her hair from her forehead, he kissed her cheek and tried to think about what he should do now that he lost all control of himself and not only made love to her, but took her virginity. As he was pondering the ramifications of his actions, he couldn't keep himself from sliding one hand over her bare side, sliding the sheet down as he did and smoothing over the silky round of her hip before moving over her thigh.

"Angel," she murmured in her sleep and turned over. He felt her warm breath puffing against his chest and the tingling sensation of her little fingers gliding over his hip, holding him to her.

Now almost completely uncovered, he looked down at her, finally realizing what true perfection was. Her full breasts were pressed against his chest in most tantalizing way and he fought the urge to wake her up with kisses and caresses.

Feeling his eyes on her, she blinked awake and looked up at him with wide, innocent eyes. He bent and plucked a kiss from her lips, before rumbling, "Good morning, baby."

"Morning," she murmured, closing her eyes again and leaning her forehead on his bare chest. Seconds later, she opened them again when she felt his arousal pressing against her and the memories from the previous night came flooding back with magnum force.

Daring a glance down, her suspicions were confirmed. They were both completely naked and pressed against each other in the most wonderful and terrifying way. Despite her attempt to be casual, she jumped away and pulled up the sheet that was at her legs, covering her embarrassing nakedness. The sunshine that was flooding the room made sure that every inch of their bodies were brightened, outlined and completely visible.

Disappointed, but not completely surprised by her actions, Angel pulled her against him, sliding her body back across the bed and into his arms. He captured her shocked lips, kissing her thoroughly before releasing her and looking into her eyes.

"Don't hide from me," he whispered, kissing her again before sliding his lips down her neck and his hand wandered over her sheet covered body, "I don't regret making love to you, Buffy. Do you regret what happened?"

"N-no," she whispered, holding the sheet to her body with white knuckled nervousness. It was one thing to bare herself to him last night in the dim light when she wanted nothing more to be in his arms, but this morning in the bright light it was an entirely different matter. All of her flaws would be visible to his gaze and even though he told her she was perfect the night before, how was she to know if he just said that or if he really meant it? What if said that to all of the women he slept with?

Angel watched as tense doubt clouded her face and he eased his hands over hers as they clutched the sheet. Intertwining her fingers with his, he kissed them before returning to her lips once more.

"Do you know how beautiful you are?" he asked, releasing one of her hands and peeling the sheet ever so slowly away from her breasts. Dipping down before she had a chance to cover herself again, he scattered kisses over her bare chest and listened for the answer that didn't come.

"Perfect, firm breasts," he murmured, brushing his lips over one nipple, then the other, before returning over the path to suck them into his mouth, biting and licking them.

"Soft, silky skin," he continued, kissing down her torso and over her ribs.

"Sweet little belly button," he murmured, against her flat tummy, which moved with her deep breaths. He dipped his tongue in her belly button and he heard her nervous giggle waft down to his ears.

Sliding down the bed, further, he finally looked up to meet her eyes as he caressed her thighs, which were clenched together tightly. He could see that she was still slightly nervous and anxious as he got closer to her sex, even as moisture began to seep there in want of him. The aching soreness from making love to him added to her fear. He felt so wonderful inside her the night before after the initial pain had passed, but now she was terrified of him wanting more of her so soon.

"Open for me, baby," he whispered, "I won't hurt you."

"I k-know," she whimpered. Slowly, she spread her thighs just barely and nervously waited for him to look at her, fearing his judgment even though she knew he was a gentle and kind lover. She wasn't sure how she felt about him looking directly at her in the broad daylight. She opened wider for him as he caressed her inner thighs.

"You smell so good," he said, smiling down at her sex, before dipping in to taste her, "You are so beautiful, Buffy."

Gently, he kissed her outer lips before laving slow, sinuous licks over her. Focusing on her clit, he lapped at it lightly, building up pleasure. He moaned in desire as her thighs fell fully apart and she released a whimper of pleasure, lifting her hips and pressing against his questing tongue. Refusing to meet her silent request, he kept his attentions on her slow and languid, caressing her body.

"Angel," she panted as she teetered on the edge of climax. He slid his tongue inside her and lapped up her honey, which increased with every passing second. Her thighs trembled as she pressed up against him. Finally relenting, he scraped his teeth against her clit before swirling his tongue over it. Sucking it into his mouth, he brought her to a forceful orgasm, pressing his throbbing cock against the mattress as she writhed and panted beneath him.

Buffy was aware of his hard length against her thigh as he traveled up her body and kissed her, allowing her to taste herself on his lips.

"Angel," she whispered around his kisses.

"It's okay, sweetheart," he whispered back, "I know you're not ready."

Biting her lip and looking into his eyes, she thought about it for a second and then whispered, "I'm ready."

"Are you sure?" he asked, looking at her seriously, "Don't do this for me, love."

"Want to," she whispered, " it for you."

Unable to resist, he put on another condom from his bedside table and positioned himself at her tight entrance. She hissed as he pressed into her sore depths and he looked up at her questioningly, knowing he would stop if she asked and praying to God that she wouldn't. She nodded, urging him on and he moved slowly at first, angling to hit her swollen bud with his movements.

Angel thought his heart was going to pound out of his chest as he made love to her again. Her pussy was so hot and tight around him, clutching at his throbbing cock as he moved in and out in slow, full thrusts. Her erect nipples scraped against his chest as he glided over her body and he was certain he could easily spend the rest of his life making love to her, diving into her sweet depths again and again.

He felt her begin to move with him and pressed warm kisses into her neck. He gasped in pleasure as she wrapped her legs around his waist, inadvertently tightening around him. Almost coming from the sensation, he felt like a schoolboy again, barely able to keep control and thought about feeling her without a condom. He could only imagine feeling her silky insides surrounding his cock as he had with his tongue.

As they neared climax together, they moved more rapidly, their hips meeting as they crashed together in release. Angel roared her name as he came, listening to her gasp his name as well, her inner muscles fluttering around him.

"God, I love you," he said hoarsely as he gathered her into his arms and kissed her passionately.

"I love you too, Angel," she whispered and then looked up questioningly as he moved away. She watched as he tossed away the used condom and reached into his bedside drawer once more. He hid whatever he took out and she craned her neck, trying to catch a glimpse of what he held in his hand.

"What's that?" she asked with a little smile, knowing he wasn't showing her on purpose.

"Well," he said, pulling her against him and biting at her lower lip, "I have this problem."

"What? What's wrong?" she asked, feeling alarm fill her.

He smiled, kissing the end of her nose and calming her, "Ever since I met you, I've had to keep myself from buying you things. Every time I go somewhere, I see something I want to give you. I want to give you everything, Buffy. Everything you've ever wanted. Do you know that?"

"No," she answered in the voice of a little girl.

"I do. This is something I didn't buy, but I want you to have it," he said, producing a small black box and lifting the lid. She gazed in to see a delicate silver chain with a sapphire set in a circle of diamonds. Buffy gasped and reached out to touch it gently.

"It was my mother's," he said, his voice low and reverent, "She gave this to me a long time ago to give to the woman I loved."

"Angel, I can't take that," she said as her eyes filled with tears.

"Why not?" he asked, smiling at her and carefully removing the necklace from its velvet confines, "It's yours. It's been yours for a long time."

He released the clasp, which seemed tiny and even more delicate between his large fingers and reached around to put it on her neck. She lifted her hair up, half of it falling in a cascade of golden tendrils.

"It's beautiful. Thank you," she whispered, looking down at the gift, resting against her bare chest. His soft smile broadened into a large grin as he looked over it, contrasting perfectly with her golden skin and landing just above the rise of her breasts.


so i throw my hand into the air and it swims in the beams
it's just a brief interruption of the swirling dust sparkle jet stream

Cordelia woke up with the ringing of the phone and found herself securely trapped in the warm embrace of Xander Harris. She wanted to revolt from the feeling, but found she couldn't. As much as she hated to admit it, he felt right. God help her, she found his snore cute.

She inched away from his warm body and picked up the phone, squinting in irritation at the sunlight streaming through her bedroom window as she snarled a grumpy "hello" at the innocent caller.

"Liam Angelus, please," a pleasant sounding voice requested.

"He's probably sleeping," she snapped back, "as are most normal people at this time of the morning. Why don't you call back when the world is awake?"

"Could you please wake him?" the man asked. "It's important that I speak to him this morning."

"Fine," she said, before slamming the phone down on her bedside table loud enough to wake up Xander, who watched fuzzily as she stalked out of the room.

Cordelia padded down the hallway, yawning with irritation as she approached Angel's room. Not bothering to knock, she flung open his bedroom door, widened her eyes and screamed.

"Oh my God!" she shouted, missing the sound of Xander running down the hall to see what was wrong.

"Please shut the door, Cordelia," Angel said calmly as Buffy scrambled to pull the covers over herself and her lover.

"You came into my room last night and attacked Xander when the whole time you were planning on coming back in here and FUCKING Buffy Summers! Why in the HELL is it okay for YOU when WE weren't even doing THAT?"

"I wasn't planning it," Angel said, still keeping his calm and feeling his petite lover trying to burrow deeper into the bed while not only Cordy but also Xander stared at her.

"Whatever!" she shouted, "You have NO RIGHT to tell me anything ANYMORE! You're a jerk, Angel!"

Xander fought to breath as he stood in the doorway, just behind Cordelia and looked at a very calm, muscular and most importantly naked Angel with his arm around the girl of his dreams, who was equally naked. He found himself missing most of the conversation as he looked over Buffy's bare arms and the outline of her breasts underneath the silk sheet.

"First of all," Angel said, feeling his temper rise, "You need to knock before you come storming into my room. We've been over this before. Secondly, my sleeping with Buffy has nothing to do with that little weasel squirming his way into your bed. If you think it's okay to sleep with him now, you're mistaken. Got that, Harris?"

Buffy's ears perked up as the "we've been over this before" sentence reached her. Before? As in Cordelia walking in on Angel and other women? Other naked women that he made sweet love to? Even over her flushing embarrassment, she felt a more urgent jealousy rise up in her. How many other women had there been?

Angel didn't wait for Xander to answer, but held Buffy to his side and growled at his sister's guest, "If I find out you can't keep your cock in your pants around my sister, I'm going to beat you within an inch of your miserable life."

Xander started to respond, when Cordy interrupted him and started shouting at her brother again.

"Shut up, Angel!" Cordy said, taking Xander's hand defensively, "You're not going to touch him. Especially after you've touched her."

"Cordy," Angel sighed, "Is there a reason you came in here?"

"You have a phone call," she sneered, before turning and dragging Xander away from the door. Angel watched them retreat, breathing deeply and trying to calm himself. As he stood to shut the door, unembarrassed by his nakedness, he heard his sister's voice sending the word "asshole" down the hallway. He swung the door closed and slipped on a pair of boxer shorts before sitting on the edge of the bed and picking up the phone.

"Angelus," he said into the phone.

"Hello Detective Angelus," a male voice replied, "This is Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. I've been called in to investigate your case. I would like you to come in this morning to speak with me."

"Alright," Angel said, glad that he was facing away from his lover as he felt tension shooting more fiercely though his body, "Should I bring my lawyer?"

"That would be a wise course of action," Wesley answered.

"I'll call him and see when he's available," Angel said, closing his eyes.

"Very well," Wesley said, "Please call me for an appointment then."

Angel didn't look at Buffy as he hung up and the phone and rapidly redialed. How could he look at her? How could he explain that he was going to lose his job and probably his freedom? He already knew she would blame herself for this when none of it was her fault. If given the chance, he would do it again.

"Lindsey McDonald," a groggy voice muttered into the phone. A female voice in the background reached him just after Lindsey's voice.

"Linds," Angel said to his high school friend, "I have a serious problem. Can you meet me this morning?"

"Do you realize," Lindsey said, after a moment of shuffling and the sound of a closing door, "that I was in bed with a beautiful woman just a second ago? I planned to have a bunch of terrific morning sex followed by an afternoon of the same. How serious is the problem?"

"Serious," Angel said, "I'm sorry, man. My plans were similar before I got a disturbing phone call. Believe me. If this wasn't an emergency, I would be staying in bed too."

"Alright," Lindsey sighed, peeking out the bathroom door at the naked woman nestled perfectly in his sheets, "Meet me at my office in an hour."

"Thanks," Angel said, "I owe you."

"You have no fucking idea how much you owe me," Lindsey said before hanging up and crawling back in bed.

Part Nine


well, i'm all messed up
that's nothing new

After Angel hung up the phone, he stayed sitting on the side of the bed with his head hanging, simultaneously wishing that Buffy wasn't there and thanking the powers that she was. After a moment or two of silence, she whispered his name in askance and waited as he slowly turned around to face her.

"I have to go in for questioning again," he explained, watching the look of sadness that had been poised on her face fully present itself.

"But you didn't do anything wrong," she protested, scooting closer to him, forgetting entirely that she was still nude. She remembered quickly when his eyes raked over her skin, taking in each inch of her body. Even in the midst of a crisis, he couldn't help but notice her bare flesh. She blushed as she followed his gaze and felt the dull ache between her thighs reminding her that she had finally become his lover.

"They obviously don't agree," he said, "I have to go meet with my lawyer and then I'll go in and talk to them."

"I want to go with you," she said quietly.

"No, baby. You can't go," he said softly, rising from his bed and crossing the room in several long strides. Scooping up the shirt she shed the night before, she slipped it on before taking on the task of following her stubborn lover around the room as he dressed.

"You can't go alone," she retorted, "They'll say you're guilty and you'll be thick headed enough to agree with them. This all my fault anyway. I'm going with you!"

"No, Buffy," he said, turning on her as he donned a pair of black slacks, "This is not your fault and you aren't going to be a part of anymore of this ugliness. Lindsey will come with me and he'll do what he can."

"I'm coming with you!" she shouted, as if she either hadn't heard what he said or didn't care. Angel correctly believed the latter.

"No," he answered, in a low, serious voice that would have made anyone else, except for his sister and his lover, back away, "You aren't."

Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and met his glare, forced to tilt her head up to meet his eyes. Even as the showdown began, she knew he would leave without her.


i don't know if i'm wide awake or dreaming
but all i ever need is everything

Buffy took a deep breath outside out Cordelia's room. Standing there freshly showered, in Angel's shirt, with nothing else to put on, she felt incredibly naked and nervous, but she really had no other choice. Her only saving grace was the knowledge that Xander had already left and wouldn't witness anymore of her nakedness today. She knocked firmly on the wooden door and wasn't at all surprised when Cordelia made her wait for several long minutes before she whipped it open, just as Buffy was preparing to knock again.

"What do you want?" Cordelia said, "I know you think I'm some saint for all the help I gave you, but the charity's over. Now that you're screwing my brother, I think you should be able to take care of things from here."

"Cordelia," Buffy said, trying to interrupt the tirade, "Cordelia! This isn't about that. Just listen to me. The phone call this morning was some official police guy."

"So? Angel's a cop," she mustered, "Cops call here all the time."

"No," Buffy explained, "I think he was the district attorney or something. Angel called his lawyer after he got off the phone. Cordy, he's in trouble. They're gonna prosecute him for saving us."

"They can't arrest him," Cordy maintained, crossing her arms, "He's a detective, not a criminal."

"They can and they will, if you don't help me."


and there are people who will say they knew me so well
i may not go to heaven
i hope you go to hell

Cordelia Chase and Buffy Summers sauntered into the Police Department, both dressed in business attire, their faces somber and determined. They strode confidently past all of the officers and staff, ignoring anyone who spoke to them or had the audacity to ask them where they were going. They nearly made it to the Chief's door, when a uniformed officer stepped into their path, looking formidable and slightly intimidating.

"Can I help you ladies?" he asked politely, as if he were not silently threatening them.

"We're here to see the Chief," Buffy said, leaning in to read his nametag, "Officer Finn."

"You'll need to make an appointment," he answered, trying to keep his good-natured smile firmly in place.

"I'm sure exceptions can be made," Buffy said, returning the smile, although hers was a bit more forced than his, "Why don't you stick your head in and see when we can have a chat?"

"No can do," he answered, "Now, if you'll speak to the desk attendant, I'm sure we can set something up for a later date."

"We're not leaving and we're not making an appointment with the fashion crisis at the front desk," Cordelia spat, "Now move out of our way."

"I'm sorry, ma'am," Finn replied, losing his smile, "Please see yourself out before I have to have you escorted out."

"You're gonna have to drag us out, cause we're not leaving," Buffy answered sweetly, while clenching her fists. If there was anything Buffy was certain of, it was that she was not leaving the building until she talked to the chief. She didn't give a damn if she had to wait all day.


we have begun to change into the worst kind of people

Buffy had been certain that the escort threat was just that - a threat, until the officer signaled to a couple of his polyester clad friends. If Angel's new partner, Charles Gunn, had not come to their rescue, they might have been tossed from the building, but with some eye batting on Cordy's part and pleading on Buffy's, they managed to worm their way into the Chief's office.

Buffy tried not to look as nervous as she was as she looked over the small, bald man behind the large wooden desk. For such a small person, he had an air of cold, menacing power that was unnerving.

"I understand the two of you are causing quite a scene," Chief Snyder said, eyeing them sternly, "Is there a reason you are interrupting my officers, not to mention myself?"

"Yes," Buffy said, settling into one of the chairs across from him, knowing without looking that Cordelia had mirrored her movements, "My name is Buffy Summers. My father was-"

"Hank Summers," Snyder said, nodding curtly, "I know who you are, Miss Summers. And this must be Angelus' sister. Now that we've met, both of you hormonal time bombs can see yourselves out. I know at least one of you will be seeing the insides of a jail cell sooner or later, but if you don't want it to be sooner, I suggest leaving. Now."

"We're here to set the record straight on what happened with Mayor Wilkins," Buffy started, "We know Detective Angelus was called in this morning."

"You have already given your statements," he answered with a dark smile, "There's nothing else you can do here, although you may be called in to testify at a later date."

"I see," Buffy said, standing up and smoothing her skirt, before stepping closer to the desk that separated them, "I've grown up as the daughter of a cop. I know what goes on here and I've heard more than once what kind of person you are."

"You're skating on thin ice, young lady," Snyder sneered, rising to his feet as well, "It doesn't matter what you think. Angelus has proven to be too much of a liability for this department."

"You never ever got a single date in high school did you?" Buffy tossed at him spitefully.

"Your point being?"

"You're too much of an idiot to understand the power we have over you," Buffy said, shaking her head calmly, "The Mayor is a very powerful man and if it had been anyone else in that room, trying to rape us before he sold us on some black market, Detective Angelus would be free right now. But since you're a power hungry-"

"Measly little freak," Cordelia interjected, earning a dark glare from Buffy.

"You think that tossing him to the wolves will keep you in the Mayor's good graces," Buffy continued, "We just wanted to make one little thing clear before you finish this investigation."

"You have no proof of any of those accusations," Snyder said through gritted teeth, "And if you haven't noticed, the officials of this city are deeply stupid."

"Nevertheless," Buffy said, "We will have the ear of every reporter and news caster. If Angelus is not safely home-"

"And reinstated to his full position," Cordelia added.

"By this evening," Buffy said, keeping the careful timbre of her woods, "Cordelia and I will tell everything we know, about what happened to us, about the Mayor's involvement and your unwillingness to hear the truth."

"Do that and Angelus will never see the light of day again," Snyder blurted angrily.

"Guess we'll just have to see who has more to lose," Buffy retorted.

"And we think it's you," Cordelia said.

"Get out of my office and my building before I-"

"What?" Queen C said, stepping forward boldly, "Rip out my innards, play with my eyeballs, boil my brain and eat it for lunch? Listen up, needle brain. Buffy and I are the daughter and sister of two of the most respected detectives on your force. We're innocent girls. Don't you think the public will believe us when we tell them that we were attacked?"

"Don't threaten-"

"I'm going to do more than that," Cordelia snarled, leaning over the desk, "I've grown up in a very wealthy family. No one intimidates me, certainly not a tiny, impotent Nazi with a bug up his butt the size of an emu, like you. Angel and I have more money than we need to attack you without breaking a sweat. We have limitless resources at our disposal and all you have is a badge. What do you think I'm gonna do to you if I don't get my brother back?"


did you want to dance with me?

"Riley Finn," Angel growled, stepping out of Snyder's office with an odd feeling of contentment filling him, even though he wasn't entirely certain what had happened. He knew when Cordy and Buffy stormed into Snyder's office, they probably threatened him with everything in the book. Knowing his sister, she probably threw a couple of other things too. Even though he bristled at the idea of them risking themselves for him, he still was proud that they had rushed to his defense.

"Angelus," Finn said, clenching his jaw tightly at the impending attack.

"I heard about your welcoming committee for my sister and my girlfriend earlier today," he said, unable to keep the darkness from flooding his brain. When Gunn mentioned that they were nearly dragged out the building, Angel found out Finn was responsible for it. Not that he was surprised. Finn had always been Snyder's faithful flunky, no doubt covering for the little man's numerous shady deals.

"Way I heard it, you were supposed to be locked in a little cell until you couldn't remember what breathing free air felt like."

"Don't push me, boy."

"Now I wonder what kind of blackmail your little girls used to save you," Riley replied, "Couldn't defend yourself, huh?"

"Let me make something clear," Angel said, stepping closer to the blonde officer, "You ever touch either one of them again and I'll forget you're a police officer. Got it?"

"You really think that threatening me is the way to go right now?" Riley asked, allowing a smug smile to cover his face, "You're not even on the force anymore, are you Angelus?"

"Where I work has nothing to do with your well-being, Finn."


Part Ten


it's the breathing
it's the breathing, in and out and in...

Instead of heading home from the police station, Angel went directly to Buffy's. Some things had to be said and done before another moment was wasted. He wasn't going to admit to her that he had once again thought of letting her go while he was being interrogated. She would never understand it, even if he explained that she couldn't lose her youth waiting for him while he rotted in prison.

It was curious that one of the things that had turned everything around completely was Riley Finn. The boy looked hungry when he had spoken to him and Angel was sure that the rumbling wasn't in the blonde officer's belly. Finn had seen his sister and his lover and had no doubt thought about taking one or both of them into his bed. The idea sent Angel into a frenzy of emotions. He had known since the day he met the little blonde whirlwind that was Buffy Summers that he would never be able to love another. He knew that she was everything he had ever wanted and much more. The mere fleeting idea of her in the arms of someone like Finn or one of those frat boys made his organs twist in protest.

When he reached the Summers' house, he knocked rather than just walking in, as he would have when Hank was still alive. He swallowed harshly as he thought of his late partner and the argument they had had over Buffy. Dismissing the memory of Hank's vow to keep her from his life, he looked up and met with the kind green eyes of an older gentleman he vaguely remembered being at Hank's funeral.

" Buffy here?" Angel inquired, looking over the man with curiosity.

"No," he answered in a smooth, British voice, "You must be Angel."


"I'm Rupert Giles," he said, holding his hand out, "Librarian at Buffy's school and an old acquaintance of Joyce's.

"Buffy mentioned you," Angel said, stepping in as Giles' stepped aside, "Is Joyce here?"

"Kitchen," Giles answered, nodding in the general direction even though he was sure the young man was fully aware of where it was. Angel led the way, moving through the house and finding his love's mother gingerly pulling open a bag of microwave popcorn.

"Hello Joyce," Angel said in greeting, keeping his face as devoid of emotion as his voice. His skin felt tight with the reigning in of his explosive and slightly panicked feelings and he knew he wouldn't be able to keep it in check for long, especially if Joyce refused to allow him to be a part of Buffy's life.

"Hi Angel," she said, "Buffy's not here, but I would like to speak with you."

"I have some things to discuss with you as well," Angel said, taking the seat at the table that was offered and declining a drink even though his throat was dry. He was relieved when Giles made a feeble excuse to dismiss himself and quickly strode from the room. It would be hard enough to go through this without Buffy's mentor and her mother's new...old...lover standing there, looking on.

"Buffy told me what happened," she began in a kinder voice than he had expected. Angel's eyes widened in surprise. He wasn't expecting that. He wasn't sure what he was expecting, but that sentence wasn't it and his mind began to wander to the memory of his little goddess in his bed, her creamy skin meshing with his in the heat of passion. He snapped out of his reverie as her mother continued, "And I'm a bit overwhelmed with everything that I've missed lately."

"Understandable," Angel managed to mumble.

"I need to know what your intentions are," she said, not touching the drink in front of her or the bowl of quickly cooling popcorn.

"That's the reason I came by," he said quickly, taking his cue before he lost it, or the nerve he had been trying to work up, "I want to marry Buffy and I was hoping for your blessing."

"You realize that my husband did not approve of your...feelings for our daughter."

"Yes," Angel said, nodding slowly, "He told me he never would approve of my being with her."

"And I'm sure you're also aware that I don't want Buffy to be with a police officer," Joyce continued. She was shocked that Angel admitted that Hank had ordered him away, "I don't want her up nights wondering if you're going to come home, only to find out that you aren't. I can't have her go through losing someone else like that."

"I'm no longer with the force," he said, "All charges against me were dropped but it was recommended that I resign, which I gladly did."

Sighing heavily, Joyce eyed the man her daughter loved. He was attractive and obviously loved her, but disaster and sadness had followed him all his life. She feared that the same would happen to Buffy if she married him, but she couldn't say no with a clear conscious. Taking a deep breath, she said, "You have my blessing to marry her...but hurt my little girl and I will beat you to death with a shovel."

Seeing the simultaneous happiness and shock in Angel's eyes, she pushed her chair back from the table and stood. Smiling down on him she added, "A vague disclaimer's nobody's friend."


start turning the girl into the ground
roll a new life over

Angel's house was filled with giggles as he entered and he followed the sounds to the kitchen where he found his wife-to-be (hopefully) as well as his sister and her boyfriend, Xander Harris. Considering the benefit of the doubt he was just given by Joyce, he could hardly eject the boy from his property, as much as he wanted to.

"Xander!" Buffy giggled in protest as the dark haired lout filled up taco shells with ground beef, muttering something unintelligible. The sounds of her giggling his name reminded him of the first day he met her and he smiled in spite of himself. He leaned against the doorway and watched as they made plates of food.

Buffy and Cordelia had both changed into jeans and t-shirts, which actually surprised Angel. His sister rarely wore jeans, but on occasion did don them when she was sure there would be no visitors. Looking over Harris, he grunted soundlessly. Guess the boy didn't need impressing anyway. He looked more rumpled that Cordelia ever would.

As if she had heard his soundless protest of the boy, Buffy looked up and shot a beaming smile in his direction, making him almost forget Xander's presence entirely.

"Angel!" Buffy shouted, running over and wrapping her arms around him, "Where have you been? You should have been back hours ago!"

"Had to make a couple of stops first," he said, sending a look of gracious thanks to his sister and then refocusing on the warm body in his arms. Leaning down, he kissed her lightly and then took her hand, "Come on."

"Where are we going?" she asked, gesturing to the load of taco fillings scattered on the counter, "We made dinner."

"I'll buy you dinner," he said, tugging her toward the door. Shrugging in defeat, she went ahead of him and Angel stopped in the doorway, looking back at his sister.

"I don't like him," Angel said, as if Xander weren't even there, "But I trust you."

"Good," she said, crossing her arms across her chest as she awaited the rest of his statement, "Cause it's not your decision."

"I know," he said, nodding, "If he hurts you..."

"Angel," Cordelia said with a hardened tone and then a second later, smiled brilliantly at him, "Shut up."


it's almost everything i need
i'm down on my knees
i'm down on my knees

Buffy stepped out of the car, holding their bag of Italian take out and looked around her. The ride had been longer than she had expected and as she looked around her at the field of nothing but grass and hills, she was befuddled with confusion.

"Angel?" she asked, knowing he knew the unasked question. He pulled a blanket from the trunk and then took her hand, leading her into the field in silence. This ranked up there with a horror movie or a ritual sacrifice or an execution or something. She couldn't, for the life of her - no pun intended - figure out what they were doing there.

Angel spread the blanket out and sat down on it with Buffy, silently doling out their food before beginning his explanation. Buffy stared the container of pasta before her, wondering how he expected her to eat when he was being so cryptic.

"All of the money in my family came from my mother's side," he began, "My father's family didn't have much to speak of, except for this land."

Gesturing, he took a second to admire the barren property as if it had oil wells beneath the soil, "When he died, he left this to me. I've always wanted to build a house and raise a family here."

Meeting Buffy's eyes, he saw a slight look of hopefulness there, that seemed tamped down. She didn't want to hope to hard that he was saying what she thought he was going to say. Smiling, he continued, "I want to build a house here for you and raise a family with you, Buffy."

Squealing, she tossed her pasta aside and launched herself into his arms. As he saw her coming, he moved his own food out of the way before they were both covered in marinara sauce. She kissed him soundly, pressing him into the blanket, cushioned by soft grass.

"I didn't even get to the proposal part," he murmured, kissing her lightly, nipping at her pink lips with delight.

"Yes, you did," she whispered back, rubbing her body against his in invitation, "I'm sure I heard you."

"And?" Angel asked, rolling them over and watching as her hair fanned around her, contrasting wonderfully with the multicolored Mexican blanket.

"And?" she echoed playfully.

"I love you," he said seriously, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you be my wife, Buffy Summers?"

"As if there were anything else to be," she whispered, tears gleaming in her eyes. Breathing out life and love, she added, "Yes, I'll marry you."

Angel kissed her again, sealing the proposal and then started to pull away to retrieve the ring from his pocket, fulling intending on pummeling himself later for doing this all wrong, but she pulled him back against her until his weight was fully on top of her once more. Wrapping her legs around his waist and smoothing her hands over his back, she attacked his lips, nursing his tongue into her mouth hungrily. Somewhere in their kisses, she whispered, "Later." He wasn't sure if it meant the food or the ring, but he didn't care. He completely agreed.

They fought their way out of their clothes, while keeping as much contact as possible until they were both nude under a blanket of warm, twinkling stars. Finding her moist and ready for him, he entered her slowly knowing she was still sore from the previous night and that morning. Even as her breasts pressed against his chest and her slick channel stretched around him, even as her tiny hands threaded through his hair and her hips rose to meet his thrusts, even as her tongue lapped at his skin and her teeth scraped over his shoulder, he still couldn't believe that she was his. He couldn't fathom that this beautiful, perfect and pure creature had consented to be his wife, to be with him always.

As he felt her first orgasm rising quickly to the surface, he forgot about the impossibility of his current reality and lost himself in her, driving harder inside her as her inner muscles clenched around him in release. Angel found he couldn't hold on any longer as she panted and screamed in ecstasy. Groaning her name, he too careened over the edge of oblivion buried inside his lover and future wife.

Covered in fine sheen of sweat and mutual lust, they lay together and looked up at the stars, forgetting their cold food. The night there, mere miles from the city limits, seemed so much more mystical and full, as if it could swoop down and suck them into the vast vacuum of space. The heavens smiled down, twinkling with billions of stars and it didn't seem to compare to what they held in each other's arms.

"If my name is going to be Buffy Angelus," she mused, pressing her face against his bare chest, "Guess I get to be an Angel too, huh?"

"You've always been an angel, my love," he answered hoarsely, kidding the top of her head.

"So have you," she whispered back.


The End!

How's that for sappy? *G* Please let me know what you thought.




The Challenge from Eleni Angel:

[Note: You'll see that I am not good with following instructions. *G* I changed the challenge for the death to be her father's rather than her husband's.

Hey guys! I'm utterly lost and bored with Buffy right now. There's been a lack of engaging fiction out there that appeals to me. I've had this idea for a while, but never had the time to write it. Right now I'm wrapped up in finishing the last part of Hero and making a shrine website to Tango and all of her wonderful fics. Whomever writes this will have my eternal gratitude. The idea: Buffy is the wife of a cop. One night, she's up late worrying and waiting when she gets a dreaded knock on the door. It's Angel, her husband's partner on the force, and he's bearing bad news: her husband of five years is dead.
Over the next two years, Buffy and Angel become friends due to their grief, and eventually they fall in love...ending up to you.
Please use 4: (Dialogue can be changed to match gender/tense)
" I never thought it would come to this!"
A dozen roses
A cemetery
" This isn't a scam, or pity, Buffy. I love you, deeply, madly, irrevocably. Pretending that I'm feeling sorry for you won't make it go away."
A slinky black dress
A marriage proposal
An airplane
The nightly news
The rating is up to you, but I'm wishing for some NC-17.
I'd like permission to put any fic that follows this challenge up on my site, Your Eyes, so if the author could also please grant permission, I'd appreciate it.